Monday, November 18, 2013

Building a house and clearing the ground

Querida familia,                                                      18 de Noviembre 2013
In our efforts to make the marriage of Omar and Marta a reality, we've hit some obstacles. On Monday we tried sending her documents that need to be updated to the city where her records are and the Elders who are there received them. So they took the documents to the court house and while they were there they received some disappointing news: there are no existing records of Marta in the court house. But they noticed that on her birth certificate that she was actually born in another city, so they called to the court house there to ask for information about Marta and they answer that they gave was, "we don't have anything about her." So it was quite the dilemma and we came to the conclusion that there are errors either in their records or in the documents that Marta has (both of which are very possible options).

So in order to remedy the situation, Marta personally went this morning with all of the personal documents that she has in order to see what can be done and if they can maybe find some correlation among her documents that will lead to finding her original records.

Last week on Monday night, we watched the movie, "The Testaments," with Omar, Marta, Rosa (Marta's mom), and Yanina (Marta's eleven year old sister). It's about a family living in Ancient America waiting for the coming of Christ. At the end of the movie, the father, who has been faithfully waiting for Christ's coming his entire life, is blind and can't see Christ when he finally does come, but the Savior heals him during a sad moment. So after the movie I asked if anyone cried and everyone said, "yes."

Later on, I gave Omar and Marta some scripture marking pens to highlight the verses that they like and Omar immediately started turning to the things that he's already read to mark them. They've learned so much and are just waiting to get baptized, but the government of their country just isn't very efficient at getting things done.

We also met Marta's dad on Saturday night. He is rarely ever around because he basically lives in the fields where he works; he goes there for fifteen days and comes back for a weekend and then goes back to work in the fields. The only trouble with him is that he spends all his time drinking and doesn't want to learn anything from us. He started off by asking us how old we were and then told us that he is seventy-two years old and because he is so much older than us, there is nothing that we could possibly teach him or do to help him. He did, however, invite us to the party, but just as friends (there was no party, he was just drunk). He then bid us farewell with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

We've also been trying to help a bunch of kids get baptized and their parents reactivated. Right now, there are five kids, ages eight to nine, who are all related and wanting to be baptized. So we've set the goal with them that they can all be baptized together on the same day. We're just going to need to find a lot more white clothes for kids than what we curently have.

We're about to get really busy though with things pertaining to the branch. The tithing settlements have started, so now I have to interview every single member that we can find, show them their tithing records that are recorded on the church's records, and decide if they're paying a full tithe. I got started on it yesterday, but there is still a ton to do (there's two hundred members in the branch).

We also have the district conference this weekend, so I wrote a letter to the superintendant of the state asking him to provide a small bus so all the members can travel to the next city where the conference will be held. That way, the members won't have to pay and we won't have to worry about everyone not being able to make it because of a lack of available seats on the commercial buses.

We're also trying to get everyone ready to go to the temple next month; getting interviews for recommends, making travel plans, and setting appointments.

So the pictures I sent are of the service project that we did on Saturday morning. One of the members is building a house, so we helped him with some heavy lifting and preparing the land. I was put to work cutting down the weeds and clearing out the grass of where the floor was to be put in which is actually a lot harder than it looks; it is, however, as inefficient as it looks. 

Afterwards we had some trees to get rid of. There was two of them, so we each cut one down and then dug up the root. I was actually surprised that the machete was able to cut down a tree. 

I have a video of my cutting and hacking (which I can't send) in which I finish off the tree with a solid kick. Unfortunately, the tree nearly fell on the neighbor's fence, but luckily it didn't.

 Afterwards I was left with a missing chunk of skin from the handle of the machete.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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