President Mantilla of the Granada Stake invited President and Sister Hacking and us to an activity at a place called Panaca. We were not sure what kind of place it was until we got there. They had all kinds of farm animals and then they put on shows. We watched a show with the cows, pig races and the best was the equestrian show with beautiful horses. Here are a few pictures from the day.
We invited Linda's Institute class to our apartment for a lesson and a small party. We ate mini-burgers and seven-layer bean dip and played games. By the time we took the picture, some students had already left. We had a great time!
"Papa Noel" and Mrs Noel came to the party for all of the missionaries in the Bogota area. The missionaries played sports in the morning, had lunch, watched Toy Story 3, did Skits, had a devotional and ate a wonderful dinner. We watched the skits and enjoyed the devotional and dinner.
Sister Boulter and Sister Hacking went shopping for Christmas lights and stopped at a restaurant to eat lunch. They saw that the napkin holders looked like little rats. They ordered from the menu and thought they were getting pork. When their lunch was brought they asked what is this. They were given the name and then asked what kind of animal. "Raton, mas grande!" They posed with a porcelin rat just to remind us that they ate rat. They said it tasted like pork!
We decided to go green for our Christmas tree. Fake plastic trees cost about $30.00 with no decorations and they were only about two feet tall. We walked to the area called "Flores" where they sell flower arrangements. We loved this arrangement shaped like a Christmas tree. There are 13 roses and two sunflowers and it only cost us $10.00. Flowers in Colombia are very inexpensive. I think we will keep this tradition.
Last week we were meeting with President Gallego and Jaime Mayorga about giving credit to students who had too many absences. Jaime said to give them the benefit of the doubt, but President Gallego said that we must follow the rules. Later in the day, we walked past their offices and the signs on the door said "Justicia" on President Gallego's door and "Misericordia" on Jaime's door. By the time we got our camera, they had removed the signs so they decided to pose with their signs for our camera. They then switched sign. I guess you had to be there to laugh about it.
We taught our final lessons this week in the Institute for this semester. Mark made 7 layer bean dip for his class Thursday night. Just before we closed, one of the girls, Michelle, said she wanted to say something. She told Mark how much she appreciated his class and thanked him for teaching. Then each student stood and expressed their gratitude for the class and for Mark. We love these great "jovenes"!
On Monday, November 15th was another "festivo" day. President and Sister Hacking asked us to go with them to the laguna de Guatavita for the day. Elder and Sister Boulter went with us and we had a great day. The legend of Eldorado comes from this lagoon which is a crater that the Spanish found lots of gold. Some say that there is still much gold in the lagoon but the crater is so deep no-one has found the bottom. We were lucky that it only rained when we finished the climb and we were waiting for the bus to take us back to the parking lot. After, we ate at a little restaurant in Sesquile. Enjoy the pictures!
As I have looked at this blog, I realized that it looks like we are tourists here in Bogota. We have seen some wonderful places here in Colombia, but they do not compare to the experiences that we have had these past two months. I know that we have been taught so much by the students that we teach and have come to know. Last week when we went with Leonard, Katherine and the others to the central part of Bogota, I learned so much from Leonard. He is such a faithful and Christ-like person. When we first got off of the bus in the downtown area, a few beggars come up to us wanting money. Leonard treated each with such kindness as he gave them a few coins from his pocket. One man showed him his sores on his leg and Leonard showed sympathy as he talked about the man's troubles. Later as we were returning another beggar asked for money, but he did not have any coins left. Instead of saying no, he reached into his pocket and gave them the left-over candy that he had bought for us. I was so surprised that they were excited to receive something so small. He also was very protective of Mark and I as we walked down the street, saying that he was our "Body Guard". Truly, Leonard is an example of the kind of young people we meet here in Bogota. We are truly blessed to learn from these great young people.
The central plaza in Bogota has government buildings and the first Catholic cathederal built in Bogota. Leonard and Catherine bought corn to feed the pigeons. We also took pictures inside of the main cathederal.
Monday, November 1 was another festival day so the institute was closed. Two of our students, Katherine and Leonard showed us the sites of the history of Bogota. Katherine's sister Camilla and her friend Faavian along with Angie and Leonard's brother Johnny and his girlfriend Catherine all came along.
Mark and I travelled to Zipaturia to the Salt mines with one of our students, Bonarge Trujillo. I forgot my camera, but Bonarge sent us these pictures. There is a Catholic cathederal built deep into the mine.
We spent 4 days at Choa Chi with the directors of the Institutes and Seminaries for all of Colombia. The location was beautiful and the directors and their spouses were the best. We enjoyed our time, ate well and loved getting to know such wonderful leaders for the Church.
Students come to our office just to talk. We love getting to know these great young people. Ivan Felipe is in Mark's Book of Mormon class. He is smart and we couldn't believe that he wasn't 19 years old yet. Natalie is a medical student who is in our Principals of Leadership class. She lived in the United States for a year and her English is really good. They both are "Chevere"!!!