Monday, July 27, 2015

Diecisiete meses

I am absolutely content. This week was a lot of work....and lot of walking. I thought I escaped from bloqueos y paros.....blockages and strikes, but...there was one in my area...hahaha but it is nothing compared to Potosi thank goodness. They  just blocked off the street the whole day and so we had to walk allllll day without going in autos to take us farther down the road. I was joking around with my companion saying, "I thought I left the strikes in Potosi! They keep following me." Which reminds me...the strike continues in Potosi...its been 3 weeks already. 

I am getting my luggage fixed. I am no way going to buy a new one. I realized that there isnt just one wheel that is broken. Two wheels....dang Potosi burnt off my wheels walking down that road. Haha. Good memories.

This week we also had a baptism. We completed a family and the Lord really prepared this family to accept that gospel. Jose's father got baptized three weeks ago and just recieved the priesthood yesterday and that very same day, baptized his son. Oh was he nervous, but he did great. This family is really special. They will be getting sealed in the temple in a year. I love seeing people get blessed from the gospel. 

We did a special number in the baptism...I sang again and I was sooooo nervous again. Our mission president and the temple president were present in our baptism too......But it turned out great! But dang....I was shaking in my skirt. 

I know you are all excited for me to come home.....that you WOULD tell me that I'm invited to a wedding on my very first saturday being back at home.......that just made me shiver....where is time going. 

I have been studying a lot in the mornings finding ways to really ponder on the things that I learned throughout the mission and really see if I'm applying those things right now. I have been reading my diary to remember everything that happened. I developed really bad memory being out here for so long and doing the same thing everyday, but I have grown so much grateful for my diary and now I'm writing everyday because really...I am forgetting a lot of stuff. But I read it every night before I go to bed and I tell my companion all of the funniest things that happened to me in the mission. For example, that one time that I went to the doctors to do some immigration paper work and we had to do a few tests. I was sitting in line waiting for the nurse to tell me to come in to take out my blood. I was sitting next to a few elders who were north american. They were coming out and going in the bathroom to fill up their cup with their urine. One elder said that he had so much pee that he could have filled up his cup even more, but his cup was already really full. And the other elder said that he didn't have anything to give. He couldn't pee out anything. Then after a few moments, one of them asks me, "Hey Hermana. Where are you from?" I told him that I was from the States. He was soooo embarassed and said, "Oh my gosh! You understood everything we said!" They thought I was latin...and that I didn't speak English. Funnyyyyy...I laughed out loud reading about that day.

I am filling out my diary with lots of memories worth remembering...I am really going to miss the mission. I am really going to miss the authority I have to teach and to preach the gospel. Just gotta enjoy it til the end right? I love being a missionary and I hate how fast its ending, but we just keep swimming. 

Love you all and this is my week! 

Love you,
Hermana Santeco

my pensionista feeds me well. 

im living with a dog named spy. 

eating soooooommmeeee grinds boliviano!

we both wear glasses!

Monday, July 20, 2015

I Love it all. I Love the mission

One week into the last transfer and I am just slowly accepting that my time in the mission is coming to an end. You have no idea how sad I am. Everyone keeps reminding me everyday, "Hermana Santeco, ya se va a ir a casa. Ya no le falta mucho." o "esta es mi compañera, ella es chinita y ya se va a ir en 5 semanas." I just laugh. I laugh and say, "Si se que me falta poco pero igual trabajo." I am going to miss the mission a whole lot.

My first week training Hna Vilchez was really humbling for me. This very same area is when my trainer, Hna Donoso finished the mission. I told hna Donoso in an email, "hey! voy a terminar donde terminó usted!" she was so happy. This area is great. Its HUGE and it has lots of potential. It apparently has a reputation for having a baptism every week...and that is actually a lot of pressure for us, but the Lord is really helping us...and we have a baptism this coming Sunday and maybe one more in two weeks. We are working. Now that I´m training when I have a lot more time in the mission, I can see a huge difference of how I trained Hna Trujillo and how I am now training hna Vilchez. I know what I´m doing...and I know how to help her adjust to the mission life.

I have to start preparing myself for my last interview with the mission president. One of the things I have to come prepared with is a list of things I learned in the mission....I started to list it out and I just look at it and learned a whole lot...and I love it. I can´t imagine life without serving a mission. Without being in Bolivia. Without knowing spanish...I love the culture here. The food. The people. This mission is so unique. An elder that is going home next week asked me, "Hna Santeco, what where your most memorable moments you had in the mission? your highlights? the things you don´t hear often from other missions?" I came to a conclusion of 4 things. 1. I bathed a 86 year old woman, 2. I help kill 120 ducks and pluck off its feathers. 3. I trimmed old people´s toenails in an elderly home. 4. I got chased out of Potosi by miners with Dynamite. I love this mission so much....and I love the things that I am learning and experiencing. I know that I can´t experience these things in no other place and no other moment in my life. I love being a missionary and I can say that more and more each day.

I dread the day that I go home. I dread it so much because I feel that the real life is hard compared to the mission...but its something I need to face.

My companion and I had a great lesson yesterday. We were with our mission leader and the investigator we are teaching. We invited him to be baptized and he actually told us that he was waiting for us to invite him to be baptized. I loved the spirit that we felt. I love feeling the spirit.

Today we went out as a zone to play paintball. Funnest thing ever. Loved it. I love the zone. All of the sisters in our zone are training this transfer. Its pretty cool.

But this is my email. I only got 4 more emails to go...where did the time go.

Se que esta iglesia es verdadera....y que Dios nos llama a hacer Su que Él me ama y me conoce. Se que Él me ha llamado para servirle aca en Bolivia. Estoy tan agradecida por el evangelio restaurado...que se restauró por un profeta...José Smith....gracias a Dios y Su plan perfecto, podemos obtener la vida eterna.

Con mucho mucho amor,

Hna Santeco

potosi!!!!! walking with luggages and all and last district photo

Monday, July 13, 2015

Second Daughter, Last Transfer

So......I am in Sucre. We left Potosi this morning....I have been transferered out and it looks like I´m training this last transfer and second time training. It looks like that my time is flying faster each day.

So I have a long story to tell...I don´t want you to worry, but to know that I´m safe and out of Potosi finally haha. There has been a huge strike going on in Potosi and it has been a week already. But in this strike, they close down everything. Stores, restaurants...everything. There aren´t any cars, taxis, or buses. Nothing. I liked it in the beginning because everyone was home and my companion and I could find lots of people home, but as the days past....people left Potosi because of the strike. The dangers of the strike was the fact that a few people still continued to open their stores, drive, or open their restaurants. And that....caused lots of angry people to come by with sticks and motors to tell them to close their shop. We witnessed a few things....people throwing rocks at cars...a bomb go off....marches....but these past days it has gone bad. Mineros...mine workers are angry with the government here. I honestly do not know a lot that is going on because we do not watch not news, but poor Potosi is fighting the government for a few causes. There are apparently mine workers walking around Potosi with Dynamite...and because stores are closed, the stock of food is going down. Everyone is running out of food...but the strike continues...once again, as I tell you of these things, I do it because the missionaries in Potosi need your prayers and because I have escaped from the chaos. 

There is apparently no way to get out of Potosi. What they do here in Bolivia when they are protesting or on strike is leave rocks in the middle of the road. Lots of rocks so cars can not pass by. Getting out of Potosi reminded me of two things...the halocaust and a war movie. We got up at 3:45am to have my pensionista and her boyfriend drive us to meet up with other missionaries and a member to accompany us to walk 10 miles to where we were to meet the car that took us to Sucre. I was honestly scared and on a verge of tears......I was already sad for leaving Potosi, but leaving like this was terrible. Haha. We were lucky to find a way to walk less..finding cars between closed off roads (with rocks), but after we had to walk a little more with our luggages......we walked tso much that the Elder that was helping me with my of the wheels burnt off. We walked past a bunch of mine workers...drunk and probably with dynamite.....I swear I was praying the whole way..we finally got to the place where the car was waiting with the other missionaries coming from Cochabamba to enter Potosi. We ran.....and we saw mine workers running behind us....drunk and wanting us to stop. Not wanting us to leave. It was a huge group of them.....They wanted to flatten the tires of the cars so that we would not been able to leave. They attempted, but it did not work. Then I heard, "Well then, lets bring out the dynamite." The member who accompanied us kept saying, "Let them leave. They are from the church!" I just started to tear up...and I just wanted to leave.......We got in the car and ran off from the mob and headed out. But the roads were blocked and so we had to drive up hills and mountains of rock......we got lost a few times....a road that we couldn´t pass, we couldn´t have passed it in 15 minutes, but going through stony roads that weren´t even roads, we got back to the same route in 2 hours. Then we had to go through the same and arrive to Sucre at noon.We had to push the stick shift car up the hills...and choose between fork paths many times.....I swear.....the Lord has helped us escape and has protected us from harm......Everyone told us that we wouldn´t make it, but we did. And tonight I´ll be going to Cochabamba in a bus ride of 8 hours.

I found out about my transfer early. I found out friday night, but I only knew that I was going to Cochabamba. I had to pack early and prepare to leave. I was really sad...really sad to leave Potosi because I don´t know when I´ll ever go back. I had grown to love so many people there and leaving them was really hard. But I had seen the fruits of our labors this transfer...and the area and ward will be blessed with a few baptisms this month as I leave it with Hna Barzola. I am hoping that it can continue to progress.

Last night when I found out that I was going to train, I honestly didn´t know what to think. I am really happy though because I´m pretty stoked to work hard til the end. My new companion is Hna Vilchez from Nicaragua and she is new. Brand new in the mission. I´ll be finishing training her. I know that Lord calls and gives revelation to God´s children. I have been released to serve as Sister training leader and its really bittersweet....I had learned so much and I still have so much to learn yet.

I am going to miss Potosi so much and I hope that its not too cold in Cochabamba. I don´t think it is. But I am sure I can handle it after being in Potosi. I know that the Lord guides and protects His servants. Here´s too 6 more weeks as a missionary and representative of Christ. I need to live it to the very last.

I love you all. I hope I didn´t worry you. But know that I am safe.
Hna Santeco

PS: I can´t attach photos today. Sorry. Junk internet place. USB slots are jammed.

NEWS LINK --> Demonstrators of Potosi Department shout slogans against Bolivia's President Evo Morales government in La Paz

Monday, July 6, 2015

A little White 4th of July

It snowed on the 4th of July here in Potosi. Not like in Utah or in the states, but it snowed! We were walking in the street with a member to visit an investigator and it started to snow! Falling snow from the sky and all! The downside is that I forgot to bring my companion forgot to bring hers too...but we were walking in snow!! Snow that melted after a few moments,but it was snow...and it is because it has gotten SUPER mas colder here in Potosi. The wind kills me and my hands are dying. But I am putting on more clothes...mas y mas. 

This week....this fast did it go..just 7 more weeks and I will be home. We spent Pday in Sucre last week and we were able to eat some italian food that tasted like Mac and Cheese (that didnt matter to me because I miss me some Mac and Cheese) and we went to visit my companions old area there. After that we went to go visit Leticia in the hospital, our investigator in Potosi, but in Sucre to receive radiotherapy. It was really nice to see her. She aprpreciates your prayers, mom. She is a strong woman....the whole way from Potosi to sucre I thought deeply about the wonderful people that I am meeting here and learning to love...a less member who is a returned missionary said this, "If anything...what I remembered most and treasure the most is knowing that I really had learned to love the people in the mission". I in that very moment was realizing that its what I am treasuring the most right now...I love the people here. They arent perfect, but I unconditionally love them. For their culture, their smiles, and love and spirit. This...I am really going to miss. And I cant believe I am saying this, but I will even miss their food. Because there is nothing like it at home. Maybe a few things, but it just wont be the same after. This is the last week of this transfer and we will be entering my last transfer which means for me to work even harder and to dedicate this time to the Lord. I had grown to love Leticia....for being even one of my greatest examples of faith and strength...along with my own mother. 

We learned a whole lot in the Leadership training workshop in Cochabamba with President Hansen. I did hear the news about same-sex marriage being legalized in all states....and that just broke my heart and brought me the biggest preocupation for future and present families. But just as mom said, I have also grown even more grateful for the gospel for providing us a way to remember that Gods laws will always be greater than mans....and that we hate the sin and love the sinner. We made a huge new focus as missionaries to focus on the importance of families...of a father, a mother, and their children.....I can testify that marriage is ordained by God....that is is essencial for man and women to bring forth Gods children in the Lords way...Its essencial according to Gods plan for His children...I do hope and pray that we as a generation can prepare ourselves now and strengthen ourselves for what else Satan is preparing to attack the families with...I just know that the Lord will always win and provide a way for us to overcome the difficulties of life...

That very same night in Cochabamba I was able to go to the Cochabamba temple to do a was what I needed and what my sould hungered for after 5 months of being outside of Cocha. The interesting part is that I was able to do a few parts in the temple in English because the sisters that were there working were from the states...and it was WEIRD....but a lot more meaningful for me...because I can understand better...hahaha but I loved being at the temple and enjoying of its blessings and power. 

Our Ward is doing a whole lot better...with a bishop who is ready to work...our ward is beginning to become unified again. After being without a bishop for 5 months.....we are working miracles together. I loved it...and I can see that the Lord really calls those He prepares. 

I am hoping that as members of the church, we can reread the Family Proclamation to the World and hang it up on the wall to remember what Church Doctrine is and what isnt. I am so grateful for the gospel and the blessings that come forth from it....

I love my companion for helping me to learn of these things...for allowing me to work with her and to grow with her. I love having a companion...and I can see how having one will always help each one of us improve and grow spiritually.....

I love being a missionary and I love Potosi...even if its cold...and that I cant breathe at 13,420 feet above sea level...

just to tell a little of what i learned this week. i learned this: being a homemaker is much more important than being a doctor, lawyer, school teacher.....the lord trusts Gods daugthers to raise his children.....being a mom is more important.