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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First Week as a District Leader!

¡Hello family and friends and such!
I hope that everyone had a good week!
This was a looooooooong week for me. Weeks of changes honestly blow. I was thrown around like a rag doll on Wednesday because there was horrible communication from the secretaries to the zone leaders. So, I literally did nothing all day that day until they finally told me that I was just going to stay the night at their house. Thursday was a madhouse for me as soon as I got the the airport. Two of the Elders in my district are training new missionaries this transfer, so they had to go to Cochabamba to pick up their "kids". Well, the secretary who is in charge of buying the plane tickets somehow forgot to put the two trainers in my district on the flight to Sucre with the rest of us. Soooo, I was on the phone with my zone leaders in Sucre figuring how to deal with two newbies who didn't know their areas. Luckily, because that same secretary forgot to buy other elders in Sucre their plane tickets to Tarija, we were able to work out how to get the new kids to their house in Sucre.
My area is called Santo Domingo 1. It's part of a ward that just got upgraded from a branch literally a month ago. I went from my area in Punata, which was completely flat, to a city that is literally built on hills and has absolutely no flat areas. My legs honestly hurt a little. But my area is full of dirt roads and cholitas, just like my past three areas, so not a lot of things have changed. Looks like my little knowledge of the language Quechua will still be useful out here. My area is really thin, but we also have some outlying neighborhoods that we work in as well.
Well, for those of you who want to know, my responsibilities are the following:
  1. Do exchanges with ALL of the missionaries in my district.
  2. Pay for the pensions(our cooks) and for the rent.
  3. Do all of the baptismal interviews.
  4. Take care of the health of the missionaries in my district. 
  5. Teach a class once a week to my district.
  6. Take responsibility for emergencies that happen.
  7. Report the weekly numbers of my district.
That's all. Plus I have to work normally, so once in a while I will have no time for anything at all.
Dad- Air show sounds awesome. Sorry it got rained out. I'll go with you next year, and we'll chill all day! have a good week at work. I'm sorry about your friend passing away.
Mom- I traveled by plane, not by bus, so I was pretty safe, don't worry. ;) Have a good week!
ALy-Have fun with SOAR this week! Have fun and it'll be less stressful. Have a good week!
Emi- Good luck on your tests this week! Have a good time and study hard!
¡Hasta luego!
Elder Craig

Monday, May 21, 2012

A crazy week of cambios

Hello everyone in the US, Chile, and possibly elsewhere!

I hope everyone had a good week! This was a crazy week for us here in Punata with a finish that NOBODY was expecting.

So, this week was Punata's anniversary, which means that the entire town was a huge freakin' party. So, that made the work here really hard this week. We really had to take advantage of the work we could do on Tuesday and Wednesday, because we did a little work on Thursday, and Friday we had to stay in the house because of all of the drinking and drunks around the city. Also, sadly, we weren't able to get any baptisms this week like we had wanted to. We really wanted to baptize Mario this past weekend, but we went to try to find him all week, and we literally could not find him once. Ok, so on Saturday we were determined to go find him, so we went as early as we could and just about one block away from his house we see him riding his bike away, so we tried to shout and whatnot, but we never got his attention. Sooooo, we went back in the afternoon, and his workshop was open, and his son answered and said he wasn't home. Then later we were tracting a little ways off and his son passes on a bike and says that his dad's at home. And this was about the time that he shuts his shop, so my companion and I practically ran to go see him, but again as we got there, just one block away, his shop door shut, so we lost the opportunity to talk for the entire week.

We were able to helpone of the companionships in our ward to have a baptism. It's been MONTHS since they've had baptisms, so they were really excited for the baptism. And it turned out to be one of the most spiritual experiences that I've had in my mission. This baptism was really cool because the girl who got baptized was truly converted so the entire thing was an awesome spiritual experience.

So, we got out changes, and I am out of Punata. But things were wacky this time because they are merging my area with the area of the other elders here in Punata because there isn't enough missionaries in the mission right now to fill the space. And Elder Blackwelder(who's the only one staying from our house) is training in now the largest area in the mission. It was really unexpected that that would have happened. My "kid" is going to work in the mission offices as one of the secretaries, which is really cool. I am headed to Sucre to be a District Leader over eight missionaries, so I'm freaking out about the responsablility, but I think I'll do well, cuz that's where the Lord needs me right now.

Dad- Wow, I want a po-boy....sooooo jealous. Have a great week!

Mom- That's cool that you saw an eclipse! And no, I did not gain a million pounds. Just two. Hahaha, have a great week!

Aly- You read that Bible! I tried once here, but I failed. Also, have a great week at work. Just listen to my music, and it'll just fly by!

Emi- Glad your school did well in track! And I know you'll do well on all of your  tests. Don't you worry! ;)

Next week I'll be writing from Sucre! Until next time!


Elder Craig

Birfday week! (received 5/14/12)

Hey everyone! 

Well, happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! I hope you had a great day yesterday! This week was a TON better than the past week. It was more successful and rewarding than the last week.

So, my companion and I did a lot of work this week. We focused time into working mainly in Yacanahuyo and with the Crespo Family. Lately it has been rough for us to have investigators come to church, and now we are having our investigators come to church, but now the problem is that they come late to church. And the Area Presidency has declared that for the asistence to church to count towards the baptismal date, the investigators must participate in the Sacrament.....that means that even that we've had 5 or 6 investigators show up to church, we've had to report 0 investigators at church for two weeks in a row. That's been really frustrating for us, but we're really happy that they're even coming to church, which was a huge problem before. But, our investigators are progressing well now.

Ok, so you all probably wanna know what happened on my birthday. Well, it was a Tuesday, which for us here means that we travel to Cochabamba to go  to our District Meeting. So, we were in meetings all morning, and we got back to Cochabamba in the mid afternoon, so we had to go and start to work, because we had several investigators to go visit. So, at dinner that night we got to dinner, and there was a cake box on the table. Well, I thought it was a cake, so I gave everyone a hug and everything, and opened the box, which was full of corn and had a sign that said "The Cake is A Lie!" (it's a video game joke- Google it.), and we had a very good laugh about that. Then they brought out the cake and we sang Happy Birthday and then they wanted me to bite the cake, which is also a tradition here. And normally they smash your face into the cake, so I told everyone to get away from behind me and went in to bite the cake. Well, Elder Martinez flipped the table up and my face got completely enveloped in the cake. So it was a good night after all. Then the next day, a member family invited me over and they had another cake for me. AND that night at our Missionary Fellowship night, the ward had bought me ANOTHER cake. So, I got three cakes for my birthday! I don't feel like I'm 21, but here I am, 21 years old.

We also had our Zone Conference this past week. It was a good conference and all, but the weird thing was to see the sisters from my group go up and give their final testimonies. They're going home next week. Weird. I also had my bi-transfer interview with President Dyer, and we spent some time talking about how I'm going to finish my mission. Soooo.......You'll just have to wait and see. ;)

Family- It was great to see you yesterday and to be able to talk to you! I hope that you have a great week!

That's all for now! ¡Hasta luego!


Elder Craig

A TRYING WEEK (received 5/7/12)

Hello everyone!

Well, this was a pretty rough week for me to be completely honest with you all.

We started off the week doing even more service! Service is something that we've been doing a lot of lately because the mission president recieved revelation that that's what the mission needs to be doing right now to help boost the numbers of the mission. So, the first project of the week we went to a small town called Nasacara to help out the 2nd counselor of the ward harvest corn. Here, to do that they cut the stalks of corn down and put them into huge groups to take the corn off and then BURN the stalks. Soooo, we got to work cutting down the stalks. I don't know how the traditional american style is to cut down corn, but because this country is behind by several years, we used machetes! I had sooo much fun cutting the stalks down. We had contests to see who could cut down the most stalks in one slash, and I got second place with 4 in one awesome slash. It was a lot of fun and we're talking to the family to try and go help them again, because we cut a ton in a space of a couple of hours.

The second project was for a less active member. We went to another pueblito called Pampa Grande to help him cut alfalfa. Well, that wasn't as fun or easy as corn, but we still had fun. We got to feed these three massive milk cows  and two little bulls. It was cool, and we were able to help a lot, because this member has been less active for years now, and he's thinking of returning back to the Church, so we're really excited. And we also have plans for helping him out again on Wednesday, with the other two elders in our house, and we're going to learn to make artisan Bolivian bread, so this will be a fun day.

Ok, so on Friday, I was SICK SICK SICK all day long out of no where. I was, unfortunately,  in bed all day with diarrea and vomiting. That absolutely killed us this week for our work, because ALL of our lessons were for Friday, so missing that really destroyed us for the week.

But, on Saturday ( I was feeling MUCH better...power of the priesthood.) we spent all day helping the other missionaries prepare for a baptism they had that day of one of their investigators. The thing was that we had to get the water heated from this thing that heats the water up by gas.....that hasn't been used in about 10 months. So, I spent literally all that morning getting the heater to work, while the other pair went to Cochabamba to go pick up the clothing for the baptism. THEN, the jacuzzi that rotated the water and kept it warm BROKE and actually make the font overflow, which meant all of the warm water was gone. Plus the gas tank ran out of gas, so the option of re-heating the water was out. So we as missionaries said a prayer that all would go well with the baptism, and you know what? It did.

This week was dificult for me because we taught very few lessons this week, but all in all it was a good week because there was a successful baptism for the ward. And that's what really matters.

Dad- Guess there's lots of work for both of us, huh? I can't wait to talk to you on Sunday!

Mom- Nope. No Mexican food(or beans) here. Weird, I know, but that's how it is. Sunday!!!!!!!!

Aly- Bear Lake sounds amazing! I hope you have a great time! I can't wait for Sunday!

Emi- Just tell me about your week on Sunday!

Have a great week everyone!


Elder Craig(Now 21 years old!)