This week has rocked. So much to say, and I have no idea what to write. I'll start by saying I love Neiva! We are in the southernmost area, in Manzanares 2. We live in a little apartment, no air conditioning, but we have fans. We have a washing machine but no dryer, so we have to hang up our clothes and let them dry. We live with two other elders, Prince & Amarguana. Elder Amarguana is from Quito, Ecuador and is awesome, he is super funny. He speaks pretty good English too. Elder Prince is from Mesa, Arizona and has been here in Neiva for 8 months! I wouldn't be angry if I went back to Bogota after a few months, where its a bit cooler. You're always sweating here. Even in lessons.
A lot of the houses here are really simple, and only have 1-2 lights for the whole house. Everyone is super inviting. Everyone will give us water, juice, or soda, usually some bread or saltines too. The coca cola here is so good. Way better than the states. The culture here rocks, everyone is really humble and generous. On Friday we had lunch with a less active family. On Thursday night they didn't have food for us, they had to scrape together the little money they had to feed us. I'm not sure I am saying this well, but they didn't have the means to feed us the night before. It was super humbling. We are teaching a lot of people here. A lot of our investigators just need to get married. There are no incentives here to be legally married, so very few people are. We are teaching a lady named Johana. She has 2 little kids and her boyfriend lives somewhere else. She is the daughter of a recent convert. We have had 2-3 lessons with her. She rocks. She loves reading from the Book of Mormon. She is usually shy, but when I asked her to read another chapter in the Book of Mormon in our last lesson her face lit up. She is progressing well. We have Daniel and Tatiana, who have the cutest little girl. She is probably only 6 months old. So cute. They are getting married in 2 weeks. Daniel is a member, but Tatiana isn't. The last investigator I'll talk about is Christian Montero. He has a little boy (1 year old) with a less active member. I can't remember her name right now. He is super cool and is progressing well too. He reminds me of my uncle Jesse. He is really lively, rides a motorcycle and has braces. His smile totally remind me of Jesse.
So yeah, the people here rock. I am having tons of fun. My companion is really chill, but he helps me out a lot too. 2 days we haven't had dinner, lunch is the big meal here, so we aren't always fed dinner. Or the day is like Friday where I have 3 dinners. The people are too generous. The first was a little burger on a Hawaiian roll, then an arepa filled with chicken, then a full plate of rice, lentejas and meat. The last one was with the bishop. They had us over for a birthday in thier family. We live right across from the bishop. He is pretty cool. His son is a punk. At night he will come and bang on our metal door and it freaks us out. One of the pictures is with him.
Spanish is going well. I don't understand much. The accent and the vocabulary here is very particular. They use "chevre" to mean cool, but I never learned that word in school. The other is "pailas" which means, suck. People tap their neck when they say it too. One tough thing is that we have a lot of appointments fall through because people are really lax. Kids go to school from like 7-12, and people work the same hours. Dads just chill at home in the afternoon. its weird.
Funny culture item: breast feeding isn't really hidden here. Twice in lessons moms have started breast feeding RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. Not awkward or anything. Then a lady just started breast feeding in Sunday school too. So weird.
Today for P Day we took a cab up to the center of Neiva to go to the mall. We went to this rad juice place called Alaska. Its like 1 buck for juice, its super good. Then we walked around all the little shops. I found a soccer jersey. Its a white national jersey, long sleeved. It was 15,000 pesos. Which is $7.50, so ill probably get more. Other than that its been a normal p day.
I love the little kids here. There are a ton. Playing with them is super fun, it reminds me of Jason, Ryan, Gwen and Cannon. They are all really friendly. Its still hot, probably going to get hotter. Last night at 8:30 pm we ran into a less active member who told us she had a friend that needed a blessing. We were planning on doing it tonight, but then she called us 15 minutes later so we ran down there and gave a blessing. The lady had been to church before and she was really nice. Her and two teenagers were here, so we might get to start teaching them. It was a really neat experience.
We are going to the town of Ibague tomorrow for Elder Grove, a 70 who is coming. So that should be fun. I get to see Elder Bittner again (my mtc companion).
I love being a missionary so much. I love sharing my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Im starting to watch the gospel bless peoples lives, and it is so amazing. I know reading the Book of Mormon is the best way to grow closer to God. Im so grateful to be here in Colombia. Thanks for reading.
Pictures:our house, my desk, the guys in the apartment, me and Elder Macias, the bishop's son and me, the plaza where we live, our room. I sleep up on the bunk.