Monday, July 29, 2013

Dear Family, (This letter has been edited for posting by Kade's mother)
Wow, sounds like a lot of things happened this week. I won't lie, a lot of those things didn't bring me much of a smile, lol. For example Kyle (his cousin getting in a bad dirt bike accident and) breaking his foot (accidents happen) and also Brady (his cousin having a seizure and) getting sent home. About Brady getting sent home, it actually makes me pretty mad. Poor kid.
Sounds like your new job (at the prison) is treating you well even though it is a bit different. Sometimes different is good right?  A lot different than working at an elementary school? ha.
I miss going to Rodeos. It's actually one of those things that are in my top 5 or 10 things that I miss. They were always pretty cool to go to with the family or on a date. Can you believe I almost have 10 months. That means 10 months without going on a date. haha Anyways, transfers didn't really change much for us. I am still here with my companion, Elder P____. Elder G_____ is still here as well and will be starting a new kid on Wednesday so he will be with us two until Wednesday. Should be pretty fun actually. 
All right normal stuff. This week has gone well for us. We have had some really good lessons with those two families. We still don't have a baptismal date for them but we hope on Thursday to get it for the family. They weren't able to attend on Sunday which stunk but hopefully this coming Sunday they will come to see what its like. The wife wants to go to see what its like. She brought it up before we ever did. We had a good lesson with them about the restoration. They received it pretty well I believe. 
About the other family that only can on Sundays, they are also progressing. We had a good lesson yesterday. They had read a little bit during the week but we felt that we should read the first chapter to really get it going and they accepted to read one chapter a day together and when possible with the brother that lives there who is also listening to us. He is progressing very very well and now has gone to church two times. He is awesome.
I am happy to hear that you sent the package. The peanut butter you dont need to worry about because I found JIF peanut butter here in Bucaramanga. Its more expensive here but we are all good on PB. 
Hey did I ever tell you that here in Colombia they eat ants? They are called hormigas. They only come out on Holy Week (which is like spring break) they are really big. People catch them, cook them and eat them. I first tried them with another elder and have had them a few times since. That's something that I have forgotten to tell you guys. Search that name for them. Search like "eat hormigas" or something like that. They are good, not the greatest snack but good. People eat them as a snack. They are actually really expensive here. haha (He can't believe people would pay to eat an ant.) Alright, I know that my letter is a bit small this time so sorry. I am trying to write a few short emails to some people from Tunja today.
R_____, the RM from Tunja that helped us with a lot of appointments came to Bucaramanga this week and we talked for a bit. It was great to see him ha. Anyways I love you and hope you all have an awesome week. Love ya.
Con mucho Amor,
Elder Larsen

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Elder Larsen took this picture to send for his dad's birthday. 
The picture is taken at the internet station.

Dear Family and Friends,  (This letter has been edited for the blog by Kade's mom)
Wow. Sounds like you guys are having some good times back home. I wont lie, I was thinking about you guys a bit Wednesday-Saturday. (for the Webb Reunion) Getting a little trunky, ha ha, no just kidding. But I do miss going up in the mountains with everyone. The pictures that you sent are great and wow its amazing how many little kids are running around now. Is the little boy in the arms of Cory the same little boy as when I left? He is huge now.. just saying. Did people actually write the missionaries in the writing station? I hope so ha, I have been in a drought of letters for quite awhile now ;).  Sorry that Tim and Dad were sickish for the weekend. That always makes the weekends a bit rough for sure.
I am stoked Alex got his mission call. France, that is super sick that he got what he studied. Most the time it changes, ha ha. But I bet he will learn really, really fast that French class in high school is nothing compared to real French living there. It will be super awesome though. Leaving December 11th. That will be kind of hard but hey that means he will come back right at Christmas which is pretty awesome. He will only have one Christmas in the "Field" (one is in the MTC). 

This week for us was actually a really good week. Yesterday was an awesome day, better than we have had for a long time. But everything in reality was building up to yesterday. We started two new families yesterday. One of the families are relatives to some recent converts so they already know a little bit about the church. We had a good lesson with them on Sunday. It was a good lesson and they were very receptive. They can only listen on Sundays but we are still excited to get them going with everything. We had an appointment before this one as well that was huge. We had contacted a guy in the street. He was a cool guy and the reason he accepted for us to come to his house is because we said no when they offered us beer, ha. We had the appointment around 3pm or so.  They are a cute little family. They honestly don't know anything about the church but they were very receptive. We are going to invite them to be baptized this Thursday night. I am excited to have these two families  to work for sure. They are awesome people. We also have other investigators that have been progressing really well.  There is also another lady that we have started teaching. She is a neat lady too.  She is also progressing well and has started attending with us.  We are getting really excited for what we have here. One lady we were teaching moved and so they live in another zone. So frustrating because she had just started to progress a lot.
Transfers are this coming Sunday. I hope I don't go anywhere. Now that we have got things rolling a bit here in Diamante I really don't want to leave. Who knows what will happen. I will probably have one more transfer here to finish training my son.
(I warned him about getting on the roof because there had just been a missionary in South America get killed trying to help someone up on their roof)  Mom, I won't get on the roof of these houses. You can tell when houses are supported but in this area, and some others, the roofs are just like sheet metal placed there so rain doesn't fall in.
Glad to hear Uncle Robert is doing well back home. I also hope that your first day of work was pretty awesome. You will have to let me know what you think of it. Those first days are always weird in my opinion. You always feel a little out of place. Well I hope all of you are doing awesome back home. I love you and miss you loads. Thanks for writing letters in the buckets at camp.
Well love you guys and hope your doing awesome back home. Thanks for all of the emails today. 

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Larsen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Elder Larsen said that he wrote later in the day because they had been doing a service project putting in a support system for a future house that they will help put together later this week. He said it's sad the circumstances that some of the people live in. He will have to try and take a picture or something later if they have a break. He said it felt good to actually have a service project where it was "hard labor" again. He says, "One of the guys there handed my companion a shovel and my companion looked at it like it was a sword from the times of the Book of Mormon or something. He had never used or done anything like this in his life, so I think it was good."

Kade is excited for his cousin, Alex, to possibly get his call this week. "That just blows my mind to tell you the truth. Makes me feel old and it also makes me feel like I left SO late compared to the people my age, lol. In two days I will have 9 Months in the mission." Alex will only be a year or so behind Kade even though he is two years younger. Kade will probably feel that way a lot with the mission age changing to 18 years old.
"This week has been an OK week. We actually ended up having a few different meetings that we had to go to. On Wednesday it was a normal Zone Meeting that we have once a month. On Thursday we also had one all morning for the trainers and their kids. That one was with President and his wife and some of the zone leaders. It went well and I learned quite a bit. We even learned a few things that might be changes in the future. Like using smart phones and using tablets with Skype and what not. It is actually a very good chance that we will be the first mission in South America that receives these new updates. President Andelin was talking with President Donaldson (Yes Tanners old mission president) about all these things and he said they were going to try and put it in our mission first. But that won't be until the beginning of the new year. To tell you the truth I don't know how we will do it with Tablets and all that because even with a cell phone it's dangerous and you have a good chance of getting robbed. If God told the Apostles to do it there must be a good reason. It will be really interesting."

"Contacting by knocking doors, in reality, is horrible and the ultimate goal of this new plan of missionary work is to get rid of knocking doors. Which is kind of cool but to tell you the truth we do it just to teach my companion how to do it. If they don't learn how they won't know how if they all of the sudden need to.  My companion and I contact more in the street than anywhere else. We have found a few good people that I am praying that we can get a baptismal date this week."
"Our ward is getting more active in the missionary work which is great. We definitely need the help. We are doing our ward council and more and more leaders are coming. Hopefully we can get them all here within this week or the next. Just think 2 or 3 weeks ago it was nonexistent lol."

We asked Kade what they usually eat in Colombia.  He said, "I have given you a lot of details about food and what not. A normal meal here in Colombia is the rice, beans, patacones (The smashed banana thing, really good), platano maduro, salad, soup. The soups here are way good. The best are the creams. There is one of pumpkin (calabasa) which is SO good. But I have only had it 3 or 4 times in the mission. My favorite by far though. Its also way way good to put the rice in the soup. That is a Boyaca (Tunja) thing but its good so I still do it." 

He wants me to tell James Holmes and Taylor Shepherd hello for him.  He said it seems like they've been on their missions forever. haha  

"Thanks for the emails and all this week it was great.  I Miss you and love you guys. Have an awesome week."
Love, Elder Larsen

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elder Larsen with his companion, Elder Paliz

Elder Larsen is doing great and getting along well with his new companion.  It is always an adjustment for a new missionary but Elder Paliz is doing fine.  Kade says,  "We have been growing closer and don't really have any problems so we are doing really well."  I told him that we had the local missionaries over for dinner on Sunday.  The first words out of one of their mouths was to ask us if we read the scriptures every day.  I told Kade that I hoped he would talk with the people first and get to know them a little bit.  There is a right time to ask that question but it probably isn't the second you walk in the door.   Kade said,  "I hardly ask the question if members read every day because I know that 95% don't. We just encourage them to read more often and when reading, search for the answers that they need in that moment."   

I updated him on all of his cousins that are serving missions right now.  He also has a cousin awaiting his call.  That will make five first cousins serving.  Wow!  He said, "Thanks for sending those clips from the cousins. It was good to hear a little bit from them. That was the first time I had heard anything from Jade so that was good. Don't worry about the story from Emily. When we tell stories we don't really tell every detail possible.  Those little gaps that we forget, try not to make conclusions like walking through the streets with beer, haha."  His cousin took a man's case of beer after he said he wouldn't drink any more.  I laughed and said, "I can picture it now, two Mormon missionaries walking down the street with a case of beer." I've been corrected for making conclusions.  ;)
They were able to start teaching some new people and received a referral from the other missionaries.  It's a man who lives in their area but works in the other zone. He told the missionaries that he wants to be baptized but he wants to hear the lessons from the missionaries who work where he lives. "US! For the first time, here in Diamante. It seems like every person we ever find or ever contact that is actually genuinely interested in the gospel is ALWAYS from the other area by a block or two. Man it is such a killer at times. We found a family, around 8 or 9 people in all. They are all excited to learn more BUT  live in the other area. Story of our lives it feels like. Hopefully this new reference we got will be a good one."
They are excited for the future in Diamante because the ward will have a lot more participation with the new missionary program. "They will be giving us 15-25 references EVERY week with this new program. Hopefully it works like a beauty, ha." 
When I am on his Facebook page I have people contact me from Colombia thinking I am Elder Larsen. I have been able to message back and forth with people from Colombia.  When that happens I always tell him about it.  He said, "Cool to hear you talked with Z____ a little bit. She is a pretty cool investigator. She doesn't know any English so she uses Google to talk to you but Google doesn't always translate correctly."  She is the lady that owns the monkey.  I enjoyed "chatting" with her.
This week he wrote on Monday but we didn't receive the email until about 24 hours later.  Everyone that I know with Elders in South America had this delay.  He said that he was teaching a family home evening on Monday night about the Armor of God.  He was really excited about it.  He has a medallion that hung on the mirror of his car that he took with him that he will use for the lesson.  I would love to hear the lesson that he prepared.
Because they always have problems with finding investigators and having to give them to the other elders, they are looking for a new apartment deeper in their own area.
He said that the changes made to missionary work in the World Wide Conference will change the mission a lot!  There will always be a companionship in the church for the entire day in case someone decided to enter.  They are hoping that it will boost the missionary work. They are getting new computers in August or September to also further the missionary work.  He is excited about being a part of these changes. 
He sends his love to everyone.