Sister Katie Garff

Sister Katie Garff
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas, Family Castillo, and A 4-Way Skype

Merry Christmas Everybody!

There were many "best parts" about this week, but the greatest events were definitely caroling in the park with all of the other missionaries, seeing my friends, the Castillos, and Skyping!

Funny: During our Skype session, my companion and I decided to sing songs in both English and Spanish for our families. One day, I was reading the lyrics to my song in Spanish, and I totally rammed into a, haha!

Cultural: Bolivians celebrate Christmas with a large Christmas dinner that starts at midnight. They like to eat 3 different kinds of meat: chicken, pig and turkey as well as a special fruit cake called panetone. I don`t like it a ton, but it is definitely not bad:D It was just funny as we had to eat it about 7 different times during the day, haha!
These past few weeks I have been working on a musical number with the young adults in my ward. They sang Silent Night and I accompanied them on the piano. It was so powerful, and it was also a blast matching my companion the whole day, because everyone called us penguins!

Spiritual: A few days ago we sang and contacted in a park filled with lights for about 3 hours. It was awesome, and the feeling of singing with 20 other missionaries is oh, so powerful and we were able to contact hundreds of people during that short time!

Family Castillo! They have been good friends of my family for many years, and it was such a blessing to be able to see them today! They treated us to lunch, and gave us great words of love and encouragement. I love this family!
Family Castillo!
Skyping was such a blessing. I love my family so much, and from the second I opened the Skype call to this very moment, I am still full of an overpowering sense of joy and love for them, and for the great plan that our father in heaven has for us. I know that I can live with my family forever!
4-Way Skype!  Bolivia, Tahiti, SLC and Bountiful
Merry Christmas! I love you all!
Con Amor, 
Hermana Garff
Katie and Hermana Condori

Monday, December 19, 2016

Don't Worry Folks, Harry Potter has a Book of Mormon

Don't Worry Folks, Harry Potter has a Book of Mormon!:D

Merry Christmas Everybody!
I really can´t believe that it is Christmas because it is super hot and sunny here, but I am definitely not complaining:D 
A little more about my companion:)
Hermana Condori is absolutely amazing, and we teach very well together. We have laughed a ton about the plainest things, and we are seeing so many miracles every day:
Funny: For P-day our district decided to play "Walley" which is just volleyball in an enclosed court (which is perfect because who wants to chase a ball anyways;D). Everyone has their own talents, and we decided before hand that we didn't exactly have many skills in this sport, so we wore "Zumba" wristbands to scare everyone away as we could appear a little tougher:D
Cielo is one of our investigators:) She is very nice, and we are working with her on finding a desire to attend church, believe in God, etc. I am teaching her English and she is teaching me how to draw:D
Our pensionista loves to make things very naturally:D
Cultural: The fruits and vegetables are super awesome here because they are very cheap. We just have to peel or soak them in chloride before we eat them to avoid getting sick. Particularly, we have grown quite fond of bananas because they are the cheapest of all, require minimal effort to peel and taste pretty darn good with just about anything. Between the two of us, we ate 40 bananas this past week, haha:D
This family is super awesome!  They are members, and we have received tons of solid references from them.  As a bonus, they have tons of pets including rabbits, hamsters, baby hamsters, dogs, sats, and I think more, haha!
Spiritual: We experience countless miracles every single day. We are teaching great people and we have extended 4 baptismal invitations this last week, and are hoping to help them reach their goals by the end of February. 
Yup - This is a baby hamster.  Way to go Katie!

The Christ statue that the trainers and new missionaries visit before starting to work:D This statue is absolutely beautiful, and we can usually see it from where we work every day. It is a solid reminder that Christ is ALWAYS here and that he is ALWAYS on our side!

Monday, December 12, 2016

New Companion Hermana Condori

 My new companion! Hermana Condori is the greatest! We get along well and teach very well together too.   Heck! We even dress the same without meaning too;D

Hello Everybody!

This week was so great and just flew by! We experienced many miracles, and I absolutely love my companion! Her name is Hermana Condori, she too is from Peru, and she is 24 years old. She is very sweet, incredibly sensitive, and is excited about the work. I really love that she has such a strong relationship with her Father in Heaven and that she is here to work hard!
It is so fun to run into members on the street - they make it all seem possible!
Funny: One day we were knocking on a door, and a man yelled from the other side "Nadie esta" which means "nobody is home"...really, sir?, haha:D
Cultural: In order to prevent "ladrones" or "robbers" in Bolivia there are usually tall gates with spikey bits of soda glass and barbed wire. In some areas, there are even people who are stationed in the streets to blow their whistles to sound the neighbors if they see anything suspicious (there really aren't police here, haha!). There really aren't too many robbers, but yes, that's Bolivia:D
 My best friends in the mission! I love sister missionaries!

Spiritual: As we were walking to one of our appointments, we encountered children begging in the streets. We can't give money, but we can give food:D I gave them some peanuts from my bag, and watched as they joyfully raced to their mother who was hovered in a corner of a store. We walked over to the mom and taught them about Christ and the love He has for them. After the lesson, we bought them a bunch of bananas and some bread. The food was temporary, so we are really hoping that they can find peace, love and a future through Christ!
 We got the package with music! Thank you so so so much! I am planning a musical number with the young adults here and they are very excited! Also, my companion didn´t get any packages for Christmas, she is new and she was super stoked about the package, so thanks for sending one!

I love you all, and I hope that all the tests/final projects will go well this week before the holidays:D

Hermana Garff

Monday, December 5, 2016

Adios to Wonderful Hermana Romero

A baptism through our reference!  This family is super-great and the dad will be baptized next week :D
Hola Everyone! 
This week was super great, but quite the roller coaster too! I said goodbye to Hermana Romero (my amazing companion who can make jam out of sand), and I was called by my mission president to be a trainer. I am VERY excited about this, but also pretty darn tense. I want to be the best example that I can be for mi nuevita, but it is also a little difficult as I still can only comprehend 50% of conversations. I know that God will provide a way though, becuase when God commands, and we act in faith, we will be helped! 

My companion's farewell is this morning - It was crazy!
Merry Christmas!
This is a Christmas tree made up of Coke bottles - awesome!  It is super-good marketing too!
Funny: We were in an appointment where the investigator asked me "how do your parents punish you" (as he is a father and is curious about how Americans punish their children). The word for "punish" in spanish is "castigar"...which is very close to "caridad"...which means "chastity"...Therefore, in my gringa mind I translated this as "have you taught the law of chastity to your parents." Needless to say, it is not the same:D 

There is 1 day per 3 months that cars are not permitted to drive in the streets to prevent contamination.  It was awesome because we walked in the middle of the street all day.  It was like a grand parade:D
(though it may seem that the parade was not really well-attended)
Cultural: Once every 3 months there is a day where no cars are permitted to drive due to contamination problems (pic:)), but when people can drive, they do not usually obey traffic laws because there are hardly any policeman. The funny thing is, I haven`t even seen one accident! People drive very smart here, because usually, it is their only method to gain income.
A great member who had cancer and is constantly in lots of pain.  Nevertheless, he is nothing by kind to me (especially with my Spanish).  He reminds me of my Great Grandma Betty because he is always kind - even though he is not always feeling the greatest.
Spiritual: I am so grateful for the resources that we have on the mission. Many times when pamplets, cards and scriptures can`t exactly reach investigators, it is neat to share video clips with them (if they have a dvd player) and stories from the Liahona. The other day we were visiting a man named Roberto who has been studying religion for years and never quite grapsed the book of mormon. We gave him a Liahona to study, and when we returned a few days later, he proudly declared that he had read the whole Liahona and was very intruiged with its messages. So cool!
Our new pensionista - I'm a GIANT ha,ha!
I love this work. It is not always easy, but bringing light into people`s lives is absolutely worth my time! 

Nuestra pensionista otra vez mas.  Ella es super-buena y muy amable

Love, Hermana Garff 

I forgot to mention that this amazing women, our pensionista, is working on the 25 ways to lighten the world pamplet. The other day we helped her write a letter to her daugther. She never learned to read or write in her childhood, but is currently working on it right now. It is so cool to be able to help her, and I it really made me realize once more, how blessed I was and am to be gaining an education! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pictures - and Only Pictures, But We Will Take What We Can Get

First Baptism
From Josh (Katie's brother who is currently serving a mission in Tahiti):

Congrats on the baptism! I hope it was a great experience!

Also, is everyone in Bolivia shorter than 5 feet? You look like a giant in this picture...

We are sure that Katie loved that.

First an apology for the photo on November 14.  Katie and her companion were standing in front of a sign that meant something different than we thought.  Katie recently told us what it meant, and despite the fact that it does not remotely compare to the respectable and somewhat serious nature of an overwhelming majority of missionary blogs currently being read and written, we have decided to leave it in, without an explanation.

This week we got loads of pictures from Katie, but very little text.  Hopefully these pictures will paint a thousand words:
Katie received her first paskage this week.  Many have been sent, but this was the first to arrive.  We are hoping that the scriptures (Spanish) that were sent prior to her departure will arrive before she returns home from her mission.  

Hermana Romero helped Katie open this package.  She may have been a little shocked at the ridiculous nature of the contents, but she just might understand after being Katie's companion for these past months.

Katie and Hermana Romero have been helping this family paint and construct a new room
Family Sanchez
Their awesome son Fernando (8) has been helping them encourage the whole family to come to church:)
Best Darn Picture Ever.  There is not a lot of graffitti in Bolivia, but when there is, the artwork is pretty prime:D
The Artist of this great work.  This artwork is right outside of the artist's home.  We walk past it every day.  When we were finally able to meet him, we HAD to take a picture:D
This woman is so great!  She is a member and her husband is an investigator.  We saw her on the streets one day hauling all of this paper to be recycled.  She will turn it in so that she can receive new paper.
 It was awesome to help her out!
12 Semanas - FINISHED!
This is a program developed for the first 12 weeks in the field.  It has tons of doctrine, movie clips, practices, etc.  We celebrated pretty darn hard when I finished by dancing and singing around the house - Ha ha!
Incachaca, The JUNGLE!
This is such a pretty place!  It reminded me of Tarzan - minus the gorillas
Gorillas in the Mist

My District :D

The Jungle Group

There are lots of wild dogs in the streets and sometimes they take the liberty of following us around, so of course I belted out "Dumb Dog" from Annie:D

Hermana Justa with me and my companion :D  She is an incredible woman!  She is 72 years old, but insists on accoumanying us (sometimes all day), 1-2 times each week.  Shie is an ANGEL, but she talks super fast, so I usually have no idea what she is saying.  From what I can discern, however, she has made plans to visit me when I return from my mission so that I can introduce her to some gringos, ha ha!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Visiting the Jungle

We received this photo from Sister Lizzy Mitchell - Thanks Lizzy!
Hello Everyone!

This week was full of miracles, including my first baptism with a rock, solid member, and visitng the jungle!

Funny: As we were closing a lesson with an older women, I told her "descanse en paz" because I could tell that she was very tired. I learned very quickly, however, not to say this as it translates directly to "rest in peace" or, to die...

Cultural: This week was also very eye opening. We met a boy named Joseway who was sitting alone in the streets with his head down and eyes red with tears. We came to find out that he was waiting for his grandma to walk him home (which could mean hours). We also found out that he was very lonely as he didn`t have any other friends. It was clear to see that he lacked confidence in himself and also in his future. Thus, we taught him about Christ, prayer, and the love the Christ and Heavenly Father ALWAYS have for him. When it came time to say the closing prayer I asked him if there was anything he wanted for me to pray for specifically to which he replied "pan" or bread.

Life isn`t always fair. It is hard and sometimes seems impossible, but through the light of Christ, there is always light!

Spritual: This week was very special and spiritual as we were able to witness Andy be baptised and receive the gift of the holy ghost. He is a great guy, and he will make very influential chages for the better in the ward!

We were also blessed to encounter a family who has many less active members as well as two children who have not been baptized. We are currently teaching the two children who attended Andy`s baptism, attended the church activities for their age groups and church. They are learning very fast, have lots of interest and we are working towards their baptism date which is in a few weeks from now! Hopefully we can also reactivate their family!

I love you all so much! Have a great week, and please know that we can always find our way out of the darkness if we simply remember to turn on the light (the light of Christ)!

Hermana Garff

This was added as a bonus :)


So, one more story...

Earlier when we were visiting the jungle I accidentally left my camera on the bus and didn´t realize that until later. I have my camera now, so no worries, but here is the story:D

I felt very prompted to talk to the bus driver befor leaving the jungle. His name is Juan Carlos and he was very nice! Probably one of the nicest people I have met here:D After getting off the bus I felt impressed to check for my camera, but saw my case and thought nothing of it. I continued to get feelings to check for my camera, but didn´t do it until after lunch.

After realizing I didn´t have my camera, I panicked, prayed, called around, and prayed some more. 10 minutes later, we were able to contact the bus driver and we met with him later today to pick it up.

This was definitely a miracle!!! People, especially with finances, have all the temptations in the world to not be honest, but he was.

I know that God is with me, and that he answers prayers. It is truly a miracle that I have my camera and all of pictures again. I have also learned that I need to download my pictures on a flash drive and that I need to follow the promptings I receive, and watch out for my possessions more.

Sorry about no pics this week, really! I forgot the cords at our house because we left for the jungle super early this morning, but I will send lots of pics next week:D

Love you, sorry for losing my camera!
Hermana Garff

Monday, November 14, 2016

Halloween and Stalker Pictures

Hello Everyone!

This week was great, and I was able to witness many miracles, especially yesterday! But first, I would like to touch on the election! In all honesty I don´t know very much about the election, but I find it so funny that pretty much everyone in Bolivia knows everything about it! They always try talking to me about it, but seeing that I really don´t know that much about it, I have really found that all I can say is "This is why I am living in Bolivia:)"

Funny: The picutre that I sent that is a little dark is actually pretty funny, because every night before we enter our hosue, we always run into this same couple who is always flirting, kissing, or hugging and finally, I plucked up the courage to take a stalker picture with my an effort to be sneaky, you can barely see the couple, but it is pretty prime:D
Yes, this is Katie's Stalker Photo.  Clearly this took a great amount of courage to take.
 Too bad nothing is distinguishable, but still very Katie
Cultural: Bolivia doesn´t exactly celebrate Halloween or any other holiday besides Christmas and New Years. Thus, my companion and I celebrated pretty heavily, with Halloween candies that we received from the Wood family-thank you so much! It was so fun to share this candy with other kids on the street and explain a little about America and their holidays:D

Spritual: Yesterday I had the opportunity to play in church for the first time, and I almost cried as I was able to see how full the chapel was. Almost every bench was brimming full of people, and my heart leaped as I was able to watch a less active member walk into church after the sacrament. We have been working really hard with him for weeks to feel a desire to come to church again!

Also, we have a baptismal date this Saturday for a very solid and prepared investigator named Andy. He has been taking all of the lessons very well, is very excited for his baptismal date and will be such a help to the church in the future! I am so grateful to be out here teaching whoever is willing to listen, but it is such a miracle to have an investigator like this every once in a while who is extremely prepared to enter the church!

I love you all so much!
Hermana Garff

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rest in Peace...

Hello Everyone, 

I am so sorry, I have about 2 minutes, but this week was great and yet again, I learned so very much:D

Funny: "Descanse in paz".  I tried to tell a member to rest well, but I really ended up telling her to rest in other words, die. Luckily, she understood what I was trying to say and just laughed, haha!

Cultural: Luckily we have a pensionista who cooks lunch for us every week. She is super great and cooks like a Champ:D

Spiritual: Fasting for 24 hours is difficult, and sometimes I think I am going to die, but it is also so powerful and very spiritual. It is such a privilege to fast for our investigators and for their needs. God answers our prayers, but His answers through fasting are also very powerful!

I Love You All!
Hermana Garff

Katie did not send any pictures this week - We were lucky to get what we did.  She has promised to send some pictures next week.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lessons From Shoes

Dinosaur Popsicles:)
Happý Halloween!!

The weather is probably cooling down quite a bit at home, but here, it is getting pretty dang hot! It is about 90 degrees right now, and will continue to get really hot as is it only the Spring. I am just so grateful that my mission is warm so no complaints!:D

Also, this work is absolutely beautiful. I love it so much, but sometimes there are harder days. On these harder days, Hermana Romero and I have learned to buy saltañeas, chocolate milk, bananas or TACOS!! For instance, on Tuesday, we were having a pretty hot, hard and dry day, so after 5 hours of tracting, we stopped to buy tacos and felt 110% better-taco tuesday:D
A taste of Bolivia
Funny: I sleep like a rock here, but my companion says that more often than not I preach in my sleep, haha! And, kind of funny, but she says I don't preach in English, I preach in Spanish! One night I think I was especially excited, because Hermana Romero said I sprang up in my bed and started excercising. I don't remember this at all, but she was laughing pretty hard in the morning!
Pica Macho - my favorite Bolivian food and our amazing pensionisa, Hermana Betty:D
Cultural: Tons of things are sold in the street (milk, fruit, peanuts, everything!) When people go about selling these things they use a rusty megaphone so every time I hear a product being sold it reminds me of the teacher in the "Peanuts Movie", because it is super muffled and makes me laugh every time:D

Spíritual: My companion, Hermana Romero, is amazing! She is such a great example to me especially because she is so diligent in the work and doesn't complain. The other night when we finished a day of walking 12.5 miles, I looked in her shoes and saw that the heel was completely thrashed and that she had practically been walking on a waffle iron! We fixed this the next day as we got some shoes from the mission president, but WOW! What an example she is to me!
Hermana Romero and her shoes

In our family email:
Also, if you have read the story of my companion and her shoes in the group email, awesome! She is such an example to me, but I have also been able to help her a little bit. Althoguh she is such a great example to me of patience, I was able to explain to her that "perservering to the end did not mean to suffer until the end!" This life is hard, but it is also so beautiful, and if we have problems, we should do everything we can to do our best to fix what is in our power and have patience and faith with the rest.

I love you all! Please know that you are all such great examples to me and that I pray for you every day:)
Hermana Garff
Bolivian Night

Monday, October 24, 2016

Three Cheers for the Gonzales Family!!!

Bananas - the Drug of Choice
Not many pictures this week, but we did get a letter.  We have included a few of the things Katie sent to our family in italics.  We thought you might get a laugh out of them.

It is so great to hear about Fall and the leaves changing colors! I hope that you are all enjoying that great weather! Here, the weather is great too, just different:) It is very similar to the weather in Hawaii (just without the water, because there ain't no water here, haha!)

Funny: My companion is trying to learn English, and I am trying to learn Spanish. We have come to realize that the greatest way to learn these languages is to SING!:D The funny part is that the only songs I have taught my companion (besides gospel songs) are about dogs because there are tons of dogs here, and I guess that is just always on my mind! "How Much is that Doggie in the Window" and a song that Hermana Masina taught me in the CCM "Black Dog."

"In times where I am sad, homesick or discouraged (not often, don't worry:)), I either sing or TAP! The other week I was pretty homesick after emailing on Monday, and there were tons of changes with tramites, BUT God blessed us with a rainstorm, so... I sang and danced in the rain!:D I taught my companion the lyrics and we laughed for the rest of the stormy night! ...Also, thank you for encouraging me to play the piano. I use that talent more than you could even guess!"

Another funny is that lots of the young women members in my ward have a strong desire to marry "gringos" and have been making arrangements with me to visit my house after I return so that I can introduce them to all of my friends, haha!

Katie also cooked dinner for a family there.  She wrote home and asked for recipes that did not use a stove, an oven, a microvave or a crockpot.  Here were her words:
"Thank you so much for all of those recipes! I actually haven't cooked yet, I will be doing that in about an hour, so wish me luck, haha! I actually practiced with my companion the other day and it was DANG good."...
"I am worried about doing this, so please pray for me that I won't kill this family or burn down their house."

Cultural (to the mission:)): This week we had something called "tramites" where we hosted 2 other sisters so that they could get their passport information taken care of. It was so neat to be able to host them, because we arrived in Bolivia at the same time, and it was neat to be able to meet with them and see how they are doing!
The Gonzales Family
Spiritual: Last week I was feeling a little homesick after reading all of your awesome emails (thanks for writting me!). I love being here, but I am also so grateful for my home in Utah. I learned that even when I am having a hard time with homesickness, that my companion is always here to help me, and also God. I have witnessed SO many miracles this week including being able to meet the GONZALEZ FAMILY (friends of my friends in Utah, the Castillo family)! They are so kind, and they took 3 hours out of their busy lives to meet us, feed us, talk with us, and most of all, put up with my mangled Spanish, haha! God will always provide a hope and way for us to do His work because He loves us!

I love you all!

Hermana Garff