Monday, January 28, 2013

Man in the Mirror

Sadly, Omar and Maria still haven´t gotten married or baptized.  It´s very likely that they will get their papers this week, but if not you probably won´t be hearing any more about them because we´ve done what we can, now it´s up to them to do their part, and if they don´t we´re not gonna lose any more time teaching a family that can´t progress any more and get baptized.

We´ve had a fairly down week or 2 as one of our families can´t get married without the papers, and our other family (with the dad who has now completed 2 Nephi, a feat which many members haven´t done) still hasn´t come to church because they want to go with every single member of the family together, but there´s always a kid that is working or out of town.  Other than these 2 families, we have hardly anybody, so we will be spending the next few weeks finding some new people and building them up.

In other news, I did something this week that I never thought I would do in my mission.  I used Michael Jackson lyrics in a lesson.  A less-active member was saying that he stopped going to church because he didn´t feel like the members were doing enough to help grow and strengthen the church.  I replied, "It´s as Michael Jackson says, ´if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change´" saying it first in English and then later translating it.  I also explained that he had to start with the "man in the mirror".  While it may have been a little unorthadox, it was what I felt that I needed to say and it worked out pretty well.  I invite all of you to "take a look at yourself and make the change" as well.

Until Next Time,
Elder Casdorph

Monday, January 21, 2013

The 1st Book of Nephi

We have a family who are the parents and siblings of a 23 year old who got baptized in Santa Cruz and then during the week that he was here in Yacuiba introduced us to his family and did what he could to help teach them and share his testimony with them.  We had been talking especially with his dad, Cruz, but he wasn´t keeping his commitments, especially with the Libro de Mormón.  We were thinking about dropping him, but we decided to give him 1 more chance to prove his desire to come unto Christ.  We asked him if he had been reading and I was expecting the usual answer of, "I didn´t have any time," or "I forgot."
He said quite nonchalantly, "Yeah, I read the 1st book of Nephi."

"Do you mean the 1st chapter or the first page?"

"No, I´m pretty sure it was the first book, it was like 60-ish pages."

*Cough of suprise* "Yeah, hermano, that would be the first book....."

People here hardly know how to read, we leave them 2 verses to read and they can´t do it. He only has about a 4th grade education and doesn´t read that well either, but he read and Understood more than 60 pages of scripture! 3 days!

In other news, la familia Huanca, the family that had to get married, still doesn´t have their papers in order.  We´ll keep visiting them every once in a while, but now, they know everything and have testimonies, so the rest is in their hands to get their papers and get married.

 Anyway things are going fairly well here except for a whole ton of rain, and...

Until Next Time
Elder Casdorph

p.s. I discovered that at you can buy church materials online and with free shipping, so if anyone wanted to buy, I don´t know... some pictures of the Cochabamba temple, some Santa Biblias, or some himnarios, and then send them to a missionary with free shipping, it would be theoretically possible.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Omar y Maria

Omar and Maria are super ready for baptism.  They now have a knowledge, understanding, and testimony of everything and are faithfully living all of the commandments except for one.  They need
to get married to stop breaking the Law of Chastity, and really want to get married, but as is rather common here, the necessary legal papers for their marriage are messed up.  The birth certificate of
the hermano has his dad´s name written down wrong.  He went to the center of legal papers and stuff (I believe it´s called a Civil Registry, but in Spanish it´s Registro Civil) in Tarija about an hour
and a half away Sunday night.  I will see how that worked out in our appointment tonight, but as it stands now, I may or may not have a baptism of a family of 4 this Saturday.  They came to church this Sunday, and if we get all of the papers in order, the will be getting married and baptized this Saturday with a branch party afterwards to congratulate them.

While tracting we came across this house with a monkey in the yard, it wanted to come greet us, but it was tied to a tree.  I decided to toss it a life-savor like candy that I had in my pocket.  The monkey walked over to the candy, picked it up, sniffed it, and then went into his little treehouse where he ate it.  If you zoom in on the picture, you can see a green blur that is the candy.

Sadly, it looks like I´m not gonna be able to send the other pics I have, because this computer doesn´t have Chrome, and Firefox isn´t working, so I´m stuck with internet explorer which just keeps telling me that I need to install Chrome to do anything, but it´s not my computer, so I can´t.

[Descriptions Jack sent to me before realizing he wouldn't be able to send the pictures:]

Another house had this monstrous cactus tree, I took a pic.

I killed a rather large fly that was in our house.  It was super-green and shiny, so I took a pic.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Parte 2 (plus Uñero and Omar y Maria)

Falta de agua 

We did find some keys to the font but had the new problem that as we were filling up the font, it filled up a bit, but then the water stopped flowing. We soon discovered that we had somehow used up all of the water that the chapel had to offer, and it still wasn´t enough. Not knowing what to do, we searched for sources of water outside. We found a few spiggots, but they were all dry. We later found what is basically a giant concrete sprinkler box that was - for some reason - full of relatively clean water. We decided to take a few garbage cans, scoop up the water, and then pass it through the window to dump into the font. It was a bunch of work, but we managed to eventually fill up the font and have a beautiful baptismal service the following day.


For the past month or two, I´ve had an uñero (in-grown toenail). For the first month of having it, I just ignored it and hoped it would go away.  It got pretty ugly after playing soccer like a month ago, so I took the pic that you see and decided to go to a doctor.  He said it was infected, and he didn´t want to cut the nail out for fear of more infection. H e gave me some antibiotics to clear out the infection, and it started looking better, but every time that I returned to the doctor, he was unwilling to do anything for fear of infection.  2 weeks ago, I decided to call the mission president´s wife.  She told me to go to a different doctor that would actually do something.  Yesterday, I had an appointment with him to get the in-grown part of my nail cut out.  To my surprise, after that operation, I was not only missing a small chunk of nail, but he had decided to rip the whole thing out.  He insists it´s better this way so that the nail doesn´t just enter into the flesh again, and while I have my doubts, I pretty much believe him.  I had to walk in flipflops for the past week, but now it´s pretty much healed, and I can wear shoes again.  It will be a few more weeks, however, before I can play fútbol again.

Also to those of you who are wondering why I haven´t written home about this until now, it´s simply because I didn´t want anyone worrying about the poor missionary walking all over Bolivia with only 9/10 toenails.  Now, however, there is no need to worry, it it healed-ish and no longer infected.  It is as the nurse-lady said, "¡Gracias a Dios que no se infectó cuando Usted estaba caminando tanto!"  Yes, nurse-lady, Gracias a Dios indeed.

Omar y Maria

We have an awesome family of investigators who have come to church twice now.  The parents (Omar and Maria) have to get married before they can get baptized (an all-too-common problem here), but I have all confidence that they will be getting both married and baptized in the coming weeks.  I will be sure to talk about them more in the coming weeks, but now it sufficeth me to say (sorry the only English that I ever see now is from the scriptures, so I can´t think of a phrase better than ´sufficeth me to say´) that they are super humble even unto the humility of children and they are doing everything they can to accept the gospel of Christ in their lives.

Stay tuned to see what happens next with Omar y Maria and my adventures in Yacuiba, Bolivia.

Elder Casdorph