Tuesday, December 30, 2014

More December Photos

This is that massive roundabout I talked about but as I said, the pictures don´t turn out so well. It´s normally 3 lanes, the overpass, it also has an underpass, like 6 footpaths in the middle, and a park on either side. And the whole thing is just like awesomely large. Maybe I´ll like take a video of driving through it.

Hicken, Muñoz, Hurtado´s Trainer, Hurtado, Tolman

Hurtado´s Trainer, Hurtado, Hicken

Lighting candles at the Zone Leaders' house...


Monday, December 29, 2014

Feliz Navidad Last Week


This week was interesting with Christmas and drunks and all. Tuesday, we did a massive Estandarte with Zona Poblado, Buenos Aires, Medellín, and another zone. We went to a place called Pueblito Paisa and sang, contacted, shared Èl es la Dàdive [He is the Gift], contacted, and then did some more contacting. 

Pueblito Paisa in Medellin (thanks Google Images)

View from Pueblito Paisa (thanks to Kai's camera)

It was really fun, and there were about 80 missionaries and also the President, his wife, and some family. And this place wasn`t even that big so we really contacted everyone I think. I know I started at the end contacting people who had already been contacted. But, it was fun and we gathered a lot of contacts. 
All of us in a chiva (Party Bus) we rented for the Estandarte
 Singing in the park

Wednesday we had a Christmas dinner with the Banegas (I can`t get enough of that name) family and it was so much food and it was all 10 missionaries in the ward. 

Their daughter is native Colombiana, but also attends BYU and speaks completely fluent English and her best friends are the gringo missionaries because we speak English and she likes English more than Spanish. Also, she speaks a couple of other languages. We all sang a bunch of gringo Christmas carols and hymns and had a contest between the latinos and gringos who could sing the carols better and we grande finale-ed with O Holy Night and Winter Wonderland and won hardcore. 

For Christmas, all the zones of Medellín--also Chocó (the black colony in the Colombian selva [jungle] and they don`t send hermanas there and maybe not gringos either)--met in Guayabal for a conference.

3 hours of talks with Pte and Hna Pitarch and two random missionaries (E´ Bishop and Hna Correa). We then ate lunch and then Jakas and a talent show and then a couple hours of trainings from the APs; then dinner, a gift exchange, and then Hurtado and I slept over at the LZ [Zone Leader's] house and then cleaned up after Chocó in the morning. They, for their Jaka used like massive party poppers and there was like a million pounds of confetti all over and we cleaned it all up. Freaking Chocó is like a real separate clique in the mission and it`s real interesting. They`re different. 

Hurtado and I with a pair of gafas I bought for the Jaka for $5000 (roughly $2.11 in US)
My second ever mirror selfie with our new shades for the Jaka

Friday was great to talk with the family through Skype! We did a 3-way to talk to Talon, me, and the family actually living at home and it was great. 
Family at home, with me in Columbia on the left screen, Talon in Peru on the right
"That's my cool brother", I'm pointing at Talon in Peru

My Skype View on our monitor.  Family and Talon posing for the picture (me holding up camera on the side)
Saturday and Sunday were normal days of work, but literally everyone was vacationing somewhere else and we didn`t have a single cita [appointment]. But, we got 3 nuevos [new contacts] and we are happy about that and these people aren`t even seeming to just want to fight about the Bible, but listen and we`re excited. Hopefully I`ll have a good update on that next week. 

Yesterday we ate at the house of an RM that got back just like a week ago and his mom said that the parties will continue only until like the 15th of January and we were like great let`s just teach la Palabra de Sabiduría [Word of Wisdom] a whole bunch because everyone will be drunk or gone or already members, but still partying. Actually, we went by Hno Torres Saturday to ask him to accompany us to a cita (which actually fell through) and they were having a party with their building and la familia Franco and making something called I think Marcillas -- they`re basically a bunch of chicken, oregano, probably other spices, and blood stuffed in pig intestines and they were doing it all by hand and had like the bucket of intestines and the huge pot of blood and meat. It was interesting, though I don`t actually feel that interested in eating it because there was a whole lot of blood in that pot.

L to R Hno Torres, Hurtado, Hno Franco, Hicken

 the mix for morcillas

the bucket of pig intestines into which they stuff the blood and rice and meat

Hno Torres mixing the insides of morcillas, consists of oregano, rice, chicken, and a whole lot of blood

Mom, the mom of that RM sent you a message on facebook because I told her you make good pizza and she wants to make a pizza for a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] we are having on Tuesday. Also I told Hno Franco that you want recipes of soups, but I didn`t tell Hna Franco because she was busy chopping up chicken for the Marcilla but hopefully her husband will say something to her. This week was real interesting and real tiring.

Still eating well in our own kitchen --  Hurtado and I frying chicken and cooking dinner. Tasted great and it was a little intense.
Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, December 22, 2014

Carta Antes de la Navidad

Buenas to all

Sometimes I try to send videos but it never works so if someone has a really good way to send videos hit me up. 

This was definitely another very difficult week. In Medellín, partying is like a real big thing, so on any given night, much of the city is drunk but I think it´s just worse because it´s Christmas and New Year´s. We have to be in the house early the 24th and 31st. 

We had another lesson with Harrison and Evelin and it was better than last time, and we were able to keep it under control more, but they still want to debate but I think we set it up well for next time teaching Plan of Salvation. We just said "this lesson answers three great questions: where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going after we die?" and Harrison immediately said "well where did we come from? where does it say so in the Bible??" and we just said, "This is our lesson for next time; we are an hour late for the ward activity" very nicely but really they are a rough family to teach but there´s a chance. 

We met another less-active this week named Joaquin and he actually called us over on a day where there was actually literally no one in the street for about 4 hours and we don´t know where they went.  But he walked out of his house and called us over and he was baptized in 2000 in Envigado, He is now living in Cartagena and just visiting Envigado. He´s a very interesting person and his Spanish is difficult to understand but he came to church and a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] and so that´s well. 

We also had an investigator at church named Marta and she´s a Paisa living in Spain, has a testimony and wants to be baptized but isn´t yet-- her parents are old hardcore catholics so they´re holding her back from making decisions like this so we´ve got a bit to work with. But, for now we´ll be teaching her in the church building. 

This week was mainly just filled with us walking around, no one being able to visit with us, and us wondering why so many people were drunk. We´ve asked members what the occasion was and they said that the 4 weeks before Christmas are normal with everyone drunk and also New Years so this is a great time to be in Envigado. 

Last night on the way to a Noche de Hogar, we passed a group of drunks with soup (it´s like a normal thing for people to go out in the street and get drunk and fry meat or make soup) and they pulled us aside and gave us soup and we said thank you and left -- so even the drunks here are nice. They just aren´t great to teach. Also it´s a big thing to play ridiculously loud music and set off fireworks while cooking drunk. 

 People frying meat right across the street

 Some Christmas lights -- festive...

Also right outside our window is like a popular spot to do so. Poor Hurtado hasn´t gotten a good sleep in like a week because the fireworks are ridiculous and Saturday night the music was way loud and kept until 5am. I sleep through everything except the bombshells which only happen like twice a night and those are fireworks which actually shake the cement in our building and shake all the windows and while sleeping it´s like the equivalent of suddenly Lily dropping on your chest and I can make that comparison because I know how that feels. 

So, it´s been a rough week and there hasn´t been all that much sleep to accompany it. Lately it´s been hard with that combination because I really feel like I have more potential as a missionary than I am using or that I can use here and although Hurtado is a decent trainer, he isn´t into working as hard as I think we should be. It´s really just little things like using the area book more, or giving updates to the Líder Misional de Barrio [Ward Mission Leader], and sure I would really like people we can actually teach and start meeting goals, but that part is really more the area just being super difficult (and like the entire mission knows it is) but then there´s also we don´t have lessons with members much-but that´s more because we aren´t having many lessons at all. These days have more success than my first week or two, but regardless it´s rough. But, I still thank God for the rough bits for many reasons. One is that it´s easier to learn lessons from hard situations than from easy ones, and another is that when/if I get transfered to the coast where people often have 3-5 baptisms a month, I´ll be able to see the mission differently and it´ll feel so easy compared to here. It feels like I´m being prepared. The ward says that all the elders that start in Envigado end in the office (which is in the same ward) and that doesn´t sound too bad, except that the office proselytes in the same zone as us and has only slightly more sucess. It´s rough, but I´m still enjoying it. I usually think the loud music and fireworks and drunks all night are funny, and I´m learning alot. 

Thanks for the music, mom! Hurtado and I bought matching ties for the Christmas dinner we have with President Pitarch Thursday and he bought a new suit and I paid a lady in the ward (the grandma in the picture of us and all the office elders) to sew the Colombian Flag in the inside of my suit jacket and it looks super cool.Also we found a store that sells a bunch of stuff all for $5000 and I bought a Rolex watch and an Adidas watch each $5000 and they be sweet. Everyone wants to look real good at the Cena so we will. Also, I´ve found that it´s way fun to do deep studies following a topic using all the standard works and just spend a bunch of time on it because you find loads of stuff and it´s actually real fun.

I hope it snows for Christmas, Not here, but in Colorado. Actually if it snowed here it´d be a miracle

Do something cool,
Élder Hicken