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 piñata 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. 

Love,
Elder Donaldson

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

Monday, September 4, 2017

All Is Well.

Sup Family,
Just found out I'm going to Bogota for about two days.  I'll be there to pick up my new comp and I'm not sure if I'll be able to write more until Wednesday, but I wanted to write you a little so you know I didn't get kidnapped and you don't call president again worried.  :) All is well here in Colombia!

Plantano Burger!!
It actually was a very good and interesting week.  I'll just give you a few of the highlights, 
We did a fundraiser for a family to get married. We were the delivery guys for them selling arroz con leche, a famous desert here.   Go Elders...zoom, zoom!   It was almost a disaster since I didn't have enough time in the area to announce it to many  of people, but in the end the ward got together and helped us out.   So grateful to them!
Member Family from our ward

Our investigator Sandra passed her baptism interview this week, and so she's on track to get baptized this Saturday.  Happy Day!  I'll send pictures of that.  I am humble at the opportunity to baptize her.  It's neat to see the light of the gospel impact her life.  She's awesome.  
Sandra's Baptism Day

Sunday we had five of hours of church in the two wards, and I was assigned to teach two classes.  Made it!  Henry got the priesthood, and I felt humble again and honored to be able to give it to him. 
My comp right now has exactly one year more than me, so hes going home in like a month... and He is pretty excited.  Weird how time goes out here.  Makes me excited to come home too, but I have a year left  and I'm not going to waste one second of it.  
Love you all lots!  Thanks for all you do!
Elder Donaldson

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Change

Well this week was busy as normal. We have a new family of investigators we are teaching, the mom has cancer and she is confined to a chair all day and is in a lot of pain and slips in and out of consciousness in the lessons, but the daughter really is progressing. We are working for a miracle to get a birth certificate from the middle of the jungle which is a red zone, meaning white people don"t go there and the church doesn't exist there because its really dangerous, but we need the paper to help one of our families get married and then baptized, and its gonna be a process it looks like, but with God's help shouldn't be too hard. 
Our other investigator, I'll send pics of him, we gave him a shirt and tie and he wore it to church.  He will be getting baptized next month. Henry came to church this week, and he finished the drawings. haven't been able to go pick them up yet, gonna do that this week. And Dianna is doing well, we are teaching her daughter and her friend that live with here and they could get baptized really soon.

Henry's drawings.  I got them!
Anyways, there is an update of our investigators. This week we tried a new strategy of verifying our commitments we left to them , and almost all of them came to church so we have a lot hope for this area. 

My comp are getting along great.  He's told me a lot about military life, and sounds kind of interesting.   I've been thinking about becoming a pilot, but haven't totally lost the idea of becoming a lawyer.   Honestly I have no idea what I want to do after the mission. Thankfully, I have time.

Week 2
This week was kinda crazy. Changes, changes changes!   Elder Cox left Saturday, kind of a surprise because transfers aren't for two weeks.  He is in the offices now as the immigration secretary... so I was in a trio with my the other two missionaries in this area for the weekend, and then they transferred his comp out too, and combined my area with the other elder's area for two weeks and just told us to work both areas until we get new comps in two weeks!   This will be interesting!!  We have a lot of work in my area these next two weeks,and now have to figure out the time and how to do it.   I have no idea how it's going to work out. 
Just to name a few:
We have a fundraiser I'm in charge of for a family that needs money to get married, 
We have an investigator getting baptized who's blind and I have to create a schedule for the members to start picking her up for church and there's only two members in the ward who have a car... so gonna be an interesting situation there. 
We have about three young women we are teaching who could possibly get baptized this week.
We have a bunch of other investigators that we just gotta keep teaching so these next two weeks are gonna be really busy.   A serious lesson in Trust the Lord to see how this all comes together.

Crazy Experiences from the week:
I had to give a foot surgery to my new comp Elder Cusworth because he stepped on a piece of glass. 
And this crazy kid in church wrote all over the walls, ate a marker, and spilled his soda all over himself during the gospel principles class, pretty entertaining to watch... 
Hey sleeping Beauty..it's time to go!  :)
And least life is not boring.     Throughout these past months I've been through and seen many things, heard stories unimaginably tough, yet have received many if not daily confirmations or promptings.  this spiritual growth has led me to understand one truth fundamental in my heart.  He Lives.  Jesus Christ lives.  He loved me enough to suffer and die for me.  That truth sinks in a little deeper in my heart every day just how in debt I really am.    
And all those times you said "you'll thank me one day" well that day has come.  Thank you for showing me what really matters in life.  Thank you for teaching me the gospel and for guiding me through my youthful years.  Thanks for never giving up on me.  And remember, when Katie, Charlie, or Lydia give you a tough time (they probably won't be near as tough as I was) remember that they will eventually figure it out too.  I love you tons.  You are always in my prayers.  
I'm working hard and I love you all.
Love,
Elder Donaldson

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Miracles.



Hola Familia!

I'm doing well and loving this area. We have lots of investigadors too. We should have two getting baptized this week so I'll hopefully have some pics of that as well. And the ward here kicks butt. They really help us out and a lot of them are young converts . (July 10)
Elder D a little fond of his 45 liter Coke bottle collection. 

Well this week was quite the week! We had some cool experiences, definitely a testimony to me that the Lord runs this work. We spent 2 weeks planning these baptisms to a T, verifying with all the members, getting all the music and videos and everything else we needed, making assignments, everything. We did everything. But Satan did not want these people to get baptized. It started on Tuesday. We went out Tuesday morning to buy some coke and bread, which we shouldn't have done, but we left anyways. As we were walking down the street, we ran into H, which is super weird because its far from his house, and he just looked furious. He came up to us, and explained that his mom, the landlord of his house, called the police and evicted him from his tiny house because he said some rude stuff to her the night before. So he was homeless for the moment. But finding him that morning was the first miracle, because if we didn't find him he would have gone to Bogota to get away from everything, and we wouldn't have seen him ever again. So finding him due to our disobedience was the first miracle. So we walked to a panadería to sit down and drink something to try and calm him down.

30 seconds later, his brother, the elders quorum president, drove by on his motorcycle. What are the odds.? Miracle number two. So his brother comes and talks to him and calms him down, and makes arrangements to talk to his mother and work other things out. Meanwhile, we made arrangements with H to accompany us to our visits for the day, a chance to feel the spirit and distract him for a while. It worked. H is back at his house, his mom forgave him and went to his baptism and confirmation, and he feels great about everything.


Satan didn't want him to get baptized, but the will of God is more powerful, and based on the odds of those two miracles happening, God really wanted him to get baptized.



H, our convert is also a painter. He paints pictures of Jesus, and well just about everything you want so if you would like him to do a painting of Jesus or the family or something let me know. He charges about 30 bucks for a hand done painting or drawing, and I could send it home with a returning missionary. Just a thought of a cool souvenir for the fam. (July 17





Another investigator, D had a bit of a rough week as well, but we did everything we possibly could with the ward to figuratively hold her hand through everything, and when she finally got baptized, I had never seen her smile so big for so long. Y'all have no idea what has happened to her in her life. And if she never smiled once for the rest of her life I honestly wouldn't blame her. But she is just so much happier now, there is an incredible difference between the first day we met her and her life now.





I can't express it enough. It's been some really good weeks. So grateful to my Heavenly Father and his blessings. Furthermore, we still have lots of potential discussions to teach for the weeks ahead.


The mission has really settled in. I feel like I've been here my whole life. Just this last week a lot of the north American missionaries went home... making me pretty much one of the older missionaries in the mission now... I still feel new though. I feel a lot of peace and so happy to be a missionary. It's hard to describe, but I love it. The clouds were out everyday this last week so we didn't have too many hot days, well its always hot but it was more bearable this week. Our converts are doing well, H was out of town all week working and got back late Saturday night. He had an accident so he didn't come to church yesterday, we are gonna go visit him tonight. We passed by D last night and she just thanked us over and over again for bringing her the gospel.



Weekly Fried Chicken!


Amongst the spiritual outpourings we still have a little fun. Probably the funnest thing this week was making empinadas with Elder Cox Sunday night... we had no idea what we were doing and they turned out really gross but the guacamole was good.

Anyways, I love you lots and I am grateful for all you do. Thanks for all the updates, and the story about Grandpa! :) I'll make sure I always remember my belt now. (July 24)

Lots of love,
Elder Donaldson

August 7th, 2017, Elder Donaldson sent a picture of a letter rather than an email. Shared below. Love this missionary.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Contacting Secret Ingredient: JELLO New Area: Neiva

People are interesting.  It has been some challenging weeks.  My comp and I are getting along better. It is frustrating when he doesn't and won't get out and work.  I had to call president one day because he just didn't want to work.  The next day was the same.  President just told me to have patience, and well I am trying.  We had a few knock down heart to hearts.  I may or may have not tried my wrestling cradle moves but now we laugh and make jokes now.  Maybe its because I started buying him KFC every night.  But maybe that's all he needs.  Hopefully the next few weeks can be like the past two days. 

There is much good even among the growing hard stuff so I'll share:

First to answer your questions.... I eat a lot of fried chicken, bacon, and I even found those yogurt bags dad told me about.  That's about it, and the usual rice and beans.

The ward mission leader here is awesome.  He can barely walk because his right leg is so swollen, but he walks like ten miles to the temple every Wednesday.  When he isn't in the temple he is with us... He's honestly my hero!!  His whole family is inactive but I have never met a man more dedicated than him.

Inspiring Ward Mission Leader
P day we actually got to go to the temple this morning!  I loved being there.  And well the rest the day I was cleaning the house and doing laundry.   The only other missionaries in our district are the zone leaders, and they are awesome, some days my comp just wont leave the house so they come over and do a division with us so I can leave and visit our appointments.

This week we had five people come to church which is really good here!!   One lady who I have been teaching for like 8 weeks is finally came with her whole family! Another family we have is getting married this week so hopefully they will be baptized soon! We found a bunch of less active members as well this week, almost all of them left because of gossip.. Hermano Triana, the mission leader, said whenever he hears gossip he asks the people to write their statements on a paper and then sign it. I think im going to put that theory in practice.

The other funny story in Bogota---its super hard to contact people so me and my zone leader were on divisions one day, and we made a bunch of jello and set up a table and then just gave out jello to try and contact. it actually worked a ton better.   I'll send you pictures of that too!

Just got moved this week.  6 hour bus ride to Neiva.  New comp from Las Vegas.  Smaller town, very hot.  Like 100 temps everyday.  I'll share more about this next week!

New Area Neiva
Your trip in the subway sounds awesome!  I wish I would've been there. Summer of 2019 we will have to do it.

This week I had a couple of spiritual experiences, but one thing was a talk by President Hinckley that I listened to. He said if you go on a mission "I cannot promise you fun, but I can promise you you will re evaluate your priorities in life."  How true that is.   I look back on how much I have grown in the mission, its incredible and its only been 8 months.  I haven't written a hundreth part of the things I have gone through here, but someday I will be able to share everything.


I love you lots and cant thank you enough for your prayers.   Thank you for all you do!!
And can you give a special thanks to the Bishop for me.   President Erying always talks of inspired priesthood leaders, and he was mine. Let him know that his sacrifices for the priests in little old Brigham city aren't in vain.

Keep me in your prayers and I'll keep you in mine!
Love,
Elder Donaldson

Sunday, June 4, 2017

New Favorites: Aprons and Speakers

Well I am putting my new apron to good use.  Thanks again for the stuff you sent. We cooked up some traditional breakfast burritos and pancakes.  We even found some Aunt Jemima syrup.  )

Today I'll start by answering your questions.  Our best investigator is A. He was baptized but then never came back to church about three years ago, so he was never confirmed.  When we visited with him now, he said he is ready to make a change in his life.  He struggles with the word of wisdom, but the thing that his boosted his testimony is the same thing that boosts everyone's.  The Book of Mormon.   I have literally seen the seed of faith in people grow and bring forth crops like Alma talks about with every person that reads the Book of Mormon. It's so true if people will just give it a try.  Struggling?  Well, then sit down and read the Book of Mormon.  Power in that scripture.

The large umbrella was awesome, then I left it in a taxi!!  I was so bummed.  But it's okay because now I have a new one--a bigger one--with a little extension on the end for better reach.   :) 


Highlight of the week was with Elder Gardner on Saturday.  We had the awesome opportunity to take missionaries from the MTC out for the day. They didn't speak any Spanish.  I was with Elder Johnston from Mesa, Arizona.  Maybe Moose knows him?  We had a good day.  It was crazy thinking I was at the same Spanish level as these guys eight months ago. The gift of tongues is real.

Another change though; Elder Gardner left, he is the financial secretary for the mission now, and my new comp is Elder C from Peru. One day together so far.  I"ll let you know how it goes!


This week I have been listening to talks by President Hinckley, and WOW does he kick butt.  He is probably my new favorite. :)  I hope you know I have a strong testimony, especially of the Savior. It's amazing how much we come to know Him as we strive to do the things He does, and follow His footsteps.

Keep up the good work at home.
I love you all,
Elder Donaldson

Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Area: Kennedy!

I don't have too much to write about since I saw you all yesterday on our Skype call!  That was awesome.  Today I  got to spend some time with Elder Amick and Elder Argyle and Elder Ostler again.  We had a combined zone football game and soccer game, so that was a treat since we cant write or communicate with other elders in the mission here.



So a little more about my near area.  It's still in Bogota just further south and the neighborhood is called Kennedy.  I live on the same street, just 70 blocks down and I got here in taxi. This area is more safe and much flatter!  No mountain hills.  My new comp is Elder Gardner from Idaho.  Very awesome comp!  100% Obedient, hard worker, our only weakness is we both get tired during study time and have to keep each other awake.  But I'm very blessed to be his companion.  We are teaching tons and I'm super excited about this area.  I'll give you an update next week on the work.  And I"m sure some funny experiences. 

The ward here is really good too.  I've never met someone more dedicated than the ward mission leader here.  He's near 75 years old, but cleans the church every Saturday, accompanies us on splits every day, works as a sealer in the Temple, and is always helping others.  He also has a lot of physical limitations but if you met him you wouldn't know because he is always working and never complains.  I really admire him and hope I can become more like that in my own life

Fried Chicken deluxe
 They have awesome Fried Chicken here.  And it's cheap!  We get a whole fried chicken for under $6 bucks.    We stop there on our way home a lot of nights.  Only once it didn't settle too well with my comp.  Whoops!

My testimony continues to grow.  
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is preparing to become the future husband and father my future wife deserves.  I listened to a talk by President Hinckley about it. My prayers have changed from asking for a good future wife, to help make me the future husband she deserves. I am very blessed to have great examples as parents, if you came to Colombia you would see how rare that is in the world.  However marriage is still an eternity away so I have plenty of time to prepare, which is good because I have a long way to go.  I've also been working hard at looking for the good in everyone. 
Also I have like every talk from the past ten years on my memory.  I listen to them at night, and yep Elder Christoffersen is still my favorite, 
Thanks for the pictures, packages, and love.  I love you tons and pray for you daily.  If there is anything else I can do for you guys, lemme know. 

My large umbrella I told you about.  :)
Love,
Elder Donaldson