Tuesday, November 1, 2016

OCTOBER 31, 2016

Elder Connor Ross Tracy
Colombia Bogota North Mission
September 2016 -- September 2018

10/31/16  5:54 pm

I'm here. An Elder left two blankets and a pillow at our house so we had to go three hours to take it to him. We left at 2 pm.
We took something called the Transmillenial. 

Image result for transmilenio bogota

It's a bus that goes back and forth from everywhere in Bogota to Centro.  The middle of Bogota, from everywhere else in Bogota.  Our bus ride was an hour and a half, walk thirty minutes, bus ride back an hour and a half.

First week was an eye opener to what being a missionary is. I need to work harder.

So my area is called Granada.  I'm in Bogota, in District Cedros.  So the actual place I am serving now is Bogotá, in a smaller area of Bogota called Cedros.  My companion has been in this area a month and a half, but he's been out one year.  He's 27 years old, so he is an old bloke.

We live in an apartment meant for four missionaries, but right now there is just us, so it is nice.  My companion writes English but he doesn't understand or speak it.  It's really difficult for the Latinos to pronounce English for some reason. 

I should study Spanish but I haven´t been.  I read Book of Mormon or Bible for thirty minutes, memorize for thirty minutes, then companionship study a lesson, commandment, or chapter of Preach My Gospel. Everybody here is super Catholic, so they usually don´t want to hear about the gospel.

So my first Sunday was really interesting. We had a new investigator come and he stayed all three hours. His name is Diego Garcia. (lots of people here are Garcera, Garcia, Ramirez).  Anyways, he liked church, I think. 

I gave a talk in Spanish about missionary work.  It was probably five minutes like a youthie speaker.  But the special part about Sunday, it was missionary Sunday. There is only five young boys, about eleven, and four older guys 22-25 years old.  All of them pretended to be missionaries with us.  So we woke up an hour early, went to the chapel at 6:30 am, and had personal study, companion study, and other stuff with them. Then during Sacrament Meeting,we sang "We are all enlisted".  It was pretty bad. Also, there is nobody who can play piano, so a dude who plays violin accompanies everything.


After church, all the missionaries had lunch at different houses.  Then went and visited two in-actives, two investigators. We didn't get in any doors, but we found a new person to teach who lives near one of the in-actives. We went from 12 to 5 pm, and at 5 pm, we all regrouped and had a Testimony Meeting, and then went home.  We had dinner, then went to talk with an inactive of like twenty-five years. She runs a shoe shop. Anyway, we went there, I gave her a Book of Mormon, she said she might come to church next Sunday.   All good. 

At closing time, the guy next to her shop needed help reaching his little tarp to dangle in front of his shop to "close" it.  So I tried to help since I'm way taller.  I saw that the inactive lady had a footstool, so I went to grab it. But when I did, I bonked my head really hard on a glass shelf, and gave myself a 3 - 4 inch cut on my forehead. So now I look really stupid.  And I have a blister on one of my toes also.


I use the computer in Internet cafe's which are all over Bogota. I am not sure what part we are in.  But I think we're really close to the bottom half. I think we touch Bogota South Mission. But my Area is called Cedros. Few members, huge area.

I can communicate really well. I think I got the easiest South American Mission for white people, because they speak pretty clearly mostly and I can understand probably 70%, but I can't respond very good. 

Got $60 bucks in Bogotard money (200 mil pesos). That's enough for a lot of bread from the store, milk, and some meat.  Milk is pretty scarce here, and comes in a 450 ml bag. It´s super weird.  And they serve all drinks at room temperature. So it is also gross if you don't buy it from the store.  Anyway, my Spanish is coming along.  I can tell my problem is that I need to develop a vocabulary. I can kinda conjugate, but I don´t know any words.

Good news though.  We have four baptisms set for the 3rd of December.  But probably it won't happen because they didn't attend church this week, and they would need to attend all the rest of the weeks until then to be eligible for baptism.  It's my first family. It's a grandma, mom, and son and daughter. Leonor, Lucy, Diego and Allison. 

They fed us rice with milk, and it tastes a lot like oatmeal. It tasted really good.  Most of the food here is super bland. I miss the CCM, and the ability to have a lot of milk with frosted flakes for breakfast and dinner.  Here it's a little for breakfast, a lot a lot for lunch, and a bit of bread for dinner.  

I like the area, but I really wish we had bicycles.  It would make it really easy, although I´m not sure what we´d do with them once we arrive at an appointment.  But yeah, Colombia is very different from America, and I can´t believe that I've almost done two months. I also can´t believe that I have twenty-two more to go.

Also we blessed Leonor, and on the missionary Sunday.   I gave a blessing to the mom of a recent convert family. All good.

We teach this really old dude named Alfredo, and he doesn't remember any of the lessons we've given before. He's stuck in his house too, so he can't attend church.  But He did accept a baptismal date.  But he doesn't remember.  ha ha

Anyway, tonight there's a Halloween activity at the Capilla (Chapel). So I'm excited to go and have some dulces (sweets/candy).  

Anyway, we have been walking a lot, and teaching a little. My morning routine is wake up, take a freezing cold shower, and then study: one hour solo study, one hour companion study, 30 minutes Spanish, 30 for him to learn English.  I understand a lot, but I can't say what I want because I don't know the words.  Lots of stuff to do. 

My favorite food here is Arroz con Leche! It tastes like oatmeal. I also had cow stomach soup today, and other stuff. It was alright.

I am excited to be in Colombia. Not much more to say I think. 

I´ll talk to you next week. Expect me at 4:30 pm. I love all of you guys. Thanks for being good blokes.

The knot is pretty huge. I have a lot of Vergûenza because of it. (embarrassment).  Anyway I only have five minutes left. I like Colombia. The only thing I want right now is more food. 

I love you mom. 

I can't wait til I can see the end of my three months here (probably four and a half). I hope to reactive a lot of people and bring more souls to Christ.

The field is way different than the CCM. Because nobody speaks English, so I am now forced to speak Spanish. I really like Colombia. The food here is either mediocre or bad. But I am eating it all so the members will invite me back! We have either nothing, or eggs for breakfast. Then study, then we contact or teach a lesson, have lunch, and then work for another eight to nine hours contacting or teaching. A lot to do here. I know in three months this area will be totally different! 

So Colombians speak really easy to understand Spanish, So I am pretty well off in understanding. I can understand probably one out of three sentences. About the gospel probably three out of four.  

People here are either whitish, brown, or black. There aren't white people or Asians. So it's very different. 

Water is clean in Bogota, but nowhere else I think. So I am one of the places that is good for Gringos. In Mexico, a lot of words meant something, but don't mean anything here.  So a lot of my go-to phrases are now meaningless to the people here. Really common word is Chevere. It means lit, dank, or awesome. 

In the Mission there is a lot of opportunities llegar a ser humilde. (become humble). I am humbled because I don´t speak the language, somos rechazados por toda la gente, (rejected by everybody) and because I need to be a different person than at home or the CCM.  I want everybody to hear the gospel. I just need to work harder, just like we all do to become more like Christ.

I testify that in the mission, we need Charity. 

1st Cor. 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

describes what happens for missionaries who don´t have it. And likewise, we need to know the gospel. 

D&C 11:21
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

I have learned His word, but I don't yet love all the people. We were teaching an old guy named Alfredo Pachón, and during that lesson I knew I needed to love the people more, because I didn't feel super compelled to share anything but doctrine of the lesson. If we all could have charity, it would be well with us in the last day. We all need to have this pure love of Christ.  Because without it, we are as tinkling brass. 

P.S.   Halloween is crazy here.  Everybody wears makeup three days in advance, and they say "quiero paz, quiero amor, quiero dulce por favor." (I want peace, I want love, I want sweets/candy please).  Funny.   And there are police everywhere.

Love you mom.

Elder Connor R. Tracy
Colombia Bogota North Mission
September 2016 -- September 2018

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