Monday, June 11, 2018

Week Ninety One

What is up family?

I had an awesome week.

Back in the field again. So good to be back.

I'm training Elder Lucaila (Luke - ay - la ) from Ecuador.

He's the dude sitting by me with his legs crossed. He is from Guayaquil and is DOPE.

His hobby before the mission was downloading anime episodes and re-editing them down to the BEST parts and then adjusting the audio so youtube wouldn't recognize copyright. These last transfers are gonna be SWEET.

Started the week off with the new missionaries meeting at the mission home.

Then Lucaila and I set off for Bucaramanga. We went on a 10 hour bus ride (which was nrough on Lucaila's stomach haha). The bus passed through Bogotá, Tunja, Barbosa, Socorro, San Gil, Cañon Chicamocho, PiedeCuesta, Bucaramanga. Our Zone Leaders picked us up at the bus terminal at 3:30am. They gave me our phone, the house keys, and told me our address was in our phone. We loaded up our bags in a taxi and 30min later arrived at our house in PiedeCuesta.

We took up our bags, I made our beds and we slept.

Next morning, we got up at 6:30 and did exercises and unpacked. I cleaned our bathrooms and we mopped the house. Then for brekky I made arepas and eggs and juice and then BOOM OPEN AREA TIME.

We called our:
Mission Leader
Elders Quorum President
Lunch Lady
Pretty much all the #s in our phone.

We have just been running around our area this week. Our Bishop- Bishop Lizcano took us around in his pickup and showed us where the chapel was.

Yeah my area PiedeCuesta is just pure Colombian pueblo. Tons of 14 year olds with rattails whistling and riding motorcycles around with their girlfriends. Hot and dusty and green. Nobody wears clothes.

We have been getting home exhausted everyday. One of my hardest working weeks of the mission. We just learn all the neighbors names in the area and pound fists with all the kids.

TONS of water comes out of my shower. Legit a river comes out of this little spout. And it's freezing cold. But so dope. I take like 3 microshowers (20seconds-2minutes) a day and just jog in place.

Also stoked to be back in Buca becuase I can drink HIPINTO PIÑA again. It's my fav soda in Colombia- pineapple flavored.

We scheduled breakfast with the ward mission leader and he gave us like 20 less active families to visit.

So tons of stuff happening but I also have to remember my kid Elder Lucaila. Such a good dude. Super good at taking feedback and always in a good mood.

We have already had a lot of good talks. Mostly trying to make these last transfers tons of hard work but tons of fun. We watch church dvds at night.

Some words I learned this week:

Garrotero - someone from piedeCuesta
Chaparrita - a short girl

Love you guys!

Elder Blair

Monday, June 4, 2018

Week Ninety

Hey family what is up??

I'm going into my last 12 weeks. At the beginning of the mission, all the new missionaries have to do a program called First 12 weeks — you read through a manual with your trainer and practice teaching lessons —things like that.

So now I'm going into my last 12 weeks.

It has been an insane week. President Laney gave me the choice of staying as AP or finishing in the field and I told it him I was ready for whatever. I'll head out on a 12-hour bus ride this Wednesday to my final area: Pie de Cuesta (Foothills) Zona Bucaramanga.

I'll be training and opening the area. I'm stoked out of my mind. I've really missed having all the time in the world to make my area sweet. I've never trained a new missionary and its gonna be awesome.

Things that happened this week:

I went on splits 5 of the 7 days.

I went out with an Elder in a super rough patch. We had a sweet day and then a good inventory in his house.

I worked in my area with Elder Hernandez from Peru. We had a good day. I have become bffs with this recent convert grandma in our ward named Maria Mercedes Portilla. With Elder Hernandez, we took her to do Family History at Brother Trujillos house.

Bro. Trujillo was mission president of the Cali Colombia Mission in 2003-2005. He told us, "Out of the 5 people who know the most about family history in Colombia, I'm #1." Whenever Bro. Trujillo gives a talk at church, he prints out copies of it and gives them out afterwards haha.

Here Elder Hernandez and I are sitting in the Gordon B. Hinckley seat at his house. The seat where Pres. Hinckley sat in his house I guess.

Maria Mercedes Portilla and Bro Trujillo.

Later Elder Hernandez and I surprised our mission leader at his work and we brought him donuts.

I spent the day with Elder Leon also from Peru. We had a good lesson with Janet, a single mom from Venezuela. She lives in my area with her son Jesus. We visited her with our mission leader, Nephi. She used to repair furniture back in Venezuela and had a good business and now she can't get work anywhere. And some hooligans stole her phone last week. Just going through hard times. There's a lot of Venezuelans in our ward so yesterday at church we got Janet set up with friends. Forgot to take a pic with Janet and will probably never see her again. A lot of Venezuelans just need a support system because Colombia can be a cruel place.

At the end of the day I took Elder Leon to a Peruvian restaurant and we got leche de tigre (tiger milk) and Inca Cola. Peruvian food is super strong flavored. Really sour and spicy. But I dug it.

I was with Elder Maldonado from Argentina.

I can only remember visiting super cool siblings in our ward — Sebastian and Laura. We just shared Enos 1 with them and somehow tied it to missionary work, and then we asked them about less actives and people who need help in the ward, and people they know to invite to an FHE. Went well.

My replacement came. Elder Heninger — super good mission friend. He makes movies too.
Saturday was crazy. We helped the Buitrago family move houses for the whole first half of the day. Then we went to mission offices and I taught the new APs how to do transfers and multi-zone conferences.

So we wrapped up the week this Sunday. Brought some goodbye cards for Bishop Rojas and Victoria Correa. Then all afternoon we did transfers. Mostly I just supervised. I went to the terminal with the secretaries to buy all the bus tickets needed for transfers. We finished the transfers and were all starving so we waited till midnight to go out and buy some food (to not break Sabbath). I bought bread and this camembert cream I found. It was nasty haha.

We forgot the house keys and slept in the mission offices.

I'll miss my companion, Elder Dias. We got along awesome. AP was super fun seeing all the missionaries and changing anything that didn't work well. My area was hardest area I've had so far.

Anyways, really good week. Elder Stevenson the Apostle is coming to visit the mission in Bucaramanga in 2 weeks and the entire mission is coming out so it will be sweet to see everyone one last time.

I'm ready to go hard these last two transfers. I'll never be a missionary again in a really short amount of time. I'll have to deal with school and work and rent. I don't realize how much freedom I have here. But I'm ready to go hard, make hard lives better.

Love and miss you guys.

Elder Blair

Monday, May 28, 2018

Week Eighty Nine

Hey family,

This week was good.

Super tiring.

Tuesday: We are making a binder of info about the mission for the new mission pres. Getting all the stake presidents #s and mission numbers together.

I had splits with Elder Vincent. I got us a deal to go on a radio show where they interview foreigners about Bogotá. We taught charla (discussion) #1 and got 5000 new investigators. We just answered questions about the church, Bogota, the temple, and missionaries.

Thursday: Spent the whole day weighing bags of missionaries who are going home and dropping them off at the airport. I was with Elder Sanchez who used to be a ñero in Guadalajara, Mexico. We had a really good inventory. He's about to finish his mission so I dropped some life tips.

Friday: Had splits with Elder Osorio from Valledupar (Colombia). Hes a good friend on the mission. We sang Vallenato all day long. I've never had a Colombian companion but always wanted one. We had a good FHE with the Garcia family and brought them a bag full of chocoramos. (They are like Colombian Twinkies that everybody loves...but aren't even that good.)

Saturday...we went to Suba to attend the baptism of Julio.

This is Julio. My companion, Elder Dias, knocked on his window in the rain 3 months ago. Super cool dude who requested "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to be sung at the service.

Elder Dias and I have been visiting way more members of our ward. The mission is focusing on supporting recent converts who have been neglected. Sunday is way better when you are friends with the members. We have FHEs planned everyday this week haha.

There is this homeless dude from NY who has been showing up to church on Sunday lately. He asked me for some clothes and I told him I'd bring him some this week (our house has tons of missionary clothes). He gave me a Harley Davidson hat as a gift.

I feel like we have very little time to do everything we need to so I've learned tons about planning and time usage these transfers. Mastering morning routine and studies.

I really like "zeal w/o knowledge" by Hugh Nibley. It talks about how we don't have eyes on top, behind, and on the sides of our heads. Only in front. So everywhere we look is a choice. So every second of our lives is a moral measure of ourselves. That's also been a focus lately — thinking about the best things and "looking" better.

Today for Pday we went to the Tatacoita desert. We went with Elder Johnson and Elder Thompson from Suba and got a sister named Diana to drive us out.

Tatacoita is a desert made up of sand canyons. Really pretty. It would be a great place to make a western. Americana landscape. Here are some pics Elder Dias snapped on his GoPro:

with the Virgin

majesty of tatacoita

desert solitaire

I want to go hard for the last of my mission but holy crap I'm excited to come back.

Sure love you guys! See you soon.

Elder Blair

Monday, May 21, 2018

Week Eighty Eight

Hey fam what is up! Betty killed it on her talk.

We had a good week. Our area is picking up and we have an awesome investigator pool.

Some of the people we teach:
Jacinto Delarosa: Architect from Santa Marta
Hermana Delarosa: Lawyer for Fiscalía (the police)
Olga: Lawyer for the military
Jose Davila: Flute teacher for special needs kids
Victoria Correa: Metalworker from Texas
Luis Linares: Venezuelan construction worker

Love our investigators.

We have pretty little time in our area so when we get to work there we are running from lesson to lesson — which is the best feeling.

Some things that happened this week:

I had 2 splits — one with Elder Burbank, one with Elder Navas. Both good friends. Burbank is from Logan; abaseball player who gives baseballs to everyone.

Elder Navas is half Colombian half Hondureño. We had an open house in the chapel and got a ton of people in. Super fun dude to be around.

We finally got the last punch on our card from the empanada store across the street and got 25 free empanadas. #dope

Elder Powlus and I saw this dude practicing rapping in a park and had a rap battle with him.

We had the leadership council for the mission. My comp and I gave a training that went super well. I had an idea of bringing out an ironing board and iron and trying to iron a wrinkled shirt in front of everyone without plugging it in. Obviously it doesnt work. We use it to illustrate a point that an iron doesn't work to iron a shirt without electricity and the Book of Mormon doesn't help people without the Spirit. Pretty corny haha. Everybody was freaking out when we brought out the ironing board.

Our main transportation here in Bogotá is Transmilenio.
Transmilenio is a bus system. Costs about 70 cents to use and is almost always open. Pretty dope. Some qualities are:
Always smells like piss
100% always Venezuelans selling things
People playing music
Grandpas rapping
Fights (mostly after 7pm)
Robberies (24/7)
Students practicing their presentations in front of everyone (awesome)
Preachers preaching
Mormon missionaries preaching
Shocking things that shouldn't be in missionary emails home

Yeah so you get on the bus and there is always someone selling candies or just sharing their situation and asking for help. Super draining stories always right in front of our face. Lots of people make up stories but we can't judge who's making up and who's legit. Missionary policy: we give coins when we feel like we should.

But I have grown to love transmilenio

Some good Spanish words:
jeva: a girl who is almost your girlfriend
aguacero: downpour
plomacera: a fluttery of bullets
gomelo: rich person
papichulo: pimpdaddy

Anyways, awesome week.

Love you guys a ton!

Elder Blair

Monday, May 14, 2018

Week Eighty Seven

[ We had a Mother's Day videochat on Saturday, May 12th. No weekly letter today, but we messaged a bit.  He said: Our investigator smuggled a dog into sacrament meeting. haha ]

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week Eighty Six

Hey family, how are you guys?
June is 8! Holy cow June!!!!!!!!!!!!! How do you feel?
Happy birthdays to June and Bett.

Pretty normal week.

Had splits with Elder Tracy. Such an awesome day. We found this gangsta on the street walking his dog wearing a t-shirt of an indian skeleton and so we talked to him for a bit. I asked if he was from Ecuador because usually dudes with black ponytails are form Ecuador but he wasn't. But he agreed to listen to a message so we taught him in a bakery. Then halfway through he was like, "Hey one sec," and he sprints away with his dog. We thought he ditched us so then Tracy said a quick prayer and right when he finished the dude came running back with a different dog.

This is the dude #evidence His name is Andres Moreno and the 1st dogs name is Rocky.

We have gotten to be way better friends with the bishop. I stand by what I said... being a good missionary is just being best friends with your bishop. He visited our investigator Victoria with us. Victoria has been looking for somebody to take care of her dad in Houston and bishop Rojas came and set her up with these members looking to live in Texas. Love when people can find real solutions to their problems.

Anyway then Bishop drove us home and told us all about his wife and his mission. Super young dude.

We aslo found Jacinto Dela Rosa and his family. Lives right in front of the temple and missionaries have never talked with him. We knocked his door. He is from Santa Marta which is a coastal city donde queda la gente relajada

Also had the activity of taking out elders from the MTC to work.

I went out with these dudes. I love getting new missionaries WAY out of their comfort zones. I made them sing Called to Serve on the train and then we got interviewed and filmed at the temple by university students studying Mormons and I made them answer like all the questions even though they don't speak Spanish.

Also we forgot to pay the electricty bill so we took out all the candles from our emergency bag. Freezing showers in freezing Bogotá!

Elder Dias and I making salad for the missionaries going home.

Sure love you guys!

So excited to see June and Betty! Looks like you guys have grown a ton! By the way, I don't know if June knows but I was at her school this week!! I dressed up as her teacher and she didn't even realize...

Elder Blair

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week Eighty Five

Elder Blair
Misión Bogotá Norte

This Is My Week Report

First off:             what is upppp???

Ill start the week report off w this pic of: Problem Solving Mode

Betty and June gearing up for BIRTHDAYS.

This week we wrapped up transfers and President Laney went to Peru so we were the mission babysitters..

That included: picking up the new missionaries and meeting with the trainers.

Some awesome new missionaries came to our mission from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.

We had a meeting with President Laney to train the trainers. I told the missionaries that during my training we worked super hard and got home exhausted every night so they should shoot for that. Today one of the trainers came up to me and told me they're getting home tired. That was sweet.

After we met with the trainers we walked with all of them 20 blocks to the Nogal Chapel. It was hard walking there because a RIOT was going on in Bogotá blocking the way. The secretaries were walking with all the new missionaries to the chapel and the riot was blocking their path as well so that was way fun.

Elder Vieira left us. His mom thinks he's coming home in May so he surprised her. I'm waiting on a video.

Vieira and Mattos both stayed in our house during their last week. Super trunky hearing them talk about plans.

They both left to the airport to return to Brazil so Elder Dias and I headed to our area to get some work in. We contacted some bodyguards and personal trainers and then got a call from an unknown number: Elder Mattos at the airport.

His suitcases were too heavy and he needed $100USD to get on his flight home so we cabbed. I got $$ out at the mall and we saved Elder Mattos' mission. And then when we were about to pay, a dude came from out of nowhere telling LATAM AIRLINES that missionaries are under an agreement and don't have to pay.

So we did all that for nothing haha.

But we had dinner at the airport in CREPES & WAFFLES, so all good.

We also had the DISTRICT MEETING.

Elder Tracy, my best friend on the mission is my District Leader. We all learned how to protect ourselves from earthquakes. Tracy has been a huge help for me throughout my mission. Always calling. One of the coolest people I know.

Im stoked about this transfer because Elder Dias and I will have way more time to work in the area than normal because there won't be any zone conferences.

I was calling different contacts I had made last transfer w/ Vieira and having 0 luck so we said a prayer to call the name we needed to call. I told Elder Dias to choose a name afterwards because he wouldn't have bias and he chose to call Nereirda. I told him, "Nahh I tried calling her 3 times and no answer...but let's try." And she picked up 1st try and was like, "Please visit me! Is it alright if my husband and kids come too?" Power of prayer.

We have been getting tight with our Bishop — Mario Rojas. Super young dude with craziest son ever. I always tell missionaries they can never call their bishop too much.

We had our meeting with Pres. Laney.

Our meetings go like this:

Sunday night, 7:00pm, Laneys house.

1. Pres greets us and says "Hola Elderes, Como están?"
2. We go inside his office, he turns the lamp on and we sing a hymn in English.
3. We talk about the missions' numbers of the week.
4. We talk about missionaries having trouble.
5. We talk about ANY OTHER TOPIC and it takes another 2 hours.
6. We go eat cookies and milk.

Always look forward to the Sunday night meetings with President. President Laney is so cool. The mission is gearing up for a new President. President Laney told us to be keeping track of areas to close and open.

Elder Dias my new comp is so cool. Super humble and well adjusted. We seem to always be on the same page. He just came ready to work. He is also helping me on Portuguese. I think it helps that I have become super interested in Brazil that I can just ask him questions all day. I always tell Brasileros about Joyce Moreno who is an MPB singer.

We went to eat Brazilian food and in the restaurant was worst music video I've ever seen:  MC Bin Laden - Ta Tranquilo Ta Favorável

Highly don't recommend it haha.

It has always helped me during my mission when I'm mad at my companion to ask him about his life.

I'm super excited for the skype with you guys next week!

Love and miss you guys more than I can say.

Elder Blair