Wednesday, February 17, 2016


[February 17, 2016]

I have had some good growing opportunities in our wards lately. One Sunday, Hno. Delgadillo, a member of the bishopric who was conducting that day, asked me if I would say the opening prayer. I said yes with a bit of a cringe. I figured I'm a missionary, I should say yes, even if it makes me nervous. I made a lot of mistakes but I felt good about it and these sweet people are very kind and forgiving.

The next Sunday  I heard the bishop (of the other ward) say over the pulpit, that Hna. Lyon would give the closing prayer. No opportunity to say no to that one. I did a little bit better that time.

Then this last Friday we got a call from Hno. Delgadillo inviting Charlie and me to speak in church in two days. Charlie asked me if I would be willing to do it on such short notice. I said, of course, because I know that The Lord will help me. He did. My topic was "The Great and Spacious Building represents the vain imaginations and the pride of the world" and Charlie's was "Don't seek after the vain things of the world because you can't take them with you".

I told about us and then I compared the Great and Spacious Building to the Temple and how Satan always has his counterfeit. What the Pride of the world offers compared to what the Temple promises. I felt good about it and I know the Spirit helped me to get through it.

Charlie's talk was amazing. He spoke with such love, enthusiasm and testimony. He didn't read any of it but just spoke freely from his heart. I love to hear him speak. He made me cry. He shared things that the congregation could relate to and they were listening to every word, you could hear a pin drop it was so reverent.

Then we taught our class. The students in our class participated with good comments and questions. Charlie is a very good teacher. They trust him and feel loved by him. I'm grateful that I can give a small part of the lesson each week, not too overwhelming but participating in my own way.

Here at the Temple, we will have seven of our missionaries completing their missions within this next week. We will miss their friendship and the temple will definitely miss their service. If you are reading this and considering a mission we could use you. It is like a paradise here. Anyway, Sister Valdizán is one of the missionaries going home, so we had her over for dinner Sunday night. She cuts all the missionaries' hair at no charge. She is one of the most serving, selfless people I know. It was fun to have her here for the evening.

She and the Parkers (our across the hall neighbors) left Monday morning at 4:30 am. We got up to see them off. It's a tradition here to give a send off to the ones who are leaving, even if it's at 4:30 am. The Jensens always drive them to the airport, we all hug and get teary, very sweet.

The temple is closed this week. So you guessed it, we went to La Cancha again. One of the sister missionaries wanted a hat like the cholitas wear. I don't know if you can get them anywhere other than La Cancha, but you can get everything there so we told her we would get it for her.

We are always up for an adventure so we took the #3 bus through La Cancha, past the airport, but not all the way to the end of the line. We got out and walked a couple of blocks to the water park. It was closed and some boys told us that it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays when school is in session (school started a couple of weeks ago). We walked all the way around it and didn't see anything in the way of water activities until the very last part, we did see a lake (very small) with boats and two big swan paddle boats as well as some slides and what looked like splash pads in the distance. It would be fun to come back when it is open. We walked to La Cancha from there.

As always we enjoyed our adventure at La Cancha. I asked a Cholita where I could buy a hat like hers and she smiled and said "La Pampa". So we asked another younger worker where La Pampa is. "Más alla." Or "over there". Well we did find it and they had lots of hats, several different vendors.

After trying on a lot of them, I found one that I thought might fit the sister missionary, and if it didn't I would just keep it for me. It was so cute. It's a straw hat with a wide brim that they paint white or tan which makes them very stiff. I discovered in trying it on that most of these hats have an elastic that you put behind your head to hold them on.They also have a trim and cute flowers. We brought it home and it fit her just right.

As we were sitting on the bus I had an overwhelming feeling come over me and it made me smile. I loved the people, the scenery, my companion, everything. I felt so grateful for the opportunity to be here. I want to make every moment count. I want to be an instrument in the Lord's Hands. I want all the people here to know that they are loved. I know that my mission here is to serve in the temple, but as we are out and about we represent The Lord Jesus Christ and wear His name on our chest. I hope as they read my badge they will feel my love for them and connect His name with that love.

Today, we went with 3 other missionary couples to a beautiful park in the mountains called Pairumani. We took Trufi 209 out to Quillacollo, got off at Plaza Bolivar, and caught Trufi  211 up to the park. Everything was so beautiful!!! The countryside is beautiful, well kept farmland.

At the park, there were giant eucalyptus trees, lush greenery, a camping area, picnic tables and at the top, a waterfall.They have diverted the water from the waterfall to use for irrigation.It runs through the park in a very aesthetically pleasing cement walled canal. The walls of the canal are about 2 feet high and a foot thick, just perfect for sitting on and wading. The other sisters and I put our feet in the cold water before we came home. We hiked up a beautiful trail - a bit steep and rocky in places - to the waterfall. We went through a little tunnel and part of the trail was very narrow with a pretty steep drop off on the one side. But it was all beautiful. We brought our lunches and picnicked on a log. As we left to go back to Plaza Bolivar we counted the people in our Trufi - there were 21! We left about 8:30 in the morning and got home about 2:45. A great adventure with good friends.

Here are some pictures from the Park:

The canal with the diverted water running through the park.
This little lady was preparing to lift the headgate to let the water flow
down a separate canal. That's Elder Hill talking to her, and
Elder Russell walking past.
You know who just at the entrance of the tunnel.
Molly walking along the trail with the drop-off to the right.
Another view of the trail with Elder Angle.
Finally - the waterfall. Really, just a diversion dam with an overflow.
A view of the Cochabamba valley from Pairumani. It was a hazy day, but very beautiful.
Through the fence at the waterpark.
Not the best picture of a 21 passenger van, but I was crammed in the back seat when I took this.
Tomorrow we are we are looking forward to preparing a traditional Bolivian meal for the Paredes. They are completing their mission next week and going back home to La Paz. They have children and grandchildren and even a couple of great grandchildren in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Brazil. After visiting their family for 6 months, they plan on coming back to Cochabamba, renting a place and working in the temple every day. There are quite a few couples here who have moved far from family to serve in the temple. Charlie has mentioned the Paredes in the blog before. They are both very humble hard working dear friends. Neither one speaks any English. Hno. Paredes and Charlie are doing the shopping in the morning and Hna. Paredes is coming over at 11:00 to teach me how to prepare it. We plan on eating at 1:00. We are having pork, sweet potatoes, fried bananas, I don't remember what else, but I am looking forward to it.

The Temple in the evening.

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