Monday, June 30, 2014

The Time Machine

Hi there my family
 
Well this week was insane. I learned a ton. I laughed a lot. I got stressed out a lot. And well it was full of adventure none the less.

Let me begin by saying that when you think you've heard all the doubts and excuses and different beliefes about the Gospel is when you realize you were very wrong. We have been teaching a wonderful family who loves listening to us. They invited us over for dinner and we had "Majadito"(I think thats how you spell it). Its a food common to Bolivia. Its a rice based plate with chicken and spices and its served with fried walele y fried eggs. Tan rico. Anyway they invited us over, we talked during dinner and then we had a chat about the Gospel. They hadn't read their part in the LDM so we read the first chapter in 1 Nefi. At the end of the chapter, everthing was going really well until one of them asked us an awesome question. "Who is Christ for you?" We explained that He is our Saviour, that He is the Son of God and the only way to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Then he asked us if he could share his belief about Christ and we told him of course! He explained to us that Christ is from the future. That he is a man that lives hundreds and hundreds of years in the future and he created a time machine. He then went back in time (to the biblical era) and taught about what was going to happen becuase he knew because hes from the future. And the three days between his death and ressurection that Christ returned to the future, and then returend again to the past as a new and healed human.

It was one of the hardest things to respond to. I had no idea what to say, I had no idea if he was being serious, and I had no idea what to teach him next. We thanked him for his explanation and thats all we could do. We invited them to church, and then took out a time to return and visit them. I have a lot of studying to do.

Other than that is was a pretty calm week. My training is going well. I think. Its so hard and I've realized how much I have to learn. My comp doesn't take criticism very well and I'm learning how to teach not so directly because I think at times I'm a little too straight forward. We are very very different people. But its all good! We are both missionaries with the same purpose. We are getting better everyday and he is teaching me a lot.

My thought for today is from the Book of Mateo and is about the pure and unending love that the Savior has for us. In Mateo chapter 26 verses 36-46 we read about the atonement that Christ performed for us. In 39 we read of his first time to suffer and in 40 Christ says to his apostoles who were sleeping " Could ye not watch with me one hour?" Then in 42 and 44 prays and suffers a 2nd and 3rd time. But the perfect love is seen ever more perfectly in 45. After all his unending suffering, bleeding from every pore, and taking on the sins of the world he finds his disciples asleep again. He could have been upset but no. He says "Sleep on now, and take your rest..." And as Jeffery R Holand said "..though there would be no rest for Him.." In these moments when Christ was uterly alone, he had perfct compassion on His humble followers.

We need to strive to have this perfect humility and love for those we come in contact with. We need to develop this love more every day and we can do this by prayer and service. Like is says in Moroni 7 we need to pray to the Father with all energy of heart to be filled with the pure love of Christ. I know that as we do so we will experience an endless joy and happiness. I love you all. I love my Saviour. I love the work of the mission. I pray for you all, I miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!
Love,
Elder Gehring
PS...The video is the streets when it rains hard!
3 Leche. Gelatina con leche y azúcar. Riquísimo!

Ezra Taft Benson. Con lentes como Dad!

Me ca­ en esto hueco.

Esta foto es de una noche de hogar con la Familia Sauna. a la derecha es Iver uno de nuestros investigadores. 

Una foto del bienvenido de Elder Garcia con la Familia Vazquez Lopez.
video
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mi primer hijo

Dear my family.

I am doing great. And I'm scared a little bit. I'm a dad. Yup, I have a son. His name is Elder Garcia.

The big news this week is that when Elder Beltran went home, I got a new calling within the mission. I am a trainer and I'm training a new missionary. He, today, has 4 days in the mission field. And to be honest, I'm scared to death because I realized that I hardly know anything! I realized with these few days with my new companion that I have so much to learn. But at the same time, I'm so pumped. I couldn't be more excited to be a trainer. It was my goal after my 12 weeks of training and I did it! I have my first son in the mission and I hope its not my last.

Elder Garcia is on fire. He's so excited to work, to learn, and to bring souls to Christ. He's from Ecuador and I can't hardly understand anything he says. He mumbles so much and Its killing me. But its good practice because I'm learning to listen really really well! Also I didn't realize before how hard it is to teach another missionary. He learns very differently than I do and I have to teach and explain everything several times... Its frustrating and He often is mad a me for not telling him something and well bottom line is that we have a lot to work on, but I'm not too worried. The Lord is on our side and we are going to work hard for the next 12 weeks together.

Now the other news that isn't as exciting. During the last couple days with Elder Beltran, I got really really sick. I couldn't eat, I had no energy, I was throwing up everything I ate and drank and I was miserable. I didn't want to go to the clinic the mission has but finally Elder Beltran pretty much forced me to go. I made an appointment in the hospital Foionini. We went (about a 45 min ride in micro) and sat in a waiting room for about an hour and then went in to see the doctor. He asked me like 2 questions, listened to my breathing, tapped my stomach and diagnosed me with a stomach and intestinal infection. I wasn't very happy to hear that but then he told me to hold still and the next thing I knew, I had an IV and they were pumping in a ton of clear fluid. Two large amounts of medicine for pain and infection, followed by a blood sample. And the weirdest thing for me was that it was all in spanish. It was my first time in the real world (apart from missionary work) to hear everything in spanish. Maybe it was just weird because it was all new vocabulary and words I didn't know but it was cool because I could understand and respond to it all. He told me to only eat comida blanca for the next 3 or 4 days which was not fun. Crackers, water, and carrots, and bread really doesn't give you very much energy and I was hungry for several days. Its all better now though! Don't worry mom, I'm alive and eating normal food now!

Also we met 2 families in the end of this week. One of them se llama Familia Campo Flores. This was one of the most precious lessons I've ever taught. I was super bummed one night while we were walking because almost all of our citas weren't home and I decided to talk to this family. Mostly because there was a little boy who had a shirt in english and I helped him translate it. We talked with them and they were so nice and so loving. They invited us in and it turns out they love church. They used to go to one church but not anymore and then they went to another and they didn't like it and then we showed up. What a miracle. We talked and talked with them about so many things and some how music was brought up. Then the dad got super excited and ran off to get his guitar. Then, with about 8 or 9 kids sitting around him, he sang to them. I have never seen so much love expressed through a song. These children lit up. Their faces glowed with joy and they, every one, slowly started to join him in singing. In the end, they were all singing, and I was crying. I was pretty embarrassed. I was crying like a little baby in front of this family. They laughed at me, but its all okay because we shared a short message and committed every single one to baptism. We are so excited to work with them and they were so thankful for our visit. A miracle indeed.

I'm learning so much here every day. Especially now with a new missionary as mi primer hijo, I have so much that I need to learn and I am excited to grow closer to my savior during these next few weeks. I love you all. I miss you all, and I love the missionary work here. Hurrah for Israel!

Con amor,

Elder Gehring
Elder Beltran buring his clothes his last day.

The most delicious cake ever.

A family se llama Castedo.



I am huge here.

MY PRIMER HIJO!!!!

Presidente de Elderes en mi barrio.
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

We just think you look great in white...

Hello.
I have mixed feelings this week. My companion is going home (he's finishing his mission) this Thursday and its horrible when your first 2 companions in the mission field go home at the end of the cambios. Especially when you're just starting like I am. Its so hard to not think a ton about home when your comp doesn't talk about anything but home. But apart from the homesickness this week, I don't think I been so happy in my life. Let me explain.

 
First off, I love weddings. They are wonderful and happy and wonderful. And this week we planned a wedding and then went to a wedding!! They are a little different here in Bolivia. The music I can't understand and the speeches have to be in Spanish which is hard... but it was still wonderful. We decorated the cultural hall of the church on Thursday and all they had was a little ladder.. Dad, I think I broke every safety rule that I've ever learned from you about ladders. I was the tallest person there and the only person who could reach the ceiling... but I had to stand on the very very top rung and I've never had a fear of heights until this moment. On a wobbly ladder. With very little support. But I'm safe and I'm alive. I told the bishop's wife that I won't be able to do that ever again. Everthing turned out great in the end and I gave my first speech at a wedding. I got it on video too but its too big to send so you'll just have to wait 2 years to see it! Sorry!

Not only was this wedding wonderful, but the next day we got to baptize the husband! The couple that got married is Kelin y Jose Carlos and Kelin is a less active hace mucho tiempo and Jose Carlos was an investigator. They had to be married before he could be baptized but now hes a member and is preparing to recieve the preisthood. The baptism was wonderful and Jose had a smile on his face the entire time. The water was freezing cold and I'm surprised we both didn't have ice in our hair after leaving the water. There were tons of people who showed up and it was such a wonderful night that I nor Jose will soon forget. I'll send photos!! But the scripture in Doctrine y Covenants that says how great shall be your joy when you bring one soul unto me... is so true. To see the change in someones eyes and the happiness they have is amazing and brings you so much happiness. I can't wait to keep working hard.

Other than this wedding and baptism, the week was pretty normal... kind of. We had another day of flooding which Elder Beltran was pretty happy to experience but it was terrible for me. It was something that I only wanted to see once. I once again was dead tired. Also I had some of the worst food this week in ALL of my mission.

1. I ate what I believe is the closest thing to what the pioneers ate on the trail here. Flour, water, oil, and a tiny bit of sugar. It was gooey, powdery, and bitter all at the same time.

2. I ate these sausage things that I'm not sure if they were meat or plastic. I was sick for about 2 days after that.

3. More sasauge patty things that I'm almost 100 percent sure werent cooked fully.

I never eat in the street becuase thats just stupid but these three were pretty bad.

Also we had a weird day of service. We left at about 10 in the morning (with 4 of us missionaries) and drove with a member for almost a hour. I really am not sure where we ended up going but it was far. We got out and met a family who was cutting their grass to start a garden. For 3 hours we cut grass with machetes and shovels. I have never been so sore in my life after service. Then we ate these fried bread things and then left. It was a great opportuinty to serve but the whole situation was a bit odd. We had no clue who these people were, we just knew that they were family, or maybe just friends of this member. We got home and I could hardly move! But we had to finish our day of course but I slept really well that night.

This week I read a scripture too. Well I read a lot, but this one I like a lot and want to share. In Alma 29:14 it says "But do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi."

 
I love this scripture and the message it has. We can be happy even if we ourselves don't have perfect success. When we feel like our days are long and terrible as missionaries we have to find the good things. Maybe an investigator read one verse more than the pervious day. For him, he was successful! And we need to look at this and find joy in his success. Its so hard sometimes to find joy in the success of others, but we will be so much happier if we do so. I am so happy here but sometimes its hard to find that happiness, but I know that its always there. We just need to find it. So basically I'm saying you all should be so happy because I had success this week!! Just kidding, but seriously I love this scripture.

I love you all, I miss you all, and I love this work. 

Hurrah for Israel!

Love,

Elder Gehring
This is the couple with their kids.

Elder Funk and I at this servicio!

A member (Harold) and us missionaries.

2 fotos of the service! Thats their house in the background.

Ropa Blanca after a baptism!

Standing on a ladder.

This is more of the wedding!

This is a wall of tires that we saw on our way to the service.

This is the wedding!

Jose and his wife Kelin.

Jose on his baptism day!




 
 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hello (gelo)

Hi there my dear family.

This week I taught English classes for the first time. I think its the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I don't speak Spanish or English right now and I have no idea how to teach English. I wish now I would have lended more attention during English class in high school. I taught the verb "ser y estar" which is the verb "to be" and then the alphabet and a few frases "para concocer alquien." I had to write it all in English, then in Spanish and then the pronunciacion. For example. "Hola - Hello (gelo)" and "¿De donde es usted? - Where are you from? (Hueir ar yu from?)" and so on and so forth. It was difficult but in the end the class went well and I think they learned something. Well I hope so. But the bright side is that my English is improving. And even better news is that my Spanish is getting way better. I feel like it is at least. My companion is terrible about being nice to me so I don't really know how I'm doing. I am reading a ton out loud every day and Its helping a ton with my pronunciacion. I'm basicly a Latin now.


Well I'm a Latin apart from the fact that I'm really tall... and also I'm growing. Every single one of my pants are too short. I look like a nerd. Luckily there is an Hermana in our ward who sews for a living. She told me that she would extend the pant legs for me. I hope I don't grow anymore because there is only so much extra fabric to extend. I'll send pictures of her house and her sewing machines. Mom and grandma, you'd be jealous of her machines. They are insane.

Now about My companion. He is awesome but sometimes, because he's going home in 9 days, is a little bit lazy. Well sometimes really lazy. We had a service project where we had to cut up a giant tree that fell during the night. (the wind is insane here) We went with a member in the church named Jose and he and I worked and worked and worked and Elder Beltran literally sat and drank lemonade while he watched us work. It was pretty funny at first and then after when we had split open blisters and bleeding hands and he was complaining about drinking too much lemonade, it wasn't funny anymore... But all is well. I like the work so I doesn't bother me much.

 
I did almost lose it this week though. We had some of the best moments this week and some of the worst. I had never been denied in my face and yelled at for my religious beliefs. Now I can say I have. I don't get mad very easily or very often.... But sometimes I do. And I was so angry at the things they were saying to us and I wanted them to just see what we see but Elder Beltran had to stop me and tell me that it wasn't worth the arguing. I need to be better about this. But its so sad and frustrating when they don't see the happiness that they could have upon listening to our message.

 
Even though we had denials and more denials, we finally met a family who is ready to receive this gospel. Jessica, Jennifer, Edmundo, Diego, Julio, and Matias. They all want to be baptized, they all want to go to church, and have loved the 2 times they have attended. Jennifer and Edmundo are excited to be married and things are going well with them. We are working hard to make sure this family doesn't fall through. Also, We had an amazing Noche de Hogar with a family about temples. Never have I seen a family of young kids and young non member parents be so excited to hear about the temple. I gained another special testimony of the power of temples.

 
I also studied this week a lot about the Holy Ghost and the roll it plays in our lives. For me its hard sometimes to follow the promptings I receive and sometimes my mind wants a definite "yes or no" answer before I make a decision. I know now that 99.99 percent of the time I'm not going to get a yes or no answer before I need to act. In 1 Nefi 4:6, Nefi says "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." He started to act before he had a perfect knowledge of the things he needed to do. We need to do the same. If we are living our lives faithfully and trying to do the things we should, our actions will be led by the Spirit even if we don't realize it. Often times we need to act and afterwards we will receive an affirmation from the Spirit. And if its a wrong decision, I have a testimony that the Lord will always stop us before its too late. We just need to take a leap of faith and act. Yes, pray for guidance and yes study your decision before you act but don't wait for a definite yes or no because you might be waiting forever.

 
Then in Helaman chapter 5: 45-52 we learn about the power that the spirit has. I love verse 45 when it says " they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words." I know this is a promise that applies to each one of us and I have seen this here in my mission. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will be able to speak marvelous words, and do marvelous things.

 
I love you lots and lots and lots. And I miss you all. Listen to the Spirit, pray for guidance, and then act! I know the Lord is there to catch us if we fall.

 
Hurrah for Israel!

Love,

Elder Gehring
This is Familia Jimenez. They work for themselves to make and sew different sweatshirts and tshirts to sell. This is them working!

 
 


This is a giant cactus that we found.

These are a lot of photos of the little kids of the familia Sauna. I don't know all their names. 

This is Marilyn Sauna and her grandson.



This is the tree that we cut up into pieces. We only had machetes and an axe that was not very sharp. I have a lot of blisters now and they bled a lot.



 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Esposas

Hello.
I am happy here. I just want you all to know that.
 
This week was filled with highs, lows, and in betweens.
 
I learned this week that I can not run faster than rain. Elder Beltran and I left a lesson and the sky was dark. I felt the light breeze sweep past my neck. I knew what was to come. The rain. The bullets of water started slowly but within seconds the light drizzle turned into sheets of water flying down from the sky. The heavens must have been pretty sad because it wasn't just a drizzle. Standing on a street corner, we saw it coming towards us. The wall of water rushing toward the very spot we were standing. We started to run. We could hear the roar of the rain behind us but we did not dare look back. We ran faster and faster. We tried our best but we were soon engulfed by the mystical water from the sky. We were far from home and far from anyone that we knew. We walked for what felt like hours. Cold, wet, sad, hungry, wet, cold, wet, and a little wet we finally arrived at the house of a family in our ward. They let us in and gave us tshirts to change into. They happened to be light purple v-necks. We were a little embarrassed to say the least, but they were dry so we didn't care. We helped them with their work for a little while and then we left and went to another lesson. I don't think I've ever wanted to stay inside more than in this moment. But its okay. We are still alive.
 
Also this week we had intercambios. I was with an Elder from Guatemala. It was weird.. And hard. and Different. He is very very serious. Always. And I am.. well.. the opposite of serious always. It was a great learning experience and my eyes were opened to the reality that I may not always get along with my companions.
 
We are excited to work this week too. We have a baptism planned for this weekend but the young woman who is preparing to be baptized is having doubts. We are working hard to help her resolve her concerns. We also met a family who are pastors in their church. I think they're more religious than anyone I've ever met but they love listening to us and they accepted to read the Book of Mormon. We are praying for a miracle with them!
 
Also one of the members we are working with made us Ninja throwing stars. When Elder Beltran and I are tired in the nights after getting home sometimes we throw them in a plank of wood we found. I maybe shouldn't tell you that. But oh well.
 
Also this week I ran into Sister Willis who I studied with in BYU. Weird. I felt like we were in a Walmart in Provo. Also this week I think I found my favorite word in the Spanish language. Esposas. Which is very different from Esposa. (And it is not the plural) 
Esposa means wife. "Despues de mi mision, quiero una esposa."
 
Esposas means handcuffs. "Quiero comprar esposas en la calle aqui­ en Bolivia." 
 
I couldn't stop laughing when the plural of wife is handcuffs.
 
Other than the little bit of Spanish I learned this week, we were pretty successful and are very content with our work. It was not an easy week but I learned a lot about the missionary work here and personally I came to know my Savior a little bit more.
 
This week I studied the Atonement and death of Christ. I don't think I will ever come to understand fully the importance or the magnitude of this selfless sacrifice, but I love reading and learning more. I listened to a talk by Jeffery R Holland this week in which he talked about the lonely and bitter path that the Lord took as his life was coming to an end. I also read in Matt 27 which is a powerful chapter that contains one of the most widely know stories in history. The judgement and death of Christ.
 
Its crazy to me that not only was Christ rejected by the political leaders, but by the people in the streets. He was put into prison with Barabbas. This is, as Holland described, "one of the greatest ironies in history." Barabbas in Aramaic is a name or title that means "son of the father." In Matt. 27:21 the governor at this time asks "Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?" And they responded "Barabbas" We learn of the blindness that the people had in verse 22 when they said, referring to Christ, "... Let him be crucified."
 
Elder Hollands words were profound in his talk when he said "So... one godless son of the father was set free while a truly divine Son of his Heavenly Father moved on to crucifixion."

The perfect plan of our Heavenly Father required for Christ to die so that we could overcome physical death but it is hard to imagine that humiliation that Christ felt during this time. To fulfill the Atonement for us not only did he have to die physically but He had to know what it felt like to die spiritually. He said in verse 46 of Matt 27, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  I don't think there was a time when God was closer to His son than in this moment, but Christ had to know what it felt like to have no one, to alone, and to feel hopeless.

He felt utterly alone during this time for one reason. So that we never have to feel that way. We will always be lifted up in the darkest of times. I love my Savior with all my heart. He loves me and I feel his love daily here in Bolivia. At times I feel alone and I've started to complain before but then I remember this moment when Christ called out to His father for help. I realize that I am never alone. He is always there. 

I love you all, I miss you all. The work is beautiful. The Church is true. The Savior lives. He descended below all things so that we don't have to.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring


This Elder Munoz, Elder Funk, Me and Elder Beltran with the dad of our pensionista. His parents are from Germany and he wanted a picture saluting. He salutes Hitler.

This is a Parrot.

These both are from our visit to a family on Mothers day here in Bolivia