Thursday, September 29, 2011

To my fellow Mink Creekers!

Hello my giant family ward of Mink Creek. I want you to know first of all that there is nothing in this world better than serving a mission. The things that I am learning here are things that I could never learn anywhere else. I have learned how to study in a house for three hours just south of 95 degrees,  I have learned to appreciate people for who they are,  I have learned to speak a beautiful language that will be a blessing throughout my life, I have learned what freedom means, I have learned that without organization,  we are unorganized, ha ha!  I have learned to listen to the spirit, I have learned to deal with trials:  emotional, physical, and spiritual. I have also learned to love someone when all you want to do is put super glue on the toilet seat,  and 
I have learned that our Savior,  Jesus Christ lives.
We don't, however,  have to serve a mission to know this:
There were three men who all lived good successful lives,  they grew old and were taken to heaven.
They all reached the gate of the Celestial Kingdom where there was a man waiting to open the door. He said to the three men:
"All you need to do to pass into the kingdom of God is  tell me what Jesus Christ means to you."
The first man replied, "well, he was the son of God."  The gatekeeper looked into his eyes, and said, "your answer is correct, but that isn't enough to get into the kingdom."
The second man replied,  "Jesus Christ died for us, he suffered that we could be forgiven. He was crucified, He established his church on the earth. He is our king,  my king,  and I love him with all of my heart."
The gatekeeper looked at the man, smiled, and said, "you are correct as well, but that is not enough to get into the kingdom of God."
The third man approached the gate, and began to cry.  The gatekeeper looked at him and asked him what was wrong. The man looked into the eyes of the gatekeeper, and with tears streaming down his face he said, "you are my Savior. You are my Jesus Christ."
Our Christ opened the gate for this man.
It is my testimony that it will never be enough to know OF Christ,  but to KNOW HIM.  To personally feel Him in our heart and have the spirit to know his presence.  I know this church is true,  I have testified of it a million times and I have yet to reach a year in the mission.  Jesus Christ lives,  and he is the ONLY way that we are saved.  Learn to love and be like Christ.  I am trying all I can to be like Him.

Life is Never Easy!

I am learning the hard way that life will never flow easily. You will never spend every day with the people that you love, and that there is always a upside to everything.  I know now that when I feel like I have nothing left, and no one to talk to,  I can walk in my room,  pray to my Heavenly Father, and feel his spirit in my heart, and in my mind long enough to put my trials and sadness at ease.  I have never done this before.  I know now that I don't have to endure everything on my own,  and like Jesus Christ: got sent an angel to help Him in the garden,  Doctrine and Covenants promises in section 84:88,  and whoso receiveth you, there I will be also. For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. I love this scripture and I read it often because I have found myself in hard places on my mission. I always heard it wouldn't all be easy and fun, but now,  Ii know of assurance that it is difficul,  and that is how I want it. This is a trial.  My cousin, Justin,  promised me in a note he wrote in the journal he gave me:  Immediately after the greatest trials, will come the greatest blessings, so here I am to endure the trials, and here I am,  hopefully,  to receive those blessings.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eyes like a Gato, Snails, and Passion Fruit

Eyes of a Gato!
The Colombians tell me that I have eyes like a Gato, which is a cat.  You can also see that I am a little bit sunburned.  I am looking forward to and awesome tan to go along with my cat eyes!

Giant Snails!!
This is a picture of Giant Snails here in Colombia.  Whenever there is a big crunch under your foot, you know what it is.  They are huge and cool looking, I think.  They are everywhere at night, but I haven't figured out where they go in the day time.  I think they are Magic!!!!!!!

Passion Fruit
This is what you call a Passion Fruit in America.  Here it is called Maracuya.  It is really wierd to eat.  You just open it up and swallow all the seeds.  Yep, just gulp and swallow and they are gone.  Pretty good!

New Companion and My First Baptism!!!

Ok... so it´s been way crazy these past couple weeks... there's been a lot of changing and conferences and interviews... but I think next week should be a little bit better. I will write again on Monday. My new companions name is Elder Espinal, from Peru. He is about four foot eleven.  I am trying super hard to be a better person and just love him and serve him.  I have found that it is working. I guess you could say that this is something I have never tried... haha... but I really do feel like I´m changing.  Rules and obedience are becoming less of an annoyance and more of a way of living.  I have found so much power in being obedient, we can all learn from this... haha...

My companion Elder Espinal, Jose, and me before the baptism.

Another picture of me and Jose on his special day!

Here is Erica and Oscar next to Jose.  Me, Fernanda, and Sonja.
 So yea, the baptizm was great!  It was actually supposed to be next week but he was ready this week! So, I dunked him haha... I´ll have you know I said the prayer and his name in perfect Spanish.  

Although, his hand that was holding my arm, didn´t make it under the water so we tried again with perfect success haha... it was great! He is very happy and will recieve the Holy Ghost and Aaronic Preisthood tomorrow.

I am anxiously awaiting your package! I will probably cry with joy... I do that alot when I read your letters, not because I´m homesick,  just because I am happy that I have a family like I do. I really am blessed, and I know it now that I have been here in Colombia.

Oh also, you´ll notice that I am red as a tomato. I got sunburned today, so no, I don´t always look like that,  but just imagine how sexy it will be in three days!!! TAN!!! haha.. :) bueno yo nessesito ir... te amo mucho mami... tu eres la mejor! XOXOXOX

Friday, September 9, 2011

MY LITTLE ADVENTURE September 10, 2011

Hello I know you are all having a panic attack because I haven´t written. I´m sorry. ha. The truth... is that I was on an adventure.. a big one! We got a call from the assistants telling us that we had to be on a bus for Duitama at seven at night to arrive at ten. This was Thursday. The trip started off great. Nice curvy canyon road, all of a sudden, the bus stops and we look out and there is a mud slide in the road. Not just a pile of mud in the road, but half of a mountain in the road. We sat in the dark, on a bus, in the middle of the jungle for a couple hours until a tractor got there. And after watching him move dirt and slide all over we finally had enough space to pass.  
Remember the Laplatta hunting club? The roads there? We would take the old dodge up hunting and bounce up and down the rough road. Okay picture that, times 5, and multiply the truck by two, and add 45 people to the picture. That is how my Wednesday night Thursday morning was.. We arrived in Duitama at 5:30 in the morning just in time for our meeting with President Hacking. We had our interviews, and he sent us a big "sorry" and money for the trip back... haha... the trip back was just as bumpy! Just no mudslides in the road, and we got back here to Yopal at 12:00 last night..
This week I have done two things that I would never have imagined doing.. number one. I bought a baseball hat that cost about 30 dollars in the US. I argued with the Colombian man and got it for 25,000 pesos, or 12 bucks... haha. I'm good! I will send a picture of it monday. it is a Toronto Blue Jays hat. It is beautiful and very rare here in Colombia haha..
Second thing: Now is the time of heavy recruitment for Colombia. Trucks of soldiers drive around and unload to search for kids 17-25 without their proof of service, (you can serve, or pay to get this card). If you dont have it, you are taken immediately to the barracks... anyway, I always have my proof of foreign identity. BUT! One day it slipped my mind, and a truck of soldiers unloaded in front of me and my companion, about 50 yards ahead of us in the road. I realize I didn´t have my Cedula. I get nervous, we turn off the road, and a long crazy story short, we pretty much evaded the Colombian Military by weaving through streets and walking through patios of people... haha... it was awesome!
Okay... so the enterprise I told you about last time.. Out of the 12-13 people we taught, 10 now have baptismal dates for Ooctober 1st. I wish I could explain how prepared these kids are for the Gospel. Imagine, they all have families.. it´s amazing!
Yea, so one of the puppies is named Maverick, and the other is Goose. Dad will like those names... ha.
Bueno. Tengo hambre! Voy a cocinar huevos y sopa por almuerzo... I will write again on Monday, that is when changes are being made, so I will be In Yopal till Monday and then I will let you know when and where I am going. I love you and hope all is well...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wednesday, August 31st 2011

Ha! I know that you don't cook anymore Mom! I knew there had to be some sort of excuse for you to be making bread...  he he.. and don't call yourself a lazy beast... even though i laughed out loud to that..
Oh Jakey poo! Tell him to give me some words please!... And I am very anxiously waiting for a letter from Justin "Urban Meyer" Torfin... Tell him and Heather I love them..
That is awesome about Dad in Jake's circle... to be honest... I have lost count of the blessings Ii have given for the sick and for comfort... and most of them have been in Spanish... the priesthood is like a big suit coat that you have to work hard to fill... I feel confident and have a very strong testimony of the priesthood... o sacerdocio.. en espaƱol. ha. I am so thankful to have a father that was able to give me blessings and be worthy of the calling... I realize now, how big of a responsibility it is...
The puppies! :( I am so sad I don't get to play with them and name them! Tell Tawni and Tyson I get to name one! and I mean that... I will send the name next week. I need to think hard about it... ha ha..
Mom I have learned since being here that when you put our Heavenly Father first... ALWAYS He will bless us 100 times more... I know that is true... with every cell in my body I know it... and so with your new calling... make the sacrifices... if you are tired as he--, and can't get up... say a prayer... and go do it anyway... and something amazing will happen for that effort and sacrifice... I invite you to try my words... you don't have to... but I know if you do you will be blessed.. and you will bless the lives of all that you work with...
Priorities are important.
And I don't want to call the car mine before I buy it....... but we found something... it might just be the reason I am here in Colombia... We found an interprise of 11-13 people... they work for an interprise... and well, they shared their interprise with me and my companion. And they invited us to teach our message with all of them... They are all young adults from 23-29 years old... They are amazing people... Really nice and just good people... They are all really great friends... anyway.... we taught them the restauracion?, restoration... I can't remember how to spell it in English ha ha... The spirit punched them all in the face really hard... and Ii asked a guy to read a scripture after, and he got choked up... it was the best! ha ha... and then we had a prayer. One of the girls said an amazing prayer saying to heavenly father "thank you for sending us these missionaries with the message we all have been looking for".... like I said.... I know what you are thinking right now.... ha ha.. 13 baptisms... but I don't know yet.. weather or not they'll accept baptism, but I know that they have received and felt the spirit of God, and they can never say that they didn't have the opportunity to join the church of Jesucristo. anyway...
I did receive your letters this week... I cried through all of them... I feel so distant from the family,Inot being able to write back.. i called the office and Hermana Boulter said that it is pretty much impossible to send a letter back to the US... and if I do. I won't be able to eat for 3 weeks... Mom... know that I would if I could... 
I will send a email to grandma Deon as well.. I received her letter Friday last week... I received your three on Monday... it was beautiful... the other Americans get packages and they say their parents use flat rate boxes or something... and it costs like 45 or 50 dollars... so maybe you could throw a nice set of American candy together ha ha... ,) I love you and miss you like crazy... things are great... we have intercambios in two weeks... so I will be letting you know what happens when I can... I love you... ciao