Monday, August 25, 2014

Miracles Happen....once in a while

Hi there family,

So as you all know I'm in Bolivia. And I had a birthday. And I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about coming back every year for my birthday. I wasn't really looking forward to Thursday at first because I was going to be away from familiy and all, but it turned out to be a great day. The office work didn't stop, I had lots of errands to run, lots of reports to type and an informe for the stake presidents of the mission that I had to redesign and send off to Presidnent to aprove (who was in Puerto Suarez). I got lots of cake and lots of birthday songs. A group of the latins here tried to sing happy birthday in english. It was awesome. After, they all sang in spanish. It was much better. I'll send lots of pictures. 

This week was full of fun stuff. I spent a lot of time in the clinic with my companion again. One of the sisters here had to get her gallbladder removed because there was an emergency and the hard part was she was in Bermejo (3 hour car drive and then a 2 hour flight to get to Santa Cruz) So my job was to quickly coordinate all of her transport to make sure she didn't die on her way here and then to rush her to the hosptial once she got here to Santa Cruz. I'm getting way better about buying plane tickets. I've memorized the flight schedules of every airline, everyday, to every airport that is here in the mission. And to La Paz because sometimes the conejeros de Presidente have to travel there. Also I know by name the front desk people of some of the nicest hotels in Bolivia. There are some sweet benefits from working here in the offices. 

We are working a TON on getting things ready here in the offices for the opeing of the 13 new areas when the 27 missionaries come this transfer. We have to buy literally 2 of everything that you need in a house: beds, dressers, mattresses, fans, desks, chairs etc. And its a pain coordinating with the people here. You can't just go to a Costco and buy everything. We have a guy name Hugin that does it all for us, we just have to coordinate literally everything. Its been hard too with President in Puerto for this week but not to worry, all we do is win win win no matter what. 

Also this week I got my stamp. I'll send you a picture of it. I use it to sign important documents. I get to keep it forever. I'm excited. 

This week I also learned a lot. Well at least I feel like I did. I learned more than ever that the spirit is real. He literally fills our bodies. He testifies of the Father. And he gives us the help we ask for. 

I learned this yesterday. We had 2 important lessons with a couple less active families and we asked a few members to accompany us. We had our lesson plans and we were super excited to teach. We started our lesson and all of a sudden we were out of time and had to leave. We taught nothing of what we had planned, we testified, but not of the things we had planned, we read scriptures, but not those that we had planned. The spirit was there. And the miracle was that we did nothing. The members taught almost all of the lesson, we just helped them have a flow of some sort. We left these famiies pondering on their life, decisions, and desires of their hearts. We left a spirit that their home had previously lacked. The spirit is real. It brings us happiness in this life when we literally are in darkness. I've seen it and I know its real. 

I love to learn. I love to serve. I love Bolivia.

Oh. I love cake on my birthday too.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring
Aftermath

Bday plates

Birthdays

Box of goodies

Cake from the LDZ

Cake in my face

Cake on my nose

Candles

Drawing from Melanie

Elder Knight and I (he's the assistant to president)

Elder Knight and I eating KFC

Emma's cat

Gering

Jumping rope

KFC

More opening

My stamp

Opening

Opening

Package

Package

Pedro and Laida

Pillows for the new houses
These are 2 empty water jugs. I'm using them as glasses. They didn't help me see better....
This is the pysical transfer board that has pictures of every missionary. And this is what president does when he doesn't want anyone to see the changes hahaha
 

Singing 

video
video
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cuidado con el perro

Hello my family.
I learned a lot this week. I learned about and got to know the hospital really well. I learned that if you don't have the spirit in lessons, things don't go so well. I learned that chicken roasted here is really good. I learned that baptisms are happy. And I learned that Cuidado con el perro is a pretty funny phrase in spanish.

 
First, don't worry, I wasn't in the hospital because I was sick. Its because my companion Elder Strong is the health secretary and he is always dealing with the sick people in the mission. This week during district meeting, one of the other Elders passed out and had to be taken to the hospital in a ambulance. My comp was freaking out a bit. But everything turned out okay.
 
This week while we were walking and contacting a few referrals, we read a sign on a house that said "Cuidado con el perro." now obviously it wanted to say "beware of the dog" but the literal translation is "Careful with the dog" Elder Strong and I got a good laugh out of it. We still are in fact. " careful with the dog" makes it sound like the dog is sensitive and fragile. So remember that you should always be careful with the dogs, you don't want to hurt them.
 
The end of this week was pretty good. We had a guy from Brazil attend church this sunday with his nephew. He's a member but his nephew isn't. We are working hard to help them come back! And some of the biggest news is that a family we are teaching (Wills family) got married this past thursday! They are not coming to church every sunday yet but not to worry, we are helping them. And she is going to be baptized the 30 of this month!!!

The offices are a little different. We don't teach as much, and I really miss that. We sometimes are out late talking with doctors and helping other missionaries. One night this week, a doctor called Elder Strong at 10:30 (when we are supposed to be sleeping) and told him to got to the clinic to pick up some test results. We went, waited a while, and then didn't get home till about 11:30. We were starving, so we ate fast and then went to bed. Even though the work is hard, I love working with the President and his wife.
 

We had Zone Conference this week which was awesome. We recited the Living Christ in Spanish as a mission. It is amazing the power this document has. It is a living testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that he lives. We learned all about how we can better invite all we meet to come unto Him. I learned a ton, and realized and came to know the importance of Christ more fully in my life.

This week I was studying a lot about the importance of the church that Christ established and the one we have today. I searched and searched and little by little I am finding that everything that we do in our church today was taught at some point by Jesus Christ himself. If someone wants to be a part of Christs church today, they would search for the fruits, the teachings, the ordinances, the classes, the organization, word for word like Christ taught. I know for a fact that His church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
 
Love you lots. Miss you lots. The church is true. Christ lives. Hurrah for Israel!
Love,
Elder Gehring
This is a baptism of one of the other missionaries but we sang during his baptism. Also, for some reason (im pretty sure its cause I have such a powerful spirit) this white circle showed up on my face.
This is smores that I made... I cant remember if I already sent you all this one.

Here is when president got a ticket for parking illegaly. They take your plates when you get a ticket so as his secretary, I had to get them back. I decided to take a photo when I did.

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Craziness

Hello my family.


This week was more crazy that the past one and it wasn't for cambios or anything. It was for the surprises and the work that we then have to do. This assignment as secretary isn't hard. It is just a ton of work with a ton of things that are unexpected. I spend tons of time on the phone getting asked questions and then working with tons of people to try and solve the little problems.

 
Here's a story. Well first, here's some advice. DONT FLY OR EVEN TRY TO GET ON A PLANE WITHOUT PHOTO ID!!!!! Becuase guess what, they wont let you get on. Just so you know. Now the story. So President went to Tarija this end of the week for a Zone Conference there. The Asistentes always go to the Zone Conferences too. So I had to book their flights. Thats easy. 5 min and ya its done. The part complicated is when one of them forgets the foto carnet. Hes from Bolivia so he doesn't need his passport and on thursday he flew to Tarija without problem. Friday they had the Zone Conference and that same afternoon they had a flight back to Santa Cruz. I get a call about 30 min before their flight. He then proceeds to tell me that he cant get into the plane. I then ask him why. He then tells me. Va a disculpar, pero me olvide me carnet de identidad. I asked him why he forget it. He doesn't know. I ask him how he got on the plane to go to Tarija. He says he doesn't know that either. I then spend literally hours trying to figure out how to get the two asistentes home from Tarija. They have to spend the night there in Tarija and I booked a flota to send his carnet to him and then the next day I booked a flight for the two of them. The next day I call the BCD Travel company to make sure we have the tickets and the lady working there told me "Perdon Elder, no compre a los vuelos ayer. Y ya no hay espacio. Que quiere hacer?" I asked her why she didn't buy the tickets. She says I don't know. I ask her what our options are. She says nothing. She then hangs up. I call her back. She hangs up. 


Long story short, I was frustrated. I didn't cry. I wanted to. But I didn't. I then sang a song in my head. I felt better. I booked new flights. The asistentes were in Santa Cruz within 2 hours. I won. I felt like a champ.


Thats just one of the tons of stories from this week. Sisters in the Clinic that are sick. Informes al Presidente that he needed last minute. One of the worst lessons Iv'e ever taught. Tons and tons of phone calls. Tramites. And much more. But I wanted to share part of the week that was great.

 
This end of the week we had stake conference. Elder Waddell from the 70 came here directly and spoke to us. We had priesthood session this Satuday past and it was amazing to hear the council he gave to the leaders of priesthood. He also spoke to us Sunday after changing the stake presidency. We learned a ton and I'm excited to start working harder with the members of the wards here.

 
Also miracles this week. I don't think I could count them all. But here are a few.



1. I stopped a family in the street. I talked to them. Turns out they are having so many tons of problems with the church they attend. They sobbed during the lesson with them. They need what we have. And now we just need to give it to them.


2. A familly started their papers for marriage. They are getting married this thursday. She accpeted a fecha to be baptized the 23 of this month. They attented stake conference.

 
3. We met a family. They asked us questions. We responded. They want to know how we have such strong testimonies. They need the spirit. And we have the opportunity to share that spirit with them.


I know this work is hard. But like Jeffery R Holland said. Salvation was never easy. Why should the work of salvation be easy?


I love my Savior. I know His love. I have seen His love. I have felt His love. And every day my goal is to share His love.


Hurrah for Israel!

Love,

Elder Gehring
Before the service project.

Born in the USA!

This is us at dinner.

Still at dinner.

I'm in a hammock.

This is lunch.

Old man

Service

A shack.

S'more

This is a typical food dish in Bolivia.

Working
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cambios

Hi there family.

So last week was the craziest week I've ever had. I literally was so worn out from the amount of work we had. Everyone says that the life in the offices is easy and its a break from work but its the complete opposite. I have not stopped working this entire week. And right now I'm writing you all and printing off tons and tons of stuff for the Leadership conference that we have today in the afternoon.

Well lets start with how transfers went. We got 6 new ones coming in and then we had 11 going home. We started Tuesday with picking the new ones up in the airport. It was such a strange feeling going back and waiting in the exact spot that President did when I got here. But now I was on the other side. Waiting for the new misionaries to meet their life for the next 2 years. We then took them to their hotel, to the offices, and to do all their legal stuff around the city. It was so weird. I remember my first day here, I walked into the offices and saw someone at the front desk working and I thought he was so cool. That he was like the smartest and most trusted missionary in the mision. Now I'm that guy sitting at the desk and I don't feel smart or ready or anything for this positiion. But thats okay. I'm learning tons really fast. Then Wednesday I had to coordinate the new ones going to all their places during the day and at the same time I had to coordinate the transportation for the old missionaries going home. I had to make hotel reservations, I bought flights for the new people going down to Tarija, I literally just did everything to make sure no one had questions about what to do.

Then the fun part came. Once the new missionaries were off in their new areas, we still had to deal with the antiguos. (old ones) And the worst part was that we had to go to the airport with them. Dad, I feel your pain about early morning flights. We woke up at 3:30 and left our house in a bus at 4 to get to the hotel, and then to go to the airport with the 5 latinos going home. Then we stood in line with them, I paid their baggage fees, I talked with the airlines about their reservations, I did everything at the airport and then we sent them through with their passports, and their 100 bolivianos to pay to leave the country. Then at the second they were getting on their plane, the gringos got to the airport and I did the same exact thing with them. Then after about an hour of doing their paperwork to leave the country and all that, we finially were leaving from the airport to go home......

Until I got a call. It was one of the misionaries who was fliying to the states to go home. We had sent them off, they were sitting on the plane when the computers broke down and everyone had to leave the airplane. We once again picked them up from the other terminal and then waited with them in a line of 150 or so so American Airlines could reschedule their flights. During all of this, I was calling their families, I was calling President, Trying to figure out if I needed to get them a hotel, I called church travel in Utah several times to try and figure out what I needed to do and it was really a nightmare to say the least. Then we get up to the counter finally and I talk with the lady and we figure out that there are no flights today but only the next day in the morning. At 2 am to be exact. The airline ended up paying for the hotel and transportation and food and everything, it was just a pain. Then we let the gringos call their family but one couldn't get ahold of their mom. So we left them to go to their hotel and we finally got to go back to the offices to work more. In the taxi home, I tried calling the mom of the elder who couldn't get ahold of her. She picked up and I was the one who had to tell her that her son was going to be delayed getting home. She flipped. I tried calming her down but it didn't work too well. After explaining that it was a faliure in the computers but that they had never even taken off, I told her I would send her an email with the new schedule. It was a phonecall that I never ever want to make again.

Then the last couple days have been a little better. There are just a ton of little things that people call me about and I have to do. This weekend I bought all the tickets for the leadership conference that we have today and then tons of other little things. 

This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but its been such a blessing. I literally work side by side with President Willard. He is a man of God. He recieves inspiration for the missionaries here and it strengthens my testimony of the Priesthood Keys when I see him make decisions.

This week I was studying a lot about the service that we can perform to our semejantes? I don't know that translation exactly in ingles. But In DyC 59:5  It talks about we need to serve in the name of Jesus Christ. I thought about this and I realized that one way we can serve in the name of Him is by serving like he did. Perfectly. With a vision of the wellbeing of the other person. This is my goal. I am here in the offices but I have the opportunity to serve everyone of the missionaries in this mission individually.

I love my Savior. He lives, He is real. I recently watched the last conference talk that Bruce R McConkie gave before he died. Its powerful what he says:

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God's Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.

God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin."

I know Jesus Christ lives and is our only hope of living with God again.

Hurrah for Israel!

Love,
Elder Gehring