Muy Buenas Tardes Familia!
I am calling, for the last time, from Jordán, from Bogotá. I have already let you guys know that I will be going to Sogamoso, ya that’s Sogamoso. It’s in a place called Boyacá. Boyacá is a departamento or a department. It’s kinda like a state but it’s full of little towns, and there are people, I have heard that they are more humble, it’s a little city. I have heard that it’s smaller than Bucaramanga, which makes me think that it’s kinda big. It sure isn’t Bogota, which is HUGE. I have also been called as the Zone Leader going there. My new companion is Elder Taboada from Peru. That should be pretty good. A little bit about my new area, from what I know, is that Sogamoso is a little town outside of Bogotá, it’s about 4 hours outside of Bogotá, It’s about the same temperature and climate, but my zone is only 14 missionaries, but geographically it’s the biggest in the mission. We have our zone that is located in Sogamoso, but we also have Yopal, which is located about 4 hours away from Sogamoso, or 8 hours away from Bogotá. So we will be going there once a transfer. I am super excited for Yopal, I have always wanted to go there. That’s a small town, and it’s hot. It will be interesting going to Sogamoso, as of right now I have had the opportunity to serve in locations where there has been clean water. That will not be the case in Sogamoso, I don’t believe, and less so in Yopal. SO I will be using my filters out there and stuff, and trying to be careful. I don’t know, it’s not a big deal but here in Bogotá, you can actually drink water from a tap just fine. Same in Bucaramanga. But in any of the other areas, you cant drink out of the tap. Um… that’s really all I know!
This is a story: so we got the transfers last night, Sunday night, and I find out that I am going to Sogamoso and I am super excited, I get all packed and by the time I get all packed it’s like 2 in the morning. And yes, I did have permission to stay up, because they told us to pack our things just in case we would be leaving early in the morning, because they didn’t know. So I packed up all of my stuff, make all my bags and everything. I went to bed at 2 am and woke up at 6:30 and did the rest of it. By the time I finished, I sat down on my bed and the phone rang. My companion got it, and it was the Zone Leaders saying “Hey, Elder Lewis, you are going to be leaving on Wednesday.” And I honestly thought it was a joke. I was like: “Elder, that’s not funny.” And they said “no really! Call them!” and… yep. So I will be leaving on Wednesday, the reason being is that there is a group of missionaries coming in, and I will be taking them to Sogamoso. So right now all of my instructions are go to Sogamoso. I don’t know where Sogomoso is… haha. But we will be taking a bus to Tunha, and from there to Sogamoso. That’s what I know. Should be pretty easy. I think I am taking 2-3 missionaries and that’s it. But ya… I am very humbled at the opportunity I have to serve as a Zone Leader, just so you guys know that it’s not going to my head… well I will back up a little bit. This area, Jordán, I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve here. It has been the refiners fire. I go there having 7 months in the mission, and thinking that I was ALL THAT for having 7 months in the mission and being called to be a District Leader. That turned out really badly for me. I had a hard time because of my pride. It just caused friction. When you are living with someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just the littlest bit of pride can seep into the cracks and really cause problems. So that’s the underlying problem that I have learned that caused problems in my first companionship and then my second companionship. My companion that I was training, I really think that he came prepared. I didn’t train him, he trained me. What I mean by that is that he came here, he has 24 years, or he is 24 years old, and I’m 19. I was thinking about it and that would be like me being trained by a 14 year old. But still, he remained so very humble and he just listened. And If it wasn’t important, he just went with it. I learned so much from him in that area, in humility. I hope that I can put it into practice. Really, honestly, I will be going to Sogamoso a much different missionary than the one that came here to Jordán. It’ll be a different experience I am hoping because I will be going willing to listen, willing to learn and not thinking that I know how to do things, because I don’t. But willing to learn things, and willing to try. That’s what I have learned here in Jordán, and many other things. A little bit of diligence; just because things don’t go right, because so many things didn’t go right here, but that doesn’t make an excuse to make excuses. That just means that we have to get up and try harder because there is something that we can do better. I read in Preach My Gospel that a good missionary, a missionary that has the spirit, wont make excuses, wont blame it on circumstances. That’s something that I have had to learn. It is easy to blame it on the circumstances. They wont do this or that. But really, honestly, you have to look at “ok, what do they not understand? What do they need?” and you have to work with the Spirit to try to discern that. It takes a lot of energy, but you have to do it. That’s something that I have not mastered, that I am hoping to get better at. I have also learned how to love people. There have been some people that have really hit my rock out. We were in a lesson with Hermano Pedro, a Catholic with his family. His family has accepted the Gospel and has accepted to be baptized here pretty soon, and he just cant see why the Catholic Church isn’t as good as the Church of Jesus Christ. We explain it to him, and he just doesn’t get it. I don’t know. It just made me realize that I just have to love him more. I need to love him more so that I can have the Spirit to be with me so that I can discern his needs. I guess we will see.
I have had many disappointments here in Jordán. I am willing to take all of those, push forward, and be a better missionary. I leave my companion with full confidence. Maybe if he doesn’t know what to do, he is willing to find out. I really do love this companion. He has been my favorite. I have given him a hard time, but he is just so humble and so willing to do the work. I have a lot to learn. I am nervous about this new opportunity that I have, but I am excited to learn. I am approaching this from a lot different angle than I did when I got here to Bogotá. I hope. I know that will be the same way throughout the rest of my life. When I get home, I think that will be the hardest transfer of all.
Well that’s been enough thinking out loud for today. This week has been a little rough as far as the work goes, on Friday we had 6 appointments, one of them held up. But it gave us the opportunity to go out and meet some new people. If an appointment falls through, that means that God has got another person for you to teach. Go do it. It ended up being a blessing, because we had a member with us the WHOLE day. We had this well planned. Apart from 3:00, we had an appointment every hour till 9. We had someone who would accompany us to all of them, including our ward mission leader Daniel, a returned missionary of 3 months. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise because all of our appointments fell that we were going to go to with them. But it gave us the time to say “Well, Danny, who would you like to go visit? How can we help you?” So we went and visited acquaintances, ya people he knows, and we met some great people. There’s no such thing as coincidences.
Well, family, thank you so much. Thank you so much for your support, I love your letters, keep them coming. Even though I don’t have time to respond to all of them, I will do my best. Thank you so much, I love you all and I don’t know if I can say that I will be thinking of you all the time, because I am a Zone Leader, and I don’t think I will have time to think. I don’t know what awaits me, but I am hoping to go about it humbly. To go about it in a way that I can learn what my Heavenly Father would have me learn. Love you so much family. I will see you later. Chao Chao!
Elder Lewis, Elvira Blanco, Elder Villarroel