Monday, July 1, 2013

Mi burro murió (my donkey died) 7.1.13

Wow what a week! You know how sometimes you think you know a lot, and then find out you know absolutely nothing? That is me in every way here. First of all, I hardly ever know quite what´s going on, since I don´t speak spanish very well. My companion likes to tell everyone we meet some hilarious mistake her gringa has made (there are a lot). I do understand enough spanish to know what she is saying, but not enough to explain what actually happened. :) Some examples: When I started teaching Jehovah Witness Missionaries on the street, when I locked myself out in the mini courtyard of our house, When I said ¨chin¨ stead of ¨mana¨ in Quechua (Silencio [silence]instead of Nada [nothing] when I was asked "What are you thinking?").

 It is all part of the learning process :) I´ve been learning a tiny bit of Quechua - a lot of the older generation here speak it. A lot of them also can´t read at all which presents an interesting challenge when you are teaching them about the Book of Mormon. Some words I´ve learned: "Imanaya Kasanquì" - how are you? "Gualegia" - good; ¨Tencunacama¨ - I have no idea... something like goodbye or I'll see you later; ¨ñañay¨ - sister; and my favorite, ¨Chili¨ for cold - who would´ve thought? Oh and of course ¨wawa¨ which means baby and is my companion's favorite name for me.

A quick note on food: a favorite delicacy here is Chuño which I named negro papa [black potato] because they literally leave potatoes out until they are black and then eat it. No me gusta [I do not like it]. Also, they really like pear juice and I tried ¨mormon coffee¨ last night. I figured if the bishop drank it it was ok... something called ecco that smells just like coffee. Also, my companion and I made a sad attempt at pancakes and realized that our ideas of what a pancake is are very very different.

There are 4 church houses in Potosì, 7 wards in 1 stake. We all mostly walk to church. I have seen a few people drive - about 5ish cars in the parking lot. There are 26 missionaries in the zone of Potosi - 6 sisters and 20 elders.

Potosì is crazy! I really love it though. We have all sorts of adventures - especially when we offer to do service. Friday night I got to have one of those missionary experiences I´m pretty sure I´ll be telling my whole life :)

It all started at 8:00 PM as we were walking through the "calle de burros y chanchos [street of donkeys and pigs]" (there aren't really street names so we make up our own - its not really a street, more like a dirt gully). There was a little Cholita (those women that wear the traditional skirts) standing out in the dark in front of her house. We went up to her and asked if we could help her with anything. I knew we were in trouble as soon as I heard the words ¨burro¨ (donkey), and ¨murìo¨ [died] in the same sentence. :)

So we then proceeded to help this little old lady bury her dead donkey. The three of us dragged and carried the poor thing in a tarp halfway up the mountain to a little crevice in the hill. Then we went back and got a shovel and a pickax. My companion and I took turns pickaxe-ing the mountain side while the Cholita supervised and made sure his little hoofs were buried. Let me just say, if you haven´t heard the mourning cry of a mother donkey, you´ve missed something spectacular in life. I couldn´t help but laugh as I walked back down the mountain in the dark with dirt covered boots, a donkey smelling skirt, pickax over my shoulder, with my missionary nametag. That is true service.

Needless to say, the Cholita was very willing to listen to us and come with us to a baptism on Saturday night. I found out later that she lives all alone with her donkeys, and there was really no one that could´ve helped her in her time of need  except two sister missionaries that happened to be walking by. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

We have one young man preparing for baptism this Saturday. His faith is so amazing - when we asked him why he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, he said because you told me. We explained, of course, that he needed to receive a witness of the spirit, but his complete trust is really amazing. He simply accepts everything we teach - even tithing, word of wisdom, and chastity. When we taught him about the priesthood and how after baptism he could receive it, he was sincerely amazed - ¨The power of god with me?¨ Also, when we asked if he had committed any serious sin (for the baptism interview) he said yes (which nearly gave me a heart attack), and then proceeded to explain how he had stolen some money from his dad when he was six.

It really is quite amazing! I'm learning a ton from these simple people. Hope all is going well with everyone back home!

Love, Hna. Black