This week has been pretty unique. As you know, I´m no longer in Mogotes. I´m now in a branch about four hours from the coast, which is the farthest I´ve been in about seventeen months. (Since I left Mexico City). I´m in a town called Coronel Suarez; it has three German colonies, but everyone there speaks spanish so we´re fine. A lot of the photos that I'm sending are from a visit that I made with my new companion Elder Gamarra, Elder Watts, and Elder Callaghan, who were both my companions in Cerrito. We stopped by a few families and caught up, making it back long before our buses left. Unfortunately...we still missed our bus. It may or may not have been because I was in a chess match with an ice-cream salesman when the collectivo (bus) came. (For what it's worth, I won the match!) When the bus came, we went to grab my luggage, and when we got back, it had already left. (I was mostly kidding--the chess match wasn't the reason we were late.)
Anyway, we stayed overnight with our zone leaders, one of them being Elder Leiva, who was my companion back in my Terrada days. He's still the only companion I´ve had for more than a transfer other than my father and my son, and time is running out for someone else to join the list. We took off early in the morning to catch the morning bus to Suarez, which we ended up doing.
The first member we met was a less active member who hasn't been active in thirty years, but who gave the missionaries bikes and has us over to eat twice per week. He told me that soon I´d be thinking that Suarez is an inferno, but I can't quite bring myself to believe him...actually I can't at all. This last week I´ve been the happiest version of myself that I´ve seen in a while. Maybe I just prefer smaller groups. In Mogotes, the average church attendance was 120. This week we had ten, and that includes two visitors and the two of us. There are a lot of super cool members that we want to work with, and I still have more people to meet.
One of the members we met has the maiden name Sheffer, but spelled a little differently (Scheffer). Her family was part of one of the german colonies, and she and her daughter met missionaries about forty years ago. When she was telling us about her baptism, she mentioned an Elder Kühn (pronounced keen), and I recognized the name. It turns out that she was taught by a member that I met in my first area in Mar del Plata. He served at the same time as President Hymas. When I first shook his hand, the first thing that he wanted to know was where my last name came from. I thought that that was just how he greeted everybody, but most likely it was because he served here, teaching german immigrants with the same name. Finding that connection made me pretty happy.
The week ended pretty well with us picking up our repaired bikes from the priorly mentioned less-active member. We rode them home, and we´ve used them a lot in the last twenty hours. This is the first time that I've ridden a bike since the High-adventure camp that we did right before I left, and I'm really grateful that we did that; it turns out that riding a bicycle is just like riding a bicycle! It should be very helpful for reaching the colonies.
Well, between that and the pictures, that should be enough for one week! Hasta luego!