Monday, October 29, 2012

"¡Muy tarde!" - "Adrian! Hey, Adrian!"

We believe the there was a hate crime performed on the chapel in my area.  All we know is that at about 5:30 pm the chapel was on fire and there was nobody inside the chapel gates.  The fire continued and nearly burned down the entire building.  At this point you might be severely worried about the state of my chapel and of the church in Bolivia, but the truth is that there was no hate crime and the chapel did not burn down, but a building right next to it that has absolutely nothing to do with the church did burn down.

Many of the members, however saw the fire from the same point of view as the first pic and thought that the chapel was on fire.  The whole neighborhood came to watch the fire and some took advantage of the situation and started selling drinks and snacks just like at a sporting event.  The firemen, however didn´t show up until like an hour and a half or 2 hours later and when they did come, a bunch of the people yelled,"¡Muy tarde!" at them.  Eventually they did get the fire stopped and all is fine now.  Also, just in case anybody is still worried, the chapel did not burn down, it was a different building.

On another note, I was supposed to have a baptism on Thursday, but as the hermana that was supposed to get baptized showed up, she informed us that she had been talking with her mom earlier in the day.  She told her mom that she planned to get baptized in the Mormon church.  Her mom then told her that when she was 8 she and her whole family got baptized.  Our investigator was a member already, she just didn´t remember her baptism!  We still have to find her records to verify that she truly was baptized, but as of now, there is no baptism and it looks like rather than converting a nonmember, we activated an inactive member.

On a completely different note, my companion went to the dentist for only the second time in his life (the 1st time was to get the OK to go on the mission).  He got to experience having his face numbed for the first time as well, which was rather amusing to me(a seasoned veteran in dental matters).  He spent 15+ min poking himself in the face and laughing at himself talking funny.  When he saw his reflection, he said that he looked like Rocky Balboa and proceeded to yell, "Adrian! Hey, Adrian!" with his best impression of Rocky.  I´m glad to know that even those who don´t speak English like to make fun of this part of Rocky.

-- Elder Casdorph

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elsa and Ismael

This week was pretty good.  We had an investigator, named Elsa, who was coming along nicely and wanted to get baptized, but at the end of December and we were thinking more like this Saturday.  We had invited her to pray about if she should get baptized on this date and last Monday, we asked her how this prayer went. "¡Buenisimo!" she replied, and then proceeded to tell us that she had received a definite answer that she should be baptized on that date.  Yesterday she passed her baptismal interview and everything looks set for Saturday.  She will be my first baptism where I was there from the beginning to the end and took part in every lesson, because the others were investigators from other missionaries before us or children of less-active parents who had taught their children most everything, they just never got baptized.

Another investigator, Ismael, has been coming along fairly well in the lessons but never comes to church. On Saturday, we taught him about the Sabbath day for the 3rd or 4th time, and this time it actually stuck.  He asked what he should do about clothes cause he didn´t have dress clothes to wear to church.  We replied that the clothes didn´t really matter but if he wanted to he could borrow a shirt and tie from my companion.  On Sunday we were hopefully waiting for him, but church started and he wasn't there.  About half an hour later, he showed up with his kids, and for some reason in a soccer jersey rather that his shirt and tie.  We didn´t get to talk to him cause we had to go do some baptismal interviews in another ward, but we have an appointment with him today.

Wish I could tell more, but I´m practically out of time and still need to write my mission president, so until next time,

-Elder Casdorph

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baptisms and Traditions

I had four baptisms this week which was awesome, but to make these letters more interesting, I am going to tell a story rather that talk about the baptisms.

Here, it is a tradition with birthdays that after singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles, that the birthday boy/girl takes a bite out of the cake without the aid of forks or hands.  We were at a little-kid-just-had-a-birthday/little-girls-just-got-baptized party where this tradition was to take place with a 2 year old kid.  He did not understand the take the bite out of the cake part, however, so when it came time for him to do this, he just took bites of air near the cake, which was cute, but not what the people wanted.  He did this a few times, not understanding why people who probably normally told him to not put his face in food had suddenly decided to tell him the opposite.  In order to complete the tradition, he needed to put his face in the cake, so as he was going in for another fake bite, his dad - being the good father that he is - shoved his face in the cake.  This picture is about 10 seconds after that.

That´s all I´ve got for this week, so hope you enjoyed the story,

-Elder Casdorph

[A bonus post from the editor: this paragraph is from the letter Jack sent me this week in response to a story I told about teaching the three Nepali boys who are living with my parents how to play a card game, Hand and Foot.  I had explained my observations about the way each family member modifies the English language to help accommodate these boys.  Here is Jack's response.]

I think I know a bit how the Nepali´s feel now.  I get a lot of people yelling slowly at me (and sometimes I think, "It doesn´t matter how loudly or clearly you say it, I still don´t know what that word means"). Old people are the worst, they talk super quietly and with absolutely no enunciation, often due to their lack of teeth.  I also get a whole bunch of Kirks who talk normally and like to throw in the random phrases that they know in Portugese or even worse, Quetchewa (which I have no idea how to spell by the way).  Despite this, I am saying and understanding a ton more every day.

[If you receive any blog-worthy stories from Jack, please send them to Andrea to be immortalized on his blog.  I think he runs out of computer time very quickly and doesn't get to put all the stories in one place.]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear, Sweet English

This week was a decent week, and if all goes well we should have 4 baptisms this Saturday.  2 of them our from our ward, and then in a neighboring ward there are no longer missionaries because one of them was waiting for a visa to Venezuela and now has it and is gone and his companion got put with another Elder in a different area whose companion was also waiting for a visa and now has it.  Because these missionaries left, my companion and I have inherited 2 of their investigators who are going to be baptized on Saturday.

What I would really like to talk about, however, is General Conference.  On Saturday, I watched the sessions in Spanish, which sadly is just not the same.  I couldn´t understand much especially because it is rather difficult to maintain the needed level of attention to understand for 2 hours.  To make it worse, they taunt you because when they start to speak, the first word or two are in the beautiful, original, English audio.  Then some random other guy cuts in and starts jabbering away in Spanish.   I was however able to understand when President Monson (or rather the spanish guy who talks when President Monson moves his mouth) announced that the required missionary ages are being lowered to 19 for girls and 18 for boys.  That is huge!  I like this announcement a lot and hope to see some new, young missionaries start pouring in in a few months.

For the Sunday sessions, a lot more people show up at the stake center to watch, so in addition to the projector in the chapel and cultural hall, there are a bunch of TV´s in the classrooms and hallways for people to watch out there.  Another gringo elder and I asked if we could use one of these TV´s to watch in English.  The TV set up guy said,"no" cause they were gonna be needing all of the TV´s.  As conference was about to start and there was nobody using any of the other TV´s, the other gringo Elder and I decided that they would NOT be needing all of the TV´s so we claimed a classroom, changed the feed to English and then closed the doors.  We watched both Sunday sessions in dear, sweet English, and it was spectacular.  I especially enjoyed Elder Holland´s talk and was glad that I was able to understand it.

If you did not get to watch conference, I invite you to watch/read online cause it was awesome.

Until next time,
- Elder Casdorph