Monday, September 29, 2014

The Office Season 2 Episode 2

Hi family.

This week I realized my job, in reality, is easy. I talked and worked a ton with President this week. He has a hard job - not me. 

First off I thought this would be a week without an airport run but who was I kidding? (is that said?) We had a new Elder to pick up. He is from the US but lived in Argentina for a little while so he passed the Spanish test which meant he only had 2 weeks in the CCM. We went, picked him up, ate KFC on the way home, and then he hung out with us for a day and a half. President was in Tarija the whole week so he didn't meet this Elder until 2 days after he got here. But now he is off being trained by my old companion Elder Strong. Oh. And he also brought candy in from the US. I forgot how much I love twizzlers. He had to sit in the offices one day and I think he got the impression at first that the whole mission was going to be really boring. I hope that has changed. 

My companion Elder Garcia and I are running a lot too. We wake up 5 minutes early every day so we are out the door by6:30. I love running in the city. Its usually pretty empty and we can run in the middle of the streets. We have recently been running and finding the tallest buildings and then going up the stairs to the top floor. I have been sore for a week now. The tallest buildings here only have like 15 floors so really its not very much. We are just really out of shape. I think its because we sit in A/C all day long. But thats just a guess.

We have had so much to do this week. There have been days when we go early to the offices and then stay late at night just to finish some things. This week I think President Willard has been a little stressed out. His daughter is leaving to serve her mission today (it was his last week with her), he found out that some reports that were due in Feb. of this year still have not been done, and also that close to half of the mission baptisms have not been reported because the old registros secretary did not do his job. He has called me on several occasions this week asking for my help. Elder Garcia and I have done our best to help him. We got an email from the Area saying that for several months now our baptized and confirmed numbers have been way different (when they should be the same). President called me and asked me to help him. Elder Garcia and I went through every single baptism record for the past few months and found 1. who had been submitted to the area 2. of whom did we have a record but the area didn't know about them and 3. who did the Zone Leaders say was baptized but we never received their record. When we finally finished we found over half of the records that the old secretary had never put into the system. Now we are trying to fix the system numbers for the number of members, converts, and everything for the church. For General Conference coming up they need a report on the number of new members but they get that information from the area. And we are the ones who give it to the area. If we are wrong, we make everything messed up. Its a lot of responsibility to try and fix all this. We were in a pretty big hole and we are now just trying to get out. 

On top of that, President's counselors were supposed to do a report about the leadership within the mission for the year 2013 which was due in Feb 2014. We just now got word that is was not done and now we have to do it. I had to go since July 2013 and find every missionary who had been a trainer, District leader, Zone leader, Assistant, and Secretary. Then I am going to put all their names, pictures, dates of service, and assignation in the mission on a report that then I will send to the First Presidency. I'm a little stressed out about it all. And really I'm just doing a part of the huge informe we have to do. The assistants are doing a part, President is doing a part, his counselors are doing some and it just is a ton of work. 

Then on top of it all, my companion got a call sunday morning at 5:30 from an Elder who had horrible stomach pain. He went to the clinic and turns out he had kidney stones. He had an emergency surgery and so we were in and out of the clinic, offices, and church all day Sunday. I really don't think normal days exist in the offices. 

Apart from the work in the offices we had a hard week in our area. We are having a hard time finding new investigadors. We are always working in the night so there are always people drunk which is hard and then there are the families who leave and go out to dinner but never want to listen to us. We just have to work harder! Set more goals, find new ways to accomplish them, and keep praying. 

Oh. Read these scriptures.

Mosiah 1-2 and then listen to General Conference this weekend. 

Love you lots and lots.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring

These are some fotos that my comp sent me. We were eating at a place called Vaca Fria. Its the best ice cream here. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Aeropuertos y conferencias

Hey there. 

So I never want to set foot in another airport in my life. I have taken the 45 min ride to Viru Viru more than 7 or 8 times just this week. We have had 2 missionaries come and be set apart this week by President, one missionary who came home to Bolivia from mexico, and also 2 times thinking we had to pick someone up but their flight got changed to a different time. I think I'm just going to walk home in the end of my mission just so I don't have to go to Viru Viru again. 

So much stuff happened this week that I dont even know where to start. I've been non stop going going going. Im a little tired to say the least. Every night this week we have had something. So im just going to make a list. Its the easiest way to write everything without my brain losing it. The following events are real and may not be in chronological order. 

1. This sunday 2 gringos walked into our priesthood meeting. They were from California. They were some of the most immature people I have ever met in my life.

2. Tramites are the worst. I dont know if Tramites is a word in English and if its not I have no clue what the translation is. Tramites wants to say the legal process of entering a country. Here we work with the lawyer and he helps us. I just have to coordinate things. This group this week was all from Tarija (A 1 hour flight from the city) They had to stay here for 2 days. It turned out that those 2 days turned into 4 because there were problems with their papers. A nightmare for me. 

3. Our laundry service that we were paying stopped. I have to wash all my clothes by hand in a small bucket in our shower. It takes all day and I'm always so tired. 

4. Number 3 was a lie. It did stop, but the assistants have a washer. We just have to walk up stairs to do our laundry. Sometimes I still get pretty tired. There are a lot of stairs.

5. I call EEUU a lot. I've talked with people from BYU campus and Church travel this week. Im trying to work out the flights of a group of North Americans who are going home in a month.

6. We were teaching a family. His name is Fernando. Her name is Monica. He loves the church. They are married. He reads the Book of Mormon. We passed by yesterday and she answered the door. She told us not to come back. The worst part was he was standing next to her. He couldn't say a thing. I was so sad to see Fernando so sad. He knows this is right, just his wife is not accepting it. Maybe in the future. 

7. We had Zone conference this week. Was it this week? I think so. We learned a lot of.... Im having trouble remembering. 

8. Just kidding, it was an awesome conference. We learned about how to effectively study so we can better our light in our life. I am doing better about taking notes while studying and then applying what I study. 

9. I went running with Pedro and Elder Garcia today. Pedro is going to start working out every day with us. Im excited. 

10. This week I learned that we don't have the resorted church on the earth, we have the restored gospel. The first lesson that the missionaries teach is La Restauración del Evangelio de Jesucristo. No dice 'La Restauración de la Iglesia de Jesucristo' Sí tenemos la Iglesia verdadera. Y tenemos la Iglesia verdadera porque tenemos las verdades y los principios restaurados. La Iglesia solamente es la organización mediante la cual el evangelio se enseña. Sé que a media que entendamos este principio, cada uno de nosotros tendremos más luz en nuestras vidas y que Dios nos bendecirá. (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It says ' The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ ' Yes we have the true Church. And we have the true Church because we have restored the truths and principles. The Church is the only organization through which the gospel is taught. I know half we understand this principle , each of us will have more light in our lives and that God will bless )

Don't worry mom, I feel happy always.

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring

And here are some fotos of my life in the offices. I may not be able to write for very long today. We need to go eat lunch and I got started late because President was flying out of Santa Cruz today and I had to deal with some last minute road blocks. But here are some good pictures.
The is us in Bumblebee (the name of the auto of Jared and Pedro)

Elder Strong was having a bad day so I told him to take a silly picture. He didn't like the idea. But he took it anyway.

Sometimes we take photos sitting in the Office of President....

This is Elder Vedia. He is from Yacuiba Bolivia. This is his mother and us saying goodbye to him. She cried a lot and I felt bad for her but she was happy. But also sad.

This is an interminable pizza. We bought it because some people came in to do their tramites with the lawyer and needed dinner. Its about 35 dollars. it feeds 7 or so hungry Elderes.

This is Jared. He took us home this week from a late night at the airport with a few people who were coming in to the mission. We work with Pedro also who is the Brother of Jared. 

This is me and Elder Garcia my new companion. He is from Utah. We get along really really well. I think he will be my first companion that I'm with for more than 6 weeks. 

 This is Elder Garcia and I again.

We got to help President set apart an Elder from a district here in Bolivia. Since its just a district, Presidente Willard is the stake president too.

 These are 2 people that came to the offices only speaking english. They served missions here in Bolivia in many years past. They were stopping by to give the tie clips away (were are wearing them in the photo) They are coming back this wednesday. Not sure why, but they told us they would.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week of Cambios

My family.

This week was insane as are all the weeks of cambios. Monday started out crazy. There were 4 missionaries who got here from the Provo MTC so our work started then. Elder Butts from our stake was in that group. I think he was pretty surprised to see me there. They stayed in our house Monday night and then Tuesday the fun began. I got so little sleep between the days of Tuesday and Friday. This transfer we got 25 new missionaries, and only 2 went home. We opened 12 new areas, and zones changed, areas changed, and 80 percent of the missionaries here in in the mission had some sort of change. I was one of the few that didn't! I was just in charge of making sure the rest of the changes happened without problems. Talk about stress. 

We picked up the 21 new ones from the Airport on Tuesday and I met Elder Wadell who was one the same flight. He is one of the 70 that is over this area of south america. He's like 6 and a half feet tall and speaks spanish with an accent from Spain but hes an amazing guy. We had to order 3 buses to hold all the new ones and their luggage. Its insane how much luggage the north americans have. We got to spend almost the whole day with them in the offices eating pizza, getting their interviews done, and taking all their passport fotos. Then we sent them to dinner and Elder Knight and I had to stay in the offices to get the rest of the mission cambios done. We were working until 1100 or so that night. I didn't sleep very much because the next morning I was getting fone calls at 5am from the people who were coming in in Flota or Trufi and needed a place to stay. There were blockades for some of the missionaries on buses and we had to fix that, there were flights delayed, flights cancelled, people missing their flights and its just a big huge mess during cambios week. My job is most stressful during this week. 

My new companions name is Elder Garcia. He's the new health secretary and hes from Utah. Hes got a little more time in the mission than I do but we get along really really well. I couldn't be more grateful. All my comps so far in my mission I've only had for one transfer but I'm pretty sure I'll be with him for about 3 or so. We haven't been able to teach together very much yet but I'm looking forward to working with him. I'm having to help him figure out his job as a secretary but he's pícking it all up fast. 

This Sunday was one of the wierdest days. We woke up, went to church and sacrament meeting was normal. We had 2 investigadores (actually the both are from Brasil) attend church and they really liked it. Then after sacrament, this Chinese man who was sitting in front of me stood up, turned around, and told me he was from California. The wierd thing was that he told it to me in  English. We talked for a while and it turns out he only speaks madarin and english. For the next 2 hours I translated for this chinese man from California who was visiting Bolivia for work. He used to be a bishop and had a looooot of comments during all the classes. The hardest thing was, he never stopped talking to let me translate what he had said. He just talked super fast. I had never translated like that before so i realized how much I really do know in spanish. But I think I realized even more, what I don't know in spanish. I've got a long way to go. I understand everything and can say anything I want, just I'm not fluent. 

This week we hardly even had time to sit down and rest. We ran around and ran around and ran around some more. We went to the airport a ton of times to find some lost luggage, to pick up Elder Knights parents, to take some sick Elders home, to pick up ones being transfered, and more. But yesterday I felt calm at last. It was about 8:45pm, we were walking home for the night and we saw a secruity guard sitting down. We decided to talk to him. We explained who we were, and began to teach him about the Book of mormon. Turns out he lives next to one of our chapels. he told us ''I have always seen your church but Ive never had the opportunity to go and see how it is. Thanks to you kids, and this book, I can finally go and search'' I realized that some people want to go to church, they see us, want what we have but we don't give them the oppurtunity. I was so happy to see him happy. He teared up as we promised him blessing of peace in his life. He felt the truthfulness of our message and I have no doubt in my mind that he will now search and investigate until he finds the fullness of happiness inside the true church of Jesus Christ.

This is what happiness is. The Gospel is what makes people happy. Christ brings us joy. His sacrifice brings us relief. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me. 

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring
Look. They have Subway here!
Hermano pedro (brother peter) eating watermelon.

Chinese food

Chinese Man

Early morning airport rides

This is the son of sister knight.

Gringo luggage

Hermano Pedro

How embarrassing

The Cristo in the North Mission

These are the new missionaries here in the office.

Elder Butts and the rest of the gang.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What happened this week?

Hi there family,
So my weeks are being blurred together. I felt like yesterday I was writing you all and now I’m not really sure what happened this week. I’ll make a list of things that come to my mind. 
1. We visited a family in our ward (members) and we were talking and the wife (Hermana Rodriguez) of this family told me she had a companion during her mission from Texas. She told me her name was Hermana Hulme. Yup, Hermana Hulme from our stake was companions with a lady that now is in my ward here in Bolivia. They both served in Cochabamba together. 
2. This past lunes we visited a Cathedral that is inside our area. I’ll send pictures.
3. I rode in a car with a/c. First time here in Bolivia. 
4. We are planning for cambios today and this week. I may not have time to finish this email because of this.
5. We had Consejo de Líderes this week. We talked a ton about family history work and the work in temples. We now pass out the ´Mi familia´ folletos to everyone. Its amazing to see the work going forward.
6. Elder Butts from our stake (in Texas) will get here tonight and I’m going to pick him up from the airport!! He is going to stay in our house tonight. I’m pretty pumped.
7. I participated in a baby blessing Ian Wills Lino born 31 de Julio 2013. He is the son of the family whose mom just got baptized and who’s dad was inactive. We not only got to see him blessed but we also got to participate. What a beautiful Sunday.
8. I got yelled out on the phone. I think this happened this week... Maybe not. I don’t remember. But anyway, we received a reference this week so we called it and it was a lady named Lourdes. We took out an appointment and then we told her we were going to pass by. I called her the day of because we couldn’t find her house and her husband answered. He got mad... (name that movie) and then he started using a lot of strong words. Well I think they were strong words because I didn’t understand what they meant. I tried to calm him down but it didn’t work. Oh well.
9. We had an intercambio and I went to the area of Elder Mamani. He’s one of the assistants and we had a great day. I learned a ton from him. We talked with tons of people, got 2 people to commit to a baptism date, and then we visited a family who needed help. We didn’t do anything, but we saw the way that the gospel blesses the lives of all the people. 
10. I felt the spirit when I talked to a man on the street yesterday. We promised blessing of a perfect body after resurrection and he started to cry. He wanted that blessing so bad so he asked what he had to do. We explained we all with be blessed with this gift but then we explained that to thank God for this blessing and to then live with him again there were a few more steps that he could take. He accepted visits from us and we know this is what he was looking for in his life.
I learned this week something very important. It does not matter what you say. If you have the spirit, they will feel the truthfulness of your message. It does not matter where you are, the people you talk with can have a spiritual experience - which is necessary before a true conversion.

We have what the world needs yet we are so prideful and don't share it with others. That needs to change. Just do it. 

oh. and read D y C 109. What a beautiful prayer. 

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Gehring
There was this bell clock at the top and we paid 3 pesos para subir!

This guy was sitting in front of the church begging for money. I mean, if  you've got to beg, I say do it in front of a church. The people feel obligated I'm sure.

We spent about 4 hours in the morning one day taking tons and tons of boxes of books of mormon, pamflets ( i have no clue how to spell that), training books, etc. and organizing them by category. It was not fun.
This is Elder Catellano and I singing. Im sad because he is going home for sickness.

I'm posing.


Its tall.

View from the top of the cathedral.

It was windy. And I was sweating a lot. I look good.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baptism. Obra de Salvación. Felicidad.


Well I'm sick. This week I woke up with a fever and I couldn't sleep all night because I was temblando (trembeling?) I'm not sure how to say that. But anyway, I felt kind of gross. Its a little ironic becuase my comp is the secretary of health. I took some advil and then I felt better. Then that wore off and then I felt bad again. Then the next day my throat started hurting. Now my voice is like 2 octaves deeper than normal and I'm coughing a ton and it hurts so so so bad to swallow. I'm not eating because it hurts so bad. But not to worry, I'm going to the doctor today. A clinic that is called Foianini. Its the best of the best. They have like 2 ambulancias that work for them so you could say its pretty big. 

Other than the virus infected week, we had an awesome week. Things are pretty slow for now in the offices. Until next week we won't have very much to do. When the 27 new elderes get here it will be insane in the offices. We have been preparing little by little for the army that is coming!! I got to work with president a lot this week. On Wed. he called me into his office and we had a meeting that lasted about and hour and a half. We talked about 'Como Apresurar la Obra de Salvación' o sea The work of salvation. We talked about the ward counsels in all the mission, what they are lacking, what they need, how we can help, and why some are not happening. We shared ideas of ways we can present all the results of each month to the stake presidents and the area and then we did some drawing up of some tables, charts, and informes we could do to help the stake leaders understand what is happeing on the ward levels. It is amazing to see the work of salvation going forward here. The hands of the Lord are perfectly sculpting what is to become an important centro de liderazgo here in the future. I learn so much from President Willard. He recieves revelation every day. He knows the Lords will and its such a privilage to work with him directly fulfill what the Lord has in store for this mission.

We also had a huge amount of success this week. First becuase of our baptism!!! Hermana Maxi Wills was baptized this week. She and her husband got married about 2 weeks ago (hes a less active member) and we have been visiting them for so long! She finally got baptized and yesterday she was confirmed. Elder Strong baptized her. When the Bishop called us up to participate in the confirmation we went to the front but then he also called up Omar. (the husband) It turns out he had an interview with the Bishop and the bishop said he was worthy!!! IT was the coolest thing. He got to help confirm her and then after the meeting he asked about blessing their 1 year old son. We have a date to bless him in 2 weeks. The work of salvation is going forward and its amazing. 

We didn't have a single investigador attend church and one could say thats terrible and you need to do better but we felt pretty happy. Why? Because we had 2 full families of less active members attened. Not just the mom and kids, but the full family with the dads and the kids and the parents. Did they leave after sacrament meeting? NOPE! They stayed themselves the whole time and they had such an amazing experienece. 2 families entirely came to church. We vistited each one of them yesterday and put more goals to continue attending. They have plans to have interviews with the bishop, the kids are going to seminaries, and the parents want to now go to the temple al año. We are blessed to see miracles every single day here. The happiness I saw in these families was an eternal happiness. It is one that I will never forget. They are children of God and I know they were where He wanted them to be yesterday. 

I have never been so happy in my life. I love it here. I love my families here. They literally are the best. The Church is true. 

Oh. And read these scriptures because that they are good. 

2 Nefi 26:20-33
2 Nefi 27: 20-35
DyC 88:62-84

Apply them to your lives. Live what they teach. 

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Gehring
That's our A/C unit. Its amazing!

Also we got bunk beds. I thought the kids would like to see that. 

Hide and Seek

Fotos del bautismo

Omar y Maxi

Elder Knight, Castellano, and I

Omar y Maxi