Monday, November 7, 2016

Pictures at Last!

With Elder Troche
 This is the reason that I'm getting fatter. I actually have a bit of a belly
right now, but I'm working on that. This is an average Colombian meal.
Rice and some kind of meat.
This is some traditional bowl thing. All I know is that the sister who has this property
(called a finca) was desperate for me to take this picture. I don't know why, but ok.

A motocarro con elder troche on our last day together, before I sent him to the mission
office. This is our normal mode of transport in the city.
More district p-day pictures

With Elder Lezano

It's so weird to think that I'm almost done with my training. It doesn't feel real, I'm starting week 9 of my 12 weeks. This doesn't feel right. Elder Lezano and Elder Sanchez (my district leader) always say that I'm going to be serving in a leadership position, and that I have to be ready to train someone. Which I hope doesn't happen right away, I don't feel quite ready for those responsibilities yet.

I actually brought my camera today, so I can send some pictures. Only a few, because these computers are pretty slow.
I have to say, at least here in Santo Tomas, Halloween is not a very big thing. I saw maybe 10 people going around for candy. But Elder Lezano tells me that in Barranquilla it's really big, so we will have to see about that in another year. It's so weird to think that I've officially passed 3 months in the mission, that's 1/8. That's not possible. Pero asi es. That's what they say here.
As for your questions Mom, we actually have a small house. It's actually a bit bigger than the average house here. We have a very small kitchen, a bigger room that's connected to the kitchen which is where we have our desks and stuff. We have a room for our beds, a room with a wardrobe, and a room that's empty. We don't know what to do with it. Each of those rooms is probably about the size of our computer room, maybe a little bit bigger. So we are pretty comfortable. We also have a really small bathroom with sometimes feels like the depths of inferno, because there's no window so it gets really hot and humid in there. We have a small gas stove and a little refrigerator. We also have a blender and a sandwich maker, and a sink, and that's about all of our modern appliances. We have to wash our dishes by hand, and to keep cool, we each have our own fan. And a sister in the branch does our laundry for us. For the mosquitos, I usually put on some bug spray after I shower in the mornings, and then try to kill the rest that still try to bite me throughout the day. The worst is right when the sun starts to go down, around 530 to 630. But I'm living, I don't have too many bites. And we have mosquito netting, which helps.
G_____ and B_____ are fantastic! They were actually supposed to get baptized this coming Saturday, but President Gallego wants us to announce every baptism in sacrament meeting, so we have to wait another week. But they're both great! I can really see the importance of the commitments we leave. Because these two people actually did the commitments that we left, they were able to receive testimonies and know that this is true. What was most amazing to me was church this Sunday. They attended (their 3rd attendance, which is the requirement for baptism) and we were talking in Sunday School about families and the law of chastity. And they said they weren't married, that they were living in union libre (not married, which is the status of more than half the people here, which frustrates us a lot). When we clarified by saying that they are married civilly, not in a church, B_____ said "oh, but Im not satisfied with that. I want to go to the temple" which is what we learned last week in Sunday School. I have seen this gospel really change their lives, and it's something really amazing to me. I've been able to see them become happier. It's obvious to me that they're happier than they were just a month or so ago when we first arrived. I wish everyone could feel this way. But that's our job, to bring it to them and offer it. And we learned in a training that it's not my work. In other words, it's not the work of the missionaries. This is the work of the stakes and wards. The missionaries are only here to help the members to do the work. So the investigators aren't "our" investigators. They're the ward's investigators. If we can change our mindset to focus on that, the mission work will change. It will be more efficient, we will baptize more. The church will grow. I know it's hard, because it requires personal sacrifice, especially of time. But really it is the best way to do it, I'm sure of that. I hope that we can all work on changing that mindset.
Everything is great here. I'm so happy to be here and I'm very glad for the chance I have to be here in Santo Tomas. It's not perfect, but I'm glad that I get to be one of the missionaries to help them to change. I hope you enjoy this email and the pictures I get to send this time. I love you all, I hope you all have a great week, and that you can all feel the Spirit, because really this is the most important. You are in my prayers, I hope you know that. Ciao!

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