Monday, February 21, 2011

Letter #56 - February 14, 2011


Thanks for the email, I'll start off by telling you about my week,


After I came back from the cyber with E' Smith, we went back to the house that we were staying at in Rivera. One of the other Elders wasn't feeling well, and so his comp went out with Elder Smith. I waited in the house for an hour while he took a little nap, and then I woke him up to go out for a bit. We only made invitations for a ward activity that we had on Friday though, so I actually really didn't do that much today haha.


Today we had Zone Conference, and it's the reason that we even came to Rivera. Once a week we have district meeting, and that's when all the missionaries in one city (like 20ish) gather together once a week. Zone Conference is a bigger deal, because it's two cities (stakes) worth of missionaries that gather together, it only happens like once every three months, and President and Hermana Heaton come and do this big presentation with the assistants. It's always a pretty big deal. Anyways, this one was based around the atonement. They had us read a couple chapters from the scriptures, hermana Heaton talked for a bit, and then President did a presentation. It was really good. Afterwards we ate lunch, which was a huge pizza, a homemade sugar cookie (it's been soooo long), and pop. Something kind of weird was that President Heaton came over and sat right across from me with our group of people. He always sits with the missionaries, but when there's like 40 of them, it's not very often that he sits by you. After lunch, we played a couple games of dodgeball (I have no idea why, we've never done anything like that), with me actually winning one of the two games where I started in the middle. Then there was the part where all the people ending and starting their missions share their testimonies, there was a little speach about home cleanliness (as always haha), and that was it. The zone conference was also in another city, called Tacuarembó. It was a couple hour drive away from Rivera (you can find a map of Uruguay if you really care), so we had to get up at 5:00am to get there on time. So, after that was over we came back to Rivera, on another several hour bus ride. After that, I just walked around and worked with E' Smith to finish the day.


We stayed an extra day in Rivera today, so that way we could go to district meeting. It was nothing special, although my comp got a package from his family that I got some of the candy from haha. Afterwards I bought the 'gift' for the woman who stole my camera but changed her mind and gave it back to me. I bought her an unnofficial soccer jersey (they're everywhere and extremely popular here) for 200 pesos, so that was 10 bucks. I felt kind of stupid for buying so long after the fact, and now that I had my camera back I didn't really care, but I felt like since I bribed her to not steal from me, I should probably follow through. The jersey actually came with a keychain of Uruguay's football team's crest, which I took, so I figured it was just like me getting ripped off buying that haha. That burned our couple hours free that we had inbetween the district meeting and when our bus left back to Vichadero, so we took a bus back to our area. We finally got back after being gone for like three full days (Sun night - Wed Night), so it was kind of weird after being gone for so long. We went out to work as soon as we got back, so we went to a couple people. Only one person was home though, Jorge, the man that we took in a taxi to church on Sunday. So, we had a good lesson with him.


Our activity that we had on Friday involved a dessert, so this morning for companionship study, my comp and I practised making 'hot fudge cake' for my first time in the mission. We actually have ovens, so cooking is somewhat possible now, although we didn't have any pan. So, a member lent us a cooking pan to cook the cake in. Also, I wasn't ever able to make it before, since brown sugar is so darn hard to find in this country. My comp and I made a shopping list for when we went to Rivera, and brown sugar was one of the things on the list since it can sometimes be found in this huge super market that's across the street from Uruguay but in Brasil. It actually had brown sugar, for the price of 120 pesos (6 bucks) for one kilo. That's compared to like 30 pesos (1. 50) for white sugar. So, I bought one since it's for a special reason, so that we could make our cake. The brown sugar kind of tasted like honey since it's a little different, but the cake still turned out really good. During work time today, my comp and I went by pretty much all the member's houses I think as we were close to them so that we could invite them to the activity. Also we normally have soccer on Thursday, but today it was raining so we couldn't have it. Actually, it pretty much rained most of the afternoon which looking back kind of sucked, especially since when we left our house it was sunny so we didn't bother to bring anything haha.


Today we had our ward activity, a 'noche de postres' (night of desserts/dessert night). What we did was told a bunch of people to bring a dessert and the recipie to the church. Then, after a short message by us, everyone took their turn sharing how they made their dessert, and then afterwards it was kind of like a buffet thing where everyone just ate everyone else's desserts. We made another hot fudge cake, this time using a bit more cocoa and swapping a tiny bit of brown sugar out for white sugar so it would taste more like chocolate and less like honey, and we also brought 2L of icecream (200 pesos or 10 bucks, icecream is freaking expensive here). What we did for our message was ask people if they wanted some cake, and then made this one guy who got baptized like 8 months ago do pushups for the person to get some cake. It was kind of cool that this guy came, since he's innactive even though his wife who got baptized like a year ago (4 months before him) still goes to church and actually gives us really good lunch every Saturday. We're working on reactivating the family. Anyways, eventually someone said no that they didn't want any cake so that this guy wouldn't have to do any pushups, although he still had to do some, even though the person didn't want any cake. I think that this idea was taken from a similar thing that a seminary teacher did with his class. Anyways, the analogy is that Jesus has already suffered for every single child of God, whether they are willing to repent and let him take their burdens or not. Those who repent get the cake for which he suffered, those who do not take the cake still made him suffer. The activity was a huge success actually, since we had like 5 non-members, a couple innactives, and a huge chunk of the ward. There was in total 31 people there I believe. That's really good, considering our church attendence is like 25. Anyways, so we shared that message, everyone talked about their dessert, and then we all ate. It was really good.


Today was the day that our really good investigator, Anita, got baptized. So, most of our day revolved around making sure that everything went well. We had the interview in the morning and then we started on the baptisimal font. Last time we didn't have hot water, but it was a really hot day so it wasn't a huge deal. This time, we needed to get the hot water heater in the church going, so that was a bit of a priority. We managed to find the key to the stupid door outside we needed to break into, and then we started on getting the font filled. After that we got lunch, and then did week planning since we didn't have time to do it Friday. The font got filled on time, and the baptism actually went really successfully, with very little stress. Also, we had a ton of people who came today as well, although not quite as many as to the noche de postres, so that was nice to have the ward support for the baptism as well.


Today was Sunday, and we had 5 non-members in church today, so that was really good. Anita got confirmed, and today we got Jorge with one of the two members (the first councilor) who drives a car to church. After church, E' Smith and I only focused on finding. We walked all over, talking to everyone to try to have more investigators. We have a lot of people lined up for baptism, but once they get baptized, we need to have people to teach. So, today we did a lot of finding haha.


Today was our PDay, and we actually moved houses today. Two houses over from us is another house with the same landlord. It's a huge family of like 6, and they live in this pretty nice house that's way too small for them. My comp and I live in this massive house that's a little older. So, today we did a little switcharoo. There was a garage inbetween our houses, so we basically emptied their house into that, moved our house into theirs, and then organized our house while they cleaned ours with like a pressure washer (it works when the walls are painted cement and there's no carpet). We also cleaned our house as we organized it room by room, and we finished at about like 3. So, now we're in a new house, which doesn't have so much unneccessary space and is quite a bit nicer. We played a game of Skip-bo while we waited for the cyber to open, and then we came here. So, that's my week.

Anyways, I always appreciate the updates. I got to write a little bit more this week, since we weren't like running out the cyber to catch our bus after. E' Smith might say something about the obedience, but staying under 30 minutes in the cyber is one rule I'm not sure I'll ever get haha. Anyways, thanks for everything,

Love you,

Elder Fikus

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