Monday, March 27, 2017

Not much time today....

I realized right after leaving last week that I hadn't mentioned E. They decided that they would for sure be baptized, and it happened this week! She feels really happy. In this foto she's there with her sons L. and J.J., and the little baby A. (who yes, is very adorable. She's about 7 months old, almost the same age as me in the mission). I was not asked to participate in this confirmation, thankfully. It was a  very good day, but I'm a little bit worried about what comes next. We have some investigators with potential, but none who are for sure going to get baptized this next month. So we´ll have to work hard and see what happens.

Sorry, the internet left and now I don't have a ton of time. It's been a good week, a bit more rain this week, which makes it really humid. But it's all good. It's werid, it's almost hotter here when it's cloudy because all of the humidity gets trapped, and I start sweating buckets after being outside 2 minutes. A bit different from home.

Sorry, the computer doesn't want to recognize my camera, so no pictures this week after all. Sorry, the time flew especially when we lost about 20 minutes. I love you all, have a great week!

Monday, March 20, 2017

An Interesting Week

N.'s baptism

As you can read from this title, this week was interesting. We had a zone conference and interviews on Tuesday. It made for a long, interesting day. We went to the chapel at 8 am, and left a little after 8 pm. But it was pretty great, we learned quite a lot. It's always good to hear from President and the Assistants. They did it a little bit differently this time. We did the interviews in the companionships. So I can't say that I could talk about maybe some of the more personal things that I would like to talk about, but it still went really well. We learned a lot about redoubling our efforts. We are doing a whole lot better than the past year, but there's still room for more growth.

One thing that was interesting in these interviews is that President Gallego emphasized the necessity of a study and personal journal. I've learned a lot now about the need for that. I'll be the first to admit that before the mission I was terrible at writing in my journal. At the mission I've improved a lot. And even though I need to do better at reviewing it to see how I've progressed, it's helped me a lot. I'd advise everyone to keep a personal journal, as well as a study journal. When we write down the impressions and the experiences that we've had, we are opening ourselves up to receive more.

Today for P-day we went to a small town called Menaure, and I felt the most beautiful thing. We went up a really high mountain, and when the sun was covered, it felt cool. It felt like a nice cool day in the end of April or beginning of May. It was incredible. I never thought that I'd miss something like that, but you'd be surprised. When you literally spend every day sweating through your shirt after walking for 10 minutes, you really start to miss the cold.

But back to the point. Yes, N. got baptized this week, and her dad came to the baptism! The first time he's come into the chapel in quite a while. But I was disappointed when he didn't come to the confirmation. But I guess little by little we'll go. Speaking of the confirmation, it was an interesting experience. I was sitting on the stand, because I was going to give a talk, and the bishop called me over to help in the confirmacion. I walked over there, then he told me to do it. So basically I confirmed my first person by surprise this week. So that was pretty fun.

But yeah, that was my week. I love you all, have a great week. Love you all!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A little rain....

These are some people that we are working with right now. This morning we did service with them.
Those holes and that pile of dirt? That was us.

An interesting week. Sorry if my spelling is pretty terrible this week, this keyboard doesn't want to cooperate. I can't really say that my week was too interesting, just some interesting things happened near the end.

We are only going to have one baptism this weekend. Her name is N., her parents were less active, and now she's 9, so she passes to us. E. still just needs to make the decision of when to get baptized. She was finally able to get in contact with her boyfriend. He basically told her that he doesn't want to marry her. But she wants to call him again to be able to explain why she wants to do it, and if he still doesn't, to tell him that he can't come back and expect to live with her. So that, and the fact that we aren't completely sure that her two sons know everything they need to know means that we will be pushing those three back at least another week. We'll hope that this all works out.

Tomorrow ought to be an interesting day: we have a zone conference, and then interviews with President. So that'll be interesting. Then we'll have to go home and do weekly planning. All day sitting down...

Oh yeah, yesterday we had a huge rainstorm.  And knowing that it would rain, I brought my umbrella. What I didn't count on was the literal river that the street would become. So my brown shoes ended up getting completely soaked. Along with the bottom part of my pants. And my socks. So that was an interesting day. We've learned by now that any time there's an extreme in the weather (wind, rain, etc), power goes out. So we spent the whole night in candlelight. And we walked to dinner in our flip flops so we didn't have to put on our shoes. But what I've learned here is that although the rain is refreshing, the days after are literally an infierno. All the humidity comes, and it is ridiculously hot.

But yeah, that was basically my week. Maybe not the best numbers, but still working hard. I'm glad to be out here. I love you all, I hope you have a great week, and remember that you're all in my prayers. Ciao!

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Love the Colombian People!

As for transfers, absolutely nothing changed. I'm still here in Garupal with Elder Benites. So I'll be here at least until April.

I've really come to appreciate how incredibly friendly and kind the Colombian people are. You really can't find anyone like the CosteƱos (the Atlantic coast of Colombia.) I'll give two examples to prove my point. A few weeks ago we took a taxi, and like normal we started talking to the driver. Nothing unusual, completely normal. He was very friendly. But we left, and I can say that I hadn't thought  much of him since. But last week, two times we were waiting for a taxi near our house (not many pass by, it can be hard). And we wave one down, and it's this same guy. He tells us "Hey, I'm headed to my house, but if you want I'll bring you to a spot where more taxis pass by." He did it twice, for free. It was amazing. It saved us a ton of time. Now to number 2. We went to a richer part of our area, pretty far from everything. We were contacting, talking to a bunch of people. We found a family who accepted us, let us in. We started presenting ourselves, talking about how much we like Colombia, the fruit and all that. And they asked us what our favorite fruit is. Elder Benites and I both like guayaba (which just this last week I learned is guava. who knew?). And as we were talking, they sent one of the family to go BUY guayaba, and made juice for us. We were fasting, but how could we say no? But that's not all. We were just about to start, and the husband says, "Just a second, I'd like to do something first." He pulls out a rag and starts to clean our shoes. Like normal, they are covered in dust (normal when 3/4 of the roads are dirt roads). I started apologizing if they didn't like that we'd brought dust onto their floor, and they just said "No, no. It's not that. It's an act of service for a servant of the Lord." The craziest thing is, this isn't even anything out of the ordinary. (Ok, cleaning our shoes, yes. But people always say stuff like that to us.) Even if they don't want to listen to us or accept an invitation, they want the blessings that come from talking to a servant of the Lord.

So that was the interesting part of this week. Other than that, we have 4 baptisms planned for the 18th! One is W.'s cousin, E., and her two sons, L. and J.J. We are working really hard with her. She really wants to be baptized and is really looking forward to this day. Also, the D. family finally attended church again, even if it was only for sacrament meeting. But we'll keep working on that.

That was pretty much my week. Thank you for all of your prayers and support, they help me a lot. I love you all, and you're always in my prayers. Have a great week!

Monday, February 27, 2017


My shoelaces broke. Luckily I was able to find some new ones.

Yesterday we spent the whole day sitting, and during the night I got tired of sitting.

We'll see what happens this transfer. We just got an email from President Gallego, saying that transfers are going to be on Thursday. They'll call us Wednesday night. Barranquilla is having Carnaval right now, which basically means that everyone's out getting drunk, dancing, and breaking a whole bunch of commandments out in the street. The missionaries aren't allowed to leave their houses. They've been indoors all week. Tomorrow is the last day, so they're moving transfers to Thursday morning. But he also said that there will only be 16 transfers within the 88 companionships in the mission, so it won't be too stressful. We'll see what happens. All I know is that if President Gallego calls me in these next few days, I'll probably be a trainer. I don't think it'll happen, but if I've learned anything here, it's that you can't trust anything in the transfers. And to answer Dad's question, what happens in transfers is that usually one of the assistants calls us on Monday night at about 8 or 8:30 and tells us what's going on. And then on Tuesday, at about 7 am we have to go to the bus station to take a bus to our area if it's out of the city.

Other than that, this has been a pretty normal week. But the cousin of W. decided to get baptized! We've been waiting awhile for this. She wants to be baptized, but she's been waiting for her boyfriend to come from far away. He comes about once a year, and they have 3 kids. But he hasn't come, and she's starting to think of telling him to not come back, because she hasn't seen him in over a year. So she accepted a baptismal date for the 18th of March, as well as her two older kids! We'll have to see if she keeps firm in this decision, I hope she does.

I've been having the chance to listen to a lot of music (unwillingly) in the street. Here in Valledupar is the home of Vallenato, which is basically accordion music. If you want to hear what I get to listen to all day in the street, look up Diomedes Diaz or Silvestre Dangon. Especially the song "ya no me duele mas." I hear that song so, so, so much. And that's basically what I get to listen to all the time. It's interesting. It makes me want to learn how to play the accordion.

That was basically my week, it was pretty fun. Nothing too out of the ordinary, just normal mission stuff. I'm really happy to be here, I love it a lot. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Bye!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Another use for the Book of Mormon....

This is a place called La Mina, where we went last week

Well we are one week from transfers. I really have no clue what's going to happen. It'll be weird, because we had some huge emergency transfers about in the middle of this transfer. Almost half of our district changed in week 3. No one seems to know why, but it was mission-wide. And the saddest part was:  They closed Santo Tomas. It makes me very sad, my first area now doesn't have missionaries. I don't know why, but I'm hoping that it reopens soon.

This week has been pretty good, with its ups and downs like normal. Sadly, the D. family didn't go to church this weekend. They´re obviously still more or less in their desires to return. We had a really fun Family Home Evening with them last Monday, and we talked about forgiveness (very subtle, I know). They accepted it really well. But this week has been really focused on finding new people. But we have one guaranteed baptism coming up in March. It's again the child of a less-active member, but this one is actually making the effort to return. The problem here will be her dad. We want him to baptize her (obviously) but he doesn't feel the desire to be active again. It seems to me that we might have to be a bit tough with him. Even if he's not ready, his daughter's getting baptized. We're trying to use it as motivation. So far it hasn't proved effective, maybe he needs it to actually happen to realize that he's missing the blessings. The difficult part about going to them is that they live far in a very poor part, so we have to go during the day when it's blazing hot. People tell me it reaches 36 or 38 degrees Celcius here, I'm not sure quite how much that is, but I testify that it feels very hot. So we have to walk probably about a mile down a road without a tree in sight, normally at about 3 in the afternoon. I have learned that not only is the Book of Mormon a powerful testimony of the Lord, but it also does a really good job of blocking out the sun. But they're really great, so it's worth it.

I've really been enjoying my time here, I've gotten a whole lot better at talking to people in the street. The problem is that everyone here belongs to the Pentecost church. And I mean everyone. Every other person we talk to is Pentecostal. We've learned from much experience that they train their members to respond to us. And their tactic is basically talk and talk and talk until they take up all of our time. It's funny, because they're very animated, they start standing and shouting and moving and it's hilarious. We actually had a run-in with one of their preachers yesterday. We were there for about an hour and got maybe 15 minutes of talking in. We basically could bear our testimonies and try to share a small message with scriptures. I almost laughed, because after bearing my testimony he started talking about how Satan has power and is working very hard to trick us all (basically telling me that my testimony came from Satan. Lovely, I know). But as he was shouting and reasoning and everything, trying to convince me, all I could think of was something that I wrote in Moses 1 last year in seminary. In this part, Satan is trying to convince Moses that he has power, not God. And Moses rebukes him and sends him away. What I wrote down is that he basically was saying "you can't deny what I felt". And that's exactly what came to my mind. It's incredible how strong a testimony is. And it's something so simple. We FEEL that it's true. Maybe we can't prove it. Maybe we can't describe it exactly. But we cannot deny it when it comes. I think that's why denying the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin. It's literally denying everything we feel and much of what we are. One literally lies to himself. Sorry, I guess that was my deep thought for the week. 

I love you all, I love being out here. Colombia and Colombians are some of the best people on the earth. They are so incredibly friendly and loving. It's amazing. I hope you all have a great week. love you!

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Hear the Word"

Wow, 3 times starting this same email. This mouse does a weird double click thing, even though I only click once. So it's already deleted 2 emails. Luckily I wasn't much farther than this at that point.

Wow, Satan just can't let me have a great week. I was feeling pretty good about this week. We found  a bunch of new people, we had some pretty great lessons, we had a bunch of people who committed to come to church. And then yesterday, one person showed up. I guess not just one person. We are teaching a part-member family. The D. family. It's 2 parents and 3 sons, the second son is 9 years old and isn't baptized, the parents and the oldest are less actives due to some comment that they took offense at. We've been working with them consistently for about 3 weeks now, and they finally showed up to church! They only stayed for Sacrament meeting, but little by little I guess. They want him to be baptized, and he wants to. We had to explain to them that he won't be able to get baptized unless his family reactivates. We actually had a very funny experience with them in our first lesson. I can't remember if I've told it before, I don't think so. If I have, oh well. We taught them the Restoration, and the sister started to cry because she felt the spirit. Yet despite that, when we invited them to attend church, they said no. It was rather frustrating. But to close, we invited the 9 year old to say the closing prayer. As he prayed, he started saying things like:  please help me to go to church, because I want to go, please help my family to go to church so we can have these blessings, etc. I literally almost died laughing in the middle of the prayer, it was bad. I was just laughing silently because not 1 minute earlier the parents had said that they didn't want to go to church.

Other than that, my week was pretty normal. Lots of work, lots of heat, lots of people who want to "hear the word" and nothing else. We also had a fun run-in with a Seventh Day Adventist who knew the Bible really well. That was pretty interesting. He even gave us a paper "proving" to us that the Sabbath Day is Saturday, not Sunday. We found some great new people who said that they can't attend church this Sunday, but they can the next. We'll see how that goes. I can't believe that this transfer is already almost done! In 2 weeks we have transfers again, the most likely is that I'll leave from here. I see two probable options: I'll leave Garupal, or I'll stay and be training someone. I don't know, we'll see how it goes.

But I think that's all the news from my week. I hope you all have a great week, I hope you enjoy whatever it is you're doing. Remember to keep a smile on your face, even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard. Just keep working, things will always turn out better. Even if you feel like you're not good enough, like you're not worthy, that you don't deserve the Lord's help, He is there. He will make up the difference if you trust Him and let Him. I love you all, you're in my prayers.

PS I may have forgotten the cable to my camera, which means I can't send pictures. Sorry...