Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Eve

Querido familia,                                                          7 January 2013

On the thirty-first of December, we were given the same extensions as we received on Christmas Eve and were allowed to either be with a member family from eight until ten-thirty or be in our apartment with the other Elders starting at eight. The other Elders that live with us were not invited to dinner with anyone, but Elder Waldron and I were invited to dinner with the Gomez family the same day.  So we made plans with them to be there until nine-thirty, at which point we would leave and return to our apartment; however, it began to rain so hard to make it so that we could not leave from the apartment. The family lives a thirty minute walk away, even longer with mud and increasingly difficult with advert weather. So, Elder Waldron called Sister Gomez and cancelled our dinner plans and we instead spent the evening with Elder Sharapata and Garcia. As the night progressed, the weather cleared up and the storm passed, leaving behind streets filled with water and cool, fresh air.

Because we weren't really prepared for this sudden turn of events brought by the unannounced storm, we had to make a frantic run to the grocery store through the rain in order to buy food for the evening. So, we donned our jackets and umbrellas and set out to brave the storm. The store is only one block from our apartment, but we still had to jump across the rivers that had already formed in the streets in order to get there.

Once we had everything we needed and had returned to the apartment, we were able to just relax for the moment and take some time to ourselves. As the night grew a little later, we began to carry out our plans of food and activities for the night. Elder Garcia made chili for us and then to go with it we had corn bread and ice cream. We have access to the roof of our apartment, so we ended up putting our table on the roof to eat. After dinner, we played clue until the New Year came (we all lost).

This coming Saturday is the baptism for Domingo, Lorenza and their daughter, Sofía. Domingo has just really got pretty funny lately as he opens up more and more around us. We had a practice baptismal interview with him. During his mock interview, his wife, daughter, two of his sons, brother and cousin were present. While that may have been a pressure situation for some, it was more like an audience to him. Now we know that his is sarcastic, but he is also serious when he needs to be, but when we asked him what it was he remembered about the law of chastity he said, "It´s when you have to give up all your women and just stick with one." So we asked him how he was coming along with that and he said, "Well, I gave up the other nine and now I'm planning on being true to this one only, which actually works out really well because now I can focus more on my demon son [looking at his nineteen year-old son, Jaquien]; just look at his eyes, I can see at least two demons in there."

We did have an interesting, first-time experience on Sunday though. All day Saturday it had been raining, it was so strong in the morning that we were told to stay inside by our zone leaders and we didn't get to leave until forty-five minutes later than we normally do. But this rain, although it had diminished throughout the day, was still going as a light sprinkle on Sunday morning. As a result, there was mud everywhere in the neighborhoods where we work and our members and investigators live. So that had a somewhat significant impact on the church attendance this week. When nine o'clock rolled around, we found ourselves in the chapel with but three other people: Sister Petroli who had come with two of her kids. Also, the member who brings the bread every week didn't come and we found that there was nothing in the church that we could use in place of bread for the sacrament and we had to go to a small store a block away to buy bread. We still had a meeting though. We started with a hymn and prayer, sang another him as Elder Waldron broke the bread, partook of the sacrament, shared our testimonies, sang another hymn, and closed with a prayer before leaving back to our own places of residence.

As far as things go with my companion, Elder Waldron, he is a fine friend, but not a good worker; in fact, one of his weekly goals this week included "walk less." I don't think he is going to achieve that one. The problem with the situation is that technically he has the final say in all our decisions, but I'm really the one who is in charge and recognized by the members as the leader of our duo. The problem is that he just isn't responsible and seems like he is ready to go home. His lack of accountability and irresponsibility almost became a very big problem for us, and future missionaries though, because there was a sister in the branch who broke her wrist and requested a blessing and of this request I had no knowledge, because it was told to Elder Waldron, but he never told me and then he either forgot about it or just decided not to say anything. So, a few days later I found out from another member that she had requested a blessing and was asking why we never went to do it. Luckily, we were able to get to this sister to give her the blessing before she went for her surgery, but things like that worry me because if we hadn't gotten that done we could have lost the trust of some of the members and the future missionaries would also suffer the consequences also. Transfers are coming up though in two weeks, so we'll see if we're still together then, but I don't think we will be; which also worries me as to what will happen to this area in his hands as he gets closer and closer to his time to go home.

os amo,
Elder Burt

P.S. I wasn't able to send pictures again this week because this computer I'm on won't recognize my flash drive SD reader.

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