Sunday, November 9, 2014

Colombian Valentine's Day and Other Cultural Observations

Homemade weights
In Colombia, Valentine’s Day is in September, so the ward put on a small party. It was nice and well done considering the limited resources. There was dancing, a few spiritual thoughts, and overall solid moral. I think everyone had a great time. It was fun to watch the adults try and dance. They need to practice.

 New mission rule: All missionaries are to leave the house at 10 and complete additional study and language study after lunch. I still don´t know how I feel about this rule. I am afraid it will make us less effective. However, we will have to see. Not gonna lie, I don´t really enjoy the extra "additional study time" that trainers and trainees have to complete. I feel like it is not very effective. However, what do I know? I wish I could be out on the street longer. We will have to see how this rule affects things.

Setting up the technology to watch General Conference
 I bought my first souvenir this week. We ordered some jerseys from Bogota. They should arrive in the next coming week. 1 of the Colombian National Team and another of a local team. They both should look super fresh. I hope everything works out with them. Plus, they were only 70 mil combined, or 35 bucks. In the USA, they both would have been 80 bucks a piece, easy.

We have been working with a recent convert, Hermano Rojas, and his son, a super less active member named Carlos, for a while now. We are trying to get Hermano Rojas ready to obtain the Priesthood. He is apprehensive and worried about the responsibility. However, things are improving. Cool note: Hermano Rojas´s family runs a road side food shack and their empanadas are amazing. Carlos noticed that I particularly enjoy them and is going to teach me and Elder Ramirez how to make empanadas Colombian style. Should be really cool and fun.

 The language is progressing. I feel more and more comfortable every day. However, it is a daily struggle. The religious language stuff is easy; it is the everyday "living" stuff that is most difficult. However, I can see the fruits of my labor and divine help from God. It is not easy, but it is progressing nonetheless.

Cool note: The majority of people here in Barbosa have small tattoos on their hands in between their index fingers and their thumbs. Often times it symbolizes gang affiliation, but other times it symbolizes something about their loved ones.

Also, all over the place people hang water bottles filled with water outside their windows. Apparently it is for good luck and to deter demons. Looks ridiculous and is a weird tradition, but regardless it is very interesting.
 Luis is also doing well. He is at the point now where he could easily be baptized if he could attend church. However, his work is a major problem. Help us pray for a change in schedule or something that will allow him to attend church.

There are many other people that we are working with, but none that are at the point of serious investigators. Our work with less active members and recent converts is high too. Everyone, even strong members, needs to hear our message.
Dad, I was reading in the Book of Mormon Alma Chapter 40 the other day. It is a great chapter about the spirit world and resurrection. It says, not sure what verse, that time is only measured by men. I like this a lot. The idea of a creation in 7 24 hour periods has always been something that I have never fully grasped or come to terms with. I truly believe that as mortal, imperfect beings it is silly, even offensive to God to put time standards on his work. We can´t even try to comprehend his power or work or "time."
Playing air hockey on preparation day

Also, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of perfection. The way I look at it, how can we ever be perfect in this life or the life to come? Once we reach this "level" of perfection and are deemed perfect, are we not then lacking humility? The balance of humility and perfection is something I have been trying to wrap my mind around. Any insights?

Also, the Book of Mormon is true. People just need to read it to know.

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