Sunday, June 19, 2016

“Por la Balsa” or “No Bridge Over Troubled Water”

Last week we wrote the blog from Chuy which is on the border of Brasil and right next to the coast.  We stayed there after our trip to Castillos because it is geographically much closer to Melo and Treinte y Tres.  By doing this we could save a lot of time for the inspections in these zones scheduled for Monday.  We stayed in a nice hotel that kind of reminds you of the hotels in Bolivia from “Butch Cassidy and Sundance the Kid”.  We got a good start and made good time to the town of Cebollati.  When we got to this town the paved road kind of ended and we could not figure out what road to take to go on up to Vergara.  We stopped to ask a guy on the street and he responded, “Por la Balsa?”  I thought that this must be the name of the road so I said yes.  He gave us the directions and off we went.  After about 15 minutes of driving on a dirt road we came to the river.  There was some concrete that was more or less a boat ramp going into the river.  It was then that I realized that “balsa” means barge or ferry.  We needed to cross the river on a ferry but there was none in sight.  We found a sign that said the ferry was not working so we had a little problem.  The little problem turned out to be about a 30 mile back track and an extra several hours to the trip.  Well at least I learned another word.

Our trip through Melo and Treinte Y Tres was long but good.  The Melo Zone even had a Zone activity to cook French Toast for us.  We saw most of the missionaries and had a good time.  We arrived home about 10:00 P.M. having covered about 1,500 kilometers since Saturday morning. That’s about 900 miles.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent the time in the office helping with the utility bills and arranging to get repairs on the apartments done.  On Wednesday night we helped the office missionaries put on dinner for the mission president and his wife.  It was a real good evening highlighted by the Elders doing the dishes.  At least that was what they were supposed to be doing in that little dance.  To see the dance, click here.

Thursday was another travel day as we had a couple of houses on the coast that we had not inspected.  So off to Piriapolis and La Capuera we went with two of the Temple Couples, the Jensens and Nesses.  The missionaries were in good spirits and ready to tell us about the families that they were teaching. These houses are close to Punta Del Este so we took the missionaries up there to show them around.  There are two bridges that are tourist attractions in this area, the wavy bridge and the circle bridge.  The picture of the wavy bridge is pretty good but our pictures on the circle bridge really don’t show much other than that we were on the bridge.  You can google “circle bridge Uruguay” and it shows a good aerial view.

Friday we helped in the office and took one of the Elders for his driving test.  We have a rule that when the Elders receive their Uruguay drivers license they also have to pass a safety test with me.  Well, some of the tests are quite interesting.   Some of the Elders have never driven a standard transmission and most of the vehicles here are standard so it can be quite eventful.  This one was quite uneventful and Elder Martinez is going to do well.

On Saturday we did our usual apartment cleaning and had the Secretaries over for lunch.  Elder Jensen is leaving and Elder Neilson is taking his place.  This is a real good chance to say thanks and et to know them better.

Today we did the “Capilla Abierta” (chapel open house) presentation for our ward, the Malvin ward.  Renee gave her presentation again and is gaining more confidence.  We expect a good turnout in two weeks.  This afternoon we had a Father’s day lunch with the Mission President and the Temple Missionaries.  It is kind of sad as President Cook and his wife leave the end of the month and we get a new president.  This week is change week.  We have about 20 missionaries going and coming so we are going to be busy.

We love you all and appreciate all you do for us.
Gordon and Renee


  1. I loved hearing Mom's laugh during the video!

  2. Just catching up on the Wankiers. You both look great. I didn't know aloe vera plants even bloomed--mine never has. Sounds like a LOT of traveling! I enjoy all your news. It's weird to see you in coats when it has been SO hot here. Today it rained--so down to the 80's.

  3. Loved the shout out to Bolivia, and the song references. You guys make a mission look so fun!


Please keep comments positive! Gordon and Renee are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This blog is meant to be a fun way for them to communicate with their friends and neighbors back home.