Monday, January 25, 2016

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 11

Heyo homies hope everyone is doing good!

It's the first day of a new transfer and me and Bigelow are staying together which should be tons of fun! Things were good this week! We did have a hopeful progressing investigator fall through because her mom said that she couldn't be baptized, which is unfortunate, but we found lots of new people to teach! There was a worldwide missionary broadcast this week where we (Elder Bigelow) were expecting them to say that all missionaries with 18 months completed could go home. But it was better than that! They talked a lot about the importance of teaching with our missionary purpose in mind and calling people to repentance. We also had six investigators attend Church with us this week which was super tight! The other Elders in the branch taught a class with all of them about agency and it was just great. 

I had a 30 second talk with this guy in my ward this week and he shook my hand 5 times. He just kept offering me his hand. Idk. 

During a lesson outside of someone's house this week someone walked by wearing clothes that looked like they just took a Twister board and sewed it up into clothing shapes. Needless to say I had to take a breather after seeing that one by walking around in the street for a while to calm down. 

This week I went on Exchanges with our district leader which was a good time! We went to a lunch where they gave me a fish, which I don't know how to physically eat a fish that looks like a fish and I didn't want to waste half the meat, or eat scales, so I told her that I didn't know how to eat it and she made me some eggs which were great.
We taught a lady who doesn't know how to read. I have a whiteboard so I just drew lots of pictures for her. Almost died, but its normal. Ya it was a good day with him! 

A scripture that I really like is found in 1 Ne 20:10 which says
10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Big font, but ya this scripture is great. Everyone's furnace is different. Throughout our lives we will have many different furnaces, I know I have. One of them is right here in Lorica. The temperature is literally like that of a furnace. But I know that this furnace that I'm going through, will help me to be a better missionary. If any of you feel like you are in a furnace right now, realize that it's okay, the furnace is to refine you and make you into what The Lord wants you to be. 

Love you all and hope you have a good week!

To Dad:

Ya there's a zoo in Medellin that I'll have to go to when I'm there. In Monteria my friend went to a park where they have huuuge monkeys just chillin. Also tons of iguanas in Monteria. Here in Lorica there's not many animals. Oh ya there are capybaras which are crazy huuge! I didn't know that's what they were because here they're called chickweedas or something like that, idk how to spell in spanish haha. No one knows how to spell in Spanish, everyone forgets to add the h at the beginning of the word. When I went on splits this week we taught a lady who couldn't read. Love you lots! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 10

Heyo homies! Hope everything´s good with everyone.  This week was full of challenges that somehow through prayer, Elder Bigelow and I made it a good one. The hardest thing for me and my companion this week was that we had to be in a trio, with our roommate Elder Bravo, who we don´t really get along with all that well. 

We had a more than average number of people yell at us this week which was fun, Bigelow blamed it on Bravo, but it´s probably just chance. One old guy yelled at us and followed us for a bit asking us who the brother of Jesus was, using all sorts of obscenities.

Being in a trio was good because we got to visit all the people in both of our areas who are progressing, because we didn´t have a lot of time to do a lot else. So because of that we consistently had good lessons with good investigators who love to learn! 

Being in a mission outside the US is a little strange at times, because I've been a member for longer than most of the people in my branch I would guess. The Church is described here as 'being in diapers', which is really true, we have to teach classes, bless and pass every week, and be a good example to all the members like all the time. I don't know how to describe it other than like the members here are like Catholics, like they still do things that are Catholic. It´s weird. Of course I love the members here and I love serving them, but at times it´s hard to deal with their Catholic ways. 

My daily food rant today is about lots of stuff. Here there is no difference between ketchup and pasta sauce. So I was eating my pasta this week and was like wow, this doesn't taste good, this tastes like ketchup and noodles, because that´s exactly what it was. I try not to think about it too much. Two foods that I can not eat are salad and lentils. I just cant do it. I´m going to start telling people to not give them to me because I can't do any more lettuce/cucumber/onion mashup or lentils. Yesterday our lunch appointment cancelled on us so me and Bigelow made MAC and CHEESE! He had Kraft and I had this food storage stuff and oh my it was the best lunch ever. We also ate at this ladies house this week and she gave us ice cream, a true blessing.

A true miracle happened this week because Bigelow and I have two investigators who are awesome, but they both told us they wouldn't be able to come to church because of reasons out of their control. So we were all sad until at church they BOTH showed up! Now we have two progressing investigators who have learned so much and I'm excited to keep teaching them.

Last week the beach was amazing and our friend on the beach hooked us up with a place in the shade to sit. 

I love you all and I love this church, every time we share the first vision with someone I am just filled with joy to have the knowledge that I do about this church. Hope you all have a good week!

en Trio

To Mom:

Our church building is small. It has the chapel and a main classroom which have AC. The big room splits into 2 rooms. Then there's another un AC room where we have priesthood. The kitchen where youth meet. An unused bishops office which girls use and has AC. Then theres another bishops office and a secretaries office. Outside theirs a soccer court thing. Nah I don't need a scripture case for my Spanish scriptures. I don't get super burned, but sometimes I feel burned even though its hard to tell because I'm pretty tan now. They sell peanut butter at the store but its like $5, maybe ill try it soon with personal money. Ya theres lots of JW, they meet like the same times we do so we always see them walking thursday nights and sunday mornings. They hand books out to everyone. In our house we have a JW bible, which is in Castellano, not spanish (!), and a book that answers all of life's most important questions. We´re teaching a JW right now too, she's 18 and sups cool! She knows a ton about the bible and has been responding positively to the lessons and has TWO  church attendance's IM EXCITED! You need 3 before you can be baptized. My camera wont work in this computer, so I cant do anything with pictures today. Thanks for everything, love you lots! I got the package from Rich and Chrissy and my zone leader says he has 2 more for me at his house that imma get today lol. He has a small and medium one, the biggest one the assistants still gotta get out of the warehouse. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 9

Heyo homies! Hope everyone had a good week! Things here are going fairly well, this week there were a few days where nothing got done because no one wanted to listen to us, but our prayers were answered and we've found 5 new investigators recently who seem cool! 

Food here is weird, I'll probably talk about food every week because it's a big deal for me. It's completely normal for a plate of food to have a salad, potatoes, rice, and spaghetti. Which are foods that we do not associate at all. But for them its totally normal. People will also give us big chunks of meat and only a spoon to eat it with... Apparently forks are only for rich white snobs. 

No trouble with dogs this week! But I was complaining about dogs today and Bigelow kicked a kitten. Idk if I'm going to be able to forgive him. 

Since Bigelow is from Alaska, being in this heat is VERY hard for him. Normally after walking in the sun for 15 minutes his shirt is drenched. I have a picture attached of what Bigelow looks like as soon as we walk into somebodies house. 2 fans right on him immediately. 

The other attached picture is of my plaque on the beach because I'm a professional photographer and the beach is SO NICE! We didn't go this week because we're poor people. We had to pay for a lot of stuff this week and we haven't got reimbursed yet. 

I forgot my agenda today so this email won't have everything that I wanted to mention in it. 
Bigelow stepped on a bird and killed it yesterday. We were leaving the house for church and he felt something hit his leg and fall on the ground so he moved his foot to where the things fell and we heard a loud crunch. So ya he's a bird murderer. 

Me and Bigelow get along great, he's a great guy.

Much love from Colombia, have a good week homies! 

To Mom:

Thanks for the letter! Love you lots. Dogs are terrible. Being here makes me hate them even more. For every dog that someone owns, there are 3 strays just roaming the streets being annoying. I don't need a buzzer thing. As much as I love packages, you don't need to send so many haha. I still haven't got any of them yet. But Bigelow says that the office people are gonna hate me if I get tons of packages. So I would wait a while before sending another. Ya its hot here. I took pictures of my clock that tells the time. At 9AM one time outside it was 105, inside at 10:30 at night its 90. I got a hair cut and everyone makes fun of me and says I look like a black person lol. Next time Ill let them know that short on the sides doesn't mean buzzed. I love you lots. Thanks for all the prayers. It means a lot. We barely have time to think about ourselves because we're so busy trying to help other people. At times we'll get home and just basically faint from exhaustion. If you ever see missionaries, please give them water, because chances are they don't have any and are dying of thirst, at least thats us every day. A lot of people cancel lunches with us, Bigelow says its because they're racist, but I think its because they're poor too. Usually we'll just buy something simple when we don't get lunch. I've probably lost weight. Before Bigelow got here, 6 weeks before I got here, the last time a gringo was in Lorica was over a year ago lol. We don't know exactly why, but we just assume that the people here don't like white people. Its hard sometimes. We work hard tho. We have found 5 new investigators in the last 3 days which is something we have really been praying for. 3 of the 5 live with members or next to members so hopefully they can start to progress. Jehovas witnesses here don't really like us haha. I think thats all I got, love you lots!

What Bigelow looks like as soon as we walk into somebodies house. 2 fans right on him immediately. 

A Colombian Christmas Tree.

Plaque on the beach in San Antero

At 9AM one time outside it was 105, inside at 10:30 at night its 90.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lorica, Life in the Hot City Week 8

Heyo pals. Hope everyone had a good and safe New Years time! Missionaries in our ward had to be inside by 6 on New Years, but I would´ve been fine staying inside all day since people were just drunk. In the words of my wise brother, nobody knows English better than a drunk man. Which is pretty true, especially with 2 white guys, we get yelled at a lot. Not a lot of work has been getting done recently just because we try to go to people's houses and they're just not there and will be on vacation for a few days. Things will be normal this week which I´m excited for! 

This week after visiting the beach Elder Bigelow and I had the greatest idea that, probably anyone in the world, has ever had. We got permission from our zone leader to work in the city of San Antero whenever we want! The city is literally right on the beach. It´s technically not in our area, but in our roommates area. But they never go there since its like a 20 minute bus ride away. But we've found a couple investigators and less actives to start to visit out there so we are planning on going twice a week. The weather is a lot better out there just because of the breeze off the ocean. We also got a new roommate/district leader named Elder Escribano because the last district leader got some kind of fungus disease and had to go back to Medellin so he didn't die or something, idk. So ya the beach is great. What a great idea by us. 

Something scary that happened this week was MORE FIREWORKS. Just kidding. There was actually this HUGE Rottweiler dog chained up in someone's yard and we went a little close to it to see how big it was. Anyways, Bigelow claps at the dog, like he always does with dogs, and the thing just charges at us breaking it's chain! We ran away super fast and some of the neighbors just giggled at us, it was cray. Somehow our lives were spared. 
New Years was nothing special really. I went to bed around 8 and when fireworks went off at midnight, I gave out a barely audible woohoo! 

The food here in Lorica is okay. At first it was super exotic, but its starting to get a little old. Every meal has rice, plantains, yuca, a random meat from I don't wanna know where, and a salad. Everyone here loves plantains, but they're just bleh. It's edible though which is good! This week when I was eating at a member's house I noticed a few ants crawling around in my food, which normally isn't a good sign, but hey it's all we got. I'm still a little sick, but I'll probably be sick for the next 2 years so I'll just get used to it haha.

Not much else has been going on here so I'll just share my thoughts about trials. Everyone in the world of Christendom knows the story of Abraham. Part of his story includes being commanded to kill his own prophesied son Isaac. I, like most of you, could never imagine being commanded to do something like that. How brave Abraham was to do what he did because of his love for God. But. How much more personal does the story become when, through the book of Abraham, we learn that Abraham himself, while a child, was almost sacrificed to the Gods of his father that he did not believe in. I'm sure that as a child at one point Abraham thought to himself, I would never do a thing like that, I will never be like my father. How scary is it to think that God has a plan specifically for each one of us. Let me rephrase that actually, how wonderful is it to know that God has a plan specifically for each one of us. It's wonderful to know that all the trials we go through in this life are meant for us. God has blessed us with trials. I know that my mission is specifically for me, I'm starting to learn that more and more each day with all the trials that I am faced with. I know too that all of your lives are specifically for you, tailor made so that you can become what God wants and needs you to become. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week.

The Beach in San Antero

To Mom:
thanks for the email love it lots. thanks for fasting for me i really needed it. theres not a lot of restaurants here, people just sit outside and cook things. like yesterday our lunch appointment guy said he was too busy to make lunch so he just dropped off like $3 for us to eat with. We went to this cool fried chicken place which was super good. Yesterday we were dying of hunger at night so we bought hotdogs and took them home. the hotdogs just had ketchup, mayo, mustard and lots of these crunchy potato things, idk how to describe them. I only ate once in monteria at a little sit down restaurant where I got a hamburger. There's places to eat everywhere. In the mall in monteria they have lots of fast food places, most latin food, some asian food, a burger place, chicken place, wing place, and a subway. The beach was great! we bought burgers, shakes, bracelets, and just walked around taking pictures. Have a good week.