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

Monday, October 29, 2012

A boss week!

Well, hello everyone! For the last time from Sucre, Bolivia, this is Elder Craig checking in!
Well, this week was a week of lots of  hard work for us here in  Santo Domingo. We were able to find a lot of new investigators this week. I  was focused on getting  the area ready for when I leave this Thursday. I don't want to leave my area in a bad state for when I go, I want to leave it so that the work will continue for when I go.
So, one interesting thing this week. I went to a Bolivian funeral. It was the aunt of an investigator, and we went along as accompaning ministers. So, we went with the family to a catholic church and waited outside for the family to come out, then we followed the hearse to the cementary. So, it was my first time in a South American cementary(that I can remember), and it was pretty cool. All of the rich families have these big elaborate tombs, and I was totally astounded as I passed them. Then we got to the area where I guess you can say that the common folk are buried and I was even more "wow"-ed by how they "bury" people here. The thing is that they don't really bury people here. They build buildings with a bunch of slots in them for caskets and they just seal the end of the tomb off with the person's name. The coolest part of the funeral was when the husband of the deceased asked us to say a few words, and we were able to testify as representatives of Christ about the Spirit World and of the Resurrection. The Spirit was super strong during that time, and I am super grateful for that experience. It's my first funeral in 14 years, and it was a super spiritual experiance.
We also had our third baptism in a row this past weekend. It was of our investigator Ariel Villalta. He's a great kid whose mom is a member who is slowly reactivating into the Church. It was interesting because he has a SUPER inactive aunt who fought his baptism nail and tooth, because in her inactivity, she has gone very anti-Church. So, she had some influence out over Ariel's mom, who became super reluctant, but we talked to her and reminded her that she is the one who gives permission for baptism and not her sister, and that she had already given permission for baptism. So she said that we were correct and she helped us finish getting ready for the baptism. It was a super good baptism. Ariel and 2 other girls were baptized. I didn't baptize anyone, but it was awesome to see Ariel finally get baptized.
Dad- Thanks for the advice. i hope you have a great week and enjoy what little snow there is!
Mom-The couch, huh? Sounds fun. Means I get to watch TV, right? ;) Please ask the Stake Pres to do it ASAP. I love you!
Aly- Hope you enjoy your conference in Vegas! Have a great week!
Emi- Sorry, didn't mean to embarass you....I hope you have a great week!
Well, I don't know if I wiill be able to write you next week, but I should be able to. Expect a final testimony.
I love you all and will see you next week!

Elder Craig

Monday, October 22, 2012

What a crrrazy week!

Hello everyone!

I hope that you had a good week this past week. This past week was a crrrazy week for me, but it was a very satisfying week as far as the work here goes.  I had my last zone conference the is past week, and I gave my last testimony. You should have seen me- I'm a super emotional guy, hahaha. I also had my last in-field interview with President Dyer, which was super weird, but now I am super excited for my exit interview with him...I just know it's going to be awesome.
So, my companion and I had some very good lessons this past week. One particular lesson was with an investigator we have whose name is Nancy. She is a school teacher who is super worried about giving the best example that she can to her husband and children. We taught her the other night the message on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we were able to apply it to her to help her and her family, which was really cool for me to be able to help her apply the Gospel to her life. She just has the same worries that any mother/wife has, and the Gospel totally applies to her life, like it does for every person.

Last night I was also able to teach a less active family the importance of making the decision to become active in the Gospel. I felt that that was a more important direction to take instead of the typical “So, you need to come back to church because it’s the right thing to do” because they know that it’s the right thing to do, and we can’t force anyone to make the choices for themselves, so I focused in the fact to invite them to make the choice for themselves when they felt the timing to be appropriate.

Saturday just happened to be one of the craziest days that I’ve had on my mission. We started the day with 2 service projects! Yeah, that’s right, two. We helped a member clean a LOT of trash up in her backyard, and then we went and helped another member to build his house. We lifted concrete beams called viguetas up and placed them to make a ceiling in the house. While I was lifting one up, a wooden pole that was holding up some drying concrete fell and landed on my head. That hurt a lot, but I’m ok! Then we left the service and went and participated in a zone activity of preaching in a park. We were in the Parque Bolivar, and for me, it was a very cool experience. I was able to talk and tough the hearts of a lot of people. I really felt the Spirit as my companion and I taught in the park that day. Then we finished the day with a very amazing baptism of our investigator Samanta Callahuara. She’s been listening to the missionaries for a few months now with her older sisters, and she has progressed a lot better than her sisters have, and she asked us about baptism. It was a very good service, and I had the privilege to baptize her.

So, I am looking forward to the chance I still have to work. I hope you have a great week!
Dad- I AM SO EXCITED FOR SNOW! That's something to look forward too....the ski season......I hope you have a great week!
Mom- I have to give a missionary report???? Well, I guess that's what RM's do.......but that's not for another MONTH, so I'm not even worried. Tell everyone when I get to the SLC so that they're all 11pm....hahaha, Have a great week!
Aly- Don't stress big sis! And just fyi, I will buy a car for school. But it'll all work out just right! I hope you have a great week!
Emi- Sounds like a fun week. Oh, and please quit counting the days. I'm not doing it, and I would appreciate that you didn't. Have an amazing week!
Until the next one!!!!

Elder Craig

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I spoke a word of German!!! 10-15-12

Hello everyone!
I hope that you all had a great week! This was an exhausting, but satisfying week of work for me. This week my companion and I were able to realize a lot of work. This week we were able to not only find new investigators, but to continue teaching them.
So, a quick story from the week. My companion and I went and were able to teach a seƱora named Nancy. We were getting to know her, and we asked about her religious background. She said "Well, to be honest I'm catholic, but the thing is that I just feel that the religion is really hollow.... So, I haven't gone to church in ages." I can totally tell that this hermana needs the Restored Gospel in her life. She wants to mostly help her kids be ready to be good people in society and good parents one day, which I think is what all parents want, and I know that the Gospel can help her achieve all of her goals.
We also had a great lesson with our investigator Fernando. He's definately looking for happiness in his life, and has been down all the wrong roads. We were able to explain to him about how the Atonement of Christ and His Gospel are the few things in this life that make us truly happy in life. That was an amazing lesson, because I could see in his eyes that he was really feeling the Spirit as he listened to us.
We also had a baptism this week(finally!)! Our investigator Gabriel Coria was baptized. And to tell you the truth, he's looking to be one of the best converts that I've had. So, the baptism went along without too many complications(there are always complications- no such thing as an easy baptism), and the end of the baptism came, and Gabriel went to the front to share his testimony. And it was one of the most powerful testimonies that I've heard from the mouth of a recent convert. It really was a very moving testimony. We also had our investigator Samanta Callahuara present at the baptism, and she had a totally spiritual experience during the service. She told us afterwards "Man, I wish that my baptism had been this week, I just feel so good right now." So, the good thing is that she has a baptismal date for this upcoming weekend, and she is totally ready.
We also had the chance to help out a member in a special way this week. We found out that a member in our ward had fallen out of a micro and hurt her back, so we went and visited her in the hospital. We were able to give her a blessing, and it was a super spiritual moment for me. Definately motivates me to be a doctor someday.
Ok, so my German story of the week. My companion and I were headed home after picking up baptismal clothes, and there was a white older looking couple asking people for directions in horendous(?) spanish. So, my companion and I went over and asked them if they needed help. So, talking to them in spanish, we found out where they were from- Frankfurt, Germany. So, me being clever, I go "Spriechen se english?" And their eyes just lit up, and they said "JA!". So, I was able to explain to them where they needed to go in english. That's all.
Dad- Sounds like we have awesome neighbors! I'm also glad that you found us cool bunk beds! Have a great week!
Mom- Glad the house is coming along well. I already told you about "The Bomb" pill I get to take when I'm headed home. Have a great week!
Aly- No flight info yet, but I will let you all know when I know. That's all! ;)
Emi- Glad you gotta see old friends...let's hope the same happens in a few weeks.
I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Craig

Monday, October 8, 2012

¡What an amazing session of General Conference!

Hey everyone!!!!
I hope that everyone had an amazing week! I must say that this past weekend was one of the best General Conferences that I've EVER had the privilege to watch. It was honestly amazing from the beginning!I hope that this was a good week for you! I was totally blown away by General Conference. I had a ton of personal revelation from this conference, and it was just an amazing experience for me. I was pretty sad that it ended, but it has to be the best conference that I could have ended my mission on. And as for a favorite talk, I cannot even come close to choosing, because I was completely blown away by each speaker. I learned something essential that I want to appy to my own life from every talk. Absolutley amazing. I'm still just completely "wow"'ed by that conference.
This week was a very good week workwise for my area. I see more and more everyday the reasons that the Lord called Elder Tuesta to serve in this area and ward. He is an amazing missionary that has what I think to be a very rare gift with the people to just be able to reach their hearts and be able to get into the homes and hearts of our investigators.
We have an investigator named Fernando, who is one of those types that at first glance, you think that he will have a hard time progressing, but as usual, he's progressing surprisingly well. He is a young man who we met through a ward futsal activity, and he's been interacting with us and the ward members especially well.  He even accepted a baptismal date... for the 3rd of November, which is probably the date that I leave Sucre to head for Cochabamba.
We are also having a ton of progression with an investigator and his less-active mother. My companion and I recieved revelation on how to help this hermana reactivate during a lesson we had with her and her son. We have challenged them to read the Book of Mormon together as a family everyday, and we've seen miracles happen when they've been consistent with that. They both came to General Conference yesterday, which was honestly a nice pleasant surprise for me, especially since it's been years since the mom has come to church for anything. I feel that they will continue to progress super well.
I am sooo grateful that I still have time to work here in the mission field. I look forward to everyday as a new opportunity to work, and now you youngsters that read my email have a super amazing opportunity, thanks to modern revelation. Now the Lord is allowing His children to leave at an earlier age for the mission, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT! The mission really is the best decision that any young man or woman can take. I encourage it, but really, make it YOUR decision. That's the way it should be, and not anybody elses. Well, that's my soap box for now.
Dad- I will let you know.....I need to consider my options very carefully right now. I hope all is well with work and the house!
Mom-Micro climate, huh? Sounds like it'll be an adventure...You know how much I love chipping ice off of driveways! Have a great week!
Aly-Sorry about USU losing to the Zoo.....Blows. You know, for someone who tells me not to be sure know how to make me trunky! Have a good week!
Emi- Ok, so now I need to see that funny senior pic of yours! Congrats for making it into Utah State. I still don't know where I'm going to study yet.....probably should be getting on that, right? Have an amazing week!

I love you all, and I can't wait for your emails next week!

Elder Craig

Christian and Elder Tuesta

Christian sent this but didn't label it ... I assume it's Spam? :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wacky week!

Hello everybody!
So, this was an interesting week that was full of mystery, suspense, and missionary work.
So, as always, being in the area of the airport around transfer time is always a little stressful, because that means that I always end up having to have an exchange with some elders. This was the truth about this past week. The country was a little "protest happy" this week and decided to block the way for people to go and come from the city of Potosi. I had the priviledge of working with an Elder coming in from my old area in Tarija, Elder Patrick. He's a great missionary who actually studied at the Naval Academy before the mission. It was good to know how the ward was progressing in the past year since I left. I am happy to report that the ward actually split since I left!
So, my new(and last) companion is Elder Tuesta from Piura, Peru. He's got 5 months in the mission, so it's actually kind of funny to tell people how much time that we have in the mission. But one good thing is that he is already a boss teacher and missionary. Way better than I was at that time in my mission. We are looking like to have a bunch of success this next month of the mission. Gabriel looks like he's going to be baptized the 13th of this month in something called a "Noche blanca"(White night) in the which the entire zone has their baptisms together at the stake center.
We also are having a lot of progression with the Callahuara sisters. We got them to committ to new baptismal dates for the 20th of this month, and things are especially looking up for the youngest, Samanta. She's been coming to church consistently and is loving it! They have plans for this weekend to come to as many of the sessions of General Conference that they can. I am super excited to see what this month has in store for them.
Dad- Bunk beds I can't wait for winter, either. It's one of the few things I'm looking forward to.
Mom- Have fun with the Chili Affair this week! I think I'll report to Murray too. I'd really prefer that.
Aly- You have TONS going on. Don't worry- Weber was NEVER an option. Have a good week!
Emi- And I don't get pics???? College apps, huh? It's a super exciting time, enjoy it!
Alright, have a great! week! 


Elder Craig