Monday, January 15, 2018

Week Seventy

This week was awesome.

Alan Huffington is in my ward. Elder Vincent and I contacted him last June. He got baptized like 2 weeks after I left Suba to Bucaramanga. Alan is from NY and is my best friend in Suba. Used to be a thug and has crazy scars from when he's been stabbed. He is good at praying too.

Adriana Chaparro got baptized. Adriana is a powerhouse. She's a crazy cat lady but she is dope. Her Mom is hospitalized way on the other side of Bogota (like 2-3 hour journey) and she visits her like 4 times a week. She always says, "don't worry be happy." We had a good baptismal service with Alan Huffington directing it. Elder Richey's first baptism.

Rained a lot this week. Lots of dirt roads in our area so it's very muddy.

Had fun intercambios with Elder Oliveira. We had an unexpected service opportunity, helping unload wood planks from a truck and carrying them up to a roof where this family is building a dog house. We both had tons of splinters after the service. We also played soccer with this grandpa and his grandkids on the street.

Visited our Bishop this week. Obispo Romero. He is from Barraquilla (where Shakira is from) and served his mission in la Paz Bolivia. At one point in his mission, his whole zone had to flee to Brazil for political unrest. Bishop is super cool though, helps us a lot. During priesthood he gets all the men to give us their hours of when they can do visits with us.

Good district meeting this week. I had Elder Oliveira give a training on the fall of Adam and Eve. Then we all shared our favorite scriptures.

Our house is fun. Elder Thompson and Elder Dias are the other elders who live with us. They are the zone leaders. Elder Dias is addicted to Jet chocolate. Elder Thompson always finds something cool to do on p-day. Today we went to the Bogota Botanical Garden. Super well designed. One of the best places in Bogota.

Another friend here is named Jesus. He was in the Bogota MTC, getting ready to serve in the Venezuela Maracaibo mission. When he finished the mtc, they went to the airport and he took a cab and ditched the mission. Now he lives in my zone lol.

Ill end the week letter with a scripture:

Genesis 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Love you guys and miss you

Elder Blair

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week Sixty Nine

2018 started off with a BANG.

We found some sweet people this week.

We stopped a seƱor named CESAR MARTINEZ walking down the street. He is from VALLEDUPAR which is a notable city in Colombia. It counts as a coastal city even though it's not on the coast — because the coastal culture comes from there. People from the coast (saying the word coast a lot) are really relaxed, speak really fast and listen to Vallenato (I sent you guys a cd of it — accordion music).

Anyway, Cesar had missionaries visiting his family when he was like 5 and has been reading a book of Mormon for the past 30 years without knowing what it was.

We also met Bridgit Yordan who is a half German half Colombian veterinarian. She told us about a book, "Las Venas Abiertas de LatinaAmerica," and she eats raw aloe vera with honey. We taught her with her dad. It was a crazy lesson with lots of shouting.

One of my good friends here is Osvaldo Bracho. He is from Maracaibo, Venezuela. People from Maracaibo love me because I learned the slang from there. I met Osvaldo back in the summer before I left to Bucaramanga and now he lives in my area. He always puts carrots or random food in my pocket and tell everybody I'm stealing, haha.

Love being comps with Elder Richey. He loves contacting too so we talk with everybody.
This dude tried to rob his bag on Sunday but saw that it just had scriptures, haha.

P.S. Found a crazy family. The Perez Family. We taught them the Book of Mormon and the dad was like, "I know this might be too much to ask, but could I get my own book? We want to read it as a family but I also want my own book to study."

Some scriptures I liked this week are:

Daniel 2:22

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

DYC 6:21

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

Still loving Suba. My district is 3 gringos and a Brazillian. In the mission we have to choose an English teacher in every district and the Brazillian is our English teacher. Elder Oliveira.

Miss you guys and love you.

Elder Blair

Monday, January 1, 2018

Week Sixty Eight

2018 Happy New Year.

It was cool getting letters from a few Oakland 1st members.

Hope you guys are good. The Christmas Eve video call was so sweet.

I love my area so much. I could finish my mission here.

I dont know what to write about even though tons of stuff went down this week.

We did that activity where they send us 2 MTC missionaries each, and we spend the day with them. That was fun. I was with a Peruano and Ecuatoriano again. It always rains a ton whenever we have the activity haha. I made my missionaries climb a mountain and then I had them follow me onto a bus and made them preach. It was so funny.

Lots of Venezuelan missionaries. They all get called to serve Venezuelan misisons.

Its crazy. Pretty much an entire country's families are split apart and left with nothing.

I had intercambios with Elder Chase. His area is Jordan- the most dangeorus area in the mission. Super fun day. The area is massive. It used to be 3 areas but they combined them all. Only 2 missionaries there.

Love you guys

Elder Blair

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Week Sixty Seven

[ No report this week because there was a Christmas Eve videochat with the family. ]

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week Sixty Six

[ No report this week because Ralph moved to a new area on P-Day. ]

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week Sixty Five

Hey fam what is going on??

This week has been CHRISTMAS SPIRIT OVERLOAD.

Even if I could tell you how much JAQUE and I are #lightinguptheworld you wouldn't believe it...

Here are some things that went down this week:

FIRST OFF

We had a DOUBLE-STAKE COMBINED CHRISTMAS RECITAL #ONSTEROIDS. There was an awesome primary choir, missionary choir, adult choir. Probably 700 people came. It was so awesome. Our zone had 2 choir practices this week. We sang a carol called "Hacia Belen Va Una Burra Rin Rin."

PS the best Christmas song ever is called "mi burrito sabanero". It plays all the time here. Definitely listen.

Also went to the Notary to be witnesses for Lendy and Alex's marriage. That was sweet. Alex was the alcoholic who never talked to us. Their wedding was awesome + the Area Seventy Elder Ardila happened to be there for his daughter's wedding, so he got to talk with our investigators. This all happened Thursday.

In Colombia, the 7th of December is a holiday called "Day of the Candles." At night at about 8:00, everyone puts candles out on their porches. You take a thick wax candle, light it, pour hot wax on the ground, and stick the candle on the wet wax so it stays put. You usually put a candle out for every family member. It's also to honor Virgin Maria. Anyway, after the wedding, we all cabbed back to their house and lit candles. Really memorable night. I loved it in Barbosa as well. It's so pretty seeing the candles lit everywhere.

On Friday, Alex, Lendy, and Samuel their kid all had their baptism.



Here are the programs decked out in APRYL STOTT.  Our ward came through. We had a lot of people come and the Relief Society brought cake and sandwiches.



Investigators took a picture of us praying lol.



This is from watching the Christmas devotional with Julian and Daniel.



Alex Lendy and Samuel with family.

Pretty good week. There are 5 huge hospitals in my area so it's good for Christmas.

How are you guys? Hope all is good in the bay. Good luck with finals week.

Love you guys
Elder Blair

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week Sixty Four

Hey family, how are you guys?

Had a great week.

Wednesday was the multi-zone conference. Jaque and I were in charge of lunches for everybody. 50 missionaries. We ordered 50 bandejas paisas. Bandeja Paisa is this crazy Colombian dish from Medellin with sausage, fried pig fat, avocado, arepa, rice, beans, other stuff. It was SWEET. Everybody was so happy.

For the multi-zone, President Laney trained on contacting better. Opening our mouths and overcoming social anxiety. I feel like one thing I'll miss about the mission is the excuse we have to talk with anybody we want to. We can just stop anybody on the street and talk and it's not weird because that's what missionaries do. I remember being in SF and seeing people walk by that I would want to meet. It's not the same without an easy excuse. STILL DOABLE but not the same...

After the conference, Jaque and I went back to our area. We had an hour left to work before we had to head home. We decided to contact. Found this dude named Marlon. I asked if he was Marlon Brando and he said that's where his name came from. We asked if we could share a message with him and he invited us to his house. We met his family. Turns out his mom is days away from dying of cancer. We found him at the right time.

Next day, our zone had interviews with Pres. Laney. President talked with me about personal ministry. Focus on the individual.

Then we left to the airport. Missed our flight to Bogota so we cabbed to the bus terminal in Bucaramanga and caught the 12 hour bus to Bogota, arrived at 2AM at the secretary's house. #noregrets

Had leadership council. We settled on a mission goal of 1500 baptisms in 2018. We had to take about 30 Christmas packages back to Bucaramanga for all the missionaries in our zone. #neveragain

Saturday we visited a recent convert named Gloria. She thinks God will heal her of her bone cancer and that she doesn't have to do anything. I shared this verse towards the end of Alma that says that God prepares plants to fight disease. She's awesome but definitely needs support.

The best hospital in Colombia is in my area. Its called FOSCAL and we frequently find people who are only in our area temporarily because a family member of their's is in the hospital.

Some of our key investigators are Arelis and Thomas. They wouldn't answer the phone this week and were never home so Sunday we were bummed. Got to church and they were in the front row #yassqueen They are powerhouses.

This random investigator dude showed up during sacrament meeting and sat next to us. He needed to get to Boyaca to be with his sick mom. We hooked him up with a travel ticket + a place to stay for the night. #goodturndaily

Alex and Lendy are getting married and baptized this week. Alex was alcoholic when I got here. #HEARTSARECHANGING

WE ARE GOING HAM FOR #ILLUMINAELMUNDO #LIGHTTHEWORLD Jaque and I are dropping acts of charity like bombs in Floridablanca.

I think I only have a couple more weeks in this area. Really loving it. It will suck to have Christmas where I don't know anybody but also cool?

Love and miss you guys

Elder Blair