Monday, October 29, 2012

Another week in Colombia!!!

Well first of all I want to congratulate Gage for getting into BYU!!!!!! That’s awesome dude! and Happy Birthday man! November 3rd (no I didnt forget lol). And way to go SHAY!!! going back to XC state:) Dad told me about how you were scared the night before and what you said about Monica Anderson, Hilarious:) I sure love you guys lots! Better tell me how state goes and how you break the top 10 K:) So no we didn’t go to the museum of Gold cause I guess it’s not open today, and I really didn’t wanna change our p-day again cause we have to much of a busy week. Soo we haven’t done much of anything today, I just watched a church movie after exercising and studying. And I´m not sure what we´ll do after writing, it´s just kind of been a lazy  p-day for us. But I wasn’t surprised when you told me it had been raining there for a while lol, it’s about that time of the year. But I was really surprised at the weather here this week, it has been sooo sunny and nice lol, like not a cloud in the sky and just awesome weather. The first picture I sent is a picture of me on top of a huge hill overlooking all of our area. Yeah if you look in the background our area is all the buildings until the big skyscraper things more or less. And there’s a lot more to the left of that that doesn’t show in the picture. As for the other one, that is me standing on a ladder yelling through a makeshift megaphone for people to come to our great garage sale for the young women. Ya I only did it for a few minutes, basically just to get the picture but I´m sure people were wondering why there was a gringo shouting in his gringo spanish about a garage sale lol. It was fun though, we helped set up the stands and the church has 2 big tent things that no one could figure out how to set up. So I put my camping skills to work and set them up with my companion. As for the stuff that was being sold, things were pretty scarce, but it was fun lol and I guess it was for the young women but there was only 1 young woman there. Then after that we headed to the baptism we had (this was on saturday) And baptized the 13 year old son of one of our best investigator families. We had hoped that they would be married so they could all get baptized on the same day, but the marriage papers are taking a verryy veryy long time to arrive here. So we went ahead and baptized their son. I hope by some miracle that those papers can get here cause they are so ready. The Father has been drinking his whole life, but when we told him if he reads the Book of Mormon that the desire to drink will cease and never come back. So we left that promise, knowing that he has trouble reading but trusting in the lord. That was about 5 weeks ago, and now he´s on page 200. It has been the biggest change I have seen yet in my mission. So we are very excited for them:) 
Yup dad we still recite D&C 4 in English and Spanish every Zone conference, and if I am ever a leader, I think I´m gonna start every meeting with that too. And thanks for all the good advice you give me, I don’t think I´ll ever stop asking for that lol:) Oh and they do have Halloween here.  We have been advised to be in the house early Wednesday cause Its pretty big here. And its not just one day, I have seen people in costumes all of this last week. Oh and Shay I think Dia de los muertos is only in Mexico y bien hecho en su clase de español, nada pero la mejor de mi hermana lol;) 
Oh mom yea we have portable dvd players in our house to watch church movies and listen to church music. SO yea I just want cds, nothing in Mp3 format. But also if there’s room with the Garcias, can you send Jesus The Christ too? I sure love you lots!
Alright guys I should go, but tell me when Colton gets his call. I´m kinda excited for that:) Love you SOOOOOOOOOO much!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Colombian Pride

Hey Hey Hey! its another P-day:) Well yes dad our plans for the museum of Gold and the president’s house have been delayed a bit. We had a zone activity today so we had to push back the plans another week. Hopefully we´ll make the trip next week, being our last p-day of this cambio. But Pa thanks for the ideas on our 14 yr old investigator named German.   Well we did exactly what you said.  I told my comp that if he gets baptized and we leave the area, he´s never going to go to church, so I told him that we needed to work with the mom for baptism as well. Unfortunately that didn’t work, at first she was interested in the plan of salvation and where we go after this life. But then she talked with a Catholic Priest. Her job is taking pictures.  She takes pics of just about anything including catholic baptisms. So the priest told her that if she lets the Mormons in her home he won’t let her take pictures of the baptisms. So she told us to never come back to her house again and that no one was interested in our message. In my mind we tried everything, so we can’t really go back now.  It’s kind of frustrating but it’s not the first time we´ve had a baptismal date scheduled and it falls through. Alright enough of that lol. Aside from that, everything has been great! I have one semi-funny story for you guys this week. It´s kinda like the one Gage had in his letter about his comp spilling his food everywhere. So I was at lunch on Friday (we always have lunch at the same members house on Friday) and trying to cut my meat that had fat about an inch thick on the bottom. The meat slipped under the immense amount of pressure I was putting on it (yeah I´m strong;) lol) and made everything else fly off my plate onto the glass table, vegetables and all. Haha I wasnt as lucky as Gages comp though cause I had to clean up my mess and still eat it all (It wasn’t bad) but then Elder Da Silva took my plate and was like "Oohhh my son doesn’t know how to cut his food, here let me do it for ya.  He cut my meat all nice for me and even cut most of the fat off too. It was super funny then he told me I eat like a child which is probably right lol. The good thing was that there was only one kid there and he's like 16 so obviously he didn’t care and just thought it was funny, which was lucky for me. Haha just to let you know that was the first time that that has ever happened before. 
Anyways I made a smokin hot deal with the man at the soccer shop:) I got 2 jerseys for 30 bucks, WITH my name on both of them and a number on one. I felt pretty proud of myself lol. I bought the countries team which is just Colombia with my name and number on the back, and one of the city teams here in Bogota, they´re named the Millionarios and I got my name on the back, there was no room for a number cause of the sponsers on the back, I dont have a picture with this one yet but its freakin sweet! I had to get it in an XL cause my Colombia one is an L and its super tight on me which I don’t care for. I think they run a little bit small. 
Shaylen holy cow! way to go in your last race!! I´m sure exited for your districts this Wednesday and I´m sure you are too. I´ll be prayin for ya!! Dang the season went by  fast though. Haha in 2 weeks you’ll be doin winter track huh;) Kick some butt though, I´ll be rootin for yeah here in Colombia!!
Hey pa, is BYU´s football team as good as they were last year? cause they beat OSU last year or is OSU just good this year lol. Oh and sounds like another classic win by Manning and another classic choke by the Chargers;) 
Mom glad to hear you liked the pictures of the temple, I have lots of other sweet ones but those will have to do for now. I absolutely love going it´s sooooo cool in Spanish:) There is such a spirit there where you can just relax and think. I´m also glad that your primary program’s going well, it sounds like you´ve been real busy with your calling.  I sure love you and hope that you have another great crazy week:)
ALright lastly I´ll talk about our p-day today.  I was kinda bummed that we had to stay in the area and just play games but it was actually really really fun with all of the zone there.  Me and Da Silva wore our Colombia jerseys with beanies and sweet glasses (yeah he gave me them to wear) so yeah we were lookin pretty fly lol. We just played soccer and basketball all day oh dad! haha I dont know if I´ve grown at all but I can grab the rim now:) I was pretty proud of myself haha. It was funny cause my comp is a couple inches taller than me but he good barely touch it and I could grab and hang. But the pics are all of today, the new zone, me and my comp, and me, my comp and the gringo zone leader that lives in the house with us. Oh and ignore the wet spot on my butt lol I didn’t wet myself I just sat on the wet grass. Well hopefully next week you guys will have the privilege to look at pictures from the Gold Museum, and the Presidents house. But until then..........
                                                       Lots of love:)
                                                                              -Elder Crook

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some Peoples Mothers Make Me Mad

Hey guys! so yeah we changed our p-day to today so we would be able to go to the temple. It was soooo awesome and great:) We went through a session and then took pictures for a while.  I understood quite a bit more this time and I think I got more out of it  too.  I remember my first session in  the Bogota temple.  I pretty much slept  the whole time cause I didn’t understand anything. There was a guy in our same session from Iowa, I was talking to him for a little bit after the session and found out that he is a lawyer for the Air Force. Haha he was about to leave but you know me I took advantage of him and asked a few questions about his career and how he liked being in the Air Force. He said in his opinion it was the best way to go to get school paid  for and has a great job that lets him travel the world. So I think the Air Force might definitely be an option for me when I go back to school.
Haha,  Dad my comp Elder D commented on my P-day clothes too. He told me they were super feo lol but I didn’t care I was just happy to be in normal clothes....which really aren’t normal clothes for me any more lol. Well nothing that exciting happened this week. I don’t really have any funny or cool stories to tell. But I`ll tell you about our day on Friday which was probably the most interesting. Well one of our favorite members of the ward was getting married to another one of our favorite members. They always have us over for lunch at least once a week and the lady is Costeno or from the coast so she cooks really good! but anyways while they were getting sealed we got called to go and help set up the reception in the church. We had a really busy day planned and during lunch the relief  society president called us and just told us to cancel all of our plans cause she really needed help. Well it sure would have been nice to have known  before but I guess the church is like that in all parts of the world.  But anyways, the relief society president’s house is a good 30 minute walk from the chapel. We had to carry ten tables from her house to the chapel, all of the food she had made (she is like the best cook in Colombia) and some of the instruments for the band to play. It took us like five hours of straight walking, then when we were done with that another member saw us and said ELDERS – you’re  gonna come help us carry the flowers! uhhhhh ok. Luckily their house wasn’t as far away as the other one. So we finally got everything in place and situated. I`m sure that the Enaou wedding reception wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for us 2 big ol missionaries lol. But it was super awesome, they brought in a live band with huge speakers they use in concerts and it was probably just a little bit too loud to be a church function but thats ok lol. Soo like everyone was dancing and we were sitting at the table eating our food, haha well not everyone was dancing cause there were 2 girls about our age sitting at one of the other tables. They weren’t members so I`m sure they didn’t know that missionaries couldn’t dance. All they saw was a super handsome American lol and Brazillian. They were staring us down and it was kinda awkward so we got up and left but they followed us lol. Elder Da Silva was like "Hold me back compa cause I can’t help myself,  I really wanna dance!" I did lol, but I busted out a few moves of my own in the kitchen where we were helping serve people. Then I guess the pressure got too much for him cause right out of the blue he was like ALRIGHT we're leaving! We did have an appointment so we left a little bit early. It has been raining here quite a bit so when we left the party it was pouring so hard, like as hard as the time when Jed and Jenny came down for spring break and it rained all weekend. Luckily I had dads coat so I was fine and dry, but Elder D. didn’t have anything and by the time we arrived he was soaked to the bone lol. But I prefer this weather over really,  really hot so I´m good.   I guess all the rain that the youth prayed for to not come came here to Colombia.
But It sounds like you are doin good Shay:) I´m glad you won another race and I.m glad you actually like those church dances, Dad I guess if she at least likes the church dances she might be ok;) haha I hated those dances they were horrible for me. The funnest one I think I went to was when me,  Gage and Andrew went and watched a movie in our church clothes. Haha I hope Gage is reading this cause I´m sure he remembers that but Gage. Si hay un meta para bautismos ahora, es 153 bautismos cada cambio, no se porque 153 pero eso es la meta. Y tenas significa como intense o algo así, hay mucho jerga aquí y realmente no se que significa en ingles solo cuando a usar lol. Disfrutar su nuevo área suena como usted le encanta.
Well if you’re  wondering why the title of this letter is ¨some peoples mothers make me mad¨ its cause we were supposed to have 2 baptisms but we only had one. The lady we baptized is super awesome and she is soooo strong in the church.  She has a little boy named Mauricio and he is the one I took the picture with. He is the sweetest little boy ever. But anyways we were supposed to baptize a 14 yr old kid too. We had the signature of his mom to baptize him and everything, but when I went to pick him up with a member his mom wouldn’t let him get baptized. I started to argue that she had already signed and that she had a great kid who’s  looking for the things of God and not for the things of the world like all of the other kids. But she wouldn’t have it.  I finally had to cool it and leave cause I didn’t want to argue with the mom and make her mad.  It wasn’t a good way to start the day but it got a lot better with church and the other baptism after the meetings. In that aspect I love the mission, cause you can have a horrible downfall and be so mad, sad, and feeling sorry for yourself,  but then right after that you have to go visit with another person and forget about the bad and just be a happy , carefree missionary. But hopefully we´ll keep working with him and his mom and he´ll get baptized. 
HEY PA HAVE FUN RIDIN MOTORCYLCES WITHOUT ME! I hope it doesn’t rain on ya, just pray for the rain to come here, I can take it for you:)
Ok mom so you asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Really I can’t think of a whole lot except for maybe a little bit of money to buy souvenirs down here. I haven’t spent all that much, you know me I always get kind of scared to spend my money, but I’m only here for 2 short years so I want to have some things from Colombia. Also I would tell you to send me some new pants cause I absolutely hate every pair I own. They are like an inch too short for one, and are not tapered at all so I look like a chubby , fat munchkin in high waters when I wear them. But I got them all fitted by a guy for like 15 bucks, they look sooooooo much better now. Oh one other thing, any kind of church music I WANT. We are able to listen to music by the church so send me CDS!!! if you can find the ones you gave me from last Christmas that would be great, I also really would like the singles ward soundtrack, I want to listen to the grandpa song lol. It’s always fun when grandpa comes when grandpa comes HOORRAAAYYY. OHHH and a cd by Stephanie Mabie she has a few songs on the lds efy page and I love every one of them, I know I´ve got kind of a weird thing for her music but that and any others that you think I would like. haha love you guys sooooo stinkin much! have a great week and I´ll talk to ya next Monday!

                                      -Elder Crook

Monday, October 8, 2012

My amazing, awesome and beautiful sister!!!

Wow Shay, I can’t believe how different you look to me after only being gone for 4 months. I was like "holy crap" when I saw your picture and Elder Da Silva looked over and told me "Por que su hermana es tan bonita y usted es feo" (why is your sister so beautiful and you're so ugly.) Yea he's a funny guy but he's right! Shay you just keep being yourself and don't change for anything k! Honestly I'm going to repeat Nicole’s words to you that she told me in her email. This just couldn’t have happened to a better person. Man honestly one of the toughest things about being out here so far away from home is that I can’t be right there with ya watching ya grow up into an awesome young adult. I love ya Shay and just get used to dad always pestering you about boys and all that good stuff:) It’s just a part of life;) Oh and puuuuhhhhlllleaaaaasssee tell mom that the sweatshirt you wore of mine with the cut off sleeves is called a party vest. She's soooooo out of the loop lol. But keep that thing nice so I can wear it when I get back K!!
Alright so we had to push the museum of Gold back to next week cause we don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to pay lol. But next money is the assignation when we get our 80 dollars. yea assignation is every 15 days so I have to budget lol. But anyways we went to a park here in our zone that is really close. It is pretty hi up so we could see all of Bogota again and it was way sweeet. We went with hermanas that showed us the way. The one hermana in the purple shirt named Hermana Suarez from Argentina was pestering me so much because she wanted to be my mom lol, I told her I didn’t want any girls in my family but she wouldn’t have any of it and kept asking and asking to be my mom. So to make her mad I told her that I wanted her daughter (yes she is training) Hermana Ramirez of Mexico to be my mom so she would be my grandma lol. SO I have a mom and grandma now even though I am one cambio older than my mom Hermana Ramirez. So I took pictures with them and sent them to you. Haha does all that make sense? I sure hope it does but they are way fun to hang out with. Haha whenever they call us or I call them I always talk in the worst Gringo accent I can muster lol. 
So I did get to watch conference in English, yes every session! It was sooooooooo great! Me and Elder Deaton just sat in a room all by ourselves and watched and took notes and talked. Hey so when is Colton going on his mission? He could leave right away I’m sure. You guys will have to keep me updated I have to say that I liked the Saturday session more. I loved both talks by Elder Uchtdorf on Saturday. Me and Elder Deaton were laughing soo hard cause Elder Uchtdorf ALWAYS talks about planes. I also loved the talk that D. Todd Christofferson gave in the priesthood session with Elder Eyrings talk coming in at a close second. But my two favorites were Uchtdorfs Saturday afternoon. where he talked about being happy. Something he said applied soo well to the mission cause there are a lot of us missionaries that are serving only just to get it over with. He said why are we always looking to when things are ending? Why not enjoy the ride and the things we have and are doing now? I gotta admit, its super hard not to think about going home, but then I think really? what do I have to look forward to after I’m back with my family...more  school and being stressed out 100 times more than I am now. So yeah I think about home, Its impossible not to. But I am really really really loving my time here. 
Dad I’m not sure I like the countertops:/ lol maybe if I were there in person my opinion would change but from the pictures I prefer the old crappy laminate ones lol. and FREAK you mole story was hilarious, I just about died here in the internet cafe. but I have a story that WON'T make you jealous: So Elder Da Silva got fleas last week, definitely from Elder Suarez who didn’t tell me that he had fleas. He wasn’t as clean as he could have been. BUT the good thing is that I didn’t get one flea bite, I don’t know how cause our beds our like 2 feet apart but I didn’t get them lol. So we called the health lady of the mission and she sent a guy to fumigate the house. Yeah he was pretty covered in flea bites so the guy went to town fumigating. When he was done everything in our room was soaked with his flea killing pesticide. So we had to hang everything up, our sheets,  blankets,  pillowcases,  everything. That night I slept on just a mattress with almost every article of clothing I have on. It was the worst night of sleep ever lol. But what was funny was that he fumigated the 2 other Elders Room too and we didn’t know about it. So when they got back home at 9 all their stuff was soaked too. We were laughing so hard at them because they were really upset. You guys might think that was kinda gross and nasty but I think it’s awesome. Our house got fumigated by a guy that had a suit that looked like darth vader. Oh and I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose any brain cells or have some toxic disease lol. I’m still normal, and all the stupid fleas are dead. 
Well I sure love you guys, love hearing from ya, love looking at the pics, and love laughing at all your great stories from home. Oh and Thanks Melanie for the letter! keep me up to date K!

                                                 -Elder Crook:)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brazilians are Legit!!!

Ok hello everyone!! I just got back from a great day at MONSERATTE!! Boy can I tell you that my companion is a lot different from Elder Suarez. I really liked Elder Suarez but he is VERY straight laced and very strict. Which was good for me cause now I know how to work and study hard and really know how to use all of my day and not waste a minute. But we butted heads a little bit on p-days cause I wanted to go do stuff and he....well I’m not going to talk about our problems lol. But he was a really awesome dad for me and I love him. But Elder Da Silva is sooooo soooo sooo cool. He has an amazing story.  He was baptized like 2 years ago and when he had a year in the church he left for the mission. He is one of the first Brazillians here in the mission as well. He has read the bible various times and really knows a lot of biblical knowledge. So we are always having awesome in depth biblical conversations and I love it sooo much. He also was asked to be a member of the stone masons in Brazil so he knows quite a bit about them and told me he’s been in their temple. But anyways he’s such a jokester, a member asked me how much time I had left in the mission and he responded...An Eternity Hermana, an eternity. Reminded me of something dad would say to me to poke fun. But our lessons are filled with excitement and happiness and he really is a great teacher and makes me want to be just like him. He has become like my best friend here and yes dad we have to communicate in Spanish only. Elder Suarez spoke broken English so when I didn’t understand something he could explain it for the most part. But the only English Elder Da Silva knows is from American music. Oh did I tell you he was a  punk  before the mission. He showed me pictures with long hair, skinny jeans and a nose piercing. He looked straight out of a punk rock band. So we talk music a lot too. But usually when I really don’t understand something he can understand me if I speak to him in basic English. So guess what!! my Spanish has really come along, I feel comfortable talking on the phone, talking in the stores, and of course talking to our investigators and members. My next goal is to get really good at teaching all the lessons and trying to put my touch on things, cause it’s still kinda hard to really put my personality into things but I know it will come.....i have an eternity to learn this stuff!!! Its been a long long process but my Spanish is doing great. I live with another fellow Gringo from California and when he met me he thought I had a year in the mission cause of my Spanish, so that made me feel good:) 
Alright dad I really had to laugh at all your stories:) the Zombie Apocalypse, your bike (by the way I rode my bike the last 2 days of college on just the rim!) and of course the countertops. I can remember when we were re doing the driveway and putting in those steps next to it, we worked all day filling the spaces with sand and stomping on the stones so they were jusssssssstttttttt right:) and afterwords we`d re do them again cause they weren’t perfect, personally I couldn’t tell a difference but I just kept on helping my dear old dad:) I felt a twinge of guilt or something like that for you when you said it has been frustrating for you, and I really wish I could help you with your project cause when I look back at all the good times we have had I really love remembering all of our projects:) AND DANGIT NACHO GOT ERASED FROM THE TV!!! I AM REALLLYYY SAADDD. 
Mom haha thanks for your stories about the kindergarten kids.  Sometimes I wish I could be a kindergartener again living life in ignorance not worrying about anything other than having fun. It amazes me how children, no matter what their circumstances are in life, always are laughing, playing and have a smile on their face. You can imagine that I have seen some places here where the kids don’t have all they need, and are placed in quite rough families, but for the most part they are happy. Haha Im glad you have got to go with Shay to do her Homecoming activities and look for dresses, I really am proud of her and she is growing up too fast I think. I kinda want her to go back to the days she just wore sweatshirts and b-ball shorts:) but oh well haha. WAY TO GO though sweetie on running another great race with all of the elite girls, I didn’t get a letter from you dangit!!!  I hope you didn’t go and cry after I reminded you to wear deodorant and not eat beans before your activities. LOVE YA TOOTS:) 
Ok wow this letter is turning into a novel lol but we went to Monseratte today (it was my second time, but my compas first) but we decided to hike up the mountain so we didn’t have to pay for the trolley. It was almost 3000 meters like straight up. there were straight stairs almost the whole way up. We got some awesome pics but boy was I sweatin lol, yess dad I know Im a wuss and a doughboy but it was a little harder than I expected in a full suit and backpack too. But we got to the top ( I kinda felt like Rocky) and enjoyed the view and bought a few souveniers and planned our next p-day activity, which will be going to the museum of gold and the house of the president of Colombia. Oh I also saw some of the pictures on my background of my laptop in person. Like the giant Catholic church and the statue of a man with all the graffiti on it, If you look on my computer you will know which one. I was so excited to see it and I will send you pics next week! CON MUCHO AMOR

                     -Elder Crook