Monday, March 2, 2015
Alec had to wait over a week to report on his mission because of Fast Sunday but it only made his talk even better. His Spanish is just amazing and we could tell why most people thought he was a native speaker. His talk went really well and after we had everyone over to our home to visit with him. Lydia had come home for medical stuff from her mission 3 days before so she got to be there and support him too. He really was an amazing missionary and his stories we keep hearing of teaching and service just reinforce what we already knew, Alec was an incredible missionary!!!
Posted by LolaBean at 10:17 AM
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Saturday, February 28, 2015
He is finally home!!! Alec came home from his mission today and we can’t stop hugging him. It took a 6 1/2 hour bus ride from the coast to Medellin and a 1 hour flight from Medellin to Bogota to start with. They had a 16 hour layover in Bogota and were super blessed to be able to go to the temple and attend a session and grab some food. After it was a red eye to New York but his plane got delayed 2 hours and it took 2 hours to go through customs. With only a 1 1/2 hour connection to start with it was a given he was going to miss his next flight. Instead of arriving at 10:30 am we had to wait until 3 that afternoon to see his cute face but it was worth it. Most of his cute cousins came and made posters to welcome him home. There was lots of hugs and kisses and excitement al around but we did not get a lot of time to visit. The MTC in Provo had called the night before and asked if we could bring Alec straight down from the airport to visit his sister who was struggling with homesickness. When we told him the plan he was more than happy to do it. Sister Lydia Meyers needed him and he was really excited he would see her so soon. He was able to spend two hours helping her come up with coping strategies, read her blessing and scriptures together and even give her a blessing. Since she was so homesick they even let us as parents be part of the visit too. It was sad when we all had to say goodbye to her again but I think having her big brother there really helped.
The next day the family all came down again to have dinner at Alec’s choice, In-N-Out Burger. After they all came over to our house to open his luggage, see the toys he brought home and hear his stories of serving. It’s so exciting to have him home! Now all he needs to do is have his homecoming report on March 8th and he will be done with being an official missionary.
Visiting His Little Sister in the MTC
Posted by LolaBean at 10:14 AM
Monday, February 23, 2015
Hey, I can't write much. I survived the bus ride and we are now in Medellin. We found an Apple store so we are all writing quick. I took out the money you guys sent me so I can pay cash for every travel thing along the way. I'm going to convert it back when I'm in Bogota before we leave or maybe in Salt Lake.
Posted by LolaBean at 8:17 PM
Monday, February 16, 2015
Hey Peeps of Mine,
First off, I have some news. My travel plans have changed. I will not most likely be able to email you guys next week. I will be on a bus all day so I probably wont be able to write at all. This may be my last letter. Don’t stress though cause only part of my travel has changed. I will still be arriving in Salt Lake the morning of the 27th and still have the same red eye flight from Bogota to New York but everything else is going to be way more drawn out. I now get a 14 hour layover from Medelin to Bogota. I’m really hoping as it gets closer that the Bogota Mission or the MTC might be stepping in and taking us to the temple or something but at this point I think we will just be bored out of our minds at the airport but at least I’ll have 6 other Elders to hang with. Our connection in New York is tight, only 1 1/2 hours, so hopefully customs goes super fast. I’m going to be skipping breakfast it looks like. I’ll be in transit 26 hours not counting my 6 hour bus ride 2 days before through super curvy roads. I’m hoping to not throw up this time but I’m pretty excited. I’m officially trunky!
Also thanks for the money that you sent me for a few last minute souvenirs I might want and the extra travel money for next week. With my huge amount of travel time I’m going to need extra food for sure with the long layover and the bus.
As for food I want for my first meal back with the family, I don’t really care, but I will be asking you to take me to In-n-Out on the way home so I can buy a greasy american hamburger and a big dr. pepper. If everyone wants to join us then thats fine too.
I actually only really have 1 week of real work left. Next Monday I will load up all my stuff on the bus for my long ride and then be at the mission home Monday night. Tuesday is official transfer day and all the guys going home will be here for a special “deMTC” class. It's an all day class they do down here for 6 hours about self sufficiency. It's mainly for the latins since they don’t know what to do with their lives after the mission sometimes, but I’m pretty sure I will be able to learn a lot. We then will spend the night again in the mission home and I’ll fly out Thursday morning for Bogota.
In the mean time I’m still going strong. This week was great. We were able to help a couple that we are teaching do all of the errands they need to start their marriage process. The just have to pick up their records from the notary today, then they will go to the tribunal to get a date for marriage. I am so happy that they are going to get married, even though I’m not going to be here. They really want to get baptized but since they were not married cause of the high fees to do it, we had to put them off a bit. They also finally made it to church this weekend. They loved it. Also all of the members provided a warm welcome. I have high hopes for them and what they are going to be able to do in the future. They have already said that they want to go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. This last week that I have should be an awesome week to give them the last little help that I can before I leave.
Something funny that happened this week was we locked ourselves out of the house. I left the keys on my desk and the door looks by itself when we leave so we had to pry the window open with a knife to open the door with a stick. The only problem was that as we had the knife in the window it slipped and cut my comps thumb so he bleed all over the house. It wasn’t a bad cut, it just bleed a lot. It was funny. I felt so bad for him and then we had to clean up the mess.
As for my health I’m fine and don’t think I need to see a doc when I get home. I still feel tired but my fever is gone so I think I will be fine. The heat is not helping for sure.
It was really nice to hear about Lydia’s first week or so in the MTC and that she is getting over her homesickness now and liking what she is doing. Nobody likes the MTC so you really can’t judge from that. As for the MTC freaking me out, Dad was wrong. I didn’t hide it from you. I never had that, never had a melt down, never cried in to my pillow at night. I was just a tough little cookie. I did hate the MTC but that was for other things. I sent her a super long letter through Dear Elder last week. You have a 7000 character limit and I had like 200 left. I also asked the sisters in my district to write their testimonies about their missions. I’m going to give them to her in the MTC when I see her for my visit.
Well, I love you guys! See ya in 10 days.
P.S. I care about your fiber, I have for a long time now.
P.S.S. As for Valentines Day, i didn’t realise that it was on Saturday until I was about to go to bed and looked at the date. Oh well.
My comp and his blood on the house.
Splurged on some Jet candy bars.
Posted by LolaBean at 5:15 PM
Monday, February 9, 2015
I’m super super, sorry, I still don’t have photos to put up this week. The beach activity was canceled so I had nothing exciting going on. This week was also super slow and Elder Smith got sick with the same crap that I had so we did nothing to exciting. Promise I will have photos next week, I will make sure of it.
Well, as for my heath, I still have a slight fever (97-98). It's not really anything. My legs also hurt, well its more of an ache, and normally its just in my right leg. Other then that I’m just peachy and getting better every day. My comp on the other hand got it hard this week and he hates hospitals and doctors so he would not go not that really can do anything about it. Mosquitoes are just stupid. He is just sucking it up and dealing with it just like I had to.
As for trunkiness, I’m good. I want to come home but it's not like I’m dying to. I’m finishing strong no thanks to my comp. He is saying as hard as he can to make me more trunky, he things its funny. Super nice huh. As for my actually homecoming, I need a few things. Can you make me an eye appointment for when I get back. I know my eyes are worse for sure. Also, when you come to the airport can you bring me a big, cold bottle of Virgil’s root-beer? I have been totally craving it.
It was cool to see all the pics of Lydia heading to the MTC this week. It’s sad none of the sisters dress like she does here. They all are in bland colors and its sad. She is going to be awesome and I’m excited to get to visit her in the MTC. She totally stole my bag though. She must have seen the pics of the one I bought here and wanted one just like it. Lydia is another reason my letter is a bit short. She gets the big letter this week for support from her awesome brother. Don’t worry, I’m sending it via Dear Elder so she gets it sooner than her p-day on Friday since you said she is pretty homesick and struggling with Spanish. I almost ran out of letters that I could use on the sight with how long I made it. I got her covered so don’t stress.
We did get out a tiny bit early in the week and had something awesome happen. Elder Smith and I walked though the pouring rain to make it to an appointment we had (which wasn’t there when we got there) but before we made it to the appointment we felt the impression that we should pass by a sisters house that we are teaching. She had a fight that morning with her husband and she had been praying that God would give her a sign that everything was going to be alright. Then we showed up soaking wet just to say hello. The look in her eyes was awesome. She knew and we knew that it wasn't by chance that we passed by that day.
Like I said before, I'm super sorry for the lack of photos. I WILL have photos next week.
Love you all!
Posted by LolaBean at 12:05 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Well, I still have Chikungunya. The effects usually last a few weeks up to a few months but I’m hopping for quicker. The effects are not as bad even as last week so that is good. It mainly aches in my legs and every once in awhile I’ll get headaches, but other then that I’m good. I have had to rest some nights after being out all day so we get back to the house at like 7-8 because I am just hurting but it hasn’t really affected our work and it will not be permanent.
Sadly, in Colombia they don’t care about Football let alone the Superbowl so no one was excited Sunday like we were. They only like soccer, which is a sissy sport really. The guy gets pushed and he falls over like he snapped his leg in half then gets up and runs after they give the other guy a penalty. In football if you see a guy after a play on the ground its because he is dying. I miss the manly man mentality where if you can you walk it off and not let any one know that it happened. We did not watch so next year I’ll be psyched for our family bowl party.
We have been able to contact a lot of new people these last two weeks. I think it is the American smile effect that we are using. People just want to know why there are two gringos walking around in Colombia with white shirts and ties. Sadly a lot of people will listen to us once or twice and then just lose interest, it sucks. But we still have some great people we are teaching. There is a family we are teaching right now and they just agreed that they need to get married because they want to get baptized so we are gong to get everything worked out this week so that they can get married soon. It will be awesome. Sadly, I will not be here for their baptism. It is going to be on the 14th of March but my comp says he will send me photos.
The best part of this week was our area fast. Elder Smith and I really felt good about it, also it helped that we had a cold Dr Pepper after we ended the fast. We have already seen changes in people.
So Sunday was the last Fast Sunday / Same Tie Sunday for me. I can’t believe that next month I will be home and we are wearing ties for Lydia and her mission. Speaking of same tie Sunday, a lady in my ward tried to steal my tie. She tried to tell me that I should leave it for her so she could send it to her son in his mission. I told her no and explained what the tie meant. She said that was a stupid idea and that I should give her the tie any way. Yeah, thats not happening.
Well, that is all for this week, I also know I am a slacker and don’t have any photos, but next week I will have quite a few. We are going to go to the beach for a zone activity so that should be fun.
Love you guys like a midget loves stilts!
Posted by LolaBean at 8:48 AM
Monday, January 26, 2015
So first things first, I do have the release date info now. I will be home Friday 6/27 and I’m very excited although I will be in transit for over 24 hours by the times its done but at least I’m heading out with 6 other Elders. I have a long bus ride from the coast to Medellin, then a plane ride to Bogota followed by a long red eye flight to New York and then finally arriving in Salt Lake Friday morning. I may be dead from traveling so much but I’m excited to be able to see everyone. No Lydia though since she will already be in the MTC but I’m even more excited to go down and see her the next week in Provo. It's so cool they allow that now.
So it was my birthday this week. I’m the big 2-1. The actually day was somewhat a bust. Our lunch got canceled, so we went to a mall to go to a Mexican food place I wanted to try. It was really good. So worth some of the birthday money I spent. Afterwards I went to leave and my comp asked “Don’t you want to look around to see if you want to buy things for your birthday?” I told him that I could do it on Monday. He responded with “We are not leaving until you at least get one present.” So since he forced me I decided a little shopping would be ok before our next appointment but we needed to watch our time carefully. I was able to find some great shoes that were on sale. Mom has totally corrupted me that way. I also found a great tie and a nail trimming kit so I can keep my nails nice instead of ripping them. I may be a retired hand model but that doesn’t mean that I can slack off. As we were walking out, we found a little stall called Safari: Toys for Men. They had guns, knives, poker sets, lighters, laser pen, pretty much everything that any manly man would want. I was strong and resisted just so you know. The rest of my birthday money I spent on food.Almost this whole we were out of luck on lunches. They all got canceled so Elder Smith and I used the rest of the money you sent me to make food. It was awesome, the best birthday gift ever! I got 6 whole days without rice & beans and cucumbers. Below are of two of the big things we made. It was super good. Sadly, we were unable to make a cake since we do not have an oven but Sister Quirogas birthday is on the 8th so I’m going to make a cake for the both of us on that day in the church. I will make sure to use the fancy candles Mom sent me.
As for the sickness I have had, I’m over the main problems. I still have a low fever and from my knees down I hurt but it is not that bad.I just feel really old. It hasn’t been a problem at all, we are still working hard.I’m taking pain meds to help with the legs and the fever so its fine now and they said I’m doing really well. All my symptoms are totally normal.
I was happy to hear that Bean did so well on her farewell talk. I know that she is going to be a great missionary. The people of California don’t even know what they are getting. I think one of the reasons that she was called to speak Spanish is that she can learn to listen and be humble, thats what I learned coming here to Colombia. Either way she is going to be just what they need.
Well, I’m glad that everyone is doing great and that all is well. Love you all.
Here is the awesome food from my birthday money. We made 3 cheese tortellini, huge amounts
of bacon for our sandwiches. The sandwiches were a huge bun filled with spicy guacamole,
the awesome bacon and teriyaki weiners. I really prefer cooking for us and my comp was more
than happy to share. The Dr. Pepper was a gift from the Sisters. They brought is back from Medellin for me.
Here are pics of my sweet shoes, tie and nail kit.
Posted by LolaBean at 11:41 AM
Monday, January 19, 2015
So I got my new comp this past week. His name is Elder Smith. He is from New Mexico. He came from a different part of the coast so he already knows how fun the heat is. He is a great guy, the only problem is that he is pretty new in the mission (5 months) so he doesn't know Spanish all that well. I’m helping little by little to help him improve. I was also able to present my new Companion to all of the members to establish a good impression. I think they like him a lot. We had a lot of success this week with the people we are teaching. Our biggest problem is having people welcome them on Sunday and have members there at the meetings to begin with. We are trying to help them understand the importance of this day but we are having no luck.
We also had a district contacting activity this week to really push finding new investigators. We were really concerned if it was going to work because, before the whole district showed up to start, the Jehovah´s witnesses showed up and started contacting the exact same area that we had planed to contact.We decide to go forward with the plans anyway and it worked out to our advantage. Since every one was annoyed about their Jehovah´s witnesses, the only people that let us in were the people who were ready to hear the gospel so it worked out well.
Other news is that I'm not district leader any more. They changed it to another Elder. I was super sad about it when they first told me, but then I realized that I would have a lot more time for my area this last transfer so that will be nice. My District told me they thought I was the best leader they ever had though so that was even better. They said I focused on them and their needs more then just numbers and being efficient. So that made me feel better.
Although not everything is good news this week. On Sunday I was diagnosed by Dr. Pastrana that I have chikungunya. I had a really high fever, headache, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue, and nausea. I feel a lot better today but yesterday I could barely get out of bed. My plan is to take it easy today so that I will be able to work tomorrow. Although I came to know how our investigators feel when they say they couldn't do any thing because they had chikungunya. It's a common sickness and since I did not have a really bad case and have good medical care I should not have any lingering problems. Tell Mom not to freak out. It will be ok. I had my comp give me a blessing so I know everything will be ok.
So this week is my birthday and I have no plans yet but if everyone wants to send me a nice email they are welcome to.
P.S. No pictures this week cause I’m a sicko but I will do better for my birthday report next week.
Posted by LolaBean at 9:49 AM
Monday, January 12, 2015
So first an update on our strange meeting last week with the Branch President. He never apologized for yelling at everyone but he has mellowed out a lot. I think he just came to the end of his rope with church and work and everything else and just lost it for a bit. He is the chief nurse at a hospital in Monteria so I'm pretty sure that would be stressful. My comp and I have been brainstorming on how to help him be less stressed and we have stepped up even more trying to get the members to take more initiative with the member so they can help us in our area. We have been trying to show him more love. I hope it works. I feel bad he was so overwhelmed. Everybody has bad days though.
Also I just got of the phone with the zone leaders about the transfers and I'm not going any where, however Elder Conti is going to a different district of the zone. I’m going to be with Elder Smith for my last transfer. He wont be here until Tuesday or Wednesday so next week I will have an update on what he is like. He will be my first non latino comp, kind of crazy. Six more weeks now and then I’m done. This is getting weird.
As far as the rest of the week it was filled with lots of little miracles. Just the spirit telling us to do something and the results were answers to prayers of another. I will share one. yesterday I got super sick after an appointment so we went back to the house and I thew up all of my lunch that day. I felt crappy and didn't want to go anywhere but the spirit told me. “You feel good enough, go to your next appointment. Don't stay in the house.” When we got there the Sister’s little boy had a high fever and was crying softly. She asked us to bless her son to make him feel better. I know that she had been praying for help. The spirit was able to guide us in ways that we did not quite understand in the moment but because we listened we were able to be tools in the Lords hands. I know that God loves his children and that he always sends help and almost aways it is though his worthy sons and daughters that he sends that help. I’m so grateful that we have so many opportunities to help mothers in our lives.
So that is all I have time to write. I’m sorry that it’s a short letter but I have to help the zone leaders with the meeting that they are going to have. They have asked me to teach a little of what I taught in the last district meeting. Its about planing for the spirit and receiving revelation as to the date in which our investigators are to be baptized so I have like no time left, sorry.
However I want to let you guys know that I love you and I have felt your prayers and I’d like to thank you for your support. Hope you all have a great week.
Lemonade flavored “Crack”. Not sure about this.
After last weeks district meeting Elder Conti and I splurged on dessert.
Last Monday a nice member had our whole district over for to eat.
It was awesome!
Posted by LolaBean at 3:03 PM
Monday, January 5, 2015
Well, first thing, I still do not know anything about my release date. According to church headquarters it will be the last week of February since my visa is going to expire but I have no flights or anything else yet. I know Lydia and everyone else wants to know. Sorry. It's only about 7 weeks now, crazy. Maybe Dad should call downtown.
Also, things went down hill in our branch this week. The Branch President was told that if they don’t sextuple (6x) their numbers this year then they will be closing the branch at the end of 2015 and combining them with the ward that is much further away. The Branch President told everyone in the branch council meeting we were in and he was really frustrated and got really mad at everyone. He yelled at us as missionaries that we were not helping more in retaining and teaching and got really mad. I know he was just frustrated and upset but yelling at everyone, especially the missionaries who are really trying is not going to help. I know my district is working really hard to help, we don’t have any slackers right now. I wish we could do more but it comes down to the branch too. Everyone left the meeting totally down and sad. We tried to talk to him afterwards to make some common ground and brainstorm how to help him more but he didn’t even listen. He just started quoting half scriptures to make his point, you know, leaving out parts to make his point seem like it was doctrine. He just got more and more angry and said he was going to call the Mission President. That does not bother me though because I know we are praying and doing our best. I also give detailed reports to the president each week so he knows how our branch had been struggling. I’m just worried about the people we are teaching now and hoping they don’t just pull the missionaries from this area for a while. He seems to only be concerned about numbers which is sad. Maybe being part of the ward again would be a good thing after all. It just made me and my whole district so upset. I wish there was more we could do but it is up to the members too. I will be writing our mission president again today with another update and maybe he can help.
Well, on to more happy things. Our New Years was ok but probably not as fun as anyone back home. We had planed to buy pizza with the zone leaders, but last minute they were invited to a members house to eat so they left us with the keys to their house and went to go eat. So lame but I don’t blame them. They also went to bed at like 9 so they just wanted to be party poopers. It was stupid. I for one stayed up until midnight so I could watch all the people do stupid stuff with fireworks from our windows. Sadly there was nothing like last year with sofas on fire or drunk guys catching their arms on fire. I guess that was a good thing tough.
The next day sadly I got sick. My stomach felt like it wanted to get rid of everything that had to do with 2014. We stayed home all day and I lay on the floor so I didn’t die. I drank lots of powerade to stay hydrated. I also took a super expensive pill the doctor told me to buy. I only had to buy two but the pricing $1 each was super expensive for Colombian standards. I also took ibuprofen every 4 hours (20 tablets 400 mg for $1) to help with the slight fever I had. However every thing is good now. My stomach still feels a little wonky but I think thats due to the fact of the food here.
So Saturday was a crazy day. We had to empty the baptismal font with buckets. The drain wasn’t working and the water smelled bad. There was a baptism for the sisters this week so I know it had to be drained and cleaned one way or another. I rolled up my pant legs (I was in slacks) and waded in to the font to pull out water with buckets. Within seconds Elder Conti started helping me out, taking the buckets I filled and dumping them in the bathroom. After we were at it for about 10 minutes the other two elders made it to the church and started helping us out. We were working for 2 and a half hours to empty the font. At the very end as I was using a mop to take out the last little bit, the drain started working. A member in charge of the maintenance showed up out of the blue and went and fixed the problem with the pipes out side. It was a huge example to me of Ether 12:6
“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”
Faith precedes the miracle, we had to show our faith and act before the Lord sent the miracle. It was an awesome moment, well at least for me. For any of the others that didn’t help it was a simple series of events. For those who say it was a faith building moment.
Last, what ups with gas being so cheap back home? Here in Colombia they pay out the wazzoo for gas. They use the UK gallon, which is 1:0.832674 to our gallon (US gal:UK gal) and it costs here around 12,000 pesos which is about $5-6 so with the conversion its $5.80-7.00. The problem they have here is that they export all of their petroleum to the US then we refine it and sell it back to Colombia as gasoline. So pricey!
Well I hope you have a great week full of starshine, rainbows, and mountain snow. l
P.S. Sorry, no pics this week.
Posted by LolaBean at 11:37 AM