Friday, July 28, 2017

Cochabamba Again

[28 July 2017]

We are having some wonderful experiences with the young missionaries.

We had a big zone conference in Sucre and officially met our new mission President and his wife. They are delightful people and seem to have a good rapport with young people. 

To get to Sucre we (14 of us missionaries) left Tupiza on a bus around noon and arrived in Potosí about 4 pm, where we picked up some 20 more  missionaries. It is so fun to see their camaraderie and their enthusiasm. We got into Sucre about 8:30 pm. We were met by the zone leaders, who took very good care of us. They walked us all to our hostels, carrying the two sisters' and my luggage. I'm so impressed with their leadership. They take charge when it is their responsibility and they are confident and caring and give us confidence that we are in good hands.

We are very spoiled when we travel, even here in Bolivia we have stayed in some very nice places. Well, this time we were not in charge and we stayed in a hostel. It was different, not luxurious, but comfortable enough. They even had breakfast of dry bread, yogurt and juice. Not yummy, but felt good in our tummies. This is the first carpet I've seen in Bolivia outside of the temple. Isn't it lovely?

Hostel room in Sucre. A bit run down, but adequate.
It actually had carpet! (if you can call it that)
Zone conference was wonderful. We were taught by the Assistants to the President and other missionaries. Our mission president's wife shared about their family. President Montoya asked Charlie to take some time to share his insights and wisdom. He talked briefly about the wonderful Bolivian people, and how these missionaries will be grateful throughout their lives to have been here. He talked briefly, as well, about how the blessings that come when we serve are far greater than any sacrifice we may offer.

President Montoya then taught us beautiful, powerful truths from the scriptures. The missionaries ate it up. It was time well spent.

One of my very favorite things about these big zone conferences (three zones were in attendance), is the singing. Wow! The young missionaries sing with gusto and feeling ... so beautiful! I love being a part of that music.

A member family from Sucre served us a wonderful, yummy, traditional meal called pique macho and a traditional, colorful cake for dessert.

We had some free time after the conference, so we went sight-seeing. The Elders suggested going to El Castillo la Glorieta. It was built by a man and his wife who achieved great wealth here in Bolivia, and were appointed to represent Bolivia in Europe. They were made a Prince and Princess in Italy, so they are considered something like royalty here in Sucre. The buildings were impressive, but in bad repair, without furniture or fixtures. One fun thing, though was the narrow spiral tower with 108 steps that we ascended. They were charging for the "right" to take pictures, so we only took pictures from outside the gates. There wasn't much inside worth photographing, really. 

The "Principality of La Glorieta". 

You can see that tower we ascended in the center.
It was the most interesting part.
We took a bus back, walked around the central part of the city. When Charlie was here as a young missionary they called Sucre the "white city". All of the buildings in the center of town are white and it is beautiful. Sucre is one of Bolivia's bigger cities.
We spent another night in our hostel and flew out the next morning with 3 elders and 3 sisters to Cochabamba to complete the paper work for our visas and our identification cards.

Once in Cochabamba we were on our own. The elders in charge now know they don't have to entertain or worry about us in Cochabamba. We got the same room at the hospedaje that we had a week or so ago. It felt like we had come home. We didn't have much to do while in Cochabamba except our "tramites" -- paper work. 

We flew from Cochabamba to Sucre Friday afternoon, dropping off a couple of the missionaries and picking up the companions of the missionaries who went to Cochabamba with us. We took two taxis to Potosi, arriving at about 8:30.

The road from the airport that we took bypassed the city and it was basically a wash. It got so dusty I don't know how the driver could see out the window. He was definitely used to driving this side road because he went very fast and knew all the sharp turns. It did cut off a good portion of travel time.

In Potosi, we stopped and had dinner before taking another rapidito to Tupiza. We all slept a little. We got into Tupiza about 2:30 am. It was a very long drive.The taxis were all lined up to pick up anyone that came in on a rapidito. We got to bed about 4. We slept till about 10.  

One thing that impressed me about the missionaries, wherever we were, was that they were missionaries. They talked to the people in the rapidito on the way to the airport and in the airport while waiting for the flight. I was very proud of our missionaries.

We found out just as we were leaving on our trip that we were giving talks in Sacrament meeting the day after we got home. So we spent a good portion of the day working on our talks. About 5, we went looking for an object lesson for Charlie's talk. We found brightly colored Jenga blocks that were PERFECT to show the balance between our sacrifice and the Lord's blessings in response to our sacrifice. It went great. In fact, in Sunday School the Branch President referred to it and in Relief Society a couple of sisters reminded us of things from Elder Lyon's talk. 

It's great to be back in Tupiza.

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