Monday, March 10, 2014's a tradition here to buy a live llama and kill it...

Water fight with young single adults for Carnivale
Hey everybody,

Everything is going very well in my new area.  The only thing I don't like is that I miss the people from my last area a lot.  It was a weird week.  Due to Carnivales, we didn't work on Monday, Tuesday or Sunday because it's nuts in the streets.  We only went in p-day clothes to eat those days (Monday we were allowed to be out until 4:00).  Those days the people in the streets sprayed us with water and threw water balloons at us.  While we were in downtown Potosì on Monday I don't think a single car passed without spraying us with foam.  People were dumping buckets of water from their balconies in downtown.
 llama charque--fried llama meat, egg, (purple) potatoes, giant corn 
The llama charque is traditional.  I  guess it's a tradition here to buy a live llama and kill it and then throw its blood on the outside wall of your house.  They use the meat for a barbecue.  Llama charque is pretty good.

I think I told you a little bit about Savino who we found last week.  He and his wife are members but went inactive over 10 years ago.  Savino is doing really well about coming back but his wife not as much and I don't know why.  They also live with almost all their kids and their families so there are a ton of non-members to teach at the house too. 
On Sunday, Savino brought his grandson, Carlos Raul, to stake conference.  He has a car and gave us a ride which was nice since Sunday was the last big celebration day of carnival.  Where they live, they have a little restaurant thing which makes rellenos in the morning, fried mashed potato balls filled with meat and seasonings and some kind of sauce.  We stopped to eat that a couple mornings ago and met Savino's son-in-law, Miguel.  He'd visited a bunch of churches before and when I asked him why he said it because he was looking for the correct church.  That made a good transition into the Joseph Smith story and I'm excited to see how it goes with him.  There are over 10 non-members living there and Savino is really helpful.

Stefani is a recent convert who I've visited quite a few times since I got here.  She's 15 and a really good and smart person.  She going to leave in June for a foreign exchange program and will either go to Switzerland, Germany, or the US.  Her sister-in-law, Monica, is one of our best investigators now.  She has a date for April that we put this past week.  They are a very pleasant family and there are several non-members who I haven't met who live there as well.

Hermana Mercedes called me this week to tell me she'd sent me a package.  She sent it by flota, which is bus. A different missionary picked it up for me but she'd sent two grocery bags full of fresh fruit, nuts, bread, and ramen noodles.  It was very nice that she'd taken the time to send it and the peaches were very good.

On Sunday I sang in the choir for the stake conference.  We sang "A Child's Prayer" and "I Believe in Christ." It was almost all missionaries with just a few members.  I had an hour and a half practice on Saturday and again on Sunday.  I was sitting next to Christian the whole time who has his mission call to Lima.  It was fun chatting with him. On Thursday he going to Cochabamba to be endowed.  He's really excited for that and it made me miss being able to go to the temple again.
making empanadas at a member's house
The four missionaries from our ward all live in the same apartment.  It's actually pretty big and by far the nicest place I've lived during the mission.  It's also definitely the best shower I've had.  It's a constant temperature and I haven't been shocked once.  The members here help a lot more than is normal so we get to have lots of lessons with members.  Potosì is a ridiculously hilly city.  I've never seen such steep streets. It's is really cold when you're not in the powerful sun.  The sun sometimes makes it feel hot.  The weather changes between rain and sun in an instant.  Almost every day we see both.  One of the new things with investigators here is that we have a lot who need to get married.  I haven't had to deal with that too much in my other areas.  We'll have to see how that goes.

People here have some very incorrect ideas about repentance.  They just don't understand how it works. This week while we were talking about it with an investigator she asked if there is punishment for sin if God forgives us.  Of course there's a punishment for sin but it doesn't affect us thanks to the atonement.  Lots of people think repentance is wanting to be a good person and that you pay a punishment for the bad things you did before you go into heaven.  They don't understand the idea a being clean through repentance now. There are too many people who think they are past repentance too.  That is probably one of the saddest things I hear.  There are people who truly believe God won't forgive them.  I don't believe we see the love that God has for us in any way like we do through the process he has established for repentance.  There is nothing like knowing that you are clean and worthy.  Christ suffered the punishment of our sins.  There is no reason for us not to repent and have to carry the burden that we feel when we sin.  God the Father and His Son love us. You really should repent if you need to, it's a lot better than the unhappiness of living unworthily.

I hope everyone has a great week.  Potosì is actually a really pretty place and I'm loving it here.    

Elder Howlett

P.S. 3 of my favorite repentance scriptures in addition to what I sent a couple weeks ago.  Doctrine &Covenants 19:16-19,  Isaiah 1:18, and Mosiah 26:30

making llama charque

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