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 panaderĂ­a 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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Birthday Adventures!

This week was interesting.  We had a lot of things happen.  Our baptism fell through.  Hopefully it will happen in two weeks or so.  We've had some challenges getting people to church.  A lot of our investigators live way up in the mountains.  They don't get home until late.  It's dangerous to walk up there late at night so we have been doing more contacting down lower in the city.  And without our phone (which was stolen) we haven't been able to call our investigators!

As far as the robber story goes, (since Dad told you...) he took my backpack and scriptures, but not my personal ones, and my sweater was in there---nothing else.  My  passport and all that is safe in the offices, but I had a little hand held ID.  Because that was stolen I had to go to the immigration offices for like 5 hours on my birthday to get a new ID.   My missionary name tag was in my bag so I only have 1 right now.  I should have a new one of those in a week or so.   D left for another city, and we haven't been able to call him since our phone was taken.  That's the worst part about getting robbed, we lost a ton of investigators and future investigators, but I trust the Lord has a purpose for everything.

So how about this.....I spent my birthday in Bogota trying to pick up the pieces from what I lost in my bag.  It was actually pretty nice because I got to stay at the secretaries home.  They have the nicest home in the mission.  They have hot water, a dryer, an oven, and recliners in their house.  It was almost like home!  Plus there are more restaurants in Bogota so for my birthday dinner I had 3 Big Macs and they were delicious.
Birthday Big Macs!


I had a ton of emails for my birthday and because we only have an hour to write I didn't get to write everyone back or read them all.  I felt loved and supported and so grateful.   I will try to respond in the next few weeks but if you could please let people know for me that I was so grateful for them thinking of me.   I had a great birthday, though it wasn't quite the same here in the mission. Its very different but special in its own way.
My new love...Hashbrowns and gravy!

I am so happy that you all got the gifts I sent home and exactly as timed.  :)  I hope you like the soccer shirt and it fits.  Everyone is tiny here so I wasn't sure.  The package only cost me about $60 for everything so it wasn't too much and I hope everyone liked their gifts!

I've been studying the Book of Mormon a lot lately.  King Benjamin.  I've been reading his discourse on pride.  It's easy at times to recognize it in others, but I've been reflecting on my own heart lately.   My goal is to be more humble when I come home from the mission than I was before I left.   Why is that pretty rare in my observations?  He also talks about God' greatness and how important is to remember that especially in hard times.

We had a conference with President this last week.  That was super cool!

I love you all and am beyond grateful for your patience in raising me and continuing to support me. Thanks for all you do for me.   I pray for you all every day.

Love,
Elder Donaldson
Still love soda. :)



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Compassion for Robbers; and..Happy Easter!

Hello Family,
Busy, busy but I'll catch you up on a few things.  Colombia had a soccer game this week.  When Colombia plays the streets are DEAD.  Everyone is watching the game.  When you knock on doors people yell at you for interrupting the game.  So Elder Ostler and I took some pamphlets (Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom) walked around the park and gave them out to weed smokers and people making out.  :)  It was kind of fun though I don't think anyone will call us.

General Conference!  All the English Elders got to watch Conference together in the Bishop's office at the ward building.  And we got to listen to it in English.  :)  Loved every minute of it.  I got a lot out of Conference, but more than anything that I needed to improve on my perspective, look at trials with faith and eternal perspective, and to look at others with love and brotherly kindness; including those of other faiths.   This is not easy for me.   I really liked how Nephi described other churches and organizations in 2 Nephi 26.   It's a perfect picture of Colombia.  However, it doesn't mean Christ doesn't love these people. They are brothers and sisters who have lost their way and need the restored gospel as much as anyone. Looking at them and seeing their potential instead of their faults is what I hope to accomplish now.


General Conference Party!

The ward here is great. We have about 100 people who are active who attend every week, and a lot of less actives to work with as well. The high priest group leader is super cool and has a super strong testimony, and gives us lunch once a week. He has gone through some immense trials, but has welcomed me and really made me feel at home here. Also Liliana and Daniel and their uncle, she was my first baptism, and Daniel her cousin will be baptized soon. They buy us lunch a lot, and speak English, but we are helping them improve that. Those are the members that are probably my best friends, but there are many more who I am close with. I really don't want to leave this area, I would be fine finishing my year and a half here to be honest.

That's crazy about your friend who got robbed in Chicago!! I've heard too many stories here in this mission about missionaries and people getting robbed, but the good news is people don't usually get hurt, they just take your money and phones. (I've found my ways around it)  I have also taught a lot of people on the mission here that used to rob people, because they didn't have money and had a family to feed.  I have gained a new compassion for them, though i don't justify or support their actions. I feel very blessed to have been raised in Brigham City, its not perfect but its dang close.
Bogota Town Square

Colombia foods I like, Pechuga Pernil. its a chicken plate, with mushroom sauce is super good. and a soup called Agiaco, super good.  I got my rain jacket fixed, a guy sewed a piece of black leather on it and it looks good and not burnt now.  And yes,  Elder Ostler likes pickleball,  honestly the only thing I wanna ask for is more pictures. I love seeing all your faces.



A few funny jokes:
Elder Argyle got into our apartment before the other Elders did and we hid and sacred the crap out of them.  We also made oreo cookies but we put skin lotion in the middle.  Haha.  They ate it too.  Still me...gotta have fun some times!

We visited a family up in the mountains.  I made them a Peach Cobbler.  It kind of turned out funny tasting but they ate it anyways.  They came to church on Sunday so they must have liked it.

This week is the Catholic Holy Week, most of our investigators are out of town.  The Bishop is out of town so it shall be interesting week.  We will see how things go. 
And speaking of Easter I don't know if you have seen the Easter video the church did, but look it up if you haven't, its super good.  We watch it all the time.

I love you all.  I love being a missionary, and I love my Savior.

Elder Donaldson

Mom...look what I found!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Haircuts Gone Bad. Pizza for General Conference!

A Day in Bogota
So this week was transfers.  My new companion is from Kaysville, Elder Ostler.  He's been out about 8 months in the mission field.  Elder Gregor left for a different area in Bogota.  I feel like the time is really starting to fly by.  This last companionship went so quickly.  Elder Gregor and I became pretty good friends by the time he left and we were working hard.  I felt like he left happy. 
Elder Ostler and I

We had a baptism on Saturday. Next week we have another one scheduled.   We knocked over 100 doors this week and only had 2 investigators.  We made some plans to work with the members so we will see how that goes and if we have better success. I've gotten use to walking up the mountain every day but I've worn out one pair of shoes already.  I sewed some new soles on them.  We will see how that works out.  If I need some new ones its easier to buy them here. Everything is a lot cheaper here, and if your smart you can find good quality stuff, especially leather is cheaper.


A couple of fun stories from the week!  
I got tired of paying for haircuts so I purchased my own set of hair clippers.  I don't have any idea what happened but half way through my trim the crazy hair clippers caught on FIRE!!!  Ha. Ha.  I had to walk it back to the store with a half-shaven head.  :)  I got better set of clippers so it's all good.  I look half bald in some of the pictures.  Blame it on the lighting and short hair.   I cut all the Elder's hair in my district this last week.  Luckily, theirs all turned out much better than mine did   :)

Another funny moment.  We were walking one day and it was raining and raining.  We didn't see it coming, but a bus drove by and splashed us--TOTALLY SOAKED us!  We were drenched, but just kept working.  What else can you do?  My shoes are still drying out. 



Bogota Jungle trails


My favorite scripture this week was in 2 Nephi 2: 24.  It is very simple, but something we too often forget.  It's what I remember when the mission gets hard, or when I miss home, or have insecurities for the future.  I have faith though.  Everything---challenges, trials, afflictions, are done in the Wisdom of God.  I know it can be tough to remember this at times of trials, but I know it to be true.

I'm so excited for General Conference.  I can't wait to hear all the apostles talk.  We get to watch General Conference in the bishops office and we get to watch it in English! I'm pretty excited. We plan on ordering Dominos Pizza on Saturday since we won't have the usual conference feast.   My new favorite talk of all time is by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come what may and love it". Give it a read if you got time.  Can't wait to hear what you all like and learn!

I don't have tons of time today, but know how much I love you all.  I want you to know I am working my hardest. and I'm learning to enjoy even the bad parts of the days.   I love my Savior, Jesus Christ and I know this is His gospel.

Love,
Elder Donaldson