Monday, November 28, 2016

Fifty Years in Colombia

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and that Mom had a good birthday! To be honest, I completely forgot that it was Thanksgiving. I was sitting, eating lunch in one of the members houses, and they had the radio on. And suddenly she started talking to me and saying, "Today is a holiday in the USA right?" And I realized then that it was Thanksgiving. So no, I can't say that I ate anything special on Thanksgiving, but on Saturday I got to eat salchipapas again, so that kind of made up for it. I personally think that's better than what Elder Rollins told me that he did. He told me that they went to McDonalds and ate a Big Mac with a McFlurry. I'll take salchipapas any day over that. Speaking of salchipapas, my joke with the Colombians here is that if I'm ever poor when I come home, I'm going to starting making and selling salchipapas for a living, because they're amazing and I know that Americans would love them. I told that to the 2 elders that are in our Branch, Elder Sanchez (the district leader) and Elder Gilt (who's younger in the mission than I am), and Elder Sanchez came up with a name for my future restaurant: SalchiGibbons. They all think that's hilarious, and now I have a plan should my current plans fall through.
But as for this week, it was a bit different. We had interviews with President Gallego on Wednesday in Barranquilla, which kind of ruined any work that we might have wanted to do that day. But it was alright. And on Saturday we did an activity for the Branch (which Mom read about. Basically, to celebrate the church being in Colombia for 50 years, they asked all of the wards and branches to do an activity out of the chapel and open to the public.). We set up tables outside of the building that's going to be our new house-chapel and we had pamphlets of family history, Liahonas, and stuff like that. It was really cool, because the missionaries here started to do all of the contacting and stuff to share the pamphlets, to encourage the members to start. But after about half an hour, the members were doing almost everything! They were handing out Liahonas and pamphlets, finding references for us, it was incredible! Really the members want to help, they just need some encouragement and an example to follow. But that and the interviews of G_____ and B_____ took up our entire day on Saturday. But they both passed, they're going to be baptized this Saturday, just in time for the next transfers! Which are next Monday. So we will both get to be here for it at least.
And I can't say that we didn't get to do any work on Saturday. We ate the salchipapas (see above) in Palmar, which is the area of the other elders that's literally 4 minutes from Santo Tomas. But they weren't quite ready, so we went out and did some contacting. I ended up being with Elder Sanchez, and the very last house we contacted was incredible. We had to wait for some young girls to find their mom to talk to us. When she came out, she was a bit confused (my Spanish....), but kept listening. And Elder Sanchez was inspired to say that she might be passing through problems in her family, and this gospel that we preach can help her to overcome these problems. She started to cry and said "Not 5 minutes ago I was saying 'why me God? Please show me the path, please guide me where I need to go', and then my daughter said 'someone's outside wanting to talk to you'" This was really a testimony to me that the Lord guides us to those who he wants us to talk to. But we have to work. We probably contacted a good 10 people before we found her. We have to keep trying, even if it's discouraging, because the Lord will guide us to those who need our help.
But I think that's everything from me this week. I didn't end up going to Barranquilla to find super cheap jerseys yet, we are hoping next Monday. We will see. And don't worry Mom, I'm not going hungry. I always keep a bit of personal money in reserve to use in an emergency, and the members who feed us do it really well. I love you all so much, you're all in my thoughts, and I hope that you have a great week! Try to remember the Spirit of Christmas, and the real reason of Christmas! Love you all!

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