Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Calm before the Storm

November 5, 2013
Hello everyone!
I am doing fantastic and loving it here in Bogota! One of the highlights since Friday was eating my first Granadia! It is a fruit that they have here that looks like a orange, but has a thick hard outer shell that you crack like an egg. Inside is a soft white sack. When you tear into the sack there are hundreds of little tiny bluish seeds that have a gross looking film around them, they look like salmon eggs. This is how you eat them: slurp all the seeds out at once, (enough to fill the amount of a fist) and then you swish them around in your mouth and then swallow without chewing. apparently if you chew it's really gross tasting. But if you just swish around the seeds is delicious! It sorta tastes like cantalope, but fresher and sweeter. I have had two so far, and I love them!
Saturday I got to go out and contact again! This time we went to a different place right by El parke de Simone Bolivar. My companion and I went into this neighborhood across the street from it and we were there the entire time. It was literally a freaking gold mine! The people here are so prepared it catches me off guard everytime. I love it! We met this man in his mid twenties named Emanuel, and he is literally an angel. He had no religious background which is really uncommon here, but he was so interested in the Book of Mormon. He works as an outdoor librarian. I know it's cool! They have these mini library things, which are big yellow boxes that are locked up. They have one librarian guy with the key who just sits by it all day in the middle of the neighborhood and he checks books out to people. It's a really cool idea. Anyway, we spoke with him for a good 30 minutes about God, Christ, The Book of Mormon, and the Plan of Salvation. He was so interested, and I grew to completely love they guy within like 5 minutes of talking. I was testifying of the truthfullness of the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed my life and literally the spirit was so think in the air right then it was amazing. He was so affixiated on my words, and I got all emotion right there in the middle of a little park in a neighborhood. I invited him to be baptized right then and there in the street and he said that he feels like it is the right thing to do, but he wants to read and go to church first. Man, he is so ready, the Lord is preparing people left and right! I think it is really cool that everyone back home is having cool missionary experiences too!
Sunday was really spiritual, and it was all in English! It really made it feel like a day of rest! Right now there are only 19 gringos here because all the latinos left already. I have been playing with my hackysack (or in spanish it's called a fuchi) a lot during gym time. I have gotten a lot better! It's been a lot of fun.
This morning we went to the Bogota Temple again and it was fantastic! I love that temple so much. I felt heavenly presence there with all of us missionaries in the celestial room, it was amazing. Afterwards we went straight back to the CCM, and changed into pday clothes. Today was the day of the tour! It was epic. We went to the Cathedral del Sal, and it was literally the gnarliest thing I have ever seen! On the way we stopped at the sandwich shop for lunch, and it was sooo good! I had my first Coke in 2 years! I have a picture of me with it, it's pretty cool, and it was in a glass bottle! =) The sandwiches were way good. We saw them cut the meat right off the bone right there in front of us. It was the real deal!
In the Cathedral de Sal there was sooooo much cool stuff! I hope I can upload pictures today, I just can't find my plug in thingy. Anyway, the Cathedral was hundreds of feet underground into the mountain. it was built in an old salt mine. The Catholics carved out these giant meeting rooms literally 150 feet tall rooms in the center if the earth unsupported. There are tons of giant granite cross carved out of the stone there too and they are all lit up and look freaking amazing. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen no lie! They also had this giant granite nativity scene carved out of the rock and it was sooo cool! The entire place took hours to explore, it was miles and miles of huge tunnels with beautifully polished granite. I vowed that I am going to come back to that place sometime later in life because it should be one of the seven wonders of the world!
Tonight 13 more gringos are coming in, and tomorrow 50 latinos are coming in. I will be getting a latino companion for the last two weeks that I am here. It will be hard, but it will be a great learning experience for me. Everyone here talks about how they take you on the tour the day before you get a latino companion as kind of like a ¨calm before the storm¨ type thing. It was seriously the coolest thing though.
I love you all so much!
I assume the next time I will be able to write will be next Tuesday.
Elder Bender

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