Friday, September 4, 2015

A Latino at Heart

Jonny is finishing up his time at the Columbia Missionary Training Center.  He will leave to Guaquil Equador next week for the remainder of his mission.  It sounds like the past nearly six weeks in Columbia have been awesome for him, but that he's ready to hit the ground running in Ecuador!

It has been such a long time! im loving all the emails and im sorry i havent been able to get back to some of you, but with only an hour its really hard to write more than just this letter. Anyways, i only have four more days in this place, and then i am off to Ecuador for just under 700 more days! pretty stoked about that. ok enough of the niceties and its time to get down to business. 

Before i dive into the info about my new companion, i would first like to mention some things about my new district. Our district is the tightest/nit group in the house. We all get along really well, laugh a lot, cry a lot, and eat a lot too when it comes desayuno almuerzo and cena. sidenote about the meals, the head chef and i are best buds. we have a system going where every now and then he will slip a a four pack of oreos. not only that, but weve got our own secret little handshake. plus he always gives me extras. what a guy. 

anyways, back to the district. so, we each  have our own set of investigators, which are really just practices with the teachers. my companion and i are teaching a lady named Karla. there are other people in our district teaching her as well, but my companion and i have managed to get her to commit to church while other companionships are still working on getting her to have an incentive to read the Good Book. later on my companion. what i was getting to is that hermano Gomez, my old teacher, and i have a thing going where when new people are teaching him, he has me come up, interrupt their lesson, pretend to be a Jehovah Witness, and condem the Mormon Missionaries. i come up and tell him that the mormons are crazy, that theyre a cult, that they have multiple wives, wear magic underwear, turn water into wine, and any other thing you can find when you search the word mormons on wikipedia. this one time i did it was to two sister missionaries in my district. when it happened, they were so embarassed, so scared i almost felt bad for them. almost. they stood out of their chairs and started speaking spanish so fast i didnt even know whether they even were speaking their native language. Hermana Cabello turned so red and i swear there was steam coming out both sides of her ears. she has since forgiven me, especially after she saw me do it to other people, so it wasnt to bad a gig.

Alright so here is the really good stuff: id like to title this segment about my new companion "adventures with Elder Diaz de Oropeza." We have had some pretty good spiritual experiences together, but id like to get the less important stuff out of the way first. To start off, i met my new companion right after my last email last tuesday. at first, i wasnt all that stoked about him. i have since repented. when i first met him, it took me about ten minutes to find him, even though he was in a group of 6 or 7 latinos. the reason was because i wasnt saying his ENTIRE name, rather only elder diaz. he didnt have a nametag yet otherwise i would have picked him on the spot. hes from Bolivia, kind of chubby, but at first i didnt think that he was the type of chubby that was funny. let me tell you how wrong i was. it took me a day or two to crack his shell, but once i did, there was no turning back. As ive talked to him, ive come to realize hes kind of a mixture of Winnie the Pooh, the Pillsbury doughboy, (or his laugh at least), and the main guy of mobsters verses mormons. He laughs exactly like the pillsbury doughboy, and sometimes hes really freaked me out by doing so. he has also asked me to teach him some phrases in english, and so, i have taken him under my wing as a mother hen does with her chicks and done so. some of these phrases are: "I aint got no chill homie" "Im a savage bro" Que pasa mufasa" "Im gonna getcha" and " choo want a piece of this?" he says you like choo, so that makes it even better. now, if you can imagine winnie the pooh saying this stuff with a spanish accent and just a little bit higher and more gangster, thats him. hard to describe, but youd have to hear him to get it. some other things to note: he is an absolute slayer at ping pong. im not kidding, like nobody dares to challenge him because he so far has knocked off everyone by  a minimum of 6 points. Also, he has a crazy love for chocolate. not even kidding, when he found out some of the other new gringos had chocolate licorice, he went all ham on them. everytime the walk into the room, hes begging them on his knees for it. hes also an arm wrestling champ. i think its because hes always hyped up by the sugar and junkfood that he manages to bum off the roomies. maybe thats it. maybe im just a sore loser. maybe its something else. as for the other people here, i have learned that i am a latino at heart. all my best friends are latinos, i have an unbeatable soccer team in which i am the only gringo on it, and my district leader and i love to harmonize hymns and disney songs in the shower after gym. he sings them in spanish, so it still sounds really off.

as for the spiritual side of things, it has been really great. we havent gotten the chance to proselyte yet (tomorrow), but we have managed to help two people just outside the fence of the CCM. one such lady was a mother of a son who had just gotten cancer, and she was very interested in our message of eternal families. However, the best experience  i had was last sunday, when for the third time, we were practicing priesthood blessings. it was  a very special experience, one i will never forget. we had the opportunity to offer blessings of strength to the hermanas, and i had the opportunity to take part in a blessing for Hermano Cabello. that was pretty cool, but not even quite the best part. After all was said and done, and we were just about on our way to dinner, my companion asked me to give him a blessing of health. that one took me back a step. I was not ready for this. it would be my first time, and it would be in spanish, which had me pretty worried, because you dont study medical terms in the CCM. The only health related term that i knew was salud, which means health in itself. however, i gained a powerful testimony of the power of the priesthood that day. When i laid my hands upon his head, and some of the other elders as well, the spirit overwhelmed me and i didnt realize what i was even saying. only something about how the lord has a marvilous work for him, and that He needed him to be healthy, and that whenever he needed strength in his afflictions, he would be able to find it. pretty cool how the next day, he was over all his stomach problems, coughs, and whatever else was wrong with him. love that guy. gotta go, love  you all! 

Elder Jonathan Lane Kofoed
Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission

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