Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Año Nuevo en La Valle‏

Hola mi Querida Familia! Christmas here was a little bit different. But I didn't mind...I worked harder than ever, and Our numbers are some of the best in Valledupar for almost everything! WooHoo! We have had very little food in the house besides the package you guys sent :), but I have been making the best of it. I miss the pajama unwrapping (and you guys) but I am so focused on the work, I forgot it was Christmas until night time. We did caroling also, and most of our lessons fell through. Not many people were sober or wanting to talk to us that day. But I love you guys TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Much. I had two intercambios, which means you spend the day with another missionary. I spent my first with Elder Wilson, my Zone Leader. We had a deaf Colombian member accompany us to lessons named Alfredo. I relearned everything in Colombian Sign Language. And then after 10 minutes of learning how to sign basic things...I taught the Restoration to a deaf Colombian couple...in sign language! I did the first vision, and the spirit filled the room, and signs just came to my mind, signs that I later asked Alfredo if they were correct, and he said that the majority was! Then I invited them to baptism...they both accepted! Elder Wilson was extremely impressed with my work ethic and abilities in lessons. He said that He knows that I will be a leader in the mission in the near future! Then I had intercambios with Elder Cortez (his area is the area where a dog bit me...very poor). I challenged two longtime investigatores to baptism after a powerful lesson that I led! They both accepted! Elder Cortez is pretty much my best friend in the mission, and it was a great day! The gifts sound so fun! Especially this Spikeball...it sounds like it was invented for Elder Manwaring :). I hope everyone is enjoying Christmas a whole bunch! Nate and Ava sound like they are super cute in da snow! The gifts we received from you guys are awesome! Elder Giron wasn't very happy or grateful, and it was super weird. But I am sooooo grateful for everything you guys sent-It was a great Christmas full of lots of work! My feet are tougher than nails now, and my shoes are getting beat up but everything is going super great there. Tell Ava that I hope she has a great Bone Marrow Birthday, she does deserve it! I don't need anything here, thanks :). The other missionaries are kind of making fun of me for receiving so many packages. :) But you guys are so awesome for thinking of me! I am grateful for your love, and I talk about you guys every day to investigadores. Very few people (member or non-member alike) know about eternal marriage, and I can show them a foto of my family and say that every single face that they see in the foto is bound together for the eternidad! Much love! I also hope the Year is Buenisimo for everyone of you guys also! I hope you guys help the missionary effort there as well. I realize now how much the success of a ward depends on the members just being friends with people that are investigating the church. Much Love in the New Year, Élder Manwaring

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Much Love and Much Mangos

It rained so hard this Friday, that the streets became rivers that even carried a cat away to its possible doom. It was such a crazy storm, the water came up to my waist at some points, but we still did proseliting, what an adventure! This week was much better! We had better numbers this week in every aspect than any other week, and I directed most of the lessons and area. My companion is a little sick so I have been the one talking the most to people. We are hoping it is not Chikungunya (It features sudden onset fever usually lasting two to seven days, and joint pains typically lasting weeks or months but sometimes years. The virus is passed to humans by two species of mosquito)...but he is sick with a sore throat and runny nose and fever, and like most people here in South America, he refuses to take medicine. I met this guy in the street the other day who claimed he used to be God. But isn't anymore. And he also wants to have 98 wives, because he said it is his Godly privilege. He also says that God right now lives in the United States and that he hates every other nation. He also says he is King of the World, but has been exiled to live in Valledupar until he dies. He also said he is the brother of a well known terrorist who died a little while back. How lucky I am! It went very well with President Searle. He was extremely impressed with my attitude and dedication. I discovered during the interview that I have a accent when I speak English and have a very hard time thinking of words sometimes.It sounds like a Colombian speaking English that has been speaking for quite a few years. About 9 out of every ten people think I am Colombian or Argentinian. But the interview went very well. I hope Lauren gets better. I fasted this Saturday for the health of the family in general. I am glad she had a good time at winter's! She looks so pretty and is more slim than the last time I saw her, I hope she is really enjoying her senior year! Speaking of enjoying the year, I am not missing home at all, and I am really loving my time here in the City of Valledupar. I am not tired anymore, and in fact have a little bit of a hard time sleeping. I have been having weird dreams. Tell Nick I am super proud of him for getting a part in the play(Annie). He seems to have grown in so many ways since I left. I hope he does fantastic and continues doing plays if he loves it! I hope you guys enjoy the snow. It has been about 100 with humidity here, with occasional crazy rain storms. Have fun sledding! Ava is supah cute! I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas! I know I Will because I am working for the man who made Christmas a possibility. And no...not Santa Claus! I miss having our nights and hearing your guys voices too, but you will hear my weird accent voice in about a week! Love you all mucho! Tell Nick I am super proud of him, and tell him that he has the right to receive revelation for the people he serves if he is thinking of their needs first. He will do awesome! I hope you have an insanely awesome week, full of joy and blessings for you guys as well!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mucho Amor from the City of Mangos!‏

I have had a better, but very similar week. I was waiting for the news of Ava's scans, because I had counted about when the scan would be. I am beyond happy for this news! Give my amor to that small baby! I want to share some experiences with you guys. First, I was asked by an member de our Barrio who is fairly old to give a blessing. Élder Giron wasnt feeling up to it, and told me that he couldnt, and that I needed to do it. Her name is very long like most here in LatinAmerica. But I gave a very humble, not very exquisitely worded blessing. She had been in bed for days and could hardly make it to a seat to get the blessing. She was in a lot of pain. She had been in and out of passing out. But I gave the blessing, and afterwards, I felt like my energy was completely drained and I almost fell over, so I sat down for a bit. We left, and the next day this old woman walked almost 2 miles to church with no symptoms whatsoever. She had previously been doing awful. The priesthood is a very real power directly from God. We have been having extremely low numbers throughout this last week. But I am trying to work super hard for them. We met a man on the street the other day who said he was always curious what it is like inside of the chapel. We told him he could go and see for himself this Sunday. He told us very sadly that he didn't have very much money to pay for church. When we told him it was free, and that is the way Christ's church should be, I thought he was going to cry. He told us he is Jehovah Witness, and feels like he lost Gods favor, he is a poor carpenter who lives in his woodshop with his family. He was very sad because he said he was in another city this weekend but that he will try to find a chapel there. He told us that Mormons are always so happy, and he is passing for many difficulties, and believes we can help him. Also I did exchanges with my district leader where we proselited in his area. His area is very very poor in comparison with ours which is super rich,(as in Olympus Cove rich in some areas). The houses are concrete with dirt floors and random pieces of metal for roofs. The children run naked in the streets with dogs. But I have never met so many people ripe for the word of God in my life. They were all so interested in what we had to say! I got bit by a large dog but as it came up to bite me, I had the impulse to kick. So I did, and I kicked that dumb dog so hard in the face, that it was probably animal abuse, and PETA would unfriend me on Facebook. But it went through my pants but my skin had no bites, just a little red...crazy huh! I made mango pancakes today and made two goals in soccer. People here when I tell them to guess where I am from many now say: Cachaco which is a people of Medellin who are literally identical to me in looks. Or Argentina alot, and Colombiana. Very few think I am from the States. Pretty sweet. This week will be the best ever, because I am going to work hard as a present to my Savior. You guys are beyond love for me! Te Amo fuertisimo, Tu Hijo Élder Manwaring (The Lone Gringo of Loperena)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Birthday and the Day of Gracias

I too had a good thanksgiving! I got your guys packages and 1 from Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you so much for the gifts! How did you know I was wanting a Hammock¿ Maybe I told you in a old Email but I cant remember. Either way it is super awesome! And the candy (my favorites) and hymn book were just the energy I needed to refresh myself for the work! Thanksgiving we did have Chinese, and the Dyers drove out here to speak to us! They are awesome! I'm glad you liked the Salchipapas! I also had Salchipapas on my birthday! I do eat plantains every single day...but yours look especially good! Tell Nate he is super awesome for learning to do new things! One of the greatest joys we can have in this life is in trying new things and mastering our talents! The tree!!! I wish I could be there, to help put it up while listening to forgotten Carols...but this Christmas I will be working for the man who made Christmas possible and I have a lot of joy in this. Tell Nick I am proud of him and hope he does well in his new calling! On my birthday I had decided to dedicate my Birthday to my investigatores. I worked so hard that day, and was exhausted when it came time to go home. We had finished planning and filling out registros for the people we taught, and it became time to finish and go eat...at 10:20 PM, when we needed to go to bed at 10:30. I ate fast and while Elder Giron got ready for bed, I finally opened up the gifts! I was so happy! And I sat on the floor and started reading the letters! It felt as though you guys were in the room with me! I'm glad Pte. Searle thinks I'm a good missionary. I really work very hard to earn that. But sometimes I don't feel that way because our investigatores are not progressing despite our efforts. And the people in the ward are wondering why there haven't been any baptisms. I love the work, and it is where I belong, but sometimes the circumstances are tough. But I pray for attributes of Christ because I know he had it harder during his ministry. The mission has strengthened me beyond what I thought my capacity was earlier. I made the decision to enjoy every moment of my mission, which is not dependent on anyone but myself! I love you all so much, and I hope that all is well at home! I think of you guys in my prayers every time! Which by the way is a crazy amount! I pray about 15 to 20 times per day out here! The church is true. The work is wonderful. The Lord strengthens us! Love and Ciao for now,