Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanksgiving in Bolivia

[December 3, 2015] Thursday

As I was looking over my journal to write this blog I noticed several times having the opportunity to comfort someone. I don't usually know why they are crying or look like they need a hug, but when I feel moved to open my arms to them, they fall in and grab hold often times with tears. I hope by following these promptings that I might be an instrument in The Lord's Hands to share His Love with His daughters.

As I was serving at Silla Uno I was visiting with Brother Huanca (he calls himself Willie) who was serving at the mesa. He lives in La Paz with his wife and four children. He leaves his family, making the 8-10 hour flota ride, to serve in the Temple one week out of every month. His wife is a lawyer and he is a music producer, so his hours are fairly flexible. He's a real "hands on" Dad. His youngest is a real Daddy's boy and likes to be wherever his Daddy is. He cries when his dad leaves. But when Hno. Huanca leaves to go to the Temple, his little boy doesn't make a fuss at all. Hno Huanca feels his service in the Temple is a real blessing to his family. Just a side note, I was able to understand all that he said and made understandable comments. My Spanish is improving, thanks to these sweet patient people that will converse with me.

Hno. Huanca's mother in her beautiful Cholita dress at the temple.
Hermano Huanca is just one of many that sacrifice so much to serve in the Temple on a regular basis. Hermana Umei also comes from La Paz every month for a week. I have talked about Hermana Flores before, she is my "gemela" or twin. All of her children live in Tarija (about 20 hours away).  When her husband retired, five years ago, they moved to Cochabamba to serve in the Temple. It's hard for these good brothers and sisters to serve missions for economical reasons, so this is the Flores' way of serving a mission. So many faithful saints willing to sacrifice so much for this great work.

Thanksgiving Day was different for me as you can imagine. Years ago Becky came home from Institute and said her teacher challenged them to pray in thanks for 30 minutes. At first it seemed long but over the years, especially this one I feel like I could go on and on. I was able to offer my Thanksgiving Prayer from 5:40 am to 7:00 am, all in Spanish. It was the best one ever. I'm so grateful Heavenly Father understands my Spanish and I'm also grateful that I had an hour and twenty minutes worth of Spanish words to say.

After spending a wonderful relaxed morning together, we went on an adventure. We were looking for the right trufi to take to Stake Conference on Sunday. Hno Flores said to take the 107 or 207. We ended up walking all the way and taking the 207 home. Since it was Thanksgiving I had fixings to make a lovely dinner, but with the choice of an adventure and possible dinner out with my husband or staying at home cooking, well of course I chose the adventure. It was fun, but we took too long to stop for dinner so I just made cup of noodle soup, crackers, cantaloupe and cookies. A perfect Thanksgiving feast.

From the moment we decided to put in our mission papers and sell the house last year, I have felt a lot of emotions, but the over-riding emotion that continues with me daily is gratitude. Gratitude for everything in my life right now. For this amazing opportunity to serve. It is the perfect first mission for me in every way. I love being with my companion 24/7.  I love spending everyday in the Temple. The words of the ordinances are in my head and my heart, I want to use this time to glean all I can from them, to understand them more and to appreciate and utilize them more in my life.

I'm so thankful for these people. I love their simple, humble, gentle, patient ways. They have accepted me with open arms, hugs, smiles and kisses. I love there soft-spokeness. I want to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I strive and pray that I will know when He needs me and that I will be ready. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the assurance that they are taking care of my family while we are away. I feel it, even with all that is going on with Sawyer I feel His Hand in our lives. I'm also so grateful that my mother is happy and in a good place for her. Nancy and her family are so good to her and they have such a sweet spirit in their home. I'm also grateful that my sister Lyndie lives fairly close and visits mother often. Our children are all in a good place, progressing in their lives, and they love and care for each other. I can't ask for more than that.

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