Elder Colton

Elder Colton

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Magic Tricks

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
Greetings from Salt Lake City. 
Highlight of my week:  Elena's baptism.  We met Elena through her best friend, Rita, who was baptized a few weeks ago (she was part of the huge family that was baptized together).  This past weekend, Elena, who is the most amazing 10 year old girl in the world, was also baptized.  Her words when I talked with her afterwards: "I forgot all the bad things that I ever did."  Her faith is incredible.  She invited all her friends and her teacher at school to her baptism.  She reads the scriptures because she knows that what Christ wants her to do, even though she has trouble understanding very much of it.  And one of the most amazing parts of the baptismal service was when Aracely offered the closing prayer.  Aracely wants to be baptized and knows that it is the right thing for herself and her family, but her "husband"/partner doesn't want to get married (even though they've been together for 15 years).  In the prayer, she said, "...and I pray that both me and Horacio can be baptized as soon as possible."  It killed me to see her want to do this so badly but have Horacio hold her back. 
Second highlight of me week: Yesterday, on Mother's Day, I got to call home and talk with my family for a little while.  It felt more like 5 minutes than 45 minutes, but when you haven't talked with them for four months, I guess that's what it feels like.  Next time it will probably feel like 2 minutes instead of 5.  Thanks to technology,  Meredith, who is in Spain, Jared, who is in Utah, Mom, Dad, and Kevin, who are in Georiga, and I were all able to talk on a conference call.
So, I need you to help me.  And by "you" I mean each person who spends 3 minutes a week reading these letters, whether or not they are Mormon.  I'm going to ask you to double your efforts this week and use six minutes of your time.  I have a magic trick that involves a tie that my dad taught me from his long gone days as a missionary in the Phillipine Islands (by the way dad, I use the tie trick probably 5 times a day).  But here's the problem.  I don't know any other magic tricks. But a kid who is 5 years old typically won't accept that all I can do is make a tie disappear into my fist.  They want more.  And I've got nothing.  So here is where you come in.  Spend 3 minutes sending my mom an email with any magic tricks you know.  If you don't know any, google it (I'm not too lazy to do it myself, we just aren't allowed on google).  My mom's email is jericolton@comcast.net (mom, if you don't want anyone emailing you then just use my old one).  If you decide not to do this, then picture a 5 year old beating me up because I can't make a coin disappear.  (And after you picture that, send my mom an email anyways because I know there are some of you ***cough cough Mike Rettker *** who would simply refuse to send a magic trick just because they would want a five year old to beat me up).
Love you all,
-Elder Colton

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spanish 101

Hola mi familia y mis amigos

Greetings from Rose Park.  We had transfers this past week (transfers
are every 6 weeks and it is when our mission president assigns us to
change areas and/companions if he feels it will help us) and Elder
Torres, my last companion, is now sitting on a beach in Tampico,
Mexico.  Maybe he's even engaged by now.  He's had 4 whole days after
all.  (I hope he reads this).

My new companion is Elder Moczygemba from San Antonion, Texas.  We get
along great.  We speak almost only in spanish and my spanish has
improved more in 5 days than it did in half of last transfer.  I feel
comfortable (most of the time) talking to people on the phone now in
spanish.  The only people I still can't understand are the Puerto
Ricans.  They must have lungs to rival Lance Armstrong.  It's like
it's a race to see who can pass out first from talking so fast.  But
thankfully there are hardly any Puerto Ricans here.

So this week I decided I would send a list of things I've learned from
learning spanish:
1. You can understand absolutely nothing of a language and still be
able to understand what someone is saying.  For the first week or so,
my understanding came almost completely from body language and what I
thought they would say based on the situation, and typically it was

2. People appreciate you trying to learn to talk with them in their
native language.  No-one that I've talked with has expressed any
frustrations either in word or body language that I can't understand
everything or can't reply to them without taking 10 minutes.

3. It's really funny when you don't know any of the bad words in a
language.  We had a 10 minute conversation with a man and the entire
time I couldn't undertstand a lot of the words, which typically
doesn't happen much anymore.  When I asked Elder Torres afterwards
what some of the words were, he recommended that I just not worry
about learning those ones. Oops.

4. A smile can say a thousand words in any language.  You can't fake a smile.

5. Before my mission (and still now) I've had a tendancy to want to do
everything myself.  Unfortunately, the language kept me from doing
that for the first few weeks and I realized how to rely on my
companion to help me.

6. Humility.  Ha.  Yes.  I can admit it.  It make me realize that as
great as I like to think I am sometimes, I'm not much without help
from my companion, other people, and Christ.

7. The Holy Ghost, or the third member of the Godhead (along with
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ) absolutely exists and can touch the
hearts of people.  I would try to testify of something I know to be
true and it probably sounded as grammatically poor to the hispanics as
Uncle Brad does trying to sing sounds like to us (Love you Uncle
Brad).  But they could still feel something.  It isn't because I can
explain it eloquently.  It isn't because I know that what I say is
true.  It's because the Holy Ghost makes them feel something in side
that many of them haven't felt in their life.

I love you all
-Elder Colton

No Bad Words

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
Well, this week definitely marks one of the most special baptisms I've ever been to.  A few months ago, a member from the ward (local congregation) mentioned to my companion, Elder Torres, that a new family had moved in to the apartment next to them.  Elder Torres and his companion stopped by and the family invited them in.  There are nine of them total, two sisters and their 7 children (one has six and the other has one).  This past weekend all seven that were old enough for baptism (over the age of eight) were baptized.  The best moment for me was when after the baptisms, during a talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost (go to mormon.org if you don't know what I mean by that), the 11 year old daughter started to cry.  And she is not the type of girl to cry.  She is a tough tom-boy.  But, she leaned over to me and said "I can't remember any bad words."  She had literally forgotten every bad word she knew (which were quite a few).  A few minutes later, while still crying, she leaned over and said, "I feel like a whole new person."  Wow.  This is a family with no husbands, only one job between the nine of them, but now has this gospel and this happiness in their lives.
Unfortunately I don't have much time this week.  My companion leaves to go home to Mexico on Wednesday so we've been running around trying to get last minute things done all day.
Love all of you,
-Elder Colton