Hola Familia! Elder Lewis again aqui in Bucaramanga,
Maybe for the last time in Bucaramanga here, I have a hunch that I may be transferred, but I am not sure yet. So I just returned from another hike to another waterfall. These ones were in Piedecuesta, and Piedecuesta is about 30 minutes from here by bus, it’s a little town. Up above in the mountains there are some stinking cool waterfalls, I will send some pictures. I am sunburned, the sun is very strong, but I have a hard tan line anyway. My watch tan line is pretty on point. The sun has been really strong this week, and I am getting pretty dark. I am actually darker than a lot of the people here, which isn’t much because Colombians are usually more fair skinned than all the other Latins. But still….
Its been a rather discouraging week. Our baptism that we were going to have this next week, we aren’t sure what has happened to them. We haven’t seen them in 2 weeks. She is having a hard time with her family and having doubts and not reading the Book of Mormon. That’s the problem. She knows its true, we have had some really cool experiences with John and Mile. Its kinda hard because she said she had a dream that she saw Jesus, that he told her that she didn’t need to join a church, that he told her that he was “in her heart”. We learn in Jesus the Christ, James Talmage calls that “an old sectarian notion”, that that’s a lie. She said that she thinks that it was Jesus but she wasn’t sure who it was but that she dreamed it so it must be true…. So that is her big problem right now, she doesn’t want to believe that there is a church. Sometimes that’s really frustrating , because there is a church, and this is it. Sometimes people here, the Catholics teach a very flowery version of the Gospel, they don’t teach the commandments. They teach the Psalms and the Proverbs, and they tell ya if you sin, you are going to Hell. Other than that they don’t really do much. So to tell them that there is a church is really stunning to people because they are so used to “Oh, it doesn’t matter what church you are in, you are a child of God.” Well that’s true, but He has provided a way. So that’s where we are at with the Familia Reyes, its not looking like we are going to be filling the font for a little while in Bucarica. We have other investigators that are coming along though.
I gotta tell you guys about an experience that I had on Friday with Hermano Cuadros. We went to an appointment down in the lower part of our area, called La Paz, and in La Paz, we were supposed to be teaching an investigator, but he wasn’t home. But instead of teaching him, we started contacting a little in the neighborhood. There was a man standing in front of this man’s house, so we went and talked to him about religion. He told us “I have understanding and knowledge that you wouldn’t even comprehend, and you wouldn’t be able to receive it.” We said “porque?” Why? So we went up in his house, and he basically sits us down, and we are sitting in the living room, all appears normal, his wife was there, his family was there, and he starts to tell us about his “knowledge”. Basically, he believes that he got this vast understanding and knowledge from… a drink. Yep. A liquid. We asked him what liquid, and he said “Ayahuasca” and my companion started to laugh. I discovered that Ayahuasca is a hallucinogen, a root found in the Amazon that is crushed up and secretes liquid, and it is like LSD. So it’s a drug. I was trying really hard not to laugh. So he started to tell us about these really weird beliefs that he has, and he was telling us about what he think about the creation that was really weird, and his own version of the law of Chastity… it was really weird. He told us about all of that. So I asked him, “How much of this revelation was from this drink?” and he said “well, none of it.” I said “But isn’t that what you just told us?” and he said “No, through the drink I was transported and my spirit connected with the universe, and I saw colors that were hermosisimas… “ Colors that were really cool. I was trying so hard not to laugh, and my companion looked at me like “Compa, if you laugh, I swear I will kill you. control yourself.” Hermano Cuadros is in the same situation, we are trying no to laugh. Then we decided to teach a little bit of the plan of salvation to this guy. He wasn’t going to receive it, but we are going to try to straighten him out a little bit. So we had a prayer and then my companion said Amen, and this guy is still sitting here, arms outstretched in meditation pose. So we are thinking “oh he is praying or something.” But then he started to yell. In Latin. He starts to yell this prayer. We see a big smile come across the face of Hermano Cuadros and we are trying not to laugh. Then he stops. He’s done. Then he says “Now I am gonna do it in Spanish. “ So he starts again. He starts asking a bunch of weird names I have never heard for help and understanding, He said it was a prayer from Solomon but I am not exactly sure. I don’t know what it was or where it came from. Anyway, we began to talk about the plan of Salvation, and of course he doesn’t receive it, he believes that God is a Spirit and that only some of us can be saved. He believes that only some people can have children, that only some can have that relation in matrimony. We asked him “well who can be saved?” and he said: “ You cant know.” And we said: “ who knows?” and he said: “only God knows.” We then decided that we didn’t need to mess with that, so we said a closing prayer, and we left him with a law of chastity pamphlet and left. It was the weirdest experience. So… don’t do drugs kids. Messes you up!
That was right after we were talking with a Catholic missionary, most of whom are volunteers, well this one was anyway. She goes up in the mountains and helps people and preaches every once in awhile. We were teaching this security guard in front of his house, and she starts to argue with us on a few points of doctrine, which was very irritating because we weren’t teaching her! So basically, we kinda chopped her head off with the scriptures, especially with kids being baptized, we broke out Moroni 8. She was basically arguing our claim to authority, that we didn’t have it, that we didn’t need it, that she could baptize if she wanted to. Her argument was “Well, if this person was dying, you’re saying that I can’t baptize them and save them?” Yes. That’s exactly what we were saying. Then she brought up “what if this baby is dying, can I not save it?” Then we broke out Moroni 8. We said “first of all, has this baby committed sin?” she said No. “Why are we baptized?” she says: “to be a part of the family of God.” We said: “we aren’t a part of the family of God if we aren’t baptized?” she said: “No.” First of all that’s utterly flawed, but she doesn’t have the knowledge of the pre earth life, so that’s hard to argue with. They claim that we are all children of God, and yet if we aren’t baptized that we are not children of God? Anyway, we got her convinced about the remission of sins, stated in the Bible. Then we said “are you saying this baby is going to hell because it has not been baptized?” she said: “well, no” and we said: “ that’s exactly what you are saying.” She couldn’t come up with a response to that. She then said “well, its in the bible that we should baptize our children.” And we asked her where that was. She said: “well I don’t know, but I will go find it.” We now have another appointment set up with her to have her show us exactly where that is in the Bible. We are fairly certain that she wont find it because it doesn’t exist. Anyway…that was fun. We aren’t here to argue with people’s religions, but when they are being aggressive, then bueno. That’s another story.
We contacted a bunch this week, met some new people. We met a guy on the street this week that had been to SLC and had been to Temple Square. SO it was kinda easy to start teaching him. He actually lives in Piedecuesta, so we passed on the reference. Its easy to teach people when theres something that they relate to.
Normal day to day things: if you guys wouldn’t mind, I would like to get some cheap recipes from you. Theres only so much rice you can make. So if you guys have some creative ways to make rice or something else easy, I think I can get about anything here. I have made Spaghetti, French toast, and a few other things. So If you can send those my way, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, that would be very appreciated.
We walk a lot, so I don’t know if my shoes will last me past a year. They have a 2 year warranty, but we walk a lot. My best guess is about 10 miles in a day, maybe more. Down to John and Mile, it takes us 30 minutes to talk there, 2 miles, there and back, so total that’s 8 miles there. My shoes have been awesome, I would recommend Hushpuppies to anyone who is thinking about it. Also they are still waterproof. My companions shoes are falling apart, he has 2 more transfers than I do and his are falling apart. I keep mine shined up pretty good and they are doing great.
Mosquitoes here aren’t bigger than the ones in the US, but the marks that they leave are bigger, like the size of a quarter…. Freak.
Me and Elder Hildebrandt are getting used to each other and are having fun now. We are really digging deep and working hard and putting in the hours trying to find good people here in Bucarica. There are good people everywhere we just have to find them. We contacted this lady in her house, here all the hosues have gates in the front so we take our oil vial and tap it on the gate, and they usually can hear that, or have a timbre that you can hit, or if not then you can open the gate, but if it is locked you are out of luck. She comes out and she rips us to pieces. She doesn’t want to hear anything. So we leave and we go to this less actives house the same night. 3 hours later. We go to this less actives house, and Evan, one of the sons, who is a returned missionary comes out with a big smile on his face and bouncing, which is uncharacteristic of Evan, and he says “ “ hey we have somebody for you to meet” and it’s the SAME LADY. She was SO RED. She left in a real hurry. She is a friend of these members. I just about died, and I tried really hard not to laugh, but I did laugh pretty hard.
Looking forward to hearing from you guys, I hope that you all are doing well and I hope that you all are as blessed as I am. I am grateful for your prayers on my behalf. I feel your prayers. They help and they support me. I hope that you are always getting closer to the Savior. I am striving to be closer to him and be more like him. My thoughts and my desires are not directed as close as I would like all the time, but I know that it’s a process. I am working on it. I hope that you all are still reading the Book of Mormon. I probably wont finish with you guys, but I will try to finish in April. I love you all. I hope that you are being blessed and staying close to the Lord. I love you all. Talk to you next week. Chao!