Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tanner arrives in Barbosa, eats cow spine soup, and testifies of God's love!

My first area is Barbosa, yes, like the pirate. A little about Barbosa. Barbosa is a small, poor town in the mountains. I was told that approximately 30,000 people live here. The town is poor in comparison to the rest of Colombia. There is a single branch here of approximately 50 people that attend regularly. From what I have been told, the members of Barbosa are just "tired." The ward is really tough and not very strong. They attend in a tiny chapel that is actually underneath our apartment. Out of the 50ish that are considered active, only 20ish are really dedicated to the church. Those members are great. I have had the chance to meet all of them and they are all extremely nice and lovely people. Barbosa is a hotish city. During the day you sweat, but at night, it is just warm. Full sweat during the day and light sweat at night. It doesn`t rain that often. The heat isn`t unbearable though. I have been able to manage, so far. The streets of Barbosa are mostly just rubble. It kind of looks like a small war happened here. There are just piles of rubble everywhere and the rubble streets are lined with more rubble. Some parts have crappy pavement, but the vast majority is just dirt and rubble. The town is really cheap too. You can buy 12 rolls similar to Mom`s for dos mil pesos, which is roughly a dollar. We could easily feed our entire family for less than 10 bucks. A nice meal too. 

Our apartment is the third floor of the church building. It houses the 4 of us, 2 showers, but only one has a hot water converter thing. The water is reasonably hot, but only a little comes out at a time. You can never get truly clean. Whatever. The apartment is really dirty. Cockroaches are common and we are infested with ants. Whatever. We cleaned today, but that really didn`t do much. Our apartment does have a really cool view of the city. The first floor of the building is half chapel and half internet shop. The second floor has classrooms and the bishop´s office, and the third floor is our apartment and another person´s apartment. I will try and send pics. 

My trainer is Èlder Ramìrez of Ecuador. A little about the Elders. Elder Ramìrez: From Ecuador. Shorter than me, but really great. He is kind and patient. He speaks zero English. He has been in the field for 14 months. Really great so far. Elder Brito: From the Dominican Republic. Big, black. Really fun. He speaks fluent English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. This is his last transfer. He is super great. Loud and fun. He is super helpful when I cannot understand Elder Ramirez. I am lucky to be around him.  Elder G: From Chile. Really nice and cool. He got hit by a bus while serving and broke his neck and collarbone. He should have died. He was back in the field within a month. An absolute miracle. He is nice and fun to be around. 

So on Sunday we are sitting there in the hot chapel. After the sacrament, the Bishop calls me up and asks me to give a 7 minute talk. Gotta love missionary work. 7 minutes. Zero prep. I called upon my knowledge of God`s love. It has been my go to talk so far. The talk went surprisingly well. I was less nervous than the other speakers. I have many people say I did a wonderful job afterwards, or at least that’s what I think they said. The rest of the church time I just listened and sat there sweating. It was great. 

Speaking of food, Mom you would be so proud. I have not turned down anything. I have tried so many different fruits. Every type of juice imaginable. EVEN ORANGE. For lunch it is pretty typical that we have rice, beans, beef, and a fruit drink. Nothing terrible yet. My bowels have been fine. KNOCK ON WOOD. No strange poops yet. They will inevitably come though. 

On Saturday we did "Operation Invasion Barbosa." We set up a table in the most busy square in Barbosa and just passed out pass along cards and Liahonas. We received almost 40 contacts in 2 hours! We are going to follow up on those contacts this week. It was fun and really effective. The other missionaries were amazing. I envy their skill and attitude. I have great examples.

 The days so far have consisted of meeting with a lot of less actives and recent converts. A massive portion of our work here in Barbosa will be building up the ward. The ward is really weak, and it needs strength. I will do my best to insert my energy and happiness into this struggling ward. We are working with some investigators though. 

Today was my first preparation day in the field. We played micro, which is soccer but on a much smaller scale. Really fun, but I am terrible. The Latinos are just so good and I look like an idiot most of the time. Whatever. Still fun. We played micro, did wash from a rentable machine, and cleaned a little. Some member paid for our lunch at a shop. Cow spine soup. Not bad. Then we just relaxed and that brings me to now. 

I feel great. The work here is different than the work in the CCM. I feel confident teaching lessons. The hardest thing is understanding people. I can pretty much say what I want to say, but I cannot understand what people are asking or telling me. Really frustrating. Things improve little by little every day. The people here are patient and understanding. 

No comments:

Post a Comment