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!