Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Elder Kofoed is On the GO!

Bogota Columbia

Hey guys! so its been a great 5 days or so. Probably not going to be able to get it all in, but ill give it my best. just to clear up some doubts, yes mom, i did find my columbian pesos. no mom, i do not have any more. i used the last of them today for a 100% Columbian that totally makes me look like a legit blanco bandito. 

Jonny's Companion, Elder Jackman, is in the middle. 
We went on a tour today, which was pretty cool. we climbed to the top of a mountain to see all of Bogota Columbia. If you can imagine Bogota, its even bigger than the entire utah valley and every inch of space is used up. It looked even bigger than the great NY to me, just not near as many skyscrapers. ill send some pics if i can get them off my camera. Later, we went to a tourist attraction to buy some stuff, and there were peope doing some crazy things, ie balancing bicycles on their teeth in the middle of the street, playing more than 8 instruments at once, and whatever else it took to get some of the dinero off of us gringos. i held my ground. Also, i ate a bag of fried ants. wasnt all that bad, but it made elder ware throw up i guess. his loss.

So, i mentioned in my last letter that we would be going proselyting again. about that, it was great. they told us that we would be going to a nice community. What they didnt tell us is that we were going to a very strongly populated and very opinionated Catholic Community. Dont get me wrong, we only had a couple of people who wanted to Bible Bash, but for the most part the people were very nice (as they generally are around here). of the 7 or 8 referrals that we got, there are two i would like to mention. 

one lady we walked up to talk to was standing just outside of a catholic school (which was a lot like the one in Nacho Libre, if you can imagine that). She told us that she had just dropped off her kids at the school, and she was looking for a taxi. We talked to her for about 5 minutes, but she seemed to be more intent on finding a ride home rather than what we had to say. also, she said she had a religion, that we would just be wasting our time. Part of me wanted to give up, and my companion was about ready to drag me away, but i just decided to stay persistent. Eventually, when we were asking how she was feeling, how life was and stuff, you know, the usual, she said she wasnt all that great. she said she was struggling a bit, because her grandma had recently passed away. without missing a beat i kicked my companion in the ankle and told him to get the Plan of Salvation folleto out while i kept the convo alive. when i got to the juicy part about how we believe that "las familias son eternidad, y mediante seguiamos el ejemplo de JesuCristo, viviriamos con nuestros familias para siempre." (families are eternal, and by following the example of Jesus Christ, we would be able to live with our families forever - rough translation.) at that moment, she forgot completely about that taxi and focussed entirely about what we had to say. We gave her the pamphlet, roughly explained the Plan, and bore testimony about it. She wiped a tear from her eye as she gladly accepted our invitation to learn more, and gave us her information. i hope that we were able to at least bring her a message of peace, if nothing more. I just wish i could follow up with some of these people, becuase i would love to see how they turn out.

The other was a man who was standing on the street corner, listening to some marriachi band full blast from the phone in his pocket. We walked up to him, started talking to him, and i was slightly suprised at what i saw. It wasnt that he looked mean, or like he wanted to hurt me or something, or anything like that. He just looked... sad. I have seen sad people before, but not quite like him. he said he was on his way to work, that  he didnt have much time, but we asked him how he was. As we talked to him, he told us about his situation, one i cant begin to describe in this letter. I wasn´t exactly sure what to say, but as i opened my mouth, and let the Spirit do His job, the words flowed (english grammer?) out. I don´t remember a lot of what I said, or how I said it, but the little of what i remember is that i told him and testified to him that God loved him, He cared for him, and that he was not alone. My companion talked to me about it later. He just seemed to light up, like he had finally found hope in something, and well.. i dont know. its not easy to describe. We gave him a Book of Mormon, testified of the joy it brings, and by having faith and acting on its teachings, we can find the answers and the strength we need. We asked him to read Alma 32 first, about faith, and eventually, all of it, and he said he would do so. He left a different man than we had first met on that street corner. I pray and hope for the best of him.

The rest of the week has been pretty great. I am about out of time, but just a couple of things to mention: the kids love me, but only because i have blonde hair and blue eyes and sometimes i talk funny. We walked by a daycare center or something, where the kids were planting a garden or something, and they all ran and jumped on the fence. we talked to them for about a half an hour, where they asked us about the US, told us their names, and other stuff. Its funny how humbling it is when a 6-year old is speaking better spanish than you. Thank you everyone for the support! i am doing great, working hard, and tomorrow i get a new companion: one who doesn´t speak any english at all. yikes. Love you guys!! (especially you mom:))

With His CCM Instructor and his wife
Selfie overlooking Bogata

Friday, August 21, 2015


From Elder Kofoed this week.  He must type like a tornado.  Oh, well.  I'll take it!

Hey guys! so to start off, we have come up with a definition for the CCM: where we plan on planning to plan plans about our plans- which get changed, which gives us no time to accomplish our plans. We are always having district planning meetings, and we never even end up doing everything we planned on, because schedules are always changing because Columbians have no chill. However, this whole experience is going super well.
There have been some spiritual moments in here, but sadly, we have only gotten to talk to one person outside the walls of this gated place (more on that later.) So, I would like to take this time to touch on some of the things that have happened here that i may have left out.
First off, the driving and the streets around here are insane. Its kind of like New York, except way worse. Nobody ever stops at stop signs, they dont believe in speed limits (but neither do i, so i cant judge), and there are tons of people. The craziest thing is that there arent so many cars as there are people on mopeds and motorbikes. They like to weave in and out of traffic, inches from wreckage on both sides, and sometimes carry so much stuff on the back that looking at it youd think youd have trouble putting it even into the trunk of a car. 
Speaking of cars and traffic and stuff, I am still deciding whether or not i am safe in the CCM at night. See the thing is, there are always police sirens sounding off and stuff. It makes sense that it would be so, since theres a station right next to us, but that still doesnt change the fact that someones car alarm is going off every five minutes. 
They have these fruits down here called Granadilla (said like graun-a-dizha) that look like grenades. Theyre basically the south american pomegranite, and to me, even more delicious. Still havent eaten any guinea pigs, but hopefully as soon as i get out i can check that off my list.
One of my teachers, Hermano Arango, taught us a valuable parable for teaching lessons to investigators. He said that teaching lessons is like dating. To have a successful lesson, the investigator needs to feel the spirit and know that what youu are teaching is true. To have a successful date, you need to earn the kiss at the end. You plan everything out, come prepared, and if everything goes well, then oh how sweet the victory. he finished: "the only difference is it´s two guys." 
Both of my teachers are slayers. The one i just told you about, he met his wife on his mission, but she lived in the US. After the mission, he hit her up on facebook. In their first conversation, he talked about marriage with her (kind of like how missionaries discuss baptism in the first lesson to.) basically, he used his knowledge from missionary work to convince his now wife to come down to Columbia and marry him. The way he asked her to do so was on the SECOND day she was in the country, he took her to the temple and proposed to her in the Celestial room. He did it with a watch, not a ring. The reason was so that he could give it to her without a battery and tell her that time would stop until he could see her again. Definitely a boss.
My other teacher, Hermano Gomez, and his fiance who also works in the CCM, are the cutest couple alive. I´ll tell you about his story another time, because it´s pretty good. Our district is pretty convinced he´ll be a general auuthority someday too.
So, Elder jackman and i one night were walking around the ccm memorizing the first vision in spanish, when a guy walked by talking on his phone. We said hola, and he immediately hung up on whoever he was talking to and came right over to the fence. Incredibly, he also spoke fluent English, which is hilarious because Elder Jackman and i are basically the onlyones who have met anyone who speaks fluent english, and we´ve met about 6 or so. He introduced himself as Saloman and told us a little about himself. he had a family, a little girl and a wife. she had been baptised 10 years before, but had become inactive. he said she always did like the church, she just got too busy and couldnt go anymore. we talked to him a little about our church, and a little about the plan of salvation, and he said he would be very interested to hear more about us, and readilly gave us all of his contact information, including his address, his cell phone number, his home phone number, his wife´s phone number, and email. He said he´d love to have the missionaries stop by, and then he called the person back that he had dropped off. I dont know but i think that must be a thing down here, just to hang up on people and call them back when you werent busy.
So tomorrow, we go proselyting again, so on TUesday, i will update you on how that goes! I love you all so much, and i hope youre all doing great. Love you especially Buster.

Elder Jonathan Lane Kofoed

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week Two!

Making Progress! If each week gets this much better, the sky is the limit!

Hey guys! This past almost week has been great. my spanish has been improving, and although it is very difficult, the locals tell me that i have been making progress. to start off, my companion is elder jackman. He´s a great guy, and weve been having a blast together. we probably have one of the tightest districts in the CCM (Centro de Capacitacion de Missional, or Missionary Training Center in english). I'd love to tell you all about each one of them, but I'm short on time. One thing is that there is an elder Jason Money in my district, who will be playing quaterback for the Utes after his mission (shoutout to the Betzolds)

So, on Thursday, elder jackman and i had the opportunity to go out and proselyte for the first time. I was scared because our spanish between the two of us is muy muy mal, but I gained a powerful witness of the gift of tounges that day, that the lord will bless me to express his word with my obedience and willingness. in just over an hour and a half, Elder jackman and I had made about 20 coontacts, made 5 referrals, and gave away 2 book of mormons (or books of mormon, for those of you that are a little overly litarate and also enjoy the movie "the best two years.") it was so awesome. It was also similar to that movie in that we taught three people that were almost fluent in english, two of which had lived in the USA. everyone hated us because nobody else had met anyone who spoke english. One of these people was a girl named stephanie, who was looking for an apartment while she was studying medicine. she was from california, and was perfectly bilingual. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel, about our church, and finally about the Book of Mormon. The spirit was nearly overwhelming as I testified of its truthfullness, and it was funny how as soon as Elder jackman pulled it out of my bag, she was practically tearing it out of his hands, she was so anxious to read it. Jackman and I both felt that we had made a very lasting impression on her, and somehow we both feel that it might not be too long until she joined the faith.

We met two other people that spoke some english, and got referrals from as well. one was an 18 year old boy who had about 4 piercings in each ear and was riding down the road on his skateboard. we almost didnt talk to him, but as soon as we said hi, he stopped and came over and started talking to us. we walked around with him for a while. we talked a lot about his family, and his life down in Columbia. eventually we got on the topic of how families can be together forever, that through Heavenly Father's plan, we could be forgiven of our sins, and one day return to live with Him again. Tears came to his eyes as we bore our testimonies to him, and he promised that he would read the book, and pray to know if it was true. I felt a great sense of compassion for this boy, who was our same age and similar in so many ways, yet so different in appearance and style. I only wish I could have had more time with him, because he seemed like someone I really could have helped.

The last two people were a couple of toothless workers who did not know a bit of english. their spanish was hard to understand, becuase not only were they unable to annunciate anything, but were barely whispering due to their smoking hacks. However, they both lit up when they heard about our church. its too bad we didnt know the address or location of the church, because the lady on the right was begging us to know where it was and promising to be there on sunday. She was really something special. I assured her that more of us missionaries would get in contact with her, and she readily gave us her number. i hope to know someday how she turns out.

So the good news is that we only had a couple of knives pulled on us, and one gun. (just kidding mom). There was, however, one lady who yelled at us, calling us "niƱos tantos," which, being interpretted, means "stupid boys." that was actually pretty funny, and we were laughing as soon as we were out of earshot. Overall, it was a great day, and although i am nowhere near fluent in spanish, i cannot wait to be out in the mission field, serving and teaching God´s children and bringing them the hope and joy that this gospel has brought to me.

Today is a bittersweet day. all the latinos that were here had to leave, because their two week semana was over. Last night, before bed, we were all hugging and taking pictures and fiesta-ing like it was cinco de mayo. Afterwards, they all stormed our dorm room and sang "God be with you ´till we meet again." These guys were awesome, and although their tuning was far from perfect, they almost had me in tears. These kids, who didn´t have much more than their knowledge of the gospel, had shown me more love and appreciation than hardly anyone had except for maybe my family and circle of close friends. I can´t wait until the day that I really do see them again.

That´s about all the time I have. I just want anyone who is still reading this to know that I sincerely have a testimony of this Gospel. If it werent for that, I would have come back to idaho by now, because although it is a great experience, it is definately one of the hardest, if not the hardest, things I have ever done. I love you all, and i am sorry if i didnt write you back, but they are really hard on us and ouur emailiing. Ok gotta go now. #stdm100#pbs
Elder Jonathan Lane Kofoed
Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Week One - Whew! That was a Whirlwind!

August 6, 2015
Whew! That was a Whirlwind!

Jonny's first letter from the Bogota, Columbia Missionary Training Center.  Obviously, he was either in a huge hurry, or English is no longer a priority....I am having flashbacks of proofreading his high school papers.  I had to squelch every OCD bone in my body not to edit before posting.  He really did graduate with honors.  Let it go Mom!!  

At least his humor (and sarcasm) remain intact.

Hey Fam! sorry, i dont have much time, so please escuse all the grammatical errors coming your way. So the trip down here was by far the longest day i had had up until my first day at the mtc. i got on that plane around seven in the morning and didnt arrive to my destinatiion until 2 in the morning. good thing i had elder hoopes to keep me company all the way down here. the days at the mtc are long as well, but have gotten much better since the first week. The first few days were super tough especially because the teachers here have no chill. they speak rapid fire spanish to you and expect you to understand it. i have never prayed for anything in my entire life as i did for the gift of tongues to activate the first few nights. i have slowly started to catch on, and its been rough, but i guess it has its highlights. some days being a missionary feels like being sarah in that i cant even. however, some days have been great. 
as for things that have been great not spiritually, its been awesome. my companion, elder jackman, is a boss and we get along really well. were always pulling pranks on each other, and ill tell you about them some other time. i have gotten the chance to play some soccer with the latinos down here (dont worry mom we take it easy, and my knee is fine). i have had some pretty awesome highlights, like doing a rainbow over some kid from argentina and scoring off it. needless to say, i have become very good friends with most of the latinos here. even more so, i believe, then all the nortes, or caucasions, or americanos, and whatever else they like to call us gringos. even though sometimes we cant understand each other, theyre still the most patient and loving people ive ever met. im really loving it here at the mtc. except the fact that were gated in and held down basically at gunpoint not to leave. its real chill otherwise.
last thursday, we did a session at the bogota columbia temple. ill send you pictures if i have enough time and gizmo to figure out how to do it. it was definitely one of the coolest temples i have ever been to. the only thing i could think of the entire time is how boise idaho really needed to step up its game. presidente duvall and hermana duvall are truly inspired. theyre knowledge of the gospel are unparalelled. my teachers all so awesome, and i am learning more than i ever thought i could about the spanish language and the gospel. weve been teaching a ruthless investigador, pero es realmente hermano Gonzalez, and today we got him to commit to baptism! (hopefully now we can get him to obey the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and stuff) 
i miss all of you so much. i think of you often in my prayers, and i pray every night that you will all be watched over, and that buster will know that im ok. Hopefully next time i can write to you longer. we only have 45 minutes to do so, because i dont think the people in charge want us sulking over our families and stuff too much. just know that i am safe, secure, and studying to prepare to be a full-time servant of the Lord. I love and miss all of you so much. ustedes son en mi corazon. ¡adios! 

Bogota Columbia Temple


I didn't bring a camera to the airport, but I'm glad that David caught this moment.
Too many emotions to describe....

Check out this army of missionaries!! See if you can find Elder Kofoed :)

Still waiting for that first email.
It should be here any time......