Monday, October 31, 2011


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!


Monday, October 24, 2011


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!

Monday, October 17, 2011


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!


Monday, October 10, 2011


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!
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

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


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!!!
P.S. Kristin: I killed the cobra with a machete... I cut off its head...   you wanted to know...