Monday, October 31, 2016

Computer Glitch

Well, the computer just erased my first draft, which already had a bunch of stuff written in there, and I don't have much time. Sorry, this is going to be a bit shorter.
We are still here in Santo Tomas, but about  half of our district has changed this transfer. It's weird, I was used to all of the other missionaries. We also had a change in one of our zone leaders. And you'll never believe who it is! It's Elder Burk! Who lives in (...a town near us), and I actually got to meet him today. He seems really nice, though we only had about 10 minutes, and we weren't really talking about home or anything, it was all missionary stuff. But I'm excited to know him better, he seems pretty great. And actually, to use the mission slang, he's my great grandpa. Meaning he trained the trainer of Elder Lezano, who is my current trainer. Go figure.
But this week has been full of ups and downs, but with the help of the Lord, my companion, and my leaders, I've been able to pick myself up and push forward. And I really know now that when we look for the positive, focus on doing good (like what Dad sent me this week) we really are happier. When we only see the frustrations or on the things we can't do, it's harder to be happy. So try to focus on the Good!
G_____ and B_____ are doing well, but we need to refocus on baptism. G_____ hasn't prayed to know if the Church is true and if he should be baptized, so he's really unsure about it. We are praying that he receives an answer soon. And for C_____, the youth that we have, there are some things we have to do, some hoops to jump through. We will see what happens there. But we are going to teach him to be absolutely sure and baptize him should it come to that.
We've found some good people, but we have to be better in follow up. It's one of our goals to improve on. Really the mission is very good at humbling you in almost every aspect of your life, it's interesting. But as long as we are striving to improve, that's all that God wants from us. And He really does bless us as we are trying to improve. This week I felt really blessed during one of our lessons. One of the people we were talking to was having a hard time expressing a doubt, and with the help of the Spirit, I was able to ask a question that helped her to express it. But she hadn't said anything about it, so there was really no way I could have known what her doubt was. But really, the Spirit guides us when we strive to do His work and be worthy of it.
But yeah, that's been my week. Sorry there's not more. I finally found the cable for my camera, but I may have accidentally left my camera in the house.... Sorry, I'll be sure to bring it next week. I've taken a bunch of pictures, I'm excited to send them. I love you all so  much, and you're all in my prayers. I'm really jealous that Dad and Kate get to go on that humanitarian trip, it sounds like fun. I hope you all have a great week, and that you're able to take advantage of any missionary opportunities that come your way! Ciao!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Land of Heat and Mosquitos

With Elder Troche
Zone Conference

Hello everyone from Santo Tomas, the land of heat and mosquitos! Sorry for that really short email last week, but it was a pretty crazy P-day. Luckily I have a little bit more time today.
Elder Lezano is pretty great. I've gotten a little bit frustrated at times, mostly due to my disabilities. It's been difficult to "lead" the area, because I'm so new. Hopefully it'll be easier. But it's also helped to build my confidence a lot, hopefully that'll continue. Elder Lezano tells me that it's not unheard of for missionaries to finish training and immediately get called to a leadership position or trainer. I'm really hoping that doesn't happen with me, but it's good to be prepared I guess. But I've got another 6 weeks before I need to worry about that. I don't think that either of us is going to move this transfer, but we won't know until later tonight. They tell me that we usually get the call around 7 tonight, and then we get to spend the rest of the night packing. So we will see what happens. I hope that it doesn't happen, because I really don't want to repack, it would be difficult. But we will see.
As for G_____ and B_____, they're an older couple in their 70s that live close to our house (which is a small house for the two of us with one bathroom). They're very receptive, but they couldn't attend this week. We had a stake conference about 45 minutes from Santo Tomas, and they take care of both of their mothers, both of whom are 97 years old. 97 or 93, I can't remember for sure. But no, they couldn't attend. None of our investigators attended this week, which means we have no progressing investigators once again. Hopefully that will change. We need to teach them about the Book of Mormon soon. We've taught them the Word of Wisdom, and we were surprised with how receptive they were, because they both smoke and both drink coffee, but they both committed to do it without too much of a problem. We found them by talking to them. G_____ was sitting in the street reading a book, which isn't very uncommon here, and we walked up and started talking to him. At first they didn't seem really interested, they seemed pretty set in their beliefs. But about a week later we passed by and had a really great lesson, and they're doing really well. B_____ likes to talk a lot, sometimes it's difficult to actually teach. but we are working to fix that.
Also, I finally received the package from the Wolfleys, thank you all so much! Also, my zone leaders have another package for me, I don't know who it's from. There might also be letters there, I don't know. So now we know, it takes about a month for me to get a small package. But thank you all who have written to me, even if I haven't had the chance to read them yet!
It sounds like you guys had a really fun week. I'm glad that you're enjoying it and that you got to see Diane and Justin. And congratulations to Christina! And Kate, I'm sure that the ACT went well, but it's a good idea to plan to retake it, your scores will get better every time. Normally. I had to take it 3 times before my score improved.
As for how the people respond, its very different. Yes I do attract attention, being very tall and blond. Here they call blondes "mono" which means monkey. So we always get a laugh when I tell them that my last name is a type of monkey in English. It helps to start the relationship. They're usually pretty nice to me, but they don't seem to understand that they have to speak more slowly for me to understand, which is improving, but it's still difficult sometimes. But they're starting to talk to me more, which also helps my confidence. It's frustrating, when they're just talking, I don't have too hard of a time understanding them, but I feel like as soon as they direct a statement or questions at me, it seems like they don't speak as clearly, because for the life of me I can almost never understand what in the world they're saying.

Also, I may be getting my first baptism in the next week or two. There's a youth here whose baptism wasn't recorded, so we may have to rebaptize him. We've talked to him, and he says that if we have to do it, he wants me to do it. So we will see what happens there.
But yeah, everything's going pretty well. Sorry that I haven't been attaching pictures, I can't seem to find the cord for my camera. But I should be able to get one this week, so you can probably expect more pictures later. Also, could you send the contact information of the new stake presidency and bishopric? Because there was a change, I have to report it to the mission office. But I need their emails and phone numbers I think to tell them.
I think that's all for this week, if I think of anything else, Ill send out a short email before I go. I love you all, thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts. You are all in mine. Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Unexpected Change

Sorry that this is a day late, we had a crazy day yesterday. On Sunday night, President Gallego came and visited us, and he called Elder Troche to be a secretary in the mission offices. Which means he's not my trainer anymore. I'm still in Santo Tomas with Elder Lezano. He's Peruvian and has 6 months in the mission. He's very driven and organized, he should be very good for this area. I'm sad, I miss Elder Troche, but this should be very good too. It was weird, because transfers are next week, but Elder Troche had to go to the offices yesterday.
But this week was pretty good, we fnally have progressing investigators! They're an older couple named B_____ and G_____, and they're great. We expect to baptize them in November. There are more that we are hopeful for, but we will see how that goes. Sorry, I don't have too much time today. If I have time I'll answer more questions. I love you all, and I hope that you're all doing well.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Help the Missionaries!

Our zone
 More p-day pictures
To answer uestions first (sorry, the first letter of uestions isn't working). We don't have anyone progressing yet. There are 2 that are really close to progressing, they assisted for the first time yesterday, but also their baptismal date fell through because of a stake conference. So we need to meet with them and get that sorted out. But we also found some really great people that we have high hopes for, one of which is named W_____. Church is great, I'm starting to understand more. This week, the teacher for Principles of the Gospel was sick, so the Branch President asked us to cover for her, about 5 minutes before the class. That was a bit of an adventure, especially since more than half the class was investigators and we were talking about eternal families. But it was pretty great, I hope they felt the Spirit. Oh yeah, there's also a lady named B_____ who's super great. It can be hard to find people, but we are making some changes in our approach, and so far it seems to be working well. We teach people every hour, but sometimes I don't feel like I'm much of a help to my companion, which I'm trying to improve.
As for the area, it's awesome. I'm adjusting to the heat, slowly, and yes there are many, many, many mosuitos. But all is well. And when we were told that Colombians juice everything, they literally meant everything. Most of the time, I don't know what in the world I'm drinking, but it all tastes super good. I've had mora, which is something similar to a rasberry, guanabana, agua de panela which is really good, and even corn juice, which was surprisingly tasty. They also have lulu, which I have no idea what that is, but I've heard that it's super good. And the food is all really good, I haven't had a single problem yet. I like almost everything I'm given to eat, and even what I don't like, I can eat anyway. And the bread is incredible, my companion told me that Colombia is famous for its bread. It's really really good. Sorry dad!
I'm starting to be able to understand people better, but still not as much as I want to, which sometimes frustrates me a bit, but it is what it is.
I almost forgot. Im officially challenging all of my friends and family to get more involved in the mssinoary work. Its so hard without much help from the members, please please please help them!
That trip to Utah sounds like so much fun, I'm a little jealous, but I had my own little adventure today too. We played volleyball as a zone, and after that Elder Troche and I asked permission to go to a mall, because we both wanted some new bags. My bag is great, but it's really nice and it's starting to wear a bit, and it's really big and unwieldy, so I bought a smaller one. We ate pizza and ice cream for lunch, which was incredible. The pizza isn't uite the same, but hey, it's pizza. And we had McFlurry wth M&Ms and areuipe, which was pretty fantastic.
I hope that you're all doing well and that everyone has a great week. I love you all, and thank you for your prayers for me. Congratulations to the Spauldings for their new baby girl, she's absolutely adorable. I can't wait to meet her. Have a great week!


Monday, October 3, 2016


P-day pictures


Hi everyone! Sorry, I don't have much time this week. This email will be pretty short. Things are still going well. Wow, the i key on this keyboard is difficult, sorry if I miss a few here and there.
Conference was fantastic, but I feel like I missed a lot of it. It was all in Spanish, but we had some pretty bad English subtitles for it. But I feel like I learned a lot, and I'm very excited for the Liahona. There was an English one in the stake center about an hour from us, but my district leader wanted me to listen in Spanish. So that was difficult, but it worked out well.
I'm very excited to keep working here. We've had to avoid a few election groups, but other than that it's been pretty normal. Not much interestng of that nature.
Just so you know, I expect all of my family and friends to be more involved in the missionary work after this conference, because that was a big theme!
For our meetings we have to take buses. They're super cheap in reality, less then 2 dollars American, but we don't like it much. That motorcycle thing is a motocarro, they're everywhere. Those are what everyone travels in here in Santo Tomas. For pdays, during each transfer, there's one day of soccer, one day of volleyball, one zone activity, one district activity, and 2 free days. Today was the zone activity. We played some games and watched half of The Other Side of Heaven and ate McDonalds hamburgers. It was alright, though I got sunburned during the games.
Elder Troche is great. He's very funny, he loves to joke, and he is really trying to learn English, which helps a lot. He's very good at helping me to step out of my shell. He's very encouraging too. I'm glad that he's my trainer.
I love you all, Thank you for your prayers and thoughts for me, I look forward to writing next week, hopefully with more time.
As for the ankle brace, it's barely bothered me. We can find a brace if it keeps happening.