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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Destroying to build the kingdom! ;)

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a good week! This was a good week for me here in
Punata. It was with plenty of service again(said service was probably
the most fun that I've had in my mish, but more of that later.)

So, this week my companion and I have been working on our
investigators that are progressing more. One awesome thing was that we
got a reference from a member kind of by accident. He was talking to
us casually about a family that he knew that were listening to the
missionaries about a year ago, and we just asked casually where they
lived. Well, technically that counts as a reference from a member. So,
we went and contacted this family and taught two members. It turns out
that the youngest son has come to church almost every Sunday for
almost the past year because of friends that he likes to go to church
with. So, we've already put a baptismal date on him, and it seems like
things are looking really good for them.

Our investigator Pablo is doing REALLY well. He's been here every
Sunday for the past month, and he's getting ready to be baptized on
the 19th of May, so we're really happy on how he's progressing. Things
are going well with him.

Ok, so we had an amazing service project this week- WE GOT TO DEMOLISH
A HOUSE! IT was AWESOME! It was this really old adobe house that was
falling apart, so these members asked the ward to come help them out.
Well, the only members of the ward who came where the bishop and a few
other random members and the six elders from the ward. So, we took
pickaxes to the walls, and it all came tumblin' down! It was fun, but
we were FILTHY by the time it was all over.

Dad- Glad work's going well! Work hard, and have fun!

Mom- Sunday school, huh? Well, glad you got good kids to
teach..Blessings I guess. Have a great week!

Aly- Just have fun this week! No angry parents this week!(I hope) Kuv ya!

Emi- Bummer that you didn't make it to state...But you got one more
shot(next year!), so don't get bummed. And I like reading Isaiah too,
it's fun.

That's all for now!

Elder Craig

Monday, April 23, 2012

A long week, but very satisfying

Hey everyone at home!

I hope you all had a great week! This week has been a good week for
me. There has been lots of stuff going on here for me.

Ok, so the first thing that happened this week was that we finally
got to go to the temple again! It’s been such a long time since we’ve
been, so it was amazing to get inside and feel the Spirit of the Lord
that strongly again. I love going to the temple, but the worst part is
the distance for us. We had to get up at 4am to be able to get there
at 6:30am. That means that it was hard to stay awake inside, but I did
do it! Then, afterwards, I had leadership training for about seven and
a half hours. That just made a long day longer, but we had the visit
of a local Seventy (an area authority), so that made things better.

We also spent time this week doing lots of service. The first project
included the four of us here in Punata. We spent the morning building
a stone wall, and then we spent time building duck houses for a
member. That was a lot of fun, but those ducks smelled horrible!

The second project was for our investigator Mario. He’s living along
right now, and because of his bad knee, he hasn’t been able to clean
his house and workshop, so we came over (just my companion and me),
and we spent time sweeping, moving stuff, and getting rid of nasty
pictures on the walls. It was awesome, and we were able to help him
get ready for church on Sunday (and he came!).

I also had my first exchange in a while with my District Leader,
Elder Blackwelder. He’s a cool guy from Florida, and he is such an
amazing Gospel scholar! I have learned so much stuff from him, and he
has taught me really how to study the Gospel. It was a good
intercambio, and we had a lot of fun at the same time.

Dad-I am so happy for you! Congrats! Have a great week at WORK! :D

Mom-Glad you had a great week! I can’t wait for more Hawai’i pics!

Aly-Well, I have a HUGE farmers tan from being a missionary, so I know
how it is. Looks cool until your shirt sleeve rides up, lol. Have a
good week!

Emi- Well then, sounds like new challenges with music. And with your
running, just do your best to work your speed back up!

That’s all for now!


Elder Craig

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gettin' lost in the work and in the fields. (4-16-2012)


I hope that all of you had a fantastic week this past week! This week
was a good week for us here in Punata.

So, first bit of good news is that we got in contact with one of our
old investigators again! Our investigator Pablo had literally
disappeared for 2 and a half weeks. But on Wednesday we got a call
from the hermana who gave us the reference for Pablo to go teach him.
She was freaking out, saying "Pablo's here, Pablo's here! You two
better get over here as soon as you can!" Well, needless to say, we
hurried over there as quick as we could. Unfortunately, that means 25
minutes of walking. So, by the time we had got there, Pablo had gone,
and we couldn't find him. But on Friday, we were just happening to
pass by this hermana's house, when we heard talking going on- and one
of the voices was Pablo's! Well, we didn't miss a moment, and we
knocked on the door and got in the house. It turns out that Pablo had
been in the hospital for two weeks with the flu(He got his niece to
pay for the bill). But, he was super excited to see us again and to
start listening to us again. He also finally made it to church on
Sunday! So, things with him are looking very up.

Also, another investigator, Mario, is progressing ridiculously well.
He is developing a strong testimony of the gospel. Yesterday(sunday)
we went to visit him because he's been having a rough time with his
knee and so we wanted to know how he was doing. And while we were
talking, he said "Once my knee gets better, I'll go out with you guys,
because that's what you should do once you know that these things are
true." Wow! I know members that are less animated than him. So, things
look good for him. about the title. My companion and I were in a neighborhood
called Santa Ana and we wanted to try to contact some of the farmers
out there, cause it's pure farm land. Well, we got very lost and
actually followed a water canal until we reached a road that took us
back to Punata. Funny story of the week.

Parentals(Mom and Dad)- Have an amazing finale in Maui! I can't wait
to hear from you this next week! Luv ya!

Aly- Sorry about the rough week. This one will be better! I know it.

Emi- Hope you're studying hard and having fun! I want lots of pics next week!

That's all for now folks!

Elder Craig

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finally a baptism!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great week! My week was pretty good out here in Punata.

So, the first thing is....I finally had a baptism! Our investigator Alex Guzman was baptized on Saturday, and I was given the privilege to perform the ordinance(If that's how you spell that spelling is getting worse and worse.) It was a very special moment for me. We had spent the day preparing for the baptism, with the usual of filling up the font and cleaning and such. Well, the bishop did not give us the keys for the water heater(here there is no hot water valve, just cold mountain water.), so I had to baptize in freeeeeezing cold water. Luckily, we had the only baptism of the day, so I spent maybe two minutes max in that water. A tough thing for Alex was that his mom decided last minute that she wasn't going to come to the baptism, which was something that he was really hoping for. But, his youngest sister came, plus the family who lives next door to him(who were the ones that passed the reference to us a few months ago.), so he had some great support. Plus my District Leader and I played and sung a spanish version of "Come thou fount", which really brought the Spirit into the service. While we were changing in the bathroom, I asked him(across stalls) how he felt, and he said that he felt really clean, like he had been born again. The Spirit in that moment testified to me that he had really repented and that that baptism was valid in our Father's eyes. It was a great experience.

On Sunday we finally had an investigator come to church that we've been really working hard to have come to church, Mario! He literally hobbled into the church on a cane, and was immediately greeted by the Bishop and his wife, who are his friends. He had the priviledge to help him around the church all morning. He really enjoyed the meetings, so we are really hoping that he keeps coming on Sundays.

Well, the exchanges have come again, and I am staying in Punata for another month and a half. That will mean that I have been in every area of my mission a total of six months each! Which means when I leave here next month, I will almost have five months until I come home...Time really flies, doesn't it?

Dad- Congrats on Trainer of the Year! I think I can give you that too, because you've totally helped me out out here. Hey, have fun in Hawai'i, relax, and I really hope you get that job. I wanna see lots of pics! Have a very amazing birthday! I love you!

Mom-Thanks for the pic! I used a hand scythe to cut the alfafa. And the bull was huge, calm, and very hungry. I'm glad you had fun on Easter. And about the letter...don't worry, I'll be ready this time. ;) Have a fun, safe time in Maui, and I wanna see lots of pics when you get back! I love you!

Aly-Thanks for the pictures! Yes, I will Skype call again, don't worry. Don't worry about mean people, we can't help them (I deal with a TON of them out here.), just smile, and they can't do anything about the problem. I'm proud of your weight loss! Have a great amazing week!

Emi- I'm sorry that you' had a bad meet....things'll get better. Just think, the next missionary homecoming will be MINE. Just saying.....Hey, and I want lots of pictures of you and the Picketts this week, ok?

That's all for now!

Elder Craig

Conference weekend- A week of miracles- Happy April! (sent April 2)

Why hello!

Well, I hope you all back home had a great week! Mine was sort of tough(we didn't teach a lot of lessons this week), but it was amazing. I also hope that you all enjoyed General Conference! It was awesome (as usual).

Ok, so for the first time in Bolivian history, we were able to watch Conference in our own chapel. That means that we didn't have to make the hour long trip to the Stake Center to go watch...we just had to walk ten minutes on foot to get there. But, it started out really rough. We got to the church to set everything up and there was no electricity. Apparently the electric company thought that it was a fantastic idea to cut the electricity so that they could do maintenance work. So, we set everything up just hoping that the power would come on sometime before the conference started. Well, it didn't. It finally came on at the end of the first session during President Eyring's talk, which means that we lost the entire first session thanks to the power company. But from then on we were able to enjoy the talks and the amazing music. If you didn't get to watch Conference, just click here to read the talks.

So, on Friday, the four of us in Punata headed to Nasacara (which is waaaaaayyyyyyyyyy in the heck out in the country side)(another side note: I have some awesome pics, but this dumb computer isn't reading my memory'll have to wait until next week.) to do some service for an investigator. Well, that project fell through, so we ended up cutting alfalfa to feed a massive bull. Then we went to go visit this investigator's mother(who lives even farther out there.) who has terrible arthritis, and so we were asked to give a blessing of health. Well, for those of you who don't know, when we bless someone with a blessing of health, we first anoint them with olive oil that has been consecrated( or made holy). Well, I had used all of my oil a couple of weeks ago, and nobody else had their oil vials. So, Elder Blackwelder told me to go get my vial out of my backpack. When I brought it out, I opened it and tilted the vial just barely, and a clear big drop of oil came out. Mind you, I had run out two weeks before and had not refilled it. I am totally convinced that the Lord sent us there just for that. I can't explain how there was oil in my vial, but there was!

The next miracle that happened to us happened during General Conference. We have this investigator Alex G├║zman who has a baptismal date for this coming saturday, and he need to attend church just one more time to complete the mission's rule about investigators attending church(they need 3). Well, he didn't make it to the first three sessions, so inbetween sessions, we ran to his house to see if he was there. So, his mom answered and said that he was not home, that he had gone to his grandmother's home in Yacanahuyo. I about freaked, so we got his number and tried calling him, but he didn't answer. So, we just went to the session, usinga member's cellphone to try and get in contact with him. When we did finally get in contact, we said that he might or might not come, so I about freaked again. But, during Elder Perry's talk, my companion and I got the strong impression that we needed to pray. So, we got up and left and found a small classroom that was open. I offered a prayer asking God to help Alex come to church that day if it was His will, and we just left it all to him. So we re-entered the Conference, and about ten minutes later, the member whose phone we had used told us that Alex had just called her and said that he was outside. We ran outside and saw him still about a block and a half away running to get to the Church. I just about cried my face off. I know that God really answers out prayers and that miracles come from being obediant to Him and having faith.

Dad- Have a good week. I hope you're ready for that break that you need!

Mom- Yes, I will get a pill called "The Bomb" right before I come home which cleans the system out. And about quechua, I now have a Book of Mormon in Quechua, and we are trying to use more and more  phrases in our conversations. Conference rocked, ¿NO? Have a great week!

Aly- Hope work is going well for you and that you're having lots of fun!

Emi- Hey, hope you're doing great, and I can't wait to hear from you next week!

Until next week!

Happy April!


Elder Craig