Sunday, December 14, 2014

And the sign says WELCOME TO BOLIVIA it´s been waiting for you

First email from Piray, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Email from Monday, December 8, 2014.


Everyone who ever told me anything about Bolivia being scary, gross, or weird was wrong. Okay, it might be a little bit different than the states (okay A LOT different) and there are some gross things (like a man peeing on the side of the road in our neighborhood or the chicken tallon in my companions soup at my very first meal or the cow udder I ate on my second day) but I really love every second because it´s all part of the exact experience I´m supposed to have right now.

I´ve got a thing for short companions from Utah who are perfect for me because I´m here with Hermana Lyon from South Jordan, Utah! She´s pretty great.And grab your tissues again because this is another amazing story of how we came to be. Before I even got here, President Willard changed the return dates of all the missionaries who were supposed to go home in January so that they could return home to their families before Christmas and start school in the winter. Hna Lyon was one of those missionaries but she felt really uneasy about going home and after praying about it, she knew she needed to stick with her original date and stay for one more transfer and she met with President Willard and told him that she didn´t know why but she knew she needed to stay. Also note that 11 hermanas went home the day I arrived. So I and 1 other hermana who trained at the Provo MTC showed up to replace 11 hermanas who Pres Willard said were some of the best. Then when I met with Pres. Willard for my first interview, he told me that he felt that it was no coincidence that I came when I did and that he knows I´m going to be an awesome missionary and that he received a clear revelation who my companion should be. So when me and Hna Lyon met, Pres Willard said "Hermana Lyon, Hermana Gauger is going to be one of our best. She is the reason you are still here. Because she needed to learn from you because you are one of our best and the Lord wants you to teach her everything. She is the reason you´re here and Hermana Gauger, Hermana Lyon is the reason you arrived when you did." I know. I cried just like you probably are right now. First because Heavenly Father is so awesome and has a perfect plan and second, because of the amount of faith my mission president has in me already. I hope that doesn´t sound braggy because I´m definitely not anywhere close to being the best missionary right now but I do feel every day that the Lord is going to work mighty miracles in my mission and I´m so excited about that!

Okay, my only secret little wish is that I could live tweet my reactions to the food here because every meal is.......unique. But I haven´t had anything that was inedible yet. We eat a lot of potatos and rice and chicken and it´s actually all awesome. Minus the soup. I hate soup! But we eat it every I´m trying to get over that. I eat cereal and yogurt for breakfast, we have a pensionista (member who makes us lunch) and then we don´t eat dinner. LIke at all... Like I eat at 7:30, 1:30, and then at 9:30.... I´m still adjusting to that because I get so hungry when we´re out from 2:30-9 every day. Me and Hna Lyon are going to be better about bringing snacks so we don´t completely starve. But really, the food is good and I´m probably going to love it very soon.

I´m in the city of Santa Cruz and my area is called Piray! It´s awesome and there´s a lot of work to be done here. My bishop is AWESOME and LOVES working with the missionaries. He´s super patient with my Spanish and during ward council he announced "Hermana Gauger is new here and is learning so we´re all going to work with her so we can improve our ward and help her." And he always reminds me "vamos a ayudarle, Hermana" It´s so sweet.

Okay so let´s just take a moment to appreciate the 7th article of faith because the gift of tongues is real and I have been so blessed. My Spanish is not really bad at all. It´s just a matter of adjusting to the accent, learning more words, and remembering how to conjugate. But I experience marked improvement every day. My first day, I just smiled through lessons and felt like a fool as I fumbled through my testimony but yesterday, I opened my mouth and just taught by the spirit. IT WAS AWESOME! I love Spanish and I also love that Hermana Lyon helps me improve but not by forcing me. She just makes me want to improve and teaches me by her example.

Think of the hottest day we´ve experienced in California. A day we probably spent in the pool or in the A/C or eating ice cream. Well, every day is that hot (it really doesn´t feel hotter than I´ve experienced in Sac town) but there is no escape! There is no pool (actually there is but not for me) and there is no A/C! My only refuge is the shower which has no hot water but I consider that a blessing. I´m pretty sure I´m not going to gain too much weight because I sweat so much. But the comforting thing is that even the Bolivians are sweating and complaining about the heat so we´re all in this together...slowly dying of heat stroke. Haha just kidding. It´s not that bad, I drink a lot of water-purified water! But every day, I glow and shimmer in the sun because I first lather my entire exposed body in SPF50 sunscreen and then follow that up with the strongest bug repellant ever and then I`m all oily (think, nacho libre oily but then in sister missionary clothes)

The Spirit seriously guides us every single day!! And it feels so natural. I´ve seen some pretty miraculous things happen in lessons and gained an even stronger tesimony of the gospel as I´ve watched it change lives. It´s amazing. We have our first baptism this Saturday! Jaed! He´s such a cool guy and has such a great desire to change his life. Please pray that all will work out!

I love this place, these people, and this opportunity. I haven´t felt too stressed yet but sometimes I do feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of doing this every day for the next 496 days. So I try not to think about it like that. Thanks for the prayers, love, and support.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

Mi Cama

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