Monday, March 24, 2014

march 24

 A service activity we did with an investigator. His name is freddy. Hes the man in the picture, the two women are members already

 me of the young men after a service project we did. The branch president is the one on my right with the gray shirt, even though he looks super young

 us in the middle of painting

 A house here in Baranoa. I like it because it demonstrates how much of a farm village this is


Well this week was awesome. We were finally able to see some of our hard work paying off. First off, Jaime Bolivar is getting baptized this saturday. We are a little sad that for now the rest of the family isnt ready, but she certainly is. She reads the Book of Mormon almost every day and has a strong testimony. She is also friends will all the youth in the branch. I feel so blessed to participate in her baptism.

We were also able to see a lot of people attend church this week for the first time. We have really been working with some of these people for a while so I was so happy to see them there. One of these people is named Freddy Herrera. He lives with his wife and granddaughter, who are both very strong in the church. He is a great guy but he doesnt have much faith. But he said that he would come to church to try and feel the blessings this week and see if there is a difference. He has a very empirical mind which impedes his conversion a little. Please pray that he will soften his heart. So what helped in getting all these people to church? We brought a different member to each investigator and the member invited them to church and offered to pass by Sunday morning. I think that is a key part of the work of salvation that maybe I didn't understand before, but will make a big difference with the people.

We were also able to see Orlando Guerrero at church. It wasnt his first time since he listened to the sister missionaries who we replaced. He has a lot of things he needs to get over to be able to get baptized, but he has a strong desire. He just keeps saying that he knows he will be able to change a little at a time, and that impedes him since he made that his goal. He needed to make the goal stop everything bad right now so that in reality he can progress a little at a time. What can we do to help him understand that?

My companions birthday was yesterday. It was a little stressful for him I think. The lunch fell through and we had to go to Barranquilla all day to help a ward in our stake. I guess every sunday all the missionaried in the stake will go to one ward and do a rescue its called. The awesome part is that within a couple months we will be going to Ciudadela. I really miss that ward and the people, so it will be great to see some of them again. 

Also i am already very ecxited for general conference. I hope that you all are getting ready to hear the words of the living prophet and learn the will of God. I know that listening to him will allow us the divine protection that we all need in this life.

Elder Wilson

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17

 they cut my hair and then gave me a crazy hairstyle

 family night with the familia Bolivar

 my companion

sponsoring the Book of Mormon in the Colombian jungle

Well this week had a lot of highs and lows, as usual in any week. The familia Bolivar that was progressing so well is slowing down a little bit. The problem is that they had been listening to the missionaries for a while before we got here but they still hadnt learned any commandments. So when we started to teach them, they didnt expect that the missionaries would make people change and they are resisting it a little. Mostly with the Word of Wisdom. They drink a lot of coffee. But they committed to changing so I think that with a little more work they will get over it.

I had a great experience this week with working with the members. We had a zone conference with the mission president and they talked a lot about how to work with the members to get the investigators to attend church. So this week we made the members invite the investigators themselves, and then committ themselves to pass by their houses Sundaymorning to bring them. So it worked out well but some investigators slept in or had gone out before the members got there, stuff like that. So that was the low of the week, that the members did a great job but the investigators didnt come. I think that we had everything all set up to help them and the investigators just used their agency to not come. So my companion and I are already planning what to tell them to help them see the importance of keeping their committments (James 1:22). I know they will come next week. But we did have 3 there yesterday.

I think I am gaining weight here in Baranoa. Its a huge area that we have but we are just working in a small part of it. Plus I always used to leave the house and play basketball in the mornings for exercize, but here they have robbed all the hoops from the basketball standards. We found this great court about a mile away from our house, we jogged there and played basketball once on Saturday, but then this morning we went again and the rims were gone. I dont get why people steal basketball hoops hahaha. So now were trying to figure out what to do for exercize. At that hour of the morning I need something fun to help motivate me to wake up and burn fat. Also we have a very well proportioned lunch and dinner contract with the relief society president.

Well I hope you all are doing great, I have been praying a lot for you. Thanks for all the ideas you gave me for group activities, although maybe someone can help me understand a little better how 4 in a couch works. It sounds like fun but I dont know how to play it.

I try to take a lot of pictures but for security I never feel very good about leaving the house with my camera, so sorry if sometimes I dont have many pictures. I love you all!

Elder Wilson

Monday, March 10, 2014

march 10

Well this week was really great. It was awesome to go out again after Carnaval. I got so very bored in the house listening to music. I wanted to write this week about some of the investigators we have here. We have this great family, the Bolivar family. They are the 2 parents and 3 kids, but one of the kids is a 14 year old teenager and doesnt listen to us. The parents Aida and Justidiano are great. They gather the whole family together every night to read the Book of Mormon as a family and pray together. They really want to get baptized. They have a date for the 22nd of this month but they didnt come to church the last 2 weeks, the first time because it was Carnaval and the second time because it was Election day and they had to go vote. So I hope they can be ready for the 22nd but if not we just wait a little more and it works out alright.

There was also this lady named Maria Sanchez. We have had a huge difficulty with her, which is that we are replacing the sister missionaries here in this area. Maria doesnt seem to understand that and she doesnt trust us at all. The first day we went with the branch president and she kapt saying no no, the sisters are coming here this afternoon, we have an appointment. And now she says no no I never have time. She progressed when the sister missionaries were here so we are probably going to send the sisters that are in the other area in the branch.

My companion is awesome. He is super obedient and loves to work hard. I love not having to fight with my companions anymore to be obedient and diligent. I actually have learned a lot from him, even though he has only been here for 5 months!

We are finding a lot of new investigators too, each with a lot of promise. We work a lot with less active members, but the progress is much more slow there. But oh well, patience has always been one of the Lords requirements for success in missionary work.

A great experience I had this week was that we had a lesson completely directed by the Spirit. It was a contact and we were just barely starting to talk, and I felt strongly impressed to talk about family difficulties that can be overcome by the gospel. She told us that her uncle just died and that the whole family was just doing terribly. We were able to teach the plan of salvation and the spirit was strong. I love this work and each night I think God with my whole heart for the great privilege I have to participate in it. I am so blessed to be able to see how people can completely change their lives when they live the gospel.

I love you all and pray for you.
Elder Wilson

Monday, March 3, 2014

new area, new companion, and carnaval!

 young man from Ciudadela and I. He's going to his mission in April

 wild iguana. These things are all over here and they are huge. But this was the first time I saw one while I had my camera

 Kids in a carnaval parade. We live in the second floor of a house right next to the parade route.

 My new companion and I

 Some kids from the branch in traditional carnaval masks

The relief society presidency from Ciudadela. I was sad to go but I crashed a meeting to say goodbye. It was hard because they started to cry

Well after all they transfered me this week, but once again it wasnt very far. I{m in a little village called baranoa thats outside of Barranquilla. Im actually in the same stake as I was in while in Ciudadela. Its funny because the mission covers 5 departments, which are like states. I{ve been in 3 areas but I still havent left the department called Atlantico. There isnt a ward here but there is a pretty good size branch. This week for example 62 people came to church, and they say that that is low for carnaval. Usually more people come I guess.

Mu companion is a peruvian named Elder Gabriel. Hes great since he is like me in that we both like to be exactly obedient. I guess the Lord decided I deserved a break from always having to fight with my companion about obeying. He is very well studied. The interesting thing is that we aer opening the area, since there were sister missionaries here before. So my companion and I are having to learn the area and get lost a lot. He only has been in the mission for 4 months so we are learning a lot together.

The city here also has carnaval, so we have been locked up for 2 days and we have 2 days to go. We took advantage of that to deep, deep clean the house. It was horribly gross when we got here, like hair everywhere since there were sister missionaries, lady hygiene products everywhere, trash all over the floor, it was bad. But now it looks good.

The branch here has some very grave problems. For example, in 2012, 52 people were baptized. But the sacrament meeting attendance stayed the same. The branch president is awesome. He is 22 years old and is a return missionary. He is in charge of the branch here and a group in another village. a group is like a branch that is too small to be a branch. he has spant a lot of hours with us already to help us get to know the area and the people. So we are going to meet with him to see what we can do. Here they have baptized so many people but hardly anyone stays strong. My companion and I have really felt that we need to focus much more of our time on the members less actives and leaders of the branch, instead of just baptizing a lot. I wrote a long letter about it to the mission president to see what he says. I just dont see the point in baptizing so many people if they all leave the church in a month. I feel like we need to strengthen the branch and then baptize the whole town. 

Well thats all for now.
Elder Wilson