Monday, August 29, 2011


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 BachuĂ©.  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.


Monday, August 22, 2011


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!

Monday, August 15, 2011


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!

Monday, August 8, 2011


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!


Monday, August 1, 2011


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! 
P.S.  read Elder Nelson´s talk from the recent conference.  I really liked it.