Sunday, September 30, 2012

An amazing month...

The month of September was excellent...
The Colombia Cali Mission had 156 baptisms.

a lot of new investigators were found
a lot of lessons were taught
a lot of fonts were filled
a lot of new covenants were made
a lot of lives were forever changed.

The gospel light is shining...
Elder Almendares

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Days are here again...

A Birthday is not something you quietly observe in the mission.
Someone is sure to find out.
Someone is sure to make sure you are celebrated.
And thus it was...

The day BEFORE my birthday

Ana, Maria and the office crew worked hard to put together a party/lunch.
Complete with balloons, photos, flowers, and love.

They are so fun!

You can never go wrong with flowers...
The flowers here are incredible and you can buy bundles on the streets.
Jon bought flowers and we had enough to do an arrangement for the kitchen as well!
Dia de Amor y Amistad
(or Valentine's Day in September!!)
Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.
In Colombia they celebrate the day of love and friendship in September.
It just happened to fall on my birthday this year (every year it is a different day in September)

 and we couldn't let it go are the cream filled cupcakes
Yes...the oven is up and working again (on a table, but working!!)
and how fun is it to use my decorations twice each year...
I love this family! 
find the hearts????

Celebrating with a Day in Paradise

We rented a van for the day and headed to Paradise
We took the office crew and Ana and Maria with us.

La Hacienda el ParaĆ­so
The home of famous Colombian author, Jorge Isaacs.
Here is where his auto-biography, La Maria, takes place.
Elder Rivadeneira trying hard to impersonate Jorge Isaacs!

Elders Stutz, Silva, Almendares and Rivadeneira
 I wish I could attach the fragrance of these was truly Paradise!
Ana, Sister Oliver, Maria, Me, Sister Torgerson
The gardens
The view from the porch of the Hacienda...It really did look like Paradise!

some of the rooms in the Hacienda
Temptation abounds for the missionaries...this bench said, "thank you for not sitting here!"


Las Damas!  These trees were REALLY big!

 Maria and unforgetable love story

Living our own unforgetable love story...and growing old together.

 Leaving Paradise...Elder Silva and Pres. Prince
and on to lunch
We enjoyed a great lunch at Siga La Vaca...a beautiful place, delicious food,
and wonderful company.

Back at the house we enjoyed Cake that was lovingly prepared
Elders Silva and Rivadeneira.

A day in Paradise...Happy days!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feed my Sheep

Our great zone leaders in Ipiales sent us this picture
to make sure we knew they were REALLY feeding the sheep in Ipiales.

Elder Matthew Jensen...
Lovest thou me?
thou knowest I love thee.
Feed my Sheep!
(but get a little closer!!!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kitchen remodeling update...

We now have 1/2 a kitchen...

The black plastic has come down off the door!

The latest promise is that the other 1/2 will be finished by October 13...
3 days before the next group of 20 missionaries arrive!
They started this project on July seems like forever!

The standard of truth has been erected...

"...the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly,
and independent, 'til it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country,
and sounded in every ear..."

The gospel has arrived in Buenaventura, Colombia!

Today, Sunday, 9 September
the Colombia Buenaventura Branch of the Colombia Cali Mission
was officially organized. `

The New Buenaventura Branch Presidency
Branch Presidency with Pres. Prince and the new Quorum President

The letter of approval from the First Presidency
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
arrived on Thursday, with instructions from the Area Presidency
to proceed with the formation of this branch.

In June 2012 we sent the first 2 missionaries, Elders Patino and Rivera, into Buenaventura.
They lived in a hotel while searching for an apartment.
They met with a couple of members in the members home for church on Sunday.
The interest in the gospel was overwhelming.

In July 2012 we sent another companionship, Elders Belnap and Welling.
By this time we had an apartment for 4 Elders.
They began the process of finding a casa capilla (house chapel), as the attendance had grown to over 60 people attending sunday services.

The missionaries have had amazing experiences of people flagging them down on the street and saying that they are members of the church.

(the Quintana family was one of these families!)
After moving to Buenaventura and finding there was no branch or place to attend church, they had slowly fallen into inactivity.  They are SO excited to hear that the church has arrived in Buenaventura and that their families can now enjoy all the blessings of the gospel.

Practicing to be mission president one day!!

Today there were 98 people in attendance at the Sunday meetings.
31 of those were investigators who stayed for all the meetings.
The gospel is changing their lives.
The truth of God is going forth boldly in Buenaventura.
What a miracle to witness the growing of the Lord's kingdom.

The trip to Buenaventura is a 2 1/2 hour windy road across the mountain range
and headed to the coast.

a few of the sights on the ride there

We had lunch with the Rodriguez family (he is the new Branch President)

 with Elders Belnap and Welling
Hermana Rodriguez loves HER Gringos...she is taking good care of them!

The ride home took about an hour longer than the trip there.
Everyone from Cali leaves on Friday to go to their "Fincas" and then
on Sunday night they all head back to the city.
It was bumper to bumper traffic on the same mountain road.

Sometimes the trips on these Colombian roads qualify for
going forth BOLDLY, NOBLY, and surviving.

This was a long day for us, but a wonderful day for the Saints of Colombia.
The Church is growing in this corner of the Lord's vineyard!