Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It's been a good year, hasn't it? Lots of progress, lots of new lessons learned, lots of challenges, lots of victories, lots of tears, lots of smiles, lots of misunderstanding, and lots of love. Yep, we have now reached that nostalgic part of the year...the end. That time when everyone thinks of what they've achieved and where they're going. Personally, I think I'm going well, still have a lot to go and all, but all said, I am happy with the progress that I have made and am making. That said, I still have a lot to go. So, in that spirit....Happy New Year!

This past week was pretty good. We had an awesome FHE with Jason and Carol along with a bunch of their neighbors. It was epic; there were about 15 people there. We taught about being obedient and obeying God's commands. We then played a game in which everyone had to follow the commands of "God". Each picked a piece of paper and had to do as written. Well, I had to bark and howl like a dog....and wouldn't you know it, I did it so good that the dog next door started barking back at me!

Christmas was fun. Here, Christmas is celebrated more like New Years, as in everyone stays up till midnight on Christmas Eve and then they shoot off fireworks! Also, the majority get way drunk and dance in the street. Yeah, not really my sort of Christmas. Though we did have a lot of fun stuff. On the 24th, we ate dinner with the Familia Cacua (tamales- a Colombian tradition) and we also went and grilled meat out on the balcony of our apartment (about ten pounds between six elders). I was so full when I went to bed. And on the 25th I got to call my family. I loved that. It was cool being able to see all you guys and talk to you face to face after so long. You are all so big now! And you all seem to have changed a lot.

Well, I am at a loss for in I don't have anything more to say. So I'll just leave it at this.
Love you,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Love December!!!!

First off, I would like to thank all of you for your birthday wishes. Thanks for remembering your long lost -friend, brother, son, grandson, etc- here in Colombia. Love you all!!! Yeah, so I'm now all old-ish and I can now legally buy beer and do stuff...yep, and this matters why? Well, nuf said, I am now 21!

This last week has been way busy. I also took a ton of photos, but, as my luck would have it, I forgot to bring my camera today, so tough luck, photos next week.

On Friday, Jason and Carolina got married! It was way cool, my third marriage so far here in Colombia. I think by the time I get back I'll be a pro at getting all the stuff done so....anyone need help getting hitched? =D Just kidding.

But really, it was a great wedding, and after we had a party in their house which was pretty much us (the missionaries) teaching about the basic beliefs of the church to all their neighbors and family!

It was cool, and I think we found two or three new families from that so even cooler. Oh and apart from teaching, there was also a three -tier cake, a ton of arroz con pollo (a common meal here), and soda.

On Saturday, we had a baptism! Of the same couple above mentioned, along with their daughter Silvia. After a few delays, such as lack of presiding authority, witnesses, people arriving late, etc, we finally did it. It was a great service, as I got to baptize Jason! We even got to sing a special musical number for them as part of it. "Aquí en ropa blanca estan....." get the idea.

And speaking of singing, Saturday and yesterday we went and sung as part of the choir of Bucaramanga. It was so awesome. Elder Bogdan (a 50% Peruvian, 50% Texan, 100% great singer) and I opened up singing a solo of "Come and Adore Him" with Elder Montero and Elder Belgara backing us up. Yeah, you heard. I sang.....the melody. I sang a tenor line.....I have seriously fallen from glory ( I ask for a solemn AMEN from the Ahw 1st ward bass section). Then, later, the gringos totally rocked with Burrito Sabanero. I'm working on getting a video of the whole thing to send your way cause really, my words don't do it all justice.

And, on top of all that, I gave a talk on Sunday. I think I must have forgotten that I had a talk assigned or maybe it was a cruel joke from bishop, but I heard my name announced as the first speaker so I got up and gave a highly improvised talk. I talked about...being the Christmas season, gifts. First about the earthly gifts, such as cars, guitars, socks, ties, etc (all of which are really cool,....well, not quite so much the socks) and then comparing those to the eternally important gifts that God has given us, like the his love, answers to prayers, scriptures, commandments, prophets, priesthood, the Holy Ghost to guide us, and, most of all, his Beloved Son to save us from eternal condemnation. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.". I echo the words of Pablo in 2 Cor 9:15, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Love you all,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree....

So when we went to go visit a family this past Monday, they were there putting up the Christmas tree and all. Well, as always we helped out and after taught a lesson of the true meaning of Christmas. That was cool and all. But then they asked if we knew of someone who could use an old tree, as they had bought a new one for this Christmas. Well.....I knew someone.....the Elders! Yep, we now have a decent tree in our house with lights that we had bought from the store right below us. I'll send pictures!!!

Here we have also been spending a large bit of time in choir practice. Yep, choir. We are doing a missionary choir with all the missionaries in the Terazas and Bucaramanga stakes. We will be singing several hymns along with one of my personal favorites....El Burrito Sabanero =D! With the gringos singing a solo part...we will see how that goes, and I'll try to send a video. But our choir director....more like a choir dictator. Hmm.

We continue preparing the family of Jason and Carol for baptism; they all passed the interview with flying colors this last Saturday, and we continue preparing them for everything. They really are just the perfect family. We are working with several other families as well but each has a few little things that need work. The problem here is that just about anyone listens to us, the problem lies with their commitments, such as going to church, reading the scriptures, praying, etc. Please continue praying for us, your prayers really do help us, a lot.

Love you all,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Christmas Story

Well, how are you all ? Good?

Here in Colombia life is good. Very good.

So you all remember that family I told you about last week? They are getting married on the 16th and baptized the 17th. =D So cool. And they are really a great family. The dad, Jason, always has good questions, and Carol, his wife, keeps telling us that everything we explain makes perfect sense and that her only regret is not having been able to know about all this before. Cool right? I love it when we find those special people, those who are just ready for the gospel.

Apart from that, we had an awesome ward activity this last Saturday, put on by us, the missionaries. It was really something special. We got a hold of a projector, the bishop lent us his huge sound system, and we did a movie night with "The Christmas Carol". And they loved it. A ton of people came, even though it was raining really hard. The really ironic thing is that the next day when we went to the First Presidency Christmas devotional, President Monson talked about that same story. It was cool.

Um...not much more to say, but when I think of something I'll tell you.
-Elder Rallison