Monday, December 26, 2011

12-26-11

Dear Family,

Well, this isn`t what I said I was gonna write.  I didn`t really have time to think about it so this is going to be real boring.  Next week I will try to write something more interesting.

It was really good to talk to you.  I am glad that everyone was there too.  Thanks for talking to me for so long.  Nothing happened yesterday.  We went to church... we only had sacrament meeting so basically we had all day free.  My first convert here in Pasto (Edinson) invited us to eat lunch with them.  Other than that, the members pretty much forgot about us.  Thats ok, I guess...  It is Christmas.   We kinda wandered around all day looking for something to do.  We didn`t really want to interrupt people`s Christmas activities.

Thanks for the presents mom!  I kinda needed new socks and I always love a new tie!  I really like all of them.  Thanks.  

Well thats about it....  Sorry.  Love you lots and hope you have a great week!!!

Love,
     Corey

Monday, December 19, 2011

12-19-11

Dear Family,

This week was good.  Pretty normal... but good.  It`s actually starting to get pretty tough because no one is home and no one wants to let us crash their parties.  Hardly anyone goes to church this time of year.  Just the really faithful ones.  

Well I have to say that it does seem a little bit more like Christmas this year than it did last year.  Pretty much just because it is cold.  There isn`t any snow, but we are in the middle of  ¨winter¨  here.   ¨Winter¨ just means that it rains a lot...  But yeah it feels a bit better this year than it did last year.  I guess it could also be because I`m not new and I can understand spanish and stuff.  Last Christmas was pretty rough for me.  

This week I did divisions with Elder Sanchez.  He`s a new good buddy that I`ve got nowadays.  He was born in Colombia, but moved to the Dominican Republic.  He is really funny and fun to hang out with.  But he is companions with Elder Zuñiga and is having a tough time being patient enough.  I understand a little bit of that because I have had to do a lot of divisions with Zuñiga.  So it was a really fun division because he got to relax a little bit.  We worked hard and everything but made sure to really enjoy ourselves.  I feel bad for the guy but also I feel really lucky to be able to have such a good companion.  I have definatley had my fair share of hard companions...  but I think it is probably something that we all have to go through.  Anyways, I guess I am just trying to say that it is really cool to be able to wake up everyday and feel good about working with your friend.  Not worrying about if he is gonna explode if you do something he doesn`t like... things like that.   We rarely have disagreements or any type of problem.  We just get up and work.  Nothing more to worry about.  The lesson I have learned is that we need to feel like this everyday of our lives.  We need to be happy with our work, family, friends and just the direction our life is going in.  If we can find this, we will always be happy.  No matter the trials that come our way.

So, Saturday...   I think I will try to call at about 1 00 (colombia time) which is about 11 00 your time (i think...look it up maybe, just to be sure).  There could be a difficulty with finding a place that is open.  I will have to find an internet cafe.  I am quite sure I will be able to find a place, but just in case, be ready for anything.  Mom, have your email open just in case, so we can communicate if something goes wrong.  I was able to get on and make and account on skype so my username is corey.hoddenbach.  I think it will all work out really good.   I am really excited to see you all!  I haven`t spoken english for a while so we will see how it goes.  I don`t have a problem writing every week but sometimes when I speak, I get a little tounge tied.  

Well, I will see you on saturday!  Love you lots!

Love,
    Corey

Monday, December 12, 2011

12-12-11

Dear Family,

This week was good.  Pretty normal except for the Christmas Party thing.   Other than that, not a whole lot new...

The Christmas party thing was fun.  I got to talk to a couple of my friends that I hadn`t seen for a while.  And we got to see Pres Prince and his wife.  Pasto is kinda hard to get to... so they arrived pretty late.  They went to the airport in Cali early in the morning and every single flight to Pasto was sold out...  So they got a flight to Bogota and another from Bogota to Pasto.  So they got to Pasto at about 1 00.  We sang Christmas songs, played games, ate food and got presents.  I was especially happy to get 2 packages from mom and dad!  Thanks!  But anyway, it was a pretty good day.  

After the party, I talked to President Prince for a minute about my companion.  We get along really well and stuff but sometimes he seems kind of down or turned off.  So I felt like I should ask him if there was anything I should know.  Turns out that I have been given a special assignment... again.  Its pretty much the story of my life as a missionary.  Apparently, he has had some problems with this in the past.  He is a good guy and a good missionary but sometimes seems a little depressed.  My new job is to figure out what the deal is and how to help him.  I actually really enjoy my special assignments... 

Thanks for writing back about what your desires are.  I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I am trying to figure it all out.  I think I am going to write a good long sermon or something for Christmas and I will include more of my thoughts.  So for now I will write just a little about it.     Lately, I have thought a lot about my future.  I know I am still a ways away from that but I gotta have an idea of what direction I want to go.  While I agree 100% with each of you about how the gospel and family are the most important, I have found service to be right up there close.  I have learned through serving the importance to serve.  I have learned that I want to spend my life serving.  I don`t really know how yet... but I do know that that is what i want to do.   For me, one of my many desires is to serve and help other people.   (more to come on this subject)

Well sorry this is kinda short and boring... but I love you lots and hope you all have a good week!

Love,
   Corey

Monday, December 5, 2011

12-5-11

Dear Family,

This week was good.  Me and my companion have gotten to be really good friends and are really enjoying this transfer.  So, things are going really good and I am really happy.  Pasto is really cool.  I love it here.  The people are really nice.  Everyone loves us.  And I have really gotten to be really good friends with a few members.    We are also really excited for Christmas here.  They say it is really cool (lights and stuff).  We`ll see I guess.   Christmas is way different here.  The truth is, it is basically a drinking holiday here.  Its kinda sad and makes me miss the good old White Christmas at home.  But it`ll be good.  We have a bunch of invites for Christmas Day.  

Speaking of Christmas, this week is our Christmas party thing with President Prince.  I think it`ll be cool.  They also advised me that I will be receiving 2 packages!  I don`t know from who yet...  but thanks in advance!

Well, we ended up not being able to baptize this week.  We had a problem with an investigators family.  She really wants to get baptized and all but it is causing a bit of tension, especially with the mom.  But it gives us a bit more time to really get her prepared.  She will be a good Relief Society Pres. one day.  Now we will teach the lessons again and in more depth.  Sometimes, we don`t get a chance to really teach everything before baptism.  

Thats pretty crazy hearing about Centerville and how she got destroyed... what did you do to deserve that? haha.  But it kinda makes you think doesn`t it?  Why did it happen?   I have learned in my mission the reality of how everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason is big and sometimes it`s small... but there is always a reason.  My prediction...  the purpose is to get the people to serve each other.  Its something we often forget to do.  Things are better when everyone helps everyone.  I kinda wish I was there to help...

This week, a member printed me off a talk (in English!) by Elder Anderson that is called Educating Your Desires.  I really enjoyed it.  He talked about how powerful our desires really are.  More than anything, I really liked a couple of questions that he asked.   What do you absolutely believe?  and,  What are you willing to fight for and never let go?  I have thought a lot about these questions this week.  I think they are very important to ask to yourself.  Once we know the answers to these questions, there shouldn`t be any wondering what we should do with our time.  Simple but powerful questions.  So, I want to hear from you about this topic.  So I am giving you homework...  Next week I would like to read a little about what you absolutely believe and what you are willing to fight for and never let go.  Thanks.

I hope you have a good week!!!  I love you lots!!!

Love,
      Corey

Monday, November 28, 2011

11-28-11


Dear Family,
 
This week has been pretty good.  We had a baptism!  Also, me and my companion are getting along really well and enjoying our time.   I really can`t believe that its already December (almost...)!  
It was nice to hear about all of your Thanksgivings.   The truth is that I forgot it was Thanksgiving.  I feel bad for forgetting but there aren`t a whole lot of gringo buddies here to remind me.  Here, it was just a regular day.  But just so you all know... these are the things that I am most grateful for:    1.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Gospel   2.  My Family   3.   My Mission     4.  Our Country and the Freedoms we enjoy.     There are many many more and I could always be more specific.  But to me, these are some of the most important things in my life and I really am very grateful for them all.
 
As I said, we had a baptism on Saturday!   It was a 9 year old girl named Luisa Fernanda (or as we call her... Ferchy).  Her mom was already a member and so we are trying to complete the family.  Very soon, we will baptize Ferchy`s brother.  It was a good baptism.  Next week, we have another so I will try and send pics of both of them next week.
 
So I was talking to a member this week who was telling me about the guerilla here in Colombia.  He shared an experience he had when he was visiting family in a dangerous part of Colombia.  He said that he was in a taxi going to his aunts house when a truck swerved in front on them, put a sack on his head and pulled him out of the car.   They carried him way far away to the rain forest and started interrogating him.  Anyway,  it all worked out and they let him go to his aunts house.   But, I was kind of blown away by that story. 
 
Well, the news you have all been waiting for...  I will be able to call any day between the 20th and 31st of December.  So, you tell me when I should call.   Oh, and it`ll be a video call from skype!  So prepare yourselves!  (as in get skype and stuff)
 
Love you all and hope you have a good week!
 
Love,
     Corey

Monday, November 21, 2011

11-21-11

Dear Family,

This week was pretty good.  

Well my new companion is Elder Ureta from Chile.  He is pretty cool and we get along pretty well.  People from Chile have kinda crappy spanish with a weird accent so he is kinda tough to understand sometimes.  And its not just me... sometimes I have to decifer (sp?) his language for members and investigators.  But all is going really well and I think we will get along pretty well this transfer.  

Right now, we are spending a lot of time searching for new investigators.  Its always kinda rough when we have to do that.  But it is going well and we are getting to know a lot of new and cool people.  

Speaking of people...  The people here in Pasto are way cool.  I have made lots of friendships.  I definately feel more loved here in Pasto than in any other area I have been in.   Not to mention that fact that I (being a gringo...) am quite popular here.  Here in Colombia, Americans are treated very nicely...  by most people...

In this transfer, almost the whole mission was changed.  From the 16 missionaries in my zone, 9 had transfers and went to other parts.  So now the whole mission is trying to adjust to the new situation.  Its always hard and awkward but its also a good chance to start over and to learn other things.  I have learned that it doesn´t matter who I´m with, whether he be good or bad, cool or weird,  I always learn something.  And, even though it is sometimes hard to remember, I get though it.  

To answer Dustin´s question...  I have no clue who the girl is in one of the pictures I sent....  She wasn´t with us.  I promise.

And to answer the most common question...  The truth is that I have no clue when I will be able to call you all.  I wrote to President Prince today to ask him so I might have the answer next week.  Maybe.

But the good news is that I will be here in Pasto for Christmas.  I am really excited.  Members have already invited us over and mentioned that we might be getting presents.  They all say that Christmas is really cool here too.

Well that is all!  Love you lots!!! Have a good week!

Love,
 Corey

Monday, November 14, 2011

11-14-11


Dear Family,

This week was really good.  We had some good experiences that are a bit different than normal weeks.

I went on a division with Elder Strahm.  He is the one from kaysville.  It was nice to be able to practice english a little bit and remember cool american stuff.  It was fun.  We worked like normal and everything, but it`s cool to hang out and just enjoy the time.  Sometimes it is really hard to enjoy every second with your companion if he isn`t your best buddy.  Hopefully, I get one who can be a really good friend.  It makes things so much better.

Speaking of which...  My companion, (we have been fairly good friends...) is leaving tomorrow morning.  We have transfers.  I will still be here in Pasto but I don`t know who my comp will be yet.  they will call us tonight to tell us everything.  I sure hope he is a good one (or an american...).  I have always wanted an american companion.  It is way easier to get along with someone who grew up just like you did.  And I don`t mean to bag on the latinos... but americans work way harder...

So we could fully enjoy our last p day together, we called up Elder Strahm and his comp. and headed up the mountain (which is also a volcano...).  I included some pictures of where we went.  It was way cool and pretty much pure jungle.  Hopefully you get the pics.

Earlier this week, we did a service project at the elders quorum presidents house.  It was pretty tough (my comp pooped out haha...).  We dug and carried big old volcanic rocks.  We were pretty tired after, but it was cool cause we saw snakes, tarantulas and all kinds of cool stuff.  Then, to thank us, they gave us cuy!  I included a picture... (the picture is actually of the first one I ate... the second one was better...)

Anyway, this coming week should be interesting.  I`ll keep you posted...

Love you all and hope you have a good week!!!

Love, 
   Corey

P.S.   the first 2 pics are of the recent baptism we had.  Alex.
         the third is the cuy.
         the rest (i think) are of our little hike we did today.









Monday, November 7, 2011

11-7-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was good.  It was super fast...  I feel like I was just writing to you like 2 days ago.  All the weeks have been mushed together so I don´t even know what happened this week.  So sorry if there are repeats...  (and I don´t have much time today... we are kinda busy. so sorry if this is short. again...)
 
So the other day, a family invited us over for dinner.  We were all excited to go because they were planning to give us the most famous dish in Pasto.  Cuy!  Now, before I tell you what it is, just know that its a different world down here.  It will seem weird to you and maybe even cruel... but, this is Colombia.      Cuy is the spanish word for Guienea Pig...    Yep, that cute little pet...  Its pretty tasty though... 
 
Also that same day, for lunch, we went to a members house in a nearby town called Obonuco.  They gave me what was quite possibly one of the weirdest things I have ever eaten.  They gave me pata de vaca!   or in english,  Cow´s foot.  Just imagine that.  Its pretty much as gross as it sounds.   Don´t try it at home.
 
On wednesday, i had to go on divisions with an elder from my zone.  he is from the coast of colombia and is really really weird and annoying and hard to get along with.  He is the type that strives to be the president´s assistant.  He is super self absorbed and arrogant.  He doesn´t get along with his companion (who is a good buddy of mine).  His companion/our district leader knows that I have had some difficult companions so he sent me to go have a talk with him.  It all went really well but I felt bad for him.  Turns out that his brothers were both assistants in their missions and he feels like his family expects the same from him.  So as a result, he spends all his efforts in trying to impress the president or other leaders and forgets to focus on the important things like his companion or the investigators.  Anyway I hope I was able to help...  and I can´t quite figure out why I am the one that is always sent on special missions..  But I am getting pretty good at them.     But this whole experience got me thinking of what can happen in our lives if we forget to focus on the important things or when we put our focus on the wrong things.  Everything gets out of hand.  Things start falling apart, etc.   I guess we just have to prioritize at least..
 
Well this transfer is coming to a close.  I think there is about a week left.  We are pretty sure my companion is leaving (seeing as how President Prince told me that...).  So I am pretty excited to get a new companion.  I am pretty sure the president will give me a good one.  I had a good talk with him in my interview and he told me that he can see the potential of our area and wants to send an excited missionary here.  I guess we will see.  We never know what can happen with transfers. 
 
Love you all! Have a good week!
 
Love,
   Corey

Monday, October 31, 2011

10-31-11

Dear Family,

This week was really good.  I enjoyed it a lot.  A lot of things happened so I will try to share it all.  But today I am on a really crappy computer and can´t type very well.  So sorry if its short...

So we ended up having zone conference.  It was really good.  Probably the best one I have ever had.  It was way different that usual but way better.  It was a 2 day conference.  We went on the first day and had interviews and other instruction (pretty much rules and stuff...).  Then we played soccer with the whole zone.  It was way fun and my team dominated every game.  Then, on the second day, President Prince spoke.  He spoke all morning long and pretty much blew everyone away.  It was about sacrifice.  He explained everything in such a simple way and we all learned a lot.  I felt the spirit more that day than I had in a long time.  President Prince is a really cool guy.  He knows a lot too.  It was really cool to hear from him.  

I hadn`t heard from him for a really long time so it was really nice to see him.  We are just so far away from him that he doesn`t really get the opportunity to come a lot.  It was nice to see all the friends from the zone too.  I talked with the 2 other americans in my zone for quite a while.  They are both from utah.  Elder Strahm and Elder Farr.  

Oh and after the conference, they gave me my package, mom!  Thanks!  It`s always nice to find an american surprise...

On Saturday, we had the baptism of Alex.  He is the soldier I told you about.  He was the most prepared investigator i have ever had.  It was a really good baptism.  He asked me to baptize him.  He was a privilige to do it.  Then on sunday, we confirmed him and we were able to ordain him to the aaronic priesthood (because soldiers are a special case).  Then after church, he had to return to the army.  We are kinda sad to see him go... 

Well sorry its short...  Have a good week!

Love,  
     Corey

Monday, October 24, 2011

10-24-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was pretty interesting.  All went well but sometimes we have weird things happen to us. 
 
On Monday, after I wrote to you, we headed out to go play soccer.  It had been raining and was super cold.  We got to field and as it all turns out, the owners wouldn´t let us play because we would ¨damage¨ the field.  So we all got in taxis and went to a different field.  It was way far away and while we were driving I sat in the front seat and started to talk to the driver.  So as we are swerving around and driving through pretty run down neighborhoods, he decided to tell me about how dangerous the place was.  As I started to pay more attention to the people (kids...) on the side of the road, I started noticing how every single one was smoking marijuana and had guns in their pants.  He started telling me that the police doesn´t even dare to enter the neighborhood.  Turns out the police are all too scared.    I guess one thing I have learned in my mission is that we are really blessed to live in a place where we don´t have to worry.  I have seen some pretty horrific things and every time I do, I have to thank our Heavenly Father for the life that I (and we) have.  We are so lucky to not only live in a safe place, but to live in a good country with a good government.  I know our country ain´t perfect... but it´s the best the world´s got.  Think about it... Then, count your blessings.
 
On Wednesday, I had divisions with Elder Vasquez.  He is from Peru and is a pretty cool kid.  I´m usually not the biggest fan of divisions but all went really well.  In the morning we had only 1 appointment and we didn´t have lunch.  So we decided to go buy some things to make lunch for ourselves.  Plus I wanted to learn how to make Peruvian food (supposedly it´s the best in the world... thats what they say at least...).  So we headed out and got everything and went back to the house.  As I put the key in the door and started to turn, the door didn´t open.  The key just spun and spun...  So there we were... hungry, excited to eat, cold, and stuck outside.  So we tried and tried to open it but couldn´t.  So we had to call a locksmith.  He showed up at about 12 00.  He tried and tried to open it but couldn´t.  He called another guy to come help.  Together, they still couldn´t do it.  They called another guy and finally by about 7 30 at night, they had the door open and fixed.  It was so frustrating.  We were starving so we visited only 1 family and then cooked our food. 
 
Speaking of the food.  Holy cow!  Peruvian food is so dang good!  I´ll have to try and learn some stuff so I can show you when I get back.
 
All of our investigators are progressing really well and we have a baptism this saturday!  November will also bring quite a few more.  We are pretty excited. 
 
This week we are supposed to have zone conference with President Prince.  I say that we are ¨supposed to¨ because we are so far away from Cali that it is very hard for him to come.  But, its always cool to hear from him.  And that means that he will most likely bring my package, mom!  (If it has arrived... we never know, do we?)
 
Anyway, thanks for your letters and support. I always love to hear from each of you.  Love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,
     Corey

Monday, October 17, 2011

10-17-11

Dear Family,

This week was really good.  We had a lot of things going on and lots of people who came to us and said they wanted to be baptized.  November should be a pretty good month!

We are teaching a soldier again.  He is really cool and he came from Bogotá so he could be baptized.  We taught him once and he said, ¨When can I be baptized?¨  I think it´s almost too easy here in Pasto...  But it really is a blessing to have that.  I think that since we work so hard in other cities without so much success, we get to come to Pasto and get recompensed.

So I think I have mentioned in one of my letters that the people from Pasto have a cute little elven-like accent.   Well it turns out, for saying that, I have been punished with that very cute little elven-like accent...  I don´t know how it happened.  I guess when you are trying to fit into the culture, things start to stick...  Hopefully, it won´t stick with me too long.  It´s cute, but with other peope not me. 

The other day, we saw a picture of Santa Claus with his slay and reindeer (they get prepared early down here).   My companion asked me if the reindeer really could fly...  At first I thought he was joking, but quickly found that he wasn´t.  So I took advantage.   I couldn´t let this opportunity pass.  So I said, ¨Absolutely, it sounds kinda crazy, but they are all over the place in Alaska and Canada and even in the mountains of Utah!¨  I kind of feel bad for lying, but I had to do it!  I thought it was funny.

Last week on Monday, we played soccer with the young men in the ward.  I am getting better...  But I mentioned that these latinos are dead serious about their soccer, right?  Well I experienced it first hand.  A kid hit me pretty hard and I ended up with a big old cut on my leg.  It didn´t hurt too much but its kinda ugly.  Then they couldn´t figure out why I didn´t sit out for the rest of the game (soccer players can be pretty wimpy...).  

Well, it sounds like everyone is doing well up there.  I am always happy to hear from each of you!  and sorry if I can´t write back to everyone...  I´ll try to be better.

I hope you all have a good week!  Love you lots!

Love,
  Corey

Monday, October 10, 2011

10-10-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was good.  Its weird to have already been in the mission for a year...  Now I am excited to finish off strong.  I only have a year left...  I know what I´m doing and I have to take advantage of what I have learned and continue to help people find Christ.  Its super weird though.  I feel like I just came to Colombia, but also its so normal that I feel like I´ve been here forever.  It´s kind of a weird situation...
 
So lately we have been playing a lot of soccer.  Its way fun, but its pretty tough to be the one that hasn´t played his whole life.  But, I am getting to the point where I can keep up with them pretty well.  Anyway, its a lot of fun and it´s cool to play soccer in a place where it´s way bigger than anything (when I say anything... I mean anything...).  And the emotion of these soccer playing latinos is kinda funny sometimes.  They are dead serious about this game.  Almost to the point where they look like they are dreading the game...  Sometimes there are even tears...
 
Yesterday, I got a pretty good self confidence booster.  We went to a members house to eat dinner.  They have a house here in Pasto but they are from a city called Tumaco.  So they were just visiting for the week and invited us over.  They knew my companion but had never met me.  So instantly they see that I am American and think that I probably don´t speak Spanish.  They start talking to me like I´m a little kid, and I respond in fluent spanish.  They were kind of taken back by that...  They thought that we were lying to them and that I was actually from a spanish speaking country. But, after convincing them otherwise, they complimented me on my spanish and told me that of all the american missionaries that they have seen, I speak better and more fluently than all of them... I don´t know if they were just saying that to make me feel good, but I don´t care becuase I do feel good.   One story like this makes up for all the times that I have made a fool of myself...
 
We are working with a few people right now who really look like they will be baptized.  They say that they just want to be sure.  So we are pretty excited to baptize them.
 
I know this was short... but I don´t have a whole lot more to share...   

Love you lots and hope you have a good week!
 
Love,
    Corey
 
P.S. mom i haven´t gotten a package from you yet... maybe this week.

Friday, October 7, 2011

1 Year


C:\Users\Jeanne\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\G4BLM9E7\MP900179966[1].jpgTHE CAMEL IS THE SYMBOL OF
A SEASONED MISSIONARY

As you come to the one-year mark of your mission, I am sending you this camel to remind you how far you have come, and where you are going. There are many similar characteristics of a great missionary and a camel.

The first is the "hump". Yes, you have crossed the mark and now are over the hump of the first year. But remember the hump of a camel is used to store food for the long journey. Camels can go for long periods of time without food, but he must store his food in his hump. A missionary has learned from so many experiences, but a wise missionary will store the knowledge he has gained, and put it to greater use the second half of his mission.
Another important symbol is what the camel does to be prepared to carry his load for his Master. A camel sometimes protests his heavy load, but he drops to knees for his Master, and once started, he patiently carries his load. As a missionary sometimes the load seems heavy and difficult to carry. But when you drop to your knees and succumb to the Master's will, he will carefully lead you and you can bear the load patiently, and do your Father in Heaven's work as he would have you do. This is why the camel's knees are heavily padded; as a Missionary, your knees are calloused from the many hours of kneeling in prayer.

The camel has high set eyes that enable him to see long distances. A missionary has his eyes set on higher things, he follows the Spirit that enables him to see the Children of God, those who are seeking answers, and he teaches them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The camel has broad, two-toed feet that keep it from sinking in desert sand. A missionary has a broad knowledge and a firm testimony of the Gospel. This enables him to teach with boldness and stand firm in his testimony. The people you teach do not yet have the blessing of such a sure-foot, but as you teach with love and the Spirit, you will help them gain their own testimony that will help them walk on firmer ground. One that will lead them back to their Father in Heaven.

So you see, a Missionary has a lot in common with a camel. Put this camel where you can see it often. Dedicate yourself to do as the camel does. Serve your Master well and patiently over the long journey. You have come a long way; there is still much ground to cover. Continue to move forward, serving with love, until your mission is complete and your Father in Heaven will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

10-3-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was great, wasn´t it?  We got to listen to a Prophet!!!  General Conference was awesome this weekend and I learned so much.  This week was kind of strange because we had lots of stuff going on... President Prince came to town to give a leaders conference.  It´s always really cool to hear from him.  Its cool to see what he is doing with the mission.  We are changing a lot as a mission and we have really high hopes to progress a lot more than we already are.  So due to 2 days of conference with the president and 2 more days of general conference, we didn´t get to work a lot... but we did get to learn a lot.  (I also don´t have too much to share either...)
 
So, I have some news...  In the month of September, my zone here in Pasto was the best zone of the whole mission!!! We baptized 17!!!  Here in Colombia, thats pretty dang good.  Also, we are one of the smallest zones in the mission...  But wait theres more...  My district, was also the best in the mission!!!  Just my district had 8 baptisms.   So yeah its cool to be able to baptize again.  I´ve missed it.  We have an expected 25 baptisms for october too!

Conference here in Colombia is a little different.  We don´t get to sit on the couch and watch it from the comfort of home... We have to go to the stake center... Its not quite as cool/comfortable, but conference is conference.  One thing that I didn´t like, is that I had to watch it in Spanish...  I don´t like the translations.  It´s not nearly as powerful.  The jokes don´t make sense and you can´t hear the emotion of the speaker.  But you get the message.  But there were lots of cool talks. 
 
My favorite talk was the talk by Elder Holland in the priesthood session.  He always gives awesome talks.  Also, President Monson always gives really good talks.  He seemed a little different this year...  hes always funny and everything, but seemed a little bit more light hearted.  I really enjoyed every word he said.  Even though I watched in spanish, I could feel the power of every single word he said and my testimony of him grew a lot.
 
Colombia is getting another temple!!!  I am so happy to hear that.  It was so cool to see/feel the reaction of the people when he announced it.  Everyone was shocked.  I have really realized the importance of temples living in a country where there aren´t temples within 5 minutes from your house... It is a really big deal to have a temple closeby.  Take advantage, family!  Barranquilla is not close to where I am (as mom said, its as far away from me as possible and still be in the same country...) and is not even in my mission, but its cool to see the church progress in the country.
 
I love you all and hope you have a good week!!!
 
Love,
Corey
 
 
P.S. Kristin: I killed the cobra with a machete... I cut off its head...   you wanted to know...

Monday, September 26, 2011

9-26-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was good.  We baptized Javier!!!  It was such a good baptism and he may be my best convert.  He was probably the only investigator I have ever had that put ALL his trust in us.  It turned out really cool because I promised him that if he did that, he could fill every single hole in his life.  And my promise is already fulfilling itself.  It is really amazing to see things like that happen.  He will be an awesome leader in the church someday and it is really satisfying to see him progress.  He is even introducing his friends to us!
 
Pasto is a really interesting place.  It is a little city, which makes our areas fairly small.  It is the opposite of my area in Belen.  We can walk through the whole area in 10 or 15 min. (Belen we could do it in an hour.)  And not only that, but the people listen to us!  It is the best.  Its the zone that all the missionaries want to go to.  Oh and the members absolutely love us!  It is cool to feel so special...
 
On Saturday, we did a service project at a little school house.  It is a really cool little place but it is all overgrown and had some problems.  We worked for quite a while there and were able to see a lot of progress.  But most of all, I just thought it was the coolest little school.  It is kind of set back away from town.  The only problem is that there are a lot of creatures that live there.   For example, tarantulas and snakes and stuff...  I saw tarantulas bigger that my hand!  And we saw a cobra!  He was ticked at us too...  And being a school house or the equivalent of an elementary school, we had to kill it...  or I guess I should say I had to kill it.  All the other guys there were too wussy to do it.  But dont worry, the children can now play in peace.
 
Well, everything is going well here.  October should be a good month.  We have a few baptisms planned and they seem like sure deals.  But, other than that, not a whole lot more to say.  I hope you all have a great week and I love you!
 
Love,
   Corey
 
P.S. there are 2 pics of the school and the other is of the baptism.  The guy in the middle is Javier and the other is the Bishop.  And the white guy is me...



Monday, September 19, 2011

9-19-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was pretty good.  Pasto is such an awesome place!  I think it might be the magic place for the missionaries of the Mission Colombia Cali.  It´s crazy because the baptisms just come.  Sometimes we don´t have to do anything.  I already told you about Javier right?  He´s getting baptized this Saturday!!! It´s cool because he is a friend of the Bishop and he just showed up at church one day and now, 3 weeks later, is getting baptized!  I will try to send pictures next week...
 
I was really grateful for the packages I got!  It was so good to see some american stuff.  We have pretty much eaten everything already... Its sad to see it all go, but it was good while it lasted.  Funny story about the package from Kristin.  Everything came in tact.  Everything but the powdered suger included to make muddy buddies... You might be thinking that it may have caused a problem with them thinking it was cocain...  If you are thinking that, you might be right, but in a different way than you might think.  Now you should know that I don´t know exactly what happened.  But I´ve got a pretty good idea.  It seems as though it did cause a problem, but not a security problem.  It looks like someone (most likely the workers) thought it was cocain, and to make sure, they wanted to give it the test.  It may seem like a weird thing to have happen.  And you are right, it is a weird thing to have happen, in the USA.  To understand this story, you must remember where i am... Colombia...
 
This week was better health wise.  I am still not back to normal yet.  But I feel a lot better.  I just can´t eat very much.  The food here is good and everything but I am going through a phase where I don´t want to eat it.  Its tough but I imagine I´ll get through it.  But you may be able to understand if I say it is the same thing every day... rice and beans... unless you are in pasto it is rice and potatoes.
 
Not a whole lot more this week...  I did learn a lot about personal revelation and learned things that I don´t even know how to share...
 
Have a great week. Love you all!!!
 
Love,
       Corey

Monday, September 12, 2011

9-12-11


Dear Family,
This week wasn´t too intersesting...  We had some good experiences and everything but, I was sick the whole week.  It´s weird because after almost a year in the mission, I´m just getting sick now...  I don´t really know what has caused it, because Pasto is pretty clean (relatively speaking...).  I´ve just had flu like symtoms for 2 weeks now but it looks like I´m pretty much recovered now.
On Saturday, we had had a baptism.  It was probably the best/coolest baptism I have been a part of in my mission.  The guy´s name is Edinson.  His whole family got baptized about 8 years ago.  He had been working in a little town here close to Pasto.  The problem he had was that he worked in an alcohol factory (or the english equivalent to that...) and really liked to drink with the buddies.   In that time he was spending the nights in a little house alone.  One night, he had a dream where Jesus appeared to him and told him to get baptized.  So as he said in his own words, ¨Jesus told me to, so I had to!¨  He shared his testimony after his baptism and said that he had filled the whole in his life.  He his super excited to go to the temple and get sealed to his family.       I included a picture of him and me and the other is of his family.  Oh and he is one of the funniest guys I know.
Today, we all got together as missionaries and made lunch and went to play soccer.  We invited investigators and members and made two teams.  The first (and the best) was just missionaries and the rest played on the other team.  We played for like 3 hours and we pretty much destroyed them.  It was fun and everything but we are all dead now.  Most of us haven´t played anything for our whole missions and now we are dying.  But it was cool.  (and thats why my letter is a little late...)
All of our investigators are really good and we have 7 investigators who go to church every sunday.  We will be baptizing like crazy here pretty soon.  We have one of the best areas in the whole mission.  Pres Prince wrote to me and said that it sounds like your gonna baptize the whole world.
I finally got my packages from mom and kristin!  I haven´t opened them yet but tonight I will.  Thanks!!! 
All is well here (and cold...)!  I love Pasto and I am blessed to be here.
I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Love,
   Corey



Monday, September 5, 2011

9-5-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was good.  We had lots of really cool experiences, but I was sick the whole week.  It all started on wednesday and got worse everyday...  Now, I feel ok.  Not great but just ok.  I don´t really know why I was sick or anything. 
 
So, as a result of being sick all week, I don´t have too much to share this week...  But i will do my best.  I think one of the coolest things that happened was that we got a new investigator who is a friend of the bishop here.  This guy, Javier, is the best investigator ever!  He is the kind of guy that has essencially destroyed his own life.  He shared with us what he did (most of which being problems with the family...) but he humbled himself and confessed everything.  After all of that he said that he has been going to lots of churches and stuff but never felt good about anyone of them, until he came to our church...  We reassured him that he had been prepared and guided to the bishop and to us.  Then we started to teach him.  He really liked the lesson about the restoration.  He told us that he was willing to do anything to get his life back on track.  One of the coolest parts was when I promised him that if he would listen and apply the teachings of the gospel that he would get his family back and everything would get better.  It was a promise that I wanted to give him so bad but I had to wait to get permission from the Spirit to give it.  It was really cool because I really got the prompting to tell him these things. 
 
From that lesson, we went to another where we didn´t know what to teach.  We both opened our Book of Mormon to the exact same page ( by ¨coincidence¨...)  and shared a scripture that the investigator really needed.  She even cried and asked us how we knew what the problem was. 
 
So I guess what I´m trying to say with all this is that the Holy Ghost is real and that we should all trust more in him to guide us.
 
Now some notes about my new area...
 
1. My companion and I are getting along really well.
2. I never thought I would be freezing cold in Colombia, but Pasto is butt cold all the time...
3. The people here in Pasto have really cute elf accents...  it is the best haha.
4. Pastusos (the people from Pasto)  are super cool.  They are pretty much the nicest best people I have ever met. 
5. The counselor in the ward here had a problem with the missionaries... Now he´s not counselor...
 
I can´t think of a whole lot more to say...  But Pasto is the best and the situation is awesome here!
 
And we will be baptizing a guy named Edinson here on Saturday!  He is getting baptized after 10 years of listening to the missionaries and is the last in the family.
 
I hope you all have a great week and I love you all!!!
 
Love,
 Corey

Monday, August 29, 2011

8-29-11

Dear Family,

This week was pretty nuts.   A lot happened so we will see if I can cover it all.  Mom included a list of questions that I will use to guide me in my letter.

1-Did you get your birthday package???????
2-How was your birthday? Did you do anything fun?
3-How was the bus ride to Pasto? I envisioned something out of Romancing the Stone, with a rickety bus and people with chickens in crates.  Dad said that was silly, that Colombia is a civilized country. . .
4-What is your new area like? What about your apartment?
5- How are things with your new companion?
6- We love details about your life.

1.  My birthday package from mom has arrived at the office of the mission.  I will likely get it this week or the next.  Kristin, I havent gotten your package left.  But dont worry, it will probably arrive...

2.  My birthday was fine...  we played soccer, where the other missionaries gave me a cake and tried to smash it in my face...  dont worry, they failed miserably.  But it was sad because it fell on the floor...  Other than that, it was a pretty normal day.  Oh, but our way awesome mission leader here in Pasto gave me a book and cooked for me for 2 days!  He is way awesome and is already a really good friend.

3.  The bus ride to Pasto was pretty cool.  Long, but cool.  I left on tuesday morning at 6:00.  We got in a big huge tour bus and headed for Cali.  Its a long twisty road but 10 hours later, we got to Cali.  I stayed the night in Cali in a big house that the mission has.  It was way cool because I was with about 25 other missionary buddies, including Elder McKay from the MTC.  It was so good to see everybody and have our big family reunion.  And I was given the responsablity to take care of the new americans that came.  then at 4:00 the next morning, I headed to Pasto.  This time in a rickety old bus.  No chickens, but still...  Yeah Colombia is a ¨civilized¨ country.

4.  My new area is the best!  It is a part of pasto called Bachué.  the members are way awesome and they already love me.  Its really cool to be in an area where the church is really strong.  Oh and mom, if you remember, Elder Strahm is here with me in the same zone.   Oh and the apartment is way awesome.  It is huge and has hot water!  Oh and Pasto is freezing cold...  I had to buy a sweater and I wear it everyday...

5.  My new companion is pretty cool.  So far so good.  But I have been sent here to fix him.  Apparently, he fights with all of his companions and he might want to go home.  So Pres. Prince sent me here to figure it all out.  He is Elder Guerrero from Peru.  He has been in the mission for like 15 months but I am senior companion. 

6.  Sorry but thats about it for this week...

Love you all and hope you have a good week.

Love, 
 Corey

Monday, August 22, 2011

8-22-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was a quick one again...  We have seen a bit of progress in our work and in the ward.  Its slow, but one day it will get better. 
 
I received some big news last night...   I am being transfered to Pasto!   It was weird because in the past, transfers have always been on Thursday.  So I was planning on knowing if I was gonna leave tomorrow night and not last night.  But they have changed transfers to Wednesday.  So they will advise us on Monday night or tonight.  But since I am leaving and traveling to the other side of the mission, I have to leave tomorrow morning.  So they told me last night.  Do you understand???  Its complicated, I know.
 
Medellin is the farthest part of the mission in the north and Pasto is the farthest in the south.  So I get to travel 20 hours in bus...  That´s right, 20 hours!   But it is the part of the mission that baptizes the most and is also the coldest part.  I am really excited to go there.  (It was exactly where I wanted to go.)  I don´t have any more information about the transfer, so I´ll let you know more next week.  Oh and Pasto is on the border of Ecuador.
 
This week, we worked really hard and walked a lot and really saw the fruits of our labor.  For the first time in Medellin, we found 14 new investigators who will most likely progress.  For Medellin, its a lot...  But I learned a lot from that experience.  It doesn´t matter how hard the area is, there are people who want to listen.  But I learned it too late... (the last day of the transfer...)
 
Yesterday, I helped a man who can´t walk climb some stairs.  He lived on the biggest hill in the area, and we could see him struggling, so we helped him out.  He was really grateful and it was a good experience.  But it wasn´t till after that I realized how important that experience was for me.  I can walk, I can run, I can do all kinds of things.  And I still complain.  There are a whole lot of people who can´t walk, can´t run, can´t do all kinds of things, and don´t complain.  We are very blessed to have what we have and be able to do what we do.  I learned how much I need to take advantage of what I have, and use them to help other people.
 
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,
  Corey

Monday, August 15, 2011

8-15-11


Dear Family,
 
This week went by super fast.  We have been struggling a bit here with the lack of investigators and member support. 
 
We were finally able to talk to the Bishop...  He had been avoiding us and saying that he was too busy and that we should try again next week.  The truth is that we were pretty sick of hearing that.  But we finally were able to talk to him and superficially fix our problems.  But he told us a few things that really bothered us.  First of all, Pres. Prince told us to ask forgiveness even though we didn´t do anything wrong.  So we did.  He ¨accepted¨ and started to ¨teach¨ us.  We told him that all we want is more member support and he told us that we don´t need it...  He said that in his mission, they had to knock doors all day everyday.  (hey, sounds familiar, right?)  We told him that not only does Preach My Gospel teach us that but it is the focus of our mission president.   It all went relatively peaceful...  But now, he is telling all the members that we can only be in their house for 20 minutes for lunch and that we shouldn´t share a message with them.  Oh and that when we arrive they have to be reading the scriptures until we leave...   The whole situation here is really getting out of hand.
 
The truth is that not a whole lot more happened this week...  But some odds and ends are that:  Colombia got elimanated in the World Cup they are hosting.  The bats here are HUGE and almost always swoop down close to your head.  Transfers are in about a week.  Its been scorching hot here for like 3 months.  I haven´t sat on a comfortable bed, couch, chair, etc. for almost a year.  Speaking another language, my vocabulary (in english) has enhanced like crazy (for example the word ¨enhance¨,  I never used that word before...).   And, I have eaten rice every day for every meal for almost a year.
 
Now, to finish,  I want to share a scripture with you.  1 Corithians 2:2,  i don´t know exactly what it says in english, but it more or less says that we shouldn´t teach or preach anything more than the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes we talk about things that don´t really matter.  But Elder Holland says that only our testimony of Him will prevail against the gates of hell.  So how important is it to gain and strengthen our testimony of the most important thing in our lives.
 
Well, thats all I have to say for now...  I love you all and hope you have a great week!
 
Love,
  Corey

Monday, August 8, 2011

8-8-11

Dear Family,

This week has been good...  Kinda different, but good.  It was the Flower Fair all week.  Which makes things espercially hard to be a missionary.  No one wants to let us in their house and everyone gets drunk...  But the week went by fast so it´s all good.

So mom and dad shared with me a bit of what they learned in a sunday school class with Bishop Edgley.  As I understand it, it was about the culture of the church.  It just so happens that this is a slightly familiar topic here in the mission since President Prince gave a conference all about it.  And now it has become a main focus of our work here in Belen.  Both my companion and I have felt that we have been sent to this ward (both of us being born in the church...) to help in the influence of the culture.  The members are a bit lazy and need a lot of help to know what members of the church really do.  So that really is what we were trying to propose to the ward counsel when the Bishop flipped out.  So we have been working with the members one by one.  Not behind the back of the bishop or anything... maybe just a little bit softer and in a more subtle way.  We are mainly focusing on the fact that the church is not a business that need business men to run it...  or as Elder Holland says it, ¨the church is not a fast food restaurant!¨  It is a church run by Jesus Christ himself and all we really need to run it is love.  And right now, this is our biggest problem.  Our investigators don´t feel extra special when they go to church like they should.   But I really do know that with time, things will change.  They just don´t know how the church works yet...

This week, my missionary tag broke...  I´m not really sure how, but it´s kinda sad.  The tag becomes a part of your body...  now I have to order a new one, but it´s not the same as the first tag I ever had...

It´s been flaming hot here in medellin...   I think I might be a redman when i get home...

Sorry but that´s about all... Love you all and have a great week!

Love,
 Corey

Monday, August 1, 2011

8-1-11


Dear Family,
 
This week and the week before have been crazy.  We have been running around trying to teach, fix problems, and do all we need to do but we can´t seem to catch up on all the work.  And right now in Medellin there is a big fair going on.  Its called la Feria de las Flores (Flower Fair...)  Its like the most important holiday in Medellin and it last for about 10 days.  Also, there is a world cup soccer tournament going on also it all of colombia.  So the city is packed full and adds to our stress here. 
 
We have been trying to fix our problems with the Bishop here but he seems to be avoiding us.  We have talked with President Prince and with the Stake President a lot and they seem to be on our side.  They have counseled us to keep trying to talk to him and to remember that he is young and not very experienced.  They also said that while we do all of that they will call him.  Its a rough situation but I think we will resolve it all this week.
 
Bad news about Anderson...  We had planned his baptism this week and everything.  We had it all set for Saturday and the Army called him up and needed him instantly because the Farc (guerilla) killed his Commander.  He left and we couldn´t baptize him...  He returns in October and will be baptized then.  Meanwhile, we got permission to email him while he is gone.  He also told us that he really wanted to go back because it is really hard to hear about his friends and leaders dying while he is on the sidelines.
 
Speaking of the Farc (guerilla), they are saying in the news and everything down here that they are rising up again.  About 10 years ago, the Farc was pretty much controlling Colombia.  Then, former Pres. of the Republic of Colombia Uribe dominated them and almost put them to an end.  Now with the new Pres. the Farc is rising because he doesn´t do anything to stop them.  Maybe you can find a bit more information in the internet...
 
Well, that´s about it...  I hope you all have a good week! 
 
Love,
   Corey
 
P.S.  read Elder Nelson´s talk from the recent conference.  I really liked it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

7-25-11


Dear Family,
This week was good.  For the most part...
We had interviews and zone conference with Presidente Prince!  He is really an awesome guy and he taught us some really cool things.  My interview was really cool.  He is relearning spanish so the first thing he said is, ¨I feel like we should have this interview in English...¨ It was really hard but we talked about a lot of things.  The conference was based on the theme of working with the members.  It was really good and he has now approved that we can play soccer!  We had ban on soccer from Pte. Bolivar and now we can finally play.  He really seems like he will be an awesome Presidente.  I am really excited to work with him. 
We had a baptism!  I attached 2 photos of the baptism.  Anderson didn´t get baptized yet, but we are working on baptizing him this week before he returns to the war...  But we baptized Pamela.  She is the one that called us up to tell us she wanted to be baptized. We did it Sunday morning before church.  It was really cool. 
Then yesterday, we had ward counsel.  We were excited to share the things that Pte. Prince taught us.  We got there and the circus began.  Ward counsel here in this ward is a joke.  They don´t respect anyone and they just laugh and joke around the whole time.  We had a bunch of things planned to talk about because we are in desperate need of help.  My companion said something (I don´t even remember what he said...) and the Bishop misunderstood and flipped out.  He thought that he was critisizing him and he started yelling at us for 15 minutes in front of the whole ward council.  He started insulting us and he lost control of himself.  We just sat there waiting for him to finish.   Later, he told me that he was mostly talking to my companion, and that I shouldn´t worry about what he said.  I told him that I had taken the side of my companion and (not using these words exactly...) he had lost control.  He truly was not justified in the things he said.  We have done more for this ward than they give us credit for.  I know there are things that we need to change and repent for and that we are not perfect, and we will change and repent, but he does not have the right to insult us and our work.  And we left...
It´s been a crazy week and I know this letter is short but I had to write Pte. Prince about our situation here.  He is going to call the Bishop today.  We are just hoping we can get through this with everybody in one piece.
Love you all and have a good week!
Love,
  Corey





Monday, July 18, 2011

7-18-11


Dear Family,
 
I didn´t get transferred!!!  I think God heard my prayers because almost all of my zone (the biggest zone in the mission) was transferred.  I really wanted to finish what I started here...

Now, you may be asking yourselves what I started here.  I think I mentioned that I had a little talk with the Bishopric here in Belen.  In this little talk with the Bishopric, I had the chance to talk about how we have been abandoned.  No one ever wants to help us, including the leaders.  We don´t have any support.  So I think I touched their hearts with my slightly hard words, because they gave me the opportunity to speak in church.  So the bishop gave me permission to speak very directly.      I spoke yesterday and had a really cool experience because the Spirit was filling my mouth with words.  We can already see a little bit of a difference and we have really high hopes!
 
So, I finally broke the wild horse!!!  My companion now respects me and actually listens to me.  We almost never have problems and I think he is learning how to have social skills.   So another transfer here should go just fine...
 
Anderson is really progressing a lot and is really excited to be baptized!  The other day, my companion asked him a very direct question... He asked him how many guerillas he´s killed...  I couldn´t believe he asked that because I imagine it could be a pretty sensative subject. But he opened right up and told us all about his job.  He didn´t tell us a number, but he decribed a lot of really cool things.  It was really interesting to talk to learn all about what he does.   Then we started talking about guns, which I really enjoyed. 
 
Oh yeah, the subject of this email is the word that I have implemented into my vocabulary this week.  ¨Q´hubo!¨  It is the closest equivalent to, ¨What´s up!¨ that I can find.  Sometimes, words just start jumping into my vocab...
 
Well thats about it for this week...  Love you all and hope you have a good week!!!
 
Love,
    Corey

Monday, July 11, 2011

7-11-11


Dear Family,
 
This week was awesome!!! I feel like all my hard work here is finally starting to pay off! 
 
Anderson and his wife (well, future wife...) have progressed a ton.  We have taught them for 1 week and we can already see a huge difference in their lives.  He is by far the best investigator I´ve ever had.  He invited us to go to his house for lunch today.  They are gonna get married on the 15th and baptized on the 23rd.  He said the other day that he wants us to go to his house everyday to teach him!  He is excited to be baptized and I´m excited to baptize him. 
 
And we have another that wants to get baptized on the 23rd too.  She called us up the other day and said, ¨Hey, come teach me, I want to be baptized!¨  We were pretty surprised because she had already rejected us.
 
I just hope I´m still here.  Transfers are this week...  I am just praying that God will let me stay here.  I know that if I leave its for a reason, but I desperatley want to be here. 
 
Oh, this week I had to flip a lid to the members.  I think I told you how the members are really lazy here and stuff including the leaders and stuff.  So I had the chance to talk to the Bishopric about all of the problems..  Now they have assigned me to speak in church.  The Bishop said to speak really directly to the members.  So I´m pretty excited to do it, if i´m still here...
 
Well sorry for the short letter this week.  Next week will be better.  I promise. 
 
Love you all!!!

Corey

Monday, July 4, 2011

7-4-11


Dear Family,
 
First of all I have to say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!!  It´s kind of weird not to be celebrating the 4th of July like usual...  I love America.  Not to say I don´t love Colombia too, because I do.  A lot.  Its just different. 
 
All is well here in Colombia.  Its super hot today and we are dying but luckily we aren´t walking the streets today.    There is a huge soccer tournament called  ´la copa america´  going on right now here in South America.  Its in Argentina but Colombia is playing and doing pretty well, so its cool to see.  Not that we get to see it...  But its cool to be in a soccer world.
 
We are finally starting to find more people.  We found 3 or 4 this week that will probably get baptized.  One of them is someone really cool.  His name is Anderson.  He is in the Colombian Army fighting the guerilla in Southern Columbia/Ecuador.  He is in the most dangerous war zone in South America.  His wife just had a baby this week so he is here for 30 days.  He wants to be baptized and he wants to take the Book of Mormon back to the war so that he can share it with his soldiers.  He is about 28 or so and he is a leader in his unit.  We got to talking and it turns out that he was contracted by the US to go to Iran and Iraq to be trained and to fight.  Then, came back and now has his own special operations unit.    His wife says that almost everyday on the phone she hears gunshots and then he says, ¨sorry, I gotta go...¨  But its cool to talk to him and its cool that he really truly wants the gospel in his life.
 
President and Sister Prince got to the mission 3 days ago.  It was hard to see Pte. Bolívar leave but it turns out that Pte. Prince is really cool.  He came to Medellin today to meet us.  He has about 6 kids but only 1 is here in the mission.  He still speaks spanish pretty well (he served his mission here in Cali)  and his wife is learning.  Its cool to see because she only ever studied spanish in high school for 1 year but she has so much faith in the gift of tounges that she is already speaking really well.  His daughter doesn´t speak much spanish and so I, being 1 of 2 Americans in all of Medellin, talked to her and helped her quite a bit. All the other missionaries were jealous of me cause she is pretty cute and they couldn´t communicate with her...haha.  She is 19 years old and in August returns to Utah to go to BYU.   But they seem like a really cool family and I´m excited to see how things go here in the mission now. 
 
Well, I´m about out of things to say...  Have a good week!!!  I love you all!!!
 
Love,
    Corey