Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and we often times call a man cold when he is only sad.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Doctor and his ghosts.
Why I love Disney, Julie Andrews, and Mary Poppins most of all!
That awkward moment when out of the blue, you put your first tumblr post after a year and a half when in reality you shouldn’t put it on for another 6 months.
Well, It’s been a great run so far! =)
I’m a bit more than 6 months into my mission, and as you can tell, I just lost track of my week count. To be honest, I’m not too crazy to keep up on it for myself. I do it more for those of you back home who are wondering how long I’ve been out. But I’ve learned a lot, forgotten a lot of English, and a lot has happened in these 6 short months of my life here in the outlying areas of Colombia, more than anyone would ever think possible. To start off with, I’ve learned to appreciate A LOT of things that many of us take for granted. To list just a few of them, I’ve learned VERY much to appreciate central air conditioning, fiberglass insulation, clean and dependable water sources, washing machines and dryers, airplanes, smart phones, ceiling fans, a police force that actually does their job, and enforced traffic laws. They’re VERY simple things that we all manage to take for granted or, sometimes, things that drive us nuts (especially the last one in my list). However, as I’ve been here putting myself completely out there, learning to love the people. learning the language (and forgetting quite a bit of my native tongue), and learning many of the customs that would seem strange to most of you back home, I can’t help but thinking that there is something that I lack still.
I realize that I’ve changed quite a bit from who I was, but who wouldn’t change after 6 months in a foreign land with nobody that knows your language, living with people that you don’t know, and both those things constantly changing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this experience I’m having; it’s a once in a lifetime experience! I love the things I’m learning, and I love how fast I’m learning everything that I haven’t known before. It’s just that I don’t know why I didn’t give notice to this before nor why I didn’t notice things like this before. If everyone had the chance to take this experience that I’m having right now, I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone without second guessing. I’m only a quarter way through, but I know that when I finish that I will never be the same in many aspects.
This past week has been one that’s been practically empty but busy in the same moment. We spent a large part of our week traveling from Aguazul to Bogota by bus, so there’s about 16 hours of our week, plus the full 24 hours we spent IN Bogota and the other 24 in Yopal, making, in total, 64 hours of travel time and of time away from Aguazul. In addition, we sleep about 8 hours each day, so that’s about 40 hours of our week this week, so 80 hours of 168 hours was spent doing stuff that was rather boring. Also, there’s about 12 hours each Monday to prepare for all of the week, so 98 hours doing almost nothing. (Sorry for losing you on the math [if I did].) That left Elder Alonso and I with the 46 hours to work here in Aguazul this past week. You’d be COMPLETELY surprised what you can learn in 2 days worth of hours, especially in a town that is an hour away from the nearest major city, is at high risk for many tropical diseases that you may have never heard of, and is about the size of Henderson (if not smaller).
So, this past week, it rained buckets. Literally. If any of you have any idea how theater productions/movie productions make rain appear on screen, that’s how heavy it was here. In fact, it’s about ready to rain just as heavy again in a few minutes. So, in order to work, we had to ride our bikes REALLY fast in order to maintain somewhat dry (although it didn’t really help much). We only had 3 lessons with our investigators, and 9 lessons with less-active members of the church, but they all had a heavy impact on me. There was one charla we had that kind of depressed me a lot for the whole week and still has me kind of depressed. We went to visit one of our good friends who’s about 9 years old or so, named Gilber. When we arrived out front of his house, his dad was there sitting on his phone playing games. You have to understand, that is EXTREMELY RARE to find his dad, Ferney, at home because he works about 1 hour outside of Aguazul as a forester (more or less that’s what he does, I forget what to call it in English) almost all the week except some Sundays. So, that was a surprise for us, but the news that he had for us was somewhat devastating to him and also a little bit to us.
Lately, he’s been bringing his son, Duan, to work with him because he’s been SUPER bored at home lately. For the first 3 days of work, everything went fine, but this past Wednesday, Duan lost half of his dominant hand on a buzzsaw. I have a photo, but I’d rather not send it because it’s not the most pleasant thing to look at for most people (for me I was fine to be honest). He only has his thumb left as well as half of his palm. He lost his hand right where you fold your hand into a fist. What had happened is that he lost his balance and he put his hand out to catch himself, but he put it out right where the buzzsaw happened to be. As a result… =P
Anyways, sorry to spoil the Christmas mood for anyone there, but now on to my happier note to help bring in that awesome Christmas spirit that’s unique to this time of year. Christmas is the time of year where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t read or heard of the Christmas story, I recommend that you go look it up on the internet and you will find millions of versions of it. It’s because of the wonderful and miraculous events that occurred around his birth that it was such a remarkable time to be alive. Anyways, we celebrate Christmas as a reminder to all of us that Jesus Christ was born. Our Savior and Redeemer. The one PERFECT gift of our Heavenly Father for us to live with him again. Without the birth of Jesus Christ, we would have never had the Atonement, the event that gave us the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins and be made clean enough to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. That is one of the reasons that we give gifts to each other: to remember the one perfect gift that God gave to all mankind in order to redeem them. This event was so great that angels appeared to mark the occasion to certain poor shepherds in fields outside of Bethlehem to mark the occasion. In addition, a new star marked the birth of Christ, a new light to guide us in all of our ways. There are many signs and symbols behind the decorations of Christmas. As much as I would love to share them all, I don’t have much time left to write, so it suffices me to say: Merry Christmas to all and I love you all. Happy New Year and talk to you next week!
Elder Jared Rezendes
This past P-Day, we did our laundry, bought some things we needed, and wrote our families. As we wrote our families, Elder Castro called his over Skype and talked to them for a bit so I got the chance to see them! We left and finished out our day, visiting a less active family who WANTS to return to church REALLY badly, but problems have presented themselves every Sunday. The mother, Marilu, is the one we’re focusing on the most right now because she is the one who was the “founder” of the branch in Aguazul, but because her husband was cheating on her and (after she found out) fought with her every week causing them to miss church, she hasn’t attended for the past 5 years. She moved out of her husband’s house about 2 years ago and is living with her daughter, non-member brother, and his 3 non-member children who are all interested in the church, but they’re having problems now and she is trying to build a ranchita que el presidente y otros en la rama están ayudándonos con este. We are excited to do this because we know it’ll help her to attend each week without the problems she has right now.
Also this past week has been rather unproductive in general. We offered a lot of service, but other than that, we didn’t TEACH many lessons. We went to a lot of people’s houses, but we didn’t really talk much about the Church. One investigator in particular we talked to asked if we could help him finish painting his house that Elder Castro and Elder Huarca had helped him start to do. The last wall he had yet to finish was filled with holes and chipped paint, so we were there for about 3 hours cleaning up the wall before painting (which Elder Castro and I didn’t get the opportunity to do). The other service that we offered this week was to cook for one of our menos activos para ayudar con la empereza de vender arepas y cerdo. Well, that’s the week summed up. -_-
Well, it’s true what they say about the time in the mission (I don’t really know how time is going for all of you guys back home, but at least for me it’s true…) that a day feels like a month, but the months feel like days. I can’t believe that I’ve already been out for almost 6 months.
He helped us A LOT yesterday while we were talking with a family that was just recently reactivated, the Velandias. We’ve been training him to be a missionary, and he has been doing amazingly well. In fact, yesterday, while we were discussing something with Hermana Velandia about her son, Brajhan was talking to him and we saw a HUGE change in how he treated his mom from before the discussion. After ALL the four discussions we had with the family, we were able to find out a problem as well as get the family to try staying together with Omar again (as they’re in the middle of filling out their papers for divorce).
Wow, time flies a bit too fast down here. Anyways…