Friday, July 15, 2011

As the time for Colin's mission nears it's end, his letters are getting shorter. Here is an update on what he had to say this week.

When asked about his new mission president: He is super cool, very spiritual, and super loving. I am sad I am not going to be albe to serve with him longer.

About being at the temple open house: The temple was awesome! The day I went was the same day that the branch in Chalatenngo went and I saw the Herrera family, they are the family we baptized, and Hermano Pastor who smoked and then was baptized. It was so great to see them. The temple is sooo beautiful. Oh sabe que???? I mean, know what????? I saw Hermana Beatriz and Katherine from Custçcatancingo, my last area, who were my neighbors that were baptized, at the temple. I was their tour guide and it was sooooooo AWESOME TO SEE THEM THERE!!!!! And also the barrio of Cuscatancingo! I also saw a few members from Gojuteppeque too. It was just soooo awesome.

When told about Grandpa's fishing trip: Oh man grandma, you always have to tell me about all the things that are so delicious that you are eating and it just makes me so hungry! I have not eaten anything other than fried rice, refried beans, fried eggs, fried tortillas, and fried everything else for the last 2 years. I feel so malnourished it is a miracle that I haven´t had a heart attack. The only fresh vegetables that I can eat are on my hamburgers from Burger King. I want to go to Souplantation! That would be the best thing, just a nice big salad.

The work:
Well, everything is going well. We had another baptism yesterday. Heavenly Father really has been
blessing me this last change. It is such a blessing and a wonder.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This week we were blessed with 3 baptisms! That was a blessing for sure. And we have a few more planned for before I go home, so that will keep me busy until then.

In my area there is a bridge that goes over the freeway and you can see the temple. It is super tiny and super far away but you can see it. It is sooo cool!

They changed my comp this week. It was weird, there were emergency changes and so now I have a new comp again, my fourth comp in 4 weeks. This elder actually came with me when I got here, but because he was only in the mtc for 3 weeks, he is going to be here one transfer longer then I am, and the funny thing is is that we both slept in the same room in the hotel our first night in El Salvador. So it is fun, he is really nice. His name is Elder Yanes and he is from Guatemala. I think that President is doing this because he knows I am leaving soon and doesn´t want to mess with other people's schedules, but I am fine with it.

Oh, this week we had a multi-zone meeting and I got to give my final testimony in front of all the other missionaries. It was weird. I never thought that this time would come, but there you go, now I only have 4 Sundays left, then my life will be dramatically different.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A new area

I am in a new area. I am in Illopango in a city called San Bartolo. It is hot here and the town is poor, but not super poor, just regular poor. I am with Elder Coy. He is from Guatemala. We are good friends, so we are working hard. We got 8 people to church yestrday so that was a great blessing! This is a photo of Hermana Beatriz and her daughter at their baptism.

Exciting news!

Well, what a wonderful week it has been. I have some wonderful news! First off, remember when I wrote you about Alejandra and how her dad would not let her or her sister go to church? They are our next door neighbors. Well, last week we all fasted, and yesterday we asked - are you going to go to church today? She told me she didn´t know, ask her dad. So I said "Hey, can she come to church today for a little bit?" Their dad asked them if they really wanted to go to church, and Alejandra said yes, and her younger sister said yes, too. So their father said, "OK, but only for an hour". So we were super excited. Then at the testimony meeting I went up to bear my testimony, and then Alejandra came up, too. I let her go in front of me and it was amazing. She said that the moment that she entered the church, she just felt at peace, and that she now knows that the Church is true. It was great, all the ladies where crying. So that is one great thing that happened.

Now for number two, and even better. Hermana Beatriz, and Hermana Katherine where baptized on Saturday. It was not without its fair share of trials, but it happened! Then Sunday, when we where about to go to church (they are our neighbors too) we went to knock on their door, and they were all dressed up and everything but said that they might not go to church. We where thinking OH NOOOOO, because they had to be confirmed. So I left my scriptures and my jacket in their house and asked them to bring my things to church for me because we had to go for other people. They said "But what if we don't go?" Then my comp said "We will see you there", and we left. So, we went to church and left Alejandra and her sister with someone in the church to be with them, and we ran as fast as we could back to Hermana Beatriz's and right as we got to the parking lot, there they were in the car with my jacket and scriptures. It was great. Then they gave us a ride to church. It was so awesome, and everything was just great. I love them so much, they help us out, and invite us to eat all the time. They really are a wonderful family and I am so happy to have been able to share this time with them. There are changes this week and I really hope that I don´t get changed. I want to end my mission here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cuscatancingo


Things are going great here. We are working hard, but the people here are a little more hard in the head and grumpy than in La Union. There is definitely a difference. This last week 4 people from my last area that we where teaching got baptized! Again, I swear I have the biggest record of people getting baptized the week after I leave. Oh well, it is fine, I am happy that they are making the wonderful decision to make this commitment!
My comp and I are actually working really hard. This area is intense! I love it because there are a ton of houses that we are able to knock at, but not a lot of them are ready, but we are still trying.
I am so excited for the temple to be here. There is going to be the open house starting in July so I will be able to go and see it before I go home, but the dedication is in August and I want to come back with one of my friend from the mission who actually wrote me this week. He was in an accident in the desert. He is fine but a girl that he was with died in his arms after she asked him for a blessing. He was able to give it, but please keep him in your prayers, too. I am sure that would help him out and his family and the others, too.

I love it here. It is going to be sad when I have to leave this place.

Conference thoughts

Hello everyone! Everything is good here. Working hard, still trying to find people. We have a few, but the people here are a little stiff necked.

We went to get one of our investigators Sunday morning, When we got to her door, the evil aunt came and yelled at her "why do you even talk to them!!!!!!" and then slammed the door closed. So, she didn't come to church. We will just have to go back and teach her when her aunt is not there, muahhaha.

Wow! What a conference. I was thinking during the conference that our lives are really made out of chapters. It is like being in the MTC: In the beginning you are super excited, but at the end of your 2 months of being there you are ready to go out and serve and do the next thing. Now getting close to the end of the mission ( now I am not saying that I want it to end at all, I love it too much) and after this conference, it helped me to see all the things that I have learned and how many things I have to keep learning. Now when I get back, I realize how much better I will be able to serve the Lord in my calling and stuff, because being here has really helped me to see how really important it all is. Just doing the work is the biggest blessing in itself. Yeah, sometimes it is hard or it takes time from doing what you want, but really, that doesn't matter. The Lord is first. I think back on before my mission and how little I did. Seeing how I could have done better and should have just worked instead of being a couch potato. Something that has helped me is that there is a returned missionary in our ward. He was a robot missionary. You can tell the difference between a robot missionary and a normal missionary. Robot missionaries don't really know why they are on their mission, they went because their parents told them,or they are there because they will get a car. They don't enjoy their time and experiences or the people, they are super strict to the point that they don't let the rules help them and guide them. It is like the difference between the the Sadducee and Pharisees and the Gospel of Christ. Robot missionaries don't like learning the language, when they can just about speak it, that is when they stop learning. They don't try their best. They might say they are, but they know deep down they are not. Robot missionaries are exactly the same if not worse when they get back. They are lazy and don't want to help with anything, and they usually go inactive. As members, we can be robot members, too. We need to be careful. But the worst thing about the robot missionary is that they have no personality, they let the outside world control how they feel. Some of the best advice that was given to me by one of my comps was that Heavenly Father has called me to be here so that I can be me. I don't have to try to be another person, I just have to find me, and be my best self. It doesn't matter if I baptize 0, 1, 5, 10, or 100- if I can learn to be my celestial self then I have gained all that I needed in the mission. Because once I have become my celestial self, once we all have become our celestial selves, that is when we can serve the Lord how he wants and needs us to, and we don't fear anything, We become disciples of Christ and nothing can stop us from being what we truly are.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A new place


Everything is going great! I am back in San Salvador, in Cuscatancingo.
It is nice and cool here- at least to me! Everyone says it is hot, but I am just as happy as a clam. I have a new comp- Elder Marinero. He is really awesome, I have been waiting my whole mission to have comp like him. He is a good teacher and is just a good person. We get along super well. So, it is going to be a great change. I hope President will let us be together for 2 changes. I am really happy here.
We are working super hard to find new people because of some struggles with the last missionary. So we are totally changing that around and working double hard to make up for the lost time.
Oh, I got my second Christmas package and it was like it was Christmas all over again, it was so awesome! I love all the candy and everything,. I think I am going to make the pancakes for a district meeting. [Colin is still the District Leader] Something funny- my district is me, my comp, and a companionship of sisters. That is all. I have never had sisters in my district before so this is going to be a new experience. But I am happy because I already know them, and they are good hardworking sisters, but mom, I think I am going to need more money to buy refreshments for my district meetings, so they won't get mad at me for not having refreshments.
Things are going great, working hard and being happy. Pray for us to find new, good investigators. I love you.
Love
Colin

Tsunami update


Well, we are safe and everything is good. Nothing even happened except that we lost all of our appointments for nothing =( Kenia still came to church, so that is great. She is our investigator that found my blog- hahaha!
We are hard at work, but sad because Kenia will probably get baptised this weekend and it looks like I will change areas on Wednesday. I hope I don't have changes though. I just want one more change here because we are about to have a lot of success with the people we have been teaching for a long time. It is a bummer, but oh well. I am sure everything will turn out for the best.
Things are great here. It is still really hot.
I love you so much mom, thanks for everything that you do for me. I am so grateful to have you and dad for my parents. Being here has really helped me to see how special you guys are to me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami Watch


As I was getting ready for my seminary in-service meeting I heard on NPR about the terrible earthquake in Japan, but it was early and I was trying to be on time, so I was doing more listening to reports that thinking about the consequences of the quake. Then, after class, I noticed a call from an unfamiliar number. Thinking it was my nephew, I called back and heard a familiar voice-had I called Evan by mistake? No! it was Colin! He asked if we were safe and affected by the tsunami. I hadn't even thought of that. He then proceeded to explain how he and his companion and many of the members were evacuating to a city where the Zone Leaders lived which was a safe distance up the volcano. I felt so dumb! Of course Colin would be in a tsunami affected area. His apartment is just 2 blocks from the ocean! Then I thought of others; Michiko and her family in Japan, my friend's mother in Hawaii, my sister-in-law who lives just half a mile from Huntington Beach. Colin remembered my friend Michiko, what a good man to think of others. And what a great son to call and tell us he was safe.

It was so wonderful to hear his voice-it has quite a native way about it and "si" would sneak in quite often. He told me about how strong his current investigator was, and how a young woman that was baptized in his first area, has had 8 of her family members join the Church of Jesus Christ. In another area, 2 families that he found and taught have now been baptized. He is seeing some of the fruits of his labor. What a blessing, as that is not the case for all missionaries.

He wanted me to give his love to everyone back home. I know we all send our love right back to him.

P.S. We are so grateful that Colin is not in danger. But in Japan, thousands and maybe millions of our brothers and sisters are suffering. We pray that they will be strengthened and sustained through this horrific disaster by the grace of God, and from those of us who are safe, generously doing and giving what we can.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hello

Hello!

The best thing that happened this week is that Sandy's mom came to church and really liked it, so that was great. Also a member took us to this place called Las Tunas- it is a little beach village and there are a few restaurants on the beach so he took us there. It was way cool.
The week went by sooo fast that it is hard to believe my mission is almost over. Four and a half months is not a lot of time.

I was thinking this last week about a missed opportunity I had right before I left on the mission. One day after teaching swimming lessons at night time, as we were leaving I went and sat on the benches by the pool in Eastgate park and then everyone else came and sat by me. They started asking me what it was going to be like and what I was going to do and what i was going to teach on my mission. Frankly, I didn't know what to say. I started to say something, but it wasn't very clear and I basically choked. But now I know exactly what I need to say and exactly how to say it. The sad thing is, I will never have the 7 of those people together ever again; wanting to learn, wanting to hear what I had to say. Now I have to go and look for them and then teach them what they need to know, because now I know how to put into words what I need to teach them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy



Last week we went to Elva and she told us that she was going to be moving to another house because of a new job in another department, that is like another state. So we were super sad, but didn´t give up hope- you never can. We would call her during the week and see how she was doing. On Friday we called her in the morning, but her phone was turned off. After teaching a few lessons we passed by her house and and there she was! We went and talked to her and everything went great, we brought out the baptismal records and filled them out and she signed them. We were super excited- it was a miracle. Afterwards we passed by Iris's family to see how they were doing. While we talked to them, we heard a ton of gun shots go off so we left. Finally we got home and started to make calls to our leaders but our phone didn´t work, so we went to a member's house and borrowed their phone, we tried to call our zls to say that we needed an interview, but their phone didn't accept our calls because of the company, and their cell phone had been stolen earlier that day. Finally I called the zone leaders from another zone to tell them to call my zone leaders to be at our house at 8 in the morning for the interview and the baptism. We slept full of excitement because this was going to be the biggest miracle of my mission. We woke up super excited and happy, then we waited- 8, 8:30. 9, 9:15 and the zls finally got there. They went to the interview while I went to fill the font. There was no water! We were calling everyone to see what we could do, finally at 11 it started filling. She passed the interview with the zone leaders, but she had to leave with her aunt to help her with something, because they arrived so late. So, she didn't get baptized.

It was like a big rugby game of gaining and losing the ball, but then at the end, instead of scoring the winning point I got a giant Samoan boot to the face.

But it is OK- the mission goes on. I guess it just wasn´t her time yet because we really did everything in our power to get it done. Oh well, maybe it was one of those "beautiful wife" moments. But we need to keep pressing forward and never failing.

(Message from the next week) Well, a good week this week. We were able to baptize a boy named Johnny and we reactivated his family of 7 people and there are a few more people that want to get baptized as well! And as for Elva, well, she moved to Jiquilisco, so we called the Elders in Jiquilisco and they contacted her and she also was baptized on Saturday so that was great. That made for some great news-

A new companion and apple pie

I have a new comp- his name is Elder Rivera and he is from Guatemala. He is still really new to the mission, only out 3 months, so there is still a bunch to learn and to teach. He is nice and chill, but works hard and is really funny. This will be a good change, and I'm sure that we will get a lot of work done. In La Union there were two pairs of missionaries, but now it is down to one, so we have two areas to cover. We will be working super hard, but that is good.

I hope you get this video- we went to the Comfort Inn and they had an all you can eat buffet!

Every thing is great- I'm working hard always and having fun.

video

Monday, January 10, 2011

District Meeting Fun

This week for the district meeting we talked about the importance that the Book of Mormon has in the conversion process. After we talked about that I asked the elders to go outside and look for the golden plates. When they found them, they were blank, so we each wrote on them our testimony as to why the Book of Mormon is important to us. It was something fun and new for them to do. So there is a picture of Mormon (me) compiling the book of the district of La Union, and there is another photo of Elder Rodriguez, whose parents live really close to us, and he has
the Urim and Thumim, the knife of Laban, the plates, and a ball of curious workmanship (thanks to grandma).

(Colin made the plates out of soda cans he cut open and boiled.)


Friday, January 7, 2011

Looking Back...

Well, everything is going great. I am a little sick with nasal congestion, but it will go away soon.It has started to be super hot this week, by 7 in the morning I am already sweaty. It is crazy. I am tired though; not going to lie about that! But things are going well.

I really love studying the scriptures now. I never did it too much before my mission, like you know, but it is really interesting. There is so much stuff to learn it is amazing! So many cool things have connections to other things. Also, before my mission, I almost never read the Bible but it is really cool as well. It is so interesting how there are so many things in there that relate to the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. It is just so neat. The sad thing is that it seems the more you get to know, the more you realize how little you know. Also, you can tell a big difference in your day when you really study.

I loved Cojutepeque, not just because of the people, but because that was where I had the most doctrinal growth on my mission. My first change there, it was 4 missionaries in the same house and so there was always something going on, and there was almost no studying in the morning. Finally, I decided I had to change something. The others wouldn't do anything, so I started to set my alarm at 5:30 in the morning. This was one of the best decisions of my life! I started studying every morning for an hour in the peace and quite. I would go outside in the cool morning mist; it was great. When we finally changed houses and got our own, I still woke up at 5:30, it was so great. Really, in the time of 3 months there, I have never learned so much about the gospel. It also built up my confidence in the language because I would only study in Spanish. It was just one of the best things I could have done. I feel as though I have a better knowledge of things, even though I don't know every thing, at least I am a little more educated in the gospel. But wow, I still have a ton to learn, but at the same time I am so happy with what I have been able to gain. Scripture study is such a blessing!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Lesson from a Hobo :)

In El Salvador, according to Colin, drunk and/or homeless men follow people around everywhere, begging for money.  Recently when Colin and his companion were hitchhiking, a drunken homeless man came up to him and his companion and told them that servants of God should not have to hitchhike, they should be able to ride the bus.  So then the man gave each of them a quarter so that they could take the bus- quite a big service for a homeless person :)