Saturday, May 28, 2011

¡Que hace el pez todos los dias? Nada!

Querido Familia:

Whew, this week has been draining, but very cool as well! Every night I get into my bed and fall asleep within probably 45 seconds. And we don't get P-Day this week either, so it's been pretty draining. We don't have P-Day cuz we had a conference for the entire mission on Wednesday instead, which was really cool! I got to see 4 of my friends from the MTC who came to Bogota at the same time as me, and I got to see my previous companion Elder Velasquez, and I got to make a lot of new friends with Latino missionaries. It's so amazing that I am actually able to be good friends with people who don't speak my native language. I love being able to speak Spanish and connect with these amazing people and the amazing Latin culture. So I guess it's all good that we don't have P-Day this week... I guess.... haha. So the conference lasted 2 days, and we had to travel quite a distance each day to get to the conference. Originally the conference was scheduled because Elder Richard G. Scott was gonna come visit the mission. I was so excited to see an apostle! But for some unknown reason, Elder Scott had to cancel and instead Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, of the Presidency of the Seventy, came to talk to us. Poor Elder Gonzalez, I'm sure he knew that we all would've preferred to see Elder Scott. Some people during the talk starting ''booing'' too. Haha nah just kidding! Elder Gonzalez was really cool and gave a lot of helpful advice to us, and I believe he gave a talk in this past General Conference, but I'm not sure. I don't know, all these latinos look the same... hahaha jk! But in cereal, one thing he talked about was the power in teaching about the Savior with the people that we teach. Everybody is born with the light of Christ in them, which helps them recognize the good from the evil. Because everyone has the light of Christ, when we talk about Christ, people naturally feel the Spirit and grow to recognize that Jesus Christ is the source of all that is good. Jesus really is the source of all that is good in my life. President Hinckley said, ''Jesus Christ is my best friend.'' Jesus Christ is my best friend too:) I hope that I can continue to develop my relationship with him. Elder Gonzalez also invited us to focus more of our attention in teaching the less actives. Why? Because President Monson gave a talk about rescuing the members who have fallen from the path and stopped being active in the Church. Everyone needs the gospel in their lives, and the gospel is intended for all of God's children. Elder Gonzalez invited us to teach the people who are inactive in the Church and told us that whenever we obey the prophet of God, blessings come. If we focus more on the inactives, we will find more people to teach and bless, and we will be blessed with more happiness. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, that he receives divine revelation, and is called to lead the Church of Jesus Christ, under the direction of none other than Jesus Christ. Freak, well, I don't have any more time to write today:( I might be able to come back and finish the rest of my hour another day. Take care my wonderful family!

I love you all!
Elder Bogdan

P.S.- I don't talk about all these spiritual things so that yall can forget them. Remember them and apply them in your lives! Talk with your friends about Jesus Christ, and remember those whose faith in God has grown weak. Through the teachings of Jesus Christ everyone can have everlasting happiness and peace. It is the one remedy for everyone and the one cure for everything. Trust me. And trust in Heavenly Father! ¡Ciao!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 month anniversary!

Mi Familia Hermosa:

Well, this week with my new companion has been awesome! We work very well together, and seriously, we are the best of friends. His personality is one of the friendliest I've ever known, and he reminds me of Nathan Morris cuz he's really goofy but super cool and friendly. He's also very spiritual, and I have learned a lot from him in only one week. And it's nuts how the Lord has been blessing our companionship with revelation and the aid of his Spirit. We were talking about our investigators the other day and making plans for them in order to teach them what will be of the most benefit. We started thinking long and hard about what to teach, and then at the same time we both said, ''The Plan of Salvation''. The same thing happened over and over and OVER again. The Lord was guiding us in unity as a companionship. And when it came to one family, we couldn't figure out what to teach them. Then I said, ''We should pray to find out'', and my companion said, ''I was thinking the exact same thing!'' It's amazing how when we are actually striving hard to receive revelation and listening intently, the Lord will guide his servants. And it wasn't that we heard a voice from the heavens or received a sign, but the Lord spoke to our hearts and minds. We meditated about our investigators, and then the same thought popped into both of our heads, and our feelings confirmed that those thoughts were of God, because we felt very good and very calm and very sure of the decisions. A lot of times I have felt those same impressions and those same feelings, and I doubted if they were from God or simply my own thoughts and feelings. But in this instance, I had a companion to confirm to me that those thoughts and feelings were from God. But here's the thing I learned: Don't doubt those feelings and thoughts. It is not necessary to have a companion to confirm those impressions of the Spirit. The impressions that I received in this instance were no different from previous impressions I have received from the Spirit throughout my life, even long before the mission. The only difference was that this time another person was there with me to share the experience. Yesterday I went to the temple and prayed, and I testify to you all once again that God DOES hear and answer prayers, through the Holy Ghost, which speaks to our hearts and minds, like I just described. Do not doubt spiritual impressions. I don't have my English scriptures with me, so I'm going to try to translate this scripture for you guys... '' Wherefore, all that is good comes from God.... Furthermore, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually. Wherefore, all that inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God and serve Him, is inspired of God.'' (Moroni 7:12-13)

This week we have seen the Lord's hand a lot. Like I said in my last letter, a lady randomly called out to us in the street and invited us to her house. Her name is Sujey Barrios and she isn't a member of the church and neither is her husband, Jose, but their three kids are. We have sufficiently grown to become friends with the family Barrios and are teaching them more about the gospel. The father wants to teach me how to ride a motorcycle and he also paints pictures very well and said he'd show me some techniques, haha. For them the family is very important, and the with the gospel a priority in their lives, their family can be UNSTOPPABLE, haha. We also started talking to a teenage kid, Jerson, in the street and he immediately invited us into his home to talk to him and his older sisters. His sisters have a lot more interest in the gospel, and one of them, Karen, came to church this past Sunday. They are very good, kind people, and the family is also very important to them. Karen is very young (20 something years old) but is already a widow. I know that teaching the Plan of Salvation to her can definitely help her out a lot and give her hope for her husband who passed away. Also, we are teaching a mother, Claudia, and her daughter Paola. Claudia has already come to church and has a lot of interest. We are also going to visit a 14yr-old kid named Miguel today who has a lot of interest and has already come to church. We are going to meet his parents who think very highly of the church as well. So we have a lot of people to teach who have been prepared by our loving Heavenly Father to receive the message of the Gospel! Like I said, the Lord's hand has been very present in this past week.


Con cariño,
Elder Usted (that's what one sister calls me cuz she can't pronounce my name very well)

¡Nuevo compañero!

Querida familia

It was so great to talk to you guys on Skype! Truthfully, I felt a little ''trunky''' afterwards. My family is so great! It was really fun to see all your faces and joke and talk as if I wasn't even in another country. Thank goodness for technology! The funniest thing that happened by far was definitely when Raquel and Ben pantsed Tyler, haha such bad parents! It was sad that Jonathan couldn't talk because he doesn't feel very good. He should've just stayed on the phone. I hope everything goes well with your surgery Jonathan! I'm praying for you, big bro!

Welp, the big news since Sunday is that I got a new companion yesterday! There were emergency transfers and Elder Velasquez had to move to an area 13 hrs away. Elder Velasquez is a stud, and I learned a lot from him, but I also felt that he was starting to get bored of this area and not as pumped as he was at the start, and therefore my ability to grow was also affected. So although I'm gonna miss Elder Velasquez, I know it was for the better. My new companion's name is Elder Cardona, and he's from La Paz, Bolivia! Man oh man, he is way cool! We're already good friends, and I'm super excited for this transfer. Already I have grown in the one day that we've been together. Since he's the new one and I'm the one in the companionship who's familiar with the area, I felt like I had a lot more responsibility given to me yesterday. I was a little worried for that reason, but Heavenly Father has definitely helped me. The first thing we were going to do yesterday was knock doors and try to find new people who are interested. As I was leading Elder Cardona to the neighborhood where we should begin, I felt the impression that we should walk towards the house of a man that we had met a couple days ago and see if we could visit with him. So as we were walking to his house, a woman called out, ''Elders!'' and approached us and told us to come to her house because she wanted to visit with us. FREAK, right?! That NEVER happens! At least not here in the city. She's not a member, but her three children are. They got baptized a little over a year ago and stopped going to church about 6 months ago. She wanted us to talk to her kids and get them to go back to church. She said she has seen a great change in her children since they met the missionaries, and that her relationship with her daughters got much better. But when they stopped going to church, things went back to normal. She said she knows that this church is the path for her kids, and maybe for her too, but she still has a lot of questions that she's waiting for Heavenly Father to answer. Her husband isn't a member of the church either, but they both think very highly of the church. Perhaps it wasn't there time in the past, but perhaps it's their time now. We'll see! Welp, that's the ''sitch'', as Kim Possible puts it. I love you family! And if any of my friends are reading this, know that I haven't forgotten ya'll, I just don't have much time to write back just yet. Be patient with me, and know that I think about ya'll and laugh when I remember the funny things we'd do. Family and friends, I pray for ALL of you, and I trust God enough to know that He will bless you according to my faith and yours.

Elder Jhordan (that's what a the 4yr-old Henry calls me because he doesn't know how to pronounce ''Bogdan'' haha)

Bogota Temple is LEGIT

Querido Familia,

I don't have much time cuz there's always some problem with the computer, but this week has been great! Saturday we had our first baptism! It was for a 10yr old kid named Michael that we've been teaching. Most all of his family is members, and he already was going to church most sundays, so we didn't have to work too much, but it was still a great baptism! His older brother baptized him and his brother-in-law confirmed him. One of our investigators, Lucely Ramirez, came to the baptism and liked it a lot. We thought it would help her to come to the baptism because she still has some doubts and wants to wait months to be baptized. She has a great testimony of the Book of Mormon. So after the baptism, we asked her if she felt good about being baptized at the end of this month, like we had planned with her, but she STILL wants to wait longer, even after saying how wonderful the baptism was! I don't get it! haha but we're going to keep praying for her and helping her and resolving any doubts or questions she has. We've also begun to establish a really great relationship with her husband! He didn't even want to talk with us at first, but now every time we visit Lucely, he's always there to answer the door and talk to us! And yesterday we had our first lesson with him and Lucely together! They also have two daughters in their 20`s who we're trying to befriend. We even gave one of their daughters a blessing of healing. They are a wonderful family and I hope that one day they can be sealed in the temple for eternity:)

Speaking of which, today I went inside the Bogota Temple for the first time! It was interesting listening to everything in Spanish, and the celestial room was the most beautiful of all the temples I've been in! Also, on Monday, our zone of 12 missionaries went to a member's house in my ward for a service project! Her house is in the middle of a big field and forest, with a lake behind it too! That was really fun! And after doing a whole bunch of yard work, she taught us how to make homemade spaghetti! And by homemade, I mean we made the noodles from scratch and everything! And afterwards we picked some plants from her yard called rubarbs(?) and she made a dessert with it that tasted like cherry pie filling. It was really fun!

After I finish this letter, my comp. and I are gonna go visit another one of our investigators, Norma and her sons Juan Felipe and Henry. They are an amazing family! Norma says she knows without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true, Juan Felipe, who's 10, reads every chapter in the scriptures that we give him (sometimes he reads the same chapter several times), and Henry (4yrs old) is really disobedient, but he's really funny. They are excited to get baptized at the end of this month!

Welp, that's my week! Hope ya'lls was just as exciting!

Elder Bogdan

¡I got robbed!

Haha, the subject of this email is a lie. I didn´t get robbed, I just thought it'd grab the attention of my faithful readers and fans:)

Dear Family,

I started feeling trunky this week for some reason, I don't remember why. It was pretty insignificant, nothing that I can't handle, but pray for me anyways,ok? By the way, ''trunky'' means homesick. It's just that I miss all you guys a lot! Families are amazing, and we teach about the importance of families everyday and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless families. Maybe that's why I started to miss ya´ll. But the work is moving forward! I'm excited for this Saturday because we're having our first baptism! It's for a 10-yr old named Michael, and he's cool and he likes us a lot. I can vaguely remember the two missionaries who taught me before I was baptized, and I remember thinking they were awesome. I can kind of remember their names too - Elder Butler and Elder Vesterfelt, I think. It's pretty cool to think that Michael also thinks we're the bomb and he's gonna remember our names maybe.

Remember last week how I said we were knocking doors and we found a golden investigator? Her name's Norma and she has a son who's 10 (Juan Felipe) who's a STUD and son who's 4 (Henry) who super funny! They've agreed to get baptized April 30th, the same day as another one of our investigators, Lucely. So we'll have 3 baptisms that day! Norma has a lot of questions, and they enjoyed coming to Church this Sunday! We had a Family Home Evening with them and a member family, and it was really good. We also watched The Testaments with our investigators on Sunday too! They all liked it a lot!

Lucely is amazing and she loves the Gospel so much! She wants us to help her out in teaching her family. Her husband and her two adult-aged daughters would barely talk to us or look at us at first, but now her husband loves to talk to us and have us around! And her two daughters have some sort of sickness and they agreed to let us give them a blessing of healing. We've been giving a LOT of blessings of healing actually! It's sweet! Well, that's pretty much what went down this week!

I hope you guys enjoy all the pictures! I don´t have anymore time, but thanks for writing! It makes me really happy to read your letters! Oh, and ya'll should send me pictures too!

Elder Bogdan