Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 8, 2013

So this week was crazy with the pday change and everything, but it was good. Last week the other gringo in the house finished his mission and now is in his house, so here I was all alone with latins, but God loves me and sent a brand new gringo to the house the be trained by Elder Cruz haha. So there´s a brand new gringo and it´s nice knowing more spanish than someone at least. His name is Elder Cook and he´s from Pleasant Grove, and now missionaries are only in the MTC for 6 weeks to learn a language so he´s SUPER fresh haha.
But the biggest news came on Sunday night when the zone leaders were telling the transfers to everyone and told me that I´m now the district leader... I have no idea what I´m doing and it´s a district of 10 missionaries. Basically my free time at night is gone because in this mission we verify with every companionship EVERY night so I´m on the phone FOREVER witht the sister missionaries haha, but it´s okay because they work really hard and are nice. And yesterday we had our first district meeting. I was scared to do the little training thing, but we did it and it worked out haha. But the thing I´m most scared for is that our area isn´t very good and I know that a leader´s area should be the example, but my companion and I are working really hard and are finding a lot of new people.
We have a few real families to teach now and that´s pretty cool. It´s also raining here like every day but that means that people feel bad for us and let us in. It´s kind of like cheating, but hey... whatever it takes right? And I really do feel like the Lord is blessing us in finding new people. We have a hard time some days because we´ll talk to someone in the street who´s awesome and wants to hear more, but they never live in our area haha. But I´m just hoping that carma kicks in and people are finding new ones for us too.
Other cool news! right in front of this internet place that we´re in there´s a guy from Utah who doesn´t speak ANY Spanish but is here exploring business options. He used to work for the church and knows all the apostles and the prophet personally. He came out the other day and said hi to me and asked where the church is and stuff. Then he came to the church sunday (stake conference) and almost died because the air conditioning wasn´t working, but it´s okay because we all almost died haha.
No investigators came to church this last week which was rough. They all were "sick."
Well other than all that everything is pretty good here and yeah. I´m super excited to call home on Mothers day this sunday at 7 my time 6 your time and say hi! Tell all my many girlfriends that they can´t come. And bye I love you!

April 29, 2013

So this week was good. We worked really hard and found a lot of new people, not all of them are spectacular and I don´t know if they´ll hide from us or not, but still. We found a lot of new people haha. Here in Valledupar there is this huge festival. It´s like on of the biggest festivals in all of Colombia, so that´s cool. They have a lot of Vallenato music (lots of acordian and people playing the tin can) and it´s cool. I hear it all day in the street. Apparently Valledupar is known for acordian music. But the bad part is that Festival=Drinking ALWAYS!!! The streets are just FULL of drunk people and bars with girls from the beer company and wow.... This place makes Sodom and Gomorah look like the city of Enoch haha (Little blasphemy to brighten your day).
Yesterday we taught this mom and daughter and it was a really neat experience. We started sharing the first lesson and then we realized that the daughter was crying. We asked what her greatest fear was and she said that it was to lose her dad. It was sad, but we talked and the spirit just started to fill the room. I´m really excited to go back and talk to them on Wednesday.
Another lady we talked to said that she wants to go to the church because she feels like God will bless her and heal her son if she does. So we´re starting to find some good people with real needs that the gospel can really fulfill here and that is fantastic. 
We also went and contacted a reference this week. His name is Hugo and has tatoos and long hair. He talks super deep and is 25. And first sight we were surprised that he wanted to talk, but then we found out he´s just a really nice guy. I felt bad because we just assumed that he was a young, single partier. Then we went to say a prayer and he asked if I could pray for his wife and son who were traveling from Santa Marta. He´s fantastic, just hope he´s not drinking during this festival time haha. 
My companion and I are getting along pretty well. We have disputes every now and again, but we can teach pretty well together. And we try and kick rocks between the other one´s feet as we walk in the street so that´s fun. 
The bishop here is finally starting to work more with the missionaries and he said that he realized that he needed to focus more in missionary work in this ward so that´s good.
So the mission president still hasn´t said anything about mothers day... but everyone said that last year the missionaries called home on Saturday or Sunday. So tell me what time you guys can and I think I can do it whenever you can.
I hope that all is well at home. I love you all and congratulate all those that are leaving on missions soon. It´s the ride of a lifetime!

April 22, 2013

Okay so this week was a little rough. I don`t know why but we just didn`t have that much success. We ended up contacting a lot, and yeah we had some people who were willing to listen to us, but we didn`t really get anywhere far. It was a rougher week, but I know we just have to be diligent and keep working. My companion gets frustrated sometimes and says that contacting isn`t the best way to find people, but then I ask what he`d like to do in that very moment and doesn`t have a response, so then we keep contacting. We are coming up with new ways to find people, but we need to put them more into practice.
On a more positive note! We got our power back after six days in an inferno! That was really nice haha, but all of Valledupar has another problem at this moment... No water in the mornings haha. Water comes out of the fossets very very slow, but nothing out of the showers. Luckily we have a fosset in the back that works okay so we fill buckets up back there and then pour that water on ourselves in the shower to bathe. It`s cold, but a nice little adventure.
We had our interviews with the mission president this last week which was nice. He`s a great man and I know that he cares a lot about the mission. We talked a little bit about how the area is going and he just kind of told me to be patient and that I`m working in one of the poopier (that`s the word they use for rich here) areas of the mission. He also asked i my companion is being obedient and said that he had a problem in the past, but I told him that we`re doing alright. 
We taught a guy yesterday named Alexander who is SUPER intellegent and scares me a little bit. He was living in Utah for a little while like 30 years ago and met the missionaries for the first time there. We knocked on his door a few weeks ago and he said he wanted us to come back. He has a doctrite in philosophy and reads EVERYTHING!!! Including the Book of Mormon and the Koran (silly man) and yesterday him and my companion started to get in a little duel about the authority of God and where we got ours. I had no idea where all this was coming from so I interrupted and said "I know you`re smarter than me and have more knowledge, but have you actually asked God if the Book of Mormon is true?" He said no... but knew that he needed to and what it means if it is true. So I hope he starts progressing soon.
That`s my good story for the week. I don`t know when mothers day is exactly, but I know we get to call. I`ll ask more about that this week and let you know next Monday. I love you all and I know that God loves us all and we are his children. Bye!
I included pictures from this river that we went to today. I wanted to get in, but my white handbook said no...

April 15, 2013

Well this week was neat. We found some new people to teach, but only one came to church so that was a little rough. We´re working hard and contacting a lot, but it´s getting hard because we don´t have many places left to contact haha, so I think we´re on the verge of contacting everyone again haha. 
Last Monday we found this family that´s really awesome. We started talking to them and the dad was really interested and wanted to talk more about the family so he decided to let us in and invited his wife too. After a little bit of time he finally decided it was a good idea to tell us that he was baptized a long time ago as a kid but just never went again, but his wife and kids had never even heard of this church. So we´re working with them now and they´re great. They wanted to read The Family: A proclamation to the world. The dad read it and said it was nice but not what he was looking for. He wants something for the modern aged family. This has really caused me to think. Because as missionaries we always say that our message is about the family, but there aren´t really any scriptures about it. I don´t really know how to tell them that to be blessed they just have to dive-in and live it. So if anybody has any good talks or advice, I´m all ears haha.
Other than that this week was pretty normal. Lots of knocking on doors and we taught quite a bit too. I just want to find more people, but they´re all hiding somewhere haha.
In church yesterday our investigator (his name is Carlos and he´s in young mens) was asked to give the closing prayer in priesthood and he said that he knew the church was true and prayed the missionary work could go forth faster in every country. That was really nice to hear haha.
Now for the fun part about the week. So Valledupar is one of the hottest areas in the mission and it´s the hottest season of the year, and so everyone depends on their fans to study and sleep, BUT...... On Friday a nice man came and said we hadn´t paid our power bill and so he cut our power.... So these last three nights we have been sleeping in a fiery furnace! I slept on the floor these last two nights because the tile is just a little cooler than my bed haha. And now the fridge is completely warm and so the food people have in there has gone rotten and smells awful haha. Somebody came to fix it and then said that it was a bigger problem so he was going to get an expert... He never came back. So we´re just hoping that somebody can come today.
I also found a wonderful scripture about the power that the prophets have that is really uplifting and is great right after general conference. We can all reflect about the power they have to bless our lives. (2 Kings 2:22-24)
I would like to take this time and wish Brock a happy birthday on Saturday and I hope it all went good. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Other than that I think everyone at home sounds good. Hope Callie is enjoying tax day and.. yeah.
Bye I love you all and thanks for the letters and packages! 
I included some pictures of a penguin missionary, the mountains on the way to Valledupar in the plane, my last activity in my old ward, and the night when the rough leaked so bad that it was raining in the house. Enjoy!

April 8, 2013

Conference was sweet!.. I just wish I understood it all haha, but it was still good. I loved the prophets talk in the priesthood session and his other one about obedience. How important that is. Question... Were the tab choir dresses ugly there too? haha I just thought they were interesting. But hey I think I saw some people I knew in the choir from the priesthood session! And Mr. Steenblik in the tab choir of course.So this last week was alright. We didn´t teach very much because we´re still opening the area and we´ve almost contacted the majority of the houses I think... But we´ve found some pretty good people. We´re teaching one kid who is progressing great. He went to conference, reads, prays and asks about being a missionary a lot because he wants to do it.Conference was kind of like a weekend a little bit haha It was nice to sit in air conditioning a lot, but we still were able to go out and work between sessions. We found one new person who´s really good between the two sunday sessions. I also really loved the member of the 70 who spoke on Saturday about repentance and how much God wants us to repent. That talk was awesome. It got me thinking about how blessed we really are to have a loving heavenly father and Jesus Christ who are so willing to help us feel clean and happy again.Here with my companion is going alright. It´s rough at times. We live with his trainer and since the first day his trainer has told me to be patient, and I have now learned that that is the key. My companion is willing to work, but not to listen very much. But we´re working through our rough patches, just like all newly weds haha.So apparently we´re in the hot AND rainy season. It rained a few days ago and we have the wonderful blessing of having a lot of holes in the roof. So It was raining in our house and we had to stay up late sweeping water away from our stuff so it would stay dry. How fun! haha It was kind of cool. We took a picture (I´ll send it next week)So I hope that all is going well at home and it´s warming up. I know that here it gets hotter every day haha. Gall this place is an oven sometimes.Happy easter everyone (whenever that was?) and I love you all!

April 1, 2013

Well this week sure was interesting. We had family home evening Monday night and then at the house the zone leaders came in and said that they had some big news for me. That I had to start packing my bags because I was leaving the area. I had to pack early because the next night I would be sleeping in the mission office basically so I could fly the next morning. There´s one area where they have to send gringos by plane because I gues the trip there can be dangerous and that place is.. Valledupar. So all day Tuesday I was a little sad because I didn´t want to leave my area. My companion told everyone that I was leaving and the bishop´s wife cried because she said she wanted me there for her birthday. She said that I shouldn´t change and that I was one of her favorite missionaries haha. She´s really nice.So Tuesday night I slept at the secretaries house where I heard some interesting things. Our mission president has been cracking down on disobedience and said that there are some bad missionaries. So Tuesday night somebody told me that I was going to my new area as Senior companion to a missionary who has 15 months who got demoted to Junior companion. His companion got sent home this last week for disobedience so that made me nice and nervous, but we´re fine. Wednesday morning bright and early we left for the airport and flew to Valledupar (30 minutes in plane, 4-6 hours in bus for the latinos) in a little plane. The flight was cool and the mountains were incredible. We landed at about 8 and the zone leaders came to get us. Remember my trainer who I loved? Yeah he´s my zone leader and we live in the same house again.. haha. But it´s okay. We joke around. I live in a house with 6 missionaries. I´m the youngest one, but I pretty much like everyone. There´s one other gringo who´s finishing his mission this transfer in my house. My new companion is named Elder Rodrigues. He´s from Argentina. Together we´re opening up a new area. It´s in a ward where there´s already 4 missionaries so we just added to the number, but we have to find all brand new people to teach. So we´ve just been contacting these last few days.It´s actually kind of fun. And we´ve found some pretty good people. It´s different than my last area because this area is pretty wealthy, so people aren´t as nice at first, but if you can get in the door they´re really nice. The ward here is really nice but not many people come to church.So that´s the big change of the week. I´m now here in Valledupar where it´s a lot hotter, richer, and somebody found a triantula in the backyard today... but it´s gonna be fun! hahaI´m super excited and we already found a kid who we talked to once and he came to church and already said he wants to be a missionary.We also found a nice mom who said she goes to the catholic church, but doesn´t feel full there, and she was smiling ear to ear when we said she get get her own answer.Okay I love you all and bye!Oh! News.. I now can write anybody I want by email! 

March 25, 2013

So the week has come and gone but oh boy oh boy! We had 8 investigators in church yesterday! Woohoo!! I was smiling from ear to ear and it was wonderful!Unfortunately our two baptisms didn´t work out. They should be this Saturday, but there´s complications.. The mom said that she doesn´t feel ready for Saturday and wants to wait until the 15th of April or something like that, and the daughter... She´s a real piece of work haha. The daughter had another baptismal interview with our district leader Friday and never showed up even though we called her 3 times and she kept saying she was on the way. So then my district leader and I just said we´d walk to her house and do it there (it´s far away). We walked there and her brother said she had left for the church so we had to hurry back to the church but we got there and she wasn´t there, so then we thought that maybe we were impatient so we walked all the way back to her house to see if she had gotten there yet, but no. Then all the way back to the church again to wait for our companions to get back. In total it was an hour straight of walking superfast and we were both drenched in sweat because now is the time that everybody here has been warning about because it´s SUPER hot!!!  Anyways she never came, but she came to church on Sunday, so we´ll see how this will all work out. On Saturday morning I got to go to college! Elder Palmer has a member in his ward that teaches English at a university so she wanted some gringos to come in and talk to them. We went and showed them who we were and what we did all in English. It was pretty fun. They had soda and chips on the table and asked us to serve ourselves. So naturally we went and started giving it to others and they all got mad and said that they were doing a culture test. They think that Americans just walk and serve themselves without thinking of others, BUT WE SHOWED THEM!!! You´re welcome America. Speaking of America, in this poor area where we go sometimes somebody has an American flag as a curtain for their door and I sing a different patriotic song every time I pass it. On Tuesday I went on an exchange and worked in my district leaders area. It was fun, but I don´t like sleeping in other people´s beds..Tomorrow night is when they will do the transfers so next Monday I´ll let you know if I left or not. We went to the mall last p-day! (insert Robin Sparkles) and I had a banana split and KFC! woohoo!So the Colombian national team played on Friday and wow.... Nobody wants to talk to you during a soccer game haha. The streets were completely empty and everybody said they didn´t want to talk. But we knew the score because every time there was a goal you hear screams from every house. Colombia won 5-0The work here is going on and it´s fun! I´m so happy that we´re seeing some good changes in this area, but we always have a lot more to do. Oh and about this whole email rule of emailing whoever you want. Yeah they haven´t told us about that yet. So maybe later haha.Love you bye!

March 18, 2013

So this week was good, but pretty uneventful. Only one investigator came to church yesterday which was pretty disappointing, but she`s really good and is preparing for baptism. Her baptism was supposed to be this Saturday with her daughter, but they can`t get baptized this week for some different reasons, but we think that they will both get baptized next week. Her daughter didn`t come to church because she felt awkward because all of her clothes are immodest. I wish she would have come, but it`s good that she recognized that too. Other than the too of them we have one other super good investigator who just can`t come to church. So that presents a little bit of a predicament. He always has a real reason, but we just need to teach him that it`s a lot more important. Other than these three, we have investigators, but they`re just not as faithful haha. We can find people that want to listen to us super easy (poor areas), but the challenge is finding people that want to listen and will keep up with commitments (richer areas haha). So we`re trying to contact a lot more and find better people.Transfers are next Wednesday which makes me sad because chances are that I`ll leave right before the baptism of these investigators. I just want to see that mom and daughter get baptized because we literally just found them on a street corner and their lives have changed tremendously, but this isn`t Cole`s baptism, so it doesn`t really matter if I see it haha. Also, I`m not really getting any tanner... Every time I say hi to people they just say I`m really red and ask if I`m hot (idiots of course I`m hot!). Anyways. I hear that the sun is way hotter and stronger in Cartagena, and that they speak REALLY fast. So I`ll probably be going there next haha. Our bishop`s wife who feeds us every day is really sick and had to leave church to go the hospital yesterday, so I feel bad for her and hope she get`s better since she`s basically mom here. Yo sé que esta es la iglesia verdadera y que el arrepentimiento es un don de Jesucristo muy poderoso. El nos ama y ha muerte para que podamos vivir con el y nuestro padre celestial para siempre. Es triste a ver las vidas de personas que están viviendo en pecado, pero no hay un mejor experiencia que ver el cambio en el corazón de un hijo de Dios. Sé que no soy perfecto y tengo muchas debilidades, pero el Señor tiene la habilidad de hacer milagros por medio de sus siervos. I love you all and I hope that you had a happy St. Patrick`s day!