A quick journey through April, 2015
|One of the beautiful things about Bolivia are its plazas. This is one of the Plazas in Sucre. "25 de mayo". The cathedral below is on one of the corners of the Plaza. We love to hear the bells chime.|
Then on to Sucre!
Loud chanting and drums as well as the percussion of fireworks echoing off buildings interrupted our preparation for Saturday stake conference talks. I watched the political demonstration from out hotel window. Evidently there had just been a vote but it was very close and there was a 're-vote' scheduled. The people were chanting "respect the vote". Very peaceful . . . very loud!
I am including two photos of different stake conferences here to just give a taste of Bolivia. The floors in the church buildings are tile. The seating is movable so as to use the room in a variety of ways. Sometimes there are pews that can be moved and sometimes stack-able chairs like these. During stake conferences the chapel and many rooms along the hallways are prepared and set up with TV monitors. Some of the stakes even have rooms where the conference is translated into Quechua. In some stakes they set up 'tents' out in the parking lots for larger audiences. Sometimes we have to repeat the stake conference in two buildings . . . and the monitors, floral arrangements and speakers are quickly transported to the next conference. In our mission we have 7 stakes and one district. So far we have been asked to speak in every stake conference both evening and Sunday sessions . . . and President also speaks in the Priesthood Session. It is not easy for me. There are over 1,000 people there on Sundays and I really do not know spanish. Sometimes I am super nervous before the meetings, but somehow when it is time to speak I have enough strength to stand and do my best. I know I am helped every single time by Heavenly Father. He calms my heart, stops my knees from shaking, and helps me do things I would not be capable of doing without help. It is just one of the ways we are helped daily in this calling.
We often host family nights with investigators or recent converts here at the mission home. On one night we had a beautiful family of 4 join us for family night (along with the sister missionaries who were teaching them). At the end of the lesson President asked them if they had any questions they wanted to ask. The mother and the father both asked a few questions. Then President asked little Mariana if she had any questions. She looked at him and said . . "Will you baptize me?" So . . . he did! Isn't she beautiful?
When we were set apart as Mission President and companion, Elder Perry gave us a very specific counsel to take a P-day once a week. It is a very hard thing to do because there are constant demands but . . . we do try! When we can we love to explore the mountains around Cochabamba . . . sometimes the roads go right through rivers . . . :)
Farewells also happen every six weeks. We grow close to our missionaries, and miss them so much when they leave . . .
President hugs the elders, I hug the sisters. It is a tender time. We hope to stay close to them.
On the fun side of things . . . I am enjoying being TALL in Bolivia! (I am 5'4).
Not only do missionaries leave every 6 weeks but missionaries also move around. Many in this group are leaving Cochabamba for Sucre, Potosi and Villazon.
And the cycle starts again. This is the morning group of new missionaries (and office staff) from the Lima CCM).
Our office staff enjoys finding new things to feed our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders during their monthy training meetings. Yes . . . they did eat the WHOLE THING.
We got to visit with old and new friends. The Riggins were called the same time as we were and they are old friends from San Diego.
Our flight did not leave till 10:30 at night . . . so we rented a taxi and drove to the beach. I could smell the beach from blocks away. We just stood on the cliff and had a sensory overload ....
feeling breeze on our faces and the smelling the ocean and the hearing the crash of the waves. It was wonderful.
Cochabamba is NOT an easy place to get to. We had to overnight in La Paz. That is another beautiful city we hope to be able to explore someday. The flight through the Andes on the way to Cochabamba IS spectacular. This mountain peak is Illimana. One of the tall mountains right outside La Paz. (taken from the airplane window)
Flying back into Cochabamba. It is fun to leave and travel . . . but it always feels good to come back home. We LOVE Cochabamba, and we feel so very blessed to serve here.