I’m still here in Riberalta folks! No he abandonado mi redil pequeñito acá!(I have not abandoned my little flock here.)
Okay so a couple of quick stories.
Monday Hermana Karla bought us some stuff to try and dye Hermana Justo’s skin. [What, why?!] So we mix the stuff up, and realized it’s for hair but we don’t really think anything of it as we rub it ALL over her arms and legs(but not her face thanks to me), and I put a little on my arms to see what’ll happen, then we put some in her hair and there’s still some left over, so I head upstairs to ask Hermana Sedano if she wanted any(she’s tried dying her hair like 3 times the week before so). But as I am about to put some in her hair I look down at my arm. IT’S BLONDE, IT’S GOLDEN. So I start screaming and run downstairs and show Hermana Justo and she runs straight to the shower(which I finally cleaned with chemicals today for probably the first time in 6 months….). Anyway, the elders call and all they hear is screaming and laughing so they hang up(oooo it was so funny watching them try to figure out what was wrong with my arms). Yeah so I bleached my arm hair, it’s is golden y brillante, I’m basically the color of Elder Gundersen lol. [I suspect that Elder Gundersen is very fair with blonde hair and blue eyes:)]
So we wake up one morning to the sound of leaf blowers throughout the neighborhood as they fumigate, fog, the houses for chikunguñya. Well, we don’t think anything of it, and I’m doing my yoga, WHEN THEY FOG THE HOUSE WHILE WE ARE STILL INSIDE! So all this fog starts coming in, no one is dressed, we start screaming throw on clothes and flip flops(hair undone, big shirts(thankfully), no makeup, unbrushed teeth, no plaqas) and run outside. [Plaqas are their name tags which they are to wear whenever they are in public.] We were not happy, but the entire neighborhood was outside waiting for the fog to clear and they chuckled at us running out of the house looking like a hot mess. We went and ate acaís(Amazonian fruit which looks like a blueberry) and salteñas(Bolivian empanadas) for breakfast waiting for the fog to clear(the elders ALMOST went to the same place that morning for breakfast too, thank GOODNESS they didn’t!) Hermana Nelson and I stayed outside for a couple mintues longer till it cleared. Literally don’t want to know how strong that stuff was…
I’m working on talking with more love this week, in lessons, with the elders, and with my companion. It’s something I need to work on, but I really don’t want to put in the effort to do it, but I need to change and it needs to be done and with the Atonement I can accomplish this.
Finally got some appreciation from Presidente Fernandez for our work en la rama(congregation)! FINALLY! He said more or less, I know that this is a divine work that you all are doing and making families eternal and thank you for all your help and lifting my spirits whenever I see you. And Presidente Ruiz said thank you for all the support and help we offer the rama and all that we’ve done. Aaahhhh, it was a huge just relief to finally know that the leaders recognize all the work we’ve been trying to do for them.
I helped the zone and all of the companionships set goals for English this week. Hermana Jutso has changed SO MUCH with her desires to learn English. We read in English now almost everynight and we are learning new words and she’s happy to do it, she doesn’t get angry any more about it and we are going to surpass our goals this week for English studies easily, I am so proud of her. She is my best friend and I love serving with her.
With this cambio Hermana Sedano, Hermana Nelson, Hermana Justo and I will pass Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, her (Hermana Justo) 1 year mark, our 9 month mark (half way point), and Valentine’s Day together! Sometimes walking around I think about how great it is to spend every single moment of every single day with my best friend!
There’s been some crazy relationship problems in our area this week. We’ve had to have some hard talks and straight to the point lessons this week. But people have their albedrío(will) to choose, despite what we can say. We also started a scripture study with the Sociedad de Socorro(women’s group). Only 3 women showed up, but I’m hoping it’ll improve as we continue to invite them(and call them, even if no one answers or their phones don’t work.)
We also went up in the faro(lighthouse) this week! Which was super cool, but the internet in Riberalta doesn’t like photos so I’m sorry I can’t show you. After the mission I guess.
We have 4 children in our area from families in our congregation that haven’t yet been baptized, so they are our focus for this transfer. Activate their families and get their children baptized! With the help of the other members. We are sacrificing time NOW for the rama LATER, so that the missionaries later can actually do some really powerful work here. The work here has a big emphasis on strengthening testimonies. There used to be THREE THOUSAND active members here and at least 2 other ramas in Riberalta. Now we struggle to get even 400 to come to church. Riberalta has so much potential. It just needs to be unlocked.
We are getting new sisters missionaries in March! This next cambio, about 5 or 6! AT LAST, despues de 9 meses(after 9 months.) We lost another one this cambio, she went home early due to health problems. So now we are down to 17 with not a single sister in the city(Santa Cruz).
And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers,
Love love love from Riberalta, the high river, (that’s getting higher everyday let me tell ya),
Hermana E Butikofer
No pictures this week but here is one from Leadership Council in the city last week.