Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stuck in Cocha

December 16th

It's been an interesting week here in the mission. The first part of it was spent stranded in the city because of a lack of public transportation, but everything is back to normal, or so they say. There were rumors going around last night that they would go on strike again, but this morning there were trufis to take for us. What is interesting is it's not just Cochabamba, its all of Bolivia. And the most ridiculous part of the whole strike is that it's all over 20 centavos.  That's the equivalent of a few cents.  A couple of maestros in Cocha decided they think the price of a trufi ride should go fron 1,50 to 1,70 bs, and since they are with the government, the whole country jumped on board.  When the president rejected their appeal, they all decided to stop driving, and create blockades in every part of the city with their trufis.  So that left me, and 5 other elders all stranded together in the city last Pday.  We weren't able to get home Until Wednesday.  At one attempt to get home, we got in a trufi not owned by the government who promised to take us to Cliza, but for 40 Bolivianos a person ( that is ridiculously expensive, but we had to get back.)  We got in and dodged our way around blockades in the city and then finally got towards the outskirts of the city and reached the highway.  As soon as we thought we were home free, we hit miles and miles of stopped traffic, and hundreds of people walking back to the city. Realizing there was another blockade ahead, we got out and joind the rest of the people and walked our way back to the city. Finally on Wednesday, we were able to return to our area!
On Friday night, while walking back to the house, we got a phone call from our distric leader.  My companion answered and had a very startled look on his face, as if his blood was going cold. I got nervous too, but didn't lnow what was going on.  After he hung up, he was silent, the finally told me his visa came. He will leave Tomorrow to La Paz to sign some paperwork, and then after he will be gone.  This was sad news for the both of us.  He has been my best companion by far in my mission, and told me many times he doesn't want to go to Venezuela.  We found out on Friday and on Tuesday, 4 days after, he will be gone.  It's even harder for him at this time because it's so close to Christmas, and he won't know anybody when he gets there.  We are both trying to delay his flight to Venezuela until at least after Christmas!
So as you all know, people in my area can hardly ever attent church because of the Feria, or the big market that comes to the area every Sunday.  In order to get baptised, they have to attend church at least 3 times. So this is a huge problem for us.  Luckily, we met a new investigator this past week who works in some sort of government offices in Cliza.  He explained that the only reason the feria is on Sunday is because the city has been assigned that day.  After explaining our situation, he said it's not impossible to get the day changed.  They 2 next closest pueblos, Arani and Punata, have their ferias on tuesday and thursday.  What we would have to do though is creat a petition, and appeal to the local government.  Our arguement wouldn't just be so that we can get investigators to attend church, but so that everyone in Cliza can attend church on Sundays.  It's a long shot, but with our new investigator, it's not impossible.  We are advertising and explaining in our FHE's on Sunday nights, and our English classes on Fridays.  At this rate, the word can get around, and we will see how it progresses!

Elder Potts III
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

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