I cant even remember all the hilarious things that happen to me and hermana nelson every day here in bolivia. i was better at telling that stuff at the beginning of my mission when it was new to me too. But it usually has to do with a huge bug, or old pervy men yelling what little english they know like ¨HEY BEBE I LOVE. HELLO. HELLO. HI.¨haha. or like when we decided to do a service a wash a little gatito the other day that was muy muy sucio, and it literally put up the biggest fight in the whole world and little 8 year old carlita was just laughing at us. or when the Galdos pet parrot crawled right up onto hermana nelsons head and she was too scared to try to grab it off unless it pecked her hahaha.or whenever i find baby chicks running around and i juggle them. but besides all the stuff in between, we do have some lessons and we are blessed to learn so much from every one. i will share a few experiences:
we visited with a 19 year old named natalia. she was super excited to meet us, and she speaks spanish and english. she is adorable and super smart. however, she lives just with her nanny and her mom is always gone and it seems she might be lonely. we met with her in a little plaza next to her house, and gave her the whole first lesson because she understands things so quickly. however, when we got to joseph smith she got super quiet. we are used to people who have heard things about us or their friends call us crazy etc, so it isnt too uncommon that people are super wary about the first vision and a modern prophet. however we explained simply that we never try to convince people - thats actually impossible - but only invite them to pray in order to know for themselves. She started to cry and told us she was sorry but she couldnt even pray. she explained her family is traditionally catholic (although none of them actually go to church) and even though she doesnt feel it is true, the one time she tried to investigate a christian church her family started to shun her until she stopped going. she tearfully told us she was too afraid to even pray about the possibility of a modern prophet or anything because it was just too hard to go against her family´s costums. This is a common problem we have here, and it is so sad, especially when youth are just trying to find a stronger spiritual anchor because they can clearly see their catholicism is just for tradition and show and not to actually change their actions or spirits.
We also were stopped in the street by the Familia Vaca. it was right in front of a HUGE catholic cathedral, which was funny because usually the crowd outside avoids us naturally, but the mom yelled AMIGAS!! and we stopped surprised and she started to tell me how much she loves my hair. we clicked with them right away and they told us they wanted us to visit them and to visit our church. that NEVER happens here haha. Hermana Nelson told me my hair converts people hahaha. we had an amazing first lesson with them where the dad was present, and they have been happily married for 20 years. that also NEVER happens here. i feel something special about their family. they havent come to church yet, so please pray that they will start to attend!!
We are teaching Rosalia, the cousin of a recent convert who is only 17 and just lost a baby to a miscarriage. she is living with her 18 year old boyfriend, and they want to start a family. but he drinks and doesnt want to come to church with her every, but keeps telling her they should have a baby. we shared the family proclamation and she was very pensive and we talked about things she said she had never thought about before, because like so many other young, undereducated, neglected youth here, she doesnt think ahead, and neither does her boyfriend. they just do what they see, and what they see is always broken homes and families. Ximena, her cousin who is a member, and is AMAZING, gave an incredible testimony. she testified how the gospel changes us, makes us see that we dont have to live what we see, that we can be the difference, that we can hope for something more, etc.
Ximena has also grown up in conditios of a broken home, with trials we cant even imagine. but she has completely transformed, her dreams of a mission, a temple marriage, a home where her children can feel safe and taken care of, are the opposite of the norm here in bolivia. and this emotional, mental, and spiritual development came through the gospel of jesus christ. I know its true. its the only way. i will study international development more when i get home. i just want to help this world, the united states is more of a blessing than we can imagine until we see up close some of the situations i have been able to see in africa, bolivia, etc. but i will always know that the best development plan, the most powerful and sustainable, is the gospel.
Love, Hermana Bingham