Monday, February 29, 2016

Lorica, Life in a Tropical Wasteland Week 16

Epa homies! Hope everyone had a good week and is doing just fine. 

This week we had our first baptism! I wish I could say that we did tons of stuff to prepare her for baptism, but we really didn't. She was an investigator in a different city for 6 months where she got all the lessons and a testimony and everything, she just didn't want to get married. So when she told us she wanted to be baptized, all she faulted was attendance at church, which she gladly did. Marly is an awesome gal tho, she's 21 and has a son named Axel who is 1. They're both super chill. The baptism was very small, but it was nice because she doesn't really like people (same tho). Teaching Marly was a great experience because it reminded me that none of our efforts are ever wasted as missionaries, even if we can't see the end results. 

I also got THREE packages this week THANKS MOM! I got a Christmas one, with Bob Ross socks, a peanut butter one, and a Valentine' Day one. They came with decorations, so I decorated my table in the house, even tho its almost March and not Christmas at all....

The 2 pictures are Me and Marly and Me in front of my table, in case it wasn't obvious. 

This upcoming week may be my last week with Bigelow which makes me sad, he's been the 2nd best dad I've ever had. 

We oinked at little piglets this week and they came over to us and OH MY they were adorable. 

We got our electricity bill and it cost 3x as much as the previous one... Psh, idc, we need our AC to survive.

My friend in my zone Elder Robison got pranked hardcore this week when his district leader told him he was getting an emergency transfer and had to pack all of his bags to leave asap. So he packed his bags, called us and said goodbye, went outside with all his bags to wait for the district leader to come help him take his bags to the terminal. But then his District leader called him at said it was just a joke. 

We were on a big bus that got stopped by the police to check everyones Identification this week! Bigelow didn't have his ID, so we just pretended to not speak Spanish and the cops left us alone. I coulda been Pablo Escabar's right hand man with my 3 packages filled with cocaine and they would have never even known! Perks of being a gringo I guess? 

When we were filling out a form for Marly for her baptism we needed to know the year her mom was born, so we asked her mom, Evelia, and she had no idea... No idea what year she was born... It was either 59, 60, or 61. Idk. 

Thats about all the stuff I got for this week! It was a good one! A member of the 70 (I think?) visited us which was tight. But ya, hope everyone has a good week! 

Me and Marly

Me and Christmas decorations from a package I finally got in March!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Lorica, Life in a Tropical Wasteland Week 15

Epaaa homies! Hope everyone has 20 months left in the mission like I do, oh wait... But fo reals hope everyone is doing well. Hope no one has a heat rash like my companion Elder Bigelow. We went to the hospital to get it checked out and had no idea what to do or where to go since neither of us have been to a hospital in our lives, especially in Colombia where theres armed guards at each entrance. So we just kinda walked around til we kinda found out where to go. 

This week we bought peanut butter that came with free microwave popcorn which was pretty neat. PB&J sandwiches are Only one person in our branch has a microwave so we made the popcorn at her house and she was amazed. 

Shoutout to Hannah for praying for the people here to give me food I can actually eat.

Our mission is getting changes to the way that meals work. Right now we have to buy our own breakfast and dinner if we want them, and different members feed us lunches each day of the week. Now, the mission is going to start paying one member per like 4 missionaries to cook all 3 meals for them every day. That means that perhaps, we can tell this cook person what kind of food we would like to eat (not beans). So maybe all my problems will be fixed. Blessing from the Lord. It should start in about two weeks so I'll keep you all updated on that sitch. 

Everyone here takes English classes from the time they are young to the time they graduate. But as far as I can tell, the ONLY thing that they can say in English is "How are you?" But none of the English teachers here actually speak English so no one can pronounce English words. So what it ends up sounding like is "HARJOO?!"

We had a capacitation (I think that's an English word) all day on Saturday from our Mission President Calderon about the importance of teaching with clarity and it really is true. Theres a quote somewhere that says that a true expert is someone who can explain something complicated where everyone can understand. Being an expert doesn't come from knowing. It comes from organizing and expressing that knowledge. 

This week we were walking by our favorite pizza place, which is actually the only pizza place in Lorica, and we noticed something weird. There was a sign on the door that said: Do not enter, keep closed. Kinda weird, like oh maybe they're cleaning or something. We keep walking and we notice that there are people inside, eating pizza! Now we're just confused, like did these people ignore the sign, or is it actually open? Then we realized, the sign is in English, these people don't speak English, they have no idea what it says. It made us giggle a little bit. It was a real testament to me that in the words of Selena Gomez, everything is not as it seems. 

Love you guys lots! Hope you homies are all good

Construction started on the Baranquilla temple! I forgot to mention that! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lorica, Life in a Tropical Wasteland Week 14

Epa homies! Epa is a word I found in the dictionary this week and I think it means heyooo so Imma make it my Spanish thing. There's also a word in Spanish for the space between your eyebrows, entrecejo, neat-o huh?

Something weird here that I have maybe mentioned before is that everyone knows who John F Kennedy is... I remember going proselytizing in Bogota and some drunk guy was asking me questions about him because he was like my President at one point. Every city here also has a neighborhood named Kennedy. 

Last Monday we went to the beach with our friend Andreina and her son which was sups fun! We bought weird fish rice that tasted bad, chilled under some shade on the beach, and called some friends in our zone. This lady came up to us and asked for a massage, we said no, and then she started to massage Bigelow anyways for like 5 minutes. We watched Shrek 4 after our District meeting and it was probably the best one of the 12 Shreks there are right now or whatever...

I've been reading scriptures in Spanish recently and in the Bible it describes David as being blonde while in English it doesn't... Maybe I just suck at reading in Spanish, but I thought it was pretty comical. Sometimes we read talks in Spanish and they try to translate jokes and they just don't work. 

Something that is annoying is that Latinos are PARANOID by things that are plugged in. So when they leave the house they unplug EVERYTHING! Idk why, but its annoying.

Our Investigator Mileida is still going good. This week she had a problem with something that is said in the Bible and something we believe, but I think we got it figured out. She told me that she doesn't know what a quesadilla is which made me sad. 

We have another investigator who we've known for a while because she's the daughter of a lady that gives us lunch, but we didn't think she'd be interested in hearing us talk. So we never asked her to hear us, but one day she just told us that she wished she could get baptized, but she can't because she's a single mother. So we were like uhhhhh, ya you can get baptized! Apparently she was an investigator in another city for 7 months and now she's ready because she doesn't live with her boyfriend anymore, so hopefully everything goes well with that! 

Last week I can't remember if I mentioned that someone started their opening prayer in sacrament by saying, "good morning brothers and sisters". But it happened again this week. The apostasy continues...

Other than that not much is up. Hope you homies are being homies! Love you all lots

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lorica, Life in a Tropical Wasteland Week 13

Ayo homies! Not much happened this week, so this letter will be a little short. 

I figured out that bologna is cheap so I bought lots of that to eat. Food is something I think about a lot here. I started eating lots of bananas because they're 7 cents. We pay 250 pesos for a banana, but our district leader says the banana peddler is ROBBING US GRINGOS because bananas only cost 200 pesos, 6 cents. We just giggle at him. Someone else tried to feed me beans this week which again, didn't happen. A lady fed us cow liver which is possibly the worst kind of meat I've ever tasted. My comp Elder Bigelow just straight refused to eat it. 
Me and Bigelow have started to make french fries at night which is a good idea! They're super cheap and tasty! 
Bigelow's other son he trained was in our zone for a week so we had a family reunion, but then he left on an emergency transfer thing.

Our AC stopped working for 30 seconds, and we planned our funeral. 

We have been teaching the Rodriguez family a lot this week and they're awesome! They have a lot of questions and are progressing greatly. We visit them every day. Not a lot to say about them except our lessons go great. On Sunday we had them come to Church and this couple came as well who have been investigators for 2 years! We teach that couple too, mostly about the Book of Mormon because that seems to be their problem. 

I don't have a spiritual message because I forgot to think of one, but I love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Wadley is Bigelow's other son and he came to the our zone to finish my friend Robison's training! Super hype! So since Wadley is my brother then Robison, my bff from the MTC, is my nephew lol. So we took a family picture. But then Mckinley, the secretary of registros, went home. And Wadley was sent to the office. And Robison was sent to a different zone so now the family is dead and we're sad :(

To Dad:

If I sent you a letter and included American Cash in it would you be able to spend it?  Just thought that may be fun to get some cash to buy what you want with it....

The only store that accepts dollars is Panamericana, which is like an electronic/book store. People like to see American money tho so maybe that would be cool? I'm thinking about converting all my pesos into dollars so that if the rate goes up I can convert them back and be rich lol. It's either that or buy lottery tickets. But they like search through packages and letters that get here and they'll take money. Bigelow got money taken out of a package one time. It would be the most illegal thing in the US, but here its totally normal. We went to the post office to send a package for our zone leader the other week, and they opened it up right in front of us, took out some candy, and said, oops you're not allowed to send this. The package from Rich and Chris was opened and rifled through. So it wouldn't be a good idea to only send money. Thanks though haha! 

To Mom:

I do know about the zika virus! Ive just never seen it spelled out, so I didn't connect the words since I've only talked about it haha! I haven't gotten it yet, because the mosquitos barely bother me... Bigelow got it before I got here and he was sick for like 4 days where he stayed in bed during the day, cus it hurts if you're in the sun. People here think that the disease comes from the sun, so thanks for confirming what I thought that it comes from mosquitoes haha! Can't see the pics of the suckers, but maybe they're boom boom booms? Those are popular here. If you go to the Colombian store get any of the Hit juices cus they're so good! Hit Limon is great, but they discontinued it, so its super expensive, but whenever Bigelow finds it he buys it. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lorica, Life in a Tropical Wasteland Week 12

Heyo homies hope everyone is doing swell! You may not have noticed, but the title of the email changed, something Imma try to do every 6 weeks. But ya, this place is a tropical wasteland, its like kind of tropical with palm trees and exotic people, but like a wasteland, cus you walk outside and your face melts from all the nuclear fallout. 

But this week was good in Colombia! We continue to teach investigators, recent converts and less actives every day to grow the Lord's Kingdom the best we can! 

We bought an AC this week to put in our room which is beautiful. Words can't describe how good AC feels. Imagine, walking into a room that's 85 degrees with 0 humidity! It's the greatest thing that's happened to us since we got here, being able to sleep without sweating. Sometimes I feel like it's a little too cold even! It's been weird waking up and being cold... We bought the thing for about $30 and the guy said that when we're done with it, we can bring it back to him and he'll give us our money back! Like what. Blessings come in different shapes and sizes, and sometimes it's an AC that makes living possible. It's great. Have I told you all how great it is? 

This week we were teaching one of our progressing investigators and she told us she had started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning! Awesome sauce right? We start asking if she has any questions and she starts telling us about all the things she likes and tells us about 1st Nephi 3:7 and how much that scripture resonated with her. All of our lessons with her go great! She bought us iguana eggs to eat this week, not as bad as you would think!

A lady gave me a bowl of beans to eat this week, the first time in my mission it's happened! I just gave them to my comp sneakily. Gosh they're no good. 

So in Lorica we live in the neighborhood Kennedy, which is the biggest most central neighborhood there is, basically the most poppin place to live. Well this week was the neighborhood's 52nd birthday! So everyone was crazy drunk all week blasting loud music and being crazy. The weekend was even worse, with random midnight parades, people throwing colored flour and everyone, and more drunk people. It was pretty nuts. 

This week I got hungry and ate probably 6 loaves of bread.

Our roommates had two baptisms this week which was a neat experience! I had taught them a few lessons and they're super cool people.

The most common thing I've been hearing from my comp lately about my Spanish is: Ya that's how you say it in English, but in Spanish it doesn't make sense at all. Which has been a little frustrating and discouraging tbh. It's just strange how you think learning a language just means knowing two words for every word, but you really have to know how to say what you're saying, which takes a lot more time than just memorizing words. 
A scripture that has helped me a lot this week is found D&C Section 15

And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

I really like this. If you have anyone in your life who isn't sure if they want to serve a mission, I would encourage you to show this to them. This doesn't only apply to full time missionaries either. Every member is a missionary. The Gospel is about peace and happiness. We should try to share this message with everyone whether being bold and talking to them about what we believe, or just by being a good example and a good person. Easy peasy.

Love you all, Bob Bless