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.

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.

Elder Donaldson