Sunday, February 4, 2018

Week 70!

This week was really good. We have an investigator really struggling to take the decision to get baptized. She has almost all the lessons and appears to understand the gospel on an intellectual level but is missing something that is impeding her from getting baptized. She says the Book of Mormon is true, lives all the commandments, and much of her family is members of the church.   I think maybe she has fears of commitment, lots of people struggle with this here. The culture here is very day to day living.   People just wake up one day and decide to go on three or four month vacations... no planning, just living life.   It's super hard to make scheduled appointments.  We kind of just guess when we think people will be home.  We are praying and fasting of how to help her progress more.  She's a great gal that the gospel will only enhance her life.  
We have also made some incredible break throughs as well with some hard hearted people. There are a lot of part member families here whose spouses don't want anything to do with the missionaries or the church, they literally hide from us. They wont even say hi because they think we are just gonna start religous arguments with them.  That's where my cooking skills have really come in handy. I taught one family how to make Mcmuffins, and another BBQ chicken.   Then both the spouses accepted a Book of Mormon and the challenge to read it. Sometimes you just have to be a little creative with how you get it to them.  Food always worked with me, right?!

We spent almost all of Pday cleaning the house because a 70 is coming to the mission this week, and its very possible his wife and Hermana Baquerizo are going to inspect our house.  We are only 2 blocks from the church.

Anyways, That's rough about Katie.  that is one of my worst fears in life is getting a kidney stone. I'm really proud of Chuck.   Sounds like he had a tough bracket but he pushed through! Cant wait to watch him next year.   Tell him my only advice is to stick with it. Go to the camps in the summer and wrestle freestyle and he can really get good. 
That's also really exiting about Elder Bednar coming.  I read the book you sent me that he wrote. It really changed my perspective on missionary work, and led me to not stress so much about numbers and goals, but most importantly the one to one difference we can make.  If you get the chance, bring a tie to trade him for me. :)  It is on my bucket list to trade ties with an apostle. 
Thanks for everything you do for me, always.  Onto another week of serving my Savior as a missionary.
Elder Donaldson

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Insights on Obedience with a little "Meaty" Flare

The highlight of this past week was our baptism with Nicol! She is 9 so cute and willing to learn.  We pretty much taught her all the lessons this week. She doesn't hardly talk, but after her baptism she got up in front of everyone and shared her testimony! It was really cool. 
Oh and the last Christmas package got here with Joel! Thank you soo much for the treats, and especially Charlie for the beef jerky.  Haven't had that in fifteen months..  It was neat to find the children's gifts included in the package too.  Nicol and her hermanitos loved the coloring books! I'm not sure why you sent me those, but that was their only Christmas present and they were very grateful for it so thank you.   Inspired you are!
Funny story for the week, we went to go ask one of our investigators why he couldn't come to church, and when we got there he was skinning some lambs with his kitchen knife in his underwear.  Yep.  We arrived just to see him rip the guts out and throw the kidney and meat on top of the counter where he also washes his clothes.   It was at that moment I realized that's how they process meat here.  After about fifteen months of eating the meat here... haha I'm pretty sure my stomach has gotten stronger or I would be dead by now.    He also told us about his nephew went who crocodile hunting.  If he kills one I'll get to try crocodile meat!   Sounds like an adventure!  I'll update you on that next week.
New week:   This one was kinda tough.  The holidays (Christmas through New Years) here are just a long party.  It's the summer vacation here, so it was really hard to teach people.   We were finding every day and following up with our contacts but not too many lessons. 
We just passed transfers and Elder Gardner and I have six more weeks together!!  I'm super stoked because we are really good friends.   I told you we went hiking with our district on P-Day.  Found a wild Lynx and a wild dog (chupacabra!)  Hot, sweaty, beautiful scenes and refreshing to get out. 
A little tender mercy for us this week which both Elder Gardner and I were so grateful for.  We had to travel to Bogota this week and the bus terminal was super packed because everyone and there mother was leaving to Bogota as the New Year's festivities had ended.  After an hour of waiting we still hadn't even entered the terminal.  I took a chance and  Joel's parents and just so happened they were going to Bogota!  They gave us a ride, and it was our little miracle because you have no idea how bad the bus rides and traffic are here... last time we were on a bus with chickens... haha.  Seriously our little miracle.  

I've had some great studies lately and definitely some things on my mind as to how I want to live out the rest of my life.  Once in a while I've noticed my testimony of the commandments sometimes gets hit with doubts.  But I've made the decision to obey them to the best I can the rest of my life. I've learned that tithing or whatever commandment isn't an investment in blessings, as some people think, but rather a sacrifice to submit our will to God's. That way of living brings peace of mind, and stableness in the home.  And maybe that is the blessing even bigger than divine miracles that sometimes happen. Either way, I've committed my life to obedience and trust.  Thank you Mom and Dad, for your examples to me.  I came from such a home. 
Thank you, also for the pictures, love, support and everything.  I am blessed with an awesome family.  I love hearing how Chuck is doing with wrestling.  He was a little kid with a squeaky voice when I left.  I could just sit on him when needed.  I'm going to have to up my game when I get home!  I'm really proud of him.  And all of you for your examples.  Know I love my Savior.  I'm working my best to serve him here.  Love this opportunity in my life.  Love my Colombian friends.

The gospel is so true.
Elder Donaldson

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Joyful Christmas 2017!

Fun to see everyone on Skype! Sorry the connection was so bad and hard to understand, but I loved seeing everyone.  The Arias family are great here and nice to host us on Christmas Eve.  Thanks again for the extra packages and stuff to share with those here.  My Christmas was the best.  We made BBQ chicken for the entire zone Christmas day.  :)
Christmas BBQ Chicken for the Zone

We did a lot of Christmas caroling this last week.  I'm not very good at singing so I'm pretty sure I offended some people.  One day we decided to go with the whole ward choir, so we walked to all our investigators and some less active families to sing to them.  One family was having a really heated discussion when we showed up, and while they were yelling at each other we were singing "Joy to the World" and wearing Santa hats... hahaha it was pretty awkward. 
For the mission conference week we went to go to Bogota for an exchange with the Assistants! One of them is from Sugarland, Texas, Elder Mohr.  Not sure maybe Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ray know him. It was a lot of fun and loved working hard up there.  We were pretty much contacting all day long, but we had one lesson with a big family.  The spirit was really there. 

We also had a few more interesting experiences this week discussing with people about the Bible.  I get really frustrated at how one minded people can be sometimes, but the trick always has been and always will be the Book of Mormon.  If people read it and ask God, he always tells them its true. The problem is they don't read it.....that's my two cents for the week. 
Weekly P-Day Ping Pong Squad.

I forgot to mention there was a pretty big earthquake here Saturday.  It shook the whole house... I think it was a 4.9, me and my comp ran outside during studies.  It only lasted like five seconds but it was really strong... but no one died or got hurt, so everything is fine.
We sleep on the patio in our hammocks because it's so hot!
Cleaning time.  The apartment we moved into smelled so bad.

Love the gospel, Love the Lord.  Have a good week!

Elder Donaldson

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Short and Sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm super glad my hand written letter got home to you! I have tons more stories, but I'll probably have to wait until I get home to share them.  I'll write briefly about a few experiences from the week:

The other night we were out contacting when we saw this lady yelling at this man and then this other lady came out of no where and chased him off with a machete!  Haha!  It was pretty intense. 

Also, in a lesson this week as we were leaving the mom came out with a fried fish, head and all, and it was COVERED in ants... looking back I have no idea how I ate that and until now I haven't had any demons come out of me so I think the Lord really blessed me with that one.

Also this week we had to kill a rat in the sisters house, and all we had was a home made flame thrower, (bug spray and a lighter), and one family invited us over for thanksgiving dinner!
It was so nice of them.  Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here, but they knew it was up there and wanted it to be a special day for us!

Thanksgiving in Colombia.
I'll send you some pics.   Also, some of my old investigators got married and baptized Saturday! I've known them since July, really great family!!   I'll send you pics!

 Well family, I love you all.  I'm excited to talk with you for Christmas.  Things here are going well.  Working hard and spreading the good news.  I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the only true way to lasting happiness.

Elder Donaldson

Monday, November 13, 2017

Companionship Goals: Quit Losing Our Stuff!

Hello Hello!  Our friend Juan Carlos finally was baptized. He has an incredible story. Hes been out on the street for some time now, and pretty much passed through some "Job-like"trials, but still decided to get baptized. He got his job back, and his girl friend back, and he found a place to live like two days before he got baptized. Incredible story of faith.  It's been a blessing to know him.
Ha! the rat thing was just a one time thing.  I've had to catch a few iguanas and lizards but nothing like the rat.   Elder Hubbard and I got another transfer together.  Happy about that  because we are great friends now.  He will finish up being trained the end of this transfer so that will probably be when I get a new comp, around the beginning of December.  

The meetings in Bogota were just leadership trainings so it was just a bunch of really long meetings Tuesday.  But I did get to stay with Elder cox, Elder Gardner, and Elder Amick on Monday night so that was lots of fun.  My comp stayed in Neiva with some other elders until I got back Wednesday. I'm glad that trip is done.  It was three long days of bus-rides and meetings. 
Anyways, This week has been interesting. Thursday we were very busy, and we were getting out of a taxi late to an appointment. two minutes after getting out elder Hubbard realized the phone fell out of his pocket, and so it  left with the taxi driver who hasn't answered our calls since.   Well and now we don't have a phone anymore... not fun.  We do a lot more walking now.  Then to top that off on Sunday I left my agenda in a taxi so we lost a bunch of phone numbers and info I had written down.  We are making some goals as a companionship to quit losing all our stuff!!!  
Another funny story this week, at our Sunday lunch it was with a family who is a little more formal, and my comp was really trying to be polite, but it was fast Sunday and so he was really hungry, and he eats a TON.  He literally ate his whole plate before I had even eaten an eighth of mine... and then on his second plate he started choking on a potato.    It was soooo funny!!!   He was trying to keep it quiet, but then he got really red and coughed it up.   He ate so fast he tried to swallow it whole!   I have never laughed harder in the mission.
Anyways, another cool experience from the week. We visited a family who we were teaching and then stopped visiting for about two weeks.   During our last discussion the mom stopped me in the middle of the message and said, "I have a question.  How come that when I read the Book of Mormon and when you guys come visit me I feel this peace, its almost like a heat, and then when your not here I dont feel it?"    We tried to explain best we can how the spirit works with us, but it it was another testimony to me that even when people don't accept our message the spirit still witnesses our words. 
Anyways, love you all lots!  And Happy Birthday MOM Tomorrow! Maybe my letter will get there and that can be your present, but I'll be sure and eat some cake for you!! 

Elder Donaldson

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Highlights, Critters, & Q/A with Elder D!

Monika got baptized this week.  It was neat and also one of our investigators I haven't seen for two weeks called me out of the blue and said he also finally feels ready for baptism, so we have his planned for next week. Cool story, just  no time to write it all out.
Monika's Baptism!!

Well I'm happy to hear that life is as normal back home, and yes I got the package this week!  Elder Hubbard and I have already finished the Reeses and Tootsie Rolls!  Weird it's already been 1 year in the mission.  Thank you soo much for sending those. And the letters were the best part! I love hearing from all of my family.  I'll try to conserve the rest of the treats the best I can, but we will probably finish everything after conference.   Honestly I'm super excited about General Conference!!  This weekend will be awesome.  We are going to eat tons of food as well.  You know, food is awesome.

Post General Conference:  I was sad President Monson couldn't make it.  I have come to love the prophet in a special way here in the mission and I was especially sad about Elder Hales.  I didn't really know any of the apostles before the mission like I do now.   I have such a love for each of them and just want to learn and learn from all they teach.  You got my pictures and post about making lunches.  :)  We loved doing that service and it worked!  60 lunches fed those that came to the church (walking 3-4 miles) to watch conference with us.  Spaghetti and Chili success.  Sandra went to the Women's Conference last night and loved it.  It's neat to watch someone like her progress in the gospel and truly shine because of her happiness.

Exchanges with Elder Guiterriez!

​This week we also found a ton of new investigaotors.   Elder Hubbard had his first intercambio, but in the other area, so I had a fun day with Elder Gutierrez from Peru.  It rained a ton this week which was nice because it wasn't soo hot.

And the RAT~!   We had to get that out of the church.  
Elder Exterminators.
We got it.  What do we do with it now?
Today was P-day so we went to play ping pong, me and my comp were the first ones to show up and their was a bird in the chapel, so we had to catch it and let it out. it kept trying to leave but running into the window... and I also gave my comp a haircut this week, hope you like his new style!  :)  haha.

Removing the bird from the chapel.
P-Day Hair cuts.  :)
Keeping up on my skills!  Can't let Dad shame me when I get home. 
In your email you asked a little about things here.  Here are some answers:
  1. What are teenagers like there?    Teenagers here are extremely different then in Brigham city. Its illegal to have guns, and no one goes fishing 4-wheeling or camping or has campfires. People here are addicted to social media... I personally think its because they just don't have a lot of other options.  It's not uncommon here to see two 16 year old's living together... they grow up faster... but its very worldly. But as soon as people start living the gospel its amazing how fast they start to be blessed. 
  2. Do you eat enough?     We have a restaurant we go to usually that makes us lunch, but sometimes we go to members for lunch as well. They give us sooo much food here.  Last week I threw up right after we left because I was soo stuffed.  It's really rude here if you don't eat all your food. The problem is here you don't serve yourself.   They serve you the food and they always give us too much. 
  3. Last time you felt your prayers were answered?    And that was probably the last time I saw my prayer answered as well.  I was praying very hard to be able to eat all the food that this kind lady gave me.  Miraculously I was able to do it.  Prayers answered.
  4. How can we be better missionaries at home?   Well to be better missionaries at home.   It's very different in Utah, but I think one of the best things you could do is be a friend everyone.  Too many people feel like we only talk to them or visit them to get more members in the church.  When they have a real friend that will be there regardless of what their church attendance is when they really open up and listen to us. 
You are the best family ever.  I am looking forward to Christmas to talk to you all again.  I love you all.  The gospel is always true.  Share your testimony often, humbly.  Working hard.
Elder Donaldson

Monday, September 25, 2017

Old Friends and New Friends

Trip to Bogota!!
Hi all!  It's been a fun week with Elder Hubbard.  Training is a whole new experience but a good one.  My comp is really humble and has a good work ethic and we are pretty similar in a lot of things, so we get along great.   He speaks incredibly well for only one month, a lot better than I did when I started.
P-Day Ping Pong

Seeing Elder Amick was a blast. He's just in Bogota, he just finished training so he gave me some advice, but I got to stay at his house for the night before I picked up Elder Hubbard. 
Fun night with Elder Amick!!
Sandra's baptism was another cool experience!  I did get to perform the baptism ordinance and it was a very neat experience. However, one thing I've noticed about the spirit and how it works with us is not often we feel deep emotions or have life changing experiences every time.  That was one thing I really struggled with my whole life. Many  in church made it seem like every day was full of unnatural miracles and deeply emotional experiences that I wasn't having, and it still leaves me unsettled when I hear people talk like that. I've learned the spirit will talk to us everyday, but on a more personal level, sometimes we don't even recognize we had an impression until after.   That's my two cents. 
Anyways, everything else here in the mission is going well.  Today we played soccer and went to hamburger place, the burger was decent but it wasn't like anything back home... still really missing mt dew and hamburgers.

After Sandra's baptism we were back to working but a bunch of families close to baptism just kinda lost their motivation, so we had a few days of just looking for news. We had about two days of just straight contacting, with no luck. I was feeling a little down, but then we found out our next door neighbors are members!   Well the mom is a member, so we started teaching them, and their neighbors, and now we have a few more new families we are teaching.

This week we had a ward activity.  My comp and I had to hold the piƱata for the little kids, and I guess we made it a little too hard to hit because some of them started crying.... whoops!!!   But it was fun.  Other than that not too much new here.

Keep up the good work at home.  The gospel is true. 

Elder Donaldson

What do you think of the trench coat I found in our apartment???  :)