Well thanks for the stories about 4th of July. It made me miss home. Way to go mom and dad. I didn't do much for the 4th of July here. I just bought myself a cake and pretty much ate the entire thing myself. Also Elder Funk and I ( an otro gringo) sang the national anthem at lunch together. Then all the rest of the latins with us asked us what it meant. I realized I have a lot of vocabulary that I don't even know what it means in english let alone in Spanish. But fireworks are definitely not illegal here. You can buy any type, any size, any color, any anything that you could imagine in fireworks here for dirt cheap and in the street. You know its good stuff when you buy it in the street. But its too bad because as missionaries we can't use them... Oh well its only 2 years right?
This week was tough. We had a little less success with finding new people this week and I think I walked more this week than any other week during my short time here. My comp and I are getting a little better as far as friends go. We are still more like business aquaintences more than anything and its rough but I am trying to "open my heart" to him. That was one of his suggestions this week of how I can be better and its true, but its just hard for me sometimes. I'm really trying hard though!!
Well there aren't a ton of funny stories this week but one thing that I'm still laughing about is a car that was selling waleles y mandarinas. We were riding our horses like normal to one of our citas with a family in the ward when we saw a bear playing soccer.. Oh wait.. no. Sorry, that was the dream I had this week.
We weren't riding horses though that would be sweet! We were just walking and a car pulled out of this house and started their route to sell waleles and mandarinas. They turned on this speaker that was on the top of their car and started calling "Waleles, waleles, mandarina, waleles" over and over again in a different order each time. The funny part was that not only were they calling and yelling this, but it was more like they were singing! Imagine what a Native American Indian song sounds like and then use the words walele, mandarina, and naranja. I couldn't stop laughing and I often find myself singing these words in my head as we walk and walk. My comp didn't think it was very funny but I sure did!
We also had interviews with President this week which was the first one that I had apart from the one in the beginning of your mission. It was really a wonderful experience. We got called in one at a time and just got to talk. Talk about everything. Your highs, lows, ups, downs, and in-betweens. And the part that stressed me out the most was trying to switch to English. That was harder than I thought and I guess that's a good sign but I hope in the end I'll be able to switch back and forth without a problem. He gave me suggestions to be better and then we closed with a prayer. What a powerful and wise man. I know with all my heart that he is called of God to be in the position he is. He has such a love for the mission. One that I every day try to develop.
We also had a wonderful experience to have a leadership meeting in a stake centre here with Elder Usera del setenta! He came and talked to us about the importance of working with members in the work of the Lord. One of my favorite parts was a comment that President Willard (mission pres) gave. We were talking about Menos activos in the area and he told us a story about When he got here in Bolivia for the first time. He said that when him and his wife got off the plane that they were supposed to go straight to the stake center in el centro to meet up with the other mission leaders and other missionaries. He told us that in this moment he didn't know how to get to the chapel and he needed help from the asistentes and the sectraties. They helped him find the way to the chapel. He then related this to the menos activos. Sometimes they don't remember or don't know how to get to the chapel. We need to help them learn the way and take the first step. Sometimes they want to come back to church but they don't know how. We are the ones to show them the way.
My scripture that I want to share this week is the very first verse in the Book of Mormon. 1 Nefi. 1:1. I saw something in this verse that I never saw before. This verse says "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days." He first says that he has had many afflictions in the course of his days, but then after he says, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God. I realized that only after and if we have trials and affliciones in this life can we recognize the goodness of God in our lives. There has to be darkness to see light. There is opposition in all things. We have trials but we should see each one of them as a new opportunity to learn and see a little more of the goodness of God.
IF we see each trial as an opportunidad to learn we will find so much more happiness in this life. I love this work, I love my God, and I will serve Him till the end.
Hurrah for Israel!
This is me in a digger thing.
This is a pic of me with my cake.
This is me cutting the cake.
This is a little kid in the Castedo Family.