Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Letter #15 January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014
Hola Everybody and Welcome to the JUNGLE!!!

The internet was down all day yesterday in San Vicente so we are now in Obera using the nice Cyber here!  Obera is a 3 hour bus ride away and we take it once a week for District Meetings or Zone Conferences!! It's a pain but it is also nice because we get to use the bus ride to catch up on sleep!!! 
This last week has been crazy!!! Elder Izurieta (My new companion) and I arrived in San Vicente last week and have been trying to get the hang of how to run a branch and everything!!  I am now the 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency which is crazy, and I have to learn how to do everything like Tithing, Temple Recommend interviews and things like that!!  Last Tuesday, Elder Izurieta, Elder Lumpkin (New Zone Leader), and I, jumped on a bus in Posadas and headed off to Obera.  When we got here there was supposed to be an Elder here waiting for us. There wasn't.  Instead we got here to find out that there had been a riot inside of the terminal between the Police and the workers because the workers wanted more money. We sat and waited without a cell phone, for 2 hours with no idea what to do!!  Finally, he came running around the corner and took us to the terminal after they had cleared all the blood and bodies out.  We waited for our bus and then finally got on and arrived in San Vicente (5 Hrs East of Posadas) at around 11:00 at night!! Crazy day (Just kidding about bodies and stuff haha)!!!! 
We had 33 people in Sacrament meeting this last Sunday which is great!!! There is about 200 baptized members in San Vicente so inactivity is a huge problem!!!  Another crazy thing about my new area is that it is over 300 Km wide!! This is a huge reason there is so much inactivity, because people live very far from the church and very few have cars!  We had 4 men in 3rd hour on Sunday and now even all of them are Priesthood holders!! We have 1 ex-bishop that was excommunicated and we are working to get him re-baptized!!!  There is so much drama in this branch it is ridiculous!! Some people won't go to church because they don't like other members and others get offended over the smallest things, its like being back in Jr High!!!! We have been trying to find the perfect balance between working with the branch, and trying to tract and find new people to teach!!!  Our chapel is the smallest thing ever and it is pretty run down.  Also the man that we rent the building from is now kicking us out so Elder Izurieta and I are going to have to start looking for a new place to have Church!! So many things on our plate and we have only been here for 1 week!!!  
More about the area!! I live in the jungle everyone!!!!!!!!! It is awesome!!  It literally rains for days at a time and the roads turn into small rivers!!  People live in small homes sometimes on stilts, its like things I have only seen in the movies!!!!  My pinch is super nice and almost twice as big as my last one!!!  We have air conditioning and everything to!! Definitely an upgrade!!!! I do my laundry by hand now which was definitely a learning experience the 1st time haha.  I love my new companion!!! He has the perfect balance of fun, and work!!  Also it is almost always the perfect temperature here!!!  Much better than Posadas!!! I thought I was going to die there!!  
We had another funny experience this past week! On our way to our District meeting, Elder Izurieta and I woke up late so it was a big rush to get to the Terminal on time for our bus!!  The Sisters had left to Posadas earlier that morning for an emergency transfer so we were on our own to figure everything out!!  And on top of everything, it was raining harder than I had ever seen in my life!!!!  Rivers in the streets so strong they were sweeping cats away haha.  I had forgotten that I had water proof boots in my bag to so we were running to the terminal and I was soaking wet!!!! We got into the terminal and realized we were still 20 minutes early for our bus.  My shoes were full of water and I was soaked to the bone!!  It was a long, cold, wet ride to Obera.  When I finally got to Obera, we found our way to the chapel and found out that we were still 1 hour early to our meeting!!!!! I got to stand out soaking wet for an hour!!  We had our district meeting and on the way home I fell asleep on the bus.  When I woke up, our phone was gone!! I got robbed for the 1st time hah.  Pretty crazy 1st week to say the least.  O ya and we live like 20 seconds away from the sisters so we have been able to receive a lot of help from them!! They are awesome!!  
I love you all and pray everyday that you will all be watched over and protected!!! Much love from South of the Equator,
Elder Ollerton

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