Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a CRAY week hahaa. First off, I got to play futbol with like 40 elders for my last pday in Montero for 3 hours. It was awesome! I love playing with the Latinos because they are hilarious, Donde aprendio como jugar futbol?? Usted es mejor que los otros gringos…!! And that night we had a family home evening with the Arrodondos, and we watched the short version of the Restoration vid with Erick, one of the many young admirers of the Arrodondo girls. I swear their family has given us more references than all the rest of our ward members combined, but they are always guys between the ages of 19 and 21.. Los Arrodonds are trying to flirt to convert. BUT it was hilarious because after the vid (when i was wiping my tears haha) i turned to Erick (who kind of looks like a thug) and asked him how he felt. And he basically had nothing to say at that moment, so i was wondering if it was all a waste, until right before he had to leave he was like Do you sell this movie? I want to buy this movie. Hahaha and it was so funny to me that this thug kid was trying to buy the Restoration off of me. Anyway, hopefully he´ll be baptized someday and not just to impress Carla Arrodondo.
Anyway, the next day I had an intercambio. Bless the heart of Sister Diaz – she is Mexican American from Los Angeles and has always been fluent in both languages, and she is this awesome 22 year old slightly liberal Mormon convert with an amazing testimony – she knew that i was probably struggling with my companion, because my companion has a bit of a rep, so she arranged the intercambio so that i could spend the day in the center of santa cruz with her, and my zone leader who is awesome – a Puerto Rican American who also was fluent in both before his mission – told us to talk in English so that i could get my feelings out to someone hahaha. Anyway the apartment in Equipetrol with Sister Diaz is on a second floor, and early in the morning during our studies it started raining so so hard until all the streets around us were flooded. The other two girls in the house are two north americans from utah so all of us decided it was a primetime to do service because peoples cars were getting stuck, so we ran outside and literally the water was above our knees, but we freed peoples cars, including a van uphill, and carried schoolchildren on our backs across the street because they literally could not cross, and the whole time people on the sides of the streets were laughing and shouting because of us, the 4 crazy american girls in sopping skirts who were saving the people of santa cruz. It was the greatest, and hilarious.
The next day when my companion met up with us in the city and we started to head back to Montero, there was ANOTHER protest (the last time we had to make a travel from santa cruz to montero, our trip which usually lasts 1 hour was 4 HOURS stuck in the jungle). Anyway this time was a little more serious. Our trufi was at a dead stop with hundreds of other autos and people were bailing to walk. I thought if we could just walk a little bit further to a little town ahead we could catch a taxi to Montero. So we bailed and started walking to, but right before we reached the town we heard what sounded like gunshots and people started running the opposite direction. We ran a little ways to create some distance, and when we looked back we could see that protesters in a field were throwing small hand bombs and the police were launching smoke bombs or tear gas or something. Anyway we walked a safe distance away and again had to wait forever before things calmed down enough that we could catch a bus that was crossing over.
Then the NEXT day we had transfers, and like i expected, i was transfered. I was so happy to change companions, but i was so sad to leave my first area. There are so many people there that i love. However i felt good about the way i left the area. We started our cambio with no one, and when i left we had about 5 investigadors, including the Familia Davalos. I just hope that my old companion and her new latina companion will do all they can to help these people. Now my area is completely different. I am in Paraiso, a richer part of Santa Cruz. These people have cars and actual houses. Montero was hard enough to have investigators, because everyone is so hardcore catholic – now we are in a zone that is hardcore catholic and has money. There has not been very many baptisms here, and again we are starting the cambio out with no investigators. I am in a trio, which is different and three girls is never a good thing hahah, however i LOVE my companion H. Mullisaca. She´s from La Paz and has served in three missions now, Cochabamba while waiting for her visa, Venezuela until things got so bad there that they kicked everyone out except Venezuelans, and now here. She is awesome, and we work really well together. My other companion is Sister Cucul from Guatemala. She is a little bit more difficult because she says like 5 words a day only hahah. But we are going to work with her.
Anyways, i will let you guys know how it goes in Paraiso! I feel like i am in a different country now haha. I love you all, thank you for all your support and letters and prayers.
Love, Hermana Bingham