It’s Dangerous to go Outside!

Hola everybody!

Here in Bolivia, there´s a month long holiday called Carnaval. In the beginning, it´s not so bad, and you don´t even realize it´s a holiday. Then slowly, teenages start carrying around water balloons to throw at you, children have water guns, and people stand on their rooftops threatening to pour water on you if you walk beneath them. The other Thursday was Copadres, and there were a lot of drunk guys on the street in celebration of this. This Thursday was Comadres, AND IT WAS INSANE. We had literally just finished a lesson, were walking to another house, turned a corner to one of the small plazas in our area, and it was stock full of people smoking and drinking and dancing. My first thought: We´re living in Babilonia! Our area is literally the center of the city, which means on every corner there were groups of men and women drinking and smoking, plus it´s the tradition here to attack the ladies with water guns, balloons, and sprays. WE WERE TERRIFIED, and our appointment for the night fell through meaning we would have to stay outside, but there was no way we could contact anyone when they were all druink. Eventually we called out Zone Leaders and explained the situation to them, and they agreed that it would be much better for us to just go home early, which we promptly did. Anyway, Comadre´s isn´t even the worst part of Carnaval — Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we have to stay inside all day because it´s just insane outside. Should be interesting! But literally, yesterday Hna. Gonzales and I were walking, looking for a reference, when a car drove by and the backseat inhabitants sprayed us in the face with their waterguns! It wasn´t that bad actually, but boy did it surprise us.
Well, last week we´d been talking with Fabiola a lot about baptism, but everytime we brought it up she told us she wasn´t ready, maybe in 6 months, so we decided that this week we would just focus on teaching her the lessons. We visit her everyday to read the Book of Mormon with her because she can´t read very well, and after one of these visits we asked her afterward how she like the Family Home Evening we had the other night. She told us she likes it very much, and that this Sunday they were going to stay all three hours of church, and the next Sunday she would get baptized. We were so shocked, and I wasn´t sure I understood, so I asked her to repeat it all over again. Sure enough, she want´s to get baptized! We were SO ESTATIC. The only thing is that she wants to get baptized with her husband Pablo, and he doesn´t know this yet, and he also hasn´t received all the lessons, so we´re scurrying to teach him everything. Yesterday, we visited them with Hna. Rodríguez (our mission presedent´s wife), and Fabiola kept talking about how much they´ve changed since they´ve met us, how she´s staying true to her committments, and how she wants to go to the Temple and knows she needs to get baptized first. It was such a humbling experience to see how much an impact someone like me could have in their lives. Really, ity´s not me who´s changing them, it´s the gospel, it´s the Savior, and I´m just an instrument in His hands. Sometimes in the mission it´s really hard to see the fruits of your labors, and we had a lot of days this week where we were just knocking on doors and where all of our appointments fell through, but Heavenly Father is working miracles through us yet!
Well, I love you all so much and I´m so grateful for your love and support. You won´t be getting an email from me next week because of Carnaval, so you´ll all just have to hang on until the week after!
Hna. Ius

Tender Mercies

Hi everybody!

This week has definitely been a long one. It´s my first time leading my area and also training, that plus my need to still learn spanish = slightly stressed Hna. Ius. I really felt like I was working harder than ever and we weren´t seeing any blessings or benefits, but as I look back on the week I can see how we accomplished something good everyday. We practiced knocking on a looooot of doors this week! I have yet to meet a missionary that actually loves knocking on doors, but we met some really nice people. One in particular was this lovely lady who was all like, “Yeah, you girls can pass by for me anyday, everyday! I´m always here!” That made me super happy. We also were finally able to give a Book of Mormon to one of our investigators, Villa. She´s super wonderful and her reaction when we handed her the book? Priceless. We also found, at last, one family that we´ve been passing for since the beginning of my mission, and we set up an appointment with them! Woohoo! We also found an old investigator and visited with her for a little bit, and at the end, she asked us when we could return. Tender mercies….
Well, I hope you´re all doing okay! I love you all very much.
Hna. Ius