Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 8 Christmas in Duitama Colombia

Down here in Colombia they do most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve we ate lunch at a members house and they made us homemade pizza with lots of vegetables on it. It was really good. On Christmas Day we studied for about 4 hours in the morning. Then we went to a resturant for lunch, the one we usually go to was closed so we went to a different one, it cost a lot more, probably more like what we are use to paying in the US. Then we went to a members house and he was going to give us some apple cider but it contained a little alcohol. My companion luckily read the label, and told the member that we couldn't drink it. He did give us some cookies instead. After that we went caroling to some referrals we had and gave them a wrapped Libro de mormon, that was how we spent our Christmas. 

Friday we went to the country to teach an investigator. It was cool because it reminded me of home. The lesson went well and Maria wanted to get baptized the next day. She's scheduled for baptism this coming Saturday. It is so awesome!! After we left her house we needed to catch the bus back to the city, we saw it pulling away, we tried to run and catch it but it kept on going. We had to wait for about 30 minutes for the next bus, so that wasn't too bad. 

Saturday we helped clean the chapel. We had to move all the chairs out, so we could wash them all by hand. There were about 200 chairs so I got my exercise in for the day. We also fasted for the Tejedor  family, they are super awesome and have tremendous faith in the gospel and are progressing super fast, and hopefully will be baptized this coming month. We almost got attacked by a dog, good thing he was on a leash, but the dog took me by surprise and I jumped about 10 ft in the air. 

Sunday was good we had a super awesome lesson in gospel principles class. It was about eternal families. I am so grateful for you guys and all the love you have for me, and the examples you set for me. 

Today we played some Futbol at the church with some of the youth and an investigator, it was awesome to be able to play soccer finally. They don't have grass fields here so I don't need my cleats. 

I love you guys and hope you had a great Christmas it was really nice being able to skype you on Christmas Eve. Love, Elder Strong

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 7 birthday

I was excited to hear that dad and Seth had the chance to go out and invite people to church with the missionaries. I am glad that Seth was able to go with one of the elders, who were able to give him some advice about serving a mission. I am excited to hear where Seth is going to be serving even though it is a little while away.  I was glad that joshua wanted to share one of my missionary experiences in primary. Joshua is a great example to me. Glad to hear that Jacob's basketball team is doing so well. 

Alright, everything has been going good here. My birthday was a little different, but still good. I really missed my seven layer chocolate cake, so if you wouldn't mind sending some that would be awesome. Haha! It was a really good day. My birthday was the same day as the ward Christmas party, so it was like my birthday party kind of. Lol It was exciting we didn't have ham or anything instead we had rice,and other things. It was great to be around members and investigators for the night so I wasn't by myself. Then after the party the youth and my companion and the sister missionaries had a cake for me and sang happy birthday in Spanish and English which was super cool of them!

So the members here are super cool and friendly. Every time we go to their casas they feed us a ton of food, so we usually don't eat dinner. 

We have a couple of investigators that are progressing. This week was a little slow. I guess probably because I am new and everything. During the lessons all I really do is bear my testimony, because I really can't communicate that well. I am understanding what they are saying for the most part just hard to respond. We had the chance to go sing in the plaza again and were able to get some contacts that way. Then afterwards we went to a hamburger and hotdog resturant it was nice to eat some American food again.

Today was P-day, so I did my laundry.  You have to rent a washer here to wash your clothes, you have it for a couple of hours. We have to carry it up three flights of stairs and then back down. It is good exercise. After we did our laundry we went on a hike up this mountain close to town. When we reached the top it had a cross on it. The view of the city was super cool. After our hike we went and bought a few groceries like cereal, eggs and milk. Yes I said milk! I am so glad I found milk!

I will hopefully get my packages tomorrow at our Christmas devotional.

Let me tell you a little about my apartment. It is on the fourth floor do we get our exercise. It is a three bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom are small. 

The ward here is pretty big about the size of a normal ward, but not the size of Chico 2nd ward. The people in the ward are super nice! It is just hard to communicate because of the language barrier.

Have a Feliz navidad everyone. I love you all so much! Keep up the great missionary work you will bless many lives and also your own. Thanks for all the love and support and everything else. You guys mean the world to me! Remember the best gift the world has received i Jesus Christ our Savior. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas week. 
With Love, Elder Strong

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 6 finally out of the CCM

Alright, I am finally out of the CCM, and in the real world. I didn't end up staying in Bogota City. I am now serving in a smaller town in the Duitama area. It is pretty cool, a lot smaller than Bogota. It is about the size of Chico. It is pretty cool for the most part. My trainer is Elder Martinez. He is a pretty awesome missionary. He was born in Guatemala, but has lived in Provo Utah most of his life. He speaks great English, but we speak in Spanish the majority of the time so my spanish will improve. In our district we are the only Elders with two sets of Hermanas. My companion is the district leader. He has been out a while, and goes home in March. 
I had the chance to meet with my mission president, and he seems like a really cool guy. He is very enthusiastic about  for the work. 
When traveling to my new area, I was able to travel with Elder Tipton who was my companion in the CCM. The bad thing about it was that we traveled by ourselves and no other missionaries so we thought we might get lost. We arrived in Duitama area around 1 am. The first day in my new area we had a district meeting then we taught two lessons. I didn't really teach that much but said a few things here and there. For lunch we go to a restaurant everyday. It is alright. That night a group of missionaries sang Christmas hymns in the plaza, and then we did some contacting while we were there. We told them about the birth of Jesus Christ. 
There are a lot of dogs here. I haven't seen any big earth worms yet. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and remember the reason we have this holiday is because of the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. I love you all! Thanks for all your love and prayers! 
Con Amor, Elder Fuerte 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Week 5

This week has been pretty exciting, and full of new adventures with my new companion. My new companion is a Latino from Ecuador his name is Elder Galan. He is the district leader for our district which is cool. It isn't that difficult to communicate because he took 6 years of English in school. I asked him to speak to me in Spanish unless I don't know a word and need
some help. I feel like I have learned a lot more Spanish these last ten days or so. He has taught me more than I learned three years in high school Spanish. 
Our first fake lesson didn't go so well because it was his second day and I don't know a lot of Spanish. He pretty much taught the whole lesson, and I really didn't understand what was being said. I also didn't really feel the spirit during that lesson. We sat down as a companionship and talked about having more unity so we can be more effective in teaching our lessons. We have also practiced teaching our lesson and have got them to flow a lot better like Elder Tipton and I did. 
I was able to watch the Christmas devotional and it was spectacular. I loved it so much. I am grateful that Christmas is such a big holiday here, because I love it. After the Christmas devotional there were fireworks that went off in the city, probably after a soccer game because we are close to a stadium, nonetheless it was cool, and kind of a great end to an amazing night. 
I am a little behind in my Book of Mormon reading, I am in Helaman right now. I am trying to finish by the time I leave next week. Hopefully I can!
We had to do service on Tuesday. For service we just clean the CCM. I always seem to get stuck cleaning the bathrooms, maybe it is because I never cleaned them that well when I was home. So Seth, Jacob, Jared, josh, and kayden you need to help mom clean the bathrooms so you know what you are doing when you get on your mission.
I had the chance to go to the temple twice this week because I have a Latino companion. We get cereal for breakfast when we go to the temple so that is great. I love going to the temple because the spirit is so strong. I love the temples!!
We had the chance to go tracting again. It didn't go as good as it did the first time, I hope it was because it was raining. We only made two contacts but we were able to give out a Libro de Mormon so that was good. He seemed pretty interested from what I could tell by the conversation. The rest of the people we talked to seemed to be very catholic, and not interested in what we had to share. We tried and that's all that counts.
I have received your letters finally so keep them coming, I sure enjoy them! I also sent you a letter, hopefully you will get it before Christmas. I love you all so much. Keep being good examples, and good missionaries. 
Love, Elder Fuerte

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Week four

The coolest experience this week is when we had the opportunity to go tracting. The first person Elder Tipton and I talked with we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which was awesome. Then every time we passed him that day he was still reading the Book Of Mormon. Then he talked with the sister missionary from our district, and he told them how grateful he was for Elder Tipton, and I, so that was awesome. Also we taught two older ladies about the church and different things like that, and as we were leaving they gave us some oranges, so when we left I said to my companion " look the fruit of our labors," haha! Then we were also able to give a copy of the Book of Mormon to a Young Japanese women. We talked to her about Jesus Christ coming to the Americas. Next we talked to a man drinking coffee so we talked to him about the word of wisdom. At first he didn't want anything to do with us, but we were able to talk to him for about 30 minutes, most of it was in Spanish. He was really patient with our struggle to speak Spanish. 
Yesterday we had the opportunity to attend the temple again. I fell asleep during the session, for a few minutes because the night before we were up helping the elders pack that were getting ready to leave. I was still able to feel the peace and comfort. 
Also yesterday we had a chance to take a tour of the city. However no one told us what we should see or do, and we didn't have a tour guide. We stood in one area for about two hours. I was with 30 white missionaries so I am sure we looked like we were out of place. I did find a store where they sold soccer jerseys so I bought a couple of Colombian jerseys .
Alright so as you can see these few days have been pretty eventful and exciting, and super spiritual! I am kind of nervous about getting my new Latino companion it is going to be so different, but hopefully a good different. Hopefully I will be able to communicate with him. He comes in a couple of hours! I hope that we will get along like Elder Tipton And I did.
I love you so much thanks for everything you have done for me. Thanks for the updates and comforting words and all the support and love. I appreciate all the prayers for me, I still haven't received your letters but I will keep checking. Thanks again! Love you all keep being good examples and light to all those around you! 
Love, Elder Fuerte