Monday, March 30, 2015

At Conference Time, At Conference Tiiiiiiiimmmeee!

Email from Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh yes. It´s aaaalllmost time for one of my favorite weekends of the year!! I can´t wait! All the English missionaries get to watch it together in English and we all bring snacks. It´s going to be the best!

but anyway...Buenos Dias!

This week rocked. :) It was election day in Bolivia on Sunday so yep, I got to spend the day locked up again but this time it was just until 6! We didn´t even have church, it was so sad. But we did have an awesome hour by hour study schedule! :) The election day rules are super strict here, no one can reunite (I don´t think that´s the best word to use but I literally have no idea what English word works here so thus we see that my English skills are experiencing atrophy) and you can´t even drive or ride in a car to get to the polling place, you have to walk. So strange but that´s Bolivia for ya. It was so cool when we went out last night because it was so calm and beautiful. It was what every Sunday would be like if everyone kept the Sabbath Day holy, it was awesome! We saw so many cute families spending time together and just resting from their daily labors.

One awesome thing that happened this week was that I got letters from the Davis Family and the Gibson Family! Thanks for those! When I read what Bro. Davis wrote, it pretty much changed my life. He said that whenever Dad talks about me and shares my experiences, he just lights up. And that made me so happy because really profoundly, I just felt like my parents were so proud of me and how I always want to live my life so that they can be proud and excited to talk about their daughter. And then I thought to myself if I am living my life so that my Heavenly Father can light up when He talks about me. I really hope so. I really hope that when He talks to my investigators through the spirit, that He says "This is my beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased, hear her!" That thought just lifts my little heart right to cloud nine. This week I did a lot of evaluating to make sure that everything I'm doing is to glorify my Father in Heaven and just make Him proud. :)
This week we had interviews with President Willard and I´m pretty sure he´s the greatest. He just has so much faith in me that it´s so inspiring. I always feel so renewed after I talk to him. I left our interview truly feeling like there was sunshine in my soul and I just wanted it to warm up everyone around me. Also because it got SO COLD! It happened so fast too! I also have approximately zero winter clothes so I ended up wearing 2 pairs of tights, leggings, 3 slips, 2 shirts, 1 sweater, 1 rain jacket, a scarf, and gloves. I was so cold! Today we´re gonna go and get a few things at the American clothes market so don´t worry about me, Mom! I have always had one more layer than everyone else and I´m taking good care of myself and drinking hot cocoa every night just like you always do. :)

In place of #justBoliviathings this week, I am going to share with you a very....special....experience I had that will probably leave you with a busted gut because yesterday when we were out, we ran into a lady who recently returned to church and her little girl looks up at me and says "wow she is so tall. She´s like a MONSTER!" and so, knowing that you can never argue with the honesty of young children, I was standing there with quite the bruised ego and feeling a little down on myself when...just then, a dog comes up and PEES ON ME. I kid you not. This is my real life, folks. A DOG WALKED UP, LIFTED HIS LEG, AND PEED ALL OVER MY SKIRT. Yep. #jengaugerprobs

Anyway, I love you all. Hope you enjoy your urine-free skirts this week and the insulation in your houses. I´m gonna keep laughing through it all! :)

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
When things get tough, just remember a dog peed on me. 


Bolivian birthday bash!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Faith is Believing and Trusting In God

Email from Monday, March 23, 2015

Family and friends!
I hope this email finds you all wearing pastels, eating Peeps, and enjoying the first few days of Spring! If anyone sends me any of those Reeses might make it to my list of favorite people ever...just saying. ;)
This week was fabulous! (Every week here is fabulous because the mission is the greatest thing ever) but seriously I don´t even know what to say! We had a wedding! We had 2 baptisms! We had countless miracles and the companionship of the Spirit! I completed 5 months and I didn´t cry about that even though I wanted to because time flies by too fast and I kid you not, I just got here like yesterday and I still know nothing!
The baptism was SO special and reverent. Honestly, I´ve never felt the spirit so strong during an entire baptism service and the coolest thing was that a ton of people came and only like 5 were members from the ward. There was a ton of friends of Marcelo and Teo that came that have never ever entered a church building in their life and then they got to witness their friend take this huge step to follow Jesus Christ and it was SO BEAUTIFUL! Ahhhh I loved it. And then that night, they had their wedding reception and we totally turned it into the best finding opportunity ever (picture to come :)) and even though we only went for like 10 minutes to take some pictures and get some food and we couldn´t dance to the wonderful TarijeƱa music, it was the best reception ever. I think I´m a little bit biased because I was just so filled with love for this couple and I was just thinking about how I can work it out to go to their sealing in a year...(okay I probably won´t get to go but they totally will and thats what matters most).
This week passed by so fast, they keep going faster and faster and I´m not very happy about that. I like being able to say that I´ll still be here this time next year but I can´t say that for much longer. Yikes. I can´t even think about it. One day they´ll force me to go home and I´ll be so happy to see you all and to take a Sunday nap but I can already tell it´s going to be rough. But until that point, I just get to keep working in the best job in the world that pays me in ways that are so much more valuable than money. Almost every girl in our YSA class here wants to serve a mission and it´s so awesome. I know that it´s not our obligation and I know it´s not right for some people but I cannot imagine my life without being here. Just like Elder Holland said, "My mission meant everything to me in my life" and I feel like that too. Best decision I ever made and I´m so grateful for all the support I had from all of you to make it here!
Also, I had so many moments this week where I just thought to myself "Oh Bolivia, I love you so much" so now for this weeks #justBoliviathings
  • We were walking along the road when a dog that was literally possessed by Satan* came out of nowhere and nearly attacked us, my natural instinct was to sacrifice my companion and so I hid behind her and she almost had to whack it with her Book of Mormon but it calmed down or we left, I don´t even remember, the adrenaline was going too strong
  • We helped our recent convert´s mom prepare the food for "sopa poderosa" and I´m just gonna let you guys look up what that is because I can´t even....
  • Tarija has a huge problem with drunk people (not scary or harmful ones, just really drunk and really sad mostly, we have them come up to us crying all the time) but to counter this problem and make sure they don´t become scary or harmful, we have little police women that walk around and keep an eye on the drunk people and they blow a little whistle so everyone knows they´re nearby and it´s the only type of whistle I like to hear here and they´re just the sweetest ladies ever
  • Saw a cow head at the market (picture to come)
  • I ate 8 chicken legs in this weekend alone....seriously....I have probably eaten a whole farm full of chickens already. There{s always a chicken leg in the soup and then we go and eat another chicken leg with much chicken..
Also it has come to my attention that people actually read these things and it´s even reached people that will be joining me here in the near future so I´ll try and remember to give a few quick tips each week. 
#BSCmissionhacks (Bolivia Santa Cruz)
  • elastic skirts! I can´t say it enough! I´ll be real with ya my weight has been so crazy here and I've gained and lost and gained and lost and I don´t even know what happens but the thing is that if you have all elastic skirts, you won´t even worry about it so do that, please. You will thank me that you can always wear all of your skirts!
I just love being here, not sure how many times I can say that. It´s just the best! I love you and hope all is well!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
*This blog contains only my thoughts and expressions and is not official doctrine. It also contains multiple misuses of the word "literally" a disculpar :)

 **Bolivia computers are the worst. I´m having connection problems again so you'll have to wait another 7 days to see the  beautiful Tarija and our wedding and baptism :( Sorryyyyyy! I LOVE YOU!!! Have a great week!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Want My Life To Be As Clean As Earth Right After Rain

Email from Monday, March 16, 2015

Beautiful family and friends!

This email´s coming to you from a very very happy sister missionary who seriously LOVES this work. Oh my goodness, I think I love every day more and more. I love this country, these people, and this gospel so much! Being a missionary is the best. :)

This week was so awesome! Madelin got baptized! And it was BUCKETS of involved buckets again...not sure why I have that weird luck every time. But this time, the water was (believe it or not) too hot! So we had to bring in buckets of cold water because Madelin and her uncle who was going to baptize her refused to get in! But that was only the beginning of unexpected problems...First of all, you should know that Madelin is the greatest miracle ever, she was so prepared from the first day we met her and all her best friends are members so she loves coming to church and everything we taught her was just so easy and natural for her. She´s already going to institute so when we first taught the Book of Mormon, she was like "Oh good, I was hoping we would get to this because I have some homework due on Thursday and I need to read the Book of Mormon" Like, seriously..such a beautiful miracle, I love her so much. And then we prepared the baptism so perfectly. By all measures, it should have been the most spiritual and beautiful baptism of all time. But Heavenly Father loves teaching us lessons.:) So it was perfect in other ways. :) Her uncle had a lot of trouble with the words of the ordinance so after 10+ tries.....the witnesses finally said it was good. And Madelin left the water sobbing, she was so upset and embarrassed and then the witnesses weren´t totally sure if her arm went all the way under the water so they said she had to go in again and she refused! She was so upset that she didn´t even want to talk to us. So we did the only thing we know how to do really really well. We prayed with her. I don´t think I´ve ever prayed so hard for an immediate answer to a prayer in my life until this moment where I was literally begging my Heavenly Father to help Madelin overcome her embarrassment and focus on the covenant and the importance of it being correct. And God answered our prayers, as He always does, and she agreed to go back in and try again. So this time, one of the elders serving in our ward baptized her and it was so perfect and she came out with the biggest smile on her face and just kept thanking us for everything and saying that she knew that the final time was correct because she felt so clean and different. I wish I could replay that moment forever. It was so AWESOME! :) I LOVE THIS WORK! IT CHANGES LIVES!

And one more quick evidence of the life-changing effects of the gospel, Marcelo and Teodora are a part member family that we´re teaching and they have to get married so he can get baptized but they´ve been having a lot of relationship problems lately and have lost their desire to be baptized so this week, when we wrote down our numbers, we prayed to know if we should plan on his baptism this week and we felt we shouldn´t because they just aren´t ready yet. Then we had a lesson yesterday about temples and eternal families and I talked about my family and showed a picture of us and we just testified of the importance of temples and how the gospel blesses families and then Hna Ellison grabbed my picture and was all "THIS is what we want for you guys! Look at this! This is a family that is happy and sealed!" and it was so powerful and then we just bore our testimonies. THEN! We get a call from Teodora last night and she says "The bishop came over and talked to us and we really want to make our family work so we´re going to get married this Friday and baptized on Saturday". I could not even believe it! The Lord works in marvelous ways!

I also had a lot of #justBoliviathings happen to me this week so
  • It happened...I finally had to wash my clothes by hand. It´s not as bad as I thought though!
  • The water went out so I literally showered with a bucket of water, and then I used a bowl to pour the freezing cold water on me. That experience...
  • We contacted a lady that was sitting on the corner and we asked what she was doing on the corner and she´s like "Oh my goat needed to eat" and we turn around and there´s just a goat eating in the little field
  • We also went to someone´s house and she said she has a lamb and Hna Ellison was like "ooh I want a picture with it on my shoulders!" and the lady´s like sure go look at him and then this GIANT SHEEP comes RUNNING out at us!

Hope all is well with you guys and your dependable running water! The scripture 3 Nephi 8:1 changed my life this week and I just want to be so much more pure and so much more like my Savior so I can be worthy to represent Him! I love this work and each one of you! Have a great week!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger :)

 Beautiful scenery and companionship

 Giant sheep!

 Every day is an adventure! 
Madelin is 19 and she already wants to serve a mission 
and is planning to do baptisms in the temple in December. :)

 And then...the darn goat....

Monday, March 9, 2015

And Should We [Feel Like We´re Going to] Die Before Our Journey´s Through

Email from Monday, March 9, 2015

Hola Fambam and Pals,

So about 5 minutes after I sent my email last week, the computer crashed and in that process, it wiped my camera card and I lost all 600 pictures from my entire mission. Yep. I still don´t know what I´m gonna do about that. I still have faith that some computer whiz can work some magic and bring them all back and that´s the only way I didn´t have a complete meltdown last week in front of my whole zone. But yeah, I still have faith!

This week, I was sick. Like miserably ill and even worse because I felt guilty for not being able to work and sad because our investigators need our visits. But after a whole lot of praying, a priesthood blessing, only a few tears, a good amount of rest, and watching The Restoration video in Italian, Russian, French, and English and some strange pill that the health secretary prescribed..I´m all good to go! I love that there´s opposition in all things because I appreciate my health so much more now!

This week, I shared Dad´s conversion story about 12 billion times and I love it even more every time I tell it. I´m so glad that my dad had such awesome friends who were willing to invite him to play basketball which then led to so many other awesome decisions all leading to me being here in BOLIVIA helping other people make the same decision to join the church. I love it.

In insect news, I got attacked by a bee this week, but I didn´t get stung! It just kept flying into my hair and I was in the middle of the street flailing around and whacking the air while Hermana Ellison was running away and refusing to help me! So I looked like a complete fool, I´m sure of it. But then that was a nice icebreaker as we went and contacted all the people who were watching my fight. It was such a #HnaGaugerProb

This week, I learned so much about the power of prayer and the virtue of patience. I´m so glad the Lord answers my prayers in His way because His way is always better (1 Sam 16:7) and I´m so grateful that he trusts me to teach His precious children. Miracles seriously happen every day!!
I love you!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

 Look how beautiful my area is! 
(so much poorer though.....SO MUCH more poverty here)

 Cool monster thingie made of car parts

 What it´s like to be sick in Bolivia 
(weird things they made me drink....ew is all I have to say)

 We have a huuuuuge slide in our area 
and we went with the hermanas last week and played on it. 
(not a good idea when you´re sick but still fun!)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Miracles Happen MORE THAN Once In A While

Email from Monday, March 2, 2015
Hello beautiful family and friends,

This email´s coming to you straight from...TARIJA! Yep, it happened. I got transferred! Now I´m in Progreso, Tarija with the lovely and incredible Hermana Ellison! And she´ll be headed to a city near you at the end of this transfer! She´s from FOLSOM, CA! How crazy is that?! She finishes her mission this transfer so I´ll at least be here for one more transfer.

But my area is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, I feel like I´m in a different world here. It´s a lot different from Santa Cruz but it feels more like Bolivia to me. I love it! And the weather is so nice! It feels just like home. It´s warm but there´s always a cool breeze and there´s no humidity! It´s such a great change.

This week, I saw about a bajillion and one miracles. Seriously, this was such a great week. We started teaching a 19 year old girl who has been to church twice with her aunt and she´s seriously so prepared! She has a baptism date for the 14th of March and she´s going to be such a great member, already everyone in the YSA class loves her. We´re also going to have a wedding! Teodora is a less active and she´s going to get married to Marcelo who´s our investigator and then her son is going to get baptized. I love teaching families because now we´ll have the 2 baptisms of Marcelo and their son Jair and then we´ll rescue Teodora. It´ll be so awesome!

One of the coolest miracles though was that Hna Ellison saw the name of a less active in our area book and felt we should go visit her but we didn´t have a very specific address so we went to where we thought it was and we knocked on a couple doors and asked people but nobody knew her. We decided to pray so we could find her and then we went and knocked on a few more doors and no one answered. So we were standing there on the corner unsure of what to do when at the exact same time, Hna Ellison and I see that above one of the houses, there´s writing on the wall and IT SAYS THE LADY´S NAME! It was seriously like Heavenly Father answered our prayers by saying "Okay I´ll let you find her but it´ll be a little bit more time until you can meet with her" It was just so cool!

I love love love being a missionary! Its the best. This week, I grew so much and Hermana Ellison is just such a great example. We´re going to have an awesome time together this transfer, I just know it! I think this week was one of my favorite weeks of my whole mission because I really felt like I was giving my all, totally focusing on the work, and following the Spirit in every moment. I just love that.

As far as #justBoliviathings
  • everyone secretly wants to make you fat
  • if you say you have a small stomach, they take that as a challenge to stretch it out
  • we say "no ve" after almost every sentence
  • here in Tarija, we don´t have any supermarkets like we have in Santa Cruz, it´s just people on the side of the road selling stuff
  • Tarija is famous for it´s grapes and peaches and it´s the season for both of those so we eat peaches and grapes like every single day

Thanks for all your love and prayers! I feel the power every day. I love being here!

Con mucho amor, Hermana Gauger

           My new house! It´s super nice, I even have a kitchen!