Thursday and Friday of the last week of June we went with Torgersons to all the missionary apartments north of Cali. We have missionaries in little towns like Roldanillo, Zarzal, Bugalagrande and Andalucía as well as bigger towns like Tuluá and Buga. [Bugalagrande means "Buga the great" but it is smaller than just plain Buga.] Torgersons will do Pasto and Ipiales next week and Popayan, three hours south of Cali, after that. They hope to get to Palmira, one hour east of Cali. I don't think they will have time to do Cali. Elder Torgerson is putting smoke alarms in all the apartments, or changing batteries in the few that already have them. Sister Torgerson and I have been doing an inventory of "housewares" in each apartment. We inventory everything from beds, desks & chairs, and fridges to wooden spoons and light bulbs. Don Ramon is driving us, we are having a lot of fun!
Road to Tuluá
Most of Valle del Cauca is sugar cane.
It takes a year and a half to grow.
This field is about half as tall as mature sugar cane.
We are getting near Tuluá and the hills are quite close to the road.
A tractor is pulling five trailers full of sugar cane.
Sugar cane trailers up close.
Elder Torgerson and Don Ramon fixing electrical wiring in an apartment.
They only fixed things that were a serious problem.
This was a serious problem!
Corner in Buga.
Don Ramon had asked the young man if we were on the right road.
Motos are about 50% of the vehicles on the road.
Notice the internet cafe on the corner,
no doors, they roll down when the store closes.
Also note the apartment on the second floor.
Some of our missionaries live above a ferritería (hardware store) or a drogería (drugstore).
In May we went to Zone Conferences with Princes. Usually several zones met together, for example, Tuluá, Zarzal, Buga and the two Palmira zones met in Palmira. A lot of traveling for the missionaries but less travel for the President and his group. We gave two short presentations about budgeting and records. Elder Oliver got their attention when he said he had been asked to show them how to get to the end of the month before the end of the money. I used scriptures to show how the Lord feels about records, how we should feel in order to please the Lord. We read D y C 20:82 (emphasizing that Christ asked for a list of all new members since the last conference), Moroni 6:4 (why write the names of all the new members), and D y C 127:9 (keep in order all the records). Four groups rotated between the assistants, the Olivers, the President, his wife.
It was the only time we have been to Pasto (Pasto and Ipiales zones). We flew there, through Bogotá. Bogotá is northeast of here and Pasto is almost directly south. One the way home no planes were leaving Pasto because of clouds. We had a zone conference the next day, Saturday, in Cali. So...the taxi that took us to the airport, about a 20 minute drive, took us to Cali instead, about 8 hours.
Steep canyons and clouds. We couldn't see the famous volcano above Pasto for the same reason there were no flights out of Pasto--thick cloud cover.
The stake conference this week end focused on temples, families and family history. I especially enjoyed President Camacho's message "Subir al Templo". The closest English word to subir is ascend.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalms 24: 3-4
Many scriptures that talk about ascending to the temple simply use go up but in every case it is subir in Spanish.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, the the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths... Isaiah 2:3
In ancient times there often was not a temple to which to ascend, so the Lord used mountain tops as places to communicate with his prophets.
And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain... Exodus 19:3
The voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord. 1 Nephi 17:7
And it came to pass that the brother of Jared went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones;...and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord. Ether 3:1
Isaiah teaches that the temple is a place where we will learn the ways of God and make covenants to "walk in his paths" in other words keep his commandments. Jacob said the "house of God...is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:17)
I repeat the challenge of President Camacho. Prepare yourself to subir al templo. Make the sacrifice monetarily and spiritually to go up to the temple. Make a goal to go as often as you are able.
Caicedo Square is as close as Cali comes to a central plaza. There are many parks and squares throughout the city. The whole block is a park. The white building north of the square (in the background) is a government building.
Another beautiful building across from Caicedo Square to the west.
We also went to the gold museum.
The pre-Columbian people here raised crops of maize, pumpkins, beans, and cotton among other things. They panned gold out of the rivers and had developed quite an art of hammering the gold into ornaments. Their leaders were buried with "sumputuous funerary regalia made of gold, stone and pottery".
The round things in the above picture are not coins but have holes punched in them to hang from a necklace or similar decoration.
Later people developed casting. The mold was filled with gold flakes and heated to melt the gold into beads.
Theater diagonally across from Gold Museum.
La Merced was a convent built early in the Spanish era.
We didn't take a picture of the outside...future blog.
But this stone is a replica from San Augustine, a famous archaeological sight just outside of our mission boundaries.
We sometimes go past La Merced on our way home from church.
The church of San Francisco next to the plaza of San Francisco in the middle of the city.
Back home in our apartment. We bought the lilies on the street across the river from the office. They lasted a couple of weeks.