Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More Winter, Preparing for Santa Cruz

[August 11-17, 2015] Tuesday through Monday 

We're achieving more of a routine, it seems. All in all, this week has much less to report. No real excitement here. We walked down to the Home Center (yes, that's its name) store on Av. Uyuni to look for a picture frame, an exercise mat for Molly, and an extra pillow for the bed. Just to make sure you know it's still winter here, we took a few pictures. This first one didn't turn out as well as I wanted, but it shows some of the flowers just outside the hospedaje where we live:

Flowers outside the hospedaje
View of the hospedaje from the North side (between the
Temple and the hospedaje). We live on the other side, top floor,
with a view of the city.
Flowers on the walk up to the Temple entrance
(guard house, or garrita).

This shows the mountains a bit better. The Temple is a kilometer or so behind the group of buildings on the left.
View from Av. Uyuni, near Home Center. This is called the
Parque del Arquitecto.
We spent the rest of the day just relaxing, until our shift at the temple. Mom is recovering from a stomach bug, it seems.

We went to the Migración office this morning for the next step of our Visa process. The end result will be a Carnet de Identidad, which will remove the need to carry our passports when we travel internally in Bolivia. Today, we stood in line with a bunch of missionaries working on the same thing. It was really fun to talk to them and see how excited they were to be here.

We talked to one sister missionary, who said they have to turn their shower on for 45 minutes for it to warm up before they shower, and even then, it isn't very warm. But she didn't have any complaints - she was just happy to be here as a missionary. She's from the States, and her companion is from Peru.

We talked to some other missionaries, and they treated us so well. It's always fun to see them working, and in church on Sunday, etc.

We finally got to the head of the line, signed some papers, and got our passports back. We were then told that in 25 days, we could pick up our Carnets. Slow process.

We walked back home (about 1 km), and then just relaxed until our temple shift. Molly thought she felt fine, but the sisters at the temple didn't agree with her, so they sent her home early to sleep. When I got home, she claimed she felt better, but we'll see tomorrow.

We just hung around the apartment today. Molly got a good, long nap, and I studied and caught up on things.

More recuperation for Molly.

Looks like Molly is past the GI bug. She finally felt back to normal. We went to the Feria for fruits and vegetables, and then came back home.

At the temple, I got a surprise. The regular shift coordinator was ill, so Presidente Mogrovejo asked me to be the shift coordinator. I've never done that before, but I figured I'd better say yes. He assured me that he would help in any way necessary. That was a good thing, because we only had five men there. That's about as bare bones as we've ever had it. So, I got to fill in for a couple of other brothers at the same time, seemingly having to be in two or three places at the same time.

Part of the problem is that today is the last day before the temple closes for maintenance next week, and some of the local workers had left early for family visits, etc. All in all, it worked out, but it took some creative juggling of responsibilities to make sure everything got done. Presidente Mogrovejo was good for his word. It was great to have him backing me up.

We went to the Sacrament meetings for the Rosedal and Linde wards. The Stake President (Presidente Arias) spoke in both wards, announcing a special Stake Conference next week in the Cobija Stake. Elder Bednar is here to conduct a special training for the Stake Presidents, and to speak at this Stake Conference. Presidente Arias encouraged the members to come, be prepared to listen and learn, and to share in the spirit that will be there.

We went to the Sunday School class after the last Sacrament Meeting. We think we're understanding more and more all the time. It does seem like it's getting easier to understand the various accents and speaking styles. The closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting was given by a sweet sister that we see at the Temple frequently. She gave the prayer in Quechua. It really pointed out to us that there are no class distinctions in this ward.

Tonight, we had a pot-luck dinner to welcome Sister Butler, a new temple missionary. She served a mission at age 34 in Ecuador, and has taught Spanish in Elementary School and High School for many years. It will be good to have her here.

We finished the day Skyping with family. It's always fun to see and hear from all of them. We missed a couple, but we'll catch them tomorrow.

All the other gringo missionaries left today to spend a few days in Puno, Peru, visiting the floating islands there. They invited us to go before we got here, and we didn't want to make that decision just before our long journey to Bolivia, so we deferred. In the meantime, we decided to go to Santa Cruz to visit the Alvarez family, so we spent today packing and getting ready to go tomorrow.

We went back down to the Home Center again, and got another small carry-on size suitcase to make our trip to Santa Cruz a bit easier.

We visited with Becky and Holly today via Skype/phone. All in all a good week.

Here's a view of the temple as we climb up the hill to the garrita. This is the steepest part of the walk to the temple. Not to beat a dead horse, but have I mentioned that it's still winter here?

Cochabamba Bolivia Temple

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