Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elder Larsen's letter on April 22, 2013
The people in Colombia are spoiling Elder Larsen.  Apparently he had birthday parties all week long.  He writes, "Wow this week has been pretty dang stacked up with stuff for sure. This week we have had 6 different cakes to eat.. Wow right? Never ate so much cake in my life. Its ok though because it was really, really good. Three of them were the same kind. Vanilla with strawberries inside. Oh tan rico! lol I will try and send some of the pictures with this as well. There were plenty of parties so I have a lot of photos."

For P-day they went to Barbosa. Barbosa is the other area in their district and takes about an hour and a half to get there. They went and played futbol (soccer) with an investigator and a Hermano (around 55 years old). "It was pretty fun, it was also the first time I have played soccer in like 4 years."  It wasn't like normal soccer. It was called micro and is played with a smaller ball and on a lot smaller field.  "I was with Elder A_____ and an investigator. Elder A_____, before the mission, was given a contract to sign with a professional team in Honduras (needless to say he is pretty good). They were surprised that I, as a gringo, could play a little bit." He said it is a lot hotter in Barbosa than Tunja, "which kind of stinks".  Maybe he meant that literally because he said he was sweating like a criminal on the run. haha 
They had a couple lessons with a special family this week. He is so nervous right now about this family. He doesn't want to leave Tunja with them not being members of the church because they have spent so much time working with them. Transfers are in two weeks. They are inviting them, again, to get baptized on the 4th.  The dad needs to make some progression with the word of wisdom. He asked us to please pray specifically for this family and this date.

The people really liked the four missionaries that were there before the last transfer.  Members had gotten close to them.  Kade is nervous to leave and said the members are nervous about him leaving too.  They say he is the last of "the 4". When it was "the 4" they had a lot of success working with the members.  He said, "Every house we go to they are like "Your the only one left! When you leave we are going to cry!"  Kade says he is doing his best to keep the people happy and trying to have his companion make connections with the people. It is hard because his companion doesn't talk very much.
Kade said the people love the photos of our family.  I'm thinking, "Why is he flashing those around!"  haha  But then with three weddings last year we have plenty of recent family photos.  He said that most people think that Tanner is Kade in 80% of the photos. They always say "Is this your girlfriend! Very pretty!" about Tanner's wife.  He said it's always fun to talk about the family with them. "They think our family is awesome."  It is amazing how much more our kids appreciate our home AFTER they have left, especially when they leave Utah and get out in the world.  It would be interesting to hear what he is telling them about us, wouldn't it?

Kade is doing great!  If you would like to write him his email address is


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Elder Larsen with a birthday gift from some members.  It is a painting by a street artist that paints with cans of spray paint.  It was made especially for him and even says happy birthday in Spanish.

Elder Larsen holding a birthday cake that he thought was so delicious.  He said they put something like fireworks on them.
Elder Larsen had a great birthday and wanted to thank all of you that sent special birthday wishes.  He had birthday wishes from around 100 of you that respond to my plea.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!   He felt special and remembered, which is exactly what we were trying to accomplish.
On his birthday he was up at 3 AM and was traveling by 3:45 heading to Bogota.  He couldn't get any sleep in the bus because the driver had his music too loud.  They had a great day in Bogota.  They played basketball and also some good old American football.  He said it was nice to play with the other American elders that knew how to play and they played hard.  They had a lunch and then changed in to their suits for a conference with the President.  About the time the conference started, so did his migrain.  Blasted migrains!!!  That is an inherited thing that our kids get.  They are miserable!  He was able to locate a couple of ibuprofen and take them.  He felt sick the whole conference but made it through. 
The people in Tunja spoiled him for his birthday. He had a celebration with the Hermana Suezca family the night before his birthday and was taken to a pizza place.  They had a dinner, birthday cake, and a family home evening in the restaurant.  They also gave him the gift of the picure above. The picture is made from a street painter that paints with spray cans. It looks so well done.  He loves it.  They also had a popcorn party with one of the members he shares a close birthday with.  The members are so good to him in Tunja and from his family here in America, THANK YOU!  
They've taught some powerful lessons this week. One of his investigators is recovering from a surgery and then found out that her daughter has stomach cancer and it is really serious.   Nobody in the house is working because she just had a surgery and the daughter now has cancer.  The daughter has six little kids living with her. He has asked us to keep her in our prayers because they definitely need it. 
The rules for email have changed recently for the missionaries.  You can write him at  He may not have time to answer everyone immediately but he would love to hear from you.  He said he does think the "Dear Elder" does deliver to Bogota North because he sees elders with letters all the time from Dear Elder.  They are supposed to receive that in a week as opposed to a month going through the mail system.  I will have to try that and report if it works well or not.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kade has had an experience this week that reinforces the reason I pray for his safety every single time that I pray. I am sure that he was directed by the Holy Ghost.
Elder Larsen says General Conference was pretty awesome he wasn't able to watch all of the sessions. If someone else could watch in English with him then he could go in tot he bishops office and have it streamed in on the internet.  Some sessions he had to watch in Spanish but said he had to concentrate so hard on what they were saying that he couldn't take too good of notes. The second Sunday session had just started when they had a "bit of a disturbance."   I will use Elder Larsen's words to describe it.  "Basically, a crazy guy came trying to stop his old fiance from coming to conference. They were fighting when they came in. She was trying to get away and one of our bishopric members stepped in and the guy punched him two or three times. When I entered the hall is when she got away from the guy and the counselor was just stepping in. I passed the Sister in the hall because she ran to the office. He saw me and didn't enter into the hallway any further. I separated them and the guy yelled at me for a bit and then left, slamming the door and throwin a fit. I wanted to do something more but I had the pretty strong thought to just wait for him to leave and listen. I stood between them both so that he didn't came after the counselor again. The people in the conference in the chapel didn't hear it because the volume was way loud because there are a few members who can't hear well. The police came and left quickly to go and find him. They found him and he got arrested. The counselor in the bishopric has to have surgery this week. After the guy left I was helping the counselor until more help came and we gave him a blessing there on the spot. The EMTs came to help as well and told him he needed to go to the hospital for an xray. I was there because I was watching it in English in the bishops office, so it was mainly just us. Thats a LONG story made really short."
He is bound and determined to go and watch the Sunday afternoon session sometime this week. Maybe for their companionship/language study. The disturbance happened during his favorite speaker. He liked the quote from  Elaine S. Dalton's talk "What e`er thy art; act well they part."
He thought it was amazing to hear the number of missionaries out in the mission field right now. These numbers were the numbers at December 2012 so there are definitly more out there now. The work is moving forward and he is glad to be a part of it. He is also glad that I was just before the huge boom. 
This last week they had around 10 different investigators attending one or more of the conference meetings.  They also had some great lessons with a family last week where the father asked all the questions he could think of and after he felt a lot better about the church. 
Elder Larsen was "really stoked" to hear about Cedar City getting a temple and is wanting to know where they are going to put it. He said he gets asked often how many temples are in the United States and in Utah.  So I was able to get a list and send it to him.  Now he can answer those types of questions too.
I sent his birthday package on March 1st to make sure that it got there by his birthday next week on April 16th.  He said, "Hey, I recieved the birthday package and ended up opening it this week because I didn't want to wait too much longer. I am actually wearing the Utah State Aggies shirt right now (Thanks Tan and Linds) haha Its a pretty sweet shirt and it honestly feels like a muscle shirt so thats always a good feeling right? lol"
Next week is his birthday and I would really like to make it special for him.  I would like all of you to leave a comment for him.  I will collect them on Sunday and get a special birthday email ready for him.  He's turning 20.  Please help me make his birthday special.  Thanks.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Elder Larsen just wrote and wanted to settle our worries.  He is so much better this week.  He says the week before was horrible but that by last Tuesday most of the ill effects went away and he felt totally better two or three days later.  "Man was it great to feel good again.  I felt like I was sick for a year or so.  Obviously not, but that's what it felt like." 

In Tunja, Holy Week is a big deal. In other areas of Colombia they have reenactments of the crucifixion but not in Tunja, thank goodness.  Kade's cousin, Jade, is a missionary in Mexico and they had to be in early every day and weren't able to leave the house on Friday. They do have a lot of traditions that they do in Tunja.  He said that the Klu Klux Klan  is there in Tunja.  They wear the same stuff that they did in the states.  He hardly dared take a picture but I think they were in a parade there.  He was going to send pictures of something and must have forgotten.  He said in the parades each group has a part of the crucifixion so they have things like a cross or a casket. 

In Colombia, the unspiritual part of Easter is nonexistent.  They do not have anything to do with Easter eggs or the Easter bunny.  He said the speakers in church did speak about Easter and the events having to do with Christ.

He said, "Satan's presence is everywhere and sometimes he really makes me mad!"  They are still working with some really good investigators.

The first week with his new companion went really well.  Elder Larsen said when he met with the Mission President a few weeks ago the President was really impressed with his Spanish.  He said the president even said, "Wow, gift of tongues Elder!"  He said the President must have had a lot of faith in his Spanish because after that he sent him a Costinian as a companion.  He said the only Spanish he can't understand is his companions. haha  With time it is getting better. He said that he uses other words that he has never heard in his life.  That is just how Spanish is, different area of the country they use different words.  Because it was Holy Week it was very hard to meet with people.  Many people left town to visit family.  They visited with a lot of members, which was good so that the new elder to the area could meet them.  They were able to teach investigators a little bit but not as much as they wanted.

Kade is jealous of his cousin serving in Mexico because he gets to eat chips and salsa almost every day.  He said they found out there was a store that had peanut butter.  They went there and he was "so excited to have peanut butter once again in my life." But, the store had ran out and won't have any for at least a week.  

Kade also found out this week that his favorite teacher, Laura Stoker, from Colombia Basin College passed away.  He said, "She is one of my favorite people from Washington and was willing to help me with anything I would need to get started in this career."  He appreciates friends keeping in touch with him to let him know things like that.