Monday, March 12, 2018

Week 63!

Hey, Mom!  Sounds like an interesting week!  It sounds like everything is going well with you guys.  This week was pretty good.  We were able to find some new investigators, and finally able to get someone baptized.  She's just a 9 year old girl, but her mom is less active so little by little we are helping the family out.  It's kind of funny, the last time elder Nielsen and I got baptisms, we were forever ago.  Haha, it's been rough, but we started and ended our "baptismal drought" together.

This week we also started teaching a family.  Their names are Fernando and Olga.  They are super nice people.  They talked about how they really need a change in their home and in their family, and they think this could be it.  Recently we had a training with the president, and he  talked a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon.  He said we should be reading it a lot with our investigators, to help them gain a testimony, so that's what we did.  We read some good parts of the Book of Mormon with Fernando and Olga, and they really liked it.  They are an interesting sitch too.  Apparently Elder Nielsen contacted Olga in the street forever ago, but they never ended up getting to meet with her, but then we miraculously contacted them one day.  They must be pretty prepared because the Lord gave us two chances to find them, haha :) 

So things have been pretty good here in Colombio.  Living the dream and cooking in the sun every day.  Much love, thanks for everything.  Talk to you next week.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Week 62!

Hey, Mom!  Sounds like a pretty good week in the ol' Utar.  Things down here are pretty good as well.  Livin' and lovin' the people...and the work.  

This week was a lot better than last week.  We got to go with this awesome member family (The Silvas) to a place called Restrepo.  Its a part of our area, but it's super far away (30 minutes in car) so we don't really go there very much.  But we had some members with us, and they had some fire referrals for us to go visit.  Which was perfect.  We got there at about 9:30 or so, and they had the whole day planned for us...even lunch, haha.  So we went and visited a bunch of part member families (those are the best, haha) and taught a lot of people.  

The first family we visited was a lady who is a member, but her parents aren't.  So we went and visited the parents and shared a good lesson.  Like any old country folks, they talked a TON.  But it was still pretty good.  We shared the lesson, and they didn't seem to understand much, but then at the end we asked the lady if she would offer the closing prayer.  She said no, and we asked why.  And she goes "It makes me want to cry" and she started crying.  She said she was just so happy that we had come so far to visit her, and she said she just felt like we "Cleaned her heart."  It seemed like she was feeling the spirit really strong, and just didn't know how to react.  It was a cool experience for sure.

Then we went and visited a member who lives in the dang middle of nowhere.  It's about a 30 minute hike to her house, and it's just them.  They have one neighbor, but it's kind of far away so you just feel completely alone.  The pictures don't do it justice. It was BEAUTIFUL.  The hike up was short, but super cool.  They are a pretty poor family, and they don't have much, so the Silva family (a bunch of saints) had us all carry a bag of stuff up there.  Books of Mormon, other church books, clothes, all kinds of stuff.  It was cool to see how excited the kids were to have people over, and how happy the mom was to finally have a reason to come back to church.  

Then we were walking around Sunday night.  The week was almost over, and we just had nothing to do. Just walking around like dang zombies.  We sat down for a sec to just think about something to do, and Elder Nielsen goes, "Hey there are some houses we've never seen before, lets go contact them."  So we did, and the first door we knocked was a shirtless guy who was kind of like, "I just got done eating, what do you guys need?" So we were a little like, dang.  But then he opened the door and invited us in.  Then he invited his wife, and two kids to come listen too.  So we got to share with all of them.  The understood the whole message really well too.  It was a really cool experience.  I guess God just blessed us because he knew how rough last week was.

Thanks for everything mom, love you.  Talk to you next week.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Week 61!

Hey, Mom! You´ll really have to excuse this will probably be the lamest of them all.

We really did close to nothing this week.  We had 2 days where we were just back to back meetings with the branch leaders and stuff like that, so we didn't have much time to do some solid missionary work, and then we were both sick for 2 days so it kind of just knocked us out, haha.  Then we had Sunday to try and finish the week.  Which was still a nice fat nothing.  We had a bunch of plans fall through, so we decided to knock some doors in a neighborhood we had already tracted hoping for a miracle.  Well we knocked a door and the guy came up and started talking about the Bible with us.  We talked for like 30 seconds and then he goes, "Why don't you guys come in and sit!" and we were like...YES A MIRACLE.  So we sat down, started with prayer, and then the guy just blabbed bunch of apostate crap about the Bible he learned in "20 years of study as a pastor."  He wouldn't stop.  It was all just completely misunderstood stuff he pulled out of the Bible.  That's something that's really tough about some of these places with a lot of people who believe heavily in the Bible.  Is they study it with certain groups or other religions and it just completely messes up their belief system.  I can't tell you how many times people have told me, "God isn't in a church, God is in the trees and the plants and blah blah blah." It's horrible.  This guy thinks that the Priesthood is not something that has to be conferred upon man, or is something that only a Prophet has full access too...he thinks it's something that God released freely to he thinks everybody on the whole planet has the priesthood, and the only thing you have to do to be saved and have faith.  JUST FAITH?  Yeah, faith is super important, but God asks for a few more things than faith to give you a dang MANSION IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.  So we just listened to him blab for a sec, and then I frankly just hit him with a, "So if God tells you the Book of Mormon is true, you wouldn't follow it?" He goes "Nope."  And I gave him another always have to do that because these people are just hilarious.  So I said...."Octavio...if GOD HIMSELF told you that the Book of Mormon was true...and that THIS is the way to get're telling us you wouldn't believe it."  And he goes "Nope." So I just said, "Alright, well we can only help until that point. Have a nice day" And we dipped.  

So other than that this week has been some good diarrhea and throwing up.  Not the best, but I'm sure it could have been worse.

Love you lots. My camera cable broke so I'll try and sends some pics in a bit.  Much love, talk to you next week.

Again...please excuse my shizzy letter. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 60!

Hey, Mom!  Thanks for the letter, preesh.  

This week were the transfers, and I'm staying here with my man Elder Nielsencito. They basically changed the entire zone thing transfer too, so it's gonna fresh and everyone is gonna be full of energy and excitement to get back working.  Just today we sent out 7 missionaries from the zone.  Sadly, they had to close an area from good ol' Villao, so we were a little sad about that, but we alright.  

This week we had a kind of cool experience when we had nothing to do because we had some people cancel on us, and we were just chapped, and didn't know where to go.  Elder Nielsen and I were walking, and we  passed a house and Elder Nielsen goes "Hey let's go contact this house" and I said "No, he's rich and doesn't want anything" (it was kind of a nice house) and then I said "Okay, I kid, let's do it" and we did.  We yelled "Buenas tardes!" and the guy came out.  Elder Nielsen goes "Hey vecino, how are you" (vecino is neighbor and it's what everyone calls each other here) and the guy goes "Vecino? Ha! Two gringos saying vecino! That's something you don't see very much in Colombia." We all laughed and talked for a bit, and in the end he invited us in to teach.  Turned out he had talked to the missionaries before, and had a Book of Mormon in the house!  He had it sitting on his desk (it was all dusty and it was obvious he hadn't even touched it) but he dusted it off and we explained it to him.  He said the missionaries just gave it to him in a contact, and that they never had an actual lesson, haha.  So we got to teach him about it. He seemed real excited to read it to and learn more about Joseph Smith.  Pretty cool experience.

Today with transfers and everything, we didn't really have time to do much.  BUT, we did have time to go grab a bunch of stuff to make tacos.  It was a lot of fun.  I guess I've turned into quite the chef these days.  The tacos were real good.  We had our Peruvian friend Elder Gutierrez with us too, so we showed him how we eat like Mexicans in the states, haha.  Everyone is convinced that all we eat in the states are hamburgers and canned food, because that's just what they see in movies.  But I think we eat more Mexican food than hamburgers, hahaha.  But it was a lot of fun...but just so everybody knows IF YOU SEE A PICTURE OF ELDER NIELSEN COOKING ITS A LIE!!! I DID ALL THE COOKING AND HE SNAGGED A PIC!!! hahahaha :)
Other than that we have just been waiting for the rest of the missionaries to show up and then all will be chill.

Thanks for everything guys :) talk to you next week!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 59!

Hey, Mom!  Looks like you guys are having a killer time on a dang cruise!!!

This week was pretty interesting.  We were pretty discouraged because we were like most of the way through the week and we had zero new investigators, so we were feelin' pretty low.  But we did what we could to find "news", and we ended up getting our goal for the week! It felt good.  It always feels good to have your goal in mind and then do everything you can to get there.  We've been doing pretty good with that lately so it's been fun.

For the zone meeting we did a game kind of thing where we took a list of "Creative ways to find new investigators," and put all the ideas in a bag, and everyone had to pic out of the bag and try the idea.  We drew the idea of "Buy bread and share it with people while showing them the video of I am the Bread of Life from the Bible."  Honestly, we thought it was kind of stupid, but we figured we had to apply it any follow through commitments we leave with the zone, so we did it.  We knocked one door, and the lady said no before we even said one word...then we knocked a few doors and no one was home.  Then we got to a house where the door was open, and we asked if we could share a video about Jesus, and share some bread and accepted without even a second thought. Now I don't know if anyone has seen the video of the Bread of Life, but it's super confusing.  So it's not like its a real good one to open peoples hearts.  Luckily, we just kind of cut the video off half way through and share the message of the Restoration.  And...two of them were straight out of Venezuela!!! Freaking chosen ones!!! Haha, there aren't too many Venezuelans here in Villavo because they all arrive in Bogota, but the Lord blessed us and we were able to teach them and give them a Book of Mormon, so I guess we'll see where they go from there. :)

Also, we have decided that we are just straight Llaneros. We are going to start learning the dance and dressing like them so we can really just call ourselves llaneros (that's what they call the people from Villavo).  Llano means  plain, and other than our area which is the start of the llanos, it's aaaaalll flat.  You can kind of see it behind us in the picture of Elder Nielsen and me.

Other than that, we've just been working and doing what we can to complete our missionary purpose out here in the devil's crotch.

Thanks a ton, love you guys a lot.  I hope you have a good week!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Week 58!

Hey, Mom! Thanks for the awesome letter!  I'm glad to hear you guys are having so much fun! It sounds like the trip was awesome.  

This week was pretty nuts for us too, haha.  We had to go to Bogotá for the training with Elder Gonzalez, which was pretty cool.  But DANG it turned into a huge mess.  I explained it a little better in the voice recording, but I can give you a quick run down of it.  So they were building a bridge between Villavo and Bogota, and it fell down.  It was pretty tragic, 15 people died.  So, right after Elder Nielsen and I left, they shut down the whole way, so the whole zone was stuck, and wasn't going to be able to make it to the training.  So they had to wait, and they opened up another way to Bogotá, but it was a 12 hour ride, in a smaller, more cramped bus. So they FINALLY got to Bogotá after 12 hours, then they had to get on another 3 or 4 hour bus ride to the next place they were going to do the training (Girardot).  So luckily Elder Nielsencito and I didn't have to deal with that, but the rest of the zone did.  Then we ended up getting totally stuck in Bogotá the next day and we had NOTHING to do. Luckily the area we were in was full of cool malls to go to, but we didn't really have any money so we just kinda looked...I guess I bought some shampoo for like 3 dollars...but yeah.  Missionary life...super interesting.  Haha, but in the end we got home and all is well.  Sorry, in the recording I sound exhausted, it's because I was, haha.

This week we found some really cool new investigators.  We found a guy named Pedro who is a member's uncle who is living with them and he's been coming to church for a bit. He was really excited to hear our message, and told us about how he is excited to keep coming to church and keep learning.  He has a  lot of support at home too.  His nephew that he lives with says he will make sure he reads the WHOLE Book of Mormon before he gets baptized, haha, so I guess we'll see.  

We also started teaching a lady named Amparo.  She talked about how she never got baptized in any church before because she was nervous.  She understands that it is a promise we make with God and she didn't want to mess it up.  She is really excited to start coming to church with her son Camilo and be able to get an assurance that it is the decision she should make.  She says she is open to listen to the spirit to help her make her decision.  

So i got the packeeg this week :) thanks so much Mom.  It was awesome.  The zone was pretty excited to get some Skittles too, haha.  Plus I'm loving the Brooks Brothers gear, haha, I've worn the shirt to sleep every night this week, hahaha.  Also, here are some pictures of us eating some brownies, and the Asian chicken you guys sent :) KILLER  Thanks so much you guys are awesome!! 

Love you a ton!  Thanks for everything.  Talk to you next week.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Week 57!

Hey mom!  Thanks for the letter :) Even if nothing really happens I still love hearing about it.  You guys are just s'dang far away, hahaha. 

This week was a little tougher.  We tried really hard and didn't have a lot go down.  We've just been doin' what we can though.  There are a few parts of our area that are a little more dangerous and we aren't supposed to go in there, but the hard part is that other than those areas, there are very few houses in our area.  So we have to look pretty hard to find places to contact, haha.  I've only been here 3 weeks, and we are already knocking the same streets again, hahaha.  Oh well.  We've decided to get a little creative.  We will hopefully be trying some more interesting things this week to find new investigators, so we'll see how it works out.  The mission has been really big on finding new investigators lately, so the assistants and the President released a sheet of creative ways to find new investigators.  For example, some missionaries went out and bought some bread, and offered it to people on their doorstep, and while they ate they showed a bible video called "The Bread of Life" haha.  I'd like to try that one...we'll see.  

Amidst our dang boredom of having nowhere to contact, we hit the area book.  We found an old investigator named Amparo.  We set up an appointment, but she wasn't there.  But her son Camilo was.  We asked if we could share a message with him, and he accepted.  Hes 20 years old, so I guess it kind of makes it easier to relate to him.  He told us he really wants to come closer to God.  He goes, "a lot of crazy things have happened to me this week, and after all of it, you guys come to my door."  The spirit was really strong in the lesson, and he even came to church yesterday.  So far so good.  He felt really good at church.  We talked to his mom, and she says she wants to come too so good things should be happening in the future.

Today we went for a short hike called El Carmen.  It was pretty fun.  It was like 30 or 40 minutes of walking up a mountain to get to another dang Virgin Mary statue, haha, but it was cool to hang out with the zone so it was fun.

This week we gotta head into Bogotá for a big conference with a general authority.  His name is Elder Gonzalez.  It should be fun.  

Love you guys! Thanks for everything.  You guys are #1.