Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Monday, October 26, 2015

Riding Out the Storm

October 26, 2015

Again, hopefully this works since I know some emails haven't been sending.

It was a great way to end the transfer. We started out with a semi
confrontational lesson with Paige and her family about the word of
wisdom and other commandments, and the weather seemed to imitate the
intensity of the discussion by dumping about a 2 inches of hail on
their back porch. We weren't able to go to Spanish class that night
since we couldn't drive back to Yuma due to the hail, but playing pool
with Paige while we waited for the steam to clear was really nice.
Some not nice words were said by all due to the competition during
those games. However, Paige is still so awesome. She wants to serve a
mission eve though she's not even a member yet. And also, I'm a little
jealous because she's the best mission girlfriend; she always sends
her boyfriend on his mission packages, like one per week, with candy
that's decorated and letters and stuff. It makes me so jealous. But
good for him, I guess...

I also got to do exchanges with my long time Spanish rival and fellow
Spanish nerd, Elder Bingham. It was awesome. We went to support Paige
at her volleyball game, practiced a ton of Spanish, got BBQ and ice
cream, and then had late night pillow talk, of course. It was good to
spend some time with him after being separated for a few months and to
talk in person.

I'm semi-excited for the upcoming transfer. I will somehow be staying
in Yuma for a 4th transfer and I will again be with elder Baum. He is
definitely the comp I have been the most excited about being
companions with twice. I really don't know what additional work there
is to do here in Yuma, so it looks like we'll be spending the majority
of our day in Wray trying to find work out there to do. I'm excited to
be able to be here for Misciel's baptism though (I found out how to
spell her name haha...I was wrong before).

Other highlights of this week were when we got ice cream with Misciel,
courtesy of her, and when I beat Paige again in round 2 of pool. We
also had a delicious lunch with her and her family. They treat us so
well. At the branch party, we also were obliged participate in the
branch talent show. So...finding I have a lack of talent, I got
desperate and changed the lyrics from "do you wanna build a snowman?"
to "do you wanna do some tracting?"  I have it on video, but I don't
think I can send it. I'll send the lyrics though. Have a great week!

Do you wanna do some tracting?
Let's go and knock some doors!
We never go out anymore,
You're such a bore,
And now it's half past 4!

We used to be good elders
And now we're not
I wish you would even try!

Do you wanna do some tracting?
Or maybe street contacting?

Go away, Bacon.
Ok fine....

Bacon: Hello president.
Baum: Elder bacon, How are things going with elder Baum?
Bacon: Oh um....alright....
Baum: let's have a meeting.

Do you want do some tracting?
Or talk to people in the street?
I think that we have sat inside enough
We haven't done that much,
Why don't we use our feet?

I feel a little guilty
Just wasting time
When we could be knocking doors!
Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock (knocking on the
podium like I'm knocking on a door)

Baum: *answers* GO AWAY!!!

Baum: Elders, your numbers have been really low. Is there an
explanation for this?
Bacon: Well president, elder Baum has had difficulties feeling
motivated to go out and work lately.
Baum: Elder bacon, I remember a time when you had the same feelings.
Particularly when you first gotten to Yuma. You told me that every
door had been knocked, and you had doubts about how you were going to
like such a small branch. Do you remember that?
Bacon: Yes president.
Baum: And then what happened?
Bacon: Well, elder Navarro and I decided to go and do some work anyway
and knock some doors, and then we found someone, and she has a
baptismal date for November 14th.  Also, I found out that the branch
makes really good food and that the little kids are  adorable.
Baum: Exactly. Elder bacon, I know that there is work to do in Yuma,
or we wouldn't have missionaries out there. I invite you to try and
motivate elder Baum to go and work. You can do it because you're such
a great missionary and so is elder Baum, and the branch is lucky to
have you. I hope they all know that. You are the best missionaries in
the world.
Bacon: Thank you president, I know we are.

Elder please I know it's in there
People have called it greenie fire
I know it's hard to not just think of home
I know you miss your mom
But find desire!

We only have each other
It's just me and you
What are we gonna do?

Do you wanna do some tracting? *sniff*

(Pics:  I get bored on those long car rides.  Hopefully you all laugh as hard as I did.)

Setbacks and Shaving

October 20, 2015

My iPad hasn't been sending some emails lately, so hopefully you all get this. And hopefully I'm getting your emails...I guess there's no real way to know. Anyway.
To be honest, this was a rough week. We had a really bad experience tracting that left us both pretty mad and disheartened. This one lady and her son let us in their house, we started with the restoration, and then as soon as we said the words "Joseph Smith", she went off on us. After about 20 minutes of "discussing" things back and forth and having 2 more of her friends randomly show up and then back her up, we decided that it was pretty futile to continue talking. She refused a Book of Mormon and refused to read it for herself. We asked her to say a closing prayer before we left, and she said "please help these confused young men to find the truth". I was so mad. She was the most passively aggressive, hardhearted woman I've met on my mission. We also had an investigator totally dodge us, but then as we were putting up English class flyers in shops we ran into her and she totally knew she was busted. We played it off and told her it's all good, but I don't think we'll be wasting time with her.
Misiel also didn't come to church, though I guess she technically could have. She had gotten off of a 12 hour shift Sunday morning at 8, so I can't really blame her for not wanting to come to church. We have a lesson with her tonight, so that should be good. We also have dinner tonight with Paige's family.
I still tried to find the good in the week, part of which was taking a little break to climb up a silo of some sort and take some selfies. Don't mind my companion's partial beard; his razor legitmately broke this week, and he feels bad using mine even though I told him there's absolutely no problem. He got a new one though. Our lesson with the Carballos went well. The mom asked a lot of questions, some of which either didn't make sense or I had no idea how to answer, like where do ghosts fit into the plan of salvation and stuff like that. I can't believe that it's almost Halloween. My trainer also goes home at the end of next transfer, which is a kind of mind blowing event. I never thought I'd see that happen.
Transfers are next week, so we'll see if I stay 6 months in Yuma or go somewhere else.

Los Atrapadores de Mariposas (The Catchers of Butterflies)

October 12, 2015

Twas a good week, though we didn't have anything different happen. We had 2 lessons with Misiel this week, finishing up the commandments and the first half of lesson 5. She's good on all of the commandments including tithing, which is usually the hangup from what I've seen. On Thursday we had interviews with the mission president, and I survived those again. That shirt that I wanted last week was still at the thrift store, so now I have the look of a flamboyant cowboy down. It's a sick shirt though... I have to say that the highlight of this week was our butterfly chasing session. We tried visiting this family, but unfortunately they weren't home. Outside they had a ton of really bright flowers, and there were monarch butterflies everywhere. Disappointed from them dodging us, we had a little escapade of trying to catch butterflies in our hands. There were a few times when I was able to coax them onto my hand, and one time where I actually caught one straight out of the air like Gandolf in Lord of the Rings. Pics for proof. Sorry this is so short, my mind is just going blank on what happened this week. 

Yay! A butterfly!

The goal here was to take a picture of all of the butterflies flying away when he scared them by jumping over, but instead I got a picture of his epic leap.

 My companion's reaction when he realized that I literally snatched this right out of the air.

Ruined my day. Shopko parking lot.

Yes or no?

Another beautiful sunset

 Unfortunately, too cute to not send. I don't even like cats.

My second good picture of me with kittens.

She owns 15.

Sofia and I. She's a little bashful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Setbacks and Rejuvenation

October 6, 2015

Sorry I didn't send this out yesterday. Thank heaven for time.

I have some good news, and I have some bad news. The good news is thatMisiel is still planning on being baptized. The bad news is that thedate was moved to November 14th since our branch president didn't feel
comfortable with it being so soon, and there's a chance I won't beable to attend it if I get transferred. We'll see what happens thoughin the next 3 weeks of this transfer.

I have to say that this was the best general conference that I've ever
seen. I'm not just saying that because I feel the need to say that
every year or because I'm a missionary; this really was the best one
in my opinion that I've ever seen. So many, incredibly good talks. I
loved the emphasis of going from wherever we are and taking steps in
the right direction towards our heavenly parents' outstretched arms.
Like this week when I accidentally broke the word of wisdom twice. I'm
pretty sure a cake that I had a bite of had coffee in it, and those
sparkling ice drinks from Costco apparently have green tea extract in
them. It was accidental consumption though, so I think I'm good.
The weather just got really cold this week all of the sudden. From
like 90 to 50. It was nice the first day, but now I'm starting to miss
the warmth. I'm not sure I'll be able to handle a winter in Yuma,
since it can get to -10 plus windchill for weeks at a time. I don't
have a lot to say this week, so this will have to offset my longer
emails the previous 2 weeks.

Madeline and Will. I was following his lead on the faces.

Irony. (it's water)

Conference with members


So cute

4 years old and using the duck face

Diamonds in the Rough

September 28, 2015

First things first: we set Misiel with a baptismal date for the 10th of October! I'm so excited for her. It'll be pretty much a miracle if it goes through and everything works out since we still have to teach her all of the commandments in the next 4 days so that she can be interviewed in time, but this is the only date that works until December 5th (when she possibly will have to go back to Chihuahua. It's sometime in December, but I'm not sure the exact date). Hopefully things will work out. 

That was definitely the highlight for this week, but what came close were the amazing finds at thrift stores. That baptist thrift store was a goldmine. They had an original Nintendo Entertainment System there! I've never been so tempted in my life. I also tried on, but didn't buy, some incredibly stylish, though probably female, articles of clothing. Of course I have pictures. There was also another shirt that I was going to buy, but since I'm broke, I didn't have money. We'll go back after we get paid on Wednesday. 

This week I was saved by a box of candy I got for free. It was the perfect snack. What happened is last transfer I bought a thing of candy that claimed to have about 24 pieces in it and there were only 15. So being the cheap person that I am, I emailed them about it, they apologized, and sent me a box with 8 of them in it. Not the healthiest diet, but I was running low on food and was sick of Ramen. 

Due to the perfect weather this week, we walked around town and asked stores if we could post flyers for English class in their windows/doors. We posted around 30, so we'll see if more people show up this week. Oh, I also hit my year mark about a year ago, I "forgot" to mention it. 

There were 2 other funny stories that happened this week. We were at a member dinner, and the parents had to tell their 4 year old that he needed to stop acting like he was Jesus and Heavenly Father. They were thrilled he was gospel oriented, but maybe just a taaad blasphemous. I thought it was adorable. There was also another story about circumcision, but it's a little too long to type and maybe a little less than appropriate for this email, but email me if you want it!

The Goal for Ghettoness

September 21, 2015

I had two pretty solid weeks in a row. I think that's a new record.

First, I got a new companion, Elder Baum (pronounced like bomb. He's heard all of the jokes already, I'm sure), here in Yuma. We did some tracting this week, and we actually saw some success come from it! That hasn't always been my experience in the past. One day, we got 2 return appointments and taught one lesson, and that was from an hour of tracting in a trailer park before a birthday party we got invited to. It was for an 8 year old, and this kid had a party bigger than any of mine that I can remember. The first thing I saw as we rolled up was a 15 foot tall Pooh Bear. It turned out to be a bounce house, but since the lower half was blocked by a trailer, I thought it was just a blow up Winnie the Pooh. Later when I went in the bouncy house with about 6 kids, we were playing keep away with the football, and I couldn't throw the ball to my companion in time. About 4 of them tackled me into the wall, we all started sinking down, and it started to deflate. Luckily the parents weren't super mad at us and no one was hurt. Just my pride.

Last night we also went tracting for about an hour and half, and we got 2 lessons in and 6 return appointments for this week. That's definitely the most success I've seen come from tracting. I love being in a place that seems to seriously be an embassy of Mexico. We were talking to a kid about 12 years old and started off in English and then he asked us to switch to Spanish. It blew my mind. We had the same thing happen with another kid about 10 years old that didn't speak English either. I didn't know that was possible for kids after being in the states for a year or so, but I guess I'm wrong.

I also have some pics of more ghettoness that I've come across this week. I love it for some reason. Elder Baum and I are looking into moving into a trailer if we can find one, and I'm so stoked. I would love to be able to say that I lived in a trailer on my mission, so we'll see if it lines up or not. We're also going to be looking for housing when we walk and post English class flyers and street contact as soon as we have a relatively cool day this week. 

The automated bank teller this week told me that I have exactly $0, so I naturally thought it was an error since what are the odds I spent the exact amount to bring me down to $0? I also was expecting the area adjustment of $30, so I didn't know what was up. I called the financial secretary, and it turns out that I'm actually just broke. The financial secretary of the mission's wife heard what happened and also asked me if I had gotten the package that she forwarded on Monday. I said that I hadn't, and she felt bad since it was Thursday and I was in Windsor just the day after she sent it, Tuesday. This morning we got a letter from her in the mail for $20 saying that she hopes I got my package, sorry for the stress, and hopefully you guys don't starve this week. Sister Taysom is a homie. It was such a nice surprise.

Our remake of NWA's cover art on transfer day.

So funny story. I got my fortune and said, "Elder Baum, this better not be you" and then he showed me his and said, "You either". Then we looked into each other's eyes and freaked out a little bit.

Blow up Pooh Bear bounce house

Little Chihuahua

Sister Taysom: homie

Another use for a dryer

A Mountain Man's Rite of Passage

September 14, 2015

I have kind of a lot to say this week.

Let's see...I'll start with the less than awesome. One, I will be surrounded by endless cornfields for another 6 weeks. That's actually not that bad though. First, Elder Baum is coming to Yuma with me, and he and I are already good friend. Second, I had a nice moment when we were driving through the middle of nowhere, just looking off to the side as the sun set and the wind rushing through the corn rows and...I just felt happy. When else will I be somewhere like this (answer: never, because I will never live in an area like Yuma)? When else do I get to spend hours driving to go and share the gospel with people, have dinner with members in a tiny town no one has ever heard of, and try rocky mountain oysters? For those of you that don't know what those are, they're cow testicles. And they're gross. So that was disappointing, but now I can cross that off my made up bucket list. Anyway, I just felt happy that I was at least doing something good with my life and something unique. 

The second semi bad thing is that our last lesson with Martha didn't go well at all. She started off by saying that she did do the reading... but that she feels like we worship Nephi and put him above God. I tried to (and did) tell her multiple times that that's not true at all, but she seemed pretty set in her mind that we worship Nephi. It didn't help that the majority of the scriptures I gave to help show her that's not true were found in one of the 4 books of Nephi. So we kind of left on a bad note, but we'll continue visiting her and seeing if we can answer her questions. 

Third bad thing, it is official: I live in an 180.25 square feet motel room. We placed bets as a district on how small our apartment is, and that was the official calculation. By placing bets I mean we said that whoever was farthest off would pay for the tape measure but I actually just already paid for it so it was whatever.

Actually, I think this entire week was filled with bad and good things inseparably woven together, I'm just getting (slightly) better at finding the good. We had an investigator come to church! Her name is Misiel. She was the lady that called us about English class, her phone was disconnected, I wrote her address down wrong, and we lost all hope. Then this week she calls us out of the blue, we had an appointment on Saturday, and she came to church! The bad was that the topic this week for sacrament was visiting and home teaching, which doesn't apply to her at all--yet--and the third and longest speaker was talking super fast, which makes it really hard to translate. The second hour went well, since we had a special class in Spanish for her. The third hour my companion and I sat in during relief society and translated for her, but I soon became really frustrated at my inability to try and tell her how the old people of the church (that was the topic) really tie into her life right now. Not that that's irrelevant or a bad thing, but I've had investigators and former investigators tell me that they felt like we didn't talk about Christ that much in church, and I felt like that Sunday was a good example of what they had said. To top it off, I accidentally spat on her leg when I was translating, so that was...wonderful. She was really nice about it, and at the end she said that she plans on coming again when she is off work, and I think that she was sincere about it. We should have a lesson with her in another work when she is free.

The final good and bad thing that happened this week was that we had a lesson with Paige and her parents to introduce the church a little bit better to them. The lesson itself went well (Paige suggested that we teach them the first lesson, which we taught to her a week ago), but then they shared their actual concern which was some things, some incorrect and some not, that we believe in our church. They had some really deep questions, like the true definition of exaltation. Our ward mission leader kind of danced around that question, and I referred them to finding out if the Book of Mormon is true first or not, but I think we did the best we could. It's really frustrating and difficult when I'm in a lesson with a companion that doesn't really care what happens since he's leaving the area and with one that I can't trust to teach well anyway. It reminds me of my own flaws and imperfections and how frustrated God must be with me sometimes (see Elder Holland's talk in April 2013, "Lord, I Believe". Also refer back to me spitting on Misiel). The lesson finished with them not wanting her to attend church since they want them to continue to attend their church as a family, which I can't argue about, and honestly not knowing what would be best for them. We'll continue to pray for them and see if we can figure out what would be best to tell them. Sorry this is so long, I just had a lot to say. 

Dinosaur...things? we were cleaning the tools in this massive shed

More dinosaur things

Tools. Largest collection in the world of barbed wire fence making tools, if I remember right.

More tools

District Dairy Queen photo

A fabulous jacket I found in the thrift shop basement

A letter from someone at the Parish Inn old folks center. He's...a little senile

Thrift store

My area in 1 photo

But just in case the above photo didn't work for you...

Rocky Mountain Oysters

What is that color you ask? You don't want to know.