Friday, June 22, 2012

6/22/12 Letter excerpts from Hermana Bowles


“I’m sitting right now in a combi…maybe I should describe a little more about these combi excursions.  Combis are vans..they remind me a lot of the Scooby-Doo gang flower-mobile.  There are combi stations in the bigger “pueblitos.”  For instance, there are stations in Tarapoto, Moyo, Rioja, and Nueva CajaMarca.  At any given hour there are vans waiting and filling to go to one of these cities.  The vans leave as soon as they’re full and the incoming empty van retakes its place and so they go until 8 or 9 o’clock at night, shuttling people across the jungle and rice field highway.  Each combi fits 18 passengers and 1 driver.  It’s a tight squeeze sometimes, (especially if we have to sit on the very back row where they fit four…and not all the people are the same size…) and I often literally feel like a sardine smushed into an aluminum can.  Sometimes people get off at random parts in the highway where they live.  The thing is , there are the old rusty combis, or great and spacious large ones.  We always end up waiting for the nice new ones because they are so much more secure.  Regardless, neither type use a speedometer but don’t worry…we’re still alive.  Let’s just say that Peruvians aren’t known for their driving skills.  I think that its maybe a good thing that there are only moto taxis or motorcycles here for the most part.

Here we are--the zone in the combo traveling to the last zone conference and interviews with
 President Blunck in Tarapoto.  All sixteen of us fit in the same combo.  Everyone has suckers that Hna. Rodriguez "regal" (gifted) to everyone.  She is addicted to spicy stuff and suckers are no exception.  These suckers had a secret hot patch in the center....I about choked and threw my sucker out the window when I go to that point.  
February through June has been the most incredible growth experience of my life.  I am not afraid to say that it was awful and wonderful all at the same time.  I love this picture because it shows how much we've grown together.  Cute little Mexicana Hermana Rodriguez is amazing!
Things I love about Moyobamba:

            RAIN—The storms have calmed down some, but it still usually gets hot right before the rain comes pouring down.
            JUANES—rice-filled leaves that are typical
            ORCHIDS GROWING ON TREE TRUNKS—“orchideas” (orchids) grow with scraggly roots off the limbs of trees.  You can find them naturally or implants of plants.
            SAYING GOOD-BYE—Hermana Rodriguez started our good-byes after internet today and the route included everyone from everywhere…the photo-developing man—the snack cart lady in front of our house—the landlord—the mail lady—the grocery store clerks—the catholic priest from Spain—the woman who sells “Aquaje” on the corner of 2 de Mayo and Reyes  Guerra.
            “VOZ DEL CIELO”—Surprise, surprise…but our last name is a little difficult to pronounce here.  The pronunciation that comes off most common here is “voz” which actually means “voice.”  Some of the branch members have started a funny play on words where they say “la voz del cielo” which means “voice from the heavens.”
            BOOTS—Never in a million years did I imagine I would use rainboots when proselyting.  When we go down where it’s really muddy to “Miraflores,” the women selling their fried chicken have grown so accustomed to seeing us with boots that
now they shout ”Botitas” (little boots)… or when we’re walking and don’t have the boots they shout, “Where are the boots?” And start rolling around on their benches laughing themselves sick.

**Being here in dear sweet Branch Belen has given me such respect for early members of the church… few and so strong!

Beautiful isn't it?  Like I have said before...we live in paradise.  The selva (jungle) clearly is the coveted spot in the mission.  Of all the places, though, Moyo is known above them all for it its beauty.  Sure holds true in this shot!

I think this picture would fit in nicely in the next jungle--National Geographic, don't you?
The beauty of the jungle in the smallest details shows that God is an artist.  The most minuscule thing here is absolutely gorgeous.  That scripture in Alma about the earth itself being a sign that God lives is so cool.

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