Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25, 2014

Hello Mom,
This was a good week. On a couple of occasions my companion and I had to literally run! More than once this week we were late so we had to run to make it to our other appointments on time. We got a few weird looks and I can imagine why: two young men in white shirts and ties running down the mountain. I really want to know what they thought when they saw us. 

On Sunday, we passed by a less active member’s house to invite them to go to church with us. When we got to their house, they were just barely waking up. The mom said she still had to make breakfast, so my companion and I cooked their breakfast so they could focus on getting ready. We made what is called "agua panela" and "arepa". After they ate and finished getting ready we all headed for the chapel.

I finally took a picture of the welcome message in the neighborhood of Pablo Escobar. The quality is not too good because I took the photo with our cell phone. But now you have the proof. 

Copy and paste the link and you can look around a bit.
That’s all for this week!  Love, Elder Rucker

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Hi Mom,
This week was full of what Nephi calls "tender mercies" (1 Nephi 1:20)

1) One day we were walking and a group of youth called us. Usually we don't stop to talk to them because they just end up saying bad things. However, when they called us we stopped. We didn't know why but we did. And sure enough, they just ended up saying bad things. So my companion and I said good-bye and started walking. Not 30 seconds later a lady called us over. She said, "I saw you guys talking with that group of youth and knew you were the missionaries. I am a member but I have been inactive for a long time. I want to return to the church." In that moment we knew we were supposed to talk to the youth, not for them but for the sister who saw us. If we had chosen to keep walking and not talk to the youth, she would have never seen us. God works in mysterious ways.

2) You might remember a couple letters ago I talked about an inactive member named John and how he contacted us and how he went to church for his first time in a long time the Sunday after our first visit. Do you remember him? Sadly, he attended on Sunday and then the very next day, on Monday, he passed away. My companion and I were very shocked when we heard the news. We had to sit ourselves down a long while to process everything. Another thing that was sad was that he was the only member in his family. We were going to teach his family. But we didn't get to know them before he died. Then when he passed away we wanted to talk with them and help them through the passing of John, but we had no way of contacting them. This week, my companion and I felt we should do a surprise visit with an investigator. As we were walking a young man walked up to us and said, "I am the son of John, I want to know more about my Fathers religion". In that moment, the rest of John’s family came up to us and started talking to us. Now we are going to start teaching them!!! The Lord inspired us to visit an investigator so we could find John’s family. Another "tender mercy"!
This week was grand!!!
Love, Elder Rucker

Batman is not part of the Avengers, but I am in Colombia and nobody cares!

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

Hello Mom,
This week we worked in a lot of splits with other missionaries. 

The highlight of the week was on Saturday when two of the people my companion and I taught got baptized. We have been working with them for the past five weeks. They were references from a member who lives in another city in Colombia. Their names are Andrea, Valentina, and Samuel. I have talked about Samuel in other letters.

On Sunday I spoke in church. I talked about how at times we forget what we need to do. I spoke of what the Lord has done in the past couple years to remind us that we need to work together in the Work of Salvation. 
Today we will be doing some very deep cleaning of our house.
That’s all for this week.
Love, Elder Rucker

August 5, 2014

Hi Mom,
Sorry I didn't write yesterday. We had to change our p-day for this week because we had lots to do on Monday.

Well, this past week was really good. We had transfers and my new companion is Elder Mansilla. He is Chilean. He is really cool. When I started my mission he was my District Leader and now we are companions! I am so happy. I will be his companion until he finishes his mission. 

This week we had two really neat experiences:
The first- One afternoon we were walking to a lesson and a man on the other side of the street called to us. So we went and talked to him. He said that he was inactive, but wanted to return to the church. And that is what he did. He said that he wanted to attend and he did. This Sunday he came to fast and testimony meeting. He wanted to share his testimony, so my companion went up with him. Turns out the he went inactive 32 years ago. And he then told the story of how he came to know us— He said that he had been talking with his mom (she is a member in Bogota) for the past couple weeks and she had been inviting him to return to the church. Finally he decided to return, but he had a big fear. He didn't what to return alone and more than anything he didn't know what to do to return or where to go. So he called his mom for advice and she said "just wait, help will come". He then said that he hung up the phone looked up to see the missionaries (my companion and I) walking on the other side of the street. We didn't know that that had happened until he shared his testimony. Our Heavenly Father always, always prepares the path for those who are willing. 

The second experience also happened in the fast and testimony meeting. There is a sister in the ward who has muscular dystrophy and a few other of health problems. She arrived just as the bishop was about to finish the meeting. She wanted to share her testimony. So the bishop gave her all the time she needed so she could share her testimony. Her testimony was so powerful. She said God helped her get to church so that she could bear her testimony. She said her body was week and reaching its end but her testimony is as strong as ever. She knows one day everything would be all right. She reminded everyone of the privileges we have. Through her soft voice the Spirit bore into the hearts of all the members. She said even though she is weak, she doesn’t see her debilitates as an excuse to not share the gospel. My explanation of what she said really doesn't really do it justice but her testimony was one of the most powerful I have heard.  

Love you all,  Elder Rucker