Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Busy times

Things are moving along swiftly here in Colombia. My companion and I have been working like crazy. Our zone leaders presented a plan so that we look at and measure our progress on our weekly goals day by day.

My comp and I have been doing that and wow, our success is shooting through the roof. We are going to be shooting to break the mission record for contacts this next week. Wish us luck!!!

Our investigators are all doing very well, but are having a few problems with their families. Yeah, that's a first, everyone has the same problem. It is the whole idea that family is Catholic (or Cristian) and what would they think if I were to go and change..... How do you work with that? My best answer is ....Who is more important? What is more important? What God wants? Or what your family wants?..... Well, we are doing our best. Either they will do it or not. We are here to invite, but they are the ones who have to accept the invitation.

Today, being prep day, we had a district activity. We went to Monserrate, a 17th century Catholic church built on the top of mountain. We had to take the good ol' TransMilienio (Bogota's metro) and then walk about eight blocks to get to the base of the mountain. Then, we had a very enjoyable cable car ride to the top. We walked around the top of the mountain enjoying very much the shops (one of which was selling coca leaves....yes, those coca leaves) and checked out a very creepy old church. Really, there is something about this place that just left me with goosebumps. All in all though, it was a fun activity with some great views of Bogota.

And that's all folks! Love ya all!
-Elder Rallison

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New life in the work

Wow. What a week. I seriously don't think I've ever worked as hard in my mission before. This past Saturday, we had interchanges with the missionaries from the MTC here in Colombia. I worked for the day with two awesome elders from Venezuela, Elder Colmenares y Elder Benitez. They were so cool. We worked like crazy, contacting, teaching, working, working, working. The best part is that after I felt as if I Had my "greenie fire" reignited (greenie fire is what we call that newbie desire to work). With them, in one day we found eight new investigators. So much fun. =D And to end the day, we ate tamales that one of the families in the ward were selling so that their son can buy his military exemption (military service is required here in Colombia, unless you pay a ~$400 fee).

After all that, we just had to keep it up. And we did. For the rest of the week, my companion and I kept up an incredible pace. By the end of the week, we had contacted more than 160 people! What craziness. Now we just have to make sure that we can keep it up this week. We've got a good start, now we just have to keep it up. We are teaching a lot of people, among my favorites are all the awesome black guys from the coast. They are so stinking funny. We have one named Oscar who always addresses us as Amigo Rallison and Amigo Mendoza. They also have such a funny clipped accent. But they are seriously my favorites. I have noticed that here in Engativá most everybody is from somewhere else. From Boyaca, from Duitama, from Santa Marta, from Baranquilla (like Shakira), from Ibague, from Pasto, but I have yet to meet anyone who is really from here in Engativá.

Well, I think that's about it. But of course, I can't end without a spiritual message for all of you. I have been reading and thinking a lot lately about gratitude. Gratitude is, to me, really the key to happiness. An ungrateful person can have everything and still not feel satisfied, while a grateful person, who might have very few possessions, is always happy with the abundance with which they have been blessed. Many times, it helps to take a moment and look. Look at all the manners in which you have been blessed in your life. And really, it is a commandment (verse D&C 59:7). I would like to invite each of you to say thanks. To your Heavenly Father. To other people. It really does help.

Thanks to each and every one of you. Thanks Dad. Thanks Mom. Thanks Skye. Thanks Lyric. Thanks Eli. Thanks Jonah. Thanks Isaac. Thanks to my teachers. To my friends. Thanks to my leaders. Thanks to my family. Thanks to each and every one of you who had touched my life and helped make me who I am today. Thank you.

Elder Rallison


Bueno, to start, sorry that this message is a little late. I'll be explaining why in a moment.

This past week, we had a zone conference here with president hacking. It was really cool, with the focus being on.....well....focusing. He and the assistants talked about how we need to focus ourselves, much like a pair of binoculars, so that we can have a clearer vision of where we are going and what we are going to do. To help with that, we've had a change of P-day from Monday to Wednesday so that everyone is more focused on Sundays. For that, I am writing today. We had a great activity where we took little paper sheep and wrote on them what we are going to "sacrifice" in order to be better missionaries. Each of us then took them and burned them on an altar that had been constructed outside. Really cool idea, I think I´ll have to use that in the future...=)

Also, we baptized Daniel Cruz this past Saturday. The service was a little rough and we started about half an hour late, but in the end it all turned out really well. He is a great kid, just a little quiet. Reminds me a lot of myself.

So, lately we've had to put a lot of focus on finding and on setting baptismal dates. We've been having a lot of success in that realm, now we just have to make sure that they all come to church. That will be the moment of truth.

Well, not much more to say, the rain continues, it has let up a bit, but it still continues. Hope you all have a great week and most of all that Skye has a great B-day tomorrow.

Love you all!!!!
-Elder Rallison

Monday, January 3, 2011

Same Old...But with a New Year!!!

So, all is well here in Engativa. Everything continues as normal, without any real changes to report. Just a few cool things.

We celebrated New Years in Dorado as a district. We ate hot dogs in two different styles, Chilean Completos and American Chili-Cheese Dogs. Yeah, only 3 of the 6 were from Chilie. As such, THEY had their celebration a little early, at 10. Man they were crazy. The rest of us just celebrated with the Colombians. Happy New Year!!!!!

When we got to church we had a surprise. Jonathan has now bought a new suit and has had a haircut! Really, his hair is now really short, almost as short as mine is! And better yet, he blessed the Sacrament. I love being able to watch my converts progress, it is really something special.

So, really, there's not much more to say. The rain continues here in Colombia, Elder Mendoza is great, I'm healthy, um..... really....Not much more than that. Hope you all have a great new year!!!

-Elder Rallison

Christmas went well....

So we really didn't do much last week. What we did do was enjoy a great Christmas. For lunch we ate a kind of sancocho (a soup) and played with a pair a rabbits that the family had as pets. My companion to this day has plns to eat them. He says that rabbits as well as guinea pigs are very popular foods in Peru.

Oh before I forget, transfers are in!!! I, and my companion are both staying here, but I am getting a new zone leader, Elder Porflit!!! He's one of my best friends here in the mission. When I started here in Zipaquira, he was the companion, and son, of my district leader. How cool that now he's in my district again. =D

Back to Christmas......we celebrated in the normal fashion....if you're Colombian. Here, Christmas is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. I was so tired that I almost slept through it all. But celebrate we did. Oh and we also ate ajiaco (another Colombian soup...and one of my personal favorites) with the Hermana Baquero.

My favorite part by far was talking with my family on Christmas day. I got to talk to them by webcam and everything! So much fun. I really can't belive how much everyone has grown and changed in the last year (especially Eli, he's gettin' big). It was really something special to see them and talk to them.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year...that is, Un Feliz Año Nuevo!!!!

-Elder Rallison