Monday, May 6, 2013

Bus rides and bus strikes

Querido familia,                       6 de Mayo 2013

We have this stone basin type thing to wash our clothes in the courtyard of our apartment.

This last Tuesday we had interviews with President Heyman in Paso De Los Libres, so Elder Rivera and I had to leave from our apartment at three in the morning in order to catch the only bus that would work for us to get there on time (there are bus strikes right now and there aren't very many schedules available) and that bus left at three forty-five. Well, we had everything ready the night before, but there was just one problem: I had accidentally set the alarm for three thirty instead of two thirty and we woke up an hour later than we needed to. So, we got ready a little bit faster than possible and then ran to the bus station. Luckily we got there on time and didn't have any troubles from there. 

Once everyone got there, we all had lunch together with President and Sister Heyman and afterwards he interviewed each of us and then Sister Heyman talked to us while our companion was with President Heyman. There hasn't been a baptism here for a while and people haven't been coming to the church meetings either, so in our interview President told me that the reason he sent me here was to be an agent of change and to do things differently then they've been done before. 

So I was trying to think of how we could get people to church when we've already been doing everything that is considered to be "every possible effort on the missionary's" and then I had the idea of having the branch president go to pick people up for church. He has a car, so he went to their houses and offered them a ride to church and as a result we had five people come to church; one third of the congregation.

After our meetings with President and Sister Heyman, we had to hurry back to the bus station to get back to Mercedes, but once we got there all the buses had already left until the next wave came in. So, Elder Rivera and I waited with Elder Humphries and Lopez. After a bit of waiting, we came up with the plan to go to Curuzù with Elder Lopez and Humphries and then take a bus from there the next morning to Mercedes. That way, we weren't getting back at three in the morning and would be able to get a good night's sleep. So we all got tickets on the same bus and went together to Curuzù. The next day however, we ran into a slight scheduling problem and wouldn't be able to leave until the next day. So we spent a day in their area and split up until the end of the day when we all met up at sister Villaba's house to eat dinner together. 

Then Elder Humphries got a call that said he needed to be in Resistencia Friday morning and the only buses that go to Resistencia leave from Mercedes. So on Thursday morning, all four of us left from Curuzù and went to Mercedes together where we again did splits.

One day, the district president called us and asked me if I could do some of the reports that were missing from our branch that the previous Elder needed to do while he was branch president. So we went to the chapel and I had to do the trimester report of everything that was done in the branch for the last trimester. It took about two hours to do all of it and just for a branch with two hundred members. I could't even imagine doing all that for a ward that has at least two hundred active members. 

President Heyman has always been saying that we need to start working with the member list more; knocking on doors of everyone on the list whether to accomplish one of two things: find out of the address is accurate for the name given on the list and, if they're a less active member, to invite them back to church, or if they're not members, to sit down with them and teach them about the church.

So we started doing that and we ended up looking for a couple named Carlos and Susana Zarate. We couldn't find the house, so we asked these two guys who were standing on the sidewalk if they knew either one of them or where they lived. They told us that Carlos had died and then one of the guys we asked said that he was now with Susana and that we shouldn't come looking for her again. He didn't confirm the address for us to change in the records.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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