My wife mentioned this to me last as we were going to bed.
She said she wished we could be there to help during this time of crisis. I realized that, for many Bolivians, every day is a crisis because they lack food, shelter, clean water, and other things we take for granted.
Several times on my mission, I had experiences that brought into stark relief the differences between the way I lived in California and the way Bolivians lived. Once, we held a “Noched de Hermanamiento” (Fellowship Night) in a tiny adobe chapel in Pampahasi, a little village perched on a hill overlooking the city of La Paz. My companion was in bed with an IV in his arm, so the welfare missionaries and I took a taxi up to Pampahasi to show a filmstrip called “I’ll Build You a Rainbow.” Most Mormons have seen this filmstrip about a boy whose mother dies, but she promises to watch him from the skies and “build you a rainbow” to remind him that she’s always there.
The place was packed: the room in the rented adobe house was probably fifteen by twenty feet, with a swept-dirt floor, plastered walls painted a dark teal, and a dais made of wooden shipping pallets. A decrepit piano with half the strings missing sat in the corner.
At the end of the filmstrip, the hermanas were teary-eyed over the orphaned child in the filmstrip. I stood in front of the crowd and explained how God had a plan for all of His children, and then I asked if there were any questions. They came quickly.
“Do people in the United States really live in houses like that?”
“Do people there really have that much food in their refrigerators?”
“Does everyone have a nice car like that boy’s family?”
I hope someday my wife and I can return to serve the people there and help in a small way to alleviate the hunger and the misery.
More about the mudslides (it’s in Spanish): Deslizamientos dejan 5 muertos y 10 desaparecidos