Sister Katie Garff

Sister Katie Garff
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bolivia's Finest Cuisine

Salteñas make everything better, haha!

I hope you have all had a great week and were able to see lots of miracles in your life, because I sure did this week:D One of these great miracles was seeing my favorite older brother, Josh, home. What the???, I thought he was going to die out there, haha:D Congratulations Chubsy! And, for all friends and family, enjoy your time together. He is the greatest!!
The rock hard hockey-puck cookies that we made for our dear Relief Society, haha!
Funny: We decided to make cookies with Hna Ines, our pensionista, for Mothers´day:) It was all great until we realized they were pretty black on the bottom and had the grand opportunity to harden even more at night because there are no ziploc bags we arrived in church and were excited to give them out up until we gave a freebee to Carolina (Luis´sister) to try. When we saw that this 10 year old girl humbly tried to hide the cookie, we started laughing so hard, and started sorting our our options. In the end, we ended up gifting the hockey pucks to the mothers, but WOW it was HILIARIOUS to watch various mothers try to "save them in their bags for later" or dish them off to their kids, haha!!
Perhaps we all have different talents, and mine may not include baking;D

Our Decorations for the Wedding

The soup to start the wedding feast...;)

The brown brew that was served all throughout the 5 hour celebration (it tasted like watery peanut butter and smelled like coffee....very suspicious, haha!)
Culture: WEDDINGS:D We had a wedding this week for two of our progressing investgators. They really were excited to be married despite their happy picture below:) Emiliano, the husband, cried for one of the first times in his whole life!
The Happy Couple
Spiritual: We were able to see lots of miracles ths week, one of which was an amazing 15 year old investigator, LUIS:D and his family. Luis´sister has been very sick for multiple months and will likely die in a few weeks if she doesn´t get a certain sergery in the hospital. Because of this event, Luis has not been getting lots of attention and has actually had to fill the roll as the dad in the family. He has not been in school for 2 years, but has re-enrolled today:D During lessons he is also INCREDBLE!! Al escuchar que Jose Smith vio a Dios y Jesu Cristu, he was wide-eyed and shocked with revelation:D He has a baptism date for the 17 of June and he will likey complete this goal. He is so excted!! 
Just to explain his potential a little bit, he was waiting for his mom (less active) to take them to church on Sunday, but she never showed up. Hurridely, he took a micro to arrive at church, grabbing 2 of his siblings to go with him. Al entrar la reunion sacramental, he was absolutely destraught to enter and find that the first hour was over, but was elated to find out that there were still 2 hours more to church:D At the end, he told us that he wished there was more. WOW!! THIS is one of God´s elect!
These are two cute kids who want to serve missions.
This is their misión fund, so of COURSE my companion and I contributed:D
Washing dishes with HOT water in the mission home, what the heck, haha:D

Monday, May 22, 2017

Scenes From Bolivia

Hola Amigos:D
This week was GREAT! It was full of miracles, and the week will just continue to get better as it is Mothers' Day this Saturday (here). We have plans to contact people in the park and share the message that familias son eternas:D
Paintball - Finally, a skill from home:D
Funny: I don't know if I have written about this earlier, but it is SO funny, so it might even be worth it to write it twice;D We were explaining to a new, gringo elder how to celebrate birthdays in South America. We told him to smash an egg on his head and also in his birthday cake (which is TRUE that's how people celebrate their birthdays here!)....but, the elder misinterpreted the explanation a little bit and ended up smashing the egg in his companions face....which is pretty painful, but WAY funny:D
Cultural: There is a lot of fruit here, but sometimes they just eat it differently than we do at home. The other day, we were given an orange and just started to peel it. We were thinking about home and how we used to eat oranges there when it dawned on us that for the future, we could just CUT the oranges and eat from the's been a long time since we have eaten the "soccer oranges" apparentely, haha! 
Spiritual: Our area is doing extremely well. We have 2 marriages (not our own;)) planned for this week and a few baptisms these next few weeks. There are a ton of people attending church, and lots of new investigators too. But, more than anything, we have been able to see TONS of miracles!! One of which was when we met with a mom and her 10 year old son for the first time and both the mom and her son broke down in the middle of her prayer because of the gratitude and love they felt for both us and their family. She pleaded with us to come back and not make that the last visit. 

I love you all! Have a great week!
Hna Garff

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mothers' Day from Sucre

The Castle of Mirrors
Hello Everyone and Happy Mothers' Day!

This last week was great! I LOVED skyping with my family, and would specifically like to wish my grandpa a HAPPY BIRTHDAY:D

Funny: As described below, Cechua is another language here in Bolivia. However, I didn`t know that it was so popular here. I remember my first Sunday in my second area, I started panicking, because our sacrament meeting was in Cechua and I couldn`t understand it (I thought it was Spanish), haha! Later, I came to find out that every 4th Sunday here is in Cechua. Cool!

We visited the only castle in Bolivia, and it was great!  It is called the Castle of Mirrors because well... there are a lot of mirrors.  Here are some pics:
The king and queen adopted about 50 kids to like here so they could have somewhere to live and grow up.

Cultural: Hna Ines is the woman who I presented during Skype. She is an absolute angel and can speak Spanish and Cechua and is currently excited to be learning English from my companion and I. Cechua is a beautiful language and nearly all of the people in Sucre can speak it...except me and my companion, haha!

Spiritual: This week, I really wanted to focus on "fearing no man." This was a GREAT thing for me to focus on, because, truly, it helped me to follow the Holy Ghost every time. Specifically, we ended up having a cita with 3 big, footbally player looking guys and a member. It was intimidating at first, but as we taught, we did it with confidence, and ended up extending 3 bapstimal invitations and 2 of the 3 accepted and are excited and ready to learn more.
We also went to the dinosaur museum as a zone and it was awesome!
There is an AWESOME member who lives in our ward and he and hsi wife are SO cute! Even though they can`t walk very well, the husband always insists that we come to visit him so that we can visit his "investigators" He ALWAYS shares the Gospel WHEREVER he is and that is AWESOME!! Additionally, I remember a time when we visited them, and as we were leaving we turned back to say goodbye, but paused when we saw them kneel and hear them begin to pray for us. They are awesome!
More Adventures in Bolivian Plumbing... Thanks Katie:)
I don't know what it is with bathrooms and kitchen here, but they always seem to break down, haha:) We have not had any water in the bathroom or kitchen sink, let alone the toilet, but luckily, we have had water in the shower, so we have been using that:)
I love giving our CTR rings to the kids and adults here because they LOVE them and take such great pride in them!
I love you all so much! Have a great week!
Hna Garff 

Monday, May 8, 2017

9 Months and Counting

Hello Everyone!

I hope it was a great week for ya'll as it was amazing week for me. This week was absolutely full of miracles!!!! Below, I have described two miracles that were absolutely incredible!
My first glass of ice water in the mission!
Funny-We were about to head home at 8:50 at night, when we decided to contact just one more person. This was a great motive, but we were extremely tired and we weren't the best at listening to one another`s questions....we approaced a woman holding a baby on the street and my companion asked ¨is this your child?¨ to which she answered, "I don't have any kids.¨Directly after, I accidentally asked the same thing, and to top it off, my companion concluded the contact with the inspired question ¨How many kids do you have?¨SOLID, haha! We came to find out that she was 15 years old...sweet!
For the Leadership Conference this week, one of my best friends in the mission had the same dress.  It was awesome!
My companion is so funny! She is so caring to everyone...especially the dogs, haha!
Cultural-We were in the mission home for a leadership conference (which is an american designed home) and we were able to help our mission presidents by washing the dishes. This was extremely enjoyable, because we both forgot that hot water in the sink existed, haha! 
For P-day today, we visited the Cristo negro. It is a place where people offer sacrifices and have other bonifires to worship God. Here are some pics...
We at home appreciate this "Pensive Pose" - Thanks Katie!

Spiritual- We were walking on the street one day, when a young boy ran up to us and asked us if we were the elders, haha:) We visited this young boy and his family in their house this past week and we were able to meet this wonderful family. Half of the family are members and the other half are not, but they have strong desires to get baptized. This family is extremely humble, and they recently moved here from Chile. Their 20 year old daughter is particularly special. She has 3 kids and desires to be baptized to follow the example of Christ and to be a good example for her kids. Her life, however, is extremely difficult. Currently, she has a serious illness which has caused her to lose 40 pounds over the past 2 months. Later that night, the elders in our area gave her a blessing of health and as we drew near her bed to ask how she was feeling, she said, with tears in her eyes, ¨I have faith. I have faith that God can heal me.¨ 

We were knocking on a door to arrive in an appointment that we had when a little girl answered the door and told us that nobody was home. I love the little kids here, but, more often than not, they don't tell the truth, so we asked her if she could simply call her mom. While she ran inside to get her mom, I felt the strongest impression to ENTER THE HOUSE. I have NEVER done this before, and was extremely hesitant to invite myself in, but I followed the impression, and as I did, my companion looked at me in horror, but YES, haha, we entered the house. The woman looked a bit startled, but she invited us to sit down and we had one of the most amazing lessons with her!! We came to find out that her husband and father were extremely abusive, her daughter was paralyzed and she feels utterly and completely alone. Following the spirit is not always easy, but it is incredibly important. She NEEDED us, and the spirit helped us to do that!

I love you all!!

Hna Garff
To celebrate and mark 9 months, I burned one of my jackets, haha!
We at home are not sure what inspired this move.  We likely should just send more jackets.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Perhaps the congregation can sing with you..."

Hello Everyone!
This was one of the greatest weeks of my whole mission, because of one of the most AMAZING spiritual experiences I was able to have here!!
Also, sorry, this computer is a bit...special, so the format is really foreign, and I can´t send pictures, but YES:) I am so grateful to have found an internet store. When there is a holiday in Bolivia, EVERYONE takes a break, and hardly anyone works, haha:) 
Funny: We decided to sing with the elders in our ward to introduce ourselves as missionaries. This was a super great intention, but we ran into the difficulty that perhaps not everyone could sing very well...20 minutes before sacrament meeting, we were practicing upstairs and the bishop heard us...his first approach to fix the problem was to kindly say "not everyone sings right up close to the microphone. Perhaps you could stand to the side" ...:) Upon hearing us for 5 minutes more, he kindly made another suggestion "perhaps the congregation can sing with you!"HAHAHA:D:D We ended up singing the first part as missionaries, and the congregation kindly joined us;D
Cultural: As stated above, nobody works on holidays, haha:)
Spiritual: Hermana Lopez and I are working a lot with the other Hermanas to feel happy and confident with their areas (especially with contacting), but also in our own area. We have really tried to recognize who are the progressing investigators and how teach with more power. In doing so, we were able to see a GRAND miracle last night: 

We were about to knock on a door to visit an old investigator when we stopped and felt the urge to pray first. We knocked and the old investigator´s sister answered the door. She had previously heard from missionaries for 5 years, but was always very closed off when they came. This night was different. She expressed to us some of the concerns in her life, which lead us to ask if we could share a scripture with her. She ended up inviting us in and we had the 
MOST POWERFUL LESSON of my whole mission! The spirit was incredibly strong, and we were sure to accredit and recognize the spirit too! During the lesson we were all in and out of crying and by the end of the lesson, we asked her to pray. She was extremely hesitant, but after the prayer, we opened our eyes to find that she had tears in her eyes. She expressed that she had NEVER FELT THAT WAY BEFORE because she had NEVER PRAYED THAT WAY BEFORE! 
After the lesson, Hna Lopez and I reflected on the experience and expressed that with every prompting, invitation, or question, we felt very scared to do it (the investigator was very intimidating), but we did it anyway and with confidence and love. We both recently read a talk together which quotes "If you want to punch Satan in the mouth, open your mouth and preach!" We did just that, and because we followed the spirit, we had one of the most powerful experiences of the mission. 
At the close of the lesson, we practically pranced out the door, and were shouting and laughing with joy. As soon as we descended the large hill that lead to her house, we immediately knelt in the dirt and made sure to thank God for the amazing experience! 
I love you all! Have a great week:D
Hermana Garff