Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! December 23, 2013

Hello! And Merry Christmas!!!! I hope everyone´s all up and happy with holiday spirit! We sure are! And I never thought I´d say it... but I really love all the Christmas music haha. It´s nice to hear normal Christmas music on the mp3 player in the morning, because in the streets it´s still the same old loud obnoxious music haha.
So this week we had a Christmas activity with the president and.... WE GOT TO SEE "UP!" It was so cool to see a Disney movie haha. And I understood it in Spanish haha. But it´s still funnier in English.
Sister Searle gave us all a baggie of caramel popcorn!
Last Monday we went to Barranquilla (downtown, pictures attached) and it was fun. Took a picture of the oldest church (catholic) here in Barranquilla, but the taxi driver wanted to bug us the whole way (he´s a Jehovah’s witness) about how we´re not a biblical church. We just smiled and said we´d like to pass by, but he said no...
We´ve been working hard core with Alberto this last week with the cigarettes, and he did it!!!! He said that he puffed one on Saturday, and then said "No. No more." and.... He passed his baptismal interview!!! He´s so great and I know that your prayers have helped him a lot! He´s really felt a big change in his life and all of his neighbors can´t believe that he doesn´t smoke anymore. He sits in front of his house with candy and just eats that haha
So now we´re just workin` and prayin´ so that he doesn´t smoke this week haha, and never again!
I´m so excited for this Christmas because it´s a great time to be serving the Lord, because that´s why he came here, to serve. I love and pray for all of you every day and I hope you feel the love, because I certainly have felt yours.
Merry Christmas!!!

Below are pictures of their day out in Barranquilla and the chapel where they hold sacrament meeting.

December 16, 2013

So this week was a good work week. We worked really hard! But.... NOBODY CAME TO CHURCH!!!! haha. We passed by for everyone on Saturday and they all said yes, and then Sunday morning and the majority said yes, and then.... nada.... haha. After church we did what I like to call the shame march and visit everyone. They all had reasons, but we need to work on their faith. Alberto still can get baptized on the 28th so we´re working hard with him. He still needs to give up a fe more cigarrettes, but he´s almost there.
We also are teaching a whole family! I´m really excited. It´s been my dream all mission long to teach a whole family and see their baptism. They´re good, but need some work. The have to get married and need to get over their fear of coming to church. (Corra Family)
So Alberto (super awesome investigator), is doing good, but we had a funny experience. We went to our appointment and there were a lot of people outside and we said, "oh no... a party." But we got there and he said, "oh, we can go inside." so we entered his house and asked if he had a party goin´ on and he said, "no, they`re all hear to listen to you."...... WHAT?!?!
He had invited like 6 people to come and listen to us! He´s better than the members! haha. It was awesome, but one of the references that was there killed the lesson and said negative things about the church.... BUT Alberto testified! He put his Joseph Smith voice on and said, "I testify with Elder Morgan and Elder Velez that this book is true, and that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ." It was the coolest lesson I´ve ever seen!
We are working hard here in this mission in something called the work of salvation, which means visiting all the members and making sure that the new converts and the less actives are really converted, and working with members for our investigators as well. It´s good, but my companion and I are having interesting experiences. We found that a less active recent convert is assisting the Evangelical church and that she thinks that there´s more prayer in prayer circles there than in sincere prayer... so that was an interesting lesson, but a lot of the members here are still caught in hold worshiping habits, such as: Saying their own prayer as someone else prays (whilst whipering), raising the sacrament cup to the air before drinking the water, and taking pills in the name of jesus...... hahaha. It´s a beautiful town.
AND On friday for our ward activity I taught the group the american tradition of..... CAROLING!!! Everyone hated me at first for making them leave and sing, but loved it in the end. We sang at a house and then we went to the plaza and sang where all the lights and the gigantic Catholic church is. Everyone looked at us really weird and one guy told me "ssshhh" but we just kept singing.
Have a great week and rember... "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear" -Elf

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 9, 2013

So transfers came........           I STAYED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! President said he doesn´t want to be changing missionaries that much so I got to stay! Same companion, same area, same everything!!! But we are looking for a new house to live in because we´re not allowed to live in the church anymore.... but that´s okay.
I´m really happy Sabanalarga is awesome. So here we have some really great investigators right now. One is named Alberto, and he´s a future leader here, if he can give up his coffee, cigarrettes, alchohol, and tea hahahaha. We taught him the word of wisdom and asked if he used any of the substances and said, "Yes, all of them except for drugs." So if you folks at home could pray for Alberto, that would be great.
Yesterday we had 3 investigators at church! Alberto and his wife and the dad of another family that should turn into some really good investigators. The dad called us in the street and said that he was drunk, but he felt something as we walked by and wanted us to stop by and visit him, so we went the next day and there he was waiting for us! and his wife is really excited too!
But we sere still lacking a lot of investigators unfortunately, so we´re going to be working on that. One investigator said it was her time of the month.... Oh please hahaha
On Saturday we had an AWESOME experience! Elder Uceda of the seventy came to talk to us again. He taught us a lot of things that I know will really help us push the work forward here in the mission so I´m super excited. He taught us a lot and especially talked about obedience to all of the rules and all that good stuff. He´s awesome and has a really strong spirit about him. Just another testimony of what the Lord can do through his servants.
Christmas is in full swing here and it´s awesome to see the lights, even if there is no snow, and the plaza here is all decorated with a big tree. So it´s cool. I´d send pictures, but this internet site is about 30 years in the past and can´t handle my camera haha.
I love you all and wanted to share a cool scripture.
In 2 Kings 6. Elisha gets surrounded by thousands of troops that want to kill him and his servant gets scared, but Elisha says that there are a lot more with them than with the troops. But the servant who doesn´t believe is still scared, until Elisha prays to God so that the servants eyes get opened, and then he can see all the forces with them.
I like this scripture because God is with all of us. And anytime we´re scared, we just need to pray to see the invisible forces with us.
I´ve been using that these last few days anytime I´m scared to talk to someone, or do something uncomfortable, but God will provide. Bye!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

HELLO!!! How are you all? I was so glad to read about thanksgiving and it sounds like it was really great! Unfortunately.... I forgot, but I did eat a little extra egg arepa on Thursday night, so that was good haha.
The work here in Sabanalarga is going forward!!! We have some really good investigators! Some of which weren´t progressing but in this last week we were really focused in just listening to them and the spirit and they all responded really well with the help of the Lord.
We had 4 investigators at church yesterday which was awesome. One is a guy that is really awesome named Alberto. He´s just a guy my companion was led to in the street and he´s turning out to be really great. He asked us a few days before church about how he should go and we said how he was dressed was fine (here in the coast a white shirt and tie is more.... for the ADVANCED people haha). And he said, okay, but what does a man "normally" dress like? and I said white shirt and pants. So then on Sunday morning when we passed by his house to see if he was going to go he was in slacks and putting a white shirt on....  ..... It was just so beautiful! hahaha.
Also the attendance was really low in sacrament meeting until halfway through when some other investigators showed up with like 6 little kids which helped a lot hahaha.
So we´re all really excited/nervous here. Because everyone wants to be here for Christmas because the members here are fantastic, but... Transfers are tomorrow night! I want to stay, but I just pray everyday that I´ll love the people wherever I go like I love all the investigators here haha.
I love you all and I´m excited to skype this month! but they haven´t given us any information about that yet, hopefully next week I have more info.

I forgot some important events of the week...
So yesterday I received a lot of blessings and I know that the lord answers prayers.
We were on a bus coming back from the branch in another town and I was standing up because all the seats were taken. We were going good and then all of the sudden....   BOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the tires blew!!! In the middle of the highway. The bus started swerving all over the highway and I just realized "Oh... this is serious." My companion was in his seat bracing himself and the guy next to him and I felt bad because there were some little kids crying really hard... but we were fine. We were blessed to have a bus driver that knew what he was doing controlling the bus and we were able to stop just fine and get on another bus.
I learned several things in this experience. 1) The Lord answers prayers (thank you all, especially mom haha) and 2) I wasn´t scared. Just as it happened I started to get nervous and then just a strong feeling came over me and felt like there was no way something bad could happen... because my companion and I still have work to do here in Sabanalarga.

Other experience.
Our convert Jeydis (mother of 7) had a dream that my companion was her husband HAHAHAHAHAHA. She told another member who told us. and she´s super embarrassed and my companion feels weird haha.
Okay bye!

November 25, 2013

So this week the work was good, but a little slow because we were traveling doing interviews with the president and such, but we still found a lot of pretty good new investigators. Of course there are always the few who seem awesome and then they see you turn the corner and enter their house really fast with their rocking chair haha.... but they have their glory..........
This week I was focused a lot in just letting my companion take charge... and it´s hard! He´s great... but I just like to talk I think haha. But it´s been good, he´s taking a little more responsibility and I´m learning better how to listen.
In my interview with the mission president he told me that he´s changing things up so that now we´ll all be staying in our areas more time! So I hope that means I get to stay in Sabanalarga a few extra transfers! It´s great here and it´s awesome to see the progress of the group.
Yesterday we had a satellite transmission from the area presidency that talked about the important of ward counsel and things like that.
Everyone here is all decorated for Christmas already... It makes all the missionaries a little home sick haha. But it´s okay! We´re doing good!
Only 1 investigator came to church yesterday... a lot of people said they´d come but.... you know how it goes. anyways..
I love you all! Happy thanksgiving!

November 18, 2013

So this week we had a really good week as well as serving the lord and completing with our missionary purpose... We had 3 baptisms planned. But the night before the baptism we went to one house to ask the mom if she had extra white clothes (baptismal clothes are about as rare as a charizard pokemon card here) and she started looking and told us to come in. She`s the mom of a whole family that was investigating, but the dad and kids all backed out because they´re not really sure. So we were sitting there when one of her kids, he´s 8, came in and asked if she was really going to go through with the whole baptism thing, and she said, "Yeah, and you?" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Eh, okay."
So we went over the baptismal interview questions and he got interviewed and baptized with his mom the next day.
So we had FOUR people get baptized on Saturday! and the best part was that the whole family of this lady came and later-on the dad said, "yeah, at one point we´ll all get baptized, we just need time."
Yesterday at church we had a great sacrament meeting, I say that just because everything went smoothe and it´s always a hassle. But i forgot to assign the prayers so I just called out names of members and they got up and did it hahahahaha.
We had 3 investigators in church yesterday, it´s not 9, but 4 just got baptized hahaha.
We recently started teaching this new family that runs a corner store and the dad is a little reluctant, but the mom and daughter already have testimonies and came to church, so I´m really excited about that.
I love this area so much, and my companion is so great, I don´t want to leave... but the transfers are still a little ways away haha.
I got my package! It´s everything a missionary wants and more. When I put on my new white shrirst I felt so..... clean and professional! haha And I love the blue and yellow tie! and the nuts and bolts... and the peanut brittle... and the salt water taffies.... and the books.... You´re the best support group EVER!!!!

November 11, 2013

So this week we had a baptism! His name is Juan and he progressed pretty fast and has a good testimony! The baptism was a little special because the pool water was.... green haha and he couldn`t fit in my white pants because he`s so skinny so we had to use my companions white tie as a belt so that the pants didn`t fall off, but other than that it went really well! It was my companion`s first baptism in the mission so that was super cool!
We also are having a lot of success with several investigators where as coming to church! We had NINE investigators at church yesterday! and 3 of them are getting baptized this saturday! It`s going to be a great day haha.
There was a family that we were teaching awhile ago that suddenly started hiding from us and we discovered that the dad was just not ready for baptism, but his wife says that she doesn`t want to wait anymore so she`s going to be the example and get baptized first!
Then we have two other investigators that are pretty shy and we were worried that they didn`t have testimonies, but we talked with them and they`re ready and excited to get baptized too!
Enrique, a recent convert, is so great and the branch wants to give him the melchezedic priesthood already so that he can work even more! and he`s doing great with his calling as the gospel principles teacher.
So the work here is going well, but we`re already half way through this transfer and I`m pretty nervous that my time is Sabanalarga is winding down... so time to work! haha. I`ll just keep praying that I stay.
Love you bye!

November 4, 2013

So this week we`ve been really blessed to see a few different investigators preparing to get baptized, some of them are leaving really soon so we´re kind of under pressure, but I think they´ll get baptized.
On Sunday we had a baptismal interview for an investigator named Juan that is getting baptized on Saturday, so that will be cool, AND he asked if my companion could baptze him!!!!!! It´s his first baptism in the mission so that´s going to be really cool!
Today for P-day we got to go and play soccer with our whole zone, but I´m not too good haha, but it was still pretty fun.
The branch president in the next town over decided this last week that he wants us to be going to ward counsel every week, so unfortunately we lose basically all of Saturday night going to that which is rough to make sure that the investigators come, but I know that it´s what the Lord commanded, so we´ll see how things go with this.
Nothing too exciting happened this week... sorry haha. The people here are really nice! It starts raining and random strangers tell you to come in, they don´t really want to listen, but they let us in and we teach them anyways haha.
Have a great week! I wish you all the best!