Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I ran into an Atheist...

1-15-14 Week # 4 continued.
Its nice to be able to email home again so soon. So last Friday is where our story of Elder Beck leaves off. That day, he and the gringos who had been in Colombia went to Immigration. Immigration felt shockingly like the DMV, except all of the Latino workers here don't speak English. There Elder Beck and the others applied for Colombian ID. Then they got to come back to the CCM (MTC) and email. He forgot to talk about immigration in the last email.
Then on Saturday we (I'm done with third person) went to what they call the Galleria, which is a big mall area about 15 minutes away (walking) from the CCM.  When we got there we went proselyting, because there are a ton of people just walking around there. Elder Bittner and I first ran into an atheist, who was telling us in Spanish how we couldn't actually know that God existed, and that it was all in our heads. Sounded a whole lot like Korihor from the Book of Mormon, except in Spanish. The area was super big, and we had 2.5 hours to walk around so me met a bunch of people. Everyone here is Catholic, so they usually are okay with hearing a message about Jesus Christ. We met a lady from Colombia who had an admirable view about having a relationship with God. We left her with a pamphlet and the address of the Church. We met a few more people, and the last guy we talked to came up to us and first asked us if we had anything for him, like a pamphlet. We had a great talk with him and left him with a copy of the Book of Mormon. I got to tell him how the Book of Mormon has changed my life and I really felt the Spirit as I told him what I know to be true. 
After we came back and had class the rest of the day. My Spanish feels really good. Sometimes I can just say things now without having to think or translate, so its really nice. I get a Latin companion today, so my Spanish should improve a LOT. I fell like I'm approaching fluency, and it is very nice. In 2 months it will just be about learning vocabulary! I'm really excited for that. I only have 2 weeks more in the CCM before I go into the field. The country is so beautiful, and I hope I get out into the city and into nature a little bit. 
Sundays are the best here. On Sunday after our meetings, all of the Nortes (gringos) go to a room upstairs and watch movies. We got to watch the Biography of President Monson, which was really cool. It was so amazing to watch how he has given all of his life to church service, since he was a Bishop at 22. We also had a member of the area 70 visit, and he talked about obedience, sacrifice and consecration. It was a really good talk, and I feel motivated to work harder, and dedicate myself more to my mission. This is really the only time I have to give everything I have tio God, with no distractions. Thats how Elder Holland puts it and I want to make the most of my time here. Sundays are just really relaxing because there are no teachers and we get to chill.
On Monday most of the Peruvians and old Gringos left. The CCM was kinda empty. It was a nice day, because we had about 2 hours to have personal study. Now we're the old guys here. A bunch of new Gringos and Latinos got in. One of the new Nortes is a kid I knew at BYU! This morning at exercise I saw him and it was a sweet surprise. Its really nice having a friend here. I can't wait to get my very own Latin (companion). We moved rooms today, and I went into a bigger room, but with about the same amount of space since there are 4 bunk beds in the room. I'm closer to the bathroom with hot water in the sinks, so shaving just got easier. All of the new Elders I've met so far are super cool.
Yesterday was a blast. We started the day by going to the temple. We didn't have much time there because we left a bit late. 'So after we got back, we went to lunch and changed into P Day clothes. It was so nice wearing jeans and a t shirt. Then we got to go on a field trip! The only down part was that we had to pay for everything, like our tickets. First we went to the Gold Museum here in Bogota, which was super cool. It had a ton of gold trinkets and relics from the indigenous people who lived in Latin America. All of it was so small and detailed. It was super cool. Then we went to a Cathedral town on top of a mountain called Monserrate. It was awesome. We took a gondola to the top of the mountain, which was a bit expensive (like $8). The town was super cool. We got to the top and there was a big cathedral and all the architecture was really old and cool. We got to see some of the country from up there and it was so beautiful. There were some little tiendas there selling trinkets and stuff. I didn't get anything because I didn't have enough money and it was kind of a touristy place, so I figured I would be able to get the same stuff elsewhere. We walked around a got to see a bunch of stuff. So that is about it for our story this week. The pictures attached are either of things here at the CCM, the gold museum, or Monserrate. I'm going to try to send a lot so they won't all have explanations.

All of the cars here are more compact, like the taxi. And some more gold. The other is a plaza here. It all feels like Mexico and Peru, which is really cool and sentimental.

 And some of Monserrate

And a picture of me and my companion, Elder Bittner. Just took it,

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