Well It's good to finally write you guys! It's been two weeks! I am in Guayaremerin, Bolivia. Santa Cruz Norte Mission. I'm living in the Jungle!!! Woohooo!!!!! haha.I'm literally right next to the Amazon River. We aren't allowed to go anywhere near it though. President won't let us, too dangerous. Hopefully the new one we get soon will let us explore it a little. It's been really hard but super fun. I'm gonna send you guys some pictures of some of the city. In Guayamerin the only mode of transportation is by Motorcyle.So us missionaries ride on the back of Moto-Taxis when we need to travel to the bank or central part of the city. So with this experience i have decided I'm definitely buying a motorcycle when i get back home. They're freaking fun!
Guayarmerin is literally on the border of Brazil and Bolivia. Here we don't knock on doors. We clap, like in Fiji! Then we yell out beunas tardes or whatever time of the day it is so they know that someone is outside. Some people I have met here speak Portugese so we can't talk to them. I don't think I will have the opportunity to learn portugese on my mission. Oh well, Spanish is a sweet language! There was one time this week I was introducing me and my companion, Elder Spitale, to a girl outside of her house and she just looked at me with a blank stare, turned around and ran. I was super confused. I looked to my companion and asked him if i said something wrong and he said no and then she came running back telling us that she didnt know how to speak spanish. Well hey, me too! ha. it was funny. The language is definitely harder here. THe people mumble words and don't look at you when speaking so it's hard to understand them. I have been teaching as much as I can but since my spanish is rough and limited right now sometimes people don't completely understand me. Thank goodness I have a companion that understands what I'm trying to get across.
My companion Elder Spitale, is from Argentina. He's a stud. Only been out in the field for 3 months and half of it has been here in Guayaramerin. He's not the best trainer since he hasn't been out here for very long and doesn't know a lick of english but he helps me as best as he can with my spanish. I love the way he teaches, he uses lots of examples and shares personal experiences so that the messages are simple and the people fully comprehend the message. Since he is from Argentina he doesn't always finish his words and he has a slight lisp. But i try my best and rely on the Lord to give me the gift of tongues so that I can speak with him and prepare the best lessons for our investigators. So far me and him together have set records for our zone. In the past 3 days we have had 102 contacts, 9 baptismal invitations, 14 lessons taught, and are working really hard. He's really happy to have someone willing to work hard as his companion because for the past 6 weeks his last companion was super lazy. This area baptizes about 2 per month. In the past 6 weeks they haven't baptized anyone. We are gonna break that drought soon. We are teaching alot of families and a few people who truly do want to change their lives. It's cool to see how someone can have such a desire to become a better person and fully follow the example of Christ.
The past 3 days have been the most bipolar days of my life. Never had so many ups and downs in my life before. There are moments where I just want to give up and go home because my spanish is so rough, however I know with fervent prayer and study Heavenly Father will bless me with the gift of tongues. I'm thankful that I grew up with the gospel in my life so that I can now have the opportunity to share it with the people of Guayarmerin. THese people literally have nothing. THis morning for breakfast we bought 2 3 liters of soda and a 6 pack of cookies for 22 Bolivianos. Thats about 3 american dollars. I told my companion we needed to start eating better and he agreed. So now i get to cook for us cause he doesnt know how. Last night I made some omeletes. TOnight I'm gonna try to make some quesidillas. It'll be fun to mess around with food and experiment with the stuff they have here. The soda here is called "Trinny" my favorite flavor is Papaya. I've ate lots of weird things already. I had a full chicken foot with claws and everything in my soup yesterday. Just gotta close you eyes and eat it. SO gross. Pero, I can now say I'e ate a chickens foot. Chevre!
This past week I have been called a liar, a devil worshiper, and have talked to some of the drunkest people I have ever met in my life. Lots of stuggles on the mission but I know it will all be worth it.
I hope all is well for you guys. You're in my daily thoughts and prayers. Be thankful for all that you have in America. You guys are so blessed! I love you and miss you, work hard and be obedient to the commandments of the Lord and he will pour out his blessings upon you.
Love you Guys,
On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 2:17 AM, Matthew Neuhaus <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Elder Neuhaus,Another week has gone by. You said you were leaving the MTC this week. We have been thinking about you and your travels. Wondering what part of Bolivia you will start out in. With your mission splitting this area will more than likely determine which mission you end up in. Pretty exciting! I hope you have a great companion. Remember, there is no perfect companion. Hopefully, he will be a hard working and obedient elder who will teach you well as you start your mission. The Lord will bless you! Enjoy every minute of your experience there. Love the people. Study the language, especially the correct tenses of past/imperfect and subjunctive. Once you master subjunctive you will be fluent. Give it a couple months. You are fortunate that the peruvians and bolivians speak some of the clearest/slowest spanish around. Wait until you speak to your first cuban/puerto rican or dominican, or even spaniard! Then you will realize all spanish is not the same. We look forward to hearing from you and learning about your new companion/area. The real work has begun!Not much to report this week. Mom took the girls to San Francisco last thursday/friday for a quick girls getaway. they had a great time. We are packing up the Utah house and I will be taking a truck back to TN with the majority of our stuff this next weekend. I will be driving with the twins. Should be an interesting trip! Life is an adventure. Other than that life is pretty boring. Emily is at EFY this week in Provo. Brad and Andrew are doing Lone Peak Basketball camp and the twins start Tball this week.Love ya!Dad