Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(This picture is Elder Larsen teaching Victor to tie the full knot.) Dear Fam, My week was actually really good. There are quite a few things to tell you about. Thanks for sending the package, I am kind of betting I won't get it until March because of when the Zone leaders go to Bogota for the Zone meeting. That is around the 15th of the month. I hope it gets here before then, lol. Tell Brady that its okay. I love him and I miss him a lot. There are still lots of good things to do with all that free time right? Not to mention learn so much more about the gospel on your own with personal study. I wish I knew a fourth of what I know now about the Gospel, before my mission. It's definitely been a long time preparing for the mission but what matters is that he knows Heavenly Father loves him and there are ways he can serve at home or in college. He is a great example for me and I know he has a strong testimony of the gospel. Yes, I know about the Lance Armstrong thing, I happened to be having lunch with members when it came on the news talking about the thing with Oprah and all. No, we didn't watch it but I watched the story summary. I am not that sad about it. He is still one of my great role models. Everyone makes stupid decisions. God told us to forgive and forget, no? Its not like the steroids made him who he was. It took a lot of work besides all that. If I could wear the bracelet on my mission I would. Live Strong is a life motto and it's a good one, in my opinion. I am sorry to hear about Robert and the blood clots in his legs. He is in my prayers here as well. I hope he can start improving day by day. Sounds like its a long process but I hope he can get on that process really soon. That's cool you guys went to the Jazz game the other day, I would love to watch some basketball ha. I miss watching Jazz games and stuff like that. Today we went to a town called the Villa de Leyva. Its basically where a lot of rich people live and its a tourist town. I saw the most gringos I have seen since my time in Colombia. Sadly, I didn't even talk to any of them in English, lol. I wanted to but we didn't have much time. They supposedly have a lot of museums and stuff there but we were only able to visit one and we took pictures at other places. We shopped a little bit but it was cool. We bought pizza again. It was so much better than here in Tunja. They actually have tomato sauce their for it. This week should be a fantastic week, my companion and I plan to get 6-8 baptismal dates because we have a crop of awesome investigators. We have George, Jaime and Daniel (cousins), Nelsi and Tatiana (mom and daughter), and Vanessa and her Mom, Lus Marina. Possibly the dad too. And Alex and Ines from before. How cool is that huh? Two of them need to get married to their novio/novia before they can be baptized first so those two might take a little while longer. Last night we had a great lesson with Vanessa (16?) and her parents. The spirit was strong and we actually was able to set more of a specific goal for them to get married. The dad never wanted to before but after the lesson he accepted the invitation for them to get married. He invited us back (first time ever inviting missionaries back). Vanessa and the mom have a good testimony and have been coming for the last 3-4 months. I hope we can help him realize how important it is in the eternal aspect of things. Families CAN and SHOULD BE together forever. Jaime is progressing at a remarkable pace and its so awesome. His aunt and cousin are members and that is how we met him. We have had some type of lesson/talk with him for the last 4 or 5 nights. He is great and we will get a date from him probably tonight or tomorrow. This last Saturday we had a baptism from the North Area, Elder Crook baptized Nelson. It was really neat. My companion and I had 7 or 8 investigators attend the baptism! That wasn't even all of them. Two or three were brand new ones. How cool right? They thought it was really neat and want to learn some more about it all. Sorry that I am cutting this a little short but I need to get going because I need to email President. I love you guys and miss you. Have a safe week and I hope things are all on the upside! Trust in the lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. Pro 3: 5-6. First scripture mastery I ever memorized. I have plenty more rattling through my head right now but no time to throw them out at ya. Love you guys! Have a great week! Love, Elder Larsen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dear Family,
My new year was really good but it was pretty boring compared to all of you guys.  We had the other elders sleep over again and I think we had Ramen and Mtn. Dew.  Oh yeah, we feasted, ha.  No, we didn't have any rules about being in the house by 7 or anything.  What we did that evening was cool.  We went to a place called Puente de Boyaca.  We went in a bus and its about 15 minutes outside of Tunja.  We walked around for about an hour taking pictures and stuff.  During this time of the year they have an insane amount of Christmas lights and decorations set up.  This is where Colombia won its independence, I think.  But it was really really cool. 

We had dinner scheduled with a really neat family at 8 p.m. so we planned to leave just after 7:30 from Puente de Boyaca.   There was one big problem.  It's really really difficult to return to Tunja from there.  REALLY difficult.  It is not a designed bus stop so not many buses stop and the ones that are actually headed to Tunja are already crammed to extreme.  Taxis are pretty expensive but after about 30 minutes of waiting and trying to flag down more buses, we decided we might just take a taxi, to no avail.  We tried to get a taxi or bus for the next hour.  After about an hour and a half we were about to start walking even though it is at least an hour walks from there to Tunja.  We mentioned we should say a prayer and right when we were about to start, a bus was driving by so we tried one last time and there happened to be one of those white excursion van type things behind it.  The bus kept going but the van stopped.  We asked if they were going to Tunja and they offered us a free ride.  It was a man, his wife, and their two kids, probably under age ten.  It was great and we had a small lesson with them on the way back.  We ran, literally, to the house we were supposed to have dinner just to say hi and happy New Year before we had to get back to our house at 9:30.  It was a pretty fun night, ha.

Alex and Ines are on track to get baptized, I think.  They are very interested in the gospel and want to keep progressing.  They just want to know everything they are getting in to before they are baptized.  We had a lesson with Ines on Saturday night.  Alex was working.  We invited her to go to church again.  We offered to pay for her taxi and everything.  We decided we would meet up at their house in the morning and then go to church.  It's  a ways from their house to the church.  We got there in the morning and no one answered the door.  Ah, come on!  So we called them and they had forgotten we had said we were coming in the morning and were already headed to church!  Cool huh?!  They are fun to teach and I hope we can keep our date of the 19th.  It was fast Sunday as well so it was fast and testimony meeting and it was great.  I hope they were able to feel the power from other people's testimonies who are members/converts. As soon as the counselor announced we were opening up the meeting for people to bare their testimonies, like ten people stood up and walked up there.  It was awesome to see.  The members here have a lot of power in their testimonies and are great people.

That is insane that you guys are freezing that bad at home.  When was the last time Aurora got that cold? I might feel like I'm freezing but that's because it's at night and I'm wearing a t-shirt and shorts or pajamas. During the day it's similar to a May day back home for me.  That is crazy for you guys though.  I honestly would hate being in that cold of weather so I am thankful I am not having to live in that right now. lol  Bueno Suerte!  haha 

The ice fishing thing is pretty awesome and you guys got loads of fish.  Thanks for losing my reel in Otter Creek, lol.  I guess I can get a better one when I get back.  I am not that mad about it.  It's not like I can use it too much while I am gone, right? Just don't throw my rifle or shotgun down an ice hole. lol 

This week I have felt the most Grinto I have probably ever felt in my life.  It's just like everyone just glares at me the entire time and it's so annoying.  It's hard to look past the glares somedays.  I would pay some big bucks to be darker right now, just kidding. But yeah, it's been a weird week for some reason.  I mean in the streets I get the looks, not at church.  Anyways, I need to get going so sorry about that.  I love you guys and hope you have a great week.  I hope it warms up a bit for you guys because it sounds kind of miserable, I won't lie.  Loving the pictures that you guys send.  Love ya and miss ya!  Elder Larsen