Monday, August 3, 2015

Reflections Halfway into Tanner's Mission & Cow Intestines

Paola's Children
 This week was a fine one. We had the opportunity to meet the new President Laney and his wife. They both look excellent. Although a bit timid, they both look ready to do the work here in Bogotá Norte. President´s Spanish is pretty good, not wow. He will improve very fast. The same thing happened with President Andelin. Hermana Laney speaks literally nothing. She has a long way to go. I feel bad for her as this must feel so scary. They are literally arriving into a city and county where a ton of craziness is happening, and then they are in charge of 200 young men and women. They are great though. They love their family and love us. We will have interviews with him in the upcoming weeks. I only had 3 interviews with President Andelin, none of which were longer than 10 minutes. We had to travel to Bogotá for the meeting.... We arrived, had the 2 hour meeting, went to eat, and then got on the bus again to travel.....

 This week was good with the investigators. We are working closely with Juan and Diana. They are such good people. We were reading Alma 42 from the Book of Mormon with them and we (they and us) got carried into a discussion on families, the importance of family morals and values, etc. It was a great lesson. Unfortunately, they did not come to church this week. They are really great people. Definitely prepared.

We also had the opportunity to find a new family this week of Costeños, or the people of the Coast. The culture in Colombia varies greatly depending on where you are from. The coast has a much different culture then the llano, or the plains, where Aguazul is. The mom is alone with here 3 kids, 18 16 and 14. The kids are remarkably united. They play Dominoes together, the younger sister gets the older brothers to clean the house, they watch TV together, etc. They are just a really cool and united group. Unfortunately, the mom works all the time. It is really hard to find time with her. However, they are a great potential family.

 Also, we are seeing some great progress in a part member family. Alba, the mom, is a less active that we would visit one and a while. However, over these last few weeks things have begun to progress as she has become more open to us and ready to change. Also, her 14 year old daughter Milena was never baptized. They are a crazy group of God´s children, but really great. They both came to church this week which was a miracle. The daughter is enjoying learning for us and out of nowhere decided to read the Bible. She is currently in Genesis 30. It is funny.

I still think Elder Baez was my favorite companion so far. Elder Pinoargote is doing well. As mentioned before, he has some immature tendencies, but he is getting better. He is ready to do the work. His teachings are improving and his boldness is improving. One´s boldness is very important. Overall though, I really enjoy being his father (trainer) and he is a great kid (trainee).

 As can be seen from last week´s photos, on Monday we hiked up to the point of the mountain. It was a tough climb, but the views were worth it. Looking back at it, the climb itself wasn´t dangerous but the location was. Overall, it was really cool plus there was a cave that we went into. Bats.

Also, I saw that President Packer died. That is a real shame. I always liked him. When are we gonna know the new apostles????

One food item that I can explain. Here a common food is the "rellena." First image a real sausage. However, it is like this. They take the cow intestines and fill them with a mixture of rice, vegetables, and a little meat. Then they fill the whole tube of intestine with the mixture, then pour cow blood to fill it in. They then seal the intestine off in small 6 inch parts and then fry them and eat them. They are really good. I love them. However, they are dangerous to eat. Cool though.

To finish, it is weird to think that I have officially cleared the halfway mark. Wow. During this time, I have learned many, many things, both spiritual and temporal. However, the two things that I think I have learned the most are of maturity and humility. I know that sounds contradictory - one saying that they are mature and humble probably means that they are not, but just stay with me. One thing that really bothered me when I began the mission was comparing myself to others. Other´s teaching ability, speaking ability, investigators, area book, planner, obedience, etc. I feel like I felt like it was a competition. It really is not. I would get frustrated, obviously never at others, just in my head, when people would counsel me on how to get more new investigators or more lessons with members when I knew that my numbers were much higher than theirs. I would get frustrated when I knew that others, less hardworking, less obedient, less diligent, are baptizing great families, and I was without a single progressing investigator. Those things just didn´t sit right with me. Sometimes they still don´t. However, I have come to accept that the Lord is really the one in charge. We are his servants, but this is His work. It is not a competition; it is not a race. It is salvation. I have come to learn to do my best, to love others (missionaries and others alike), and to just learn to control my thoughts when it comes to expressing frustration with others. I am no master at it yet, but I have definitely learned to become better at that. 

Also, I would say that I am much more mature now than what I was. People often times tell me that I am a man of few words, but I just have realized that every word spoken is important, so it is easier to just cut down on the excess. I just don´t need to be dumb. Overall though, I am just becoming a better version of my previous self. I still feel like a hypocrite saying that I feel more humble and mature. Whatever. Those are two things that I have improved on.

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