Monday, February 20, 2012

Quizas mi ultima semana...

I never really thought I would get to this point. Well, everyone knows that it will come, but it always seems like such a far-off thing. But look, here it is. I'll be getting back home this next Tuesday. My mission here in Colombia is coming to an end. I still remember when I got here to Colombia. It really doesn't seem so long ago, like maybe a couple of weeks or something. But not two full years. Hard to believe. For me at least. For my mom... probably an eternity. But now, it is all coming to a close.

Oye, pero no empiezan a pensar que soy trunky, pues no es así! We have been working really hard here. This last Sunday we had five new people at church!!! Yeah, we won't be able to baptize them, but the next missionaries will. Because really, the numbers don't matter. What matters is that you work as hard as you can and that you have the Holy Ghost with you. If such is the case, you can say that you have had success, I believe that I have had an incredibly successful mission with one truly miraculous and amazing I have seen and can testify of the hand of God in my life and in my mission. I know he is there and that he cares for me and that he loves me. I know that this is his true, because it is the only one that fills all the criteria, and second (and most importantly), I have felt his witness that this is true. If you have not yet felt such a thing I strongly encourage you to go, read the Book of Mormon, think about it..what it means to you...why it is important to it applies to you.., and then ask God if it is true. If you really want to know, you will know.

So yesterday I was assigned to talk in sacrament meeting. I talked a little about Zion, why God calls his people that and what that really means. It was really interesting for me to learn a little more about that. Zion means "the pure in heart" according to the GEE (you Spanish-speaking RMs will understand what that is). Another scripture says that it is "of one heart and mind". So I talked a little about the unity that needs to exist within the church and how to build and fortify that unity instead of destroying it. Then, I comparted my testimony and almost cried (almost, but no). It's a little tough to end this mission thing, but my time has come. And know what?....I feel I have done well.

We also had a FHE the other day where I just got ticked off with the non-commitment of the members. So I pulled out some scriptures and pretty much said that now is the time to prepare to meet God because who knows how much time we have left...a few hours o a few years. I invited (rather strongly) that they find out or themselves if this gospel is true or not, and if it is, that they weld, nail, and utterly affix themselves to that knowledge. Thus, and only thus, affixing themselves in such way and being true to said knowledge their whole life, will they be able to stand before God with a clean conscience at that last day.

Today, for P-day, we went and did...nothing. Really, we just cleaned up the house a little bit. And played Monopoly cards. Chinese food. It was rather funny. An American (me) talking to a Chinese and the Chinese talking to Spanish. Yep, but it was pretty good stuff. We also noticed that some wasps had moved into a corner of our balcony, so we attempted to fight against them...first with a broom, then with fire (using a lighter and spray deodorant)... but to no avail. They just keep coming back. We are now planning a sneak attack tonight...wish us luck. =D

I now must go. I bid thee farewell my brethren, I soon must go to the place prepared or me in the mansions of my father.
And so ends the First Book of Elder Rallison

Love you all,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

PS See you next week!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

All is well in Zion

All is well and good here in Giron.

This past week has been good. The only thing that I didn't like so much was having to go to the center of Bucaramanga so my companion could go and get a salvoconducto, a document that is pretty much a 30-day extention of his visa (which expires next week). It was quite a hassle which invloved running all morning from government agencies to a bank ten blocks away. Of course with our luck, by the time we got back to said agency, it was closed (and we only missed by 3 minuites). So, now we have to go back there again this week. Oh joy!
We had lunch last Saturday with on was intresting. Intresting in that the mother of the family commented that her daughter had asked her Mom when she could get married. "Well, I think you can wait a little longer before you get married" answered the mom. "But who am I going to marry?" asks the girl. Mom answers,"I don't know, but it will have to be a returned missionary." Girl says, "Can he be a gringo(American)?" ¡¡¡YIKES!!! I have a snake!!! Oh and by the way, she's five. =D

As for the work, we are working very hard. Not trunky at all. Just a little annoyed that of all the people we invited to church, epecially those with bapismal dates, didn't come. The only non-members there we a couple friends that one family bought. Well....I'll work with what I've got. We also got to work in Lebrija, a small little town about 20min from Giron. It went well, we found a lot of people and got to give a blessing after knocking a door.

But honestly one of the highlights of my week was being able to interview an investigator for baptism. I don't know how to explain it, it is just an incredible sort of thing to see, hear, and most of all feel that this person is ready to take this significant step forward. I love the mission and I love being able to serve my fellow-man in this capacity. I love all you people back home, especially my family (sorry with the rest of you, but they came first and will always come first). I'll see you soon.

Love you,
Elder (Gabe) Rallison

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Miracles on 34th St (of Giron)

This week has been fantastic. We worked very hard to complete all our goals and enjoy this work as much as possible. I got to teach some cool and several rather crazy people. I was also full of little miracles that make me smile.

For example, this past Monday, I lost a memory stick that contained all my photos from my whole mission. I was heartbroken. Maybe it had fallen from my pocket on the bus. I couldn't find it in the house. Anywhere. i was seriously grieving. But the good thing is this. I prayed. I prayed and felt that even though I don't know exactly how it was going to happen, that everything would be okay. Confiding in that still small voice, I went to work. Three days later, after an interchange, my companion came to me and gave me my memory! They found it in a barber's shop that we had visited that day. I was so incredibly happy. Those were my memories. And now I have them all back =D.

Another thing, we had interviews this past Saturday, just something short for me and my comp as we are going home here soon and will have interviews when we go. But afterwards, we were on the bus going from Bucaramanga to Giron, when a lady sitting next to me started talking to me about religion. She had been through a lot of churches (claims to have investigated our church and claimed that we didn't eat pork....umm...I love bacon...=D) and had a very critical idea of all of them. She believes that truth is a point of view based on how one understands the Bible. Yep. And here I was. And I started to testify. That I knew what I shared was true, not because I was convinced by some guy with a Bible, but because I have prayed and asked God if all this is true. Then the inspired question..."Do you believe that God answers prayers?" She was silent. Then she simply started talking about Colombia...the USA...every topic except religion. When I got up to leave she said "Think about it", I answered "Ask Him about it". THIS is what makes us different from any and every other church in the world. We know that God answers sincere petitions for truth, for clarity, for guidance. We believe and know that He will answer in the affirmative that what we share is true. And in that moment, in that little bus, I knew, I felt, without a doubt that what I share is true. It was one of many confirmations of said truth that I have received in my life, but one of the strongest I have ever felt. I knew it, and I know that she knew that I knew it.

Apart from those two amazing testimony builders, I also have also enjoyed a fun stake conference. President Hacking was there and spoke about how the mission of bringing people to Christ isn't just one of the missionaries, it is a mission of every member of the Church of Jesus Christ. The stake president had a cool talk too, he pretty much read word for word my favorite childhood story, "The Little Engine that Could" (remember that one Mom?). Suffice to say it was a little bit of a trunky moment for me. Also, five brothers from our ward received the Melchizedek priesthood. Sweet. And two were recent converts (including Jason). =D

Today we had a zone activity playing football and volleyball. It was cool and all but I forgot to use sunscreen and burned my neck. But all in all, I enjoyed what, as another elder so wonderfully pointed out, was my last zone activity in the mission. Sad, but true.

Love you all,
Elder Rallison