|Hiking in Tucuman|
Hey dearest people,
This week has been pretty darn good - full of learning experiences and miracles!
I'm writing today because yesterday we had to come to Salta to do paperwork for Philpot's visa - a much needed vacation.
We're constantly working with 3 fantastic families - Quinteros (part member), Borquez/Diaz (a humongous fam with like 20 people living under the same roof) and Lobo (9 in total, we're teaching principally the mother and the 4 youngest). I really love these people and we've seen miracles and progess in all of them since I got here.
This week, Monica's husband had to have an emergency surgery on his 'vesicula' it's near the stomach but we have no idea what it is. She's been busy but her kids are progressing slowly. They're WICKED shy but apparently read and pray daily. This weekend was Stake Conf, and with the chapel a bit farther from their house, I was really worried they'd flop. Sunday AM I woke up suddenly around 6 because I had a dream that Monica came up with some lame excuse. Just got on my knees half asleep and prayed for them. Well, they showed up!!!!! It was awesome. I was really impressed with them - 2 hours straight without Angry Birds or sleeping, they sat there. I think the game-changer was... Blow Pops.
Shoutout to Uncle David and my Mom for coming up big with 2 packages, including Blow Pops from mom for 'the kids I meet.' Saturday, Pres came for interviews and brought the packages as a surprise. We talked a lot about how I can be a better leader with the Sisters - I learned a ton this week about the importance of appropriately showing love and appreciation for them. Surrounded by men in football and in the mission has sadly shielded me a bit and I'm kinda starting to realize just how sensitive women are. It's really hard to motivate them without making them feel bad (especially when they're really struggling in their areas). Pres gave me some sound advice - talk to them like you'd talk to your mom (and I'd add, how you'd talk to her right now being where you are, not how you did when you lived with her... -- haha ma I'm sorry for all the headaches I've given you, I'm trying to be better every day and I sure do love you).
Running out of time -- Saturday in the Priesthood Session of Stake Conference we got there a bit late. Pres Chaparro came down from the stand after the first talk and went back door santa on me - he whispered in my ear 'can you give a 5 minute talk about preparing for a mission?' Hahaha I was kinda nervous but I think it was pretty good. I keep loving public speaking and I still haven't given a talk with anticipation of more than 1 hour. A good life skill.
So yesterday, we hit up a waterfall. It's safe to say I never wanna do anything like this on Pday (preparation day) ever again. Nobody really knew how to get there, and it was kinda just like 'let's say a prayer and then head where the wind blows.' After 2 hours through the South American jungle, we found it. Ate a quick lunch and wet our heads, then headed back. Holy cow, I've never done anything so hard in my life - harder than any 2-a-day or summer workout. We had to climb the side of the mountain holding on to trees and branches, and then when we got to level ground, one hardo Zone Leader looked at his watch and decided that we needed to run back to the bus stop. Took us from 10-1 to get there, and at 1:30 we had to make it back by 2:30 to catch the 2:30 bus. With him yelling 'vamos vamos,' we ran down the mountain (30 mins), then 15 mins down a bike path (walking and jogging). We made it to the main road at 2:20. With all the strength I've ever summoned, we took a short cut and scaled the back side of a dam - pure boulders. I first thought, "Pain is temporary (Matt)" then, "My pioneer ancestors did this every day..." and finally when I thought I was gonna faint, "Jesus Christ had to bear his own cross on the path to Golgotha, and he suffered pain 1000 times worse in Gethsemane." I reallly don't know how, but I dug deep thru the cramps and ran the last 10 yards up the boulder hill. I prayed harder that hour than in my entire life. God sent us a man in a truck that took us to the bus station and we made it at 2:35. Increible. INCREIBLE.
Well, the bus delayed an hour and a half (not sure how I feel about that but I know how my legs feel, still can't walk.)
Luckily, we got a nice tender mercy of the Lord - Had to head to Salta on a 4 hour bus ride at 6 which is why I'm writing today. Best part? The seats reclined and they served dinner.
I know God lives and that He sent His Son. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the path to happiness and it has been restored thru a prophet in these latter days. I know the Book of Mormon is true.
Elder Isaac Blake
|Sunday night tired face|
|Hiking in Tucuman|