Colombia Bogota North Mission

Friday, May 30, 2014

CCM Week 1!

Alright so I have a lot to write you about since it’s been 10 days. My next p day is on Tuesday and the one after that isn’t until the Friday 10 days later. It’s because of the schedule with the Latinos. They leave on Tuesday and so we have p day then but I don’t know why it’s not p day every Tuesday. Alright so the first thing you need to understand my time here is to know about my companion because I’m with him 24/7. His name is Elder Jorgenson and he is the only other North American that came to the ccm with this two week block. He doesn’t speak a word of Spanish. The first few days all he knew how to say was hola and bien and this is not an exaggeration. He’s from Willard Utah and is really nice. Something funny about his is he has to pee a lot. Like a lot. His record is 3 times in 15 minutes. Having a companion is super hard. I’m starting to get used to it but having to be with a person all the time is difficult even though I like Elder Jorgensen. There are only 20 elders here and I think 14 sisters so it’s super small. In my district is Elder Preslar, Elder Alvarez, and Hermana Capito (her companion just went home so it’s just her). Eldar Preslar looks like the smartest guy ever if you can imagine that and he basically is. He was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize. Elder Alvarez is from Brazil and he speaks Portuguese so he is in here the whole time I am even though he speaks basically fluently. We all share a room together and we include Elder Alvarez a lot which is good because it forces us to speak Spanish. Hermana Capito is super cool and funny too just like my roommates. There are four elders who have been here 4 weeks and so they have Latino companions. I’m good friends with them from meal time and gym (volleyball). One day I went around asking all of the Latinos which of them four was the most ugly haha. None of them are ugly though so it was fine. The Spanish hasn’t been too bad. I speak pretty well compared to the other elders here. What was really hard though was on the second day when we had to teach an investigator (teacher acting like an investigator) with an hour’s notice. I didn’t know any gospel related words and all my companion said was "Elder Jorgensen" after I looked at him after introducing myself. It was rough is all I’m going to say. The first few days we had to teach more lessons and I got kind of bugged because they were barely teaching us any Spanish and were just making us fail. Another hard thing about the first few days was that I did get sick. I felt way tired and run down and I emptied the tissue boxes in our classroom in probably record time. I’m doing a lot better now though. On Sunday we had lessons in English from President and Hermana Dyer and they were so good! I learned so much and felt the spirit a lot which was what I needed after those first few days of being sick, failing miserably, and getting used to being with a companion all the time. There were times I would be so overwhelmed with all the difficulties I couldn’t work on anything even though I had tons to do. But Sunday was the turning point. I got a hang of things and started feeling the spirit more and more. On Monday we went to immigration which took about six hours from when we left to when we got back. The city is crazy. Everywhere we went was in my area which was super cool. It’s like a sketchier Latino New York with shorter buildings. Everyone drives so crazy! I’m surprised we didn’t see anyone die honestly it’s like a free for all. On Tuesday we went to the temple. It was really fun to bus there with everyone and the temple here is really pretty. It was all in Spanish which was a little difficult but after I felt the spirit so strong and I had some prompting I really needed. The next day when we were teaching our investigator I felt the spirit so strong in the lesson and even though it was all fake I knew that what I was saying can really bless people’s lives and that it was true. Things have definitely evened out. Instead of having highs and lows like before it’s all highs. All of the missionaries here and teachers are all super fun and funny and even though I’m working hard all the time it’s great. I know this is my calling and that I’m doing the Lords work.
Con carino,
Elder Downing

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 1!

Im alive! I only have about 8 minutes to write you guys and Im not used to these keys because theyre old so this will be short. The CCM is so fun! and small, it is way smaller than I thought it would be. Its essentially a stake center with 15 dorm rooms and a super small cafeteria. Currently there are only 14 missionaries here but a lot more are coming soon so it will probably be between 60 and 100 in the next few days from what I understand. On the plane from atlanta I met Elder Jorgensen who is from Utah and speaks no spanish and Elder Mejia who is from Dalls and speaks perfect English and spanish and has been our translator. Theyre both really cool. Currently Im also rooming with Elder Solorio from Mexico who deosnt talk to me much because he cant and Elder Alvarez who tries to talk to me and me him but we cant communicate much. At breakfast we met the other north american missionaries and they are super fun and funny and then we met a few of the teachers and theyve been helping us get set up. Theyre also super nice and funny so basically everyone here is great and its super fun even though I can only say a few things to the latinos. Its great that Elder Mejia came with us its been a huge blessing. I met the CCM president and his wife and they are both super nice and from san diego. I wonder how well Ill get to know them with the small number of missionaries. Excuse my lack of punctuation this keyboard is freaky and I dont want to waste time trying to figure it out but I guess I just did typing this. The dorms are really small and jam packed with 6 people and for breakfast we had eggs that were really good but no one got seconds so neither did I. Maybe they dont do that here. Ill have to postpone getting fat but Oh well. So yeah this place is basically just a stake center and the 4 week elders said they feel really confined. Im helping some escape tonight. just kidding (in case this is screened). Even though Ive just gotten books and met with the CCM president Ive really enjoyed today. Even with 4 hours of sleep because of a delayed flight where I sat next to a large European man who took up one fifth of my seat. Ive decided to try and talk to the latinos and when I can they really enjoy my effort but usually I cant think f what to say because I either forgot or font know the vocabulario. Oops sorry Im so immersed in the language I sometimes switch between Ingles and spanish. Oops I did it again. Well Ill probably get kicked off soon but I love you guys and everything is good here. Ill let you know about the normal routine once that starts. Love you so much! 

p.s. for any freinds reading this I am proud to announce that I finally achieved my goal of crying. I owe Emily and Eliana thanks for that but I only cried once. Im hoping to bring the numbers up soon

Con amor

Elder Downing