Ok so first let me start with my companion. He’s super chill and relaxed, but he’s not boring. He’s funny too but he’s not crazy like Elder Torres. And he’s really organized. I don’t think we’ll have any conflicts. There’s been a huge difference in the last week. During my training, I was more like a shadow than a missionary (mostly my fault). A shadow that doesn’t speak Spanish well. But now that Elder Torres left and Elder Carballo doesn’t know anyone or where anything is, I’ve been taking the lead in everything. Like I think I’m ready to be assistant to the President. But for real I’ve been working super hard and now I’m a real missionary who doesn’t speak Spanish well. It’s been really rewarding and really difficult and stressful. I have been praying a lot for the Lord’s help and that I can be capable of continuing the work in my area, and I’ve seen that the promise in Ether 12:27 is true “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Honestly, in one night I’ve seen many of my weaknesses become strengths, and I know that the Lord is supporting me. It’s even easier to see the Lord’s hand in the lives of our investigators. One of our investigators Viky (isn’t baptized yet because she lives with her member boyfriend) accompanied us in a lesson and helped us teach. She’s like a completely different person now. Her scriptures are more marked than mine. She has wedding and baptism plans for after I leave though *tear*. We’re working on getting the papers for Lizet and Rubiero so they can get married too. And Nelson and Wendy. We’re trying to marry everyone out here. Something cool about this week is we don’t have a cell phone. It got sent to Bogota with the group of missionaries. We have to make all of our calls at roadside stands which made things even harder but the worst part is that it’s expensive. All my money has gone towards phone calls and transportation (on Monday I took 8 taxis) so I’m probably going to run out of money and get skinny. Just kidding I’m already skinny. Also kidding because I have a reserve fund. I have problem much bigger than not having a cell phone or money (relax mom, I have a reserve fund), and it’s called language study. I’m not very happy with my Spanish, I feel like it should be better, and so I’m trying to study hard every day for an hour. Language study always makes me super tired. Lunch always makes me super tired too. Aaannnd now we’ve been told we have to do language study after lunch, instead of in the morning. So now it’s more of a battle against my eyelids. But we’ll see how things go. Some interesting things, I watch my companion while I’m sleeping. Because of the angle of my bed and because I sleep with my eyes open I keep 24 hour surveillance on that boy. Maybe, if I angle my books right, I can study Spanish in my sleep. I’d like to dedicate this next part of my letter to my mom. Hey mom. Every week my mom says to follow all the rules so the Lord will protect me. Relax mom, I’m find I can take care of myself. I don’t need rules to be safe here, Colombia is known for its safety. Don’t worry, we follow the rules still though, so we can have baptisms and convert everyone. To close I would like to share a scripture. Genesis 9: 20-25 is super funny. After the whole are and flood thing, Noah decides to grow a vineyard. One day he gets drunk and passes out naked then he wakes up and curses his son. The Bible is awesome guys, you should read it more. And the Book of Mormon. One part of the Book of Mormon that I really like is when Alma is giving advice to his sons. In chapter 36:1,30 chapter 37:13 chapter 38:1 he teaches “inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God, ye shall prosper in the land”. I love these scriptures because we are teaching a lot of people with a lot of problems, and Alma makes it so clear, if we keep the commandments, we’ll prosper. It’s not just “you’ll be ok” or “you’ll be fine”. Alma is really wise, it’s like he’s a prophet or something. Well, I’m gonna go make some hot dogs. Stay tuned till next time.
Love Elder Downing