Saturday, December 21, 2013

The first of many baptisms!

December 9, 2013
Hello everyone! =)
Last pday we played Fútbol, and it was super fun. Plus out of all the latinos who are super good, I scored the first goal, and got the assist on the second! My first pday we played Bop it and Sorry with the branch president and his wife!
Firstly, I want to talk about the weather that we have had this week! It has been crazy. It was super crazy hot and humid for a day or two, then two days of dry heat and crazy wind. There was so much sand in the air I walk with my eyes closed! And I get sand EVERYWHERE! It was super sandy, like walking on the beach to appointments! Then we woke up one day to a crazy thunder and rain storm. It was just dumping! Everytime it rains we find tricky ways to quickly clean up the rain that leaks into our house, it's kind of fun! Haha. Our Pensionista told me that this wether pattern is going to repeat every week throughout December, January, and Febuary. Yeewhoo! Glad I bought some rain boots! They saved me this week!
Let's talk about bugs! There are some CRAZY bugs here! Haha its nuts. They call them Bechos, and there is this one type that chill out in the trees and every day around 6 they just all start screaming! So loud that in lessons we have to yell to talk over them! At first it was really weird, and now it's normal and I almost don't every recognize it! There are like a billion fatty, huge frogs right by our house too, they are always splated all over the road haha. Then we have lucinergas, which are more or less a type of firefly, just like the size of a fatty beattle! They glow super bright at night and just cruise around in the air! They are super cool. =)
I have gotten a zillion requests to write about food: Here are the things that I LOVE here! Salteñas and Empenadas are both literally so delicious, my favorite foods now! They are similar in theory, but the Salteñas are sweeter and just better all around, a bit more expensive too, but still cheap compared to American food! They are tiny little hand held biscuit things that are fried. And you can put whatever you want inside. The best ones have chicken, potatos, vegetables like carrots and peas, and then this super sweet juice stuff. They are amazing! I am sure you can look of recipes to make them online. Sometimes people just put cheese in the empenandas, but the best is the chicken!
On Saturday my pensionista slayed one of their Rosters! Haha I got to watch them do it, it was pretty nuts! I hope you can see the picture of its head! Sunday for lunch we ate him! It was pretty tough meat because he was 6 years old, but it was chicken none the less!
This week I had my first intercambio. I went to a different area about 30 minutes away and was companions with Elder Jamie for 24 hours. It was a really great experience and I learned so much! It's great to see how different people teach and what works for them. During this exchange I had my first experience teaching JW´s! It was really interesting. It was a first appoint with a lady and she invited her pastor over to just Bible bash us. It was SO cool because at first Elder Jaime bashed for a bit, and then I just started asking them questions, thought prevoking questions that answered their attacks on our church. Then I backed it up with a bunch of scriptures from the Bible and invited them to come to know for themselves that we having a living prophet today, for that is the only way they can know, is if they studied and prayed. OF COURSE they didn't accept the invitation, their hearts were veryyyy hardened, however we left with this invitation extended, a smile, and a handshake. They were baffeled because they wanted to fight, and we retaleated with love and invitations!
Now as you can see from the pictures I this week I was blessed to see someone who I have come to love enter the waters of baptism for the first time! It was a beautiful experience. Her name is Belinda, and she is 9 years old. She has such a testimony and desire to serve a mission when she gets older! One of the biggest miracles is that through us teaching her the lessons her father, who wanted nothing to do with the church at first, slowly came back into activity and baptized and confirmed his daughter. It was so beautiful at the service, he bore his testimony of how his life has changed because we have been teaching Belinda. And how he wants more than anything to take his family to the Temple so they can be sealed together for eternity. He started just crying and crying while bearing his testimony, and he just thanked us over and over and over for helping his daughter, but even more for helping him open his eyes once more to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit was just so strong in that room, such a sweet experience, I was crying too!
This week we are going to have another baptismal service for Familia Ticona! They are awesome, and I have come to love them so much too. Their story is that the father left the picture about 2 years ago, and now Hermana Ticona works extrememly hard to support her five children. They are awesome! I am very excited for their baptism! =) Also we most likely will be baptizing a man named Oscar. He supposedly was baptized YEARS ago, but they don't have any record of it, and our branch president Presidente Raleigh said we should teach and baptize him again! Haha, so that we shall do! He most likely will be baptized on the 14th as well.
I love you all so very much, thanks for all of the prayers!
Élder Bender

                                                                Belinda and Family
                                                          Elder Bender and Elder Oliart

The Rooster

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