Monday, May 25, 2015

First Week in Bollenar on a Bike!

Today, I am on and I am at another cyber, so I will see if I can send anything. It may just be because of a newer camera, but I will try right now. Okay, from this cyber I can send photos. 

 On your “Where is my apartment photo,” look at sectors A with B and G. The corner there has a slanted street headed northwest. We are the first house on the right on that street right at the corner of A, B and G. That should help you find it. 

The whole red sector is my area. The part south of Bollenar is Elder Brush and Elder Orozco´s sector. They have it easier, because they have all of Bollenar as their sector. The church is in either M or N, just so you know.

Awesome!  I assume this is your companion and the other two on bikes behind you are the Elders you room with.  I love you so much!

Yep. This is north of Bollenar crossing a bridge and a river toward Chorombo. It is about 3 kilometers from Bollenar. We were headed to lunch 14 kilometers from Bollenar. We have a lot to do. Anyway, we bike the entire sector and only use busses going to Melipilla.

We have had to tighten my pedals, because they loosen up daily and we have had to replace many parts that were stripped and the chain falls off often. I still need to get an air pump and replacement tubes and a lantern to mount on my bike for the evenings, because it is dark at around 6 or 7. We bike around 15 miles daily, if not more. We have a lot to do and never enough time. I have spent around 15 hours on bike maintenance this week and I have had a popped tube, flat tires, brakes that don´t work, gear changes that don´t work, and many other issues. Every day of this week my bike has had issues, so it has been challenging and exhausting, but now my muscles are used to the torture and are feeling better. Overall the week went by very quickly, anyway.

I figured the first week would feel a bit like torture.  Is there a store nearby where you can get parts for the bikes?  Is your bike the worst one of the four since you have the least seniority there?  Do you have a photo of you and your bike? 

Not yet. There are 6 bikes. The other two elders have new bikes, because members from the ward mentioned how bad the bikes are to our mission president. There were 4 before that, but those two have the new ones. There is a guy who repairs bikes in Bollenar and we have been going and working on getting him to replace some of the parts on the bikes that are bad for new ones and looking for the problems and fixing what we can. We have been buying and fixing them up. My companion has had more experience with bikes, but still he has had problems with his bike. Right now, he doesn't have brakes... We are trying to get them fixed up, so we can focus more on the work. Our leaders know that the bikes are breaking down daily and it is possible that they will get us new ones, but still we are working with what we have. We have taken parts from the other bikes, replaced anything and everything possible and now we are getting to the point where we barely have problems. We are doing what we can, little at a time and we shouldn´t have many more.

I wasn´t able to take a ton of pictures, because on a bike it is hard to take pictures and I don´t want to crash or break my camera, so I have a few. I will send but not of the new house or the bikes yet. I will look into it this week. I have a few of the landscapes and sector from when I stopped a couple times.

The church is in M right where the point of the yellow push pin is.  I already looked up the address for it online.  Here is a screen shot closer up.

You are now at 500 feet above sea level.  Your last area was about 1500 feet above sea level.  It should be easier to breathe as you are killing yourself on your bike.  15 kilometers is a lot of ground to cover, but it will be great for your health.  Always think positively!

Is your house the one on the right or the yellow one on the left?

The one on the left with the black gate. That small house in there. Also, they are doing maintenance and repairs on our house now, so it is getting better. Just so you know, just going to lunch was 14 kilometers and then we had to go back so 28 and a mile is 1600 meters, so 1.6 kilometers is a mile, so you get the math to how much we bike. I biked over 20 miles the other day....

Things are going well. We had 15 new investigators this week, but none attending and we did not have less active members attending, but we had both of our retention attending. Retention are the new members. That was really good. One of our retention is blind, so we try to stop by and help him when we can. We visited him 3 times this week and a brother in the ward picks him up in his car on the way to the church on Sundays. He is great. We are working to take both of them to the temple on the 13th of June. Things are going really well and there is a lot to do all the time.

Do you shop for groceries in Bollenar or Melipilla?  Do you carry groceries on your bike or walk to the store and back? 

I am glad you have many people to teach.  I hope you can get them all to attend their meetings.  Are any of them families?  Who are the retentions?  What are their names?  Tell me more about the people you are teaching, where they live and what they do for a living. 

Are you enjoying this area?  Where do you have your District meetings?

We have reunions in Melipilla. We do all of our selective shopping Monday in Melipilla. We can buy some things in Bollenar, but if we want more things then we have to get them in Melipilla. So far, I have gone toward Chorombo and Maria Pinto. The people we are visiting live between those two separate roads. Our retention is Carlos Delgado. He talked yesterday for the first time in church. He is 20 and we are visiting his family as well. He lives with his parents and siblings and is the only member. His mom and sister are living with other guys, so they need to get married to be baptized and aren´t attending, but we have visited them. Hernando Cruz is the blind member and lives alone.

We shop in Melipilla, and then take a bus to Bollenar and walk in to the house. There is a small shop on the street at the top of sector G where there is a little shop. We can buy things like bread, eggs, and other things there close to the house to not have to carry as much. I am out of time and will answer your other letter and then I will be off and I will send a couple more pictures quickly.

It sounds like you have been working hard and smart.  That is good.  I told Dad he should have spent more time teaching you how to repair bicycles.  I am sure you will be an expert by the time you get home.  I am glad you don’t have to spend the money to buy your own bicycle, but a new one would be less work.  Are you riding uphill, downhill or mostly flat roads?  It looks to me like it would be uphill to get to your sector and downhill to get home.

Ok on the photos.  Try to take some photos this week with you and your companion, the other Elders in your apartment, your apartment, your bikes and the people you are working with.  We would love to see who you are teaching and know how we can help them by praying specifically for their needs and your needs.  Specific prayers can make a big difference.  It will be Fast Sunday next week.  What can we fast for that will help you the most?

The sector is uphill and downhill there are rolling hills.... Generally up going out, but still with ups and downs that are tiring. I will send a few photos right now. More than anything pray that the people arrive at church. That is the hard part here. It is the distance. We are doing all that we can so that they understand why they need to do everything in the gospel. Most people give excuses and we have heard them all, so I have gotten used to it and know what people need to hear generally, but they have their agency. More than anything, pray that we encounter people prepared to be baptized and that we find our purposes here in this sector. 

Here are the pictures leaving Diego de Almagro. I have a couple more, but I don´t have time to send them all. Ask Camila and Guillermo to send you the pictures that they have? You can say "Elder Goode dijo que deben enviarme las fotos que tienen con él." They will understand that they means Elder Goode said you should send me the picutes that you have with him. They mentioned it, but I don´t know if they have sent them to you. Also, can you send Soley a message with my mission email? I forgot to have them put a . between my first and last name so if they write I won´t get it. Can you fix that for me? 

A few landscape photos to help. I am out of time once these come through. Thanks for everything and I will talk to you next week. I finished reading the New Testament yesterday and started Doctrine and Covenants yesterday, as well. I am in section 11. I am also in Alma 5. I need to study more, though. I want to get through a lot more material.

What crops do they raise?  What are in the long buildings that are everywhere?  What is in the ponds that are by the buildings?  We see these all over the area of Melipilla.  The left road is going to Chorombo and the right road is going to Maria Pinto.
I love you so much and we are all so very proud of you.  Work hard!  Be diligent and obedient!  The Lord will bless you to be successful. 
Love always and forever,

Those are barns where they store chickens and raise them to eat. Chileans are crazy about chicken....

Yes.  I will write to her today.

Thank you I appreciate it. I gave Camila and Guillermo the correct address, but I made a mistake when I was with Carlos and Soley. Thanks for everything. 

Thank you for serving and be willing to work through the tough times and the killer bike issues to serve the Lord and these wonderful people.  Imagine your life without the love of Camila, Guillermo, Carlos and Soley.  It would be lacking so much.  A mission is definitely worth every sacrifice.  Keep on keeping on.  I love you, Son.

Here are some more photos of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Chapel for the Bollenar Branch.

Here are some more photos of Braxton's Pention in Bollenar.

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