Monday, 16 December 2013

Have a great week, I know I will.

First I will respond to the questions and luckily the Internet is working a lot better than it was last week. I guess it is normally pretty good but last week it sucked for some reason. The other elders say its better than Cochabamba. Maybe because there are so many tourists here. Anyways now I will respond. 

I am doing good.I am really tired and later you will find out why. But it was a great week here in my pueblos. Yes we live in a hotel called le ciel, which is in French. I think that means the sky or heaven or something like that. Yes we have a washing machine and its awesome, not the same as at home but its awesome for here; I don't have to wash clothes by hand anymore. But it rains here a lot so its hard to hang our clothes up to dry so we just hang them in the apartment sometimes. We have a pensionista still at least when we are here in Uyuni, when we are in Siete Suyos and Atocha we usually eat in the house of members who are super great and always give us food. If not we just go to a restaurant to buy food. There are lots of streets named after dates but I have no idea what they mean. The picture from last week was taken in Atocha. The roads are really bumpy and uncomfortable; it takes about 2 hours to get to Atocha by bus. Yes, I’m staying warm, sometimes its a little cold here but I just put a jacket on and I’m all good. No we don’t have maids, it’s like our own little room separate almost and we just take care of it ourselves, and we only pay 750 bolivianos a month which is a little over 100 dollars. I will take a picture and send it to you guys next week. We haven’t gone to the salt flats yet, we can but its kind of expensive and the elders have already gone and don’t really want to go so I might have to wait a little bit. I think we are going to go as a zone soon too so we'll see. I don’t know if we will be able to talk on Christmas because in Atocha they don’t’ really have anything so it might just have to be the next day when I can use Skype to talk to you guys. I’m going to try to figure out if we can go to Atocha on the Thursday but because of the train schedule and the buses Wednesday is the only day but I’ll figure that out. Would it be fine if I called you guys on the 26th? Oh and the train is actually pretty nice, we go first class and they give us a little cake and a juice box, its awesome. I actually slept pretty well on the train. And yes still send everything to the mission office. I know that I got my package, its in the office and they said they are going to send it to me before Christmas, now I just hope it gets here safely. I didn’t get to watch the Christmas devotional. I think that’s all the questions that you guys had if there is more just ask me.

Now about my week. Last P-day we just stayed and played soccer for like 3 hours, which was what started my long week. The next day I was really sore and tired but I made it through. Wednesday we woke up at 5:00am to make the bus at 6:00am  to Atocha, we worked all day then got the train at about 10:00pm to come back to Uyuni. We made it back to the apartment and got to sleep around 1. The train is awesome, if I’m not wrong that is the first time I’ve traveled in a train like that, it was actually pretty nice and we went in first class so that was cool. I slept decently on the train but I was still really tired when I got back. Then we worked all day Thursday then had to take a bus ride to Sucre to go to the Christmas zone conference. We showed up at 5:30pm then waited an hour for the rest of the zone to show up then went to the elder’s house to shower and get ready. It was a great time and we played games and had a push up contest, I didn’t do it but my companion did 100 push ups, and the president did 84, I thought that was quite impressive, it was awesome seeing some of my friends again and saying goodbye to a couple that are going home. It was a really fun day. Then we took a bus ride at 9:00pm to go back to Uyuni and arrived at 4:00am in the morning. They put on the new wolverine movie too, good thing I was really tired so I just went to sleep right away. But it was a rough night that’s for sure. After we got back I went and took a 1hour nap then we took the bus to Atocha at 6am and worked there all day, then we decided to fast with a family in need. I think that night is when I have been the most tired and weak in my entire life, but I kept going! Then we finally got the hotel and I got to sleep. I was kept up during the night because somehow a mouse got in to the garbage can and couldn’t get out so it was making a lot of noise and it was really annoying.  But I was half asleep and had no idea what it was and was too tired to get up and see what it was. On top of that I woke up sick, awesome I know. That was also a rough night but I made it through and prepared everything for the sacrament meetings on Sunday. We did one meeting in Atocha and another in Siete Suyos, so everything that I did last week I had to do double this week. But like I said last week it was totally worth it to see the gratitude of the members. After all that, we took another bus back to Uyuni; where we taught a little more and finally got to bed. That was my whole week. My tiring week!

Although this week was one of the most tiring of my entire mission I wouldn’t trade it for anything, the experiences that we had and things we were able to accomplish outweigh anything else. Thanks to the help of the lord I was rejuvenated in the few hours of sleep I had to be able to continue on in the work of salvation. When I was most tired is when we had some of our best experiences. On Saturday when I was probably the most tired in my entire life we were trying to find some families who we had appointments with and they were all falling through. I was getting kind of discouraged and all I wanted to do was just go home and take a nap, but we pushed through. When we were walking away from a house a girl called our names. We went over and talked to her and she was a member, she had been baptized in Tupiza and when she moved to Atocha had no idea that the church was here. It was funny because just a few minutes before I told my companion we have to keep going because there are people here prepared to hear the gospel and families who are members and don’t know that the missionaries and the church is here. And just as we were walking down the street we found one of those people and I know there are more. That’s what drives me to keep going, the knowledge that people are waiting and ready for the gospel but just don’t know how or where to find it. And we are some of the only ones that have the answer. I love being here in this area. This week I have learned and grown so much and I’m so grateful. I love the mission and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. 

This was my week. I hope I answered your questions and that you understood me more or less. I loves your letters and the pictures, thanks for everything. I love you guys so much and hope you have a great week. I know I will. 

Elder Grigor

Saying goodbye to families in Colquipirua 

Saying his goodbyes

Saying goodbye to his pensionista and her family. 
They took good care of him. 

Elder Grigor and his companion in Uyuni. 

The hotel in Atocha. This is where Elder Grigor spends the night
when he travels to Siete Suyos and Atocha every weekend. 

Small doorways in Uyuni. Elder Grigor has hit his head a few times already. 

This is where the members meet for Church in Siete Suyos. 

One of the many hills that Elder Grigor and his companion climb in Siete Suyos.

Riding in the back of a truck to church in Uyuni

A shirt Elder Grigor made in Cochabamba.

Elder Grigor in front of the church building in Uyuni 

The two elders on the left are in Uyuni with Elder Grigor. 
The one on the right is his zone leader. 

Playing games at the missionary zone conference 

Elder Grigor with his zone

Elder Grigor's companion fell asleep while he was writing in his journal

Elder Grigor with his companion 

The highlight of his transfer to Uyuni - a washing machine. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

It’s hard and tiring but " vale la pena”

So first of all the internet here sucks!!!! It took me half an hour just to get into my email. The other elders said it’s not usually like this but I’m pretty bummed. I don’t think I will be able to send pictures today and probably won’t be able to respond to a few emails. I don’t know how Skype is going to work. Also I will explain later but we go to some small mining towns and we go on Wednesdays and Christmas is a Wednesday, I don’t know if they even have phones over there. I will call at one point maybe the day after. There is Skype here it’s just that the internet sucks, so I don’t know how it’s going to be but we’ll figure it out.

Ya so now I will tell you about the longest week of my life and about my many areas. So Monday I said goodbye to my old area and left Tuesday in the morning. I was talking to Sister Dyer in the airport and she asked where I was going, and I said Uyuni. She said “oh wow, missionaries are made in Uyuni." I guess we will see how these couple of months go. I’m honestly isolated from everything. The next closest missionaries are 4 hours away. Other than the other 2 elders here. So I won’t have much contact with the outside world. It should be interesting.

So I took my flight to Sucre and they were supposed to send me on a bus ride straight to Uyuni but it didn’t leave until 6 so I waited with a few missionaries all day in Sucre. Then night time came and they told me there were no bus rides to Uyuni and that I would go to Potosi to spend the night so they put me on the bus to Potosi. The only thing is that they didn’t tell me where to go and they also didn’t tell the missionaries in Potosi that I was coming. So I arrived at Potosi at about 9 at night, and got off with everyone else but no one was there waiting for me, luckily some members saw a confused white guy with lots of luggage standing on the street corner and came over to help me. We went to the stake center then I called the missionaries to come to pick me up. That was fun. So then I was sleeping and at about 3 in the morning an elder woke me up saying we had to go to the bus stop and pick up another elder. Luckily they knew he was coming so we went to pick him up on the middle of the night and went back and slept. So then I stayed in Potosi until the afternoon to take a 4 hour bus ride to Uyuni. I arrived at 5 in the afternoon and met the other missionaries. Elder C. (my companion from La Paz, Bolivia is my fourth companion who is from Bolivia waiting for their visa to go to Venezuela) Elder G. (Utah), Elder G. (from Santa Cruz Bolivia, he was in my zone in Cochabamba before). Those are the other missionaries here, my companion is great, obedient, diligent, humble, everything that I like in a missionary.

So after I got to Uyuni we went to the hotel, yes we live in a hotel with a washing machine and everything. I totally lucked out with that!! Our place is pretty nice I would send a picture but I don’t know if I will be able to. So that was my travelling to get to Uyuni but that wasn’t all. Wednesdays, we wake up at 5 to take a 3 hour bus ride to a place called Atocha which is a small mining town in the mountains. Half the day we are there and half the day we go to another town called Siete Suyos, then come back on a train and get home at 1 in the morning, I haven’t made the trip yet but I will this week.

Saturdays we also get up at 5 to get a bus to Atocha, and spend all day there and in Siete Suyos. Then we sleep there and stay Sunday. First we do a sacrament meeting in Atocha at 9am then take an hour ride to Siete Suyos to have another meeting with the members from over there. Those areas were just opened about 3 months ago. Before there were branches about 13 years ago but they got closed down and most of the members moved away but some stayed, so we are going back to open up these areas. In Siete Suyos and Atocha there are about 20 members and 9 recently just were baptized. There are still many members that we don’t know yet and when we go there we basically only work with less active members and trying to strengthen them and bring the church back to these small towns. So after these meetings we get on another bus to come back to Uyuni and get back around 6 at night. We have a lot of travelling to do. I didn’t explain really well because there is a lot we do, I’m sure you’ll have questions so just ask. I was just trying to explain as quickly as possible. Oh and in Uyuni we basically just work with the other elders when we are here. We share an area here, well we share the town, but we mostly focus on the less actives and recent converts while they find and teach new converts. I think I explained it all. It’s a lot of work that we have to do, and a lot of traveling, it’s quite tiring but it’s worth it and I will tell you why.

Seeing the happiness and gratitude on the faces of the members in Siete Suyos and Atocha is what makes it all worth it. They are so happy to have the missionaries and the church some back in their lives after being lost for so long. Although I was only with them two days I’ve already grown such a strong love for them and them to me. It was awesome bringing them the sacrament and to see the joy on their faces. There are only about 20 members in Siete Suyos and in Atocha combined but I know that we are going to find more less actives and there will be branches once again in these towns. I
 love going there! I had never before taught Sunday school, given a talk in sacrament meeting, blessed the sacrament and directed the music all in one day but I loved every minute of it. We were up in the mountains in a small town, in the living room of a member’s house and I felt the spirit so strong. It doesn’t matter where we are or if we are 20 or 200, when we are gather together as latter day saints the spirit is there and that will never change. I’m so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve these people of Siete Suyos, Atocha, and Uyuni. It’s hard and tiring but " vale la pena” (which means worthwhile in English) when I see these members and their love for the gospel.

I hope that made sense more or less and that this makes it to you, I love you guys so much, thanks for everything I hope you have a great week.

Love of love from the middle of nowhere

Elder Grigor

Elder Grigor with the 20 members in Siete Suyos and Atocha

Elder Grigor in his new area. It's in the middle of nowhere

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I'm being transferred to Uyuni

December 2nd, 2013

Well the moment you’ve all been waiting for....... I’m being transferred. I guess 7 months in my area was long enough. And where you might ask?? Just a little place called Uyuni. Which is about probably about 8 hours or so of traveling to get there. It’s a little town far away from Cochabamba. I kind of knew a week ago because my old zone leader is now an assistant and he told me about a week ago. But it wasn’t for sure and I thought he might have been joking but it’s true. I’m being exiled. There are only 4 missionaries where I’m going, the next closest are about 4 hours away I think. We are off in a little village by ourselves. It’s an awesome little place too, I remember Justin showed me a picture of the Uyuni salt flats before I left and when it rains it looks like a mirror, I always said to myself that I wanted to go there but I didn’t think I would actually have the opportunity. I don’t know too much about it yet, I know that my companion will be Elder C. but I don’t know much about him. Also I’m travelling basically all day tomorrow, I leave early in the morning I think. I’m going to take a plane to Sucre and then a bus to Uyuni, I think, they haven’t really told me anything yet. I’m going to be the junior companion, I have a little bit more time than him but he knows the area so I think he’s the senior comp. I guess one transfer as district leader was good enough, but that’s fine with me. What else can I tell you, I heard that 3 times a week then travel to a place called Atocha to proselyte, they wake up at 4 in the morning and get home at 11 at night. I guess I’ll find out for sure this week. There are so many things that I am excited to find out and do. It seems like a really awesome place. Also the Dakar rally is going to go through Uyuni in January so I will be there for that which will be awesome. I got sent there at the perfect time. It might be a lame Christmas though. I hope they at least have internet so that I can Skype you guys at Christmas but if not for sure there will be phones. I can’t really think of anything else, I’m just kind of typing random about what I know, if you have any other questions just ask me. Oh and it’s good that I didn’t get my packages yet because I have no room in my suitcase for anything I might have to leave some things to stay within the weight restriction.  But they will get to me before Christmas. They should come in the next couple of weeks and we will have a zone conference in Potosi before Christmas so they will probably bring my stuff down then. 

I’m really excited to have a transfer, I love my area and my companion but it will be nice to have a little change. Well actually it will be a big change, but it’s going to be awesome, I kind of didn’t want to leave Cochabamba before Christmas so that I would be able to go to the temple and be here for Christmas but I know there is a work for me down in Uyuni and I’m excited for the new adventure. It’s going to be really fun. I’m sure it will be hard at first getting used to my new area and companion but change is part of the mission and I guess I should just get used to it. It’s just hard because I’ve been here my whole mission, I’ve gotten close to the members, the others missionaries, my companion, just everything. It will be weird going to a place where there aren’t many members or missionaries. We will just kind of be isolated from the world. That will be fun though. 

I had a great week with my companion, I was kind of expecting that I would be transferred and he did too so we tried to have a great final week together and we did. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have had to have Elder V. as my companion. I don’t want to pick favorites but I think I have worked most effectively and most happy with him as my companion. We had a lot of success together, maybe not in baptisms but in growth and knowledge and I know that was the purpose for us to be together. I have learned so much from him and it will be sad to leave but I know he is capable of marvelous things here in the area and he will do great with his new companion. He is going to train so I will have my first grandchild!!! I’m excited for that and for this area, it will be awesome to have 2 more sisters in the ward too, I know that the ward will be helped so much from them. Although it is a little sad to leave I know that everything will be great and I have high hope for what comes next. This has been an amazing place to start my mission and I couldn’t be more grateful, I’m optimistic for what comes next. 

There have been so many great experiences and I can’t wait for the many more that are to come. I will make sure to keep you guys updated on everything, I’m sure there will be a lot.

Love you lots, can’t wait to hear from you. 

Love Elder Grigor


"This is the new place we moved into. We walked in the
 door the other day and there was a big cow waiting to greet
us. That was an interesting experience. Only in Bolivia."

"We also found 80 bolivianos on the ground this week.
That was awesome because I was down to 20 bolivianos
 for the whole week then we found this and split the money." 

"We went bowling again and I scored 155. I'm getting better."
"My son and my great grandpa. Elder G. is going home
 this week, he trained the trainer of my trainer. He was the  
only one missing in the family photo the other week. He was
here in this ward and he came to say good bye to everyone."
Elder Grigor with his "great grandpa" and his "son" 

"We went back to the apartment after moving in the
 morning to finish a few things and I made pancakes."

This really is the time to hasten the work of salvation

November 25th, 2013

Whaaduup Padres!!

Another great week in lovely Colcapirhua! It’s crazy how fast this transfer has gone by. Only one week more and there are transfers crazy!! And my zone leader is going up to be the assistant so he was doing the transfers this weekend with the assistants and from what it sounds like I will be leaving my area this transfer. And probably somewhere far away. That’s if what he was telling me is true. I don’t know where I’m going yet but I know that I will be leaving. But nothing is official yet and that could change. But if I stayed in my area for one more transfer I would honestly be quite shocked.

The mission is growing like crazy though!!! When I got here there were less than 200 and were getting close to 300 missionaries now. They are splitting my area this transfer and bringing sisters in. There are tons that are coming its crazy. Now there will be 6 missionaries in our ward. The ward is going to grow a lot in these next couple of months. But I probably won’t be here. I want my companion to train though so I can have a grandson. He’s really a great missionary. There are a few things that he does that bug me but oh well. At least when I’m married I’ll be allowed to leave and take a little alone time. Living with someone 24/7 can be difficult sometimes. But I would really like to stay with him for one more transfer I am learning so much from him. 

I am always learning from my companion. Last Monday after a long p-day I was really tired and just wanted to get to our appointments and not have to walk anymore. I don’t know why but I am always more tired on p-day’s. So we went to our first appointment and they weren’t home, we went to our back up plan and they also weren’t there. We went to a few less actives and other investigators but they also weren’t there. After about half an hour of trying to find someone to teach we just decided to start making our way to our next appointment. We had a FHE with the Stake President and the zone leaders but when we got there the zone leaders hadn’t shown up yet so I said we will just wait for them to show up. My companion had another idea though. He wanted to go contact in the park while we waited, I wasn’t super excited of the idea and just wanted to sit for a bit and wait but we went and contacted. We ended up teaching two lessons in the park with 8 new investigators in the half hour that we waited. That really taught me a lesson that we don’t have time to wait around in this work. There is always somewhere to be and always someone to talk to. This really is the time to hasten the work of salvation. I’m so grateful for a companion who is helping me understand this principle more and more every day. I couldn’t ask for anything better. 

This mission is great, I love Bolivia, I love the people, I love my companion, and I love everything that I am learning. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!!

I love you guys so much, I’m excited to talk to you guys, don’t worry it won’t distract me, I hope they send me somewhere that I can use Skype. Only a few more weeks. Thanks for everything, have a great week!!

Elder Grigor
"We had to take some cool pictures to send to
Sister Dyer for a presentation at the zone
conference so I went to the same spot and
 took some more pictures with my companion."

My companion cut his finger open on the door. 
He got about 8 stiches.

Members make all the difference in lessons.

November 18th, 2013
Ya its working this week!! I feel so bad that the email didn’t go through last week, but oh well. This week will be a good one. .

Transfers are December 1st, well that’s when we find out. I’ve been in my area for almost 7 months, it’s probable that I will be leaving this transfer. There are 8 zones in Cochabamba and about 6 zones outside of Cocha, like Potosi, Sucre, Tupiza, Villazon. I kind of hope I stay in the city, I’d like to be here for Christmas and to be able to go to the temple once more to see the new video. We’ll be going in January I think so I hope I don’t get sent out because if I do I won’t be able to go for a while. 

I’d be fine to stay in my area one more transfer too, I like where I am, my companion, the members, and everything is going pretty good. It would be nice to have a little change of scenery though. 5 transfers in an area is a long time. But wherever I go I know it’s for a reason. I’m just going to enjoy these next couple weeks that I have. 

So this week was awesome, we had a family reunion (I’ll explain with the picture ) and had some great experiences. There are two that I would like to share. 

So we are visiting a family of about 20 or 30, I’m not really sure, because every time we go we meet new people. They are really 4 families but they are all related and are always together, they all live on the same land, it’s pretty awesome teaching them. So we are visiting them with a member family that lives pretty close, and we always try to go with them. We were passing by this week and we stopped to say hello but this family wasn’t with us. The first thing they asked us when we showed up is "where are they?" We explained that we were just passing by and they would be there in the next lesson, they were quite happy to hear that. It just goes to show the importance that members have in the lessons. Although we may do the teaching, the members are there to be their friends, to answer questions when we aren’t there, and really play a huge part in the work. I am learning more and more the importance of members in the lessons. It really changes everything!!!

Another great experience that I had this week was on an exchange with a new elder. It was great to work with him, he’s really got a ton of energy and just loves the work. So leaving from lunch he had the feeling to go visit a family that lives close, even though we had an appointment in the other direction. We went to that family but they were busy and we just made an appointment for the other day. But leaving from their house walking down the street there was a guy walking down the street and he came over and asked if we had anything that we could give him to read. We told him that we had some pamphlets but we would like to come to his house and explain it a little. He said that would be great. Talking to him we found out that the only thing he wants in his life right now is to give his life to god. He wants to start going to church and be baptized, that had never happened to me before. I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t in my area. But it was still amazing either way. We taught him and he accepted a baptismal date and said he would come to church and everything, he is definitely ready. One thing he told us though is that the missionaries always walk by his house but they have never spoken with him. That kind of taught me that we never know who is ready, we just have to talk with everyone, we know that there are people who the Lord is preparing to receive the lessons and the missionaries, it’s just our job to find them. I love all these experiences that I’m having in the mission, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. 

I had a great week like usual, tons of awesome experiences that are really molding me into a different person. I can tell I’m changing in some ways, but all for the better. I hope you guys have a great week, can’t wait to talk to you guys. Little more than a month!! Love you guys, have a great week. 
Elder Grigor

 "I bought some pancake mix this week, it was expensive,
but I was getting tired of cereal and bread every morning."
"We went and played volleyball last week, I loved it!!!"

"Here is my family in the mission, well my great grandpa
isn't there, because he's in Potosi but this is my generation.
Well the two on the far left aren't really but sort of.
Far left is my cousin, then my uncle, then my grandpa,
then my dad, then me, then my sons."

Elder Grigor with his trainer.

Internet troubles can be frustrating!

November 11th, 2013

Elder Grigor was having internet troubles and had to send his email in the subject line. This is all that managed to come through:

So it wouldn’t let me write in the email for some reason so I am writing in Microsoft Word and I will try and copy and paste it in. Sometimes being in Bolivia is really frustrating. Things just don’t work the same here. When I come home it will be like going back to the future, seriously. But I just got to live with it I guess. Thanks for the packages, I’m looking forward to getting them, it will probably be about 3 weeks I think before I get them, that’s how long it usually takes. I hope the one I sent gets there in a decent amount of time. Well we had a pretty good week this week, being district leader isn’t really that different, the only thing I do is collect the numbers of the district and give a class for an hour on Tuesdays, which I love!! Teaching is fun, I don’t know if my classes are the best but I really like giving them. Sorry I wasn’t able to send a lot of pictures, I had switched memory cards to download some pictures then forgot I had the other card and when we switched all th.....

I had to send it in the subject because internet isn’t working properly, I hope it all gets there.
Then the next week I told him that it didn't come through properly and he sent me the email that he had sent to his mission president that had some details of his week. This is what he sent:

We had a great experience this week. We were heading to an appointment and we were late so I was walking pretty fast and determined to make it there quickly. We passed a guy on the street and I said hi but I wasn’t even thinking about stopping to talk to him. We passed by and my companion suggested we should stop and talk to him. I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea but we turned around and went and talked to him. It was kind of crazy, after about 3 minutes we invited him to be baptized and he said yes. He even said he was going to come to church and bring his family also. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it this Sunday but were counting on him coming next week. And of course when we went to the appointment they weren’t home. That’s how it always happened, when there is a prompting to stop and talk to someone its always for a reason, sometimes I’m a little too focused on making it to the appointment and I lose the opportunity to talk to someone that has been put in my path for a reason. I’m grateful that my companion was listening and ready to respond. I am learning a lot from him and I’m so grateful that he’s my companion. We are getting along great and doing some good work and planting a ton of seeds. I hope soon we will be able to harvest them. If not then the next set of missionaries, or the next set, only the Lord knows. I am really happy in the work right now and I’m a learning so much!!

Elder Grigor with a little bird-
looks like he got a little something on his shirt
Random picture that Elder Grigor sent- kind of gross.
Elder Grigor having fun on p-day
I think he is practising so that he can beat his Dad one day.