Monday, September 30, 2013

Break-ins, Dog Apologies, and Forgiveness!

I ran out of time this week, so this one will have to be short.

This week our house got broken into. Oddly only my things were stolen from the house. They broke in the door, found my extra hidden keys, and took my camera, some money, my shoes, and the keys.  The land lady told us she is only going to fix the door, not replace the locks, so we have to do that ourselves.  We don't know who did it, but we suspect it is the person who lives across the hall, so we have to change the locks today to make sure they can't come in again.

One day this week, we were running late to a lesson from another and we were far from the next investigators house.  So we ended up trying to take short cuts, cutting through fields and small paths.  While going down a small path we ran into a big dog that started chasing after us.  I remember what happened last time, when the dog ripped up my pants, and I wasn't going to let it happen again.  So I picked up a huge rock and chuck it, pretty hard. My companion also threw a rock.  Anyways, the dog went running off and we though that was the end of it.  About 3 minutes later, a lady comes running after us! Apparently it was her dog who we scared, and she wasn't happy. We changed gears and asked what we could do to fix it.  If we could do service, or visit her, but she wouldn't accept our apologies. The next day, we contacted the house! She answered the door, and surprisingly let us in! We talked for a while, and apologized to the dog too. Although she did not want to hear any of our message, she now knows that we didn't mean anything bad by what happened.

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cristo de la Concordia, Bolivian Accents, and Reactivations!

Another full week of experiences here in Bolivia! I am actually in a ghetto internet cafe right now at the bottom of the hill from the Christ statue here.  We hiked it as a zone this morning, and it is basically stairs that go nearly straight up. It was far, but worth doing at least one time. I got a ton of good pictures too, so I will send them after!
This past week, we were running late to an appointment from a service project, so we decided to take a taxi to the house to change quickly.  We got into the taxi, and the first thing I noticed was a bunch of stickers of Christ all over the window and dash board.  We got to talking a bit, just about futbol and such, and then he asked what I was studying at the University. I guess he assumed we were students, since we live across the street from the Universidad Adventista Bolivia.  I love it when people ask us that, because it always gives us the opportunity to explain why we are here, and what we do.  So I told him we are missionaries for our church, here to help people, and invite them to Christ. Then something suprising happened. He turn and asked me if I was from Santa Cruz.  I quickly replied no.. I'm from the US.  He turned to look at my face, and laughed, asking how long I have lived here. When I told him I only have been here 5 months, he didn't believe me.  Now I honestly don't thnk I speak like a Bolivian.  But he might have mistakn me as one since I can't roll my R's with some words. Convienently neither do most of the Bolivians. They use sort of an 's' or 'z' sound, so I guess I have started to pick that up too. and it is easier. Anyways, we left the taxista with a pamphlet and our number, not expecting anything out of it.  That night, he called me, we took out an appointment, and now he is one our new investigators!
So remember the family who has been inactive for 10 years?  2 of my baptisms have been from that family, and we are still working hard to get them to come back.  Now all of them except the youngest are members, but the parents only came to see their kids baptisms and confirmation, then didn't come the next week.  So we came up with an idea. We planned a family home evening with the active members, my converts, in order to try and help them.  I asked the youngest one to share a scripture and a small message, and we could plan the rest.  Well, it went better than I expected! Aldrin, who is 9, shared a scripture and said directly to his dad "Papa, the only way we can live as a family forever is if you come back to church."  Then he shared his small testimony of the church. It was silent for a few seconds, and then both parents were in tears.  I know they felt the spirit right then, and hopefully this will help them come back.

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Companions, Weddings, and Dirt in My Bed!

Well, things are a lot different now for me than from last week.  My old companion left to Potosi, and my new comanion arrived at the airport the same day.  His name is Elder Cortez, and it turns out he is actually from La Paz, another city in Bolivia. He is waiting for a visa to go to his mission in Venezuela, but they put a halt on all visas from Bolivia, so he and about 40 other missionaries will probably be staying here for their missions.  Anyways, he is a very hard worker, but is very shy.  He doesn't hardly speak, which is a huge change from my last companion who never stopped talking.  This means I have to do nearly all the talking. In lessons, in contacting, in just everyday activities.  It is helping my spanish and my teaching skills a ton, but we are working on getting him to open up a little more.

The missionaries in Vinto got to go to the temple on Saturday, for a wedding actually.  ONe of the Elders, Elder Supayabe had an aunt that was getting married, so President gave us permssion to attend the wedding.  Unfortunately the sealing room was too small, and one of the elders forgot his reccomend, so we couldn't enter in for the ceremony, but it was still a good experience to go to a wedding at the temple here.

As for missionary work this week, I about killed over dead.  I'm the only one who knows our area, and I'm also senior comapnion now, so I have to make the plans. Not only that, I teach just about all of the lessons.  So I am not only physically tired at the end of each day, but mentally too.  Last night, we got in at about 9 oclock at night, and I was so tired, I went to sit on my bed to rest.  The next thing I knew it was 6 am, I was still in my dirty proselying clothes and shoes, and my bed was covered in dirt because of my muddy shoes. I am hoping my body gets used to working even harder here. We have been having lots of success though.  In only 2 lessons , we invited 3 of our investigators to baptism, and they accepted.  So we should be baptizing even more during our time together, since we both can handle working harder.

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Up in Motecato for lunch yesterday with the other Elders.

My new companion and I in the elevator

After the temple we went to a Peruvian restaurant.  This is Arroz Chaufa, a super good rice plate.

My companion and I at the Cochabamba, Bolivia temple.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Transfers, No Water, and TV Celebrities!

Well family,  This are going to be changing for me here.  We got the transfer information last night, and my companion and I are being separated. He is going to Potosi, the middle of nowhere, to be a zone leader.  I am staying in my area, and getting a new companion who's from Peru.  Apparently he is pretty new and only has about 2 months.  Another Elder also told me that he speaks english, which will be interesting!
The past week with my companion, we have putting it in overdrive.  Everyday I came home at night and passed out as soon as I hit the bed.  We taught more lessons and visited more families than I thought was possible.  On Saturday, we had our last baptism together.  When we got there in the morning at the capilla to fill the font, we found out that soemhow there was absolutely no water in the capilla.  The reserve tank also had broken, so we had no water t ofill the baptismal font.  We called the bishop and told him what the problem was.  He came down to see it, and we were right. No water.  SO we started making the plans to have the baptism in a river closeby the capilla.  The only problem is the is the drought season, so when we checked the river, it was mostly just rocky and had almost no water.  The baptism was at 6, and we still didn't have water when 5 o'clock came around.  Finally, we got ahold of a company that fills water and had a truck come and fill it for us.  WHat  a relief.  WHile the water was cold, we got the baptism done without anymore problems.  My companion got to baptise this time, in the cold water, and I conducted.  On Sunday morning, my new little convert asked me if I would confirm him.  I have never confirmed before, but I accepted and it turne out ok.
There was another blockade here in Bolivia last week, except this time in my hometown, Vinto.  So instead of taking a trufi to lunch, we had to walk the streets just like everyone else.  We saw a news crew a bit aways from us, but didn't think anything of it.  WHen we got to the pensionistas house, she grabbed us and took us toward the television.  There we were, close up on the camera on National Bolivian TV!  I tried to reach for my camera, but it went off before I got a chance to take a picture.

This is a picture of our zone!  almost half the zone is changing now, but it's been a great group of missionaries!

 Bolivian money!  7 bolivianos is about the same as a dollar, so you can figure the breakdown.  My city, Quillacollo, is the only one who has the 200 bills, and they are a pain because nobody ever has change for them!

 This is the boy we baptised on Saturday.  He is the brother of our other convert and now their whole family are members of the church!

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Quechua, Baptisms, and the 1920s!

Lot's of things happened this week!  I got to do a few intercambios (exchanges)  with some Latino elders, and a Bolivian holiday called Dia de Peaton.

The Cochabamba area in general is know in Bolivia as being the dirtiest place in the country. This is probably because it's in the middle of the 2 biggest cities La Paz and Santa Cruz, so there is alot of transit between the two.  This means that tons of semi trucks, and goods are moved right throught the city.  They don't have any regualtions on the cars like they do in the states, so there is a ton of pollution and trash everywhere.  In an effort to try and preserve the ozone layer, the government didn't decide to try and clean up.  They didn't try and put regulations on any of the cars, like in other countries.  All they did was ban vehicles for a day haha.  If anyone was caught driving, (which I saw some of them) they were charged 1,000 Bolivianos (about 150 USD) and their car was taken to the impound lot.  This day was yesterday. Luckily it was a Sunday, so we were going to stay in the area anyways.  Since my town is already barely a blip on the map, it looked like an ancient villiage without any cars on the dirt roads.  People used other means of getting around: There are tons of horses, so they rode those, and bicycles too. I wish I would have gotten some pictures because I felt like I was in the 1920's haha.

I had the chance to go on 2 different intercambios this week, but they were both in my area.  The first one I had was with a Peruvian elder.  He is the best missionary, and takes the saying "talk to everyone you see" literally.  If there was 10 minutes of down time, he was busy chatting with a new person and taking out an appointment to visit them.  

The second intercambio I had was with an Elder from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  He is a new Elder here in the mission, only having about 2 months.  One of the great things about this elder is he speaks Quechua fluently. So part of out plans were to go up into the hills in my area where they only speak Quechua and contact.  He held a Quecha BOM and I held a spanish one.  If they spoke spanish, I spoke to them.  But if they only spoke Quechua, he spoke. It was so cool hearing the gospel be taught in another language!

This was a baptism that we went to.  The little guy in the middle is from a less active family that's starting to come back.  He's 8, so the baptism doesn't count for the mission, but he loves all the missionaries, so he had one of the elders baptize him!

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission