Sunday, July 20, 2014

Morning Walks and shopping - a Photo Journal

Our beautiful morning walks 

We have the PERFECT morning walk. This is the street right outside our home. You can see the cobblestone street and the walls that surround each block of homes. In this neighborhood you have to knock on the outside door to gain entrance to the front yard and the front door.
This is the block we walk around! It is a little less that a half a mile. One of our first mornings we meet President Jensen, the temple president walking around the temple with a big trash bag in his hand. People love to sit on the lawns outside the temple, and we are also right by a school. Trash accumulates on our beautiful temple landscape, and most mornings President Jensen arises early to clean the temple grounds. But we have also found a joy in picking up the trash BEFORE he gets there. Our help Sonya told us she saw President Jensen wandering around with a confused look one morning - - - we beat him to trash pick up! :)

Saturday morning we were surprised at the SNOW that was left in  the mountains behind our home after a night of rain.

Adventures in shopping.  Finding new things is really a lot of fun!
Grocery shopping has been a fun adventure. Milk comes in bags.

Yogurt comes in bags AND 2 liter bottles! It is delicious

You do not pay extra for brown eggs - they all are brown.
Except for these LITTLE quail eggs.

No, I am not sure WHO would want to eat cold cereal called choko snails,

and I do not know WHY they have canned boiled peanuts.

On Saturdays there is an outdoor market. This Saturday I picked up some fruit that I have no idea what it is - but I know Sonya will know how to fix it for us.  There are lots of strange new things to try.

This boy is pushing our shopping cart! We could not carry it all by hand.

Just a few more fun Bolivian discoveries -

They DO have carne asada fries here . . .Bolivian style
This is Pike Macho - it is fried potatoes
seasoned spicy meat, and then they add peppers, carrots, HOT DOGS slices, onions tomatoes and of course . . the boiled egg.

And the last discovery - - - a restaurant named Tuesdays  (a lot like Fridays!)

A final story. Friday night we were asked to go to a hospital to visit a teenage boy who was in intensive care.    
A storm had come up that evening, and we struggled a bit finding the hospital in the dark wet weather without a good map. We arrived and the missionaries met us. We were introduced to the mother of the sick boy and President Hansen told her I could not speak Spanish. She looked at me and said (in spanish) she does not need to speak with words, she understands with her spirit. She proceeded to explain all that had happened to her son and I did understand the gist of the story. We then walked into the intensive care unit. A sweet cholita woman (native Bolivian, native dress, black hair in braids down to her waist, scarf in her hair - beautiful woman) came up to the missionaries and asked them if they could do something for HER son. They explained the blessing of the sick and annointing with oil. She asked if they would bless her son. And so President Hansen and the missionaries annointed and blessed this unconscious boy. As they began to pray she looked over at me with huge tears rolling down her cheeks. She edged over and laid her head on my arm (she was too short to reach my shoulder). and she began silently mouthing her prayer along with theirs.  Following the blessing Pres. Hansen invited her to pray for her boy. What a heartful, tearful, loving, faithfilled prayer! After she had finished she looked at me again  and just reached and held on to me.  We left to visit the boy we had come to see. I learned a lot that night. The mother of the boy we had originally come to see was right. Words are not always necessary or even needed.  Sometimes they just get in the way.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

AH Bolivia!

Our first guests from Tupiza

We arrived last Friday to our new home. The airport in Cochabamba has two stories, and people wait to see the new arrivals from the second floor balcony. We walked off the plane, down the stairs and across the tarmack. As we drew closer to the ´terminal´we heard "PRESIDENT HANSEN!" and we glanced up for our first look at OUR MISSIONARIES smiling and waving wildly! After gathering our luggage we were able to walk into the lobby to see an large banner welcoming us to the Cochabamba mission. It was surrounded by our assistants and office Elders and President and Sister Dyer. Let me just share a few of our first impressions of this remarkable place. Cochabamba is a big city with old and new all mixed together. For example, there is a nice, modern Mercedes Benz dealership sharing a wall with a small little tienda (I do not even know if the tienda has a door). Downtown has high rise buildings, and there are tree lined streets and parks and plazas with statues and water fountains. The traffic is interesting. I believe there ARE traffic laws, (I see stop signs and speed limits) but I do not think ANYONE follows any laws. There are many ´rotundas´(circular intersections)but I have NO IDEA if anyone has a right of way. It is a bit stressful being the passenger in the car but I think Mark is enjoying driving like a Bolivian. It will be a VERY long time before I drive here. (if ever!) The temple is absolutely beautiful. It is on a slight hill surrounded by lush green lawns and large trees. But the most beautiful thing about the temple are the people who come here. Many people and many cultures come here. I love to drive by and see the families and youth groups sitting on the lawns inside and outside the temple grounds. i love to see clothing. There are many different styles of hats that are worn depending on where you are from in Bolivia. As well as many different styles of clothing. People travel here from parts of Peru and Chili. On Tuesday morning we were to greet a group that were coming from Tupiza (southern Bolivia). But their bus met with blockades and they did not arrive until Tuesday night. (for political reasons there are blockades where the streets and roads are closed . . . it sounds like a common occurance :) ). Anyway these people had traveled for 25 hours before coming to the mission home so they could get their temple recommends renewed. One couple was also being sealed. These people came here tired and (I found out) hungry. They were small in stature but their spirit filled the whole room. It was tangible. And the love for us, whom they had never met, (but we represented the church to them) was also very real. It was almost indescribable. The mission home is directly behind the temple (across the street). There are two bay windows upstairs from which I have the best view of the temple! And across the valley and on top of another small hill is one of the worlds largest statues of Christ. I love to look out this window at night and see the temple lite up in front of me and the statue of Christ glowing on a hill not far away. Our home is beautiful, with large pictures of Christ hanging on the walls from a remodel of the temple. It has the most welcoming spirit here. I have felt at home since I got here and I think it is just because it is the mission home. It is a special place. We have many people looking out for us. Just like the elders have a pensionista who cooks for them twice a day, we have our ayudar (help) named Sonya. She is an angel. She cooks for us twice a day on week days - and cares for the house but she also is helping us know what and how to do things. The elders, (our assistants, secretary, and office staff) look after us and tell us where to go and when and what to do! We would be lost with out all these people helping and guiding us. We are doing well, and we are watched over and cared for as we learn our duty. Tomorrow we travel to Sucre to continue interviewing all 270 of our missionaries in the first few weeks. I will write about Sucre next. It is supposed to be a wonderful and beautiful city. Thank you for your prayers in our behalf. We feel them. I have shared my testimony 3 times in SPANISH! (yes I did ask for a little help when I got stuck) but I am learning. President Hansen is just that - PRESIDENT HANSEN. (Whom the Lord calls he qualifies!) with love, Kathy