Monday, August 31, 2015

Oh How Praying Rests the Weary

Email from Monday, August 31, 2015

Well hey there family,

This week was...AWESOME. :) Remember the story in Jacob 5 when the Lord of the vineyard is planting trees and knows way better than his servants how to have fruit? Well that totally happened this week. 

Jacob 5:23
"And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree. I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may  preserve it unto mine own self."

The tree this week was the baptism we had on Saturday of the most prepared soul I've ever met. Alvaro is this guy that the elders met 2 days before we came to the area and he's so awesome. We had a lot of struggles in visiting him because we could never find members to go visit him but somehow the Lord made it all work and he got baptized and confirmed this weekend. It was probably the most punctual baptism that ever happened in Bolivia, we said 6 and it started at 6:15. It was awesome. 

This week, after a joint-emotional breakdown on Monday, Hermana Wilson and I put our shoulders to the wheel and just got to work. And it was insane to see the Lord's hand in it all. We also had a multi-zone conference and interviews with President this week. During the conference, President asked Hermana Wilson and I to bear our testimonies but I had to share mine in Spanish and she shared it in English. It was really powerful. Then in my interview, I don't know how he does it, but President always just listens and lets the spirit solve my problems. It's the best. He told me that he thinks my assignment is harder than his so it's normal to have hard days. But he helped me a lot to see the little miracles. He's the best mission president I've ever had. 

Next week, Elder Juan Uceda from the 1st Quorum of the Seventy is coming to tour the mission and we're all over here like the Whos at Christmas time. Every morning we're like "another minute closer to Elder Uceda's visit!" I'm so excited to hear what he's gonna share with us and President wants us to be prepared to receive a message for the apostles.September 9th is going to be awesome. :)

Anyway, all is well here, even with the spider invasion we've had in the house lately. Wishing you all the best, I LOVE YOU!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

When the Road is Rough Ahead and You're Miles and Miles From Your Nice Warm Bed

Email from Monday, August 24, 2015

Hey there best family ever,

Special shout out to Steph for sending me a boatload of pics of the munchkins today and making me the happiest aunt/sister/missionary on the earth today! 

This week was probably the worst week of my mission, number wise, as in, I literally cried on the phone last night reporting my numbers because they were so low and our district leader didn't even have any suggestions for us. He just said "I'll..uh...well...I'll be praying for you guys.." I was humbled a lot. The saddest part is that we worked so hard this week. We had set appointments almost ever half hour every single day and we confirmed them all in the morning and then we'd go and they just wouldn´t be there... It was pretty discouraging and the pain in our feet and legs is a testament that we worked and walked and talked to everyone and then the Lord just had other miracles in store for us. 

My companion is seriously incredible. She's just used to keeping a lot of stuff inside so that's been a bit of an issue this week in trying to gain that unity that we need but she's improved so much already. I just keep sharing with her and loving her and we're already awesome friends. She lived in Ecuador for 3 months at an orphanage and then for the Make-A-Wish foundation and she's just full of love for these people. We're already planning how we're going to travel the world together and just change the world one country at a time. We're focusing on Bolivia right now though. :)

Speaking of #justBoliviathings, this week we didn't have light in our apartment for 4 days and we did all our planning by candlelight. It was all thanks to some faulty connection that the owner did to give the elders hot water when they lived here but turns out it's like suuuper dangerous and the member family that lives next door came over and the husband fixed it all up for us so we have light but no hot water. But it's all good. 

Also, yesterday, we were walking and these teenage boys comes up and asks "excuse me, do you speak Russian?" and I literally laughed and was like "no, do you?" and he seriously does. He lives in a Russian Orthodox colony outside of town, sorta like Amish, I imagine and he told us all about it and he wants to learn about the gospel. IT was seriously my favorite contact since the time I found a French family and I got to talk to them in English and invite them to find the missionaries in France. So many cool people here in Bolivia. :)

Anyway, I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger

 Teaching FAMILIES 
(zoom in to find the cutest family ever and Hermana Wilson's family too :))

 My cute little companion who I love so much.

 Chocolate Pancakes

Candlelight Planning

Monday, August 17, 2015

There is sunshine in my soul today

Email from Monday, August 17, 2015

Hey there!

Well it's official, Heavenly Father only sends me to the very best wards and He sends me the very best companions. I'm in Barrio Quaracal and it is the best! It turns out that this was the area of the zone leaders but they took them out and now there's only hermanas in this ward. (which is why it's full of miracles) We had to move into the house of the zone leaders and I am now petitioning for a new mission rule that hermanas shouldn't ever be forced to clean the houses of elders because this was the second time I had to do it and it was just as bad. Like...we should have had hazmat suits...I'll probably live my whole life wondering why boys are so gross..we have 3 bathrooms but there's one we can't even use even after we spent 14 HOURS cleaning the house. So we'll have to tackle that later today....please pray for me. 

Anyway, the news you've all been waiting for...who is the incredible missionary by my side 24/7 for the next 6 weeks? It'ssss....HERMANA WILSON! Yep, I've reached Training Level:Extreme...I'm training a gringa! She's from Highland, Utah and she's pretty much the greatest missionary ever. She has an insane memory with the area and she already knows our area well enough that while I'm fumbling with our map, she's running off to the appointment. She's so excited to work every day. Like during our district meeting, we were discussing our district goals and the district leader was like "what do you think will help us reach our goals, Hermana Wilson?" and since she's still super nervous about her Spanish, she turned to me and was like " do I say...give it all?" and she's seriously so ready to give it her all and dedicate her heart and soul to this work and these people. I love her so much already.

Our area is awesome and the elders left us a few families that we're working with and we should have quite a few weddings coming up in the near future. Not counting Breanna and Austin's which I cannot even believe still but Congrats to the two of them and I'll bring ya home a nice wedding gift from Bolivia even though you're planning your wedding purposely so I won't be there and no one will see my crazy dance moves. I'm not bitter though and you can still come to my wedding if I ever decide to come home and fulfill my part in God's plan to have a family. Haha seriously though, felicidades!

Anyway, things are awesome. Now that my house is clean, it's actually the nicest house in the mission. We have an elevator! And believe it or not..AIR CONDITIONING! I's unbelievable. We can only use it an hour a day though hahaha. But things are fabulous. Wishing you all the best back home and especially a veeeerrryyy happy birthday to my favorite nephew with a birthday this week...Stinky Pete, live it up for your aunt this week and tell your mom to write me! Sending lots of love to Annabelle, Lincoln and Peter this week because they're the best niece and nephews I've ever had. :)

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger
 Here is a fun pic from what the elders left behind. 
Hermana Wilson has all our pics together and forgot her camera cord so next week I will have pics.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Más Allá, más allá, nos veremos aún más allá

Email from Monday, August 10, 2015

Dear Family,

What a week! Well, more like what a day! Last night we got the call for transfers aaaand... God's sending me back to Santa Cruz. Yep. Back to the heat and the humidity and the constant need for bug spray to avoid chikenguyna... Buuut I'm not gonna complain, I just know there's awesome people waiting for me there who I will grow to love until my heart hurts. 

Aaaaand I'll be training again! I'm super stoked for that and I'll get my new comp on Wednesday. The happy news is that Hermana Monar is also going to be training a new missionary! Like, what could make a trainer happier than to have her companion right next to her in the trainer's meeting? She's super nervous but she's going to be awesome. I just told her "teach all the good you learned from me and then teach the opposite of all the bad and you'll be good to go" She's a rockstar missionary so her new companion is just going to love her. And they'll at least get to be there for the 5 baptisms we have set for this month. It turns out that leaving the area better than you found it is actually really hard because you still have to leave the area when you have so many people progressing. But this work isn't about how many pictures I have at baptisms, it's about that these people can change their lives and come closer to God. I'm just an instrument in the Lord's hands here.

Anyway, my flight leaves this afternoon and I'm trying to not get nervous about showing up and not knowing anything but Heavenly Father knows what I need to learn and how I need to learn it and I know I'll learn a loot from this experience.

Things are going to be great and I just hope that you can remember in your prayers this week to just help me trust in the Lord and feel the Spirit guiding me. I'm happy and healthy and totally unsure of what this week holds for me and that's just how it is, the life of a sister missionary in the mission of miracles. :) Wishing you all a week of miracles and missionary opportunities! 

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Gauger :)
 Comp de Ecuador = all bananas, all the time

We had lunch with Gladys, Elvis, and Ronald for Elvis's birthday.

 Hermana Batty and I got asked to sing Happy Birthday in English for him 
(Hermana Batty and I did not plan to match, she's just naturally my mini-me hahaha)

 Our plant that represents how well we take care of our area 
(zone experiment)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning [Filled With Miracles]

Email from Monday, August 3, 2015
Hey there everybody,

I think I say this every week but I just don't believe another week has gone by. And another month, we're in August ya! 

This week was a great week. Yesterday was easily one of my favorite days of my entire mission. It was just the most incredible day and I felt the spirit so strongly. We had so many investigators come to church for the first time and they all stayed for the full 3 hours. We even had a guy come up to us on Saturday in the street and he was like "What church are you guys from? When do you have your meetings?" And we invited him to come and I'll be honest, I lack a lot of faith when it comes to inviting contacts to come to church because they always seem super excited and then never come so I about fell out of my seat when 5 minutes before the meeting started, this guy walked into church! And then in Principios, he was reading scriptures and asking questions and it was just so awesome. Leo and Socima came too and Gimena, a lady that we're teaching that lives in the 2nd floor of our house, came with her 2 little girls and it was so awesome. Also a bunch of the less-actives that I used to teach before they changed the area limits came too and I don't think there was a happier missionary in all the world than me sitting there in the chapel surrounded by all these people that I've come to love so much and being able to feel the spirit so strong as we were all gathered together to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It was amazing. :)

This week, we had tramites which is like when we have to go and do paperwork and immigration stuff to get our Bolivian ID card thingie and it turns out that the lawyer came to Tarija to finish my paperwork while I was in the hospital in Santa Cruz and because there's all sorts of rules and time is a factor, the mission has to pay a fine for me living illegally in Bolivia for these 2 months...oops... 

But the good news is that the sun is finally coming out again and I don't have to sleep with 2 pairs of sweats and 5 blankets now. There's still a chance that it could get cold again this month but I made it through the coldest month...alive! 

Funny things this week..
-seeing a drunk guy in a BYU sweatshirt 
-my companion reading the Book of Mormon in English, I don't know how it's possible but she totally does an irish accent when she talks in English and it's my favorite thing ever.
-our district leader read us the story of Alma baptizing thousands of people and then super happy he said "Hermanas, do you believe we can baptize thousands?" and we were super excited and we were like "YES!" and then he was just like "hahahah...thanks for your faith, hermanas"

Anyway, things are great and I love being here. Next Sunday, we'll get the call for transfers and I can just feel it in my bones that I'll be leaving this area. If so, I'll be writing you from a new area and you can all trust that many tears will have been shed and a little piece of my heart will have been left here in Progreso. I was telling Hermana Monar that I feel like the Grinch because my heart is just expanding so much, way more than just 3 sizes and I don't know how it's even possible to love so much and yet I still have so much love for all of you back home. Hope all is well and that you're all finding joy in the journey and that the restored gospel is wonderful every day for each of you because it is truly wonderful to me. :)

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Gauger :)
 We may or may not have bought barbies in ropa Tarijeña...... 
Hermana Romero and I

 We went to the giant slide again...Hermana Monar was a huge fan...obviously

 Socima and Leo! Aka my favorite couple ever. They invited me to their
sealing too. :)

 Day of Bolivia is this Thursday and this is our ward practicing the
dance they're gonna do for the huge stake activity

Fotografia de la zona
 ANDALUZ! my zone! :)  
We're the greatest zone in the mission, don't tell the other zones that though. :)