I am in my first área! It is called Potosí and it’s in the middle of the Andes Mountains. It is probably the coldest area in the mission and I get to be here in the middle of winter. We are really incredibly high up - I was warned that gringos tend to get really really sick but I’ve been so blessed. They say it never snows here, but it actually snowed this morning. What a blessing for me!! I felt right at home in my mountains. It was fun to watch the Bolivians freak out a little - my companion especially. She just stood outside watching the huge fluffy flakes of snow land on her coat.
|Potosi, highest city in Bolivia: 13,420 ft!|
It is cold! There is really no such thing as heating in the houses here, so I’ve just gotten used to being cold all the time. My bed has literally 15 blankets and comforters – my companion was worried that the weight would crush me. Our little house is the envy of the entire zone apparently. The ceiling is a foot above my head when I am standing.
I am so happy to be in the mountains again!! It is so beautiful! This really is the perfect area for me. I’ts like camping all day (except in a skirt, and better cause I get to teach the gospel). We literally hike up dirt trails to get to people’s houses - on the outskirts of the city there are no addresses or streets. Just random houses everywhere. It feels like you are always walking uphill, both directions. So much fun!
We eat a lot of soup, soup, bread, and soup. There’s nothing better than a hot bowl of soup though on a cold day! And every morning my companion and I have hot chocolate and bread for breakfast - no complaint there!
Unfortunately, the dogs really do not like me and I have learned that it is a great inconvenience to be a gringa here. They don’t send very many gringos up here. My companion calls me hija because I really don’t know anything and my spanish is awful. She has to protect me from the dogs and hide me from the taxi drivers and she wouldn’t let me do the dishes this morning because the water was so cold. She is amazing! And she knows absolutely no english. She’s only been out 3 months and just got done with her training, but her teaching is absolutely incredible and she always knows exactly what to say to encourage me.
It really is quite the adventure and I am learning so much. The hardest part for me is definitely not the weather or living conditions or anything (it’s sort of fun), but my heart just breaks everytime I talk with the incredibly humble people here. My first lesson was teaching two hermanas while sitting on tiny stools in the dirt in their house with a dog, 2 chickens, a pig, and a bunny. We taught them the law of tithing. I just wanted to cry at their incredible faith - they understood immediately and committed to pay tithing and fast offerings. A scripture in the Book of Mormon came to mind- the one where Ammon says "I have not seen such faith among all the Nephites" I feel the same way.
Every single prayer I have heard offered by the people has been so incredible. Their faith is so humble and so strong that they receive answers immediately - before they are even done asking in prayer. I just know that God loves this people so much - as soon as they turn to him He is there. It is the most powerful thing I have ever felt. Another scripture comes to mind of the King of the Lamanites who offered his first prayer, saying he would give up all to know God. It is EXACTLY like that here. So powerful.
I wish I could tell you more but there just isn’t time! I love you all so much and know that I am loving it here and I feel awesome!
Love, Hna. Black
P.S. One of the hermanas had a song playing this morning that was rather familiar and I realized it was Keneth Cope - you can let him know his music has reached this tiny part of the world. They were all thrilled when I told them I knew him - that actually happens a lot. Everyone once they find out I'm from SLC ask if I have met the prophet. Its really bizarre to see it from their perspective - especially with the broadcast on sunday being in the Marriott Center. I told my companion, "that's my school". She was so shocked!