Colombia Bogota North Mission

Monday, August 4, 2014

Giron Week 9

I’m so stoked on life! Being a missionary can be so awesome. When I’m not getting destroyed by Spanish I love it, and when I’m getting destroyed by Spanish I like it. We have some awesome investigators and teaching them is so rad! July is a single mom of 3 super funny little girls and she has a baptism date and is progressing super well and I get so stoked to see her faith increasing. She’s in her mid-20’s and another girl Viky is in her mid-20’s and has a ten year old son and she’s preparing to be baptized too. When we teach her about repentance and the atonement I get so happy and I can feel the spirit so strong it’s amazing. I walk from house to house so pumped up and happy and we’ll be hiking up a mountain (basically) on a super hot day and I’ll be sweating and out of breath in the middle of a country where I don’t understand the people 80% of the time and I’ll be stoked on life. It’s weird. It’s still super hard though. My biggest problem is the cell phone. We have phone and every other day it’s my turn to carry it and answer and make the calls if I can, and I hate it. It’s not on the same level as Satan but it’s pretty close. It’s hard to hear and all fuzzy so I can’t understand anything and I get destroyed so hard. It’s like getting punched in the confidence by a gorilla. So basically every other day I cry inside. It’s fine though. Normal conversation is easier than phones and lessons are even easier than normal conversation. But still hard. In the lessons I’m trying to understand and figure out how to say stuff, at the same time I’m trying to think about what to say next, and it’s also really easy to just space out altogether. But I’m slowly improving my teaching skills. I’m learning a lot about how to teach from my companion. He’s really cool and funny. It’s hilarious when he speaks English. He’s pretty decent and I don’t know why it’s so funny but it is. Probably because he only speaks English when we’re joking around. Aside from lessons we spend a lot of time doing kiosks. Standing by a sign trying to get new investigators. I’ve estimated that I get between 150 and 200 rejections per session. One time the Jehovah ’s Witness members came out and put a sign next to ours it was hilarious. Especially because after any person talked with them I would get their info. “Ah, I see you’re looking for the truth, well here it is!” I’ve developed a new skill from doing the kiosks. I can look at a woman and tell how catholic she is by her hair or clothes or both if she’s really catholic. My favorite thing is when people don’t want to talk they shake their finger at you. One time a guy made a cross with his fingers like he was warning off an evil spirit. Then I turned my head and shaded my eyes and made a hissing noise like the cross was hurting me. Well actually I just laughed but I should have. The ward is pretty fun now that I know the people. There are some super awesome members and a lot of less active members that are super cool too that we’re working with. There are two really pretty girls in the ward too but don’t worry, I never look at them. I’m uglier here than I was at home (in my own opinion) but I’m super exotic. I get hard core stares in the streets, that’s how exotic I am. So I guess that’s pretty cool. There are a bunch of times that I think “wow, I wish everyone back home could see me right now.” Like when I’m in a super janky house teaching the gospel or when I’m up on the mountainside overlooking Giron and Bucaramanga in the distance surrounded by a bunch of niños and stray dogs playing fútbol in the streets. There are a lot of cool places here. I think the poor areas are more fun because toddlers randomly roam the streets and the houses are really innovative but there are nice areas too. I haven’t really talked about them much because they’re not as fun, but I guess they are more warm and inviting. It’s funny because even the houses that are basically shacks have TV and internet usually. Oh, I have to tell you about the buses since we spend a lot of time on them. The drivers drive fast and crazy so they can get more people and so they’re always kind of rocky. You have to flag them down or just hop on in the middle of the street if they’re stopped in traffic. Sometimes when it’s packed, I’ll only be able to get one foot in and I’ll hold on to the rails with my body completely outside the bus and they’ll just take off. It’s only like that for a little though because everyone squeezes in. there’s always someone trying to sell stuff. And the custom is they pass out the item and every one holds it and if you don’t want to buy it you hand it back when they come back around. It’s weird. A lot of people show off their sick kids or missing legs to ask for money too. I fall asleep a lot on the buses and the driver hits the brakes hard a lot and so there are multiple times that me and my companion have slammed our heads on the seat in front of us. When it’s super packed, if you have to get to the other side to get off, you have to violate like 15 people. It’s really awkward. The food is always the same. Tons of rice, meat that’s not that good, “salad” which is a bunch of tomatoes and onions in a pool of vinegar  and a bean soup which is almost always the best part. You know the food isn’t that good when your favorite part is bean soup. When I buy groceries I always buy a lot of stuff from the imported section, like PB&J and mac and cheese. Comfort food. Coming home and eating PB&J after eating fried fish head and onions swimming in vinegar is the best. Being a missionary is dope though. It’s like being a monk. we study and teach the gospel, don’t have girlfriends, and wear weird clothes. The only problem is I’m not fat enough to be a monk and I wear ties and not robes, but I’m close. There’s a scripture that I’ve been sharing with investigators a lot that I want to share with you guys. 3 Nephi 13:33 and it’s the same as Mathew 6:33 if you’re catholic or something. My favorite funny scripture of the week is Matthew 21:18-19. It’s the story of Jesus getting mad at a tree and killing it. Read the scriptures they’re really good! And go to church! Love you guys,
Elder Downing

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

 18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

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