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.