Last week the computer ate Tyler’s letter. He came up with a solution to the problem by handwriting his original letter and then taking pictures of it to email this week.
Don’t worry, you don’t need your binoculars. I have typed it out…
So, I will first explain what happened with the computer. I was writing my email and I had about 5 minutes of internet left and I had written probably my longest letter yet. I turned to talk to another Elder for a second and my elbow/forearm hit the keyboard. I look back at my screen and all that was left was the first sentence I had written about Quisto Cocha…Yeah, let’s just say I wasn’t too happy about that and not even “undo” could help me out. So, I threw together a little paragraph with what little time I had left. Luckily, I came up with a solution, as should be apparent from the fact that you’re reading this. Mom, you can either just forward/post the pictures or you can type it out if you get bored or happen to have a lot of free time [I type really fast]. Or, maybe Bryce needs to practice his typing skills. I’m sure he needs to practice his driving skills.
OK, so I’ll start with Quisto Cocha [I googled it, it’s actually Quistococha, one word, see a video HERE. The music alone is worth the jump]. It’s like a zoo on the river. There are pumas, leopards, jaguars, monkeys, birds, huge fish and some other cool stuff. I got my picture taken with a snake which was cool, but sadly the Elder taking pictures might not have ever touched a camera before so I don’t actually have any good pictures. I do, however, like the picture I sent home of me on the river. A different Elder took that one.
At the end, we played soccer on the “beach” which was better than soccer on asphalt. Then I ate some zuri (aka, tree slug for you white folk). It tasted like coconut. It had a very tough exterior with a very gushy interior. Oh, and, it was alive and the head is very crunchy. I wouldn’t exactly recommend it but it wasn’t the worst experience of my life.
On Thursday night, it was raining pretty hard and when it rains hard here, some of the roads turn into rivers and lakes form in other places. That doesn’t really have much to do with the story, but whatever. So, we show up to a house where we have an appointment and have to jump over a lake to get to the door. I almost made it and only got a little wet. Elder Duran [who is only a foot shorter than Tyler] didn’t and his shoe is split so he to wet pretty much everywhere, including his foot which is no fun. Anyway, we knock on the door and the guy answers (with his wife and kids, one of which is a member of the Church) and invites us in. It was dark because they don’t have light, so we used my flashlight for the lesson, Dad would be proud. So it was fairly dark but in the middle of the lesson, something ran in between us and back into the house. The dad gets up, pulls off his shoe and chasses what turned out to be a rat. His wife proceeded to tell us about how dangerous the rats are and how on the news the other day an entire family died because of rats. Don’t worry mom, they’re only in the houses on the water so I’m safe. But after a minute or two, the dad came back. The rat had been taken care of and we continued with the lesson. I couldn’t help but think: “Did that really just happen?” Probably one of the strangest lessons I’ve taught so far.
Friday might have been the craziest day of my mission so far. I’ll preface it by saying we’ve had two families: Family F* and Family S* waiting to get married and baptized for a while. The F* Family had their wedding scheduled for 11am on Friday morning for about a week and we were just waiting on a birth certificate for the dad of the S* Family (we were scheduled to pick up the birth certificate at 9am on Friday). With the birth certificate, we could go and schedule their wedding possibly for Friday afternoon. So, that was our plan.
We went at 9 and had to wait about an hour to get his birth certificate, but after about two months of work, we finally got it! So, we race over to the municipio (not sure how to say it in English) to schedule their wedding. The only time that day available was 11:30am. That gave us no time to go and let anyone know that the wedding was happening so we could only go get everything set with the family and make sure their witnesses were going to be there. Then we had to race back to the municipio for the wedding we had at 11 for the F* Family. With everything that we had to do that morning, we didn’t have time to go see if everything was good with them so we were just hoping they’d be there on time. Timeliness is not common here. There were only a few minutes late, but brought their witnesses and family and everything. So, we had their wedding and it was awesome. Then the other family was there with their witnesses and we had their wedding right after.
I think before my mission, I had only been present for one actual wedding and in about one hour I attended two. Crazy.
That night, we had the baptism of the F* Family and spent a good part of the afternoon getting that set up and everything with only a few hours of proselytizing. A large portion of the ward [congregation] was there, which was awesome and we had asked the Elder’s Quorum President [a priesthood leader] to give a short message. He asked for a reference and we gave him 2 Nephi 31. His message was exactly that. He read 2 Nephi 31…all of it. [It is typical to use a few verses and then elaborate in your own words] Haha, it was kind of funny for Elder Duran and me. But, the baptism was awesome and the that family is the best! There was a huge party for them and the Relief Society [women’s organization] after, something about the anniversary of the Relief Society. But yeah, there was a nice, big party for them, which was awesome.
The next night we had the baptism for the S* Family. They’re a little bit unpredictable sometimes. We called at 5pm to check up on them for their 7 o’clock baptism. The dad was in San Juan working. San Juan is about 15 minutes away by moto and like an hour walking, and he basically walks everywhere, so that kinda scared us especially because he was still working. He assured us that he’d be there by 6:30 though, so we just had to take his word for it. They were only like 10 minutes late, but that meant that they were actually 20 minutes early for their baptism, which was one of the biggest surprises because it’s not really like them! But I’ll take it! Their service was awesome and there were a good number of members [of the Church] there because this family had waited about two months after their original baptism date because of the birth certificate issue, so they really are already part of the ward.
After the baptism, we had a cake with a bride and groom on top for the family and I made Elder Duran take a picture with it because he’s going to be married in about a year. I mean he gets home in 10 months, so that gives him 2 months to find a wife. Plenty of time, right? Haha. That is not serious at all.
As many of you know, baptism is only the first part of the ordinance. On Sunday, they were confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Well, we get to our first Sacrament Meeting about 10 minutes before the meeting and had talked to our Ward Mission Leader about going and reminding the F* Family and bringing them to church. He shows up about 5 minutes later without them, so we go and look for them but they weren’t home. We found out later that on Friday after their baptism, a relative of theirs let them stay in a hotel of theirs in Nauta, which is a good 2 hours away and they just didn’t get back in time. They got there about an hour and a half late, so they’re just going to wait a week, which was very stressful. Luckily, the other family was already in the chapel when we got there so there no problems there.
All in all, it was a very stressful weekend, but probably one of the best ones so far. And hopefully you can read this letter and it makes up for me not really being able to send that email. For the record, you did get a lot more detail with this letter than you would have with the mail. And I just want you all to know that the Church is true and Christ really is our Savior and Redeemer and that because of what He did for us, we can all live together in happiness para siempre.
See HERE for the English version of Alma 26:12.