Sunday, October 26, 2014

50 Year Anniversary of the Church in Bolivia

Cochabambas' 5 stakes celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Church in Bolivia by reserving a Plaza in downtown Cochabamba and joining in a "Feria".

 The Relief Society headed up the whole thing.
There were booths to teach about food storage and 48 hour emergency kits.
I learned about the versatility of soda bottles. Theycan be used for food storage, sprouting grains, 
planting vegetables,  and the bottles are even artistically cut up and painted to make floral arrangements.

          There were booths for raising chickens, and guinea pigs.

And the Relief Society shared and sold their beautiful handcrafts. There were beautiful crocheted sweaters, blankets, baby things etc. as well as hand painted table cloths, crafts. baked goods and oil paintings

                                   The missionaries were able to talk with many people . . .

... and they filled out many referral cards

They are amazing young men and women and so fun to watch as they serve and teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Look at the Elders outstretched hands :))

We bought these roses at the feria. We paid a little less than $3 for 24 beautiful roses.

On our way home we got a quick shot of a newly married couple in front of the temple. 

This last photo is from today, Sunday. It does not really fit in the whole 50 year celebration but . . . I am going to include it anyway. Today was Stake Conference in one of the 5 stakes here in Cochabamba. They always ask us to speak in every stake conference. My Spanish is very limited, but I think the Lord wants me to stretch (and the Bolivians are very kind as I try to learn). And so I try, and try and try . . .  These beautiful flowers were right in front of us as we sat on the stand and so I held my phone down low and snapped this shot. As you can see in the distance it is 11 AM. Time for church to begin . . . but Bolivia runs on Bolivian time. I think we started about 11:15 with perhaps a third of the people who eventually came. There are a few who drive but many walk or catch taxis, or truffis so it is not always easy to get to church on time. One of my favorite moments from today occured after the meeting. A family came up to greet us and I knelt down to talk to a beautiful little girl - probably less than 2 years old. I smiled and said "Hola" - she looked at me with wide brown eyes and tentatively reached to touch my cheek. I think she was wondering what happened to my skin! It was not the beautiful brown skin she was used to:) I reached and touched her cheek and she smiled from ear to ear. Sometimes I do not need to speak spanish:) 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Election Day in Bolivia

 Today, Sunday October 12 is Election Day in Bolivia. The past few weeks have been full of bands and parades in the streets, and people passing out flags, or posters, or flyers for the candidates at the busier intersections in town.  Beginning Friday gatherings of more than 8 people were against the law. So we had to be cautious with our interviews this and asked the missionaries to come to the mission office only in companionships and not as districts crowding into taxis (as they like to do to save money.) Today there were no church meetings held in the chapels because of the 'no more than 8 people gathering' rule. The missionaries have been in their apartments today, just as a precaution. But they were out teaching tonight 
Everyone over the age of 18 is required to vote. If you do not vote there are penalties, like a freeze on your passport, inability to use banks, or a fine. You also need to go to the place you registered to vote (unless you planned ahead and transferred your registration). Cars, taxis and buses are prohibited from driving today so families are out on the streets walking to vote.

Since I am writing about Bolivian things - - -
This is one of the Bolivian national flowers (yes they have two).
The Kantuta. They were given to Mark and I after a stake conference that we spoke in by a sweet woman welcoming us to Bolivia. The flowers are the three colors of the flag.

 Back to Sunday, We walked down to the temple this morning (since there are not gatherings in chapels) to meet with a SMALL group of temple missionaries to hold a little sacrament meeting. It is awesome to see the sacrament blessed by older men with white hair who help each other up after kneeling. 
   It has  been a beautiful, quiet Sabbath. 

This family, (and missionaries, and an investigator) came for family night on Monday. Often missionaries will bring new converts or investigators for a family night here with us. 

This family came up last week from Tupiza to go with their son through the temple and to have their son set apart by Mark to serve a mission in Paraguay. It is a very long trip by bus (probably 20 hours) but they were all smiles.
This week we are beginning our 'entrevistas' - our interviews. While President meets with each missionary individually, I talk with them and encourage the latin missionaries to learn english . Thee Elders are studing english . . . and this photo was NOT posed. They are fun!

 I just had to close with this darling little girl. We were at a baptism, and she just couldn't stay awake any longer. We are off to Sucre, Tupiza and Potosi this week. Interviews and a district conference:)