Monday, November 22, 2010

From Engativá =D

So, here things are good. One thing we like to say about Engativa is that it is the place where every missionary will finish his mission. Why? Because it is right next to the airport here in Bogota. Everyone is destined to end here! =D

The climate here is COLD. Well, not that cold, but after almost 5 months of heat, an instant change to cold, rainy, high altitude conditions can be a bit of a shock. I've gone from Barranca (which is the worst heat of Colombia) to Bucaramanga (which is a little cooler) and now to Bogota (where it is so cold at night that you use four wool blankets). Fun change.

Here in Engativá we have one hermana who is like the mother of all the missionaries, la hna Baquero. She is really great and in my short time here, has invited us to breakfast twice, lunch once, and twice to dinner. She is like the heart of the ward.

The ward here is cool, and they're quick. They've already assigned me to talk....on my birthday. How does that work out? Ah well, it will be cool none-the-less. This past Sunday was the primary program here in Engativá. All of the kids were dressed in the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, which also happen to be the colors of Colombia as well. The older kids (Valientes) shared short talks about the First Vision, the nature of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, and Eternal Life. The younger kids (Haz Lo Justo) shared scriptures that they memorized. It was really something special.

We've been working really hard here and have several investigators who are just golden. We've got Johnathan and Joanna Leydi, who are both the children (23 and 17 years old respectively) of a recent convert. Leydi is already working on her personal progress and has plans to finish it before she turns 18 (seven months more). Her brother loves to cook and dreams of working as a chef on a cruise liner. Suffice to say they are both set to be baptized on the 5th of December.

We also have another pair of investigators, Juan David and his mom, Ana Isabel. Juan David is great, he loves asking questions. The funny part is that when he gets his answer he wants to know the why of the why of the why of the answer. We joke about needing to set up a four hour appointment in order to answer all his questions. His mom is great, but is still faulting as far as here testimony is concerned. We challenged her to sincerely pray following the counsel of Moroni 10:4-5 and promised her that she wold receive an answer. Now, we'll just have to see how that goes.

Aside from that, don't really have much more to say. All of you back home, enjoy the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, green beans with french onions, ham, fruit, and that pistachio-marshmallow stuff on Thursday for me. Yeah, I'm going to miss el Dia de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving). Most of all, remember to count your blessings and enjoy your time together as family.

Love you all, and send all of you my best wishes. May you be blessed in all your endeavors.

Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Monday, November 15, 2010

On the road again...

So, the changes are here. I'm heading back to Bogota again. Yep, we got called last night and I've got a change to zone Dorada (yeah, the golden zone) and my area is Engativa (that´s pronounced in-ga-tiba). My comp is staying here and is going to train this cambio. My new compañero, well, I think his name is Elder Mendoza. I´ll be more sure tomorrow night when I get there. It's only a ten hour bus ride. Fun.....right? But seriously, I´m really going to miss it here. There's even a mall here in Floridablanca that looks exactly like one from the states. Right down to the pricing. Even had McDonald's. But ah well, moving on.

So this week was a little crazy. This Tuesday we were working like normal, teaching, contacting, more teaching, more contacting, and started to rain. Qué feo. And did it rain. And better yet, we had to walk over 30 blocks in that torrential rain. Can it get worse...yes. Then the power in all the city went out. Luckily we were close to a member's house, so we taught them a short lesson and then the father of the family gave us a lift to the apartment. When we got home we were soaked to the bone.

I had an intercambio in Piedecuesta (Spanish for where's Ahwatukee?) on Wednesday, which was fun , but lacked something important....water! Yeah, there was no running water in Piedecuesta due to some problems with the aqueduct. Not fun. But the good part is by the morning, the water had returned. And better yet, I had my first hot shower in four months. You see, here in Tierra Caliente there aren´t the wonderful shower head water heaters. So, the water is ice cold every morning. But for some miracle Piedecuesta has a water heater shower head. It was glorious. Also, while my companion was here, he set up a baptismal date for one of our investigators. But he didn´t exactly do it. The nonmember grandma of the investigator did! How cool is that?!?

So I had a special spiritual experience this week. I was just minding my own business Friday night, when I got an impression that I should get my bags packed. I know that that sounds stupid, but really, that´s how it was. I had no idea I had a change coming, in fact the odds were against it. I only have one change here in Cañaveral after all. But I did follow it. And what do you know. It was right. Never doubt that still small voice. --After note, we also made and ate hamburgers and popcorn this night. Yum!!!

Yesterday we got to speak again in church. Yeah, the primary program fell through because almost none of the kids prepared. So we got to talk. I talked on becoming as a child (Mosiah 3:19; 3 Nephi 9:22) and then my companion talked about the Atonement. He was good. He shared that story about how one boy took the lickin' for another. I don't remember exactly what it is called, but yeah, that story. He then shared 3 Nefi 9:13 which is one of the coolest verses of all time. It reads : "O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" Some deep food for thought there.

As for this area, well, one of the things that makes it sad to go is that we have made so much progress here. We have one investigator, Mauricio, who is getting baptized this Saturday. But I won't be here to see it. And man is he golden. We asked him in a lesson last week "What do the words 'Sabbath Day' mean to you?" He then went and taught us the lesson. And better than we would have taught it. He´ll be a good member.

I've learned a lot here, and hope to be able to continue learning and growing in this new area. Oh, and now I´m going to be senior comp. Dang. I've got to really get up and work now....kidding. All that changes is I have to call the district leader. And if something goes wrong it is my fault. Fun stuff. I've discovered that there are two things that determine if someone is a good missionary or not. They are: the Holy Ghost and initiative. If a missionary has those, he's set. If not...well he'd better work on getting them. Like I'm working on it.

Love you all, and hope you are all doing great. Keep strong and keep faithful. Show your love of the gospel in how you live.
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Monday, November 8, 2010


So, I finally have started getting better. You see, I believe I had parasites. Yeah, THOSE fun little guys that live in your gut and make life miserable. But, good news is, I took some weird yellow pills and now, I'm gaining weight! Por fin!!! I've been trying to gain weight almost all of my mission, but all I've done is lost weight. But now, my fate is changing. I hope. I´ll keep you posted.

So I had an interesting experience the other day. I went to get a haircut the other day and well, I was paying more attention to contacting the stylist than to what the stylist was doing to my hair. I don´t think I explained very well what I wanted and well, she kind of cut off almost all my hair. I now look like the newest member of the Colombian military. Well, gringo, but you get the idea.

Yesterday was fun. We got to teach priesthood, I got to play piano in sacrament meeting, my companion got to conduct, bore our testimonies, and we almost had to teah gospel principles too. All without any notice whatsoever. And after, when we went to lunch, we were served three plates of food.....each. And wouldn't you know it, I was still hungry after wards. What is my problem?

Also, life moves on here in Cañaveral. We are constantly running from end to end of the area, which btw, is huge. We are working with several people right now, but so far, Marucio is the only one whois really progressing. He's really cool and always really interested. He's a great investigator. He even came to our zone activity that we had today.

So for our zone activity, we played a lot of soccer, which I am really enjoying. I love playing it, I'm just not very good...yet. It will come with practice. My team actaully won the most games in the end, so I mean we weren't that bad. While we were playing soccer, the sister missionaries came by and cooked lunch fro the zone. They made something called "Completos". A completo is a hot dog with boiled onions, diced tomatoes, guacamole, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. Those things are good. As was the soda. We have several types of soda here that don't exist in the states. One of my favorites is Postobon Manzana. Yep, apple flavored soda. Also, Quatro, which is a kind of a cross between sprite and that grapefruit soda (of which I can't remember the name) is really good.

I think that about wraps it up for this week. I promise, next week, I will tak better notes so that I have more to say.

Love you all, and I wish you sucess in all your righteous endeavors.

Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween

So in response to all those questions out there, yes, Halloween exists here in Colombia. It´s terrible. Because of stinking Halloween, we had a terrible day yesterday. Everybody was either out with their kids trick or treating, or getting drunk/partying. As such, it was impossible to contact anyone, like seriously, ever tried explaining the love that God has for each one of us to Buzz Lightyear and a witch? It really doesn't work out very well. Also, no one really takes you seriously because they half think you´re just someone else in a costume. So after the bust contacting, we went around to attempt to visit some investigators and members. And NO ONE was home. We literally went through plan A, B, C, D, and E all in the space of one hour. A really effective day that. It´s like, I love Halloween as a normal person back home, but as a missionary it sucks.

Well, that day really wasn´t all bad. We had a countrywide regional conference by satellite yesterday. At first the signal was a little weak and cut out a bit, but in the end all worked out fine. We had messages from Elder Scott and from Pres Monson. Elder Scott has great Spanish by the way. He actually had several visual aids too that were really cool. He took a light bulb and turned it on. He said that this is you. You are literally a light to all around you. You have a protective covering, the glass of the bulb or obedience to the commandments, that protects the fragile filament, you, from the danger of the outside that would destroy it. Then took a screwdriver and began tapping the bulb. He said, "Sometimes we don´t outright cross the line, but toe it, toe it a little more, a little more, until....." He taps harder and harder until the bulb just breaks. "This happens". No bulb, no light. Don´t cross that line, don´t even toe the line. Don't for one minute think that you can lower you standards and still be safe. It doesn't work that way.

We've got a baptism coming up here. Were working with getting one investigator, Marucio, baptised. His sister, cousin, and grandma are all members, but just not him. Yet. He plans to be baptized in three weeks. Finally, were making progress. Were also working with another young man, Diego, to get him baptized. He´s just very catholic. He really likes all we´ve shared, and wants to ask a priest why they never talk about the Book of Mormon. We´ll have to see what the priest says.
=D. The last of the big fish in our teaching pool is Maria. She is a reference from a member of a bishopric in the other stake here in Bucaramanga. She always has good questions, but is a little hesitant to go and ask God. Ah well, we will be working with that.

Well, with that contorted excuse for a well written letter, I end my epistle. May you, my brethren, continue firm in the faith. This is my prayer and hope.

Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Bella Vista

Well, that was good. Long week, but rich with stuff. The only hard thing is that I lost my daily planner, and with that, a large portion of my notes as to what I would be writing home. But with all that said, there were several great events.

First, the noche de barrio (familiy home evening as a ward). It was organized by us the missionaries, to help the ward members to builf their testimonies and their desire to participate in misionary work. We shared the Joseph Smith story, though the DVD player died on us with the Restoration DVD. So we read it out loud. Everyone really loved it, especailly the games. I taught them all how to play missionary tag, also known as buddy tag. It was a major hit.

We have been working with several investigators right now, but with little progress. This past sunday the only one of our investigators to come to church was our deaf investigator. That was depressing, as we had about six lined up to come to church. But everyone has an excuse, I feel sick, my son is sick, I have to make lunch for the familiy, etc. But ah well, next week will be better.

Today we played soccer with our zone (Bucaramanga) and my old zone (Terazas). Man, it was cool to see all the old faces once again. We also played lots of Uno. Yep, Uno. The card game of colors and numbers. It is seriously the most popular game in the mission (well, after soccer).

For lunch today I ate.....McDonalds. What, did you think I was gouing to say something all gross? Funny thing is, here, McD's is high class. Really high class. Next time I'll have to send a picture. The McDonalds here is all stainless steel and black leather. Way different from back home. Only one sad thing.....the lack of the dollar menu.

I think that´s all for now. Sorry, there really isn´t more to say. Things are moving on as usual. I'm here in Colombia as a missionary, marriage counselor, English/Math/Science/Music tutor, maid, and many more. Love it all.

Un abrazo para todos,
-Elder (Gabe) Rallison