Monday, June 6, 2016

"The rains came down and the floods came up..."

Huge Futbol game--with the Stake President, the missionaries, and the members

This week we got a call from Elder Miller, he’s a good friend, working in the mission office right now as one of the assistants to the President.   He called us one night to tell us the story of what happened to him last week. He went with President Searle up to a farm for a p-day activity, and they went hiking with a local.  The local said, “Be careful! There’s a beehive right there.”  He told them that they were killer bees.  Elder Hansen decided to be like, “Ahh” joking and screaming.  Then the whole swarm came after them.  They destroyed them. It put two of the Elders into the hospital. They had to get medicine to treat the venom.  Bees are apparently really dangerous here.  Especially killer bees.  Don’t play around beehives.

We had A LOT of rain on Thursday.  Here in Colombia, they missed the whole drainage concept.  Everything here in Valledupar is made out of cement.  Cement houses, cement roads, cement sidewalks, cement everything.  And there is no drainage underground at all.  There’s a sewer system underground that kind of works.  But when it rains, it comes down so hard, so strong, and so fast, that it just floods everywhere.  So all the streets turn into canals.  It was raining super hard.
We were in a lesson, then left, and we were drenched.  It’s constant rain like we had in Indiana, but there is no drain holes, no grass or dirt to soak it in, just concrete.  So it has to just drain out of the city.  We taught the lesson, then we left, then we got totally soaked, and went stomping through the rain.  It was so deep the water was halfway up our shins.  It was like walking in a big swamp.  We get to this part where 3 roads come together and dump all of the water into one.  We had to cross it to go back and check our house. 

The last time it rained this hard it clogged our back patio, and came into our house.  So we hurried home to get it all situated so we could go back out and work. When we finished, we went back out, determined to have one more visit before the night was over.  By this time it was 7:30 pm.  We left and we had to cross back over this river again.  It’s deep now, up to our knees.  And it’s a really strong current, like walking through the Boise river.  So we cross it and get to the other side.  We had two visits set up, both were very reliable visits too, that we knew we could depend on, so we wanted to get to them.

We finally make it to their house, and the first one is not there.  We go down the street to the next one, and they’re not there.   So we’re sitting there in the rain wondering what to do next.  Lots of things happen when it rains here--People rob each other, they get in crashes, people get hurt, people die.  All kind of bad things happen.  So we think, ok, both of these visits that we were super sure would be there, were not home.  We know God must want us to go somewhere. So we said a prayer, and we looked up, and not a single name came to our minds.  We couldn’t think of anybody. Absolutely no revelation. 

The only thing we both felt was that we should go that way.  So we went down the road, we took a right, we took a left, then we went straight, and we see a car down the road that has its blinkers on.  We said, let’s go.  So we start walking towards it, and a lady on the side of the road says, “Hi Elders.” So we say, “Hello,” and we went to shake her hand.  She introduces herself as Sister Molina.  She said that she is less active.  We followed her back to her house, we met her husband and her two kids. They moved from Rioacha sp?  It’s a really tiny town out in the Rahewa sp? A really dangerous part.  

We learned that they both used to be really active.  Her husband used to be the Elder’s Quorum President, she is super awesome and ready to be active. We learned that they had actually joined the church here, in our ward.  But then they moved, and had a lot of problems, then got divorced.  When they were separated, the husband got drunk and got hit by a car.  His leg is now super messed up.  It was HUGE, ginormous.  After the accident, they got back together, and then decided to move back here.  They had just moved back to the area two days ago.  She was praying to be able to get back in touch with the church, and help her family.  So that day in all the rain, we were led right to her.  She said she was praying that she would find a way back to the church, then she looked up and there were the Elders, right in front of her in the rain. She told us that is took God just 2 days and her prayer was answered.  So that was awesome.

They all showed up to church on Sunday—and we didn’t even have to remind them to come.  They are excited and ready to come back.  They have some repentance ahead of them, but they are ready to change and return to church.  It’s awesome to have experiences like this and realize that God is mindful of all his children, and when they turn to him, he will lead them back home. He knows who’s ready, and who is ready to help. 

By the time we left their house, it was really late, and we had to cross this river again. By the time we got there it was now waist deep—it was really fast, more like crossing the Payette River.  So we go up stream to find a way over.  There are people wake boarding in the river.  But it is super dangerous.  There is all kinds of stuff floating around in the river.  If a random tire comes floating down, it will take you out, and you’re gone.  And if you keep going down farther, you fall into the canal, and you’re done. 

We finally get to a place we can cross, it’s waist deep.  Then we found a guy on the other side, who looked at us and said, “I need help.”  We look down and he has a big scar/open wound on his foot and his foot is broken. He couldn’t walk.  So we had to turn around and help him cross the river so he could get to his house.  We start getting back to the house, and we see all these families waiting to cross the river.  All these high school age football street rats are moving their way to the side and say to us, “We’re here to help people.” So one by one they start helping people cross the river.  Elder Selman and I were trying to help people, but it was getting late—it was 9:20, and we’re supposed to be in the house by 9:30 pm.  And here come all these 16-17 yr old young men who take care of everyone.  They looked at us and said, “We’ve got it.”  I looked at them and thought of the pioneer story where the young men helped all the people across the freezing river.  It was a similar situation, only the Colombian version.  It was really cool.

Today, for p-day, we played a big futbal game with our Stake President, all the missionaries from our zone, and lots of members.  We had 2 full teams of 11, and almost a third team of subs rotating through the court.  We had rented a big huge field and had a super cool game.

I hope everything is going great with the new ward.  I have learned a lot about ward leadership on the mission.  Pretty much, everyone should just do whatever the leaders ask you to do.  God will bless you for being obedient. 

I love you familia! I hope everyone is doing great. 
Have a great week,
Elder Burk

* Hey Mom, thanks a lot for you letter.  It’s so sad to hear about the passing of Brother Ipsen.  I’m so sorry for his family.  I definitely know the Lord cares about them, and that he is where he is supposed to be right now.  He was a great patriarch, and a great man.
*That’s super sad for Aaron!!  Poor Aaron.  He’s probably never going to float a river again.  I felt so bad the first time we took him down Indian Creek, when we broke his canoe.  But Braden taking him this year, and getting stung by a bunch of bees…yikes! That’s not good.  Somebody needs to take him down a good river trip so he can have a positive experience and gain his confidence back.  Hopefully he’s alright. 

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