Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Earthquake and a P-day Hike

This week was pretty good. Being a District Leader is chill I guess. My district is good. Pretty much the entire zone is young. It is crazy. As a district leader I am in charge of 5 other missionaries. They report to me their daily activities and weekly numbers. I conduct weekly "district meetings" to help train and teach the elders and sisters in my district. It is a lot of calls. My district is good though. There have only been a few problems so far as my district is young and isn`t super sure on a few things. It is all good. I will keep you updated. I think the district likes me. I hope so. haha

Pday Hike
 This week was pretty good in terms of investigators. We scheduled a new baptismal date for a woman named Carolina. She is the wife of a less active who we have been working with for a while. Their family is by far the poorest I have met here in Colombia and it is truly humbling teaching in their "house." She cannot read, so her progression has been really, really slow; however, she is doing well. She asked me to do the baptism on April 11th, which was cool.  

 She then proceeded to tell me that she has named her unborn baby Tanner. I have no idea how she found out me name, my guess is that Elder Correa told her, but all in all I have a 5 month old unborn baby named after me. It was kind of strange at first and I didn`t exactly believe her. We will have to see how she progresses. Overall, this week I had a baby named after me...

Tanner and Elder Brown

We also got hit by an earthquake this week on Tuesday. It was a 6.6 and was felt all over Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. It was the strongest though here in Santander. It lasted, I think, about 30 seconds. I have never felt something like that. The ground literally shook, rolled, and moved. It was crazy. I think only a few people died in total, but there was a bit of damage too.
 Honestly, if it had lasted any longer or was any more powerful, I think that our mission would be converted into a service mission, not a proselyting mission. Bucaramanga would have been destroyed. We were all ok, but wow did the earth move. I have heard that out of the 5 missions here in Colombia, 3 were allowed to call home. Bogotà Norte was not one of the three. All is good.

Tanner's District

This week was good and pretty normal. Today for Preparation Day we took a 3 hour hike, literally, into the mountains to see waterfalls. It was a really cool view and we were high in the mountains. The waterfalls were so so, but the views were so great. The camera just can`t capture it all. One day we gotta return here. With the wife too.

The cutest picture Tanner believes he has even taken

Zone Conference - Elder Brown is on Tanner's shoulders. You can see his head.

Today we had transfers. We ended the 6 week cycle yesterday. Elder Correa and I are together for another transfer here in Diamante II. However, the districts got switched. I am now the District Leader for Dimante II, Bucarica II, and the sisters in Piedecuesta. It will be a good experience to serve. I hope that my district can really do some good here in Bucaramanga. We just need to continue working hard.

Zone Conference
This transfer 30 missionaries left to go home and only 21 came in. There have been a lot of crazy transfers. There are missionaries that literally finished their own training yesterday and are beginning training tomorrow. I will have a new Elder and a new Sister in my District. I will do my best to treat them really well. There are another 35 Elders leaving in the next 6 weeks. Our mission is very, very young. It is good though.

This week, or transfer in general, was really good for teaching. Overall, in the transfer, we taught 154 lessons. That is pretty high. I am not bragging, it is just that we were blessed to have the opportunity to teach a lot. Honestly I love teaching. The other parts of finding people are not my favorite, but once we are in the lesson I can just do my thing. It is so fun and so enjoyable.

Zone Conference 
Tanner is convinced that this is probably the cutest picture he has even taken.
Felipe is really good. He received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday and arrived earlier to church than we did. He is so much different than his family. He is good.

Paula, the recent convert, is also really good. She will be a life time convert.

 Eugenia is struggling. Her mom passed away Tuesday. We did all that we could to help her out, but in situations like this, sometimes the best thing you can do is pray. She is good though. Just in a really hard time.

As to other progressing investigators, there is not much to mention. We have many investigators, but few are really putting in an effort. We will change that.


Chelsey asked about the teenager that was on house arrest. He was released, and instantly went back to his old ways. It was a real shame. We were actually walking in the street one day and we ran into him. He is always really nice to us. We then ran into him 2 hours later and he had just been in a knife fight. He had a stab wound in his butt cheek. He definitely needed to go to a doctor, but obviously he didn`t. He will be fine though. It isn`t his first stab wound. I love him, but he just makes such idiotic decisions.

We helped reactivate a less active member called Juan Carlos this transfer. He is really chill and wants to serve a mission. He too is really good. He attends church every week, pays tithing, and does everything he should. Really great guy.

Teaching is so great. I just want people to clearly understand the wonderful message that we have.

Felipe's Baptism!

The baptism and confirmation of Felipe both went really well. As you can see from the pictures, he asked me to perform the ordinance. It all went really smooth. The service was small but sweet. There were not problems and the spirit just felt right. He was very prepared for the moment, and I was glad that I had the opportunity to find him, teach him, and baptize him. It was really great. He will one day be an excellent missionary.

Tanner's breakfast after he get's a package from home
 Elder Correa performed the confirmation. That too went really well. I love fast and testimony meetings. I bore my testimony of ordinances and convents. I said how many people always tell us that churches don`t save people. That is true, the church doesn`t save, the bishop doesn`t save, the buildings don`t save, etc. However, the ordinances with the proper authority of God DO save. You can ask members, how do we obtain salivation? They will typically say obey the commandments, read, pray, attend church, primary answers.... The real way is, yes, those things, but the covenants that we make with our God are oh so very important. I love helping people realize that.

 Other than that the week was pretty normal for teaching, finding, and working. We currently do not have any other "fechas" or baptismal dates, but I am sure that that will change very soon. People are prepared, we just need to find and teach them.

I had an "intercambio" with Elder Quezada this week. It was good. He worked with me here in Diamante II. It went well and we did good work that day.  He is cool and plus, he served in Barbosa as well. It was nice to reminisce about the things that we both saw and did there. We continue to do the work here to the best of our abilities. We just need to find some more new investigators and get the ball rolling with others.

 Elder Thurston, my Zone Leader, goes home this week. He is really great, and I have really enjoyed being in the same district and zone as him. It will be a bummer to see him leave, but it will be all good. It is crazy to think that we are in week 6 of the transfer. What?

Thanks for everything family and friends. I pray for you all often.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. God did not choose a perfect man. He chose a boy with grand potential. I know that despite his flaws, his mistakes, and his wrongs, without him we wouldn`t have what we have today. God choose Joseph Smith to do his work.

Tithing and the Joy of Teaching

The sign says repentance
 Things are well here in Bucaramanga. My feet are well. I am not sick. Things are going well with investigators. Things are pretty good.

Felipe continues to progress well. His baptismal date is this Saturday at 5. It should be a good experience. His is doing really well and is progressing well. His parents continue to support him despite their non-interest in the church. He has asked when he can serve a mission, when can he receive the priesthood, etc. Things are good with him.

Eugenia was called to be in charge of the Liahona (church magazine) distribution. I might have mentioned this before, but Eugenia´s mom has terminal stomach cancer. She is in very bad shape. She is not the biggest fan of us, unfortunately, but she did ask for a blessing.  It was a nice experience. She is so yellow though. Her entire skin, eyes, everything is really yellow. I hope things improve for her.

 By the way, Paula, the recent convert, was called to be the second counselor of the young women’s organization. She was excited. She is very good.

 When we were teaching Felipe about tithing, going into it I was a bit nervous about how the mom would react as she always listens in. We had planned to cover something in lesson 5 if she was there or tithing if she wasn`t. She was there, but I felt that we should just teach tithing anyways. Turns out that it was a hit. She went off about how tithing is super important, a blessing, a commandment, how he should start paying it now, and how it has blessed her life. It was a "what is happening moment." It was cool and she definitely helped with the lesson. Cool thing that I followed the spirit.

My feet. They honestly aren't that bad.
 We had the Elder Godoy from the quorum of the Seventy visit the mission this week. He was in Cucuta Wed, Bucaramanga Thursday, and Bogotà Friday. All the missionaries attended. Some had to travel more than 10 hours to attend. It was really good though. The conference was well planned and really well done. We learned a lot in a good fun atmosphere. It was a good time. Cut out almost the entire day of teaching, but it was worth it.

Much to my chagrin, we have been waking up at 6:00, thirty minutes early, to go to the apartment complex in which Elder Brown and Elder Gonzales live so that Elder Correa can work out his bis and tris. It is not my favorite. I am totally fine with exercise, but when it cuts into my sleep time, it is not my favorite. Especially when he is only working out his arms. Cummon man! I do it to make him happy. It is all good.
 Things are also going well with Sandra and David. They did not attend church because baby Danny, my nickname, is sick. She too asked for a blessing.  It was a cool experience.  

We had a lot of investigators attend sacrament meeting. It was cool.