Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

So my Christmas this past week was awesome! Here in Colombia they really only celebrate on Christmas Eve. The whole day is full of church and family stuff and then as it gets to be night Christmas kind of ends and partying begins. Also they do not really believe in Santa here. They say that the Baby Jesus brings gifts to people or that he blesses us so we can have money for gifts. I think that sounds pretty awesome. Since Christmas turns into party stuff, we had to be inside by 6 pm. Because of that we ended up spending the night at our Zone Leaders flat. It was nice to spend Christmas with them and eat together. The next morning was Christmas Day and we headed back to our own area by bus. Since it is not really celebrated everything was open like business as usual. When we got back to the house I got to open my Christmas gift, my package finally got here!. Elder Price couldn’t wait to open his and did it earlier in the week and then felt bad he had nothing on Christmas. He was pretty bummed. All my gifts were so cool and so was the wrapping paper. I loved them all. Elder Price asked why you guys sent me so many little toys. I told him “Its because my parents love me more then yours”, although it was a bit sad that I did not receive any Dr Pepper : ( but other then that it was great. After presents I went and skyped home which was pretty awesome. I had been really looking forward to it. Just so you know, I didn’t cry afterwards. I don’t know what it is but I am like never home sick. There are times that I want things from back home but I never want to go home, we will see how that goes next year when I am almost done with my mission. 

After skyping we went back to the flat to take our nap we and been planning on for weeks. Elder Price and I had agreed that a good 30 minute nap was a gift we both deserved for Christmas. We set the alarm to go off in 30 min but not 5 min later the sisters called us and asked if we could give a blessing to Sister Pérez, because she was not feeling well. So much for our nap, we then gave her a blessing and headed to the church. We both fell asleep waiting for people but they never showed so we got a nap after all and it was glorious. Afterwards we went to the members house to have lunch with the fish that we caught. Sadly he just fried the fish so it wasn’t very good. He could have done so many things but didn’t. What a waste of fish. After that we all went caroling to the all the church leaders and a few of our investigators. It was really nice to share the Christmas spirit with the people of Chinchina and that sums up my Christmas.

We also had a Christmas activity on Friday with the Branch. We read the christmas story in Luke 2 it was amazing. Then we talked about his life and what he did for us. We ended with an amazing video called ´´The Bridge´´. I was glad I was on the stage holding the curtain back because I just started crying in the end. We then fed everyone a Christmas dinner of Arroz con pollo. A member also made cup cakes for every single person that came to the activity. It was pretty great.


Here is the link to the video we watched:

Sadly, I did not get any emails or cards from anyone for Christmas other than my family. The cards could still be in the mail so I get to wait for those which should be fun. I will most likely be getting cards for the next 4 months because the office never sends stuff on time.

As for the gifts my parents sent, they were all pretty awesome. I got a toy shark with a freakin laser beam on its head, a rubik´s cube, t shirt from the big bang theory, totally awesome mustache socks, small toys, and candy. My parents rock!!!

Love you guys lots and hope you are all doing well,

Alec


P.S. Sorry to my family who all got the flu for Christmas.

All my gifts in the box were wrapped and in Toy Story paper to boot.

Stuff in my stocking.

My new shirt!

Socks: great
Mustaches: awesome
Socks with Mustaches: Fan-freakin-tastic


The doctor can now travel through time and space to keep my drinks cold.



Its a shark with frickin´ laser beam on its head, so much better then ill-tempered sea bass.

I got to color my own stocking which was awesome.


I am now the proud owner of a lovely button collection that are icons for my mission.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fishing with Members

Hola Everyone and Merry Christmas This Week,

I really don’t have much to say since I will be talking to you guys on Christmas, so ya.

Fun thing this week, we went fishing for pday with a member family. That was pretty fun and now we have a bunch of tilapia to eat so that is going to be awesome. We are going to bring it to the member that is a chef so it will be amazingly good.

Love you guys lots and thanks for the christmas money. I am going to get a leather messenger bag made like the one I have at home, but a different style. They do really cool leather stuff here.

Oh and Dad, thanks for keeping your blog going and emailing me what it says and the pictures. I enjoy every week when I can see the progress on your bike. It makes me happy to see what you are doing. The mock up looks awesome of the rev gage for the Cafe Racer.

No luck on my Christmas package. I think it is stuck in the office.

Anyway, I’m super excited to Skype on Christmas. Talk to ya soon.

Love,
Alec

We went ´´fishing´´ with a member family. We caught 10 fish.This is one of the two fish I caught.



I MADE EGGNOG!!! 
and it was awesome.



This is the case for Preach My Gospel I received from the President last week for Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Party & Service

Hey Everyone,

So I have some bad news, I am not going to be able to get my christmas package in time to open on Christmas. I will get at least before the end of December but not before christmas. That is sad!

On a better note, We got to go to our mission christmas party for the Cafeterra zone. We had a talent show then performed our hakas. We then all got leather cases for preach my gospel from the president and his wife for a christmas gift. Then they took us to a really nice restaurant and bought us all stake dinners it was so good, it was better the the stake that you guys brought back from Tiburon back home( which means shark in spanish, who knew). I thanked them so much for their gifts they are so nice. The steak platter was called ´´Punto de Anca´´. I ate my steak and then one of the sisters offered like 3/4 of hers steak to me. After that every one just started passing another Elder and me steak on forks and knifes. In all I ate about 2 1/2 steaks if not more. One of the best parts was they had paper to cover the tables so all the Elders started drawing on the table before we got our food. Also, that night we all got put up in a hotel since it was to far to get back to our own flat that night. It was a pretty cool party.

This week we got to do several service projects, its about time. Saturday we started the morning painting the garage of a investigator of the sisters, she has plans to make it a restaurant for the hotel that she runs. After that we helped a family move. They live in the basement part of a house so they had a big flight of stairs that the had to climb. Elder Price took all the big stuff since it was a grandma her daughter and granddaughter all living in the small house so they needed some muscles. We also went back to the house that had a grenade go off inside to help her clean up a little more. We washed dishes, and mopped her whole house. She was so thankful that we were so willing to help her. It felt so good to finally have service to do.

For p-day this week we all went to a park to play soccer but we ended up playing American foot ball since Elder Price brought his ball. Official football is a lot better the soccer in every way, hands down.

Oh and I’m sad Lydia got to go to the Mormon Tabs Christmas concert and got to see the guy that played Gimli. Thats pretty awesome that Gimli came to the conference center. That must of been a long flight from middle earth.

Oh and my spanglish is fan-freaking-tastic lately. People are starting to think I am from latin countries, or a half latin gringo. People don't think I am from the U.S. since I am so tan and my spanish is good enough to use the Colombian accent so its pretty rad.

Last off big birthday wishes to my sister. She is 18 this week. Happy Birthday Beans!!!

Love you guys, 
Alec

This is our zone after doing the Hakka.

Going to the “popular” park for p-day. We played real football with the other Elders, not soccer.

My prize from the mission gift exchange, pretty sweet.


Meeting Elder Gomez’s trainer at the Christmas party.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Learning the Haka

Hola Everyone,

So first of Elder Price is my new companion and he is from Boise, Idaho. He says that he has two cows so I don’t know if he really lives in Boise itself. However he is super cool now that I have gotten to know him. He has been out for a little over a year. Fun fact his trainer was Elder Mansilla, how funny. I miss him. Four things I like about Elder Price are:

1. Because we are both white boys we get a lot of opportunities I haven’t had with other comps, i.e., people will want to talk with us just because we are white, which is good and bad.

2. He is really laid back on the stuff that isn’t very important. He doesn't have a bathroom schedule, or any thing like that. He understands that things about investigators and members are important, but other then that he is pretty chill.

3. He will eat what I don't like. For example I hate the fried plantains here, they are nasty, but he loves them (crazy) so the members never feel bad that all the food wasn't eaten.

4. He has a bunch of scriptures marked and knows where they are. Its really cool. The person can be talking about some thing and he will be all like ´´I think I have a scripture for that, hold on.´´ Its really nice to be able to explain things when you have the scriptures to back it up.

The rebabtizing went well with Jesus. He actually was really excited about the whole thing and getting back in the font. He wanted to take all the blame for the whole thing since he said his name wrong, we told him it was no ones fault it was just a mistake. I know he is going to be a really strong member even though he is 78 years old.

We finally got the opportunity to do service this week. The sad part is that it was to help the friend of a sister clean out her house after someone threw a grenade into the house this morning. Yes, a grenade, or some sort of similar explosive. She had no idea why it happened. She is a teacher for infants, she doesn't have ´´enemies´´. It was just so sad to see here face as we carried out all the broken furniture. I was just glad we could help the lady out. She lives alone with her two sons. The sons are 7 and 10 so they couldn't help out much. It was just so so sad sot hats why my email is a little bit late today.

On a brighter note we have a mission Christmas party on Wednesday and we have been practicing a Haka in our zone (if you don't know what a Haka is please google it, Mom maybe you can put up a link when you post my letter to the soccer Haka). Its big here because of all the soccer people that do it. Since we have 4 Americans in our zone the Haka we are doing has a lot of parts that we took from Thriller so that should be fun.

Everyone has been telling me who its been snowing a lot back home and complaining. You all may hate snow blowing, but I really miss the snow. I have no chance to be in the snow here and its sad. People always ask if there is snow in Utah. Sadly I reply yes, there is snow.

Also in the next package can you send me another consecrated oil key chain vial so I can give blessings. I lost it or one of my comps ´´borrowed´´ it.


Love you guys lots,
Alec

HERE IS A LINK TO A SOCCER HAKA AS REQUESTED BY ALEC:

Here is our zone Christmas card.

My Christmas tree in our flat. Notice the mustache topper.

The Notche de Hogar in the house of Jorge Gomez.

The had us play a game at the Gomez home.

You have to remove the coin from the flour using only your nose.


Monday, December 2, 2013

My 4th Comp is Here - #3 Only Lasted a Week

Hola Everyone,

So I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was not quite what I had planned. Elder Muñoz and I had decided to use the money my Mom gave me for Thanksgiving to have a member cook dinner for us and them but my comp got a last minute transfer so everything changed at the last minute.

I’m super bummed, I only got to have him for a little more than a week. We were just starting to figure out how to use each others strengths to help the people we are teaching. We got a call in the middle of a lesson that he needed to pack for three days because he is leaving for Medellin. We were shocked. We quickly explained the situation to the woman we were teaching and then made a dash for the house (the next bus was leaving for Medellin in an hour. He made the bus barely and I went to the other part of our zone, Villamaria, to work in a trio while he was gone. This was on Tuesday, so Thursday comes along and I get a call that Elder Muñoz is coming back to our zone to be our zone leader, yeah! That was a big change and the mini transfer last minute. It was a bit crazy. He is now working within Villamaria, and I have a new companion in the same place I have been for the past little bit. His name is Elder Price and he is a farm boy from Idaho. He seems pretty cool. We should be able to work well together. I just miss Elder Muñoz he was super cool.

So with Thanksgiving all messed up and actually getting a new companion and going back to my regular area all on that day, I was never able to get back with the member who volunteered to cook for us. Instead I just bought two big pizzas for Elder Price and me. He was shocked that I bought food for Thanksgiving. He didn’t get to have thanksgiving dinner last year so that was cool we got to do something together on our first day as comps.

One good thing came out of the craziness. I got to listen to Elder North (one of the missionaries of the trio) and all of his experiences in the mission. He finishes his mission tomorrow so he has had a lot of things he could share with me. His conversion story was one of the most amazing I have ever heard. He is like a real life Alma the younger. He is awesome!

Saturday we had one of our baptisms. All went well except while I was in the font with him and asked for his full name he didn’t give it to me (people here have 4 names, two first and two last). He only gave me three of his names. We didn’t figure this out until Sunday morning in a meeting so we get to baptize him again this Saturday. Maybe its just he needed to be baptized twice to make sure he was really clean. He is 78 years old so that is a lifetime to clean so I will clean the second 39 years this Saturday. He is not upset at all to go back into the font.

Saturday was also zone conference. We also took the Zone Christmas card photo today. We combined with the zone of Manizales for the photo and spelled ``Feliz Navidad`` with our bodies in front of the third tallest cathedral in South America so that was pretty cool. In fact I am still at our conference so I am typing super fast today.


Love you guys lots, 

Alec

I don’t know who it is but someone here loves my Mom.

On saturday we baptized Jesus. He is 78 years old and is super awesome. 
It was great to watch his testimony grow. Oh and this is Elder Price, my new comp.

Thanks giving dinner in the mission. My companion Elder Price only wanted
 hawaiian so I bought my self a second pizza.

The new case for my Bible & Book of Mormon came. 
The member custom makes them in leather, sweet!


This week I got a huge haul of packages and letters from Home:
October Halloween Candy & Toy Package
November Peanut Butter and Crazy Sock Package
A Dear Elder Package from My Grandparents with Treats

& Finally the package Braden mailed from Africa on his mission in April. 
It went to the MTC in Bogota, sat there awhile and finally got sent on. Not sure what the metal thing is.


Monday, November 25, 2013

My 3rd Comp Is Here

Hola,

So the big news is that I have a new companion and NO, I did not have to ride the curvy road I threw up on before to go get him. I took Elder Mansilla to the bus stop and he boarded his first leg of his 2 day ride to Medellin were he will take a second bus to the coast. My new companion is Elder Muñoz and he came from an area close by so he just came on the bus too but his ride was pretty short. He is super chill. He was born and raised in Texas, but his dad is from Cali Colombia and his mom is from Argentina. He does not look look like a white boy at all but he is a gringo. It’s been fun having people guess where he is from. They think were are lying when we say he is from the U.S. He is an awesome guy and I know that it is going to be great having him here in Chinchina.

Well we had a super cool first week together.It has been raining a little bit but not bad. The only day we left our umbrellas at home though was the day we really needed them. We were contacting in a new area when all of a sudden it started pouring buckets on us. I saw a open door and ran to it and started contacting the house and when they saw it was just pouring rain they quickly ushered us into their home. After we had sat down they asked ´´So who are you guys, and why were out in the rain with out an umbrella or poncho?´´ They had no idea who we were or why we were there. They had never seen missionaries before but they still just let two people in need into their house. It was super great to see that type of kindness. We had a nice lesson and have plans to go back this week.

We also had an investigator come to church that had never come to church before. We bribed her friend, who she works with in the tienda, (yes same tienda as last week) with chocolate to bring her to church. It was great to have her there. I think she really liked it.

Also thanks for the money to buy food for thanksgiving. When I told my companion that my Mom had sent me money for both of us to pig out on Thanksgiving he was all for it. Last year his family only sent him a picture of all the food they ate. Not quite the same.

I hope you guys continue to have a great week and a great Thanksgiving.

Love Alec 


Last photo with Elder Mansilla.

We decided to play billiards for Elder Mansilla´s last day on our p-day.


Elder Muñoz is my new companion. Trust me he´s a gringo like me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Teaching In A Tienda

Hey Guys,

So everyone has been asking me if we do anything for p-days in my new area since we did like nothing in our last one. We actually do. Normally we play football (soccer) with the young men and their non member friends in the mornings. After that the sisters and us buy food to cook in the house of a member that is a chief so its always super yummy and good. His wife is the lady that washes our clothes for us so they are kind of the ma and pa of us missionaries here in Chinchina. He actually asked if he could add my parents on Facebook. I told him he could but that they don’t know any spanish so it may not work out very well. :) Sometimes we go to Manizales for district/zone meetings then just hang out in the church there for a little talking with the other Zone. 

So I’m super excited for the holidays coming up. Christmas is supposed to be a really big deal here. I’ve seen them celebrate Halloween, Valentines Day (yep, its in September here), Colombian Independence Day and a bunch of other holidays that are not very important. They seem to have a holiday here almost ever two weeks if not sooner. All of them have been pretty tame, people playing instruments in the street, fireworks and the sort but apparently Christmas blows all other holidays out of the water. I have been told that the week before and after Christmas are full of parties, fireworks from almost every direction, people passed out on the side walk form to much beer, etc. I will have to wait and see if it is as crazy as they say. I’m planning on buying a small christmas tree for our house soon, something i can put on the counter in the kitchen or above the microwave. It should be fun. 

Maybe some of our apartment building will decorate too. Our building only has three doors on our floor so we have seen many of our neighbors. The lady right next to us shares an area that is a hole from the 4th floor to the first that has bars that we can hang clothes to dry, she is always dropping clothes on the the bars below, and since the is only access is from our apartment to retrieve the fallen clothes we are always passing her blouses to her. Interesting thing is that for safety missionary rules say that we cant contact or teach people in our building so we cant ever teach her or our other neighbors.

Funny thing happened this week on Tuesday. Elder Mansilla and I were teaching one of our in investigators in the tienda she worked in (its a little food place owned by a member so its totally chill). So while we were in the middle of the lesson the sister missionaries walked in to the tienda to buy a snack. When they saw that we were in a lesson in the tienda they were shocked. The looks on their faces were priceless when they discovered we were there. They had no idea who’s tienda it was or that our investigator worked there. They were just passing by and decided to buy something. It was pretty great.

Some sad news this week is that Elder Mansilla is being transferred tomorrow. His new area is in Montaria (yep close to were my old area was) so its kind of funny. I really going to miss him even though we barely got to be together. Here’s 4 reasons I liked him:

1. He has the same sense of humor as me so we always got along.
2. He was always helping me out in a nice way in improving my spanish.
3. He would always help me out to explain complicated things in spanish in the lessons
4. He bought me pizza more then once

Love you guys lots,


Alec

My comp, Elder Mansilla and the Elders Quorum President.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Baptisms Scheduled

Hola Amigos,


We have been doing lots of teaching lately and so have the sisters. We currently have 3 baptisms scheduled, and the sisters have 3 as well. There are two this week and, then on the 30th there are 2 and on the 5th there are 2 more so it should be pretty awesome. We are making progress.

As far as sending me money for a new backpack to replace my stolen one, I’m good right now. I don't really need to replace any thing. The stuff I cared about most was mostly sentimental value. I bought the ´´leg bag´ so I cant carry very much so I cant have any thing important on me and its working for now. My plan was to look for a nice leather messenger bag like the one I have at home when I need to carry things to district or zone meetings, or for transfers but I don't know where I am going to find one here. I will have to ask one of the members. I don't really need it right now, because its not really important but thanks. Also I cant believe that you still had the letters from trek that I had taken. That is so awesome! I was going to ask for those but didn't think that you would have them. Thank you so much.

Funny they had you talk about me in church Sunday. I guess its nice for everyone to get updates on us and maybe it will encourage others to go. I’m glad that every one had a laugh at my throw up story on the bus. It was terrible at the time but now its really funny.

As for any thing interesting this week. Well I went to the clinic this week since I had been sick for like 4 weeks so that was fun. Turns out I have seasonal allergies. Who knew right? He wrote me a prescription of drugs to take, then asked if I had a fear of needles. I said no so he sent me to get a shot to have the drugs active really quick. I walked in to the room and asked which arm do you need? The male nurse said that it wasn’t for my arm, it was for my tail so that was pretty fun. I am felling a lot better with the drugs he prescribed. So I should be fine.

Dad’s cafe racer is looking great. I love getting the pictures. Sadly my new comp doesn't know much about motorcycles or cars so I cant share what you did each week, its sad.

Not much else to say I guess.


Love you guys lots,

Alec


I got a hamburger delivered this week but it was way bigger than I thought it would be!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Church Activities

Hola,

Just so you all know, I love my new area. I think my new area is a lot better then my old one was. It’s more urban then my old area. I like walking and looking around and seeing buildings not just tiny little structures. Also when you get to the edge of the city to the north because its built in the mountains there is an amazing view, It has been rainy a lot here so there are clouds swirling around the mountain and down through the valley. The first time I saw that scene (and pretty much every time after as well)  I think of the Misty Mountains song from the Hobbit. 

It is really interesting here in Colombia with all the big catholic churches. A lot of the christ statues are bloody, since the people here combined the old ways of the ``Lamanites`` I mean Indians and what they knew about human sacrifice with what the Spanish ``taught`` them so they are a bit creepy to me. Its always a relief when I walk in to our church and there is the famous painting of Jesus in the red robe the first thing when you walk in. Its nice to have the restored gospel. I don't see why every one else doesn't think so.

The food isn’t very different here from my last area. We do eat a lot of lentils here. What is nice is that we have the same people for lunch every week (with a few days changing every other week between families) so they know that i don't eat mountains of food so they are giving me less. Im not getting much luck on not eating `salad of cucumber and tomato. I guess i will be forced to eat that for my whole mission.

The best part of the week was that our activity that we had planed for friday got canceled so Elder Mansilla, Sister Perez, Sister Cavero and I had to plan a new event. They wanted to do acts that were the typical lame church ones however I remembered the show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” and all of the awesome acts they had on the show (yes i watched that show before my mission via youtube). So we took a few of the acts modified them slightly to make them be funny for colombians and it was awesome and I had a blast All the members said it was one of the best activities they had come to.

This week was really bad for teaching. There have been huge rain storms all week so nobody is in the mood to listen. It was really terrible : ( Although I think that the rain is going to let up (I hope) and we will be able to teach as we normally do. Although he here in Chinchina we visit a lot more less active members and I really like it. We are gathering all the lost sheep and it feels great. 

Oh and Dad, thanks for sending me my blessing. It will be nice to be able to have it for the rest of my mission. This time it will not leave the house. Whats funny is some of the members asked how I was going to get a copy of it here in Colombia. I told them I was just going to ask you for it. They asked won’t it take a long time for it to get here, I said no, my dad has it on his phone and can send it to me in a email. They were blown away that that you just had my blessing on your phone. 

Love you guys lots
Alec


P.S. I love Dad’s new orange puff coat.

Here is a picture of our bedroom/study area.

My mustache for my mission impossible skit at the church.

The ward gets together every Friday at the church, its so cool.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting To Know My New Area

Hey Everyone,

So I found out this week we cannot see some of the super cool historical sites in my new area. Most of the sights are Catholic and since we are missionaries we cannot go in. Super lame, but I understand why.

Also, sadly, no Dr Pepper is not going to be found in this city or in the neighboring one. I have heard legions of it existing in one store in Medellin but other then that I have no hope. I have also heard that if you are willing to p'ay a premium there are elders in Medellin that will send it to you but i don't want to pay what they want.

So in my new area we are actually tracting. We just did an area that had not had missionaries in years. We found a less active member of 20 years. She was baptized when she was little when her parents were baptized. She doesn't really know much about the church but she did agree to let us visit her this week so that was awesome. We also tracked another area and found two people that were super excited to her what we had to say.

We don’t have a ward here in ChinChina, its only a branch but we do have our own building so thats pretty sweet. (It also has a fooseball and a ping pong table, so that is awesome for activities.) We normally have about 80-100 people come each week to church so it fairly big for a branch.

Something fun this week was that we ate massive hotdogs for p-day. It was awesome. They were like a yard long and had guacamole and spices and a bunch of different sauce with cheese sprinkled on top.Oh and I finally have a microwave so i made carmel popcorn.

Thats all,
Alec

I bought the leg bag that I wanted in Cerete

Theses are the giant hot dogs we ate.


This is our group here in Chinchina, us and the sister missionaries. 
The Brother is always helping us out, he is super awesome.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I've Been Robbed

Hola,

So my new comp, Elder Mansilla, is from Chile. He is 20 almost 21 and has a little over a year in the mission. He is super cool guy. Him and I have the same sense of humor so we get along swimmingly. He is wanting to learn english so I am teaching him lessons in the morning. I think it is going well. He had lessons from another comp but he says that he wasn’t really good at teaching, so no pressure. I know the time I have with him is going to be awesome.

There are no plans for our kitchen to be fixed in the near future. It is the responsibility of the land lord to get it fixed but he hasn’t done any thing about it. We do have a portable electric stove that is set up around the corner in the washing area so we are not completely wanting and the fridge does work.

Super sad thing this week is that I had my back pack stolen with everything inside taken as well. We were in the church for an activity and I left it in the interview room since that is where we also have been leaving our stuff when we are in the church. The doors were left open so members could come in from the street. So sometime during the activity when everyone was in the cultural hall, some guy entered and stole my bag and left. Braden had his stuff stolen from his car, but this guy had the audacity to enter the church and take things. It was only my back back that was stolen but it had lots of stuff in it. I lost my bag, umbrella, my folder (with photos of the temple, family photos, genealogy, and family stories, the letters from trek, Braden's letter, my big plan of salvation drawing and my church videos), my mini hymn book, my super awesome mini mag-lite, but one of the saddest things is that they stole the pins that my dad gave me before my mission. I loved those pins. 

Later a ´´different´´ guy came the next night that ´´found/bought´´ a few of my things and sold them back to me at a premium. So i was able to recover my family photos, the church videos, mini hymn book, and the photos of the temple. I don't think I have any hope at recover my backpack, umbrella, flash light or any of the other things with value. As for the other papers i think they are in some trash some where : ( sad face.
Why do people have to be so mean.

I’m totally fine now. It was just a bit unsettling to have stuff stolen. I'm glad that it was stolen from the church and not while I was in the street at knife point. But its cool now I have a fun story to tell

oh, I forgot my camera so no pictures this week, sorry.

Love you guys lots,

Alec

Monday, October 14, 2013

Loving My New Area

Hey everyone,

So I made it to my new area with only a few problems. The bus rides were fine for the most part. It took two days to get here and I had to stay over night in Medellin in a house they have just for missionaries passing through to other areas. Yeah, our mission is that big. We had a pretty big group going out on the bus from Medellin to the Cafetera but just me and my comp from Cerete to Medellin. Nothing much happened on the 1st leg of my trip but the second half from Medellin to Chinchina was not good. Its super windy in the mountain passes and as you know I get motion sick some times. This time was no exception. I thought I was doing fine until a super windy part of the road came. I could feel my stomach getting worse and knew I was going to throw up. I ran to the back of the bus to get to the bathroom and pulled on the door but nothing happened. Another Elder was sitting in the back and he had his chair reclined and it was leaning on the door. He realized by the look on my face what was happening but by the time that he moved the chair it was to late. I spewed all over the back of the bus. They had to pull over and wash it out at a rest stop so that was fun for everyone.

The ride here may not have been good but my new area is super awesome. Its a lot cooler then my last area. I am now in the Cafetera and no longer in the coast. The Cafetera is where all the coffee in Colombia is grown. Its super pretty and green everywhere. We are living just one street away from the center of the city where there is a big park and a huge Catholic church. We are about 2 mins away from our church which is awesome too. My new comp is Elder Mansillia. He is super chill and has been out a little over a year and seems to know what works as far as contacting people here.

My new apartment is pretty small, it just Elder Mansillia and I in the apartment. Its a lot less chaotic in the house and really peaceful in the mornings and nights without 4 of us squished in. I really love it. We have 1 1/2 bathrooms here so I have moved all my stuff in the second one so after I shower in the other with hot water I can shave and what not easier. The members I have met have been great and friendly. Also the accent here is totally different, I can understand every one so much better.

Sorry my letter is not long but we have a meeting with a missionary couple and I’m excited to meet them. It is with Elder and Sister Peterson. He worked at NASA on all the Apollo programs to send people to the moon so I had to take a picture with an American hero. How cool is that!


Love you guys lots,
Alec

P.S. I don't think they exist but could you look for a pocket sized triple in Spanish for me, I’m trying to make all the stuff I have to haul around lighter.


This is the view from our 3rd story apartment.

Elder Mansilla took a picture of me preparing for the gospel principles class.
 (The hat was from his old comp, so i was wearing it)

My Companion, Elder Mansilla, bought this pizza as a house warming gift it was awesome.

I have a real closet this time.

This is our kitchen, the only problem is that a power surge blew through the 
apartment awhile back and none of it works.

This is Elder Peterson and my new comp. It was so cool to talk to him about NASA.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

General Conference & My New Transfer

Hey Everyone,

So Conference this week was awesome! Normally we would just watch it in the church with the members, but since it is in spanish, Elder Cutler and I were going to watch it in the church office, but they stole the computer from the office to use for the main room. We had a member bring a laptop so that we could watch it in english in the office but the internet was so bad in the church having two streams open sucking the bandwidth neither of us could watch it so we had to stop even before we really got started on Saturday. Right after that I called an English Prof in the ward and asked if Elder Cutler and I could watch it in his house. (He is the one that brought the laptop of us). He was totally chill with us using the computer in his house. So we solved the problem of having to watch in spanish and not understand fully. As for lunch, when we in the house of the Brother, he gave us snacks on Saturday, then lunch of fried tilapia, steamed yuca, and a glass of aguapanelal. It was so awesome. We thanked him so much for giving us food. He told us that it was no problem and it was a blessing to have the elders in his house.

My favorites talks from conference were Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Sunday afternoon session and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the priesthood session. I took the most notes from Uchtdorf´s talk, but Vinson´s was really awesome. His message about how God could take care of all of our problems as soon as they came into our lives, but we wouldn't learn anything that way. He gives us opportunities and trials to go through to make us strong, and if we need his help, he is there for us no matter what. Its like the poem about foot steps in the sand. Jesus is walking with us all our lives but sometimes when times get so impossible and we have done all that we can, he carries us because he loves us. (His accent was also awesome)

Exciting stuff!!! We meet with a new man this week. It was after the Sunday afternoon session. We were looking for a house and were super lost. We asked him if he knew them, He did not : (  Then he asked who were and what I (being a gringo) was doing so far was home. We explained that we were missionaries and that we had a message about the restored gospel of god. Amazingly he said ´´That sounds really nice, would you like to come in and teach me and my wife?``. We were blown away. No one does that here. It was so cool. 

We also had a different member family come to the church on Saturday for the afternoon session of conference which was awesome. We had been working on them for quite a bit of time, then to have them come to the church was the bee´s knees. 
We don't really cold knock here in Cerete. Everyone is usually outside of their houses just chill-laxin in chairs so we can talk to who ever we want. They normally don’t go any where. The people here in the coast are lazy not just physically but mentally as well. The see change as something hard. Salvation is not a luxury. If they would just soften their hearts, they could have the blessings of heaven poured out on them.

Other exciting news. I’M GETTING TRANSFERRED!!! I’m finally leaving Cerete after more than 6 months and leaving for Manizales. It is at the complete other end of the my mission and I will be trading the heat of the coast for the cool breezes and mountains of coffee country. I am super stoked. I am going to miss the people here in Cerete, but I am finally going to leave. I leave tomorrow at 8 am in the morning to start my adventure of the bus ride of eternity, I am going to have two bus rides that are more then 8 hours long each to get to my new area. Elder Gomez is going to be a trainer again. So that should be fun for him. Elder Cisneros is going to become an office Elder. Elder Cutler is getting Elder Roberts as a companion (yep the same one from the MTC). Which is going to be awesome for him, and also for Cerete. He is an amazing Elder.


Love you guys so much,

Alec

Watching Conference

Going To A New Area