Monday, December 28, 2015

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 7

Heyo! Hope everyone had a great Christmas! Here in Lorica it doesn't really feel like Christmas since its 90 degrees with 70% humidity, but we're loving it all the same! Most missionary work slows down a lot between Christmas and New Years, but Elder Bigelow and I are doing our best! We have started teaching about 4 new people this week and it's awesome to see them accept the Book of Mormon and desire to change their lives! 

Something fun this week was that Bigelow and I bought a pineapple for 50 cents! It was suuuuuper good and juicy! The only downside is that it made our mouths bleed really bad... The next day we splurged a bit and bought an expensive pineapple for $1! It was of higher quality and didn't make our mouths bleed. 

One day we were visiting some recent converts just to check up on them and see how they're doing and they were bathing their baby. Everything was normal until the baby POOPED and they DIDN'T take the baby out. I was baffled. They CONTINUED to bathe the baby for another 5 minutes. Two days later we went to the same house because they were going to make us some authentic Colombian Christmas food, super hype! When we got there they informed us that the baby had gotten sick, and the family used up all their money to get the baby some medicine. So we just had juice and corn tortillas with cheese. The juice they gave us was made from tap water, we're pretty sure, and I've been sick for 4 days as a result of that lol. 

Skyping my family was super awesome! I got to talk to my brother, not in Spanish because I'm a scrub, but it was nice to see how far he's come since he started his mission in Guatemala 15 months ago. 

My Zone had a secret Santa gift exchange thing which was funny. So ya, secret santa, everyone gets someone random in the zone to buy a present for. There's about 16 people in my zone and my comp and I get another companionship to buy presents for. We have no idea what to buy so we just get 2 Peppa Pig dolls since every child in Colombia loves Peppa Pig. At the exchange everyone is getting nice shirts, starwars stuff (Rip me for 2 years), and all this nice stuff. And me and Bigelow awkwardly give our people these 30 cent stuffed animals hahaha, it was great. 

Christmas Traditions in Lorica are basically non-existent as far as I can tell. People like to festively sit on their porch and listen to the same accordion music that they do every other day except 5x as loud. They like to drink a lot. Everyone buys their own Christmas presents that they want. And NOBODY has a tree, which is a bummer. 
The first picture is a Nativity Scene without Jesus... We assume that the baby Jesus was stolen, nice. The second one is me and Bigelow lookin good in our shades. We´re going to the beach today which should be a great time! 
Anyways, hope everyone has a nice New Years, stay safe!

Nativity Scene without Jesus... We assume that the baby Jesus was stolen, nice.

Me and Bigelow lookin good in our shades.

Someone died this week in Lorica, so the whole friggin city was doing this death march through all the streets. He must've been popular.

Our suitcase room haha, were gonna try to fix it up today. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Skype!

Skyping with my family. I was able to Skype at the same time with Tyson.

Tatum, Tyson and I.
Photo cut outs of Tyson and I that Grandma Jane had made for my family.

Our bathroom in Lorica. The drain didn't drain, so you had to take a really quick shower. The shower head was just a tube and the the water was cold.

During extra time in the CCM I practiced a new signature.
My study area in Lorica.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 6

Hellooooooo and welcome to the mission field! These last 10ish days have been pretty busy! So I left the MTC last Tuesday morning which was great. I love the MTC and having clean sheets and stuff, but sometimes it was unnecessarily strict and obnoxious. So from the MTC I flew to Medellin on a 1 hour flight which was sups pretty! We got to the Mission Office in the same morning and pretty much stayed there all day just doing orientation stuff pretty much. That night we went to a Chapel and met our new companions/trainers and found out where we were going to! My trainers name is Elder Bigelow, he is from Alaska, he is white, and he's pretty great. He has 17 months in the mission, and I'm his 3rd child hes trained. My area is in a small city called Lorica on the coast. Its very very hot here. My house has not been blessed with AC as of yet, but me and Elder Bigelow and working on trying to find one asap as possible.

After we met our companions, people going to Medellin went straight to their new houses, but other people had to stay the night in this mission house called the hotel. The hotel was pretty cool, not an actual hotel, but we fit about 25 people into a 4 room apartment. In the morning all the peeps heading to the Coast took a 9 hour bus to the city of Monterìa. Ive been spending a lot of time in Monterìa just because we've been practicing for all sorts of Christmas plays and singing things. Monterìa is an hour and a half bus ride away from Lorica. I`ve only spent a total of one day in Lorica doing normal missionary stuff. Yesterday we were in a different city for church and didn't get to go with our branch. Our branch seems nice though! I`ve met a couple really nice people. After New years things should start to be normal missionary work which Im excited for!

My Spanish is okay. The people here talk like Chinese people so I cant understand anything they say yet. I can understand my companion when he talks in spanish and most of what the latino Elders say. Life here in the field seems quite a bit different than the MTC! Hype.

To Mom:
Ya my zone is called Monteria. Theres a Monteria south, and a Sincelejo zone as well. Those 3 zones make up the region called the coast. The 3 regions are the coast, Medellin, and the city of coffee or something like that haha.

Did you meet Elder Allen (Jayson) from Mesa?
I did! He works in the office and is super chill! He picked us up from the airport. We've talked a lot. Elder Guerber here lived at signal butte and ray. He's cool, not in my zone though. he has never bought deodorant since he always runs out of money ha ha ha ha.

So did you get any of our packages?
I got the Christmas package yes thanks for all that! I miss peanut butter though haha. deodorant is expensive here too, don't let me forget that when you ask me what I need in a package. I haven't got the present that you sent me though. I got the letters that you sent to the assistants, it came in a stalking with candy which was nice of the assistants to make for us. 

Pres. Calderon is super awesome! Love him lots! Elder Bigelow is from Alaska and knew my roommate Isaac at BYU! He's totally awesome! Laid back, but still hard working. My apartment is not the best, but its live-able! Its the nicest house in Lorica according to Bigelow. Everyone else just lives in cinderblock houses with dirt floors, and only fans, sometimes. Ive only spent one day in Lorica so I don't know much about it! I'm in Monterìa and have been for a while just because we've had Christmas plays and programs and all sorts of stuff. The shower in the house leaks and floods the house, but were trying to look into how to fix that. 2 other latinos live in the house. We have no AC, but a couple of fans which is NICE! WE have to rent a laundry machine. We have no closet so we have to live out of suitcases. 

A game we played where they had to guess who the missionary was
Zone Christmas Party
Elder Bigelow - such a good guy

Ya, I wear glasses

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Medellin Mission Office

Hey I'm safe in Medellin. It seems pretty nice here, hotter, but nice for sure. I'm in the mission office right now and I think that they have the package that you sent. Love you lots! Hope Tatum got the video of my district singing. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bogota Life in the Dream House Week 5

Well it´s my last week here in the MTC! I couldn't be more excited to get out in the field and start teaching real homies! This week was a real humbling one for me for many reasons. I´m not sure how much news about the situation in Venezuela is in the US, but I'd like to share my thoughts about it just a bit. So Saturday night was the first time we had heard of anything going on when our MTC president announced that everyone should be fasting for Venezuela the next day. I didn't think much of it until I noticed that many of the Latinos were crying, about a third of the Latinos here are from there. The President went on to talk about how the elections would be held the next day and that violence was expected to occur unless it went a certain way, which didn't look likely. He told us that the Church had taken missionaries out of large cites, a big deal for me since I have had 3 roommates who are currently there and know about 40 missionaries personally, and church meetings were canceled. From talking to my 2 new Venezuelan roommates after this I found out that the majority of the Venezuelans had no idea if they were going to see their families ever again. I can't imagine leaving my family like these missionaries and not knowing that they would be safe and have food to eat. I thought it was hard to give up taking 3 hour naps everyday until now. So ya you better bet I fasted for Venezuela, for my roommates, their families, and all my friends in the country right now. It was a rough day on Sunday waiting for the news of the elections to come in, a lot of the Venezuelans were very emotional. I know most of you probably never even thought twice about elections in Venezuela, and I wouldn't either while I was home, but it was a very real fear I can tell you that.

Other than that I've been good as usual. We got 2 new teachers, which were some of our first teachers and they are both helping us a lot improve in all ways! I didn't get in trouble this week which felt good! Spanish is going well too! This week I forgot how to say Word of Wisdom in English which was weird. We´re all wrapping up with our learning here, taking a test to see what we learned on Saturday and then leaving early Tuesday morning! We don't know what area we´re going to, but I'll be back on the next Monday to let you all know how it is! 

My new roommates are super nice! We've gotten really close really fast. Elder Rosales is from Venezuela, doesn't seem to like Americans very much, but can sometimes be nice. Elder Pinacho is from Mexico and his mission is in Medellin as well! Elder Chacin is 18, laughs like a monkey, is from Venezuela, and points with his lips which is strange. Elder Beltran is like my best bro, he is large, can carry me around very easily, gave me a sick watch, and is from Bolivia. All in all my roommates all get along good for the most part, they teach us a lot of Spanish which is nice of them. 

I think that's all I got to tell you guys, I´ll be in the field and sending another email on December 21st
Last temple trip with the whole district.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bogota Life in the Dream House Week 4

Heyo homies. Had a pretty spooky experience that I wanna start with. So it was Sunday night, and we were in class, learning about past subjunctive or something with our teacher Hermano Polo. Our room has a door that opens up to the outside and that door is about 20 feet away from the fence that protects us from the evilness outside our compound. Anyways so you know just learning when suddenly BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM from right outside the gate next to our door!  Red lights flashed and the room was in panic. Hermano Polo was the first one to dive out of the room, others hid in a corner. I was right across from the door and was just frozen. Hermano Polo was yelling at others to get out of the room and hit the floor. After about 5 seconds of being frozen someone yelled for me to move so I did some parkour and dove out the door myself. Gunshots still sounding we were pretty spooked. Suddenly the sound changed and it was more like a fizzling sound. We looked at our teacher with confused looks and he looked at us with confused looks? He went back into the room curiously and looked outside, beckoning us to come back in and see what the noise was. Fireworks. For some reason the Catholic Church next door decided to light off FIREWORKS for a wedding at 8 at night in the middle of the city. So ya after that we all went back into the class and laughed at our near death experience, recreating how we reacted to being shot at. 

Other than that not a lot has been happening. We had a cool devotional on Sunday where a member of the 70 came and talked to us. At the end we all sang I Hope They Call Me on a Mission in our native languages. No one was strong enough  to not cry during that. Most of the Latinos here have it rough. I'd say half of them are converts to the church which is just amazing that they have the faith to be out here. Probably a third are the only members of their families. I can't even imagine not having a family to support and love me right now. I haven't met a latino that is 18 and here, I've met very few that are 19, most are 20-22. So many of them have come from basically poverty to being here where they think they live like kings haha. I've been humbled a lot by all the Latinos here.

Since its Tuesday that means that we had 7 Nortes leave, lots of great guys, and 60 Latinos. Tomorrow we'll have a brand new bunch of Latinos and 7 more Nortes. Me and Elder Hatch also  moved rooms! Our room has the same amout of beds, but is twice as big now which should be niiiiiice!

Today was an interesting cultural experience. We got to go to the Bogota Emigration office which is basically the DMV. We sat in a room for like 5 hours and waited for them to call our names so we could go sit at a desk, say nothing, get our fingerprints and then go home. We mostly just talked about jokes and things we miss. All of us are going to miss StarWars and we cry every night. Afterwards we got to go to SUBWAY WHICH WAS GREAT! I got my normal sub without vegetables and people thought I was cray, nah.

Spanish is going good! No complaints! Im still learning a lot! Every day we get personal study for an hour, I spend this time reading the Book of Mormon which is great! We have a lot of spiritual devotionals with our teachers and we all get emotional often. This week our favorite teacher Hermano Gomez pulled our district into a room and started crying and told us it was his last day working here. Its super sad cus he's the chillest guy and a great example. He treats us all like his friends and not students which is great. Him and his wife are moving to Provo to go to school so Ill probably get to see him after my mission! He told us that he doesnt remember anything he learned at the MTC when he was there, but he remembers the teacher there who treated him like a friend and thats exactly what he did for us. Apply that to your life how you will, but I would suggest to be kind to everyone you meet because you'll never know how it will impact them. 

Love you all hope you're all safe from fireworks!

Elder Ralphs and I

Me and Elder Hatch

To Mom:

Prostelyting went well! I´m the best one at spanish, but im very stubborn and dont like to talk unless I know it´s correct so it´s hard for me to want to stop people and try and talk to them haha. Me and elder hatch got 9 contacts in 3 hours. A group of 3 missionaries who just left got 36 tho! They just stopped people, said "hi we believe in jesus, do you want white people like us to come visit you? Yes, okay great, write your info here". But we went mad about our small number. Our singing went awesome! President said he loved it, but then later in the day, he said that we spend way to much time practicing our songs instead of spanish, so who knows how he actually feels. Its so hard to not get in trouble lol! We try to do the right thing! Its whatever, no one is getting sent home. shirts have stains on the collar, but today I figured out how to get them out! I just got a letter from tyson that was sent november 5th. Soooo hope you sent it to my mission haha. Thanks!