Dear family and friends,
Times and Seasons of Estacion, Montero, Bolivia:1. My bed and fan broke. I went one night without my fan and didn’t sleep and my companion wouldn’t open the window because of the bats, and she had a perfectly working fan literally facing the wall in the corner of the room (I don’t even know why it is turned on), because, again she reminded me, we will be diseased if we sleep with fans on us. Luckily my north American zone leader fixed things after I told him at almuerzo that I had to have it haha.
2. I got bit by another loco perro, luckily it didn’t break skin so no need for the rabies shot. Also I touched an anorexic kitten in one of the member´s compounds and got flea bites all over my arm.
3. My companion sincerely thinks the whole church needs to repent because we have statues around the salt lake temple of prophets and saints and such and they are “graven images” and I tried to explain to her how it is okay, but she could not be consoled haha
4. I hate machismo, and so does my companion and she talks about it often since it is so prevalent here. And she is completely afraid of marriage because her own dad isn’t present in her life, and she knows about tons of infidelity, even in the church, including a recent stake president and some bishops in our area. So sad. This is why I don’t care at all when people think I am nitpicky for not having any allowance for sexist jokes.
5. If you want an idea of the inactivity level in our ward (which I think hovers around 50%), let me just tell you that this week we had to give a lesson to the ward missionary leader, who is inactive, and trying to teach him to read the book of Mormon and pray about it.
Anyway this week has been hard, some people we hoped might want to continue in lessons didn’t and we knocked a lot of gates and people didn’t want to listen then either. And even when they do it is still very difficult with my companion´s way of teaching because we just share one or two scriptures from the bible and no one really cares because they are all catholic anyway. I try to offer suggestions about how we might mix things up, but my companion is bolivian and knows the language, and has been out for 9 months and is super set in her ways. So for now im just trying to learn patience and do the best with what I can. I just want to talk about restored truth and the book of Mormon in case one person out there is interested in a new message, but that´s not how we do it for now.
However, we did get 2 people passed onto us from other missionaries who basically just needed baptism dates, which we extended. We also got an 18 year old boy referred by his brother in law who is an active member, and he is such a great kid to teach because his brother in law has already taught him a lot, so the lessons have been a piece of cake and he actually keeps his commitments and reads and prays, so he already accepted a baptism date. Then we have 2 girls, Fabiola, the sister of a recent convert, who I helped teach about half the lessons to. She has a date, but we keep having to console her, like for example apparently she was visited by a ghost child, so she was scared of her baptism. Cultural idiosyncrasies like this really throw me when you add in the language barrier too haha. And then emilene who has a rich member boyfriend and has a baptism date, however her super catholic mom hates us.
My Spanish speaking and comprehension is undoubtedly a little better. I am just learning patience because it is such a slow process, and It is so taxing to wake up all throughout the night because of the heat and anxiety, and then try all the next day to concentrate doubly hard on what people are saying and still only get a general idea. But I am praying things will continue to improve, and trying to put my trust in the Lord as always! I love your letters, sometimes it is a struggle here to feel spiritually connected if that makes sense, even though I am literally on a mission for the lord, because of the language barrier making me feel really lonely and the heat and the ward being super inactive and lax, so I always feel the spirit when I read your letters that remind me of the love the gospel brings into people´s lives.
Love, Hermana Bingham