Monday, October 28, 2013

This picture is from a year ago when Elder Larsen was still in the Bogota MTC.  It is just to show the size of the city of Bogota.

Elder Larsen got transferred to Bogota last week.  It was a ten hour bus ride back to the city.  They arrived in Bogota at 10 P.M. and were dropped off at an address in a rough neighborhood.  It ended up being the wrong address so there they were, two guys in suits with five pieces of luggage, no phone, no numbers to call if they had a phone, after dark in a bad area.  He said it was pretty sketchy for a little bit.  It's a good thing Elder Larsen's mother knows that Heavenly Father takes care of his missionaries.  They were able to find someone and borrow a phone.  They had to call his old zone leader that lived ten hours away to get them help.  Luckily they found a man that let them use his phone and receive a call on his phone.  They were about two huge city blocks away from where they were supposed to be.

Kade said being in the capitol city of Bogota confirms his roots that he is NOT a city guy.  He's a country boy born and raised.  ;)

Elder Larsen's companion is an elder that goes home in one month.  So they are trying to keep busy. 
He said this week was actually a pretty long week. They have been working well and have been able to have some good lessons. They hope to have a baptism in two weeks of a young women. He has been able to meet quite a few people. Sadly, he only knows where a few of them live. He is still confused most of the time of where they are going in the city. He hopes he can pick it up soon.  He said "Our ward has around 100 people attending so hopefully we can raise that up a bit." 
He writes that one of the Elders that he lives with had to have surgery this morning and his companion had a doctors appointment so that has taken up their whole day.  The elder that had to have surgery will be on bed rest for three days.  
He writes, "I am exhausted.. Today it rained hardcore.. Elder M. had to run to the drug store to buy medicine for his companion that had the surgery. We were in the rain for like 10 seconds and were drenched. It's stopped now though."
"Have an awesome Halloween this week. It will be interesting to see how Colombia celebrates it. Everyone says they celebrate it though so thats good. Have an awesome week."
Elder Larsen

Monday, October 14, 2013

This statue is called La Gorda de Botero (The Fat Lady of Botero).  Elder Larsen said that many families have a picture of it on their walls or a statue in their homes.  It would be interesting to know what the meaning is behind the statue.  I suppose the U.S.A. has naked statues in different cities also although I've never been a fan.

Kade has been out one year on Thursday, October 17th.  Can I just say HORRAY!!!! Gary and I got shirts printed and I got the goodies ready and took pictures of them.  A Colombian lady was coming up to conference and I was supposed to meet her to pick something up and send a package back with her.  She never called so I just mailed the package.  (There was already a half-way package in the mail that he may get on time.) I sent him a copy of the pictures because I knew the box wouldn't be there yet.  The problem is that I sent the pictures to all of the family and I forgot to send them to Kade until he wrote back today and asked what pictures I was talking about. haha  The candy is all cut in half because it is his Half-way mark.  He gets half of the treats and his companion the other half.  .

Sounds like his week could have been better.  They've had some disappointments and he says that Satan is working hard in the area.  Here is his edited letter.
Dear Family,
Half Way Mark!  Just like in your subject line, ha. Well I guess I will complete one year this coming Thursday. Crazy right? I guess you could say I complete the 365 days on Wednesday or tomorrow I think. Elder Himes had the count going but I don't. First, what happened to the pictures that you said you were going to send? I never recieved any pictures this week. You paid quite a bit of money for the postage for the Christmas packages.  Hopefully they all get here well. What I actually wanted to ask you (that I thought of this week) was Dr. Scholls Gel inserts. Just because my feet are killing me and have been for the last two months. Let me know if you happened to put those in it or not. If not, don't send a new package. If worst came to worst there is a person in Utah that I know from here that could bring them back. He is coming back in December sometime but we could figure it out I think. Who knows. Just let me know. There aren't any Dr. Scholls here, I dont think.
This week was kind of a rough week mentally I guess. We DID have some baptismal dates for 18th of October. BUT, right now we don't. We had one lady set for the 18th but she is pretty hesitant right now. We don't know why she doesn't feel ready but hopefully we can help her during this week so that she can do it next week or in two weeks. Who knows. The story that you don't know, remember we started two new people after Conference. On Tuesday we met up with them and invited them to be baptized on the 18th as well. They accepted and were progressing really well. We were teaching them almost every day this week (with the member that found them) until Saturday they called us and told us that the people where they were living kicked them out of the house. They had been here about a week and a half and were living with a friend of hers, the friend never paid her rent. So it ends up that they had to leave Saturday night to go back to the city they are from (close to Bogota) because they had no where to live here and no money to live off of. How frustrating. I hope that the missionaries there can follow up where we left off and get them in the church. They were changing a lot. Seems like I have the worst luck here in this area. When finally good things start happening it just seems to crash back down. Satan is working hard in this world. Satan seems to like ruining everything. 
I will be leaving this coming Monday. Who knows where I will be going but It's pretty dang sure that I am leaving. This is my 4th change here in Diamante (finishing 6 months). I don't really know where I want to go. I wouldn't mind going to Bogota so that I can visit the temple once again. I also wouldn't mind going to Cucuta (but its hotter than here). But who knows where. Hopefully somewhere where the work is already started. In my first two areas when I arrive we have had to open the area basically because they didn't have any investigators when I arrived. The work is growing really well in Cucuta and Bogota which is great. Here in Bucaramanga its kind of stayed the same but hopefully the work can pick up soon.
Today as our last P-day. We went to Dominos with our Ward Mission Leader. He is also moving this week to Bogota which stinks for this ward because he was a good mission leader.
It was awesome to have some American pizza once again. Its been a LONG time. Colombia pizza is horrible compared to ours, ha. Dominos opened like 2 weeks ago here in Bucaramanga. So today we made the sacrifice to go there and buy it. After we took a picture with the Fat Naked Lady Statue.. lol  Its a statue called "La Gorda de Botero" The Fat Lady of Botero. There is this statue and others in other cities here in Bucaramanga. Many people have paintings and what not of "la gorda de botero" in their houses. How weird right? Grover wanted to take a pic so we took one. Hope you like it.. lol 
Well we got to get going so I guess I am done writing for today. Hope you guys are doing great. Have an awesome week this week with the deer hunt and all that is going on. I miss you and love ya. Hopefully we have a little party here ha. I am supposed to burn a shirt (I will burn a crappy one) ha. Love ya.
Elder Larsen
(Later in the day)
Ha I like the pictures. We had to pass by internet again because my comp needed to write President. He forgot earlier.. Love ya. Have an awesome week. Of course they spelled Colombia wrong.. Everyone who writes me spells it wrong lol.Well love ya all!

Elder Larsen

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends, (edited by mom)

Things are going really well I guess you could say, here in Colombia. Conference was obviously awesome. We were able to watch all 5 sessions in English so that was a big plus. President puts a big emphasis on that just because he wants us to understand 100% of what they say. Understandable. It's Gods word, we need to know. There were loads of talks that were great. My favorite session was probably Saturday morning and also Saturday afternoon. The sessions were packed full of the 12 and also 70s who gave great great talks. For example Elder Dube, the African guy. Awesome. Edward, "Never look back, look at what we have left to do." There were many many themes and sayings that I have written down in my journal back at the house. One was like "Don't forget to look up!" I wish I had my notes! Dang it. Also when Thomas S. Monson said that it was the most powerful session he had been in. Do you know how many conferences he has had to attend in his life!? Wow. That says something pretty big.

That lady that went to the states ended up just giving the poster to Elder Himes' mom, I am pretty sure, and she will get a hold of you. So I´m pretty sure she won't be calling to pick up the package you prepared.. Sorry about that. Remember how Elder Himes, Elder Grover, and I all arrived here together and we were all going to have our 6 months together. That changed last night. The assistants called Elder Himes late last night to tell him he has to leave today to go and be a secretary in Bogota. Meaning we won't be able to have a party on our one year mark together, ha. They also called Elder Nieman (from our same MTC group) to be a secretary as well. Both from my MTC group got taken out to go be secretaries. Dang it... lol I guess stuff happens.

We are doing well here. Our investigators are progressing. One was having some doubts but she was able to come to conference  (three sessions!) and I feel she really enjoyed it. We have changed her baptismal date from the 11th to the 18th. And we still aren't too sure about the 18th because she is kind of on the iffy side right now of it all. I think she is just scared to actually make the change in her life. We have a lesson with her tomorrow so we will be talking about that with her. We also had two new investigators go to conference and they really enjoyed it. A lady and her son. We actually might be able to baptize them on the 18th but we will see what happens with them as well. That is pretty dang fast but hey, people have done it in two weeks before, why not now? The other families are doing well as well. They weren't able to come on Sunday which was heart breaking but we are working with them.
There are many members who are getting involved with the work. FINALLY. There are many who want to visit those families in their houses, without us missionaries. This would be good because it would make us less important in the conversion process of these people. Which is a good thing. We are the least  important people in the process. I have learned many things I guess you could say. My comp started working a bit better after the conference sessions so that is great to see.

Kind of crazy to hear about the capital (Government shutdown)  and all that stuff going on down there. Sorry to hear about it. People have brought up some stuff about it but I haven't heard anything about it because we don't watch the news. Fricken Obama (sorry about the fricken but I'm just not a big fan of the guy).

Did you guys listen to ALL of conference this weekend or did you miss some sessions. If you missed, get on the computer and listen to them (it isn't the same but you need to do it).

Today we had a SUPER P-day because our mission had 120 baptisms in September. We basically played basketball all day and right now I am about to fall asleep at the computer. We played pretty hard, but hey it was cool because it was with Gringos and they know how to play a bit better, ha. But anyways, I love ya and hope all is going great for you guys. I need to get off because we have an appointment right at 6 and its not that close to here.
Well love ya all. Chao!
ELder Larsen

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,  (edited by Cindy)
I am pretty sure I would die if I had to be in 30 degree weather right now. Sorry but I think I would. Here it has been the opposite. It used to rain almost every day but now its just HOT and a lot of the time its really humid. How great right? ha. Like today we went to La Cumbre (an area in our zone) and had a little BBQ with other elders and it was HOT.. I got burned.
That is pretty cool that you went to the Women's Conference. I guess they do broadcast it here but its not very well known. Like not that many of the sisters go to it. Kind of sad right? We are really stoked to have conference come up this weekend. Hopefully we will be able to bring some of our investigators to some of the sessions. Its always a given that they will feel the spirit during some of the talks. 
Things here in Colombia have been going pretty dang good actually. Its kind of amazing. I guess you could say that in the last 2 or 3 weeks all of the sudden many of the people that I have found in my time here (3-6 months ago) all of a sudden had the *click* moment. Its been amazing to see. Seriously, like people I found when I first got here that we basically had dropped, all of a sudden have clicked and want to follow the gospel plan. Its been legit. Crazy but awesome. The family is progressing a lot, they couldn't attend yesterday though. DANG IT. But there was a dance on Friday that the stake put on and so we invited them (a dance for adults with a Pioneer them). AND THEY CAME! BOOM. It was awesome. We introduced them to the Stake President and the Bishop and then we had to leave because it was already 9 o' clock. They will have to get married so we will see what happens with that as well. They might be able to get baptized before I leave if we hurry the process up.
We actually have quite a few people who had that clicking moment and so in reality probably in the next change my comp will have like 6 baptisms. So frustrating that I will be gone. I have worked with these people for so long. But sometimes you only get to plant the seed and you don't get to reap the harvest. Its hard when that happens, kind of a downer on the confidence part of the mission.
We are working hard. We are getting better every week with our stats so its going well. The ward is also waking up a bit more and wanting to accompany us quite a bit and that's a huge deal.  Its awesome because we can have a lot of lessons with members. 
There is a sister from Tejar (the other ward that meets at our chapel) who is going to the states tomorrow. She is going so that she can watch the General Conference.  She is going to take my painting that I received in Tunja to the states. It has all of your numbers and what not so that she can call you when she gets there. I was also thinking that if you can, you should prepare a little package so that she can bring that back to here. She will be coming back next week.
(I told him I recognized his hand holding a bag of hormigas, the big butt ants, in a picture that another mother posted from her Elder)  I don't remember if I was holding the bag of ants in the picture. I would have to see the picture. Elder Grover told me he sent a pic but that was a week or two ago so I don't have a clue. I bought some too and will also be sending them to you guys. =) And like Grover told them. You can't throw them away and you can't give to animals. Everyone in the family needs to eat them and after you can give some to friends. We also decided that you need to wait to eat them when we are talking on SKYPE so that we can see your reactions haha =). Awesome right? haha.
Well anyways, I need to get going. I hope that all is going well for you guys. I miss ya and hope you have an awesome week with conference and all. I'm pretty excited for it. Conference is totally different as a missionary.. just sayin. Love ya.

Elder Larsen