Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick this will be...

So, in summary, we did a lot of stuff. We went on interchanges with the zone leaders, had a great family home evening, painted, got wet, had an open house in the church, went to work with one of the assistants, went hiking, got tired, scaled a mountain, saw a sacred lagoon, took pictures, and we worked our tails off.

Interchanges were really good, I got to work with Elder Vitola in Alamos. We talked, taught, and went to teach some more. I also spent a lot of time explaining English slang (for example, "What the heck does heck mean?".....Ummm.....) Yeah, I had a lot of fun with that.

The family home evening was a blast, we taught this lesson about the importance of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone really participated well and afterwards, we ate completos chilenos (those hot dogs with avocado and tomato...sounds weird but is really tasty).

We also did a service project helping a family paint their house. The only downside was that in route there was quite a cloudburst and I was stuck in the middle of it, without my umbrella!!!! Note to self: when in Bogota, ALWAYS carry your umbrella. So we got there wet, but in the end we were able to help them get a few walls painted. I was very proud of my work there. I even rebuilt a windowsill using patching plaster!

Running from the service, we changed into suit and tie and went to the chapel. We had an open house inviting the whole world to come and enter, to see what we are all about. A lot of people here pass the chapel during the week and never see it open. But this day we were walking through the streets, grabbing people and herding them into the doors. It was quite a success. Each organization had a room and each went explaining what they were all about. In the end we got 15 references in only two hours. Very cool and very well done.

On Sunday we were eating lunch when we got a call from Elder Huaita, one of the assistants here. He told us that he would be in our house in twenty minutes! Yikes. We ate everything as fast as we could, and went running to the house to meet him. We got there and set to work. We taught several people and, really, I can say that I learned a lot in that one afternoon. New examples, better questions, and, most important a better understanding of how to work with the Spirit. That Elder knows how.

Today we went to the Lagoon Guatavita, a lagoon that according to legend, is probably the origin of the story of El Dorado, the city of gold. Anciently, the Indians who lived there had a ritual in which they threw gold into the lake. It was quite a sight, the lake that is, but it took a bit to get there. Two buses, and about four miles walking. But it was worth it and a very pretty sight. Got some great pictures, but don't have time to send them now.

Love you all,

Elder Rallison

Monday, April 25, 2011


So this weeek has been great, but with a ton going on.
To start, on Thursday, we were having our normal weekly planning, right? Well, we were finishing up when we heard a knock on the door.... who could that be? To our shock and surprise it was the....Zone Leaders...BUM BUM BUM!!!!! At first we were thinking uh oh, this cannot be good. But in the end, turns out all they wanted was to see how we are doing as a companionship and participate in our comp inventory (the whole evaluation of the strengths/weaknesses of the companionship and its members). Phwew. A bit of a shock that. Having your leaders come unannounced.

Not much on Friday or Saturday. On Sunday though, we had a baptism!!!! Stefanie finally got baptised. And better yet, my companion was the one to baptize her! Sweet. Nothing in the mission is quite as cool as seeing your investigators change into the newest members of the church. The Young Women organized the service and did an awesome job. They had an amazing musical number, a talk about the importance of following the path from baptism to the temple. Really cool in all. And in and of itself it was a bit of a miracle. When we got to the church, there was no water. At all. That is not usually a good sign. Then, when we were about to give up, after having tried almost everything, the water started shooting out. We didn't do anything. It just happened. There are miracles.

That night we had an experience a little less enjoyable. We had to move a sister from our ward to another house because the one she was living in was leaky. She is now living in a room with half functioning electricity, a room that is full of mosquitoes and is about half the size of my bedroom at home. Wow. I was left with a grand sense of gratitude for all that God had blessed me with. To me now, our mission apartment seems like a place. We have water, electricity, gas, everything. It's moments like this that really help a person to appreciate all that they have.

On Monday we did a big service project as a zone. We went to a farmhouse about fifteen miles outside of Bogota and spent the day weeding, moving literally a ton of sand, cleaning out a room full of food storage and floor tiles, pulling out a planting terrace, and more. The sister was really nice and made us pasta. Homemade pasta. She had one of those little pasta makers that flattens out the dough and cuts it into strips. Really was a lot of fun making that. After we walked to a nearby lake and enjoyed the weather, until it started to rain that is.

Tuesday...interviews. It was funny, we were told that we needed to be there at 9:30. We got there at 10:30. I was so nervous, afraid that President was going to cut my head off. But thankfully, he was taking a long time with the zone leaders and we actually ended up waiting awhile before we got in to see him. The interview for me is always a great morale booster. And this one was no exception. I am so pumped to work now!

Last, but not least, the temple trip today. We went to the temple really early, getting up at about four-thirty to get ready to go. As always, an amazing experience. We almost didn't make it into the session, and when we did, we almost didn't fit. They actually had to bring in several folding chairs so that there was space for everybody. All in all, it was amazing. Got several questions answered today. After, we ate in the temple cafeteria, and upon leaving, ran into another zone. One of my coolest companions ever, Elder Godoy was there. So cool to see him and several of the other missionaries again. Great experience.

Well, that was very long and I am now out of time. So, I will see you all next week. Love you all!!!!!

Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Qué más?

Life in Colombia is going great. As for the work, we have had Stefanie interviewed--she passed! Baptism this Sunday!!!!! So happy, so so happy. There is nothing in the mission quite like a baptism. Seeing a person make all the changes and finally take the plunge, nothing compares. As for the rest we are still working way hard to find new people and get them baptized. If you know of anyone, please let me know.

Apart from that, I've been spending a lot of time lately out of area. On Friday, I had an interchange in Dorado with Elder Francom, a new gringo who is still working on getting his Spanish down. It was fun, we contacted a lot and got soaked in a wonderful downpour. Also had another in Alamos with Elder Porflit. That was fun, except that the appointment to visit a family and have a family home evening fell through and we were left with the makings for Chilean hot dogs....well, maybe not that much of a sacrifice. We did enjoy eating a ton of hot dogs. Also had to go to the office yesterday. That was a lot of fun. An hour there and an hour back. But the good part is that we now have all we need to continue working with power for a long, long, time.

I still continue with a bit of a cough/cold going on here, but hey, at least it isn't dengue. Other than that, I'm okay, love hearing from each and every one of you.

So, I find myself kind of out of time.
Love you, will write more next week!
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Thursday, April 7, 2011

General Conference and more

It has been wild the past week.

On Thursday we went downtown. We had to get there early so we got up at five, got on a bus, and got to the office. We got the papers that we needed so that my comp could got to the doctor for an eye exam. He really needs them. Seriously, I have not ever seen anyone with eyesight that bad. The prescription that the doctor gave him is about three times mine. And I thought I was bad. So he put in the order for those, and we finally got back here about lunchtime. So that was fun.

On Saturday we had conference. YAY!!!!! So, our president says that each missionary should watch conference in his own language if possible, but sadly, after going to not one, but two stake centers, there was none to be had for the first session. So, I just watched in Spanish. I understood it all right, it was just a little distracting watching as their lips say one thing and I'm hearing another. Ah well. In the end, though, we were able to get a TV set up with English! I was able to watch the rest of conference in English (except for part of the Sunday morning session when we lost the audio...). That was fun, we were running around in circles, turning this or that dial, attempting in vain to restore the audio. It didn't work, but somehow it miraculously came back for the last session. =D

And what great messages. I don't remember who it was but I remember an amazing message about the importance of desire. that when we have a desire, that desire will bring us to making choices based on said desires, which then become actions. For "all will be judged according to theirs works and the desires of their hearts. Also one that talked about the importance of be instead of do. "Everyone has to-do lists but very few have to-be lists. This idea of being instead of just doing, it relates a lot to the mission. You don't just do missionary work, you are a missionary. And what a message from Elder Holland. I had never realized fully the amount of inspiration that goes into a conference message. I can't wait to get a Liahona or Ensign and read them, study them (hopefully in English). Oh and as a final thought, I noticed a lot of talk about marriage, about not waiting, of the importance of actively looking and working toward said goal. New personal goal, get married as fast as possible after the the end of 2012? We'll see.

So, that's about it, I guess. It rained a lot on Sunday as we were walking home, and I ended up getting really wet and cold, and ending up with one of the worst colds of my life. i spent most of the day on Monday in bed with chills, had a rough time on Tuesday as well. Now I feel better, but I have almost completely lost my voice. But, all is well. Really, it is all good.

Love you all lots,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison