Monday, September 24, 2012

My Broken Family

WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOO my baby sister toots is the HOMECOMING PRINCESS!!! Shay I’m not joking when I say this,  you really are a beautiful girl sweetie! and you deserve this recognition of your peers:) And WAY TO GO ON BEATING MONICA ANDERSON. Glad you could whoop up on ANYONE from marist. 
Hey PA don’t worry Im gonna tell about the Farting dog story lol and send me all the pictures from start to finish on the countertops!
MOMMA how is school? hope you are handling those kindergarteners. Last night I saw a mom dragging her child by the ear while he was screaming his head off, maybe you could give that a try?
Elder Pallo- No man no tenemos un meta para bautismos, pero nuesto meta para la mision es 10 nuevos investigadors cada semana. TENAS! Es difficil pero con fe en el senor pudimos cumplir la meta la ultimo semana!! A veces para los p days visitamos familias del barrio y jugar juegos. Me encanta sus cartas tambien y buenos suerte con sus ultimos 3 meses. TE AMO BRO!
Ok well first we had a baptism last Saturday!! It was the brother of Christian, the last one we had. Elder Suarez baptized him and it was just a great way to end the week!! Ok well if you are wondering why my letter for this week is so early, it is because we have cambios tomorrow and my father is getting transferred to be a Zone leader in Cucuta. Its kinda bittersweet cause I’m really excited for him to be a leader and go back to his first area where he started but I also kinda wanted him to stay with me and finish my training.  He’s awesome and I have learned so much and worked so hard with him. But my new comp was a zone leader in an area called Alamos. His name is Elder Dasilva and he is from Brazil. Elder Suarez is leaving tomorrow for his 20 hour long bus ride so we are writing early to give him time to pack and say goodbye to the members and our recent converts. Anyways I’m going to have 2 fathers and no mothers lol. PURE TESTOTERONE BABY! haha If you want a mom you have to ask a hermana to adopt you.  I dont think I’m gonna do that cause it sounds a little ridiculous lol. But I am excited to meet my new father and I think I’ll learn a lot from him too. Everyone thought that he would be the new AP but I guess he’s gonna be with me for at least one change. 
Ok on to the dog story lol, well remember the family of 4, I said we found last week.  Well they have a pug dog that looks like its straight out of Men in Black. When the chunky thing ran in I was like TALK!! I KNOW YOU ARE ABLE TO TALK TOBY (his name) but he just started smelling my backpack cause it has all kinds of sweets and treats in it (bet that doesn’t surprise anyone). Then the daughter asked what we do for lunch everyday and we answered that we eat with the members. Then the funny guy I am made a joke about how we eat beans everyday and that can be a little bit overwhelming. Right after that the freaking dog ripped one, it was the worst smelling fart I´ve ever been a part of.  Then my comp was like ELDER CROOK!!! POR QUE? I said no no no it wasnt me it was Toby! Everyone knew it was the dog but Elder Suarez likes to tease me lol. It was the worst timing ever! 
Ok I have one more story then I’m gonna send pics.  Of course it’s about the bus lol.  Half my mission has been spent on the bus. But anyways we were on it and it was soooo full, Elder Suarez said we were gonna get out and walk at the next stop, but I guess he meant in 2 stops. So it stopped and I got out and started walking, then looked for Elder Suarez and he was still on the bus. He told me to get back on but it was to full and I couldn’t, so he tried to get off and then the doors shut. Before they shut I was like ahh bueno, I’ll beat the bus to the next stop. By the way being alone without your comp is like a cardinal sin. So I took off sprinting feeling like batman running through the cool Bogota night. I didnt beat the bus but I never lost sight of it. Then Elder Suarez got off and I was like OHHH COMPA! and we gave each other big hugs in the street in front of tons of people, It was so awesome! I love you guys so much and I am wishing I took that typing class cause I am soooo Slow! 

                                         Elder Crook
SO this stupid computer won’t let me send pictures, so I’ll send you double the pics next week. MUCHO AMOR

Monday, September 17, 2012

Public Transportation and yup, you guessed it....MORE VEGGIES

Haha first of all I'd like to thank Gage for giving me that great idea to get rid of my veggies. Sounds like a great story for the diary bro. Man I love hearing from my amigos on missions.  I got letters from Josh,  Gage and Derrek. Derrek hasn't got his visa to Argentina yet so he is in the Cheese State of Wisconsin where absolutley no one speaks Spanish.  I think he likes it though. And Josh gave me a piece of good advice, "you make enemies on this mish just by wanting to do the right things and follow the rules." yeah he didnt exaclty tell me but I think his comp hates him for trying to follow the rules. Anyways thank you sooo much for that quote by CS Lewis mom and dad, I really like it and am gonna print it off and copy it to my study journal. Also I kinda forgot to bring my diary to the internet cafe this time with my letter outline, so if I'm all over the place (more than normal) sorry beforehand. Oh dad you need to send pics of the new countertops! and way to go Shay on your races.  I love to hear how fast you're going! I sure love you all, honestly I cant describe how happy I am to get  your letters and from the way your letters sound,  it sounds like you feel the love in my letters as well and that is my intention! WELL first I'll tell about the busses. Its funny how I talk about them in almost every letter but thats where all of the weird crazy and just plain legit stuff happens. The weird was: we witnessed a fight between 2 ladies over a seat, the one stomped off the bus in a huff and shouted "one day I'll find you!" and the whole bus went crazy hooting like a bunch of monkies! It was awesome and kinda funny at the same time. The crazy: a guy straight up fell backwards out of the buss, from the top step which is about a good 5 or 6 feet from the street, and me being the strapping young gentleman I am caught him and nicely set him out of my way so I could try to squeeze into the thing before it got all full. I think he was so dazed he didn't thank me lol. AND the LEGIT: so every day or so me and Elder Suarez have a bag of crazy goals we made up and we each have to pick one and do it. My goals have been, contact someone in a completley different way (of course I started to speak in English and that counted) and this last one was to preach the law of chastity to an entire bus of people, and guess what, yup I acheived it lol. I asked the drivers permission and then started just about yelling about the law of chastity! Man after the bus stopped to let people off,  it was empty, bare, not a soul exept for the man we were talking with, and guess what we got a new reference! Haha I love busses:) Ok those were the stories on the bus now I have to tell you another food story. So lastTuesday we were eating at a little resaurant with a sister and the waiter dude gave me 2 options for a side, obviously I had no idea what they were cause all the food is different here. So Elder Suarez said "the first is what was in the veggie soup yesterday and I have no idea what the second is" so I took a chance and ordered the second called ouyama. The first turned out to be peas, which would have been fine. But the ouyama is a gianormus fruit that tastes exactly like spaghetti squash. Yup I had to eat what looked like a giant orange turd that took up half my plate. and trust me my plate was NOT small. I should have used Gages technique lol but I ate every little bit of the orange turd. It tasted worse than an orange turd.
Well we had zone conference this week which was really fun cause we met up with another zone and I met some way cool people, like an Elder that was born in El Salvador but lived in Utah all his life so he is a latino with a gringo accent that also has a weird thing for rapping lol.  Yeah he rapped for me and I cant lie, I layed down a few rhymes myself lol. But at this conference we made a mission wide goal of 10 new investigators every week. At first I thought that it would be almost impossible. but Pres said if you do all you can do putting in the extra effort God will make up the difference. And that is what I would like to talk about now.
So we had been praying like crazy to find these 10, working like crazy to find these 10. And by Sunday only had 2. So before I went to bed Saturday night I told God I had the faith that we could find 8 tomorrow and I was going to do all in my power to find 8. Well it turns out that when you set your goals for the sky having faith in the Lord, and put your faith in action by working your butt off, God responds and blesses you. My butt is laying somewhere in the street lol, but guess what, we found 8! This week was such a learning experience that I will never forget. We found a family of 4 yesterday and 4 others that want to learn more. I cant believe how blessed I have been as a missionary for just a short period. 
Darnit I have lots more to say but I dont have the time, but haha The Big Catholic church is advertising trips to Dubai and Cancun to get more assistance. Remided me of the story dad told me about Elder Mitchell. And next letter I have to tell you the funny story about the family of 4 and their pug dog. Lots of love!!!

                          Elder Crook

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life just couldn't be better

Hey guys guess what I ate for lunch? you all would be soo proud of me. I had pure vegetable soup, no potatoes no meat nothing but green beans, corn and carrots. Yeah I pounded it out, can’t lie right now I’m kinda missing my pasta roni and frozen pizzas but I’m full and that’s all that matters! Haha dad I don’t have a belly yet and am still a solid 180, but my companion makes fun of me all the time cause he says I eat a lot, which I do but all we do is walk all day so I’m not fat. Yes last Sunday, Santiago and William Blanca came to church and sat next to me in sacrament. They are awesome!  It made me feel so good cause William said before he left, we just wanted to make sure that you are content and doing well here in Bogota:) Thanks to Moises for sending him. haha I also had another experience like that. We were waiting for the bus and a man said Elders! Que Mas, (whats up) we started talking to him and he has a son on a mission in Mexico and he said he first learned about the gospel in Sogomoso.. I was like WAIT, do you know Moises Garcia? Well of course he did lol, his name is Jorge Bernal and he has a sister named Lujon Gomez. Really small world, haha.  We were only waiting for the bus and I met another person who knows Moises.  So dad thanks for the quote by Elder Hales. I finally figured out that I can print stuff in the internet cafes so I printed that letter and wrote that quote in my study journal. I also realized that I don’t read your letters as carefully as I should.  I am so pressed for time that I miss stuff. If you’re thinking that I’m writing girls than you thought wrong lol, I only write you guys and Josh. But its stressful  cause I want you guys to know absolutely everything that goes on here, haha its probably one of the most stressful times of the week for me:) But today I didnt get a letter from Josh so I just relaxed and read all your letters, they make me so happy! Its crazy to think that Gage is coming home already and has his travel plans back to Coos Bay. Can’t lie though Gage, your letters are super short. But I’m glad you set such a good example for me.  I can remember hugging you goodbye like it was yesterday! Haha and how is Aaron doin with his truck? Sounds like its all gussied up and tricked out. Oh and how are Rodney’s survivorman adventures going? lol, that guy is awesomely crazy. I can remember when we`d all go out to the dunes, us the Pallos and Rodney and sometimes Alexx. Now we`re all in different states and countries, funny how things change. So I got grandma Carlenes letter finally, and a dear elder from Lani that she sent on the day I entered the Provo mtc. Thanks for those and I enjoyed reading a handwritten letter, it was nice. Oh and guys I love the hamburger pictures and the ones of Shay in california, Can’t lie,  jumping off things into water is one of my favorite things so I was just a tiny bit jealous, but Im sure counting my blessings here and trying to soak up life in Bogota. Haha funny story, we actually couldn’t get on a bus it was so packed. Elder Suarez and I were hanging out the doorway and the doors couldn’t shut. I was grabbing the indide rail for dear life for fear the bus would take off with us halfway out. Elder Suarez was like VAmos! we can do it, so I strengthened my grip expecting to ride the bus with half of my body hanging off  the edge. but we had to get off lol. Oh and we also run after the busses a lot, and I always have to get in front of Elder Suarez because if I run behind him I about die of laughter because he is so uncoordinated and can’t run worth a crap, honestly one time I was laughing so hard we almost got separated (me not on the bus and him on it) but I made it of course. Also I have another story; so we give an amazingly large amount of priesthood blessings to the sick. I always do the annointing and finally after 4 weeks I have the prayer down, so Friday we had to give one to a baby of a less active family. Before I was thinking finally! I have the prayer down and won’t have to read it or redo it. But the baby girl had 4 of the most amazingly unprounounceable names ever. So I kept trying and trying to say the full name and pronounce it right. By the 5th try the whole family was snickering and then the 6th time they were full on laughing, even my comp couldn’t keep a straight face, I however was not laughing and getting a little annoyed and irritated, trying to be reverent cause this was a blessing after all. So I finally got it right and said the rest of the prayer while everyone was trying to calm down.  I really didn’t think it was funny at the time but now I am laughing to myself telling you about it. Needless to say that family will never forget the time when the numnut gringo tried to pronounce their babies name for a blessing.  So way to go Shay on your race! and good luck tomorrow, freaking smoke Katie Potter for me and I’ll be expecting to hear from you next week. And how is it going on getting a homecoming date:) from my experience junior year I can remember I was sweating up a storm asking my date, but it turned out really fun and something I really enjoyed. Good Luck! and remember, if you dont have a date this year dad WILL make you ask for one next year, this I am sure of. Oh and the pic is of me and my comp walking outside of our apts, we had the security guard take it about an hour ago. Wow this letter is HUGE, I know mom and dad will like it but anyone else might have got bored and stopped reading in the middle.   I love you all and am really enjoying my time here in Bogota, its seriously almost like 80 degrees!! Awesome.
                                                                                                   Elder Crook 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The blind leading the blind

Boy I cant believe how fast this thing is going! Feels just like deja vu sitting in the same spot on the same internet cafe on my 3rd p-day! I get such a boost reading your guys` letters. I also get emails from Elder Josh Fred Kilts every week too and of course they are hilarious and soooo awesome. Well this week was pretty normal, we helped some Elders in our zone move apts. Oh we have 8 elders and 4 hermanas in our zone lol with 5 leaders, 2 zone and 3 disrict leaders and 3 greenies. It’s always a pretty good joke when we have district or zone meetings cause there are more leaders than regular missionaries. But anyways we helped them move into a bomb apt that really made me jealous lol. They have a workout gym in their complex! That was a good change of pace and I really enjoy talking and getting to know the other Elders in our Zone. One of the best parts of the mission so far is just meeting all of the different kids from different countries and backgrounds, its been a trip! Haha we also got our water cut for about a day and a half cause I guess the water tanks were being cleaned. I’m sure you guys can imagine just how great that was without water to shower with, wash dishes or flush the toilet(prolly the worst). But all is well now and just to let you know the water is hot too, so that is really nice. Haha also I ate something strange (for me anyways) its common here in Colombia, but its called Mondogo. I’ts the inner layer of the stomach skin of the cow, Im pretty sure thats what it is (you can ask Moises to confirm cause Im sure he knows) But anyways it tasted pretty good, the only bad thing was that the texture was  the worst thing ever. It was like slimy and rubbery and very hard to chew and swallow. I got through it though lol, haha I think by the time I come home I’ll be able to eat pretty much anything. We had the nasty salad again at the same members house and it wasn’t as bad the 2nd time. Also I got to go on splits with another gringo for a full day in my own area in preparation for me taking out missionaries in the CCM. I’ll get to that, but his name is Elder Cannon and he’s from Utah.  I had a great time teaching lessons with him and I only got lost in my area for a few minutes, It’s pretty huge by the way. SOOOOOO now to my big day. You might be wondering why I titled this email the blind leading the blind. Well its because I got to be on my own with two brand spanking new missionaries from the Colombian MTC. I thought it was gonna be like the blind leading the blind but I found out that you’ve just got to act like you know what you’re doing and people will follow you lol. I actually do kind of know what I’m doing but that’s just something I learned lol. We contacted, had a lesson, ate lunch, contacted some more and then met back at the stake center at the end of the night. It was sooo much fun! I feel like a fully functioning missionary able to make decisions and find addresses and think on the move , it was just a great experience. The pictures are of the 2 new latinos from the MTC and a zone activity we had today.  The hermanas made us a heavenly lunch lol. 
Well I have a little time left so I think I’d like to share with you all just a little bit of the things that I have learned. One night this week I remembered a text dad sent me when I was back in college. "Time is always passing us by, its how you use it that makes it special" Thank you so much for that dad because at the time when I remembered it,  I was just so furious with myself about not being able to understand everything. Honestly if there would have been a cat or dog in the street I probably would have killed it. I was so horribly mad and frustrated but then I remembered that. Time is a funny thing, it can either be spent sulking or fretting and worrying or enjoying every little experience good, bad or normal. I realize that this time I can never get back, never do over, never change. So I’m just enjoying the ride and the adventure of life. I honestly can’t believe sometimes God would trust me enough to send me on a mission but here I am, better make the most out of it. I have also learned that God is someone to trust in. Every night when I go to sleep I just feel so peacefull because I have God on my side, I am never alone. Haha I saw a guy riding his motorcycle today and he was singing at the top of his lungs. I remember exactly when I would be on a ride with dad singing a song or just yelling to all the world I LOVE MY DAD!! HE RIDES MOTORCYCLES WITH ME! those are little moments that need to be treasured and enjoyed. I am doing my best to cherish all the time I have here and enjoy it also. I love you guys soooo very much. Mom I cant wait to hear your voice, honestly. I love you all tons...chow!

                                                                Elder Crook