Monday, August 31, 2015

Elder Bednar came to COCHABAMBA!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bishop Stevenson, Elder Uceda and Maria, Elder Bednar and Susan , Elder Soares Rosana and , President Hansen and Kathy

We arrived at the church about 10:15 and found the chapel already almost full with expectant missionaries. We had received permission for President to decide about bringing all of our missionaries into Cochabamba for this three hour special meeting with Elder Bednar and his wife, Bishop Stevenson and his wife, Elder Soares and his wife and Elder Ucedes and his wife. We just had to have them all come;). Those from Sucre traveled for 16 hours by bus, and those from farther south traveled much longer. But they wanted to have an opportunity to see and hear an apostle, and although the trip was tiring they said it was worth it.

The meeting was supposed to begin at 11:30. At a little before 11:00 the security for Elder Bednar invited us to a back room to speak with Elder Bednar. We walked into a room full of amazing men and women and got to speak with them for a few minutes. Elder Bednar asked about our mission, and about the needs of the missionaries. His concern for the missionaries and their needs was touching.

The meeting was under the direction of Elder Bednar, He asked  Elders Soares and Bishop Stevenson to speak with their wives and to share words of counsel with the missionaries and then he begin taking questions. It was wonderful to watch how Elder Bednar taught using the questions the missionaries had. Sometimes he involved Elder Soares and Elder Ucedes and Bishop Stevenson to comment on the questions.  He helped the missionaries think deeper, and understand clearer as he taught and answered their questions by probing a little into the missionaries thoughts. The main focus for me was how he taught the missionaries to be agents and not objects.

I was pretty comfortable sitting on the stand. With an apostle and 3 members of the seventies they would never ask me to speak. I was wrong. As the meeting was drawing to a close Elder Bednar called President and I up together and asked us to share our testimonies. It was quite an honor. Iwas  very touched as I looked out - and saw all our missionaries together. That is something that just does not happen because of the geographical distances involved in our mission. The feeling of having them ALL in one room, being taught by these men was overwhelming and as Elder Bednar left, and the missionaries stood to honor him I became teary. Getting to see and listen to an apostle in a small group of 200+ people is probably a once in a lifetime experience for most of our Latino missionaries. I am grateful I got to experience it with them.

(We only got one photo. There was a photographer there but we do not know who he is. If and when we find him we can post photos of missionaries with Elder Bednar.)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fall and Winter 2015

It may be over 100 degrees in the United States but it is winter here in Bolivia. These photos are from June, July and last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                       The Cholitas work hard harvesting and stacking the grain.  The mountains are covered with patches of tilled or harvested farms.

 Always, always working.
Family working together, father tilling and mom and children planting seeds from their buckets.

Sometimes while driving we have to wait . . . . because there is a cow in the road-

We took this photo while driving near Potosi. They are making chuño. The potatoes are harvested and the smaller ones are spread out to freeze in the cold night air and then dry in the warm sun of the day. In between the freezing and drying the excess moisture is pressed out by stepping on them. So . . . freeze dried potatoes, Andean style.  The process takes about 5 days. This is a common food in Bolivia, and although it is served often it is not one of the missionaries favorites!

 The weather forecast said 50 degrees. So we were a little suprised with snow in Potosi for Zone conference. It was beautiful and we just sat a little closer in the chapel (they buildings are unheated), and we kept our coats and scarves and even mittens on for the almost 6 hour meeting!

Driving into Potosi. It only gets snow a couple times a year. 

 Missionaries are still bundled up at the end of the meeting but they all wanted to pose with President and the OBEY hat we found at the Cancha (a huge outdoor market where you can find ANYTHING).  We always, always teach the blessings of obedience - but the missionaries especially loved the new hat.