Monday, March 11, 2013

Duke!!! - Letter 3-11-13

So honestly I'm kinda sorry for not having a whole bunch to write these last few weeks. Really after having a few months in the field everything just seems so normal and there’s not a whole lot new. Even though like everyday we do something different or in a different way but I honestly haven't had a whole lot of cool or even funny experiences lol. Anyways that attitude sign is still permanently inscribed in my mind and it is actually helping me quite a bit even though I can still remember looking above the door of my room thinking about how much I hated that thing. And I thought that it was grandma Joyce who put it up there when I went over to mow the Lange’s old lawn which is now Cory’s lawn. But maybe I remember wrong. Anyways pa, I think you've got to look up Lago de Tota, Aquitania Colombia. Then maybe you can find it lol. Haha and our zone leader just went home the other day and the whole district went to say goodbye to him.  I didn't though cause I was still ticked at him for not letting us go, and I told the others to tell him just that lol. Also on that topic, I was at lunch the other day with one of the coolest families that just got back from a place called Santa Marta on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. They showed us pictures and it looked awesome! They have like a timeshare thing there in a 5 star hotel that has all you can eat restaurants and stuff like that. I think he likes me a little bit cause he told me to come back after the mission and visit,  then go up to his timeshare for free for a few days. I was like, for sure!!! Then I asked him if I were to pull a Sherwood and come back and marry a girl from Buccaramunga ,if he would let me go take my honeymoon there.  He told me no lol. (yes this 'ol Elder Sherwood is sure stirrin up a ruckus here in Tunja) I guess he was here like for 6 months a year ago. Oh and another thing that I saw this week, (probably the most exciting thing this week) my heart almost burst with jealousy..... A  KTM SUPER DUKE. I was walking with the other gringo cause we had just got out of another english class in the university, and I just about wet my pants. It was the first time I have seen one in person and of course there was 3 people on it so I couldnt see everything I would have liked, but I just kinda started to grunt and scream like a half monkey, like OHHHHHHH, DUDE DO YOU SEE THAT, OHHHHH , thats the most beautiful thing I've seen in my life, COME BACK SUPER DUKE COME BACK!!!!! Then after I was talkin with one of the return missionaries (We always talk bikes) and he said that the duke that’s here is specially made for latino america in smaller sizes like 200 or 250. He also told me that they sell for around 6 or 7 thousand dollars (I might be a little off with the conversion from pesos to dollars) but, even though that would be a little cheaper than the 16 or 17 whoppers that the bigger bikes cost.  But dang that’s quite a lot for only a 200.
Alright well apart from that marvelous experience, I didn’t do that many other cool things. We went to 2 more english classes and got about 40 references, so maybe 1 or 2 will be interested, I  still can't believe how many people are Catholic, every single student in the uniboyaca has a catholic background I swear, but anyways I'm still keeping my attitude up hoping for a few baptisms in these last 2 weeks, it's really coming down to the wire to see if we'll have any. I just really hate one thing about the mission.  I keep feeling like I haven't done jack squat here in my area with my kid, only having one baptism, even when I know that the only one I have to own up to is God and myself and I feel like I've been working my hiney off but I just haven't seen the results that I was expecting. But I know that there's always something I have to learn, something that our Father in Heaven wants me to improve upon and I have found a few things but it still is just kind of a yucky feeling when the baptisms don't come. I know that’s not how I'm supposed to look at things but that’s just one obstacle I just can't seem to get over. But anyways I'm sure that’s enough whining from me lol, I sure love you guys soooooo much!!!! oh and we are going to Bogota tonight and sleeping in the temple because a 70 is coming to speak to us tomorow. I'm excited cause I will be able to understand him and take good notes, and cause I will get to see my ol bud Elder Albrect again for a while, and maybe Elder Da Silva too. Anyways I'll let you know how it goes next week!!!

-Elder Crook

P.S Tanner, the members here always ask me if there ever was a place that I didnt want to go on a mission, I always respond AFRICA! that just scares me to death. But it would be cool if you or you parents could tell me what language you will be speaking. Is it the language of the clicking african bushmen? cause I can already speak that lol. And what MTC will you go to? Thanks man and congratulations!!!

Same Ol' Stuff... - Letter 3-4-13

Well well well, haha my week was probably just about the same as your guys´. Just lots of the same stuff, work ,work, work. Well I´ll start where I left off, after I e-mailed you guys we went to this monument thing called Pantano de Vargas. It was pretty cool but I´m not really sure about the story behind it, there was like 14 warrior guys with lances that fought in some battle or something, but the monument is cool. I´ll send a few pictures. Then on Tuesday, it was really cool cause we got to go to one of the universities here and teach an English class for 2 HOURS! It seemed like it would last long but it really wasn´t. Me and the other gringo Elder Larsen went while our companions went and taught a lesson or 2 together. It was actually really fun! A young single adult member is the one that talked to her professor and the professor invited us. We talked in English the whole time which made my mouth sore and gave me a huge headache lol. But I really pounded on gospel topics lol. My thoughts were hey, I know I was invited here to talk a little bit about the English language and the culture of the U.S but I´m a missionary first and that’s what I’ll do. So I basically taught the 1st lesson in English which was actually a little harder than it is in Spanish now lol, but we got some good, cool new contacts and investigators out of it, it was really fun:) Also the professor had super good English, he knew every vocabulary word ever lol, I was really impressed at how he could so fluently switch from Spanish to English but, he´s 26 and started studying English when he was 15 and is super awesome. Anyways, that was a cool experience. 
After that it was just kind of a normal week.  We did have baptisms scheduled for Saturday but we had to push them back for this Saturday, so hopefully we can have a few this week. Also we have changes in 3 weeks which seems weird cause on one hand it feels just like yesterday when I started to train, but on the other hand it feels like I´ve been companions with Elder Escobar forever lol. Its been good though, we´ve had really good times together and really hard times together. Like this week, we have a family that was supposed to be baptized but we weren’t able to baptize them this Saturday.  They are the same ones I was talking about earlier in the letter.  Then on Sunday, the wife came up to me and told me that her husband doesn’t ever want to come back to church and we still don´t know exactly why, so that kind of hurts because we started to teach them back when Elder Ortiz and I were companions and have put all of our energy and effort into teaching them and helping them. But we´ll just have to see about this week and what it will bring. But I know that I can´t get down in the dumps cause then what are the people going to see? A missionary down in the dumps?  And that must mean that his message is one of sadness and problems. One thing I have figured out when visiting people is that they have a ton of problems, then if we get to the house and focus on their problems then we leave and they are even more weighed down than before. I just always try to get the people to realize their blessings and the good things that they have and the good things that come from being a Mormon. You can really just boil our whole message down into thinking positively, haha thats what I LOVE! This just helps us all to think positively and that we can better out lives and it doesn’t matter the circumstances. Anyways maybe that’s a spiritual experience for ya mom or maybe I´ll have to come up with something better next time;) I have come to learn that the most valuable experiences I have had are the tough hard ones lol.  They teach me the most. 
Anyways today we were supposed to go to a place called Playa Blanca which is a beach with white sand that is a lake. I´ve seen a few pictures and it is absolutely amazing, but our zone leaders didn’t let us go which made me really mad lol. But I encourage you guys to look it up on the internet because its like breathtaking. 
Apart from that, I´ll finish with a kind of funny, kind of idiotic story lol. Well we had interviews with the President this last Thursday, as we were waiting in the chapel to have our interviews in walks ol ex- Elder Sherwood. You guys have no idea who he is but I met him one time in the temple. He went home right before Christmas, and I was kind of surprised to see him but I guess he´s back to get married. What I couldn’t believe was that he´s only been back home for 2 months, and he´s already freaking engaged to a girl from Bucarrumunga lol. I thought it was halfway funny and halfway idiotic. But oh well lol just thought I´d tell you guys, and let you know that if I ever come back to Colombia after the mission, it will be to go to Playa Blanca that the zone leaders wouldn’t let us go to. haha anyways I gotta go but can you guys check my bank account to see how much I have spent so far, cause I am going to buy leather scripture cases, my bible will have the temple on it and my book of mormon will have a picture of Teancum WOOOOOHHHHOOOOOO TEANCUM BABY!!!! haha alrighty love you guys talk to ya next week.

-Elder crook

My Dad's so Buff!! - Letter 2-25-13

Holy cow so honestly your second trip to Mexico sounds like you guys did way more sick stuff. I can´t believe all the adventures that you have been having and that mom is doing all of them too! Thats just freaking awesome! Alright so we have to go back when I´m home, maybe the Andreasons and Skyler can come with us too just like old times! But PA, I can sure tell that you´ve been hittin the weights every morning and the tanning beds every night;) You look great! I´m gonna have to print some of those pictures and show them to the people here and tell them "yup thats my dad, ya I know he's a stud" Everyone asks me how old you are and I always respond 27 like you used to lol. But honestly I think I've got my work cut out for me cause I definitley don't want to be pinky pinned when I get home lol. But I think we can go to Mexico next time together all tan and muscular. Haha I'm so happy that you guys had such a blast with the Andreasens and tell them I love em!  
I just had another normal week here in Tunja, My comp hasnt heard a word about his visa and it's been like 6 months since he sent all that stuff. Anyways the weeks here have just kind of been blending together and it feels like I was just here writing you guys and I don't have hardly anything to say. Except for all of the fat jokes my companion has been getting lol. One day at lunch after we had eaten, the hermana offered us cookies, but when she got to my companion she prohibited him from eating cookies cause she said he was too “ gordo”, but then she changed her mind and said I know that Elder Escobar likes cookies more than all of you guys so I'll give him a few:) Then in our English class we have a middle aged guy that likes to joke around with us A LOT. He went up to my companion and poked him in the belly and said "And what  have you been doing in the mornings? I can tell you don’t do your exercises" my companion defended himself and said that he does his exercises every morning, then the guy said "The only exercises you do in the mornings is with a fork and knife!" I just about died lol, but my comps been good about it and I think he's good at taking all the teasing that he's been getting. So last night we decided that we would wake up in the morning and go running.  We ran up a mountain road to a pueblo that sits over the mountain of Tunja. It took about 45 minutes to go up and 30 to go down. I wouldn't say I'm in the best shape ever and especially with the thin air here, so I pushed myself hard until I felt like I was gonna stain my garment bottoms lol. Then I waited for my comp who was huffin and puffin his way up the road. After he caught up to me I took off and didn´t want to wait again so we ran all the way until the road stopped and turned to dirt, then I waited for my companion, cooled down a little bit, and did a few sprints in the cool morning air. It felt good, and was fun. I think we´ll start doing that more often and I´ll have to start getting on the push-ups, I can only do about 80 straight and I´ve been hearing that the president can do more than 100, We´ll just have to see about that lol. Anyways we should have 3 baptisms this Saturday a mom dad and their son. Also we found a 19 year old kid about 3 weeks ago that was just golden.  He went to church 2 times in a row and was almost to 2nd Nephi in reading. But unfortunately he left yesterday to Bogota to live there, and had his date for the Saturday after this one. I wasn´t too surprised, we’re getting used to passing on the references of our investigators that we were preparing for baptism. So I´m really hoping that this family can get baptized and can be strong converts, cause the couple has marriage problems, and we really don´t want them to get divorced. Anyways, we´ve just been workin really hard and not a whole lot else. But we are going to a monument thing today that is supposedly really cool so I´ll have to send you pictures next week. I sure love you guys and hope your having a great start of the week back from Mexico. I really enjoy reading your letters and knowing that you guys are happy and are having a blast! Well, until next week...LOVE YOU:)

-Elder Crook

Going Back to my Mouse Huntin' Days - Letter 2-18-13

Alrighty first off I am super happy that you guys are havin fun up there in Mexico!!! Shay hows the ordering in Spanish going? are you negotiating in Spanish with the vendors out there? I have to admit i´m getting pretty darn good at it here! even though stuff is quite a bit cheaper here. But how awesome!! What is the name of your guys´ resort? is it cooler than el Cid? I remember we got those little wrist bands for our time there and when I got home i didnt take mine off until it broke when I was pole vaulting. Oh DAD DON´T FORGET TO BUY YOUR JAGUAR HEAD! maybe thats what you bought for mom that she wouldnt tell me but I still don´t know!!! Oh and shay I recognized ol iceman even from the little picture that appears on the screen on the right! Thats freakin sweet!!! Also I want you guys to send me a bunch of pics next monday!!!! I´ll have to be the judge if dad still looks like big ol Tom Cruise walkin up and down the beaches there! haha I love you guys soooooo much and am really glad you are enjoying yourselves. Haha I´m glad your friends at work got a kick out of my food stories last week pa:) I was verry hesitant when I wrote Tibula cause it just didnt look right to me. And yes thanks for reminding me that alveoli are the sacks in the lungs and villi are in the intestines. It´s been a while since my biology and nutrition classes back at college where I learned a little bit of that stuff lol. But all you got to do is just go buy a coke afterwords and everythings all good down there in the belly:) 
Well this week was just pretty much more of the same, they seem to be passing by quite fast though, this is the longest time I have ever been with anyone of my companions and we are doin just great still. Also I thought by now I would have been bored and tired with the area but I´m not yet. I think it´s the anticipation  that we might have some baptisms which I am really looking forward to and hoping that they can get baptised. Haha theres a lot of people that come and go here in Tunja. 2 of our baptism dates moved out of town, but by now it doesnt affect me that much we just pass along the references. But I´m really really hoping that we will have a few coming up in the coming weeks. Anyways you might be wondering why my title is what it is:) Well due to some past events I have been thinking a lot on my mouse huntin days back in the Smithfield house. When i´d shoot them in the window wells and make mom scoop them out for me, then when I got more brave, scooping them out myself and leaving them in the road for the cars to run over! haha well I´ll tell you what happened last night then. So we went to a less active members house who lives on a farm. Their circumstances are very humble but they are awesome people. So we were talking, and i see a medium sized mouse scurring around the kitchen. The family saw it to and their little baby dropped some food on the floor to feed it lol. Elder Escobar had the idea to catch it, So everyone approved that we would do some mouse hunting:) my comp grabbed the waste basket and emptied it, then everyone got real quiet to let it scurry around and eat the little bits of food. Luckily he didnt come close to me cause I have the biggest grandest hate for those things. So it came out in the open and BAM!!! got the crap trapped out of it my my companion. Now he was trapped by an overturned waste basket! he went crazy tryin to find a way out but we had him trapped good! then my comp and the member lady slid a peice of cardboard underneath the trash basket and lifted him up on the table. where I took a few pictures and videos lol. Then we got a sack and slid him into the sack. (This was my idea) I told everyone why dont we just put him in a sack and beat him to death. They approved but no one wanted to do it, so being the mouse hater I am offered exitedly to beat the crap out of him. So we got him in the bag and I tied a knot at the top, went outside, my companion started filming, and I started bashing AWAY! The poor thing was prolly dead upon fist contact with the cement but I just kept wacking him against the ground swinging the bag around and hooting like a gorrilla. I stopped to check if he was dead and he was, but my companion encouraged me to keep on whackin away, so I started again and slung him against the ground at my hearts content. It´s actually a very funny video, and my companion sounds like he has asthma every time he watches it because he laughs so hard. It was a pretty awesome night for the rat killers!
Well today we had another FREAKING AWESOME P-DAY. We went to a little city called Barbosa which is a little under 2 hours away but still in our district. yeah they dont come to our weekly district meetings lol. Anyways it is tierra caliente, which is the hot land. Man was the weather nice, just so warm and awesome! I forgot how much I missed the hot weather! Anyways we got together with some of their investigators and played a little indoor soccer which was fun. Then went to the river that runs through the town. Man is it awesome, it´s just like pure jungle and what made it cooler was that it was a clowdy misty day so it felt like we were really in some deep joungle outside of civilization. We took some awesome pictures and just looked at the water longingly wanting to swim sooooo bad. But dunking our heads and getting our feet wet was enough for us. haha i remembered that you guys were probably swiming and enjoying the water, and how much I will enjoy swimming again after these 2 years. I really enjoyed it there and our time we spent with the other Elders from honduras and Bogota. Anyways, get on sending me pictures from your trip! Oh and thanks for thinkin of me and sending a letter Nicole:) hope you guys are doin just great and that Alex is doing well. I´m sure when I get back he´ll be taller than me lol. LOVE YOU ALL SOOOOOO MUCH and have safe flights traveling back home. 

               Elder Crook A.K.A- Rat slayer!