Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Baptism for my Birthday!

September 1, 2014

What a great week, I truly feel loved, thanks everyone for your letters and prayers.
First of all, last Monday my companion and I went over to the Castillo home and made the cake that Mom sent me.  It turned out SUPER yummy, and Fernando wants Pillsberry to start selling frosting in Bolivia.  hahaha.  It was a ton of fun, and while I worked on baking the cake Elder Bailey made some Oreo bon-bons, so we ate all kinds of sugary delights.
From Wednesday to Friday I have two exchanges with the two sets of elders in San Bernado.  It went really well, and I felt like I could help them out a lot in their areas, and also learned from them too.  It was a good time because I really got to know Elder Choque and Elder Orosco well during those 48 hours.  It really made me even more thankful that our entire family is in the gospel and for all the support I receive.  ¨Where much is given, much is required.¨ And MUCH has been given me.
Saturday I was blessed to baptize Ruth Ledezma. She's amazing, a future relief society president, and a REAL CONVERT.  She's 53 years old and the mom of Leslie and Nineth who I baptized in June with Elder Brasher.  He husband too is going to get baptized in the beginning of October after the elections are over.  Shortly after they will ALL go and be sealed as a family in the Cochabamba temple.  It's a goal they have, and a goal I know they will achieve.
After the baptism we went to the Ledezma house and little did I know they had a surprise birthday planned for me!  haha.  The coolest part was when one by one they talked about how grateful they are for us as missionaries as we came into their home and changed them forever through teaching them of the restored gospel.  We devoured TWO CAKES and they sang to me in Spanish and English.  Afterwards we taught them about the restoration again, and the spirit was so strong hearing them all testify of it. Such a special family.
Sunday after church the Castillo Family invited us over for lunch.  They made my favorite Piche a lo Machu for lunch and served it on an all American placemat (see pic).  Then also busted out a hidden cake that had written on it ¨Feliz Cumpleaños Elder Bender¨.  They are the best.  Love them so much!  They gave me my very own traditional ¨Chapaco¨ shirt!  With my name embroidered on it and everything.  Love it!  So legit.
All in all I think my biggest and most celebrated birthday was here in Tarija, and I didn´t even plan one bit of it!
Today we are traveling to Santa Cruz for Leadership counsel, a fantastic was to spend my 20th!
I love you all so much!
Élder Bender

                                                              Birthday Package from Home!

                                                               Celebrating with Castillo Family
                                                  ELder Bender and Eder Bailey
                                              Birthday Package from Grandma and Grandpa
                                                                  Baptism of Ruth

                                                                 Piche a lo Machu
                                                          Birthday Cake from Castillo Family!
                                 My very own traditional ¨Chapaco¨ shirt with my name embroidered! 

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