Tuesday – July 11, 2017
We are in La Paz, Bolivia visiting Presidente and Hermana Ocampo who preside over the La Paz, El Alto mission. This is our second day in La Paz. We both have felt a little bit of the altitude with a small headache the first day but not as much as Colombia. No dizziness this time. We started taking some medicine before coming to prevent altitude sickness and we’re glad we did. La Paz is 11,000 feet. Our hotel is in La Paz.
This morning the Ocampo’s picked us up at about 9:00 for a multi zone conference in El Alto, consisting of 4 zones. It should have been a half hour drive but the road was blocked when we got about halfway there and we had to turn around and take the teleferico which is an arial tram across the city. Each car holds 10 people at the most. Presidente said he never knows why the roads are blocked sometimes. Riding on the teleferico was really awesome. We got to see the whole city from above.
Hermana Ocampo took a picture of us riding in the teleferico
It did make us about an hour late for the conference though but we got there. Elder/Doctor Mayberry was the only speaker. He did a great job. He talked for about an hour and half to the missionaries about some of the health concerns of the mission. The 3 main ones were, stomach issues, back issues, and knee problems. Much of the mission has knee problems because of the steep inclines they walk up and down and the back issues are related to the knee issues. The missionaries had lots of questions.
They had lunch for us at the church and Carter then saw 13 missionaries individually for about 3 hours. And me? I had a great time while waiting talking with the assistants and other elders who wanted to speak English. The 3 hours flew by! Two of the elders spoke really good English. They asked lots of questions. We talked about our families, our missions and about how important it is to know English. Other elders wanted to talk too, so I used the Spanish I knew and they used the English they knew and we had some great conversations. I love missionaries!
At about 5:00 we toured a clinic that the church uses for the missionaries here. In South America, a clinic is a privately owned hospital with better care and usually more expensive. A hospital is owned by the government for the general public and is usually cheaper. This clinic was like a small hospital. They seemed to have good doctors and good care.
At Clinica del Sur with Dr. Garcia, the Ocampos, us, and Maria Luisa Land, the administrator
It is cold here. It was cold in the chapel and cold in the clinic, so when we got back to our hotel we ate some warm soup and hot chocolate and got to bed earlier than usual. The hotel is nice and warm.
Wednesday – July 12, 2017
The Ocompo’s picked us up at 6:00 am to drive to another zone conference in Oruro which took us about 3 1/2 hours. Mucho frio!!! We passed many little towns and country sides where they grow quinoa, potatoes and ava, which is a large bean. It is winter here so nothing was growing. I would have loved to stop and take pictures of la gente, the people. They were beautiful! I love the way the women dress.
Carter was the only speaker again. There were fewer missionaries this time, only 2 zones, and Carter spoke on the same subjects. He had his little clinic in the back room seeing 9 missionaries and, again, I had a great time talking to missionaries. This time we took a picture. It was their idea. I would like to have hugged all of them, but I just gave them an extra tight handshake hug. Carter wondered if I remind them of the mom that they miss. If that’s one of my duties here, I’ll take it. I love it. I can see how they love Hermana Ocampo. One elder gave her a late Mother’s Day present today. How adorable is that?
Selfie with some great missionaries who spoke some great English!
Did I say I love missionaries? Well l love missionaries! They carry a special spirit. There’s a happiness and a light with them that is contagious. They are doing the Lord’s work, bringing souls to Christ. It’s my favorite thing about this mission….those missionaries. I know they are doing an important work. It’s a blessing and a privilege to associate with them and help them.
Trivial little tidbit: They took us to a hamburger and fries place today for lunch. The hamburger smelled and tasted like a hot dog. It was weird. Carter liked it! :o)
Thursday – July 13, 2017
We had some unexpected surprises and blessings today. First of all, Carter was up most of the night with diarrhea. He said it was the worst he’d ever had. He was supposed to teach at another zone conference for the Bolivia, La Paz mission at a chapel in downtown La Paz. We got up and got ready, Carter called President Vallejo, told him the situation and asked for a blessing. Hermana Vallejo came with their assistants. She brought some diarrhea medicine and Gatorade. The Elders gave Carter a blessing and we went forward in faith. Carter was still sick, using the bathroom right when we got to the chapel and and once during the presentation. He had not eaten anything that morning and he was weak from the illness. I prayed earlier that morning before Carter called the mission president and told Heavenly Father that I do not hold the priesthood and cannot lay my hands on my husband’s head but I can pray and I know that my prayers are heard and that my prayer can be answered. I told him that we were called to do a work today and asked that we would be able to do it. During his presentation I prayed that angels could please be sent to Carter to carry him through. I said prayers of gratitude and then asked again for angels. He was drinking Gatorade through out the presentation.
Carter talked for 2 hours, the longest presentation of the week and saw 17 missionaries individually afterwards, eating crackers and drinking water during it all. He shows the missionaries different exercises during the presentation to stretch and strengthen their knees and back and he got a little winded while doing those but I was amazed that he did so well. Our prayers were answered. Carter said he did not feel weak during his presentation.
This time there were no missionaries who wanted to speak English with me. I would walk up to a group and ask them, “Como esta su ingles?” How is your English? I got blank stares, crooked smiles and “No ingles.” Ha! We were in the mission office so I went into Hermana Vallejo’s office and started studying for my next talk in the Preach My Gospel manual, which is on faith. She came in after a while and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. Si! It was freezing in the mission office and the sun was shining. We walked up the hill and the sun felt so good. We walked by some beautifully dressed ladies. I asked about their beautiful skirts and Hermana Vallejo told me they are called polleras. The women are called Senoras de Polleras. Their skirts are all different, big and flouncy, using lots of fabric. One of the women let us take a picture. She was proud to do it. The other was shy and hid her face with a paper she held in her hand. So cute!
Hermana Vallejo doesn’t speak English very well but she is so kind and gracious and we could talk together slowly and carefully. I thawed out and we went back to see if Carter was done. He had a few more patients to see so I started studying again. One of the office elders walked in to file some receipts and he started talking to me. His English was not very good but I could tell he really wanted to tell me something. Slowly and surely I heard, “One big blessing from my mission is that my mother got baptized. I work hard and the Lord bless me.” It made me teary and he said, “Your mother got baptized too?” I said, “No, I’m happy that your mother was baptized. These are happy tears for you!” He understood and then smiled real big. He then said, “I have 4 more months and I still working hard.” I wanted to hug that sweet missionary! Instead I shook his hand really hard and said, “Un abrazo por su mano!” A hug for your hand.
Hermana Vallejo had some chicken soup for us at her home when all was finished. Carter was feeling better and could eat. We talked with their two high school children in English and then they took us back to our hotel.
We had a few hours on the first day to walk down the street from our hotel. Here are some pictures of the beautiful Bolivian women. They love their hats. I would love to know the tradition behind them.
Shout out to my family this weekend!!! We are missing my Richardson family reunion. Hope you all had fun together. I sure love and miss you all!!
Written by Faye