Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference Week

Dear Familia!

I can't believe another week has gone by. I'm here in this internet place and it feels like I was just here writing to you all yesterday. Lets start with stories. 1. The people here have no idea what the US is like. No idea. A couple teenagers asked me what my house was like and they were suprised about 2 things. 1 that we don't have white fences around our houses with swings in the front yard and 2 that we didn't have barbed wire fences to protect from animals getting into our yard. Needless to say its a bit different here. 2. There are animals everywhere and Preston, if the people here could afford a vet, you'd have a booming business because there are malnourished animals everywhere. Its so sad but its normal for everyone here. Elder Chavez and I were chased by a dog that couldn't bark. It was the funniest thing in the world. I couldn't stop laughing. 3. This week our pensionista (Where we go for lunch) made us higado! And before I ate it and after I didn't know what it was but I liked it! I looked up higado in the dictionary and found out what it was. I'll let you all look it up too. Its not that strange, but it was a first for me! Also. My Spanish officially is not Spanish. Its more rambling with a few words here and there hoping someone will understand me. For example, just for your information. Ojos are not the same as oĆ­dos. And if you mix them up in a sentence, you WILL be laughed at. And if you have a good sense of humor, several days later you may look back and laugh too. But odds are you will be a bit embarrassed. (which is not embarazado by the way) becuase if you said Estoy embarazado. You will be laughed at again. Just FYI incase you all travel to a foreign country in the next few weeks. and 4. So the people here live on about 400 bolivianos for 3 people per month. 7 Bolivianos is 1 USD. I'll let you all do the math. Its crazy. Also I'm learning a little bit of Quechua. Imainalla casanlei is como esta usted and Jamui is ven! 

We had a couple opportunities to serve this week which I love more than anything. Working in the hot sun is more satisfying than a lot of things down here for some reason. For about an hour we cut weeds with machetes. And I have like 5 or 6 ampollas on my right hand now. They hurt but it was all totally worth it! Also there is a flia in the ward who makes sweatshirts and matching sweatpants for kids- Thats their work and they do it out of their house so a couple days back we went and folded hundreds of sweatshirts and packaged them. If you are ever in Brazil, and your 3 year old buys an Avenger Sweatshirt size P, M, or G. There is a tiny chance that I folded it. Pretty cool right? I have pictures of all of this but I can't find anything to get pictures from my camera onto the computer. I'm going to look again today. But I know that service opens the hearts of the members. And I know its a way to feel true happiness in our lives.

Now to lessons we taught. Or should I say didn't teach. We taught a fair amount of lessons which is good, but the depressing part is that not a single one was a cita that we planned. Everyone was only taught because our other ones fell through. It is literally the most discouraging thing to not be able to teach a lesson that you spend all morning planning. I know its hard but I am so grateful for the lesson we did get to teach because regardless of who, where, when, and how you teach, if the Spirit is there, the hearts of those you are teaching will be, and always will be touched. It is then up to them to act on their feelings but In the words of Elder Holland, the Spirit is provocative. It is provocative because it initiates an action. It makes people want to act, want to change, want to increase in knowledge and for this reason is why missionaries have people to teach. Because lets be honest. I can't teach for my life, and I'm not provocative with my smooth talk during lessons... But the Spirit is. The Spirit is a perfect teacher. And always will be a perfect teacher. I did though this week have the opportunity to give my first blessing in Spanish. Since we are talking about the spirit. Its amazing what an insignificant human such as me or my companion or any of us are capable of with the spirit on our side. I was able to bless this 13 month old little boy in Spanish and in a way that he could understand me. It was a miracle for me to see the hand of the Lord reach out to a small child. I could picture Him blessing the children one by one. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be the instrument to help the Lord in his work. 

Conference was of course amazing and God answers prayers. The night before conference I prayed with all my heart that I would be able to get something out of conference with it being in Spanish. We got there, there was a group of Norte Americanos in the back of the Stake center. I went over there and there was a tiny TV with sound barely audible but it was in English. I was so humbled. The Lord sure looks out for me so mom, you have absolutely nothing to worry about for the next 2 years because I have someone pretty strong looking over me and I know it with all my heart. Both days were filled with amazing things and I can't even begin to tell you the things that I learned but I know that each talk is for me and for each one of you. 

Its been a hard week. I've learned a lot. I've learned that Latins don't know what french toast is and when you make it for them they like to eat it with cream cheese. I learned that I love pancakes and that I will eat pancakes for 2 years. I learned not to pet the cats on the street even if they are the cutest thing you have ever seen. I learned that Spanish is hard. That I'm not going to be fluent until probably my 2 or 3 cambio. I learned that Mosquitos bite you even if you yell at them not too. I think they are not capable of hearing actually because I've yelled a lot at them. I learned that the people here are humble and love each other the way I want to one day love my own family. I learned that The Lord will always answer your prayers, but on his time. I learned that its okay to be scared, and discouraged, and to feel like you can't do it. But it is not okay to dwell on those feelings. I learned that the Savior is merciful, loving, caring, and in his yugo (yoke) we can to all things. I love you all. I pray for you all every day and I love the work of the Lord. Pray always, rely on the Lord, and never doubt the strength and power of God. Until we meet again. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring

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