August 3, 2015 {Week 7}: Happy to be in Bolivia

So I actually have a lot to write about, but I think I’ll just address the mission field!  The day we flew in, an agnostic man from Mexico asked me about the church and how it was the different from the Catholic church!  In my broken Spanish I tried to explain that we believe in modern day prophets who receive revelation just as the prophets of old.  I offered him a Book of Mormon but he politiely declined.  I haven’t even left Perú and I’m already being a missionary!

I am in the City of Santa Cruz, Equipetrol (linked).
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A view of my neighborhood
It’s dirty and windy and dusty, kind of humid, but it’s spring right now so it’s not so bad.  It’s really been beautiful every day.  Also we live near the zoo and we are going to go in a couple of weeks! The food is better than the CCM, but not by much.  I’ve had a cold for the past week, but today I am feeling majorly improved so I am hoping to be back to normal by the end of this week!
I can understand everything folks!  Literally all of the Spanish I’ve heard(okay, outside of complicated tangents and sudden conversation changes) I can understand!  Oh and children, they don’t make much sense.  I can’t speak very well, but no one has to speak slowly or clearly for me to understand cause I actually do!  My trainer is Hermana Huerta from Lima Norte.  I love her and for that I am thankful! She has nice intelligible Spanish and is surprised out how much I understand!  I just need to practice speaking more. Although my accent isn’t horrendous… it’s just not latina haha. I hope to start teaching English lessons soon as well.
The culture is very different, everyone has fences and locked gates around their homes, so we rattle the lock and the dogs come barking until someone comes and we ask if so and so is home.  So basically we wander around for several hours in the dirt and sun knocking on peoples fences to see if our investigators are home.  There are dogs EVERYWHERE, just everywhere.  Most are fairly friendly too, it’s fun to watch them in this environment– as they trot up and down the streets looking for food or waiting outside their homes.
The part of the city we are in is kind of dangerous so we, as the sisters, have to return home by 730 at night.  We practice her English and my Spanish in the evenings by speaking Spanglish and reading from the Bible and the Book of Mormon in English and Spanish.
oh!  There are only 21 sisters in this mission and 187 elders.  Yeah.  Hermana Huerta y yo are the only sisters in this zone.  There are a lot of American elders, in fact six more are in the CCM right now, getting ready to come here on the next transfer day.
The Zambranos (mission president) picked us up at the airport and allowed us to call home!  It was such a blessing to be able to talk to my parents and just let them now a little bit about what had happened and was going to happen.  I’ll talk to them again in December.
By the way, as you can imagine, the last name is a struggle for people hahaha.  Oh, we live in a house that’s filthy and needs some cleaning. There are 3 bedrroms and a foyer and kitchen, but we just use the one bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
I’m always tired, my sleep has still been a little off and heavy on the weird dreams. haha– They say that means I’m working hard.  The days are sometimes long, especially when no one is home and our lessons fall through(like on Saturday when we walked probably 6 miles just hoping someone was home… we didn’t teach a single lesson). But I know the time will fly by and soon enough I’ll be fluent in Spanish, my English will struggle(some of the American elders who have been out awhile…. it’s a struggle to understand their English). But I’ll be home before I know what’s happened.
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At the end of a long day
Hermana Velasquez gave us a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 9 days and count every mention of God and Christ.  I am short like 5 pages but I plan on finishing this evening.  Here are the grand totals so far:
Christ(any and all references)– 1600
God(any and all references)– 1600
Satan/Lucifer(by name)– 30
I’ve loved this challenge so much!  I’ve never read the Book of Mormon so fast in my life, but it’s really helped me to appreciate the history of the Nephites and the Lamanites and their faith and trust in Christ and in God.  A huge testimony booster for me!  The work of the Lord must roll on and I am here to assist in it!
Proverbs 25:25 (linked)
Hermana E Butikofer
By the way, check out the couple of recipes I have posted on the blog!
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