Clark Manwaring is serving a Full-Time Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in The Colombia Barranquilla Mission.
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26:12
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Area Transfer to Arjona
This week was the 234th birthday of Arjona, and Vallenato is popular here too. So I bought a Vallenato sombrero!
I am super happy to hear that everything is still going well with Ava! It really is a miracle that has brought us to together as a family a lot! She is so little and cute! Tell her she is like a Little Rapunzel.
I was transferred out of Valledupar. I am in an Area close to Cartagena. It is the hottest part of all the mission. It is pueblo, so it is poor and so it is dirt roads, jungle, desert, people ride horses and mules to get around, and it is pretty dangerous. This week they will hold a running of the bulls, which is only legal here in Arjona. My companions name is Elder Puchoc from Peru. He is extremely quiet, and the members don't have as much trust in him. But he is very obedient, and humble and is a good person. When I arrived in the area, we had 2 people with baptism dates, and he had little excitement to work. I changed that. We programmed 17 people for baptism this week, 5 of which I programmed at the same time, its a familia grande! He is starting to work hard too, and we have lots of plans for the ward. Everyone here is a convert, because the church started in Arjona in 1998. No one knows what a real ward should be like, and so the sacrament meeting felt like an evangelical or Baptist fusion with LDS. It was a little weird.
My area now is very poor. Extreme poverty poor. The family (9) that we programmed lives in one room that is made of dirt and pieces of random wood. They use the bathroom outside, and have a pack of wild dogs that lives nearby. But they are prepared to hear the Gospel. I asked my companion if we could open up a new area in a neighborhood called Cara de Perro (Dogface) which is known for being dangerous in Arjona. He didn't want to very much, but I felt like we should. We went, and programmed about 10 people for baptism, and if there are people with machetes or knives in the streets, we talk to them first and shake hands with them. Now, when we enter the neighborhood, there are a bunch of our amigos! They love us there! Granted some of them are drunk...but the area is really receptive! The whole neighborhood says "Missionaries!" when we pass by!
We helped 4 investigators go to church, and 7 less actives too. One of the less actives was a lady who left the church during a time in her life where her sister was very sick, and she asked the quorum of elders to visit her, and they didn't, and her sister died without a priesthood blessing. I felt prompted to tell her that even though she left the church and denied it was true, that God hadn't abandoned her and still wants her to enter his Kingdom, and that she received the Holy Ghost, and has the Right to two things: feel the promptings of the spirit again, and reunite with her sister in the Celestial Kingdom. She was crying hard, and it was beautiful to hear afterwards "I have always known it was true. God knows that I know it, and now I know that he still loves me even after denying it for all these years."
I also pray for you guys. But it feels like everything that happened before the mission doesn't exist. We watched Rise of the Guardians the other Pday, and I felt like Jack when he realizes that he had a family and a life before being a guardian.
Anyway, the work goes on. We have a girl that is going to be baptized soon named Alejandra. She is also an investigator of gold like Katherine. And only has 13 years! Wow! Hope everything goes really well back home! I'm happy to see that everyone there is happy. I am too :)