Serving in the Cochabamba Bolivia Mission
November 3, 2010-November, 2012

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crazzzzy week + transfers= a baptism!

Hey everyone! I hope all had a great week! This week was absolutely long exhausting, but awesomely rewarding. So much happened this week, including my Mission President´s farewell, a surprise migration visit, and another baptism!

So, first thing. So, we had our farewell for our President this past Thursday. It was super cool, because all of the missionaries in Cochabamba(city, not the mission) got together in one of the stake centers in town and we got to take pictures with them, and hear them talk one last time.  I got the chance to be in a choir (along with my companion Elder Hull, Elder North, Elder Claybaugh, Elder Diaz, and Elder Antionetti) and sing Para Siempre Dios este con Vos(God be with you til we meet again) for the President and Hermana. They then talked to us and shared very cool experiences that they´ve had while being here. But, the only thing was, it lasted until 5pm, and we got there at 10am. That means that we lost the day for working, but Elder Hull and I were really freaked out because we had a baptismal interview that evening(and possibly three more), so we had to run to make sure they were ready. First we went to the potential interviews, the Familia Arteaga, and we quickly found out that they aren´t quite ready to be baptized. The wife expressed that she was afraid of baptism, because she was afraid her husband wouldn´t change. Apparently the father of the family has had the bad habit of drinking and running around with women for years, and the wife has been super super patient and forgiving with him, but he hasn´t changed. So, after hearing about this for 40 minutes, Elder Hull and I were able to talk to them and give them the advice that we felt. I felt prompted to give them both homework from the Book of Mormon. To the wife I gave Alma 38, and to the husband Alma 39-42. Both of the scriptures are the prophet Alma the Younger talking to his sons, giving them advice. I really felt that the Spirit really prompted me to give that to them to help them. Because of this problem, Elder Hull and I delayed their baptism until the 9th of July to give them(and us) time to sort things out and to regain their testimonies. Friday was crazy because we had to go do migrations and they ended up misspelling my name(Graig) on the paper, so they corrected it, and added "John" at the beginning of my name, so we had to go get all of that done again. That lasted forever. Then that night we had our last "Noche Misional" in the capilla, and we watched the movie "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". When we started we had 12 people watching, but by the end we had over 40 people show up, including the Familia Arteaga. That is a super powerful movie, and one of my favorites, and I highly recommend it if you haven´t seen it.

Ok, so now about the baptism. We baptized Marco Pancorbo. He is a super cool guy who has talked to apparently 8 pairs of missionaries before us. His wife is an active member, and she´s been praying and praying about this for years.....and we did it! He was so happy to finally be baptized, and the coolest part was when he got out of the water, he was smiling! That´s saying a lot because he doesn´t show almost any emotion, so it was cool. Also, to make things better it was his birthday! It was such a spiritual day, and I´m glad to have had the honor of baptizing him.

Dad- Happy Belated Father´s Day! Hope you had an amazing day!

Mom- Glad things are going well in the office, and good luck on the interviews! ¡Suerte!
Aly- Glad you´re staying busy and well. Good luck on the job hunt today and tomorrow. I´ll keep my fingers crossed and pray!

Emi- Hope your summer´s good!. Work lots!

And by the way, my transfer is to Tarija! I´m leaving Cochabamba. My new area is 4 de Julio, so I´m gonna be writing from there next week!

I hope everyone has an amazing week!


Elder Craig

Finally .. a baptism! (6-13-11)

Why hello dearest family and friends!

I hope everyone had a great week! This week for me was awesome, as
usual! The best part was the baptism!

Ok, so first thing was earlier this week we went to go visit one of
our best investigators who is going to be baptized this weekend, and
we didn´t find him there. We talked to his wife, and he was involved
in an accident of sorts. He is a truffi dirver(truffis are the public
transportation here.), and he was stopped at one of his routine stops
which is in front of a chicheria(a bar of sorts). He started to leave,
and he hit a one year old little girl who ran out from the
chicheria(Her mom was inside getting drunk). Unfortunately, the little
girl died. He was completely traumatized the entire week. But,
somehow, this has increased his desire to be baptized. In our lesson
with him yesterday, he gave an awesome prayer, and he totally is
changed. So, he´s for sure going to be baptized this Saturday. Our
other family that´s going to be baptized might not be baptized this
 because the mom traveled to Villazon(a city on the border
with Argentina)for some judicial hearing, and she might not be back
for Saturday, depending on when the hearing will keep your
fingers crossed.

Now, about the baptism. We baptized Angel Gabriel Abán(well, he was
baptized by his uncle), and it was an awesome day. He is the smallest,
but one of the spiritually stongest investigators that we´ve had. he´s
been wanting to be baptized for sooo long. He´s been coming to church
with us for the past five weeks, and he´s super cool. He was baptized
along with three other girls(Elder North´s investigators). He was so
small in the water, it was hilarious! But, he´s a good kid, and will
be a very good member.

For this upcoming week, we have one, maybe four baptisms. I really,
really hope that these go through. We also have our President´s
farewell. He´s leaving at the first of July, but this is his last full
cambio, so we´re doing it this week. Also, this Sunday, we find out
the cambios, and this time it´s 99.999% sure that I´m leaving, so I´ll
be letting you all know what happens.

Dad- Hope all is well and hope the job search is going good.

Mom- I´m postive you´ll find someone for the office(I´m crossing my
fingers), and the sale of the house will go through.

Aly-I´m sorry you´re so tired(I know how you feel), and about the
getting fat I´m exercizing every morning so it´s not
too bad.

Emi- I hope you have fun in your classes! Study hard!.

That´s all for now!


Elder Craig

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week of Intercambios crazy!

Hello family and friends!

I hope everyone had a great week! This week was completely exhausting
for me....what a week!

So, we were planning on a baptism this week, but that fell through.
It´s going to happen this weekend for sure! My companion and I are
super stoked for it. We are going to baptize a kid who really, really
wants to be baptized, so we are working hard to make it super special
for him. So, at the beginning of this week my companion and I had one
intercambio(exchange) with our District Leader planned. So, we just
had that in mind. Then on our district meeting on Tuesday, our zone
leaders walk in and announce to us that we were going to have
intercambios with them on Wednesday! Talk about a shock for us! We
were not expecting that. So, I went on my first intercambio with a
zone leader ever! I worked with Elder Guirado in my area. He´s from
Argentina(Mendoza), and man, is he a beastly teacher. We spent most of
the day knocking on doors, and we found some great people. But the
best part of the day was when we went to our best investigator family,
the Familia Arteaga. One thing that my companion and I had failed to
ask was if the mom and dad are married or not. Well, Elder Guirado
asked....and they are! I was sooooo relieved, because they have a
baptismal date for the 18th of this month, and that would have created
a bunch of problems. Also, we taught them the Word of Wisdom, and we
got the mom to stop drinking coffee, their daughter to stop with
drinking tea, and we got the dad to drop(and spit out) coca! It´s been
soo cool. This family is just so receptive to listening and obeying
the commandments, it´s unbelievable.

So, now on my intercambio with my district leader, Elder Claybaugh (1st
gringo LD in 5 years). We were knocking doors early that morning, and
we found this lady named Darlin. She seemed super excited to hear the
Gospel, and invited us back the next morning to teach her husband, who
is in the Bolivian Air Force. Well, Elder Hull went back the next day,
and Darlin answered and said her husband got called out early that
morning on emergency. We asked if we could do anything to help, and
she just broke down crying, saying that she felt so alone because she
was so far from her family and she felt her husband didn´t understand
how she felt. I bore my testimony to her about how we are never truly
alone, and that we have a Heavenly Father who´s always there, and
willing to listen. Then we  gave her a Book of Mormon, and asked her
to read it, and then invited her to church. We then passed on Sunday
to pick her up, and she and her husband were there and ready to go. It
was super cool, and I am so grateful that they went. Then to top it
all off, she told us she prayed to know if the church is true, and she
recieved an answer that it was! So, we´re shooting to baptize her and
her husband on the 25th.

Well, that´s about it for this week.

Dad- Hope you have a good week! Good luck on the job search!

Mom- Thanks for your email! Hope life isn´t too crazy at home.

Aly- I know things are crazy, but you can do it! Good luck on the job
search, and good luck with work!

Emi- Happy summer to you! Work as much as you can to save up!

That´s all for now. Have an amazing week!

Elder Craig

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Bolivian Mother´s Day!

Hey everyone!

Hope eveyone had a good week! This week was awesome for me. It was the best week that Elder Hull and I have had to date. We´re really happy with the people we found, and the number of lessons we´ve taught, but the best part of the week for us was the new baptismal dates that we´ve gotten. We´ve been teaching this 9 year old kid named Angel Gabriel. He lives with his grandma, aunt, uncle(bro of aunt), and cousin. The weird thing is that his mom lives in Cochabamba, but lives in another part with her husband(not the father of our investigator).
So, this kid has been coming to church for months and months, and we´ve been teaching him for the last month. He´s an awesome kid, and has told us many, many times that he wants to be baptized, but our Zone Leaders have told me and my companion that we need permission from his mom since she lives in Cochabamba. That means that we´ve had to wait for his mom to come visit our investigator. So, we talked to the grandma, and found out that she goes over randomly, but usually in the early afternoon. So, two days later we went over to the house....and we found her there, just getting ready to leave. So, Elder Hull and I talked to her and got her to sign the permission! So, we´re planning on baptising him this weekend! We are so stoked, and this kid is really excited to be baptized. He´s the kind of awesome kid that, as his grandma has told us, he´s ready for church on Sundays when the rest are just getting up for church. So, that´s one of my stories. he next involves our family that we´re teaching. They are the familia Arteaga. We´re teaching the dad, Bruno, the mom Shonya, and their two daughters, Primavera and Mayo. They´ve been such a great family to teach! They are super receptive to the Gospel, and are actively reading and praying as a family. The problem with them so far has been getting the chapel on Sundays. Well, on Friday, the ward put together a Mother´s Day party, and asked us to help run it and what not, so we invited the family to go. Well, when Elder Hull and I got to the chapel....they were inside! They were early and stayed for the whole party, and loved it. Hermano Bruno commented to me that he loved how he felt at home inside the capilla, and how everyone was so welcoming and friendly. And on Sunday, yes, they went to church as a family. I am soooo excited for them. They have a baptismal date set for the 18th of June, so keep your fingers crossed! Finally(last cool story for the week, I promise) yesterday we had a district activity called Distrito(District) Blitz. This is where we go and work in someones area if they haven´t reached 12 news for the week. So, this week we went to our District Leader´s area, which is situated on Alto Cochabamba, the highest point in the city. Well, Elder Hull and I were knocking doors and a young man answered. Well, we taught him and his little sister the first lesson, which basically talks about the Restoration of the Church and the First Vision and what not. Well, when we were done teaching, we asked if they had any questions or comments. The young man said to us "Well, I don´t have any questions, but I would like to say that I really like how that José Smith prayed with faith and received an answer. That gives me hope that I´ll receive an answer too." That had to be the cooled reaction that I´ve ever had to the First Vision. I appreciate that the Spirit touches people´s hearts like that. It´s the best part of the mission for me, to see the Spirit testify to people that what we teach is true.

Also, in my scripture reading, still trucking through the Old Testament. It´s really interesting to read the story of David and Solomon and see how spiritually strong people to be(this is me overlooking the fact that they fell pretty hard).

Dad- Congrats on finding a buyer for the house! Plus, they haven´t said that Dr. Pepper is against mission rules or the Word of Wisdom.
Oh, and I´m sorry about your car. Hope you have an awesome week!

Mom-Ditto for the finding the buyer. I hope you had an awesome time in St. George!  BTW, I still have another three weeks until the transfer, so don´t worry yet. Have an amazing week!

Aly-Good luck on the big-girl job search! Have an amazing week!

Emi- Just remember that summer does mean more work, but more work means more money. And that equals less stress when college rolls around. And a tip for Laser Quest- Use the mirrors,

Have a great week everyone!


Elder Craig