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Monday, December 12, 2011
Cucuta is da bomb.
So, I'm not sure what it is, but I really feel at home here in Cucuta. That might be a little weird, since I'm about as far from home as I've EVER been, but I really feel at home here. Maybe it's my companion, maybe it's the members, maybe it's this Christmas season. I don't really know. But I've really enjoyed my 5 days here. I don't know how much I told you about my companion, but he's from Peru. He doesn't really look like it though. And he talks as if he's from Argentina. Haha. He lived in Argentina for a time, and I think he's planning on studying there afterward as well. He's a really cool guy. He teaches really well. He's been out for more than 20 months, I think. Also, he's a really good fútbol player.
This week was pretty cool. I'll start from the beginning. I got here at around 7 pm on Tuesday night, and Wednesday, went out to work. We live in an apartment of four, which is cool, but it means that we live outside our area. So every morning we take a taxi to our area, and then again to return. Thursday we practiced for the Christmas activity we were going to have on Friday. It was a stake activity, and the idea was to have 200 non members come. Every missionary wrote his/her testimony in 6 Libros de Mormón to give as a Christmas gift to the non members. On Friday we sang the Little Drummer boy (Or...they sang. I don't know the words in Spanish.) Then Joy to the World and Feliz Navidad. That one I knew. Haha. We went and passed out Libros to all the non members. We had over 100. Maybe 150 plus. Then afterward, Santa came to give presents to the kids and there was arroz con pollo and gaseosa. While people ate and talked, we went around getting phone numbers and addresses from non members to visit them. :) It was a really cool activity. That was Friday. Saturday, it was back to the grind. We ate lunch with an Hermana from the ward, and then walked about 2 miles to our first appointment. Phew. I don't even think that's an exaggeration. We got to where the sidewalks ended, and kept walking. It felt a lot more like I was in a 3rd world country. And not really in a bad way, it was just...evident. Houses with tin roofs and dirt floors. some had walls made of brick, others of wood, and others of tarp-like material. We visited a couple families in that area, and as we were about to leave the second family, the Hermana started to kind of appologize for the less-than-perfect accommodations. I felt kind of bad. For...I don't know what. Being from the United States, or...I don't know. I don't come from a rich family, but compared to a lot of people down here...? I just felt bad. I told her not to worry about it, and started telling her about The Mansion, one of President Monson's favorite books. I explained that it wasn't a person's earthly possessions or status that mattered, but the things a person did for others, or for the Lord. I think it made her feel better. I know at least I felt the Spirit. :) It was a neat moment. Sunday we went to Church. They only have one piano here in Cucuta, and it's at the Stake Center. So I got to sit peacefully in the back with my companion, instead of on the stand like I did in Tejar. It was very relaxing. I mean, I always love playing the piano, but it was nice to be in the background for once. Afterward, we got to teach the Investigator/Recent Convert Gospel Doctrine class. We taught about the Restoration. It was a really neat class. We had 4 new investigators, and two that had already been to church before. Wow! :) One of our investigators is named Sonia. Hers is kind of an interesting situation, because she's partially deaf, and can't speak. She has to communicate with signs. The cool thing is that she wants to be baptized. :) It was really cool teaching her. We pulled out the Gopsel Art Picture Book, and tried to explain some things. Anyway, it'll be really neat teaching her. We'll have to pray a lot to know how to prepare her for baptism. Sunday night, our Zone got together outside a big mall and started singing Christmas Hymns, while a couple contacted people and handed out pamphlets and took down info. etc. That was probably the most Christmasy I've felt all season. It was really neat. I'll see if I can attach some fotos. Today was Pday, and we started washing our clothes in the morning (here you can rent a washer for 1,000 pesos/hour.) That's when they cut off our water. Apparently, some petroleum or something got into the water source, and we won't have water for 2 weeks! 15 days, as they say here. So...we're gonna have to find a member or someone outside the neighborhood that can lend us their shower. :P
Anyway, cool fact about Cucuta: I can see Venezuela from our apartment. Ha! Cool, eh? I knew we were close, but I didn't know we were that close. We could literally walk to Venezuela! Not that I'm thinking about it. We were talking to an Hermano today who has dual citizenship in Venezuela and Colombia, because he was born there, but grew up here. We were talking, kind of jokingly about going to Venezuela, and my companion said, If we go, I'll probably come back without a companion. :P Yeah...I think I'm just fine here in Colombia. Really. The hermano also told us that in Venezuela, water costs more than Gasoline. Haha. He said that just a few years ago, he could pay 5,500 Bolívares (about 50 cents?) and fill up his car completely. Haha. Then he'd drive to Colombia, siphen his tank and sell the gas! He said he'd make about 200,000 pesos every day. Not bad, eh? Not bad at all. :)
Well, dear family, I love you all. I hope you get my pictures. I think I'm going to send some extras in another email.
Take luck. Don't do drugs, and most importantly, read Isaiah. Because it's a commantment. In 3rd Nephi 23:1, Jesus Christ himself says "Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah." I started reading Isaiah from the beginning, and have fallen in love with that book. So many amazing things to be found! I mean, at times it's hard to understand, but in my own personal experience, it was only hard when I was reading just to read. When I really wanted to read, and wanted to find things and learn things, they just start popping up all over the place. :) Another cool thing I found in 3rd Nephi was in chapter 26, speaking about chapters 24-25 (or Malachi 3-4). If you pay close attention (especially ch 26:9-11), there are hidden treasures to be found in those two chapters, according to Mormon. Anyway, cool stuff, eh? :) Don't you just love the scriptures? I do. :)
Well, have a nice day, eh?
P.S. Happy birthday Alicia!!! I love you so much! :D