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

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