Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2013-05-07 Elder Howlett's 1st days in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Missionaries that left Lima MTC with Elder Howlett on Cinco de Mayo
Hey everyone,
I don’t have much time again.  My p-day is now Monday I’m only writing now because I didn’t yesterday. Sorry I quit talking abruptly at the airport.  The calling station ran out of credit and no one could call anyone.

We arrived at the Cochabamba airport on Sunday night and were greeted by the president and his wife as well as some secretaries and assistants.  Elder Eyre, whose blog we read online is one of the assistants but I didn’t say I had read his blog because that would be weird.  We crammed all of the Elders and luggage into a tiny bus and drove to Hotel Ideal (actually considerably less than ideal) where there were giant pizzas and pop waiting for us. 
 The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then walked to a stake center to work on paperwork and get our first assignments.  They fed us saltenas (awesome) and chicken cordon bleu (the only decent quality American food I’ve had here) then at 3:00 we had a big exciting meeting where president announced areas and companions. Lots of wild cheering which is something that I don’t see very often here.  
President and Sister Dyer with Elder Howlet
President is great. I interviewed with him and he said he has lots of family in Scottsbluff. (in Nebraska where Elder Howlett's grandparents live) Some are Dyers and some are something else. His wife is super nice and very grandma-like.  She also takes pictures almost nonstop. 
I got my companion and he said something I didn’t really understand but I followed him and pretty soon realized we were on our way back to the hotel.  We picked up my bags and were on our way.  I didn’t really get a chance to tell everyone goodbye since we left without me understanding but I believe most of us are in the same zone so I’ll see them soon.  It turns out what he told me is we need to get going because we are opening a new area and our housing plans fell through.  We didn’t find anything that night so we stayed with another pair of Elders.  I think it will probably take us a couple weeks before we can move somewhere else.  

quote from Elder Howlett "our apartment tiny door goes to the bathroom (yep it's a gross bathroom)"

Elder Howlett's bed
Elder Howlett and companion Elder Ruiz
I really like my companion.  He is a hard worker and has American manners which a lot of the Latinos lack.  He also seems obedient and a hard worker.  He is our zone leader.  We have different pensionistas for lunch and dinner.  Both live in modern (for Cochabamba) nice homes.  They are both super nice.  For breakfast this morning someone knocked on our door and gave us hot chocolate and delicious bread.  I don’t know if that happens every morning but I sure hope it does.  I gave my first blessing in Spanish yesterday too.  One of the Elders we are staying with did something bad to his back and asked me to give him a blessing.  It was a great experience but reminded my how much work my Spanish could use. Today after lunch my first appointment was to read the Book of Mormon with our pensionista’s 11-year-old son, Fabio.  It was fun even though I couldn’t follow the conversation half the time.  I’m glad that I took quite a bit of Spanish.  I was the best white guy at the MTC at speaking Spanish and still have trouble so I imagine it’s even more frustrating for people who didn’t take any Spanish before the MTC.  They had me translate a fireside one night at the MTC, which was really hard.  I’m sure I only got about half of what was said translated.  

Also mail didn’t come last week in the MTC.  If you sent something there and I didn’t say I got it in another email, you will have to re-send it to Cochabamba.  I did get a letter from Sarah Wilcox here.
tumba fruit and juice at pensionista's house
Keep writing me everyone.  I love reading your letters!

Also, Santa Cruz was beautiful weather when we got there.  It had just finished raining and was in the high 60s and tropical smelling.  Me and my companion and Elders Rhoton and Potts sat out there for an hour.

Cochabamba is great but I’m out of time.  I’ll tell you more about my first couple days later.

 Also, if anyone is looking for a good read, 2 Nephi Chapter 1 is pretty awesome.
I love it here and I’m having a blast.  Also one more thing, I got another referral on the plane to Cochabamba.  I sat next to 27 year old Rodrigo and we talked the whole time.  He lives in Cochabamba and works at the bank and gave me his number to call if I ever needed anything.  We also talked about the gospel some.  I did a lot better job holding up my end of the conversation than I did on the plane ride here.  He gave me his address as we got off and said I could send missionaries to talk more with him.  People here are way more open to talking to us than they would be in the US.
view of Christus from lunch pensionista's balcony
How come I haven’t heard from Harm?

Also I know I’m late but Happy Birthday Sam, Liz and Jarrett!!!
Elder Howlett


  1. I LOVE reading his weekly letters! Bringing back so many great mission memories! Steven is such a go-getter, I can't wait to watch and see the people and lives he influences.

  2. Hey Elder Howlett~
    This is soooooo cool! The girls and I loved reading all about what's going on with you. Very proud of you and can't wait to hear more about the lives you are touching.
    Lots of love from your favorite Aunt...
    Jama :-)


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