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!! 

Love,
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.
Love, 
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 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