Wednesday, July 25, 2012

flying solo in Colombia

Well in my eyes this past week has absolotley flown. Worrying about proselyting made it come upon me even faster but nevertheless i had a great experiece. Mom Dad, your stories make me laugh so much and I read some of your sentances to my district and they bust out laughing, especially about the coon story....freaking hilarious that made my whole day when I read it. So I figured out the letter situation, I am going to try to read your e-mails before my pday and so we are not a week behind each other, just keep e-mailin me and I will be fine! Oh and i havent recieved gmas handwritten letter yet.
Anyways we all proselyted in the Bogota North mission area of Bogota city. My area was about a 30 minute bus ride from the ccm and there were some really nice places and some preeetttyy schetchy places too. My Senior companion was the zone leader and he had 6 months left. i also had a native comp from the ccm that was kind of shy. Anyways they spoke no english at all lol. We got around 35 new contacts(I think the zl was just tryin to set the bar high for us) and we taught 2 lessons to investigators. So this is how it went, every person we talked to on the street I had to engage them. Basically say we´re missionaries and we have a message about families and other things. Then when they started talking the other 2 would take over and I was left trying to figure out what they were saying. They were speaking so fast that when I understood something and tried to chime in they were already talking about something else lol. Haha one time after I introduced us I tried responding to this ladys questions and it was a total fail. Later when I asked what went on I understood from my companions broken english that she actually thought i was mentally retarded. Luckily I had nice comanpanions that explained to her my situation, at that point I kind of did feel a little mental but it went away lol. Another interesting part of the day was lunch. We had the normal rice (of Course) fish (forgot to ask what kind) and fried plantains (starting to become one of my faves if cooked right). Ok so the lady just took a whole fish and threw it in the skiilet and deep fried the entire thing. Sooooooooo good, haha when i started eating it with my fork they laughed at me and told me to eat it with my hands, Then when I was finished with everything but the head the lady said EAT THE EYES!! in spanish of course. So I was like Cheverre (cool) and proceded to suck they eye out of the fish like I had seen her do, it was not the greatest thing in the world but it wasnt that bad cause I was too afraid to chew lol, I just swallowed. So i freaking ate like every part of the fish! Oh sidenote, I have been asking around about whether or not we did eat horse, and its beef lol the cooks just call it caballo (horse). anyways after that we taught them a lesson and I shared how awesome my family is and how this gospel has brought us so much closer together. Nothing to big, I was just surprised they could understand me and I think they appreciatted the big silly grin i had on my face the whole time. Then at night we taught another inverstigator, whom after the lesson I thought was a recent convert because she was just so exited and gung ho about everything. She said she didnt need any help with anything when I asked because through praying and reading her scriptures she had found answers to her questions. I then shared a scripture in Mosiah about how keeping the commandments will bless you both spiritually and pysically. Once again I think the investigators were surprised at my spanish and they both commented on how happy I looked. It was awesome!
So fastforward to tuesday and all the Latinos as well as the other district of Americans have gone to thier mission feilds. So its only us in the mtc and we had a free day where we got to go and do anything we want in Bogota. But first we had to move out of our rooms and into our new ones where my comp is now Elder Rezendez and we are in a room that had 8 beds lol. this room is as big as our 6 bed room and smaller than our 4 person room in provo. And all the new Americans didnt get their visas, hence flying solo in colombia, we will be the only 6 North Americans here for 3 more weeks! Anyways so yesterday we got to do a session with just our disrict (and yes I have now done more sessions in spanish than I have in English). Then we got to go exchange our money into Colombian pesos, I had 60 bucks in cash so I only exchanged that. Then we went to a huge Catholic Cathedral ontop of a mountain. It is called Monserrate, you should look it up online because it was so awesome. Alittle weird but awesome. The view was great and we could see all of Bogota! it seemed like it never ends. I took tons of pics and one video, I will try to send them all when I get to the field but man it was sooooo awesome. Then we had subway for dinner and then watched 17 miracles. haha I remember dad saying it was hard to follow if you werent a church historian. And it kind of was, but you guys know that any movie we are allowed to watch we almost kill ourselves with exitement lol. So I t was good. Haha also we are allowed to listeen to the music and my favorite it the youth page. Before my mission you wouldnt have caught me dead listening to the efy soundtrack. haha you guys know I thought that stuff was so dumb but now I love it lol cause its music. I like the songs while were young and walking in sunlight. one girl sounds like taylor swift so I listen to her song over and over. Im gonna be so weird when i get home but it wont matter, Im sooo happy and the only thing that would make me happier would be to see you guys. i love you soooooo much!!!!
                                                                                        -Elder Crook

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm gonna be a missionary for reals...but only for one day

Well this week was not my most exiting week here. I loved hearing about the kayak trip and the way dad tells it is just hilariious. The pictures are great too! when I get to the field im gonna try to print them and add em to my picture book. That was probably a highlight of my week. And YES! I would love to go back and kayak in 2 years with you guys, that would be a blast. Just in case you dont know yet I always find time to read your letters after I send mine for the week becasue i want to have the full thirty min to type. You guys know I need it haha, I nver took keyboarding in 8th grade. Anyways last friday was a very very interesting day. We got up at 6 to go to the immigration office to get official colombian IDs. So we filled out paperwork and thought we were all goood to go to get pics and fingerprints....noope. I guess someone forgot about general bank statements and the Americans and a few latins not from Colombia but serving here had no idea what to do. Of course you know me I tend to not listen as well as I should and especially when they give us instructions in Spanish it just kinda goes in one ear and out the other. so we were there by ourselves until the busdriver came to pick us back up, we told him about the statements and he gave them to us and left. If you are confused its because I am still confused about what went on here. It is about 12 right now and we are in the middle of Bogota on a random streetcorner. Old ladies are coming by and yelling at us in Spanish. On Latino Elder shoutded HALLELUJIA and AMEN afterwords, it was pretty funny but probably not what we should shout after getting shouted at. I still dont know what the old lady was yelling but it was pretty funny. Then we finally got to do our IDs but thier computer sysltem crashed halfway through, so we sat for another 4 hrs and finally got back to the mtc at around 5. We didnt get lunch that day and I was stinking mad when all we had for dinner was a heaping plate of rice. In case you havent noticed Im eating a crapload of rice but am slowly getting used to it. Last nights dinner was a nice change when we had horse steaks, you know me Im all for the meat so Iloved it! it was quite chewy and tough but had a distinct flavor. I went back for seconds on that. Also there have been problems with missionaries stealing stuff from other missionaries. so far there have been shoes, shirts, and 100 us dollars stolen. Luckily our room of Americans have been spared, but I hid my wallet pretty good. Haha I guess the super bowl of soccer games was here in Bogota on sunday. I guess one of the teams from bogota won because there were fireworks in the stadium and its like 2 or 3 blocks away from the ccm. So we gathered around the window and watched them for a while, you can say I didnt miss 4th of July but I bet your guys firework show waas better. After that people were going crazy, screaming honking there horns hanging out the windows with their soccer jerseys and the occasional gunshot and siren. It kept me up a while but it was exiting.
Soooo I get to go proselyting for reals on saturday, real people, real spanish, real missionary for reals. I am pretty nervous because I can teach lessons and chat a little bit in Spanish, but when it comes to listening and understanding it is no bueno. Everyone talks so fast and to me it all sounds like one big word. But I will have an expeirinced elder and a native comp with me so I know I will be fine. Im prayin like crazy, I know it will be an awesome experience and I probably wont wanna come back to the ccm. I sure love you guys and hope your week went well and this one is going good. Tell shay to send me an email about her camp cause im super interested to see how she does and how she liked it. You guys are awesome and whenever I get a little bit down i always think of my family. It helps me focus so much more and get back into the swing of things. Thank you for being so awesome. Oh and tell Gramma Joyce thanks a ton for that care package!!! it was awesome
                                           Elder Crook

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bad Hair Day - July 11, 2012

Hey pappy!! I know youre home alone all week so I hope this letter will cheer you up. Fyi they are more srict on the e-mails here, only 30 min to read and write and I have a teacher peering over me making sure Im emialing only family. So I havent even read youre letter yet and I have one from Josh too so hopefully I can read them later.
Ok so the food here is a little bit better than in provo because its all homemade since theres only about 60 people total here. Weve had the best juices ever though, like mango juice pineapple juice lulu, moro and apple soda (the weird ones are fruit native to colombia). We also got this thing called a granadilla the other day and it had a hard outside and you cut it in half and there is like mucousy seeds in side. All you do is slurp it out and swallow it, it is way good tasting but the texture makes me wanna hurl after a few slurps lol. The food consists of chicken and rice, like once or twice a day well have chicken or rice or both, so its not to bad. So the CCm here is super small and we have a room smaller than in provo but with 6 ppl now instead of 4. It is crowded but we make due. There are other Americans here and one went to Fremont high, his name is Elder Woolsey and he swam with Clint and Lexi when he was there. there are about 45 latinos here and they are all pretty much converts to the church which just blows me away, they are so humble and fun to try and talk too. Even though I cant really understand them because they talk so fast we have a great time together. Also my comp is Elder Albrect now, we got switched around a little bit. Haha he sprained his ankle yesterday playing vollleyball and I ve made fun of him for it ever since, but now I am giving him piggybacks every where we go lol.
My one goofy story for this week is about my new haircut. So there is this crazy latino haircut lady that I guess was huntng me down to cut my hair from the first day Ive been here. Last friday she finally cornered me in the lunchroom and pulled me out. The whole room was laughing at me because she gives horible haircuts. They look ok on Latinos but on me it looked horrible. All she did was shave the sides to like a centimeter and leave the top long, like a bowl cut. I looked like a freaking retard! worst haircut since the Tebow era a few years ago;) only you will know what Im talking about lol. Anyways right after I went to the bathroom and told Elder Albrect to get his clippers (luckily he had them] no one saw me so they couldnt tell the lady. he buzzed the top to the length of the sides and now I look somewhat normal. Crisis averted right.....wrong apparently the lation haircut lady gets very offended when anyone but her cuts youre hair. So I have been avoiding that room that shes in and have a few close calls but havent been caught yet. Ill tell you next week if she catches me.
We get to go proselyte with a real missionary in the field the saturday after next, I am so exited to get off of the ccm campus and see more of the country. We got to see a little bit more of it today when we went to the temple. The biggest surprise to me was how crazy the traffic is here. Take our traffic laws and throw them out the window, if you want space in the road you have to make it, i havent seen one stoplight. They have so many motorcycles here and some of them are way sweet! they practicly live in the center between 2 lanes. It is so crazy and Ive seen old ladies on scooters making gutsier moves in traffic than you or I ever would think of doing. It is such a great experience here and I am trying to enjoy every moment of it and learn all i can. I love you so much dad and hope you are having a good week and keeping busy helping ryan with his house. Love you lots.
                                                Elder  Crook (aka Chancho)

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Colombia - Safe and Sound - July 4th (original date of message)

Hey guys I hope you are having a great time kayaking. I want to hear all about it when you guys get home. Well I am here e-mailing you from the Colombian ccm on my first full day here. I dont even know were to begin but Ill try to give you guys a rundown of what has been happening. So after I talked to you gusy on friday we had a great staurday and sunday just mostly doing the same things. Sunday was fun because we had an actor come and recount the Joseph Smmithstory throuhg the eyes of one of Josephs closest friends Willard something. But it was really cool and I liked it a lot. Then on monday we packed a lot and taghut our first trc which is member volunteers that can speak spanish. It was a lot more relaxed because we just had to share a small message on prayer and get to know them a little better. After teaching we had the best dinner ever of chicken strips, I hoovered 3 plates and while i was eating elder albrect made me lagh so hard I got a piece of Chicken in my nose lol, that was a fun night. Then we said our goodbyes to the rest of the kids in our district and tried to get some sleep.
We woke up at 4am to get our visas and tickets and catch the shuttle to SLC at 5. While we were at the airport there were people honking at us and cheering like crazy like we were some kind of celebrities or something. Then I payed 75 dollars for my bag (can you check my account for me when youre back?) and we got on a 4 hour flight to Atlanta. i had so idea how many trees there are in Atlanta, it was kinda cool but it was so hot and muggy there I was glad to be in the air conditioned airport. Then we waited for an hour at our gate going to Bogota, everyone was speaking Spanish and all of the instructions to board were in Spanish, they finally saw us and rattled them of in English out of pity probably. Then there was a huge thunderstorm i mean huge!! it was raining the hardest i had seen in a while. So we sat on the runway for 3 hours to wait for it to clear out and then we got out of there. The flight was good and we got in last night to the ccm at 2. im sorry but im gonna get kicked of here in a sec but i love you guys and hope youre having fun kayaking
                                            Elder Crook