Monday, May 31, 2010

Latest News from Colombia!

May 31st, 2010

Dear Folks,
Transfers came yesterday. We both will be leaving for another area in Cúcuta. It´s the same zone and everything, just a different area, but an area that´s a lot poorer and hotter because there aren´t any trees. It was the ZLs area, but now we will trade with them. We will trade 3 baptismal dates programmed for the next 2 weeks for 3 investigators that came to church for the first time yesterday. They are the only ones progressing in our new area, but we´ll work this transfer even harder and we will turn it around.
The big problem is that the house where we will live is called ¨La Cueva¨. That means cave, and in the mission it is famous for being the filthiest house here. No breeze runs through it, and it has a plastic roof, so it gets really toasty during the day. Onward and upward!

Pictures for next week,

Love,
Elder Rickords

May 24th, 2010
Dear Folks,
Could you please get me a pretty good looking edition of Mormon Doctrine. I´d like it for my personal library. I´d like to have a pretty good collection of spiritual books when I get back. That`s funny that they´ve stop printing it though, and even weirder that videogaming is a badge! Haha
Well, Clara, the Jehovah´s witness, came to church again. We have 4 progressing investigators this week. 2 baptismal dates already and 2 more that we´ll take out this week. We have a lot of people to teach, so this week we´ll see who keeps the commitment to come to church. The problem is that the ZLs think they´ll have our area this next transfer because it´s better placed for the zone and the only really secure house we have here. Also, it´s the biggest house and up 4 floors so it has a lot of breeze that comes through it. However, I´m sure that has nothing to do with it.
We´re still working hard out here. Finally seeing results. But transfers are this Sunday.
Got my money out this friday, but I haven´t had time to buy anything yet.
Hey, what happened to that quilt Sis. Grover made me? And all my other stuff? Please keep it all safe. Also, I mailed Jared but it came back and said the address was wrong.

Love,
Elder Rickords


May 3rd, 2010

Dear Folks,
Sorry to hear about Aunt Lisa, I am very sad she is gone. Uncle Max and his family remain in my prayers, as they have been for several months. Also, Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you had a wonderful day and I look forward to the day when I can be close enough to give you a card or something.
Maybe you all think it´s rude, but a lot of things back home just lose their importance out here. I am very focused in my area, especially since it is destroyed, and want to finally get an area up and going extremely well before I leave. I have had so many area like this, I want to do my best here so that I won´t have to do it again and can finally do something else. I am very tired these days. One because of this heat (which just doesn´t leave, because we´re here in the tropics), and two because I have had to start up so many other areas like this one, and I rarely see the fruit of all my efforts. It seems like just when my area gets running I get transferred. I love my mission but there are times when a part of me is glad I can go home in 10 months.
So please don´t misunderstand if I don´t reply to everything. It´s just that I´ll be home in a few more months and right now I need to be dedicated to working right here.
I do have good news though. This week we had a family of 5 that came to church. They said they loved it and will be back next week. Out of all the contacts we´ve done, we think we have several more that can come next week to church. Also, the bishop is extremely excited with us and will present 2 references tonight in a family home evening.
So we have just begun to see what we will accomplish here. When I got here there was nothing, investigators, references, NOTHING. But now with the help of the Lord we will turn this area around, and maybe at last I will get to train.
Please call the missionary department of the church to explain my situation and see if you can put money in my missionary account. I don´t really need another card, just enough for another camera and scriptures and bag. $100 will be sufficient, I think.
I´m not sure how we´ll talk on Mother´s day. I´ll write you an email when I figure it out.
Love,
Elder Rickords




April 26th, 2010

Dear Folks,
My new area is very nice. Cúcuta is extremely hot, much hotter than Yopal. this sun tires me out, sometimes I´m glad I don´t have that much time left, and sometimes I´m not. Cúcuta also is much more of a city, and there is an entire stake here instead of just a few wards.
I really miss my old area. My new companion is Elder Arango. He is a Colombian from Barranquilla(like Shakira). He´s cool, but also very new, only a transfer in the mission, and I’m not sure his companion and him worked very hard before. He is getting blisters on his feet for the first time in his mission in his first 3 days with me. Like I said, this area is pretty down, however it has a history of being one of the best areas in the city, so another few weeks should find us a few good, solid investigators.
Don´t worry about the money, I´ll figure something out.

Love,
Elder Rickords



April 19, 2010

Dear Folks,
Hope you`re all doing well. Well we got robbed, so please cancel that card. I`ll talk to Sister Hacking about what she thinks I should do to get more money. Anyway, I`ll have enough money for now, but eventually I will need more money, especially since I need more scriptures and a camera.
We got the transfers this Saturday, I was supposed to leave today but I have things to do in town so I can stay one more day. I leave for Cúcuta tomorrow, that´s 14 hours in a bus.yay. I know it´s really hot, and I hear it has not been treated as well as it could have so I´m going to a discouraged area again. Oh well, this ,Duitama, has been my first area that wasn´t destroyed, and in 3 months we had almost 14 baptisms.
We said goodbye to everyone yesterday and today. A few families cried, like my converts and my ward mission leader(he says he´s coming to visit us next year). It was good to see that people will actually miss me here, it´s the first place where people actually showed emotion to see me leave.
This has been by far my best area. Here I feel like I have been a part of making a difference. I´ll definatly miss Duitama.

Write you next week,
Love,
Elder Rickords


April 12, 2010

Dear Folks,
We had another slow week. We haven`t had many lessons and we kind of have had trouble getting new people to teach. Contacts aren`t really effective and the members haven`t been giving references at all, so this week we are going to present a new ward mission plan to the bishop and the next week to the ward leaders. What we really need to do is involve all the leaders because Elders come into this area and give a new plan every few months, and although the plan is good, the members ditch it the second that new elders come.
Also, we went to ward counsel yesterday and all the people, leaders of the church, did was express their frustrations at how the Ward isn`t growing fast enough. It reminded me of our meetings as a deacon`s quorum presidency. It was pretty sad.
So this week we decided to go down swinging since it’s the last week of me or my comp. It`s a good little ward, but I need to buy a few more tourist things before I leave.
This week we had a baptism for Edgar and Elizabeth. They got married this Thursday after doing all the paperwork themselves(which is really a big hassle here in Colombia). They are so excited to be in the church, and are better behaved than most members. They`re the first ones in church every Sunday. I love them and hope that they will stay firm in the gospel and not go inactive.
Well that`s about it for this week. Yes, I have been taking money out to buy stuff, but I want more stuff from Colombia. I still need to buy a ginormous flag.
No, I have never seen a bull fight, although they are common here.

Love,
Elder Rickords




April 4th, 2010
Dear Folks,
I hope you all enjoyed conference. I did too, but this time I had to watch it in spanish and so I didn`t get as much out of it as I had before. I still liked it, and all the investigadores that came liked it too.
The other companionship that lives with us are the ZLs. They`re Ok, but they have the habit of treating us like we don`t know anything and they`re better. That seems to be normal for Zone leaders to do, but they`ve done it a lot more than I`ve seen in other Elders before. Needless to say I’m a little frustrated with this District. Everyone tries to tell everyone else what to do and this whole thing is discouraging me. I`m pretty sure I`ll leave this transfer so I don`t really care, I just have to baptize these people and I`ll be happy.
Elder Au has a month and a half more time than me. He`s doing well.
I still keep losing hair though. I can see my scalp through my hair. A lot comes off when I dry my hair after the shower. I`m taking vitamins and using head and shoulders shampoo, but I keep losing hair everyday. I feel bad because I never thought I would go bald before 21, this wasn`t something I expected, and its not something I can cure. Did Dad have this problem too, or is it just me?
Could you please send me the recipe for the no bake cookies today. I`m going to make some for a family home evening here.

Love,
Elder Rickords



March 22nd, 2010
Dear Folks,
We have had an OK week. For some reason we lacked enthusiasm this week and didn`t have many lessons. Also, nobody was ever home when they said they would be. Well we only had 7 investigators in church this week, but all of them will surely get baptized in the next month, we just have to get all the paperwork done and it’ll be good.
We had a service project this morning. It was outside the city on a small farm(the only thing they have are cows). They have the habit of throwing everything away around the house. The grass grows really fast and so we would see peices of clothes and then pull on them only to find an entire jacket or something. It was also very swampy and so my feet got wet.
After that we went home to sleep for 2 hours. I don`t ever remember being so sleepy at home (except for when I didn`t sleep much at night). I just have felt really tired during the week since this last summer. Anyway, I always have to take a nap on pday or else I`ll be sleepy for the rest of the week.
So that’s about all for this week. Everything’s going well.
Could you ask dad when he started to go bald? I`ve been losing a lot of hair these past few months.

Love,
Elder Rickords




March 15th, 2010
Dear Folks,
Another great week. We only had 9 investigators in church this week. Still pretty good considering that when I first got here we had 0. I`ve attached some pictures. One is of my district eating milenesa, others of the baptiss of the Poveda Family, Wilson y Fernanda, y zayuri. The parents of Zayuri will be baptized later next month.(The dad was the one who said he didn`t want to get married, but now he`s said yes!)
So we`ve been working really hard this week hopefully the 10 who will get baptized. We had to drop a few other people because they won`t progress, so we`ve been doing more contacts this week. However, members have offered 4 more references for this week!
Everything`s good here. Just got to keep working and this area will actually bear fruit. I love this place. Last night Los Gallego (a family of members) chewed us out because we didn`t tell them we were hungry. They told us we had to tell them if we were hungry because that would show trust. Enjoy those pics!
Elder Rickords

PS Tell Grandma I play piano in church every week
PPS That kid on facebook is a good friend of mine. He`s getting ready to serve a mission.

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