Monday, August 7, 2017

Week Forty Seven

week report

Week was pretty packed.

There were 4 baptisms in the zone. I had to do my first baptismal interview for the sister missionaries. It was for their investigator Jonathan. We went to their area: Cota (a farmtown right by the mountains a little out of the way with an indigenous village). Interview went well. At the end he asked me if Joseph Smith was a freemason.

We also had our interviews with Mission Pres. Laney. The night before interview day, I broke my nametag so that was stupid. My interview went good. Now I'm not sure if I'll be leaving the area quite yet. I had a bad cold so Pres. told me I should get more rest. At the end he said "that's some stylish hair. Maybe too stylish." I got my haircut the day before lol. My comp told me President asked him for a selfie.

Ripped my suit pants beyond repair yesterday.

Visited one investigator, Mafe, who always has good questions. The visit this week, she asked, "Where did the holy ghost come from?" and "Ok, so once we get to the celestial kingdom, what's the point there?"

Had an awesome guitar class with the neighborhood kids. There's a guitar in almost every house but lots don't know how to play. We taught the song Easy Easy by King Krule. Pretty simple and really good song.

Met with a new investigator Maria and found out she's under house arrest after being in prison 2 years. In Colombia there are no death penalties and pretty rarely life sentences. So we aren't sure what happened there. It was awkward because I invited her to come to church but forgot she can't leave the house.

We went to contact in the outskirts of our area (actually not sure if it was our area) in a sector called ALASKA. Super weird vibe. Everyone staring us down. But I also dug it.

We got locked out of our house Saturday so we had a sleepover with the Elders in Fontana area. Next morning we got a copy of our keys at the zone leader's house.

Thursday we had our first visit with Rosio Castellanos' family. Lots of distractions so it didn't go well. At the end Rosio said, "I want you guys to come over for lunch, but not interested in the church stuff." So I told them, "Give us one more chance and we'll convince you," and they agreed. So we went into a fast and had the next visit the next day. Went way better. We forgot it was fast Sunday. We almost did 2 fasts but we agreed our stomachs couldn't handle it. I like fasting though. I like what "Letters to a Young Mormon" says about hunger-- paying attention to it instead of just giving in to it or brushing it off. Paying attention to what hunger feels like (material hunger, hunger for sex, hunger for food, etc).

Got film for my camera.

Lately I've been in the mode of just working as hard as I can or as my body permits. But if your comp wants to take it easier you have to consider that too. I don't know, sometimes it's a bummer if your comp doesn't have the same take, but it's also a lesson of teamwork I guess.

This week for language study I learned a ton of Spanish expressions.

Some awesome ones are:

"alli hay gato encerrado" = there's something fishy going on there (or literally: there's a locked up cat in there)

"a otro perro con ese hueso" = to another dog with that bone! (when somebody's trying to sell you something crappy or talking to you about something stupid)

I've also been saying "a otro gato con esa leche" as a joke = to another cat with that milk!

Maria Blanco's husband died. She's a lady in our ward. Elder Ferrada and I gave him a blessing 3 months ago. She bore her testimony on Sunday; it was pretty sad.

I'm into immersive discipleship but sometimes I think I take it too seriously or literally. On Sunday morning there was this super drugged out dude drooling. We tried to talk with him but he wasn't capable of communicating. We put his shoes by him. But I was beating myself up for not finding him a blanket and getting him water and bread and stuff. But it's like dude you don't have to take it that seriously. It's also like - doing that would have been good and going the extra mile. I don't know. I think I'm probably going insane.

In a lot of our visits lately, we've been asking, "Why are you a member of the church?" or "Why do you want to be a member of the church?" and it's good at getting people to share. Lots of really interesting points of view. Everyone has a way different answer.

Things are going well. I'm trying to get the most out of this as I can but also want to stop thinking so much about myself.

Miss you all!
Elder Blair

Images from a few months ago in Barbosa.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week Forty Six

Lots of stuff this week

On Tuesday I felt like I was pregnant. Our investigators took care of me though. Had lots of soup and medicine. I got in my bed and pretty much passed out but I woke up Wednesday #justasnew. But I woke up Thursday with a nasty cold, so Heaven is playing dirty mind tricks on me.

The Spanish birthday song is pretty good.

English trans:

We hope you have a happy birthday
We hope you have a birthday again
we hope you keep on having birthdays
until you hit 100k years

There was a big Stake activity. Blood Drive and Employment fair. There was a big showing and we were there helping all Friday. All the missionaries were exhausted after.

Everyone here has these spinner toys now. Probs in the U.S. too.

We had a pretty awesome FHE with the Gomez Rodriguez family. The cool part is that all the neighborhood kids came.

There are mini soccer courts everywhere in Colombia. In my area there is easily one every block. So that's an idea if america want to amp up its soccer game. It's the same principle as Bern Switzerland — its so clean because there are trash cans every 3 feet.

One kind of weird thing is that I always feel guilty. I'm pretty good about being obedient to the mission rules too, but I always feel guilty.

In Colombia I've heard 3 main types of music more than anything — regeton, ballenato, bachata. A great regeton song is Rehuso. A great bachata song is Romeo Santos- 7 dias. A great ballenato song is Nelson Velasquez - Entregarme tu amor.

One of our investigators who disappeared for 3 months showed up again. Santiago. He is 21. He only has time for visits super early in the morning but we had an awesome visit this week, with 4 young adults from the ward. Santiago always answers the phone pissed and then when he realizes he's talking with us he's like YOOO WHATS UUUPPPP?!

We also have been visiting Maria Fernanda. She is 14 and from a less active family who comes to church now. She's super cool and reminds of Olive so I always like visiting her family.

Miss you guys hope you keep on having birthdays till you hit 100,000 years.

Elder Blair

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week Forty Five

This week was good.

Really love my area. I'm almost positive I'll be leaving in about 3 weeks for transfers and I'm bummed.

We had a multi-zone conference. It was cool because I saw my old comp, Elder Guerra. He's out of Barbosa and back in Bogota now. We talked about all our favorite families in Barbosa.

The assistants gave a training on teaching 5-minute lessons.

One investigator we have is named Orlis. He's pretty much a member. He isn't because he's not married and his birth certificate (which he needs to get married) is on the coast. But this week some of his childhood friends moved into our area. They didn't bring anything -no beds nothing. Orlis called me and asked us for help. We were with the Chona family (my favorite member family). The mom Crisitina Chona (she is the mom of all the missionaries) immediately was like "I have a bed". There are very few cars here so we took apart the bed and walked all the parts across the area to the house. It was cool.

We had a cool FHE. Last week during lunch with the Horta family, we scheduled an FHE. Then me and Elder Kelly asked if we could go knock the doors of all their neighbors w them to invite for the FHE. Horta family was down so we went. A few neighbors said yes. A few days later when we had the FHE, they all showed up. It was cool. We just shared something about forgiveness because that always makes people talk.

Today was my comp, Elder Teijeira's birthday. He had never had a party for his birthday before so we had to go ALL OUT. I coordinated with Crisitina Chona. I told her I wanted to rent a mariachi band and she freaked out. We kept everything secret from my comp. On Sunday we invited tons of members and investigators. We tried to rent the social room of Crisitina's apartment complex. It wasn't available so we organized everything for her house. Crisitina and Alex remind me of you guys because they're really good hosts.

So today everyone arrived and we were all eating lunch. Then trumpet starts playing in the hall and everyone freaks out. The mariachi band came in and went all out. Elder Teijeira was shocked. The band tried to get him to dance and everyone shouted NOOO then a couple of our investigators got up and danced in his place. It was a super sensual dance so all the missionaries had to look away. My zone leaders were there. I think they were pissed. After the mariachi band left ,a food fight broke out. Flour and eggs were everywhere. Once things calmed down we cleaned and Crisitina let me take a shower. It was a crazy day.

We also had the baptism of Valentina Castellanos on Saturday. She's an 18 year old single mother. She's the niece of Maria Castellanos. Two months ago she told us she would never join the church because she was ALL ABOUT THAT CLUB LIFE. But a few weeks ago she was like, "nevermind". She had a pretty huge change of heart. The cool thing was that like 60 people showed up. We invited all the missionaries in our zone and I asked Elder Johnstun (who plays the violin) to work out a special number. Turned out super cool.

Miss you guys thinking about you guys more than usual.

Elder Blair

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week Forty Four

Week Report

Holy crap thank you for the MUJI pens. Also LETTERS FROM ALL THE PRIMARY KIDS that blew my mind.

This week was cool.

We had an activity with the Colombia MTC elders again. I was with an Elder from Puerto Rico and another from Peru. The goal is to show them what the mission field is like. They did good despite doing weird stuff like contacting 6 year olds. It was a fun day though. I took them up to Tuna Alta which is a ghetto in the mountains. We met a gangsta named El Tigre.

Met Pedro. He's the owner of a fruit shop. We were buying peaches and started talking with him. Really funny guy. We go to his shop everyday now and help him package platanos. We also met his family. They are all Paisas.

I had splits with Zone Leader Elder Kelly. We met up with his investigator Allan who is from NY. He took us to get a bite to eat. Allan told us to order whatever we wanted. I got a Maracuya juice. Elder Kelly took a minute to decide and then said, "I think ill have...the banana split." Then I realized I'm wasting my life.

We made Milanessa with Fernei and Luz Dary Castellanos. Cut my finger peeling potatoes and Luz Dary scolded me. Fernei is Maria Castellanos' brother. This week I met their sister Nelly and now I know the whole family (8 siblings).

My comp lost his voice this week which made for weird loss of balance while teaching lessons. Hes doing better though.

We visited Osorio. Osorio lived in Israel for awhile (I think iIwrote about translating letters from his french lover Iris). Osorio is one of my favorite people in Colombia maybe in the world. All his family lives in the coast 20 hour travel away. But this week his 21 year old daughter is visiting him. So we visited them because he wanted to introduce us. His daughter Camila gave us some Candies from Barranquilla. They gave us soup. Osorio's house is pretty much 1 room about half the size of me and Oscars bedroom. I like Osorios lifestyle a lot though. Also he wants an American Flag. I told him I'd ask you guys for help.

Trying to think of other stuff. Things going good. Sad to miss color factory dios mio.

Miss everyone hope all is well.

Elder Blair

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week Forty Three


The Tobon family are from Medellin. We helped them do their taxes. Medellin is famous for best looking people (called Paisas). Brother Tobon is the ambulance driver and he hooked me up with a pair of the blood proof pants he has.

Two months ago we were walking around and saw this dude setting up a trampoline so we helped him. After we asked if we could visit or whatever and he asked for our number because his brother might be interested (i.e. nope). But this week his brother called us. His name is Jesus his wife is named Naigibe and they have 2 kids. Really nice family.

Jesus wants help giving up cigarettes. We are going to their farm to pick clementines.

I'm going ham on old testament this morning, Joshua 2: Prostitute saves Israelite spies.

More visits with Rodriguez family (we are like therapists to he dad who was in the army for awhile). He told us his general got killed by a dead dog filled with explosives. He also showed us a photo album of his Dad who looks like Al Pacino  (and once got arrested in Miami after being mistaken for a mafia boss). While we were looking, CON TE PARTIRO was playing.

Had an FHE with the Hoyos family. They are in a stressful time because their son got in a drunk driving accident and owes a lot of money now. We made a ton of quesadillas and we used the taco mix. I think it was a good break for them.

Lately I've been doing stream of consciousness journaling. I read that Rivers Cuomo does it to write songs. It's pretty cool though and lots of weird ideas come out of it.

There is one family we visited with the bishop. Bishop asked the couple what their doubts were about marriage and the dad said if it weren't for their kids he wouldn't be with her. There's lots of strangely intense moments where I feel awkward and I feel like I'm forced to be a part of the most intimate problems of people. A lot of the time it just makes me sad.

But i just remember the wise words of Lorde:

We are on each others team.

Pope Francis coming in August .

Elder Blair

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week Forty Two

A lot of stuff happened this week.

A ton of my friends finished their missions this week.

Tons of people in the zone are getting sick too. Elder Flores got appendicitis and was hospitalized hashtagmadeline. He's out now. Hermana Ttito is in my district and she passed out in sacrament meeting. All good now though.

We visited Edgar Rodriguez more this week. I'm pretty sure we're like his therapists. He always tells us really crazy long experiences. I think he finally has people to talk to.

Met this Venezuelan dude who moved here 3 months ago. Made friends with him. He told us his sisters were arriving from Venezuela this week. Then his sister called us a few days later. We met up with all of the family and they told us all these Venezuelan words and what's going on there. They call popcorn "kotufa".

Big gang in my area got taken down. Like 40 people went to jail. Villa Hermosa is way quieter now.

Today we went with the Chona family and an RM Elder Nebeker to Monserrate. Tons of people working out, ton of praying

There are a lot of street venders who sell mango with lime juice and salt and pepper. SO GOOD.

I have 3 months in this area. I'm here at least 1 more cambio. Thinking about asking Pres. Laney for 2 more because I like it lot.

I want to buy bagpipes.

$ july we are making burgers and cookies with investigators.

Had baptism of Luz Castellanos. Tons of people showed up. It was awesome. Luz seemed happy about it.

Miss you guys a ton.

Elder Blair

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week Forty One


The week was crazy.

We helped with 3 moves this week. At one point we (six missionaries) were all in the back of a truck with blankets.

I met a woman named Gnarly.

Elder Johnstun is a new missionary from Arizona and was telling me he had his prom in Stephanie Meyer's house and she has 4 Ferraris.

Fernei and Luz Dary is a couple we visit. Pretty young. Luz Dary has 6 kids. One lives with adoptive parents in Holland and doesn't speak spanish. Kind of blew my mind and depressed me a little. Can't imagine not being able to speak with my parents in the same language. Her oldest son was 18 when heavy piping fell on his leg. It injured his leg in a way that they had to amputate it and the amputation gave him cancer and he died. That story messed me up. Legit a lot of the time I just want to give investigators money. But super awesome family.

We spent P-day today with them. We all went to Cota which is outside of Bogota and very green and mountainous. We went to an indigenous village and met the leader who everyone calls ABUELO. 100% sure he is a ghost. He said BEFORE YOU INVESTIGATE AN INDIGENOUS VILLAGE, INVESTIGATE YOURSELF. I almost passed out.

We had an open house. I was with Elder Vincent, probably my best friend in the mission right now. We were trying to get people to come in. There was one dude riding his bike. We stopped him and invited him in. He said no, he was on his way to work. I asked if I could call his boss, he gave me her number. I called her, got her permission for him to come late into work and he came in the open house. We also got a taxi in. It was awesome. Elder Vincent also kickflipped some kid's skateboard to get his family in.

Juan got baptized and the missionaries sang that "I like to look for rainbows" song. It was cool because we all sang a verse in different languages. HAD TO REP FRENCH.

This week I thought a lot about Morrisey's wisdom.

Shyness will stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to.

Even if you're an introvert, you shouldn't be shy.

Elder Blair