Sunday, May 19th: There have been demonstrations and road blocks in the streets the last couple of weeks. So we waited until Saturday to try and find Fito's house so we could tell which ward he would be in. It depended on which side of the street he lived on. Sister Dyer said she would drive Chris by while they were shopping. Chris got out of the car and was looking at the buildings and a doorman came out and asked if she needed help. She explained who she was looking for and he said, “Oh, he lives on the 5th floor of this building. Do you want to talk to him?” Chris said, “ Sure.” The doorman called the apartment and Chris talked to Fito. He said he would need to talk to his wife and could we call later that evening. We thought, “Oh no, he is getting cold feet.” But later that evening he called us and he said that he didn't know if his wife and son would join him, but that we could pick him up at 9:30am. We thought we had checked the time of the ward he would be in. Well, we picked Fito up and his wife, Vivian, came with him. Their son stayed home. We got to church and figured out that the Cobija ward started at 8:00am and we thought it started at 10:00am. But we met the Elders in the hall and introduced them and then the Bishop came by and talked to them. He is one of the guards here at the temple, great man. Many members stopped and met them. The Elders did their job and asked if they could come to their house and answer questions. So they have an appointment on Thursday at 11:00am. We went ahead and attended the other ward that started at 10:00am. I asked the bishop if I could have a few minutes to talk. The first 2 speakers were a husband and wife who talked about marriage and the importance of treating each other kindly and being good examples to your kids. I then had an opportunity to talk and share the joy and happiness my marriage has brought into my life. I got a little emotional. I can't remember all I said, but the Spirit was powerful. They decided they wanted to attend a class. After Sunday school they said they needed to head home and check on Rafael. So we walked them home. It was no more than 10 minutes. We got to ask them about their impressions. They both said they felt something. I think Vivian loved it. She asked, “Is it like that every week, where they talk about relevant things that we need in our life. Can we visit next week?” They really liked the interaction of the members. She was also impressed that during the class they would read a scripture and then everybody would talk about it. They invited us in and we had some orange juice and talked a little more. We met Rafael, their 11 year old son. Chris is adopting him as her Bolivian grandson. She likes giving him hugs—and in Bolivia, 11 year old boys will still hug you back. We felt like real missionaries. Kory, thanks for letting us take them to church. I think it was a great success. We will now wait and see. Next week is stake conference for that ward and I am assigned to speak at all 3 meetings. Maybe I will see them next week also. The week was pretty normal until Friday when during our morning shift a bishop from Sucre approached me and asked if I could speak to his group of about 30. I agreed that mom and I would talk to them that evening at 6:30pm. We had a very nice meeting with this group of saints from Sucre. Sucre is about 8 hours south of Cochabamba. It was fun to interact with the youth and I talked about eternal life and that eternal life should be everyone’s goal and what we need to do to obtain it. Mom talked about the growth of the church in her lifetime.
|The Group from Sucre.|
Saturday, 25th: We started the morning early, helping get the 6:30am and 7:00am sessions going. We attended the one at 7:00am. Then we came home and I worked on a new talk for stake conference on Elder Bednar’s thought that we need to be agents that act, not objects to be acted upon. We went back up to the temple for our afternoon shift. We were pleasantly surprised that the first session in the afternoon had 54 and the second had 59. President Crayk came up and replaced me so that I could go the Cobija stake conference. I spoke in the Priesthood session and used a white board for the first time in my life. I used my new talk and got a lot of compliments afterward. I then left and drove back to the temple to pick up mom and the Hurst’s who wanted to attend the adult session. Mom and I both spoke in the adult session. Mom is getting very comfortable and doing a great job speaking.
Sunday, 26th: We said good bye to most of the North Americans this morning. Twelve of them are headed to La Paz where they are going to have a fireside with the young single adults and then on Monday they are going to ride mountain bikes down the road of death. We are praying that no one gets hurt and that they all come back alive. We arrived at conference for the general session and to our surprise, sitting in the middle, about 6 rows back was Fito and his son Rafael. We left the stand and went down and greeted them. It was a good meeting and the opening song was “Sweet is the work”. I had planned to use my talk on the word Dulce which is sweet in Spanish. That just clinched it. I had to give that talk. I was very happy with how the talk went and mom did a great job also. We were interested to learn that there are 25 missionaries from the Cobija Stake in the mission-field and another 12 have received their calls. "Catch the wave".
|The Stake Choir.|
|Left to right 1st counselor Pres. Arias, President Paredes, 2nd counselor Pres. Alvaro and me.|
|Right after conference ended. You can see Fito if you look close.|
After the meeting Fito and Rafael said they enjoyed the meeting and that they would come back to church next week.
|Fito, Rafael, mom and Sister Castellon a temple worker.|
We then talked to the full-time missionaries who had met with them and told them not to mess this one up. This is a really great family and they are looking for something more in their life. In the afternoon, we Skyped in with our kids and viewed the blessing of Ginny and Sam’s daughter, Willa.
Technology is such a special blessing. It makes being so far from family tolerable. After they had dinner, they dressed all the
grandkids in tee shirts that Jill and Char had made and took family pictures. Kirstin
had seen this idea and every family had their own color of tee shirts and then
every child had a number designating their number in the grandkid birth
order. (Badger is #1 (almost 10 years
old) and Abby is #14 (5 months.) We were
included by Skype and enjoyed watching them try and herd 14 kids (9 of them 4
years old or younger!) for a group picture.
Like herding cats!!
On Monday we
also talked to some of them while they were visiting graves for Memorial Day. Tuesday and Wednesday was back to normal and now
it is Thursday and 3 buses have arrived from Santa Cruz and so we should be
busy for the rest of the week.
|Ginny and Sam's family at Willa's blessing.|
|14 of the cutest grand-kids in the world!|
|Blue are John and Jill's, yellow are Charlotte and Alex's, green are Kate and Bryce's, red are Ginny and Sam's and purple are James and Kirstin's. Love them all.|
|3 little girls born within 4 months of each other while we were in Bolivia.|
|5 little monkeys ages 3 to 2.|