Today I went to the temple! It was so nice to go again! I haven't been in like 4.5 months! We have a new rule that only allows the missionaries to go to the temple 4 times a year now. But it was a great spiritual experience like always, and I left the temple just feeling so grateful to Heavenly Father for His being so perfect and so intelligent and so loving and creating a perfectly, amazingly beautiful Plan of Salvation. I understand my purpose so much thanks to the Plan of Salvation, and I can say that it's perhaps in that aspect that my testimony has been most strengthened during my time in the mission. Going to the temple, I was also reminded of my first day here in Colombia. My first night, we slept in a hotel next to the temple and I remember looking at it through the hotel window. And the next morning, we weren't able to enter the temple, but we walked around the gardens of the temple. That was 19 months ago! I've already been in Colombia for over 1.5 years! And I've been on the mission for 21 months now! Time flies by so fast! I feel a mixture of sadness and happiness at the same time. Happiness because I'll be with my family again, but sadness because I'll be leaving behind my Colombian family. It's so crazy - this place is like my second home. I know that you guys probably imagine Colombia as some foreign, exotic place. But I don't even see it like that anymore. I feel so comfortable here, and I can get myself around the city of Bogotá better than I can in Houston, haha! I still don't know exactly when I'll be getting home, but just keep waiting and I'll let you all know very soon. It'll be at least within the next month, I believe.
Mom, thanks for the things you sent me! I love that you remembered that Sour Patch Kids is my favorite candy! I still haven't opened the bag because I'm waiting til Halloween to go nuts and eat some freaking candy! Haha! And thanks for the protein bars too! I'm gonna get home ripped! Haha! Speaking of Halloween, it'll be fun to see all the little kids dressed up! Rascal, send me some pictures of Tyler and Braden in their costumes, please! In our ward, they're not gonna have a ward Halloween party for everyone. They already had one for the Primary, but that's about all they're gonna do. Halloween's not as big here in Colombia. There are a lot of Christian churches that prohibit it, actually. And the members of the church like it, but they also don't go all out like we do in the United States. The Montoya family that got baptized recently invited us to their business to help them pass out candies, and my companion and I are gonna make good use of the opportunity to contact people.... and eat some candy too... Their 5 year-old daughter, Valeria, told me she was gonna dress up as Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. And so I jokingly asked her, ''And who's gonna be the beast? Your dad??'' Haha, she thought it was pretty funny :)
Welp, this week has been challenging, mostly for my companion. Actually, these two transfers with him have been challenging. I didn't ever mention anything to you guys. Earlier in the mission, I remember that I would complain to you guys about my companions, but I decided that I'm not gonna do that anymore, so that's why I never said anything. It doesn't help me to love them, really. And loving my current companion has been EXTREMELY HARD. Like I said, I'm not gonna complain and I'm not gonna give details, but what I wanna tell you all is that about 2 days ago my companion and I had a very long discussion. I mostly just wanted to help him, because I don't believe he is finishing his mission how it ought to be. He goes home to Ecuador next week, and I don't see that he has been very happy in the mission, or that he has loved it, or even grown to love the people very much. And so I wanted to help him. A missionary ought to finish their mission a happier person, a more loving person, a more patient person, etc. I prayed to Heavenly Father that he would help me to make the discussion a very spiritual experience, and not an argument. And Heavenly Father answered my prayer, knowing that I truly wanted to help out Elder Quiñonez. We talked and we talked and we talked, and he began to cry. I began to cry too. I don't know what all the problems are that he's having, within himself, or within his family, or whatever. But I know that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration, he can be happy, and change his future. And perhaps be happy his last week in the mission. Long story short, I was able to help him out, and I was actually able to love him too, and that makes me feel AMAZING:)
Well fams, thanks for all your love and support! I'm so fortunate to have an amazing family like you all!