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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Well, this is the week of transfers again!

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a good week this past week! To be honest, this week wasn't good for me here. So, this will be a different letter this week, because the work was practically zero this week.

But, first, to clear something up, the baptisms that happened this week were not ours, they were from the other companionship, but I still did all I could to help out. I was asked to play a guitar piece, which I did( Reference the 1st pic). And on top of that, the President and his wife showed up for the service as well, unannounced, as they usually do. And, the baptism went really well for them. But, the sad part was that yesterday only one of the two baptisms showed up to be confirmed. So, the other missionaries are worried, because if he doesn't go this upcoming Sunday, they will have to repeat the baptism.

I really learned some interesting things this week. I really learned how I don't want to finish the mission. It's awful to have a companion who doesn't want to work at all for the companion who wants to work, because nothing gets done whatsoever, and I do not want to do that for my last companion(in 8 months). Also, I've learned lots and lots of patience, because it's requiered a lot of patience for me this week dealing with my very trunky (homesick) companion, and all of his missionary buddies who've all magically popped in to see their good ol' pal off. And lastly I know now what I need to do to get success here....and that's for me to know, and you all back home to see the results. ;)

Well, transfers are here and I have my's a boy!!! I am one of 25 missionaries that are going to train brand spankin' new missionaries, fresh out of the MTC. I don't know who my "child" is yet, I get to find out on Wednesday. But the exciting thing for me is I finally get to help out more in the mission, something that I've been waiting very patiently to do for a looong time.

I'm sorry that this letter is so short this week. I promise that next week will be full of more of my explosive, exciting adventures here in Bolivia!

Also, the second pic is why Bolivian traffic is so horrible(the street light is showing red and green at the same time, if you can't see it)

Dad- Hey, I know Alaska isn't great, but I think it's the start of an uphill turn for you! And I'm super sorry that the season is coming to an end so soon...but just think, next season, I'll be home to rock it with you! And plus, Hawai'i is an awesome way to finish any season!

Mom-Glad your king cake turned out so well, sounds like it was delicious! My companion did leave today, so I'm technically alone, but I'm with the other two in the house until Wednesday. Yoga sounds nice (Yes readers, I like yoga.), so it'll be fun for you. And with the ID, if you go in consistantly, it takes 3 months to get it, but because of my work, it's taken 1 year and 4 months to get it.

Aly- Yes, 2 Nephi 9 is a great chapter, I just read it the other day. Orientation will be fine, no matter what happens, I promise! And with voice lessons, well, I guess I'll have to write a song so we can sing a duet when I get home. ;)

Emi-It's about time you've written! ;) And yay for track, I guess. And yes, your birthday will be celebrated by me here, with lots of green! :)

Have a good one y'all!


Elder Craig

Monday, February 20, 2012

Viva Carnival!

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great week this past week! Ok, so technically this title(which I stole from my mom's email title) is for this upcoming week that we are technically in right now, but whatever! [Mom note: I spelled it the correct way in Spanish: Carnaval]

This week was a tiring week, but I am finally going to have a legal Bolivian ID! I literally spent all day Wednesday in Cochabamba just sitting around waiting to have my picture taken and get my fingerprints printed. It was a super boring day, but there was a really cool thing that happen while I was waiting. The migrations department is in the downtown of Cochabamba, and is next to this modern plaza called the Plaza Colon. Well, my companion and I were sitting there and we were approached by a missionary from the Baptist Church! And he was gringo! It's super rare to find another american here in Bolivia (other than the missionaries that I already know), so it was pretty cool. Well, this guy comes up to me and my companion, and asks us to teach him about the Church and answer a BUNCH of questions that he had about the Church's doctrine. It was a really cool experience to be able to teach and testify to another church's missionary about church, but for some reason it was really tough for me to teach in English. This guy didn't speak a lick of Spanish, which makes me really curious on how in the world that he even survives down here. And after we had to go I finally got all the stuff done I needed to for my ID, which for me is like "Finally! Now I don't have to explain to cops why I don't have an ID!" Yes, the police is real dumb and corrupt down here. But, anyways, I was super excited until they told me that it would be another MONTH until I got the actual ID....and they don't even give you a paper one or anything to hold until the ID gets to me. They make it WAYYYY too hard down here to get a legal ID. I think they want to scare as many people off as possible.

We also went and visited another village here in Bolivia this week. We went to a town called Pocoata( Po co-ata), which is a teeny tiny town south of Punata. We went with the ward to have a picnic lunch and to visit some members there. It's super pretty in the country-side, like it almost blows my mind. I honestly never would have guessed that it looked that good, because before I was here in Punata, all I knew of Cochabamba was the big city, which is big and brown and super dry. But, just go another hour south, and it's green, more humid, and a heck of a lot prettier. And we had a really good time down there. And I attached a pic of me drinking out of a coconut shell, in which they traditionally serve chicha, which is a corn liquor, but we were drinking a nice hot peach juice from it. Don't worry. ;)

My companion and I finally have a bunch of baptismal dates! we've been working hard to try and get a baptism before he goes home in 8 days, but it doesn't look like it's in the cards, which is a real shame, because I really wanted to have a baptism with him. But, we've been making up for that by  setting up for me when he leaves, so I can get a few baptisms with my next companion.

Dad- well,sounds like it was fun. Thanks for the advice...I really appreciate it!

Mom- Well, but a King Cake then! Those are some funny stories from your childhood! Happy Mardi Gras!

Aly- Sounds freaky, but I'm glad you made it home safe! Have a good week!

Emi-Hi! Have a good week!

That's it for now!

Elder Craig

Monday, February 13, 2012

And Carnival begins!

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great week! 

This week for me was a pretty good week. Things here in Punata are slowly, but surely getting better for the work of the Lord. Also, this past week, Carnival officially began, which means water balloons have officially started to fly towards us on the streets here in Punata.

But, first off, this week we have officially started to contact references that we've received(finally!) from members. We went with one member to go teach her cousin and her cousin's kids. Well, we went and the lesson went really well. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel, and then we challenged her and her kids to be baptized. The mom said yes immediately, and then afterwards her kids both said yes as well! We finally have baptismal dates for the 26th of this month. They are a really good family, too. The husband of this hermana gave her permission to listen to us, so we don't really have to deal with that obstacle which normally would be a problem. Plus, her daughter really likes going to church. The only real obstacle is her mother-in-law(aren't they always?), because she's the owner of the house that they live in , and she takes the kids to her church on Sundays. But, we can get over that pretty quickly, I think.

Next, we went and taught an older man named Mario, who found the church years and years ago in Argentina. Apparently he assisted there for nine months and then stopped because he started moving around a whole bunch. But, he says he really likes the Church a lot more than the Catholic Church for a number of reasons. So, that's a pretty decent place to start with him, I think. And we'll see how everything goes with that.

Well, Carnival has started here, and that means groups of kids roaming the streets with bags of water balloons....and we are huge targets with our white shirts, ties, and name tags. Yes, we've been attacked several times already. But, don't worry, I'm ok, and it'll all go down next week during the official two days of Carnival.

Dad- That blows that Cert 3 fell through, but as I learned recently, "there are no failures, just feedback." That's really helped me out here. Have a good week!

Mom- Well, I'm not the only gringo still waiting for my X-mas package, so I still have hope.

Aly-Sounds like your week was good though.And don't worry, things can only get better from here!

Emi- you used the quechua perfectly! And I know junior year is boring(it was my worst year in high school), but it'll be done soon!

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Craig

p.s. Sara Pickett- Congrats on the engagement! I hope you don't get married before I get home!  ;)


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Imanayakasanki! Ñoqa kani Elder Craig.... ¿Imasutiki?......GO GIANTS! (Feb 6, 2012)

Hello family and friends!

I hope everyone had a great week! This week was a good, but tough week here in Punata. 

So, this week we hit the road running with going to contact the less-actives and inactives using an "updated" ward directory. I say "updated" because it really isn't. It's the most current that the ward has. Well, my companion and I spent 2 whole days just going and looking for these members. It turns out the 99% of them do not live in Punata anymore, and 75% of those live outside of the country now. So, it has become super tough for us to find these people. I also went over part of the directory with the Young Men's President, and he pointed out a bunch of members that had DIED within the past 3 years that were still registered in the ward (I don't know anything about how they do ward directories, but I am pretty sure that the dead members belong on another list.) But, we have gotten some success from going to visit members. We have contacted a bunch of people this past week.

We also as a mission had a fast this past Sunday to recieve inspiration to find news, and to find news. Well, Saturday was uneventful, but Sunday, a member brought her cousin and her cousin's kids to church....and they live right in the middle of our area! My companion and I are super excited, because we feel that this is someone who we can have finally make real progression towards baptism. We've been fighting hard these past few weeks looking for people who can really accept the Gospel in their lives, and we feel that this is what we've been waiting for. So, I think that this will be a good investigator for us. 

This week we also had our bi-exchange zone conference with the Mission President. It was a good conference all in all, and I got to watch my companion give his last testimony. Here, it's a tradition for the missionaries that are leaving to bear their testimonies at their last zone conference. My companion did so, and while he did it quoted Bob Marley. He's pretty cool.

Well, that's all for now.

Dad- Good luck with your Cert 3 this week! You never know, this could be the week!

Mom- I have 9 months left, btw. I think you just want me to stay longer.... ;) Oh, and about the packages, I'm still waiting for yours, and I got Lee's in December. And about you not knowing who played in the Super Bowl, I had the same reaction as Dad and Emi....all of the gringo missionaries have been talking about it for weeks!

Aly- Nice job on the article- That's you putting your degree to work , right? You know, just have fun while you work, and it won't be boring! Have a good week!

Emi- Saw your prom pic, you look nice! I told you that you'd get a date! Hope you gave a great week!

Sorry that this is late....the MyLDSMail server crashed, so we had to wait and come back to send our letters.

Tinkuna kama!


Elder Craig

End of the month!!!! (from Jan 30, 2012)

Hello family and friendosss!

I hope that everyone had a great week! Mine was exhausting for me-.

So, this week we spent literally half of the week traveling up to Cochabamba to do stuff in the offices. Mostly for my companion, who's going home in four weeks. But, on Thursday, I had my interview with the President. Remember how I mentioned working with less-actives and inactive members? Well, that's what we mainly talked about in our interview. It's interesting how the Spirit says stuff to us as missionaries.  He also told me the reason that I am my companion's companion. He said that he talked to the assistants and asked them if they knew a missionary that worked hard that could help Elder Saade finish his mission strong. And the assistants picked me. So, I'm humbled by  that.

So, I also went on exchanges with another missionary in my house, Elder Martinez, who's been having headache problems, and I had to accompany him to a nuerologist(?) appointment. He's good missionary from my group, who's just been having sudden and unexplained headaches. Well, that CAT-scans showed nothing, so did blood and other tests that they did on him. So, the doctor said he was just having headaches from the change of climate and gave him a bunch of meds to help them go away. So, things have been good so far.

I apologize for the shortness of this letter, but we are in a huge rush right now. I hope everyone has an amazing week!

Dad- Well, have fun with your new cohost this week. Don't  worry, it'll be good fun!

Mom- I am serving in a ward, and it's the only ward from here to Sucre, so the area's huge.

Aly- Well, the sun is always going to be there, but that's how I felt working in Incredible Pizza. That's also super cool about getting to listen to Elder Holland!

Emi- Hope you had  a great week! Luv ya!

Until next time!

Elder Craig