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...

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Heat

You know that the heat is bad when even the Colombians are complaining about the heat. Some days at about 10 when we leave I feel like I'm getting burned. I have yet to actually get a sunburn, but some people here have told me that I'm already noticeably darker. We are going into the hottest part of the year--they say that between April to June is when it's hottest here, so we'll see how that goes. I'm already dying a little bit from the heat. I laugh when I hear about missionaries who go and change their shirts in the middle of the day. If I did that every time I was sweating a lot, I'd run out of shirts by the end of the day. Yes, it's a little hot.

But this week has been pretty good. We had interviews with President on Tuesday. It went well, he gave me some advice and also encouraged me. It helped me to feel a bit better about my work. He just asked me about how I feel being Senior Companion, and after asked about my companion. It was really short, but it helped me a lot.

Other than that, it's been very interesting. We've been working a lot more with some part-member families. It can be a little frustrating, but it's been going alright. We've been having some trouble finding our investigators, they've been really busy. It makes me worried, because the more time that they spend away from us is time for them to be tempted and to have doubts. But we keep working. And we've found a few new people. But I swear, the only people who have steady jobs in Colombia are the ones who are actually interested in what we have to say. You can talk to just about anyone at just about anytime, but as soon as they start talking to us, they always seem to find a job that keeps us from finding them. But it's alright, that's how missionary work is.

As for happier news, W.'s grandparents got baptized! It was the bright point of the week! I'm very happy for them, even though I wasn't a very big part of their whole conversion process. I'm sad that the missionaries who helped them the most couldn't be there to see it, but I'm sure that's something that I'll experience too. And the most important part is that they got baptized finally. We saw a whole lot of miracles in the process, it was incredible. It's not something that you see everyday.

That's about everything new from this week. We will see how this next week goes, and hope that the investigators can make good progress so that they can make the incredible step of baptism.

Before I go, one quick experience. On Friday I think it was, I was feeling really really down. I didn't want to work, I didn't want to leave the house, I basically didn't want to do anything. I did work, I did leave and do all of these things, but I wasn't feeling it. We did our normal studies and all that, and while my companion was in the bathroom, I decided that I needed to snap out of it. I remembered hearing that President Hinckley was known for being an optimist always. So I took the book of his teachings and found a chapter about being optimistic. I don't even remember what it said. Afterwords I picked up a quote book I have and read a few, and felt the Spirit very strongly. I felt the strong need to kneel down and pray for forgiveness and strength. Which I did. And I kid you not, the change was 180 degrees. I was smiling, I was joking, and I had a great day. The Lord made a promise to the sons of Mosiah in the scriptures that he would comfort them, and I've seen that promise come true again and again. I know that the Savior can help us with whatever problem that we have, he can lift us up.

I love you all, I hope you're having a great week, and that it keeps being great. Please remember that just because we have the gospel, we should be some of the happiest people in the world.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Quick Week!

This week has passed incredibly quickly. We had a couple of rough days with only 1 or 2 lessons, but I guess that happens every now and then. We have some people progressing, others no, but that's how the mission is.

Yes, the grandparents got married this Saturday. I'm attaching pictures at the end. They passed their baptismal interview this Sunday, and they're for sure going to be baptized this next Saturday. I'm very happy for them, even though I wasn't a very big part of teaching them. But it's also been stressful, because they were late to church this Sunday. I almost had a heart attack when they were late, but luckily they walked in just after the sacrament.

It's also stressful because I don't know for sure who's going to get baptized next. President Gallego wants us to baptize 4 people every month, which would be about 1 every week. It's stressful, because even if that's just the level of excellence, I still want to be able to achieve it. The problem is that everyone here is willing to listen to "the word" as they say it, but almost no one is willing to commit to come to church and stuff like that. So we often lose time with people that don't actually want to change. It can be a little frustrating, but that's how it is.

I still get to teach the B. Family and also N., but it's been difficult this week. I'm getting a little worried. N. has been super busy; we haven't been able to talk to her all week. And the B. Family canceled two appointments two days in a row. It makes me a bit worried, but hopefully it was just a rougher week. I'm learning and adapting every day to be a better senior companion. The first week was really stressful as I was still learning and growing into the position. But luckily as President Monson says, the Lord qualifies who he calls. I know that I'm extremely weak, and maybe I'm not doing the best that I could be doing. But I'm trying. I can only hope that he realizes the effort and makes the most out of me. 

But yeah, that's been my week. It's getting gradually hotter and hotter, I'm suffering a little bit (or maybe a lot) because of it, but I'm living. The members are taking good care of me, and so are my leaders. I love you all, I hope you have a great week, and that you can do something kind for someone. That's the best way to develop Christlike love.

I hope that Grandma's surgery goes well and that she can recover quickly. Love you all!

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Companion

 Elder Benites and me

As for transfers, I am no longer in the trio. I'm back in my old area, in my old house. I'm still in the same ward, because there are two sets of missionaries there. But I have a new companion. His name is Elder Benites, from Lima Peru. And for the biggest news...I got bumped up to Senior companion. Elder Benites is one transfer younger than me, he just finished his training and came here to be my junior companion. So suddenly I have a bit more responsibility. It's been a bit tougher, and humbling, but so far things are going well. But it's tough, with being between the two areas, some things have fallen behind, so I have to help them get a kickstart. Hopefully things will pick up more this next week.

We should be having a few more baptisms in the coming weeks. The grandparents of the mission leader are going to get married this Saturday. A pastor from Cartegena is coming, and he only requires an ID to marry people, whereas normally you need a register and all that, which can be expensive. So that's been a small miracle for us. The next Saturday the two will get baptized. He also has a cousin who wants to get baptized, but we have to wait so they can get married. With luck, it'll happen soon.

The Bautista family might take a bit longer. Their financial situation still isn't very good. They were thinking about getting married in the middle of the year or maybe in December. I can see that Jorge is still a bit more or less about the church, but hopefully if he can attend and gain a testimony, it'll be better.

Nolfis is progressing in her own time. The problem is that she works a ton, so it's hard to get in to see her. Hopefully she's started to read. But she hasn't been able to attend church the last 2 Sundays, and won't be able to for 2 Sundays more for work. It's difficult, but she's a great investigator, we just need some patience with her. Those are the investigators with the most potential right now. Which frustrates me, I want more, but we'll see who turns up these next few weeks.

On Wednesday we get to go to Santa Marta again. Which means waking up at 2 in the morning to get on a freezing bus for 4 hours. Yay....

But everything's been pretty good. My new companion and I get along really well, we have no problems. That's about all the news for this week, I hope everyone's doing well.

I love you all, I hope you have a great week. I'm loving my time here, even if I'm constantly dying of heat and I walk a ton. I love being out here, and I'm learning a ton. Have a great week!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Good week!

I was thinking that in about 2 weeks, I'm going to pass the 6 month mark. Literally a fourth of my mission is almost gone. It's such a weird thought. I feel like I just got here. I can't believe that the time is going so quickly, but I guess that's pretty normal when you're literally busy every second of every day.

This week was pretty normal, but we had some pretty great experiences. We did teach Nolfis again. It's very interesting to teach her, because she comes to every lesson armed and ready with questions, and she expects answers in the Bible. It requires a whole lot of preparation, because she's very intelligent. The last lesson, I felt, got a bit too long and a bit too much into unimportant details. That's a trap that I feel like a lot of missionaries fall into. Rather than teach the simple, basic truths, they fall into trying to "prove" that the church is true with the bible and stuff. I personally prefer to teach simply and let them gain a testimony, which maybe isn't always the best approach. I have to be willing to adjust, even though it's hard. So that's something I've been struggling a little bit with. But it's all good, you learn something from every companion.

But anyway, back to Nolfis. Things were getting a little off track, but she was accepting it all, and I was trying to get it back to the basics. While a returned missionary that was accompanying us was talking, I was just pleading in my heart that I would be able to say something that would be able to help her feel the desire to read the Book of Mormon. And when I finally had the chance to speak, the words that came out weren't mine. They were filled with a power that I could never duplicate no matter how hard I tried. Before I finished my testimony, she was nodding and it seemed to me that she wanted to read the Book of Mormon (which was bad because we didn't have a copy to give her.) But that was pretty amazing.

Other than that, we found again a family that Elder Martinez was teaching. They're a fairly young couple with a 3 year old girl that reminds me of Hallie. And of course, because I'm in Colombia, they're not married, because literally NO ONE HERE IS MARRIED. Sorry, it's a little frustrating sometimes. They're called Jorge and Julis. They want to get married, but neither of them was working so they were worried. Then he got a job and is almost never home, and she went on vacations for the holidays. But before they left, I always saw their desire as being more or less. I was worried we'd have to leave them. But I don't know what changed, we kind of started again at the beginning when we found them and taught the Restoration again. By the end of it, it was amazing, they were saying that they feel comforted knowing that there's a prophet of God here on the earth again. And then we went again on Saturday, and julis said that she got an answer, that she knows the church is true. I almost didn't believe it, because she's always been a little doubtful in how her answer would come, even when we explained it to her repeatedly. Jorge is still unsure, but yesterday he attended church for the first time and really liked it! He was participating in the classes and remembered what we learned about the Restoration. He even wants to download some of the manuals so he can keep reading them.

That was pretty special about this week. I'm really excited for them. Also, the grandparents of the Ward Mission leader should be able to get married soon ( more miracles I'll talk about later), and should be baptized. We passed over the baptismal interview questions with them yesterday. He also has a cousin and nephew that want to get baptized too, but we have to wait a bit on them. Her boyfriend/spouse/whatever doesn't come very often, but when he does she always ends up pregnant. She really wants to get baptized, so when he comes (sometime this month supposedly) she's going to give him an ultimatum. It's incredible, she sees how important the gospel is, she's willing to give him up to be baptized. We will see how it goes.

That's about all the news from this week. I love you all and hope you have a great week

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tennis, anyone?

This has been a pretty normal week. More or less I should say, because we did have some changes. We had a zone conference on Thursday, and they announced our new plans for 2017. And we recived a worldwide announcement:  the missionary schedule is changing! It's not that big of a change, they're basically just putting more trust in the missionaries to do what needs to be done in our areas. We don't have set times for companionship and language study, we can put that at whatever point in our day. And now on p-day, we are free to do what we want or need after 8am. Basically pday got extended to 10 hours instead of 6. They also cut companionship and language study on pday. So that was pretty interesting.

Other than that, this week was pretty normal. Lots of walking, really hot, lots of sweating. But I did get the package from Levi, and two letters, from Kali and Rob, and Matiu and Jenny! Thank you so much for writing me, I really appreciated it. Though I don't know why I´m getting some letters and not others, it's weird. We will see what happens. I've written some letters, but due to the sketchiness of letters here (and the fact that I have no clue how to send them) I might have to hang on to them until I come home. I don't know, we will see what happens.

It's so crazy that you guys had such a crazy week with the snow and all. I miss that. You know that I love the snow, it makes me sad that I miss the year when we get a ton of it. But that's the way life is.

This week has been pretty boring. We did get to talk to Nolfis again (the mom with the 8 year old son). The lesson was basically a disaster. We weren't teaching in unity, we weren't teaching clearly, but it got better at the end. This caused a lot of self reflection and doubt that night. But I have to trust that even though we are far from perfect teachers, the Spirit can touch her heart. And now I have to keep preparing and becoming better to be able to help her. Even though it's hard I can do it.

That's about all I have to say about this week, not much else interesting happened. Here are some pictures of something interesting I found, and I knew I had to get a picture of it. So here you go, me and my companions with a giant tennis racket!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Nathan's Bishop's family threw him a surprise birthday dinner/party!
They contacted us and asked for pictures of Nathan and our family
and made a poster. Then they sent us these pictures the night of
his birthday. We were SOOOO happy and grateful!

How did they know he'd love the Woody cup?! 

Studying the picture poster
With the Bishop and companions
With his Elders Martinez and Menacho
Nathan's birthday gifts to himself:  a milkshake...
...and a Colombia-themed soccer ball

Thank you all for wishing me a happy birthday. I hope you all had a great New Year. I enjoyed mine a lot, even though it was pretty crazy. This week has been very good, we almost had 30 lessons with members this week! It's all because one day we did 3 divisions with members (meaning that it was us solo with a member), and we had a member almost every single day to do a division and another to have lessons with members. We also found some great people, one of which I´m going to talk about later. But my birthday we found this amazing person (the one I´ll talk about later). I was with our ward mission leader, who while we were walking told me a lot of stories from his mission, which was pretty cool. He also told me that I teach really well for someone who only has 5 months in the mission, which caught me by surprise. I asked him for suggestions in how I can improve (which I do anytime a member accompanies me). He actually told me that he didn't have any suggestions for me, which took me by surprise, because he teaches really well. That made me feel pretty good.

After that we went to our first dinner. One of the members invited us over for dinner, and gave us rice with sausage and chicken, which was delicious. They have some traditional dessert here in Colombia. I don't remember what it's called, but its basically a firm pudding that you can cut like cake that tastes faintly of butterscotch. It's really good. Then we went to our actual dinner with the bishop's family, where the surprise happened. We were sitting outside for a long time, and they surprised me when I walked in and saw the poster. They gave us a really good dinner, sang to me, had the cake and all the pictures you saw. Mom, did you seriously send them those pictures? They said that you did. And did you have to include the picture of 15 year old me? It was terrible. But it was really great, I was really surprised. And today I got to celebrate it a bit more when we played soccer. I bought myself a milkshake (as seen in the picture) and a soccer ball (also as seen in the picture). We also didn't get to sleep at all the night of my birthday, because our neighbor downstairs decided to blast music so loud that our house was shaking until about 3 am. But that's pretty normal.
But as for this investigator. It's a single mom with an 8 year old son. We had a really spiritual lesson, with me and our ward mission leader, Hno Wilson who's a returned missionary from Mexico. He works with this lady and got us the reference to talk to her. Her son is really funny, he's super serious and super smart. He reminds me of a more serious Eli. He understood basically everything we shared. After this lesson we were talking with the other missionaries, and Hno Wilson was talking about our authority to promise blessings to people. He said that this lady accepted our visit because she's feeling empty, like there's something missing in her life. She didn't say this to me, but to some friend who told Wilson. And he told the elders that I promised her that if she listened to us and applied what she learned, she wouldn't feel this emptiness. He said I said almost exactly that, and he was very surprised, because no one had said anything about that to me. I don't remember saying anything like that, but it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like even though I'm weak, and I'm missing a lot, the Lord still uses me to talk to those that He's prepared. Sometimes we worry too much about saying the perfect thing, being 100% sure that we're feeling the Spirit. But we don't need to do that, we need to do what feels right and trust that He'll work with it.
I think that's about all the news for this week, I hope you all have a great week and that the new year starts out great for you all. I love you all, thank you for your prayers and support.