Monday, December 30, 2013

Navidad en Bermejo

Christmas went pretty well here. Christmas Eve we went caroling in the central plaza.  My companion and I sang a solo in English, well actually I sang a solo, he sang a solo, and then we sang together.  To those of you who have heard the song, we sang the Sheep Song written by my sister, Andrea Fife.  If I can get the internet to cooperate, I will send a video.

[From the editor: Jack said the video was too big to email.  He had to convert it to audio.  It's not great quality (tons of background noise), but it was fun to listen to Jack's voice (Kirk says he's developing quite a vibrato) and to hear the second part sung with an accent.  I feel pretty honored that my song made it to another country.]

We spent Christmas morning carpiendo (doing a service Project of cutting the weeds in a member´s lot with a machete).  Then after an asado (delicious barbeque with grilled beef and arroz con queso [arroz con queso means rice with cheese, but it´s way tastier than it sounds]) we proselyted for a couple of hours and then got to talk to our families in Skype.  This week went pretty well for everybody.  Bermejo has now gone from being the zone that only had one baptism in 3 months to being the best zone in the mission for 2 months in a row.

The next exchanges are this Wednesday, and I hope that I can stay in Bermejo.  It´s awesome now, because Bermejo is a small town, so everywhere I go, I see investigators and recent converts from the other areas.  I have really grown to love that small town friendliness that exists between the members, the missionaries and the people in general.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Navidad Blanca

We had a conference in Tarija Friday (A city close to Bermejo that´s a lot bigger and has more than double the missionaries here).  On the windy 3 hour drive to Tarija, 2 elders threw up, and my companion and I were also just 1 step away from joining the club (probably because our inner child had told us the night before that it would be a good idea to eat a whole pizza the night before a 3 hour monte russo [roller coaster]).  We arrived and every zone sang Christmas songs that we had prepared.  After the other zones went and sang standard songs from the hymnbook, we blew them away with a Sally DeFord arrangement of Oh Holy Night (with a solo by Elder Casdorph).

We are excited for the noche blanca that we will have this Saturday, although this time, it will only be 14 people getting baptized because 10 of them had scheduling conflicts and had to get baptized a week early.  All the members are excited for what will soon be the Bermejo Stake (probably in May or June, the district here will become a stake).

All is going well here and I´ll let you know more next week.

Elder Casdorph

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cristian y la familia Gutierrez

We have an investigator that will be getting baptised this week, whose name is Vicente Rios, but I don´t feel like writing about him today (I´ll probably write some stuff about him next week) I would rather write about the Gutierrez familily.

The Gutierrez family is a large family of about 30 people (with all of the cousins, uncles, grandkits, etc.)  They are all members, but out of the 30ish people, there are only 2 that actually go to church regularly and 1 of those 2 is mentally handicapped.  We have been teaching to a couple members of this family to try to activate them.  Sunday we decided to plan a giant family home evening Saturday with the 30 of them plus their friends that they could invite, and the whole family was exited for the family home evening.  Wednesday, they called us with the news that Christian, a young 19 year old member of the family had been murdered.

That was devistating news obviosly for the whole family, and also left me pretty bummed out because I had taught Cristian like 5 or 6 times and considered him a good friend.  It also left, the community pretty worried because bermejo is a small town and things like this don´t normally happen here.

I´m not going to go very much into the details, but Cristian, although he was a good kid, he did have the reputation of being a mujeriego (player, or cheater).  What the police and the family think is what happened was that he was going out with someone´s girlfriend, and that that person got mad and drunk and killed him, especially because they found some threating text messages of that nature.

They asked us to go to the viewing as well as the funeral, and we went to comfort the family.  In the viewing, his aunt had a panic attack and we gave her a priesthood blessing of comfort.

We asked the grandma (who is the only active member and basically the head of the whole family) if she still wanted to do the family home evening.  She replied, "claro que sí, seguimos egual".  We did the family home evening with the whole family, which was a beatiful experience in the which we talked to them a TON do about temples and the need that they all had to go to the temple and the need that they had to do the work for themselves and for Christian..  Even more beatiful was that yesterday, the entire family of 30ish people came to church.  They took up like 4 rows in the chapel.  Afterward all of the adults in the family lined up outside of the branch president´s office because they wanted to be interviewed.  There were so many that the district president (who also happened to be there) had to help with the interviews.  The branch president later told us that pretty much all of them had the goal to go to the temple in January and they asked for interviews to ask how to prepare for the temple!

I´ll let you know more about them and Vicente next week,
Elder Casdorph