Alfajores are basically two sugar cookies with a dulce de leche center like an oreo. They can be anywhere from two to four inches in diameter. Some of them are dipped in chocolate which is good because those are the ones you can milk. You take this chocolate covered treat and bite off a little from both sides. Then you dip it in milk and suck the milk up through the cookie. Elder Poulson and Elder Mitchell are two of the best and have elevated it to new heights. They grade each cookie on milk flow, milk retention and taste. You can see that they taught us and gave us some excellent tips as we drained our milk. Now you know why we call them “the dairyman” because they are experts at milking alfajores.
On Tuesday we had to drive up through Florida and Durazno to sign contracts. It was very difficult to get them all signed but we did get the two that were the furthest away completed. Hopefully we can get the rest completed this week. We needed to go from Sarandi Grande to Sarandi Del Yi. We could either take the longer route and stay on the well travelled roads or take a shortcut to “save some time”. Guess which one we took? When we turned off the main road the shortcut was high quality asphalt. We soon started seeing patches of gravel in the pavement and eventually it was all gravel. We made one wrong turn and ended up on the “less traveled road” that is shown in the blog. We finally had to turn around as we came to a creek that didn’t have a good bridge. We didn’t take a picture of the creek as we were too busy trying to figure out how to turn around and get out of there. When we finally got back on track we had to go through a sheep herd. You can tell it is winter here by the heavy wool. We did make it to Sarandi Del Yi and were helped greatly by Bishop Lemos again. He is such a good man.
Wednesday and Thursday we spent time getting things done at the office and looking at a few apartments. I had to take a picture of Elder Brumble being held in the air by Elder Cabrera while he wiped the mold off. The dismount was a little tricky. How can you not enjoy a day with Elders like this?
Thursday night was one of the highlights of our mission. You will remember our friends, Humberto and Cristina. Well the other day, Humberto called to tell us that Cristina had a stroke and was in the hospital. Thursday we took Elder Peterson and Elder Rodriguez to the hospital to give Cristina a blessing. Cristina shares a room with another women. We were able to give the blessing in front of several non-members. After the blessing we were able to explain the Priesthood and blessings to the folks in the room. It went very well. Humberto just called to let us know that Cristina has been released from the hospital and will be staying with her daughter. That is exciting. We expect to go see her this week.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday we traveled to Castillos. The Mission President has asked us to spend more time there. When we arrived on Friday, we met Elder Delgado and Elder Hayden who had a list of members. We started going through the list and trying to see whoever we could. Most of the names do not have good addresses so it was quite challenging. We were able to meet a few members and invite them to Church. We also stopped to talk to a few people in the street and had good conversations with them. We even handed out a few pamphlets. Wow, just like real missionaries. Our visits ranged from members that have not been to Church in years, to inactive returned missionaries and others. We have a lot of work to do but it is a start. On our next trip we are going to take the list to some of the active members and have them help us with the addresses. Several have volunteered to go with us to meet the other members. We are making progress.
We received special help from one of the members, Oreales. On our last visit she was just back to Church from an operation. We felt that we needed to stop by to see her to see how she was doing. This was more than a coincidence as she had a book that she wanted to show us. It is the history of the Castillos Branch and includes pictures and testimonies of most of the members that we had been trying to find. It showed pictures of the branch with more than 40 members in attendance and there were a lot of youth. It was wonderful. Now we can see the potential of the branch and are seeing ways that we can help. We believe that we were sent to Oreales’ home to help us catch the vision of Castillos. We also went with the missionaries to the property that the Church owns that is on the top of the hill in Castillos. We were able to see the whole town and see the potential that this little town has. We are anxious to do “real missionary work”. We love to bear our testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ . That is why we are here. We are so grateful that we can be here serving the people in Uruguay. We love you all and appreciate what you do for us.
Gordon and Renee