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.
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.
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.