Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spiders in the shower and ducks in the pool...

Querido familia,
We had a whole lot going on this week ranging from cooking empanadas to service to baptisms.
There´s a family in the ward that is inactive that we've been visiting and having short ten minute spiritual thoughts with them in the hope that they will start coming again. They have three little kids, a girl who can´t be more than nine and two twin boys who are about three or four. We don´t have problems with them as missionaries, but as branch counselors they put us in a tough spot because they ask for financial assistance from the church, but they don't come to church and they also buy a lot of nice things, mostly expensive clothes, and they just bought a moped. So it´s hard to give them the assistance they want, and need, when they don't follow the commandments and aren't budgeting wisely. But we always do what we can and don't want them, espècially their kids, to go without. So, this last week they asked us if we could do some service for them and help them clean out their pool. So we said we'd be happy to help with what we could, but we only could devote so much time to the project because we have to be out teaching, So we showed up with our change of clothes (jeans, a t-shirt, and knee high rubber boots) and walked out back to see what we were getting into. Now the thing to remember here is that this isn't the United States, so of course the pool isn't lined with a soft rubber material and a filter system, but what we found was a more like a garbage masher from Star Wars than a pool. So we took a look at what were dealing with, talked about how we were going to get it all done and organize the mess, but most importantly: how to get rid of the duck. So, we put our gloves on, got in, and start tossing all the plastic bottles into a pile for recycling, setting the bricks (and some other interesting items) to the side and putting the rest of the trash into bags. Eventually we got the duck out, as well as three toads (we never could find the frog once he got away the first time) and had to start using buckets to get rid of the water. In the end, some of the interesting or strange things we found included: mate cups, tea pots, shoes, and a jawbone from a dog (which was obviously not too old because it wasn't just bone...). We got everything out and lowered the water level quite a bit, but there was still a ton of dirt in on the floor when we left, but they asked if we could leave our boots for them to use, so we're assuming they're going to wrap it up.

The house that Mirian and Diego currently live in isn't actually theirs, but his sister's house, so what they are going to do is build their own house on the same lot. So they asked us if we could lend a hand to get them started. What they needed done was to get the ground ready for building, which meant getting rid of weeds up to our knees, using shovels to tear the ground up, and hauling it away in a small trailer. It was a ton of work, but we got a lot done in the hour that we were working. Walter, their three year old, helped by watching us, giving us some encouraging words, and bringing us sweet bread and orange pop.

This last Saturday we had two baptisms: Augustina Pereyra and Ivana Guzman. Augustina isn't anyone we taught, but rather an eight year old girl ready to be baptized in a branch where there are no Priesthood holders. So we were happy to help her get baptized and get everything ready for her. We wanted to help one of the youth, Walter Silva, start becoming more active and use his Priesthood, so we asked him if he would baptize Augustina. He said yes, but he had a panic attack in the water and Elder Clark had to go in and do it. We felt really bad for Walter and had a prayer with him, but hopefully this won´t be a bad experience for him that will make him not want to participate in future events.

These are desserts we had after the baptism. Augustina's mom made the peach cake and we bought the pie cake for fifty pesos.

 After a few weeks of teaching, Ivana was finally ready for baptism. Elder Clark got in the water with her and I confirmed the next day on Sunday. I was nervous about giving the blessing in Spanish for the first time, but I was able to do it without any problems and did everything just fine. There was a dispute afterwards though because President Alegre blessed Augustina and he said, Recieve the Gift of the Holy Ghost" when the phrase is "Receive the Holy Ghost" so we're trying to figure out if we need to do the blessing again.

The district is having a temple trip for all the members so they can get their endowments, but the problem is that is is kind of expensive for a lot of the members. So to raise money, Sister Guzman (Ivana´s mom) made empanadas to sell at twenty three pesos a dozen (about fifty cents each). So we got to go help her make the empanadas the other day right after we did service with Diego and Mirian (that is why we are in our service clothes). to help out, we bought a dozen and then ate them while we prepared the chapel for the baptism later that day.
The view from our apartment when it rains. When it rains, it pours.
This is the street in front of our apartment that becomes a river every time it rains.

This was waiting for me when I went in to turn on the hot water.

Computer problems- fixing a computer is a hassle enough in English but it's worse in Spanish.
os amo,
Elder Burt

P.S. I´ll have to send the pictures from the pool service next week because they´re on Elder Clark´s camera

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