Monday, March 23, 2015

The Work Rolls Forward

The work is rolling forward in Arjona! We ended the week with 30 people with a baptismal date, and 7 of them came to church. We have possibly 2 baptisms this week. The first is Alejandra Polanco. She is 14 years old. I have a rule here in the mission not to proselyte to children until the age of 18. And many times the women until 25, because of the cultures of the Caribbean Coast. But Alejandra would be the only exception to this rule, because she is truly above her years in knowledge and maturity and goes to church every Sunday without fail. She lives far from the main street in Arjona. In one of the poorest neighborhoods in Arjona called Las Margaritas. She and her family (of 6) live in a two room mud and brick "house" that currently has no roof. The parents can't read. The majority of the poor people that we meet, and even some of the rich ones can't read. She can read really fast, and understands. She will have her interview this Tuesday, and she has the testimony of the Gospel to pass. The other is Domingo Acevedo. He is a divorced man, that doesn't drink or smoke (which is a miracle here in the coast), and he works as a chef in a small poor restaurant on the outskirts of Arjona. He was invited by a friend to church, who is a recent convert, and he goes to church every Sunday (he should... his name in English literally means Sunday!). He has the understanding level of a 11-12 year old even though he is 53 years old. We cannot baptize people that don't understand the concept of Repentance. He understands it, and lives it. He is not the smartest, but knows that he feels good in the church, and goes. He knows that it is true. We teach the discussions from the children's section of the Liahona, and such. But he understands it. This week we led the zone in every single aspect (called indicators). The work is going well here. To be a consecrated missionary you need to know how to work with the people you teach, and teach them in a way that relates with their culture, and that they understand. The coast of Colombia is known by all of Latin America by the word Corroncho. It means lazy, drinks a lot, loud, jokes around, is forgetful of their commitments, is strong Catholic, and speaks with a strong slur. A consecrated missionary here needs to try in lessons to be more funny, laid back, and loud while teaching the doctrine, or they literally will not understand it. I have tried it 100 different ways and this is the most effective. Arjona is dirt roads, no cars, 95 degrees with 85 percent humidity. The hottest in the mission. The running of the bulls happened, and we were surprised how many drunks there were in the streets. Literally hundreds. There are beautiful horses that are parading around town, and in every corner they sell the Vallenato sombrero and Aruana, which Is like a scarf. My visa expires early in September of 2016, so every 5th I celebrate another month. I have almost 7 months in the mission! The time really is flying by for me, and I love it. We had a good meeting on Sunday. I gave a talk because the guy who was supposed to come, didn't. I gave a talk that was aimed at various parts of the Ward. Our Bishop is hesitant to work, and we haven't had a Ward Council in a long time. Our members do not read the Book of Mormon. Most people here do not read, much less read the Book of Mormon. And the members are mean and start up rumors against each other but we are working to help them out. I hope this week is good, and that you guys continue to read the Book of Mormon together. I wish I had more time than just 2 hours to read it per day. Love you all.

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