What a great email I just got! 58 new missions in the church? What a blessing! I love hearing about all of the excitement about missionary work since the big announcement, all of the prophecies of the Scriptures are coming to pass and we are really becoming a bigger and bigger army of the Lord to bring the world His truth! It is the greatest time to be a missionary right now!
Well I have some exciting news to tell you guys this week! Right before I came to write this letter I got a phone call from President Prince, he told me that he had a special assignment for me this transfer. He told me that I would be heading to a city called Buenaventura (see map).
Now let me just tell you a little about Buenaventura... The Church just entered this area of Colombia about 6 months ago, and ever since it did, it has been growing at an incredible rate. In September it had just 12 members meeting in a "house-chapel" and as of now has about 110 attending members. It started out with just 2 elders going there to test the waters so to speak of what they could do there, and it has exploded with success.
They have been sending more and more companionships there and now we are going to open a brand new zone in the mission called La Costa or the coast. President extended the assignment of going over there as one of the zone leaders of this new zone and rapidly growing area, and I was very honored and willing to accept. He was telling me of the miraculous time that this zone is experiencing right now, after years and years and years without the restored gospel in Buenaventura, it has now entered and now we have the responsibility of keeping that going until we can get a chapel built there!
That is the goal right now, trying to force the church to build a chapel because of all the members that will be attending! All throughout my mission so far I have been hearing about how great it is over there, it is like the entire area has been being prepared by the Lord until finally His representatives can go there to share it with them.
The people there get baptized in the nearest river because of the lack of a font, and they are not very well trained on church-organization, so the missionaries play a big role in everything of that nature. I am so grateful for this unique opportunity to go back to what it was like in the old days when the church was young and didn't have many of the things we have now in the organized church, it is really something I am so pumped for!
The only downside is I hear the humidity over there is outrageous and that the people speak really weird and are hard to understand. But those are just challenges that I am excited to face! Another blessing of this new assignment is being with missionaries that I already know and love. Elder Chase and Elder Hogan are two of my great friends that I knew way back in Provo and Bogota and have already been there for 2 transfers.
Elder Wilcox is another great friend of mine that served here in Cali with me. I am marveled at Elder Lopez (a new missionary in my zone from Cancun) for his desire to serve after only being a member for a year. And then there is the great Elder Matos, my trainer, who is also there.
I am already looking forward to the great reunion that will be! But most of all I am excited because I know all of these missionaries are great and work hard. We have such a special trust given to us to bring this Gospel to this people and to build on what we already have. I can't even express my excitement to get started! This is a moment where I know I was put here in this mission for a reason! I leave Wednesday at 1 in the afternoon for Buenaventura to meet my new companion, it is about a 3 hour bus ride from Cali to there.
BUT, of course all of this excitement comes with a downer... My time here in Valle Grande has come to an end, and all of the relationships and bonds that have been created must go their separate ways. I am so thankful for my opportunity to serve in this area and to have met all the people I have met. I will miss all of the members who have been too good to me and have helped us out so much with the work here in the area. I know that they are still in good hands though with Elder Celaya, who has grown so much in these 13 weeks of being his companion. I am not looking forward to tonight and tomorrow with all of the goodbyes, but all good things must come to an end so that greater things can give us more experience in our eternal journey to happiness!
Well sorry for the short letter but I have a bout a billion people to say goodbye to haha... Until next week when I will be writing from Tura as the locals call it haha.
Que Dios les proteja y bendiga hasta que nos vemos de nuevo... (May God protect and bless until we meet again).