Cocha, Onions, and the End of the World

Hello! This week has been crazy… great!!!

On Monday I started my journey to Cocha, as its called here. I spent aprox 27 hours in transition and it was awesome! I gave away 2 Books of Mormon, and some pamphlets. My CCM (MTC) training coming in handy!!!
When I got there, the missionaries and Presidency were there to greet me with a banner and singing Somos Hoy Llamado! It was awesome! I was trying really hard not to cry. Then I went to the President’s house, had an interview, and then slept at the Assistant’s house for like 3 hours.  Then we went and greeted all the others in my ¨generation¨. It was awesome!!! I loved it!
We have 8 elders and 4 hermanas! Pretty small, but very fun! We got to some more, and then ate pizza in the president´s house. I was companions with the Assistant to the Presidents and they were super cool- Elder Chacon, and Elder Smith. Then we went home and got ready for bed….. which was a little spoooooky. None of the houses here have hot wter, but there is a pipe that is run through an electric doohikey and that kind of makes the water heats up, BUT when those pipes get wetª?!? The WHOLE shower turns into an electric minefield! You can´t turn the handle without getting shocked! It was so scary! hahaha We all took like an hour showering becasue nobody wanted to get shocked!!!! hahahahaha Welcome to Bolivia, right?

The next day I got my companion! Elder Cortez, he´s a super great dude! We´re honestly like brothers now! It´s awesome! He´s so happy, and has 14 months in the mission, so he´s super experienced, but when we´re teaching it´s 50/50 which is way cool!
We went to our area, which is Bella Vista, close to the top of the mountains.  Here in our area there are trufis that take us everywhere. They are basically these big van things that you hail down as they’re driving and then you pay a boliviano for the ride! It’s super nice!!! There aren´t any road names -so that´s rough, because we have to memorize where EVERYONE lives hahaha But I´m catching on fast!
The food- Well, We have one secure meal a day. The pensionista, cooks for us once – she feeds us so much food it’s not even funny. Mostly rice and potatoes or potatoes and rice. I seriously call it a test of faith, becasue you have to froce yourself to eat. We have a piece of bread or maybe an egg for breakfast, and then usually don´t eat dinner at all. But I do drink a ton!!!!!
Funny storry. So we finished lunch on Thursday (UGH so much) and then went to a house where a family lives. Two grandparents who only speak Quechua, which we don´t know but are learning, but yeah then there is a kid, Limber! He´s super strong in the faith, and is one of our 7 that are going to be baptized in the next three saturdays!!!!!!! WHOOOO… Anyways, we are super stuffed, and we get there, and they just give us this bowl of straight onions and 5 potatoes straight from the ground. Now it was SOOO hard to eat it because you can´t turn down food, We were being polite, but WOW that hurt -hahaha -we were dying!! Elder cortez stuffed two handfuls of onion into his bag- I was cracking up!! It was a great lesson once we got to teach! We usually teach about 10 investigator lessons a week, and 15 less active members a week. That’s a big focus of ours – all of the less actives that are here.
I’m definitely losing weight!! Which is good, becasue I seriously gained like ten pounds in the CCM! Awesome Mexican cooks! hahaha But now I’m working out for a straight half hour of abs and upper body every day. I´m getting super toned and its nice 🙂
We are cooking for 4 investigators this week! so that´ll be fun!!!
Our mission schedule is the same as white hand book.
We also have an EXTRA hour to study for language and a program called ¨First 12 Weeks¨ which is super cool!
This is basically it:
6:30 a.m. Arise, pray, exercise (30 minutes), and prepare for the day.
7:30 Breakfast.
8:00 Personal study: the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, missionary library, and Preach My Gospel. Emphasize the doctrines of the missionary lessons.
9:00 Companion study: share what you have learned during personal study, prepare to teach, practice teaching, study chapters from Preach My Gospel, and confirm plans for the day.
10:00 Begin proselyting (or language study for 30 to 60 minutes). You may take an hour for lunch and additional study and an hour for dinner at times during the day that fit best with your proselyting time. Normally, dinner should be finished no later than 6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. Return to living quarters (unless teaching a lesson; then return by 9:30), and plan the next day’s activities (30 minutes). Write in your journal, prepare for bed, pray.
10:30 Retire to bed.
That’s our day!
My Compi (Cortez) got bit by a dog our first day together, not bad, but it hurt. And then last night as we ae walking down the road, this MOSNTER dog just runs out of no where and EATS my leg- my upper back thigh. It hurt so bad!! because the muscle just tightened up. And then we went and taught a lesson, hahah blood just running down my leg! hahahaha but i took some ibuprofen, and feel better. I have two deep marks where the big teeth were, and then all of the little cuts in the middle. Hahaha nice mouth ya got there dog. We can probably find him with his dental record permanently imprinted on my thigh;)
Only other crazy story is that during their day of independance, the power went out so its pitch black at night, and there was a MONSTER fire in the mountains (they are having a huge drought) , mixed with a sand/dust storm. It was seriously like the end of the world!! We went on the roof to see everything and started feeling patriotic – good old Bolivia! People were literally  screaming and running everywhere, and my companion just started shouting down from our roof:  ¨Repent ye! Repent ye!” hahahahahahahaha It was great!
I love you ALL!!! Keep reading your scriptures and praying, you guys are the best!
Much Love,
Elder Hammond

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