Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week Eleven

Dear Family,

This week was emosewa.

I had my first intercambios. I went to Tunja and spent the day and night with Elder Loaiza of Peru. Tunja is much colder than Barbosa and looks like another country. Every city is like a different country. The weather really sharply changes. The members in Tunja are super cool. There are two siblings who speak perfect English as well as French and Portuguese. Their dad is a linguist who raised them in English. He speaks a dozen languages himself. Another member Nicholas likes the same music as me so we talk a lot.

Thanksgiving was cool. Me and Porras took two of our key investigators - Deisy and Hari - out for Tacos. We all said what we were grateful for.

Friday we painted the Pardos house. The Pardos are members in Barbosa. Severro Pardo is the father maybe in his 60s. Always walks around shirtless with his cross necklace. He also plays soccer with us on Saturdays and always scores on everyone like 6 times. He has 4 kids and they are all older now. There are always like 20 other people in their house. There was a French girl there the other day that was cool.

Porras and I were walking down the street and this dude stopped us "Just one question- does man believe in god or god believe in man?"

What do you guys think?

One thing super sweet- we met a filmmaker. Jose. Today (pday) we made a movie with him. It was an interview with Porras about his mission and shots of us walking around and contacting. It got finished about an hour ago. You guys will be able to see it soon. One of these p-days I want to make a movie with him in the Jungle recreating a folktale or something like that. He is really cool. He and his younger brother also played "Torbellino Beleño" together.

This is Porras's last week. He heads to Bogota Saturday. Pretty crazy. I asked him what his 3 genie wishes would be and he said, "First I would wish to be a wiseman and then with the wisdom I would make my other wishes." Don't know if he stole that answer from somewhere but I thought it was pretty cool. Porras will be home for Christmas. Lots of goodbyes. Everyone loves him.

Yeah that gucci elder is on my mind too. Idk if I said this last week but from him I had the idea of a group of construction workers draped in gucci, louis, hermes, everything, but covered in concrete and mud and not addressing the luxury at all. Thats the future of fashion.

I am betting lenin commented on your ig. He is one of the members who always comes with us to lessons.

Miss the christmas decorations.

The teaching tips are gold. This is what I need. Language classes are going good. The first half everyone is always quiet and shy and the last half everyone is awesome and then it starts over every time.

I should probably know english grammar before teaching english even though true fluency transcends grammar.

We find people contacting contacting asking for refs. We don't have service every week. Most of the service in Barbosa is cleaning houses- but this week was all painting. It was awesome.

Like the branch a lot. Anxious to see how things will be when Porras leaves.

Yeah good good week.

and thus it is written

Amen

E
L
D
E
R

M
O
N
I
T
O

Also forgot - there were 2 Colombian teams playing - nacional y américa. There were riots and a motorcycle parade comparable to Run-a-Mucca with fireworks and everyone honking horns - so awesome.

The Real Eagle




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week Ten

Week Report

The first cool thing that happened was right after I emailed last week.

Me and Porras were walkin round the town. Everyone was ditching out on our appointments and it was getting late. There was a group of friends playing guitar and talking so I told Porras we have to go over and hang out with them. They were this group of bikers from Argentina. They just bike from town to town in South America, playing music for money. I talked with the dude with the guitar for about an hour about Argentina. His name was Pedro Ivan Guevera Florentin. I got Argentina film recommendations from him. We sang Under the Bridge RHCP -- everyone here loves RHCP. He also played Voodoo Child. Porras got the guitar and serenaded us too. He sang "Deja" by Vanda El Recordo. I played Strangers by the Kinks. We had Mate this really hot drink. Yeah they were really cool.

Next day we had to go to Bogota to renew Porras Visa so he wouldnt be illegal even though he has like 2 weeks left. Going there is like goin SF-->LA. Long bus ride. There was a dog movie playing on the bus. We stayed with the secretaries who have such a nice apartment. We also had Papa Johns which is a big deal. Colombia played Argentina.

Me and Porras got some food poisoning from some bad arrepas. We had to stay in the house most of the day.

Had a Zone Service at Fundacion Moroni in the surrounding hills of the city of Duitama. Me and Porras had to get up at 4:30 to travel there. Its an addiction recovery program. We were just cleaning the facility. I hung out with Elder Almeida from Brazil. All the Brazillians missionaries are so cool its just in their blood. We had to machete down these logs. It was fun. There was one Mexican missionary dressed head to toe in Gucci, just workin in the mud.

Sunday- taught another lesson on missionary work. It went well, got people to talk. 6 investigators came to the branch so me and Porras were happy. After church we had lunch with the Ramirez family. They have a son whos serving in Argentina. We looked at pictures of him for about 10 hours. After lunch we were walkin around. It started downpouring. We walked passed the big Barbosa soccer field. Barbosas team was playing so we watched them for a bit. Then we visited a less active memeber after and saw the clearest double rainbow. Visited one of our main investigators Osman and his friends. We were telling riddles for an hour. Porras had a good one.

3 friends spend the night in a hotel. The next morning, the owner asks them for 30 bucks. They each give 10. The friends walk away and the owner realizes he charged them 5 bucks too much. He sends an employee to give them the 5 bucks. The employee takes 2 bucks for himself and gives a buck to each of the friends. So subtract a dollar from what they each paid. So now its like they each paid 9 bucks. 9 x 3 is 27. + the 2 bucks the employee took for himself. 29. What happed to the missing dollar?

We also read BOM with them.

Today we had a Zone Activity, again in Duitama, again 4:30 wake up time. First we bussed Barbosa to Tunja. Got there at 6. Tunja was freezing. Me and Porras were looking for hot chocolate. We found this alleyway with different shops and cafes. The alleyway was on a hill. We kept peeking our heads into the differenty shops asking if they had hot chocolate. Everyone kept telling us "mas arriba" --like "higher up". We kept walking up the alleyway and finally found a place. The hot chocolate tasted like Jessica Albas smile. Played futbol the whole Zone Activity in Duitama.

Elder Porras is def excited for home- but still working hard everyday. I dont think my last few weeks will be as focused as his.

Will miss thanksgiving. We are taking some of our investigators out to eat. It will be fun.

Miss everyone so much. this mission is super hard but lots of rewarding experiences.

Sometimes I remember an average day back home and am shocked at how heavenly it sounds. Its like Aunt Jordan said, in a missions youre literally not doing what you want to do for 2 years. So its super hard alot of the time but the cool parts are so cool. Spanish is really coming along too. When im not feeling the mission, I can just work on spanish. I feel like my spanish is where my french was after a year.


a good week

I miss my family

and thus it is written

Amen

Elder Porras & Elder Blair


Monday, November 14, 2016

Week Nine

[ First email ]

Week Report

America is dead.

------

[ Second email ]

Part 2

This week was good.

First Zone Meeting in Duitama. Met my Zone leaders. One is from Ecuador and has a ponytail from his tribe.

Contacting a lot everyday. It's crazy because a good 9/10 people give us their address and number and everything. Feel like that wouldn't be the case in the US. My favorite thing is sitting down with the old cowboys on the road and talking with them about God. Everyone always asks us about the Virgin. Do you believe in the Virgin?

Lots of dogs sleeping that look dead.

More French people. French is harder now, Spanish keeps slipping in. I want to buy a French grammar book so I can keep up.

Colombia was playing Chile in Futbol. It was like the super bowl. Literally everyone had a jersey. Every store, business, bank had the game playing. Tons of people watching TVs in the street.

Chupando La Piña means making out — sucking the pineapple.

Today was a really good p-day. We went to Tunja and met with other missionaries in our zone to play soccer with members in Tunja. One member was a 19 year old who had a guitar so I hung out with him. We were playing the best Strokes songs.

On the bus back to Barbosa, me and Porras met a German girl who is teaching English and German here. She was really cool. I talked with her about German Christmas markets.

Hope everyone is doing well,

Elder Blair

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week Eight

Week Report:

The apartment is good. My shower is basically a hose with only hot water. Actually kind of nice. No oven but a stove top. Good stuff. My p-day today was playing soccer at 6:30, breakfast, going to our friend Lenin's house. He has an electric guitar so I was in heaven. Then we went to the house and napped.

Me and my comp speak only Spanish outside and Spanglish in the house. Spanish is hard but def coming along. I can understand lots of words and phrases but miss a lot of context. I am confident in lessons and contacting though.

Don't really ever see other missionaries. Just us two in Barbosa.

Want to hear more of your missionary stories. I loved the journal entries you sent last week.

Secret stairs look awesome, wish I could be there.

Love my parents Facebook rants.

Halloween was awesome. Most of the costumes were anonymous masks and sexy animals. There was big parade at night and we took pictures of the best costumes.

Every night before bed, me and Elder Porras started saying. "God, I´m ready to die."

I like the field because everyday I'm forced out of my comfort zone. I had to teach an hour lesson on the merits of honesty at church this Sunday. Taking up an hour of the lives of 10 Colombian adults in broken Spanish.

Every day for breakfast we have rice, and fried ham wrapped up in a tortilla.

Me and Elder Porras are the only missionaries in Barbosa, but we frequently go to Tunja for district meetings. I don't know if I said this last week, but I cherish the bus ride to Tunja with all my soul. It feels like 5 hours. I can just sleep and think.

I am the only gringo in my district. I speak a lot of Spanglish with Porras.

I contacted this one dude who was an immigrant from Venezuela. He thought we were cops. That was pretty crazy.

We saw a dog get hit by a motocycle and then walk away like nothing happened.

It´s really cool that we just get to have indepth conversations with different Colombian people everyday. A lot of talk about aliens and vampires and reincarnation.

I bought these soccer shorts because they had the 3 lion Normandy flag. Maybe William the Bastard's flag because I think its for an English team.

Me and Porras got matching ties and we are putting Mexican and Colombian soccer patches on them.
The best juice here. Every house has a big jug of homemade juice. Really foamy and cold. So good. 

Me and Porras were watching a town soccer game. He told me, "The first gift of a Latin Father to his children is a ball". He says bada** stuff like that alot.

Porras only has 4 weeks left so I told him we have to do everything he hasn't done yet these last few weeks.

Played soccer this morning with members. The branch pres and the old branch pres were really competitive. Literally everyone is good at soccer.

English class went well. We went over common Colombian phrases and their English equivalents.

Everyone talks to me about the election here too. Nobody likes Trump anywhere.

Good week.

Paz y Consuelo en sus almas

ETS