Monday, January 31, 2011


Dear Family,

This week has been really good.  I have had some really cool experiences.  Hopefully I can remember the ones that I wanted to share... its always hard to remember when I sit down at the computer.

I went on splits this week with Elder Shelley.  Elder Shelley is the one that was in the MTC with me.  His companion got transferred and it has caused his life to be very hard lately.  Also he is really struggling with spanish.  So I was sent by the district leader (my companion...) to go fix him.  I didn´t really know why he was sending me, but I went.  I quickly learned that he has had a very hard time and his new companion doesn´t want to work.  So I decided we would work our butts off.  They had pretty much run out of investigators, (they had 2...) so we spent most of the day contacting.  I learned so much about contacting and I grew a lot.  Then we had a lesson with one of the investigators and it went really smooth and it was really cool.  Later that night, we were in Elder Shelley´s apartment when we suddenly realized that we hadn´t spoken english all day long.  We had been 2 fluent gringos all day long and we didn´t even realize it.  So just so you all know... the gift of tounges is pretty cool.

Then the next day,  we did the same.  But then something really interesting happened.  We knocked on a door and started our speil, (i think that is how to spell speil...) when the man started bible bashing us...  So what did we do. (I can´t find the question mark on this keyboard...)  We defended our religion.  It was hard but we definatley fought valiently.  Oh and turns out that the man is a pastor from some other christian church.  He was good... But we were better...  

So my companion and I had a fast for one of our investigator families that satan was really fighting for.  The family was literally falling apart.  They had a daughter run away, the parents were going to split up and things were not looking good.  We decided that we weren´t gonna let that happen.  So we held a fast...  This week, we have had the opportunity to see the family come back together.  It was really cool to see that happen.  Now they are all back to normal and are ready and excited for their baptism.

Some other random things that happened this week...  I witnessed a motorcycle crash where the guy on the motorcycle hit a kid who dashed out in the street...  The motorcylce hit the kid but he is fine and the rider has a giant scrape-gash thing on his face and his leg sure looked broken, but they both got up and were fine.     Also, I got proposed to... twice... don´t worry, I said no.

Well, I know there was more to tell but I can´t remember...  Its always good to hear from you all. I hope you all have a good week!  Love you all!


Monday, January 24, 2011


Dear Family,
Well... this week hasn´t been too incredibly eventful.  Its been good and we are getting close to having some baptisms (well i guess not really... Feb 15.)  But we are working really hard on getting our investigators ready.  If everything goes well with that we could have at least 8 baptisms in one day and as many as 18.  So we are working very very hard for that. 
So one thing that is kind of cool is that we got the numbers of baptisms from the whole mission today.  Turns out that we had the 2nd most baptisms!!!  Thats pretty cool I guess.  It got me super excited to see how things go when i can work my hardest... But right now, im focusing on learning the most that i can, and being as obiedient as i can and just doing my very best.  I have 1 more transfer with Elder Alfonso and then I will have another companion and i will know the area and I can have more say in the work. 
Things with my companion are good.  I really like him as a friend, but i am very frustrated with his work ethic.  We definately aren´t as efficient as we could be.  But as it turns out, from what ive heard, that americans are made the leaders after 3 or 4 transfers... I don´t know how that is possible but i guess it happens quite a bit. 
My american zone leader went home this transfer (after 2 years don´t worry... he was a good missionary).  I really liked him and turned out to make really good friends with him.  But it turns out that we got another american for a zone leader.  So I can still have some communication with my leaders!! But i actually know him already and I really like him.
the language is going really well.  I find that there is a direct correlation to my ability to speak and my happiness.  So I have worked really hard on trying to be happy.  It is not easy, but it is definatley coming.  I can understand a lot and speak a lot.  every week I can see improvment.  I am starting to be able to just speak spanish and not think it in english first.  It is really weird.  It is like there is a switch in my mind that switches the language.  Although I can´t hardly speak english anymore.  I stumble over my words a lot.  Oh and that is why there is probably a lot of errors in my spelling here. 
I can´t beleive how much I have grown so far.  Its only been 4 months (almost...) but I feel like I threw away my old life and started a new one the day I entered the MTC.  it has been the best thing to ever happen to me.  I am so grateful for this experience and the chance I have had to find my relationship with Christ.  It is by far the most important thing I have in my life.  
anyways,  things are good.  we aren´t working as hard as id like, but i try.  I know this is all blabbering this week but next week will be better.  I love you all and I hope you all have a good week.  Thanks for the quotes, they were all very good!  Keep sending them!  (Kristin didn´t send one...) Thanks for pictures too!  Keep sending them!  Thanks for all the letters i will respond next week.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Dear Family,
This week has been pretty good.  I don´t have a good story to tell though like I said i might.  Sorry to keep you all in suspense. 
But we have done a lot of work lately.  I really like the area and I like the people even though they frustrate me...  My first transfer ends on Thursday and I can´t really believe it.  Neither me or my companion will be transfered though so it doesn´t mean a whole lot.  But that doesn´t mean it is impossible. 
We are still dealing with lots of problems (soap opera style problems...)  But I won´t go to much into that.  I learned that about 80% of the members in Chinchiná are inactive.  And most of the 20% that go to church are recently reactivated or recent converts.  It´s been said that it´s because we have Americans in the mission now and that the work struggled really hard without.  Kind of cool I guess.  But its crazy that 80% of the branch is inactive. 
Speaking of inactive members... We have an inactive family that we visit and invite to church all the time.  The Familia Velasquez.  One evening, I was on splits with the ward mission leader.  (I hate going on splits with members...) But we went up to talk to this family.  Only the mom and dad were there so we talked to them about the sacrament.  We showed a quick movie and talked about the importancia of the sacrament.  It was pretty much 15 minutes worth of material.  And then, they opened wide and told us all the reasons why they don´t go to church.  Pretty much they said that they had been offended and that the branch has a lot of chisme (sorry i can´t remember the word in english... look it up.)  They talked for at least an hour...  It was getting really late when they finished.  So when they finished everyone looked at me including the ward mission leader.  Someone asked me if I understood any of it.  And I came back and said that actually I did understand it. I said that I understood their problems and that it is sad that the members of the church aren´t perfect.  I went on and on and said that nothing should matter except the sacrament, our covenants are only between us and God.  Nothing else matters.  The people of the church are not perfect, but the church is perfect.  I went on for about 10 minutes...  I might have been a little harsh with them but I know i said what i needed to.  Oh yeah, all of that was in perfect Spanish. 
This week was really cool because I got to go on splits 2 times.  The first one with my zone leader, Elder Cox from Wyoming.  And the second with Elder Shelley from Utah who was in the MTC with me.  Both were really cool and it was nice to be able to speak and communicate with someone.  Elder Cox leaves in 4 days to go home so it was one of my last chances to do it.  But I learned a lot and it was a good experience. 
Spanish is going pretty well.  Still very hard but it gets better everyday.  As long as we talk about the gospel, i´m good.  But it is pretty cool to be able to have a conversation in another language.  But i stutter through my english...
On Saturday, I talked to a guy from Brazil who knows 6 languages.  I thought that was pretty cool, so i think I´ll try and learn 6 languages..
I hope everyone is doing good and enjoying themselves.  I love you all!!!
P.S.  Next week i will try to answer some of your letters. I don´t really have time today.

Ok I have become a little obsessed with quotes lately.  So if you are willing, I would love it if when you send am email to me, if you would send a quote too.  It doesn´t have to be a church quote (although I love church quotes too) the only rule I have is that I want it to mean something to the person sending it.  Any type of quote it good.  Thanks!  I am excited to see what you send!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Dear Family,
This week has been super busy and pretty long.  We have seen a lot of cool things happen and some frustrating things.  But it has been pretty good. 
So the women here all watch soap operas...  all day long.  and from what i have seen of them, they are even worse than american soap operas.  But they watch them so much, they start to have some of their own... This is very frustrating to me.  Everything is a huge drama.  We have 2 going on with investigators and its terrible.  One of them has a boyfriend that supports her and her kids.  thats all fine and dandy, except he hates mormons and now he has forced her to choose between him and us...   Another problem we have is so much like a soap opera that I can´t talk about it for confidentiality reasons...  (it is really hard to type frustration... so that part might not make sense.)
So we still have a lot of people with baptismal dates.  this is good and also makes us very very busy.  Every sunday, we get to try to round up each of them to go to church.  and we have to teach all of them throughout the week.  This gets very difficult.  I don´t get to plan our days out yet, so our days are super inefficient. (more frustration) 
But we have a lot of really awesome investigators.  I guess one might call them ``golden investigators.``  It is really nice to have people who are prepared for our message.  It really is amazing to see that kind of miracle happen.  We have been able to see that we are answers to their prayers.  Its also a really cool feeling when your investigators ask you, and not your companion, to baptize them. 
I dont have a lot to say this week.  Sorry.  I have a lot on my mind right now...  (i might have a good story next week)  But that is why this email is so scatterbrained today.  i need to deal with something with my companion.  So i have been a little bit preoccupied. 
I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Dear Family,

This week has been pretty good.  It was weird though... I had to go on splits with a Peruvian...  Peruvians have really crappy spanish.  I couldnt understand anything he said.  So that was pretty hard.  And we were in Manizales.  It is super steep uphill in every direction. It is super tough.  So that was Monday and Tuesday.  Oh and the peruvian and I aren´t the best of friends...  He kept trying to tell me about things that I´m doing wrong and stuff.  And he did every little thing that bothers me. I don´t know how he knew...

On Wednesday, we went to another area called Pereira.  It is about 1 hour away from Chinchiná in another direction.(from Manizales) In Pereira, we had a Christmas dinner with Presidente Bolívar.  It was really fun.  I talked to the americans from 3 different areas the whole time too.  I learned that we can only have 32 americans in the mission at one time.  And that the first group of americans left when I got here.  So americans have only been in Colombia for 2 years. It was kind of cool to hear.  

Last night was nuts...  We had to be in the house at 6:00 because of danger and drunks and stuff.  But it was hard to sleep because there was music and fireworks literally all night long.  And today,  every one is still drunk.  So that is why p day is today.  Today we didn´t do anything.  It has been tough for the past couple of days because no one wants us and everyone was getting ready for their wild parties.

The rest of my Christmas was good... I really enjoyed all of the gifts.  It was a little bit tough to know what was from who... but i really appreciate everything I got.  It was a really weird Christmas without family and snow and stuff.  And it didn´t really seem like Christmas.  

Anyway, I don´t have a lot more to say.  It was good to hear from all of you!  Oh, so it sounds like everyone has some fun trips planned...  I´ll be excited to hear about them.  I have thought about Mexico a lot lately and can´t wait to go when I get back.  

So i´m gonna try and send a few pictures with this email... so hopefully it works.

I love you all and miss ya!!! I hope you have a good week!