Monday, December 31, 2012

Falta de Llaves

I was supposed to have a baptism a few days ago on Saturday, but as we went to fill up the baptismal font, we found that the keys to the font were not included in the keychain that the Branch President gave us.  We called him and asked if he had the keys to the font.  He replied that every key that he had was on that keychain, so if it wasn´t included on the chain, he didn´t have them.  We then proceeded to call and go to the house of other branch presidents, district presidency members, and basically every Mormon in the city of Yacuiba with the title of "president".  We eventually got the address of the District secretary who currently had all of the keys of the District president because the president was out of town (by the way district is like a small stake if you didn´t know).  He gave us the keys to open a closet that contained all of the original keys for the district.  There were about 80 keys there, beautifully hung and labeled.  We frantically searched all of the labels, frantically searching for the keys we needed.  None of them had anything to do with baptism or fonts.  We decided to try all of the keys, no importa what the labels said none of them worked.

Dismayed, I looked up at the foam tile ceiling, "Elder, do you think we can enter through the ceiling then open it from inside?" I said.

"I don´t know, but I kind of want to try," he replied.  My companion has a fear of heights and I happen to be quite good at climbing stuff, so we decided that I should be the one to go.  With some exertion and difficulty, I managed to climb up into the ceiling and then drop don on the other side of the door.  I tried to open the door and it turned out to be just as locked as it was on the other side.  I climbed back through the roof and rejoined my companion.  We then had to go to the investigator´s house and explain to him that for falta de llaves, we couldn´t do the baptism and that it would have to do it next week.  Dismayed, but understanding, he replied,"OK, next week."

Elder Casdorph

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing a Merry Christmas

I´m so happy that I won´t have to hear any more questions about the end of the world.  My whole time in Bolivia, people have been asking us what the church says about the whole Mayan end of the world thing.  The number and frequency continued to escalate until it reached a maximum of about 80% of the people would ask us about this on the 20th and 21st.

In other news, our baptism this Saturday ended up not happening because the Dragon´s uncle came Thursday night and dragged an unhappy Dragon to Santa Cruz to live and work there for a couple of years.  Dragon didn´t want to go, but he apparently didn´t have much of a choice.  All that we can do now is give his address to the missionaries where he is so that they can baptize him.

We should be having a different baptism, however, this coming Saturday.  Eber Choque (the one person who actually listened to our invitation to go to the church when all we did was talk to him on his doorstep) now has received basically all of the lessons, has a strong testimony, and has gone to church 3 times.  Assuming that nothing crazy happens between now and Saturday, he will be getting  baptized this Saturday.

For Christmas we will be doing nothing special other than calling our families, but I am looking forward to that call.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and
Until next time..

Elder Casdorph

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Bunch of Huasca

We had a conference my zone, which consists of 8 elders, and the president.  We were taught a bunch, given a bunch of huasca (which basically means verbal punishment, but I can´t remember a good way to say it in English, so huasca), and then we played some futbol with the president and he took us out to a nice dinner. In summary, it was a good conference.

In other news, Dragon Hitler Fernandez will be getting baptised this Saturday and then Elber Choque will be getting baptised the following saturday.  It´s crazy hot here, but I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity that I have to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ here.

I hope that all is going well in this Christmas Season and bid all of you a Merry Christmas,

Elder Casdorph

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dragon Hitler, Bruce Lee, and Van Damme

Everything is going well here.  It´s super hot, but awesome. As demonstrated nicely by the fact that my new zone is on a futbol field and the old one is in a church, the new zone is a bit more fun.  There´s something much more fun and exciting about being out of the city of Santa Cruz.  This 22 of December, we will be having a baptism of a 19 year old investigator named Dragon Hitler.  Yes, his name is Dragon Hitler.  I don´t remember his last names, but his 2 first names are Dragon Hitler, and his brothers are Bruce Lee and Van Damme.  What his parents were smoking when they named their children I don´t know, but in this week Dragon received a testimony, he is going to church, and is progressing awesomely.

Other than my dominant reason for serving a mission, which is to help people to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I also wanted to have some of those crazy experiences and stories that returned missionaries always seem to have.  Yesterday, Yacuiba (my new area) delivered.  One of the atttched photos is my journal entry of this experience.

Today, I also experienced one of those crazy stories that missionaries always have.  We were talking to a guy who was a bit drunk and trying to set up an appointment to talk to him when he wouldn't be drunk.  He asked why we couldn't meet with him right then.  "Well, frankly sir, because you're drunk," we replied.  "yeah, I've been drinking, but I can still understand you.  Let's talk," he replied.  We explained to him that he might be able to understand us, but that in his drunken state, he wouldn't be able to feel the spirit.  As drunk people often tend to do, he started to get angry.  As his anger escalated, we realized that the conversation was going nowhere good, so we bascially said, "We'll talk to you later when you're sober," and started to walk away.  He followed us yelling some stuff.  We walked faster.  He matched our speed and continued yelling.  My companion started to job and I joined him.  The drunk continued to follow.  We started running and zigzagging through random streets and alleys to try to shake him.  We couldn't run very fast, however, because we also had with us our 51 year old ward missionary leader who was sick with a fever and couldn't run very well.  After darting down a few streets, we'd slow down thinking that we had lost our drunk pursuer.  A few seconds later, he'd appear shouting, "Amigos!"  Then we'd take flight again.  We did this 2 or 3 times before we finally lost him.

I hope everything is going well back in the States in this Christmas season, and if anybody wants to sent some emails to a heatstroked missionary in Bolivia, my email is

Elder Casdorph

Monday, December 3, 2012

Infierno Verde

(not a picture from Jack... just Google)
Definitely the most interresting thing that happened this week was that I got transferred.  I am now serving in the city of Yacuiba (on the border of Bolivia and Argentina) with Elder Mallea (an Elder from La Paz, Bolivia with 6 months in the mission and basically my same size and build).

Yacuiba, also known as the infierno verde (green hell) is as it´s nickname suggests.  It has many small mountains (or large hills) covered in gorgeous trees and greenery.  It is also insanely hot.  Santa Cruz was super hot and humid, but here is even hotter and well, the humidity is the same as you can´t really have any more than 100%.

The people are a bit poorer than my other area and a tiny bit more open to recieve the gospel.  So far things are going great here. My companion and I get along very well, and we have been working crazy hard in these few days that we have together.  While I will miss being able to go to the air-conditioned supermarket and buy American products like BBQ sauce and peanut butter, I kinda like being farther away from civilization.

Next week I should be able to say more about the missionary work in Yacuiba, but until next time,

Elder Casdorph