Saturday, July 29, 2017

Back to work in Tupiza

[29 July 2017]

We have been very busy since we've been back from Cochabamba.

There are a couple of sisters we have been trying to track down to verify their records. We finally succeeded. The one sister, Martha, seemed happy to see us and even let us come to her home to talk about her records. It's more than just talking about the records. As with most things we do in the church, it seems there is usually more than one thing accomplished when we are doing the Lord's work. 

This sister has been away from the church for a number of years. Charlie has a way of asking hard questions with love. The one being asked the questions usually feels comfortable enough to answer, as did this dear sister. I think she was waiting for something like this to give her the push she needs to come back. She thanked us over and over for visiting her in her home. She has a flower shop in town and so we have visited her there, several times.

Our other sister is not quite ready to receive a visit from us. However, she and Martha are good friends and maybe they will be good influences on each other.

Another sister that we have grown close to is our produce vendor at Mercado La Paz, Jeaneth. We have met her whole family at the Mercado. She keeps track of us and tells us when we haven't been there in a while. She seemed happy to see us after our trip the week before. While I was digging through and climbing on things to find what I wanted, Charlie was giving her the first discussion. I kept looking for more things while I listened to their conversation. She said we could bring her a Book of Mormon next time we came, but she wasn't quite ready for us to go to her home yet. 

We had a family home evening with the Arumburo family.  We talked about the Holy Ghost. I was impressed with the whole family. The mother is a member. The sons, a 17 year old and 11 year old, have been coming to church for a while and would like to be members. The Dad is not a member and has not been coming to church until recently. I was impressed with the dad. He was patient and loving with his kids. He seemed to be receptive to our message and had good comments. It was good to be there. The mother was passing out oranges and I gave her the cookies that we brought with us. They seemed to enjoy our being there. 

They live in a very small room with a set of bunk beds and a double bed. The 10 month old baby sleeps in her stroller with lots and lots of coats, sweaters and a big furry plush winter cover all. Even with that big fuzzy thing on, her mother was going to put another stocking cap under the cover all. It does get cold in their houses at night. It was great to be with them.

On Saturday we took a rapidito out to Charaja to visit our friends, the Martinez family, that we have mentioned before. They always feed us when we come, so this time we brought some home made cookies to share. When we got there no one was home. Their niece, who lives next door, was outside and she told us they were at the river washing their clothes. We visited with her dad a bit and he told us how to get to the river. 

It was a fun adventure. We did find them, but they were on the far side of the river. We looked for a crossing that wouldn't require us to roll up pant legs and hike up my skirt. There really wasn't any place. We were happy when they came across the river to talk to us. I was glad we could share our cookies with them to add to their fun day at the river. They are such a sweet family and seem to enjoy being together.
The river near Charaja. Doesn't look like the best place to wash clothes.

Rama América had a Noche de Hermanamiento or night of fellowshipping. It is for the whole branch and I think they do it regularly. We had an opening song and prayer then the missionaries gave a short lesson. After the closing song and prayer, we all went outside to play games. It was fun. There was one other adult outside playing with us, a young father. Charlie was inside talking with the Branch President and helping a sister with her records. She has been a member for 30 years. Her family (because of Charlie's questioning mind) is finally getting connected on the records of the church. I think she was very happy when he got through with her. I was happy that I didn't break anything as I ran around with the teenagers in the dark.

And last night, we had another Noche de Hogar with two families - the Maizes and Alemans. The wives are sisters. They have young children, but they were at the church practicing for the Pioneer Day activity at the church tonight, so we were able to talk to them in depth about being spiritually self-reliant. Hna. Maiz has been a member the longest, maybe two years. The Alemans have been members since January. Just as we finished talking about the Holy Ghost and how to learn and grow through its influence, the kids showed up, so we had cookies and played games before coming home.

These are just a few of the experiences we have had this past week. We are enjoying the work and loving the people. There is a lot to do and we are so grateful to do whatever we can to help and support the good members and leaders here in Bolivia. 

Here's a recent picture of us, just to scare you all.

Us outside the Tupiza Branch chapel.

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