Monday, October 24, 2011


Yo fams! I'm writing today (Monday) because everytime there are transfers, our Pday changes to Monday.

So the big news is transfers! Welp, nothing too exciting. I'm staying in the same area and getting a new companion tomorrow. His name's Elder Benavides and he's from Ecuador. He is gonna be the most experienced companion I've had so far because he's got like 17 months in the mission, so that's pretty cool, because he can teach me a WHOLE BUNCH! So it looks like I'm not gonna be training anyone, I'm still gonna be junior companion, and I'm gonna be in the same area as well. I didn't think I was gonna be staying here, and my companion didn't think that he would be getting transferred. One of the brothers in the ward was certain I was gonna be leaving and he started telling all the members that I was getting transferred. Little dork, haha. Yesterday in church, all the members in the ward were saying bye to me and wishing me luck in my new area. I felt bad because no one was saying bye to my companion.

I was kinda bummed that I wasn't gonna be leaving this area - I wanted a change. But it seems to me that there is someone here who still needs to hear the gospel from me. I'm just having a difficult time finding them! This area certainly has been a refiner's fire for me, and I think there's still more challenges for me that I need to face and more lessons I need to learn. It's been hard not having a single baptism in the 4.5 months I've been here. And I know that the number of baptisms doesn't define a successful mission, but it'd be nice. I know there are amazing missionaries in other countries where it's more difficult to baptize and have 1 baptism in two years. But at least in those countries, ALL the missionaries are facing that trial. Here in Bucaramanga, I feel like I'm the only one not baptizing. Everybody else is having plenty of baptisms, and if not plenty, at least one baptism.

But good news: we have been teaching a 20-yr old named Laura Sanchez and she is progressing amazingly! She goes to church EVERY week (something that no other investigator does), she reads the scriptures with true interest, she highlights things she likes while reading, she prays, she repents, she has comitted to live the law of chastity, and is giving up tea (which she said she likes a lot) in order to keep the commandment of the Word of Wisdom. She is excited for her baptismal date planned for the 12th of November! And it helps so much that she is a good friend of one of the members in the ward. See you guys what a big difference it makes when the investigators are friends with the members? When the members give the missionaries referrals? They have constant support from the members, they have the desire to go to church, they see the good in their member friends and want to be like them. So share the gospel! Give the missionaries lots of work to do! Make 'em sweat and beg for rest! haha!

Welp, that's everything! I love you family! Send me some encouraging words!

Elder Bogdan

Just so you know, I'm completing 9 months in the mission TODAY!

Welp, I have so much time and so much to say! Scratch that. Reverse it. And keep in mind that today's opposite day. Therefore, what I truly was trying to say is that I don't have much to say, and I also don't have very much time... haha

This week we FINALLY received a reference from a member of our ward! An ex-missionary of 25 years gave us the reference of his likely future girlfriend and wife, and so we started teaching her! She has a very sincere desire and accepted in the first visit to get baptized. She is progressing extremely well and reads the Book of Mormon so obediently. She highlights what she likes from the chapters we assign her and everything! Her name is Laura Sanchez, and she is passing through some problems right now, and it's a great privilege to be able to help her overcome those problems. I love being able to share my experiences with people, and bear my testimony of the healing power of the Atonement. And I get to do that when we teach her:)

The English classes I'm teaching are doing well, and I taught my students about the names of different parts of the body, and to practice the names, we sang and danced ''Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes''! Haha! It was funny because there were adults and youth dancing and singing as well. I gave them lots of candies afterwards for their enthusiasm. Remember how when we were kids we would always go to the bishop after church, say what we learned, and he would give us candy? Well, I've taken on that role here in Nuevo Sotomayor. The primary kids come to me after church and attack me for candy! It's so funny! haha!

I gave a talk this past Sunday that got many compliments from the members afterwards. I thank Heavenly Father because He inspired me to give a talk about Ssrvice, he helped me as I planned the talk for days, and it was His Spirit that touched the hearts of the members. As part of my talk, I shared the story of Grandpa Valdizan and how he didn't wanna listen to the sister missionaries at first, but one day the sisters were passing by and performed an act of service, helping out grandpa move stuff from the house when water was entering into his home. I talked about how service can help others recognize us as true Christians and want to learn more about the gospel and live the gospel. That night, we also had a missionary work fireside, which was also a success! I love the members of the ward here a LOT, and they love me a lot too. In spite of that, this week is the last week of the transfer, and I kinda hope I get transferred. I want something new. I wanna new ward and a new companion. Someone mentioned to me that perhaps I might be training next transfer. It's possible... How scary! I don't know if I'm ready for that! But I know that Heavenly Father will greatly help me out, as He lovingly helps me out with EVERYTHING, from the biggest things to the smallest things:) Welp, take care fams! THanks to all those who wrote me! I haven't had the opportunity to read all your letters yet, but thanks anyways! I love you hooligans!


Elder Bogdan

PS- Just so you know, I'm completing 9 months in the mission TODAY! A baby's being born! NUTS!
Familia Mìa!

WoWzeRs! I got lots of letters this week! It was awesome! You guys really DO love me! Haha, thanks so much to all who wrote! Man, the weeks are just flying! This transfer is already gonna end and I'm gonna be completing 9 months in the mission! A baby will be born! Which is funny because there's a new convert couple in my ward who're gonna be having their baby within a week of my 9-month anniversary. Welp, seeing as the week flew by so quickly, I don't have very much to say.

Sad news: You all remember the powerful story about Elizabeth that I shared last week? Welp, we've talked to her some more about her baptism the 22nd of October and she wants to wait until the new year starts. Holy cow, right?? And maybe I would understand a little bit more if the reason were because she still feels a little afraid for her baptism, but that's not the reason. She doubts the response she has already received, and she told us that she has been praying that Heavenly Father will confirm her prayers through a dream, and as of now he has not answered her prayers in that manner. She also said that she wants to wait for the next year because this year we still haven't celebrated Christmas, New Year's, nor her birthday (which is this week). She told us that normally she drinks alcohol during those holidays and doesn't think she'll be able to resist that temptation. That was really sad news for us. It seems as if she still has not had a mighty change of heart, and is not willing to live the Word of Wisdom. We expressed to her our love and promised her that living the commandments, she will enjoy her holidays even more, because she will be focusing on Heavenly Father and her family more than on fiestas and drinking. And we invited her to keep praying to find out what Heavenly Father wants her to do, which is not necessarily what she wants to do. Do you guys have any advice? Please pray for Elizabeth and her family.

This week we have gained two new investigators who are willing to prepare themselves to get baptized - Salvador Ariza and Laura Sanchez! Both of them are very good people and have so much potential. Pray for them as well!

Welp, that's all that happened this week basically! I love you all! Take luck!... Errrr... Take... care of the luck that you might have! Hahaha Bryan Reagan.... :)

Elder Bognichnaknogdan (that's what some of the Elders call me as a joke because they know my last name is Russian so they change my name up even more to make it sound even more Russian haha)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The pear of great price

Dear Fams,

Thanks to all those who sent letters! Receiving lots of news this week was pretty cool, and hearing about all the blessings and happiness that is coming your ways fills me with such joy. Conference was soooooo spiritually uplifting, and I'm gonna strive to do what I usually don't do after conference and that is re-read my notes and try to APPLY the counsels of the Lord's servants. I invite all of you to do the same, and a good idea would be to dedicate your next family home evening talking more about one or more of the conference talks and making plans to apply the teachings in your families.

Well, this week I had an extremely amazing experience that I would like to share with yall! My mission president said once (and this is more or less paraphrasing) that we as members think the mission is the solution to our life's problems. We think that it will constantly be a spiritual blast, and we'll always be feeling great and super spiritual. But we learn on the mission that it is not the solution to our problems, and that it is a lot of tough work. The strong spiritual moments are far and few, separated by gaps of hard work, fatigue, and sometimes discouragement. In those gaps of grime and sweat, we must really make sure that our testimony of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the restored gospel is sufficiently strong enough to help us endure. Welp, I testify that all of that is 100% true. And fortunately, this past week, a gap concluded and I had one of those few strong, spiritual moments. I don't know if yall remember me talking about some investigators here in my area, the Martinez family. We are teaching the mom, Elizabeth, and her son, Diego (10 yrs old). She also has a son named Michael (3 years old). We have been teaching them for about 3 months. During those three months, they hadn't progressed very much. They go to church sometimes, and then don't go to church for about 2 or 3 weeks. We have lessons with them sometimes, and then we don't teach them for a week because the mom is busy. We invite them to church activities on days other than Sundays, and the mom sends her son with us to the activities, but she doesn't ever go. They lacked a sense of commitment, and lacked a testimony, but they had interest and were slowly progressing, so we weren't gonna stop teaching them. Well, before this week, we hadn't taught them for like 2 weeks, and we thought that maybe the mom lost interest and didn't wanna learn more. I was really worried that that had happened. I began to think about them a lot and what we could do to help them. My love for them began to grow as I realized that we might be losing them. We decided one day that we were gonna stop by the house unexpectedly and pay a visit. That morning, I prayed to Heavenly Father, asking for guidance during my studies to know how to help Elizabeth gain a testimony. And the Lord truly helped me and guided my studies.

During the visit, we began to ask her questions about how she has felt since we started teaching her, what blessings she has seen in her life, how she feels when she prays to know if what we teach is true, how she could recognize her responses. And at the end of the lesson, I remembered that I had studied that we must trust in Moroni's promise at the end of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5). And so trusting in that promise, and with a prayer in my heart and with faith, I pleaded that the Lord would help Elizabeth gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We reviewed Moroni's promise with her, and then we knelt down and she offered an extremely heartfelt prayer. During the prayer, her little son Michael started to make noise and flicker the lights, and I got up during the prayer and detained the little scoundrel, and he got quiet. The people next door were also making a lot of noise outside of the house and using bad words. We could hear them during the prayer. But Elizabeth continued on. At the end of the prayer, we were quiet. My companion told me he was tempted to begin talking, but the Spirit told him not to. We looked at Elizabeth and her eyes were red. And we continued to be quiet. The quiet was the great key. I didn't even realize it but the noise outside and the bad words of the neighbors had ceased. I had already let go of little Michael and I don't know where he went, but he definitely wasn't interfering with the quiet. And suddenly, Elizabeth burst into tears. She began to cry for the first time since we had met her. The Spirit had spoken to her heart. And she told us, ''I feel a sense of peace. I feel a sense of peace.'' We helped her to realize that she had received her response. She told us to come back the next day, which was something she had never said. It always seemed like she didn't want us passing by too often, so she had never told us to ''come tomorrow.'' The visits were usually more spaced apart. But she told us to come by the next day. Heavenly Father had answered the prayers of my companion and I, as well as the prayer of Elizabeth. My companion and I continued thinking about the experience for the next 24 hours. I realized as I thought over and over about that powerful experience that it was indeed the first time that I had ever witnessed the prayer of someone being answered, apart from my own prayers. I was able to see that exactly how the Lord has answered my prayers, he had answered the prayer of Elizabeth. The difference in Elizabeth's prayer that day is that she was truly following the invitation of Moroni, praying with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ. It caused me to remember the days when I had prayed in my room at my bedside to know if God really loved me and was aware of me, if Jesus Christ was truly the Savior of the world, if the Book of Mormon was true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the church was true. I had such a deeply profound desire to know. I NEEDED to know. And I had prayed with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with the greatest faith that I was capable of having. Wow, just writing about the experience, I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are starting to water up a little bit. I know so strongly, with all my being, that Heavenly Father answered my prayers. And what an experience it was to see that process again, occurring in the life of another. Because Heavenly Father answered my prayer, I know that He loves me, that He is aware of me, that I am his son, that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my older brother, that His is the only name whereby I can be saved, that the Book of Mormon is true scripture, written by prophets of the ancient Americas, that the humble 14-year old Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, that he was a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Christ, the same church that Christ had establised on the Earth over 2000 years ago but that was lost after His death and the death of His servants. Like Joseph Smith said, ''I [know] it, and I [know] that God [knows] it, and I [cannot] deny it''.

Loved ones, we are so blessed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. All the good news I have received this week, all the happiness our family is experiencing, all the blessings of the Lord we enjoy is a witness that the Gospel is true. Share it! Show it! Ye are the light and life of the world! The salt of the Earth! Help out the poor lil missionaries please! Like me, perhaps they are not having the sufficient support of the members like they should be having. This message is too great, to miraculous, to sweet and savorous to keep to ourselves! We have the pearl of great price. Will we keep it to ourselves?

Elder Bogdan


So loading these pictures took a while and I lost all time to write you guys. But I love you all very much! I am doing great here in Colombia! By the way, a lot of these pictures are from months ago... I'm so excited for conference this weekend! Make sure you all attend! Go to EVERY SESSION!!!! I DARE you....

Take care family!

Elder Bogdan

2 Nephi 9:49
Alma 36:3

Dear Family,

I can´t help but glory in the goodness of God whenever I think about how wonderful my family is. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful and loving family. The Lord has given us great unity and great love for one another. We are a living proof of the truthfulness of the gospel, of the happiness that comes when we live the principles that our Savior taught. I love you all very much!

Ok, well this week seemed really long. It was only 2 days longer, but it seemed like a lot more. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that I haven't been getting along too well with my companion, Elder Jara, recently. We are both two very different people, and we think very different. Our basic rules of thought are even different. And it seems like almost everything he says annoys me. I know that he feels the same way too, and that it's not just me, because he bluntly told me that sometimes he hates me. And that's exactly how he said it too. Yeah, I know we have different ways of thinking, but I would never say that to him. That's just messed up. Nobody should ever say that. There is no purpose in saying it either, because it won't help the situation even a little bit. Anyway, there are just a lot of things he does (or doesn't do) that bother me. My patience is definitely being tried. I know that we have to talk things out or things won't get better. The last time we fought, we talked things out, and things definitely were better afterwards. So I'm gonna talk to him, and with a prayer in my heart and with love, I'm gonna tell him what is bothering me, so that we can fix it. I know that with these hard feelings, it's hard to feel the impressions of the Spirit. Therefore, we must correct things quickly. President Hacking tells us that the mission is a great preparation for marriage, and I know that's very true. There are a lot of things to learn about how to deal with and overcome problems. But I can't help but notice that there is a big difference in that we get to CHOOSE our spouses, and we get to know them a lot before living with them and working together in everything. On the other hand, as missionaries, we don't choose our companions. We just get suddenly put into the same house with them and we are obligated to work with them in everything. But I know that we have our specific companions for a reason, and that there is a great lesson to be learned in each companionship. The Lord assigns companions through revelation, and therefore I must trust in the Lord and comprehend that it is for His wise purposes, and that it is for the best. On the bright side, if I learn to be happy with someone that I didn't choose to live with, and with someone who is very different from me, I can definitely learn to be happy with my wife in all circumstances, in good and bad, and my marriage will be undefeatable! Well, fams, keep praying for me!

Well, good things that happened this week - our investigator Lilia Pacheco is progessing greatly! She goes to church every Sunday, she enjoys the lessons, and now we are teaching her granddaughter that lives with her - Diana. Diana is almost 18 and has a very young baby named Malena. She's not married, and the baby's father lives far away. She is also enthusiastic about the lessons and Diana and Lilia both went to a FHE that we invited them too. Diana didn't go to church this past Sunday because she was up much of the night taking care of the baby and couldn't wake up for church at 8am. But she likes to learn about the gospel and has great potential. We extended the goal of a baptismal date for them on the 15th of October. I hope all goes well! I enjoy teaching them and I know that the fulness of the everlasting gospel can bless them greatly! Our other investigators are progressing more slowly, and we are still waiting to see what happens with them. I pray for all of them often, and I invite you all to pray for the people of Bucaramanga, Colombia as well!

Elder Bogdan

Hi fams!

Dear Family,

I feel like poop today. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I needed to throw up, but I never did. And all day today my body has been feeling real weak and crummy. But I am feeling a little better now. Welp, I don't have much to say this week. We have transfers tomorrow, so everyone's got P-Day today. I'm not getting transferred, and neither is my companion, Elder Jara. So looks like I'm staying here in the Nuevo Sotomayor ward! I kinda wanted to leave and I kinda wanted to stay. I haven't had a single baptism since I got here, which makes me wanna leave, but at the same time it makes me wanna stay for another chance at having a baptism. We have a good number of investigators, and there is hope for a baptism, if my companion and I have faith. It's hard not having baptisms, when the people don't use their agency to improve and keep commitments with the Lord, or when they progress very slowly. Having a baptism is such a joyous occasion! That is my purpose here in Colombia: to baptize. Yes, my purpose is also to bring happiness into people's lives, and to serve them, and to invite them to come unto Christ, but all of that is achieved to the max with baptism. Baptism is necessary for eternal life, it's necessary to have an eternal family, it brings a lasting happiness, and it's the greatest service that I can provide to someone. So please pray for me family, and pray for our investigators! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!

Welp, some more good news is that I'm not gonna be the newest missionary in my apartment anymore, because a newbie is arriving wednesday! We still don't know where he's from, but I hope he's cool. It'll be fun raising a baby in the house:)

Welp, I really don't have anything else to say. I'm trying to think but my head hurts. I love all of you guys! Ciao!

Your best and only friend,
Elder Bogdan
Well familia,
This week has been a good week! Very short! The weeks are starting to fly by! It seems like P-Day always comes so quickly! And I feel like things will only start to go by faster! Or maybe it's because I'm so accustomed to my area. If President moves me to a new area, the days will start to go slow again. Speaking of which, this next Monday we have transfers! I don't know what's gonna happen! I kinda wanna stick around here. Things are starting to progress and I wanna see the fruits of my labors! Welp, our golden investigator Marlon didn't drop off the face of the Earth! We found him on the street and he told us that he's been REALLY busy with his job and that even on his days of rest he's been working. He said that he was really tired of his job, and a few days later, he ended up quitting. He told us that he wanted more time for Heavenly Father in his life, and more time to spend with his family. We visited him a bit later and we taught him the Restoration. It was an awesome lesson! He was interested in eveything we taught, especially the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He said that he believed Jesus Christ had come to the Americas and that it was amazing what happened to Joseph Smith. Then this morning he called us and asked us to come visit him and his grandma, because he had talked to his grandma about us. She has cancer, but is very positive, and very kind and has a warm personality. She is also very humble. We taught her a bit about the priesthood being restored and we gave her a blessing of healing. It was really cool! I love them a lot.
Elizabeth and her son Diego didn't go to church this past Sunday:( and we haven't been able to visit her so far this week. We believe she didn't go because she was a little sick. She is slowly progressing. Her and her sons bring my companion and I a lot of joy. I hope that we can begin teaching her much more and that she may soon gain a testimony.
Haha, something funny happened this week! Welp, here in Bucaramanga, it's humid and I sweat a lot, and my acne has gotten amazingly ferocious. I didn't have any medicine for it, so I got some major acne on my cheek, just under my eye. So there was a big red spot just under my eye, it wasn't even funny. Gross right? Well, I was talking to one of my zone leaders, and he asked me what happened to my face under my eye. I jokingly responded, '' It was my companion'' and I laughed a bit. He obviously didn't get the joke, because two days later our bishop told us that the zone leaders had called him asking him if my companion and I had been fighting. WWWWOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW. My zone leaders are tripping, huh? But it was pretty funny. Welp, gotta go, fams! Write me please!
I love you all like crazy!
Elder Bogdan


Yo peeps! How's it hangin?!
Welp, our investigator Nora, who I said was a little bit different, is planning to be baptized on Sept. 10th! Happy birthday Lisette! She still has much to learn, but it's the goal that we have set with her. She feels really good about the church and I have seen the changes in her life. Her problems have not just suddenly disappeared, but I can see that she is more happy now, and she is not dwelling as much on her problems. And the future is looking a little brighter. Heavenly Father is so wonderful! His capacity to love is amazing! Nora is hard to love at times, and people have treated her bad for all her life, but Heavenly Father has always loved her perfectly. He never grows impatient with her, or with any of us, for that matter. Because we are all as the dust of the earth, and we make lots of mistakes repeatedly, and Heavenly Father is very patient with us.

The Martinez family (Elizabeth- the mama, and Diego and Michael - the hijos) are going to Church more dilligently now, and the members are befriending them. They are progressing much better now, reading the scriptures and praying more, but their baptism is still scheduled for the 1st of October. We are going to talk to Elizabeth tomorrow about how she feels about her baptism and see if we can schedule it for a closer date. She still needs more commitment, and she is still not ready to commit to the Lord in the covenant of baptism, but I feel like she can be ready for her baptism much sooner. It's a great blessing, and necessary for eternal life, and there is danger in postponing it too long, I believe.

Welp, our investigator Marlon, who was the golden investigator who began to cry in our first lesson as he expressed his desires to return back to God and repent of his sins, wasn't able to go to church this past Sunday. We went to his house to pick him up and walk to church with him, but he wasn't there. We've called him several times as well and he is not answering. I hope that nothing bad happened and that he still has interest in having the lessons with us. Lots of times when people stop answering our calls and we lose contact with them, it's because someone has talked to them and said bad things about the church, things which aren't true. I hope that didn't happen with Marlon....

Well family, this past week my companion and I had a fight. We didn't get physical or anything, but we had a lot of contention in between us. Luckily, we decided to follow the Spirit in resolving the problem and we patched up everything, and now we're better friends! I like Elder Jara as a companion:) We have our differences, but we also have much in common. Welp, that's this week! Love you guys! You're all in my prayers! Do good in all things and all things will go good:)

Elder Bogdan

Ode to Copper-poo

Copper-poo! Lisette told me you had a seizure! Are you ok?? I miss you too. How're your legs doing? Still having arthritis problems? Be good for the next year and a half and I'll give you the best dog treat of your life!

Hahahahah dear family,

This week was much better! Thanks to all of those who wrote me and gave me advice. Each one of you gave me some helpful insight. I'm really so glad to be here on the mission. I am learning so much, and I love to learn and grow closer to Heavenly Father. It is a great blessing to be one of His missionaries in this time and age. It's funny, I don't think I even realize or comprehend how much I've changed for the better, how much I've grown. I still feel like the same person, but I know I'm not. If I could watch a video of my life at the start of the mission and a video of right now, 7 months later, I think the change would be great.

Welp, I'm gonna start talking to you all about my investigators now, because they are the purpose of my mission. They define my mission. The first investigators are Elizabeth Martinez and her son Diego (10 years old). We met Elizabeth in the last transfer, knocking doors. She has been slowly progressing, but she is definitely progressing. She also has a son named Michael (3 years old) and a husband who we met the first time this week. The husband was always working, and Elizabeth was hesitant to tell her husband that we were visiting because she said he's very Catholic and doesn't like to talk to people who teach from different religions. We asked her to tell him that we were visiting and to ask him if he'd have interest in listening to the message that we share for the families. She did it, and that's a good sign, because it shows that she thinks what we share is important for her family, including her husband. However, the husband said that he didn't have interest, but he said it was ok that we continue passing by to teach Elizabeth and their sons. One night he arrived at the house from work while we were there, but didn't enter in the house and left. So we had never met him or talked to him. But this past Sunday, we stopped by the house and we met him and presented ourselves! The only thing is that he was drunk and went to his room to sleep, so we didn't get to talk to him more than present ourselves. Elizabeth is very kind, and we have a good friendship with her and especially her sons. She wants her family to be closer to God, and especially worries about her sons. She feels like she raises them by herself for the most part, and I know that she wants more help from her husband, and doesn't like that he drinks. She is still having trouble going to church, but she has started reading the Book of Mormon by herself and praying. In the last visit, she told us that she has interest in learning more about the Book of Mormon. I can see that she wants to know if it is true or not, but she still has trouble with commitment. She has a baptismal date for October 1st, which is kinda far away, but it's because she is still unsure. I know that as she keeps reading the Book of Mormon and praying, she will receive her answer that it is true and will feel more willing and prepared for her baptism. We had a lesson with her in which a recent convert to the Church accompanied us. The recent convert, Hermana Posada, worked wonders! She shared her testimony of the gospel so strong, and was able to relate a lot with Elizabeth. Ever since that appointment, Elizabeth has been showing more interest and more commitment. That goes to show that the testimony of the members of the Church can make a huge difference. We as missionaries can only do so much, but members can help us in accomplishing what we can't accomplish. Many times they can relate to the investigators in ways that we as missionaries cannot. So family, help the missionaries! Help them a lot! You guys will be amazed at the seeds you can plant in the hearts of others! Travis, I hope you are going out with the missionaries! I started to go out with them when I was 14 and I still feel like I arrived to the mission clueless. It is a great experience to help others come to Christ! I was able to help the missionaries in teaching Jennifer Kott and her brother, who were later baptized, and Travis Wormington, who was also baptized. And I was very happy in doing that. I was able to make friends in the process as well, with investigators and with the missionaries.

Another investigator is Nora Chacon. She is a little different, and my companion and I have concluded that she has a little bit of mental problems, but she is so innocent, and kind, and honest. She is our most devout investigator. She has gone to Church for the past month without fail, but she will be moving to a different stake next week to live with her mom. She has had a very hard life. I believe that of all the people I have met in my entire life, she has had the hardest life of all. And so although she is a little strange, and the lessons with her are difficult and sometimes it's hard to be patient, I have to learn to love her, and I do love her at times, but I'm still working on loving her all the time. And that's what she needs more than anything: someone to love her and treat her kindly. Because for all of her life, people have treated her as worthless, including her parents. I hope that one day, she can overcome all the pains she has had with the Lord's help, and continue going to Church, where she can feel the Lord's love and be with people who will hopefully treat her kindly, because even members of the church can be cold at times. And I hope that she can progress enough to be baptized one day. That would be awesome.

Our other main investigator is Marlon Vega. He is GREAT. He loves us and we love him. He has soooooo much potential. In our first visit with him, he started to cry as he talked about the relationship he used to have with God. He used to be very close to God, and had so many blessings from the Lord. But then he distanced himself from the Lord and fell into sin, and as he told us about the hardships he has had since he fell away, the tears came flooding. He told us that he felt like we were sent to give him a second chance in life. An opportunity to fix his mistakes and receive forgiveness through repentance and baptism. We have already talked about baptism, and he has the desire to work towards being baptized. But there is a great obstacle. He is living in ''union libre'' ( I forgot how to say that in English) with the woman who is practically his wife right now. So in order to be baptized, he must get married with her. But it gets more complicated because he needs to get divorced from his ex-wife to marry his current wife. And it's even more complicated because he doesn't know where his ex-wife is. She ran away with his daughter and he hasn't seen his daughter in 3 years. In order to get divorced, he needs the signature of his ex-wife, and then he has to get married, and THEN he can get baptized. And all that also costs a lot of money.... So we are going to be praying for him very much. I you all could pray for him, as well as for all our investigators, I know the Lord will answer our prayers.

I love you family! The work is going much better now, and I am happy!

Elder Bogdan

Q'hubo familia?!

Q'hubo familia?!
Well family, this week we had a great zone conference. Like 24 missionaries from two zones gathered together and Pres. Hacking, Sis. Hacking, the assistants to the president, and a senior couple of missionaries gave wonderful talks to help us! We talked about the Christlike attributes of humility and dilligence, how to deal with stress, setting goals, and being holy men of God. I liked it a lot, and the messages were just what I needed. One thing that I liked a lot was what the senior sister told us. She said that she had been present when Pres. David O. McKay (?) set apart temple sealers. He got down on his knees and told the men that he had sealed them apart as holy men not only in the temple, but that they were to be holy men when they were shopping in the market, when they were at home, when they were traveling, etc. Or in other words, they were to be holy men for the rest of their lives in all time and in all things and in all places. She told us that we as missionaries are holy men, and that should be true in all times, all things, and all places. And that even after the mission, we are to remain holy men. We must not return to be the same person we were before the mission. Our lives should change forever, and change for the better. I liked that message a lot.

Well family, at this time, I feel the need to tell you all of my trials, the difficulties I have been having, so that you all can know how I truthfully am doing here in Colombia, and in hopes that you all can perhaps help me... I think that perhaps you all have realized that in quite some time I have not written much about my investigators, or much about the people here in Colombia who I am teaching. And I want to let you all know that the past month or so has been the hardest time of my mission so far. The past transfer, my companion was Elder Silva, from Peru. I told you all that it was hard at times to be his companion, and that I was excited to get another companion, and that with Elder Silva I felt more like the senior companion than the junior companion. Well, I got pretty discouraged last transfer. I didn't feel prepared to be a senior companion so soon. I felt at times like I was the only one teaching, like I couldn't rely on Elder Silva to help me out. I tried to rely on the Spirit, but I felt like I still wasn't a very good missionary. I still have trouble relying totally on the Spirit. I lack faith. So it seemed as if two very unexperienced missionaries were working together. We found investigators, but they wouldn't progress, and we lacked the power in our teaching to help them realize the truthfulness of the message. It's true that the investigators have their agency, and they weren't choosing to go to church or read or pray. And instead of working harder and exercising even more faith, I started to get discouraged, my faith decreased, and my work ethic decreased greatly. And I would like to apologize to Mom and Wayne and all those who are supporting me financially on the mission, because for the past month or so, I have not been working my hardest, and working as I should. I know that the Lord would not be pleased with my effort, because I know I could have done much more. We wouldn't stay in the house and do nothing, or break any major rules, but we stayed in the houses of members for much too long time, we stopped contacting as much, and we stopped working as hard as the Lord wanted. Also during that time, I started to begin to miss the USA a whole bunch. I was ''trunky'', as the missionary lingo goes. Then Elder Silva left, and my new companion, Elder Jara, from Chile, arrived. I had hope that things were gonna change. But Elder Jara arrived and got sick, and I thought he was faking it cuz he didn't have a temperature, and the next day he said he had knee problems and couldn't walk. So for 2 days we stayed inside the house doing nothing or were in the clinic, because he was sick or couldn't walk. I got more discouraged. And then I finally realized that I HAD to change things. My faith HAD to increase. My testimony HAD to be stronger. My discipline had to be greater. I HAD to make it clear to my companion, through my words and actions, that I wanted to work hard and be obedient. Then this past week I got sick for the first time, and I was in bed for one day with a fever and wanted to throw up, but I never actually did throw up. And after all those trials for a month or so, I decided this past Sunday that I was gonna change things. It was time to become the missionary that I always wanted to be, and it wasn't gonna happen without effort. And I'm happy with my companion now, because I've realized that although he is not perfect, he has the DESIRE to be a good missionary, and that is enough for me! So now we're gonna work hard. I'm gonna make sure that I don't let myself get discouraged and lazy and trunky again. And if I start to feel that way, I'm gonna tell yall about it, so that you can help me and counsel me, instead of keeping it secret. Please keep praying for me, because the change still is under way, and this change will be difficult. Please write me, and encourage me, because I'll need it.

Thanks family! I love you all so much! I have realized here on the mission how important family is for me! After God, I can truly say with 100% - no, 200%- surety that my family is the most important thing to me in existence! Imagine me hugging you all now! Take care! Be good! I won't let yall down, so don't let me down either! Keep strong in the faith!

Elder Bogdan