Category Archives: MTC

Missionary Training Center

Welcome to the Bogota North Mission!

First Day in the Mission

Dear family of Elder Sawyer,                                                         November 8, 2012

We were very pleased to welcome your son as he arrived safely to our mission full of  enthusiasm and excitement.  We spent a busy day with interviews, training, and meeting their first companion.  His trainer is Elder Valenzuela from Chile.  After lunch he traveled with his companion to start their missionary work in their respective areas.
We are grateful to you for having prepared your missionary to be able to serve the wonderful people in this beautiful country.  We pray the Lord’s blessings be upon you and your family for the sacrifices that you have made.
A couple of pointers regarding mail and packages.  In Colombia there is no national mail system.  All of our correspondence is through email. Keep in mind if you are mailing packages from the USA the flat rate package boxes are the most economical way. Please keep it under 4 lbs. Packages weighing less than 4 lbs are delivered directly to our office. If the package weighs more than 4 lbs it is held up in customs at the airport and there is an extra fee that must be paid to get the package out of customs.  This extra cost is paid for by the missionary using his personal funds.
From the missionary handbook it says this about expenses.
“Use funds from home for other necessary expenses, such as replacing necessary clothing, …approved telephone calls home, and medical expenses not paid by the mission (medical care for preexisting conditions, co-payments, and normal eye or dental care).
Keep other expenses to a minimum and pay for them with funds from home, including expenses for film and film developing, souvenirs, gifts, …any damage that you cause to apartments”
If your missionary needs money from home there are several options.  1.  A debit card from home. The family may place money into that account when needed for by the missionary for his personal use. 2. Send a cashier’s check or traveler’s check via Federal Express to the mission office in the missionary’s name.  3 Western Union.
Thank you for helping to prepare them to serve the Lord for these next two years.

President and Sister Andelin

October 31, 2012

So ive only got 5 more days in the ccm. Im definately not as prepared as i need to be but im ready to get out there and do the work ive been called o do. The spanish is passable but im still having a lot of trouble understanding people. Yesterday me and my companion went contacting on the street for an hour. This was the first time i went contacting with a non native companion and it had some challenges. We were able to talk to people alright but sometimes we didnt know what they said. Almost all of the people we talked to were really nice though. We only had an hour out in this plaza but we were able to get 2 refferals for the missionarys and handed out a bunch of pamphlets. Overall the rest of this week has been a little slow. We are all just excited to get out of here. Its been about nine weeks in the mtc system and im ready to leave. Sorry this letter is rather short but my time is really short this week. Im looking forward to next week in the field when i can send yall some pictures. I believe my first pday will be not this monday but the next one. Carolina wanted me to write in spanish so ill give it a shot. Just dont critique my grammar because its not my strong point. Hola mi famila, como estan? Yo tengo cinco mad dias hasta yo voy el campo. Mi espanol es muy mal pero esta bien. Yo puedo entender mas o menos. Para mis hermanas como es escuela? Hoy es halloween y es muy raro porque no puedo celebrar. hasta lluego familia.
Con amor Elder Sawyer

October 24, 2012

Hola Familia,

Im in the middle of my second week here in the Bogota MTC. Ive only got two weeks left until im loosed on the world. Things are going well here, im learning so much spanish and so much about the gospel as well. Weve pretty much just been in the mtc this week so there isnt much to write about. I figure ill tell you what my schedule is like here i guess. Im not sure what i talked about last time but here goes. So the schedule here is similar to the provo mtc but a little different. We wake up everymoirnig at 630 for gym then breakfast. after that we have classes and have the chance to learn gospel proncipals and teach investigators. here everything is in spanish so that helps with the learning. its coming along really quick. We also talk a lot with the natives in the mtc. These kids are awesome but sometimes i cant understand a wword they are saying. So many people speak so fast, i dont know how ill be able to ever understand them. I would love to send you guys some pictures but here in the mtc we dont have access to our cameras because apparently that privledge was being abused but ill be able to send piuctures from the field. Ive got some great pictures of bogota that will blow your mind. Today we wwnt to the temple again and took a bunch of pictures of our distric companions and indivuals. The bogota temple is realy beautifyul, you should look it up on The news about the giants making it to the world series is truly shocking news. I did not think they would make it. I would like so me further details if possible. As for the mail system here in colombia. Ive got bad news. Colombia doesnt have a centralized mail system so its very unrelaible. Your best bet of getting something to me is to send it to the mission office and they can try to get it to me if it arrives. I can send out letters for about 2 dollars so i may write one or two but during my mission im allowed to email friends so thatll be good. Okay i dont have much time but i just wanted to say i love and miss you all and im doing great.

Elder Sawyer

October 17, 2012

Hola Familia y Amigos
Im finally in Bogota and I finally have the chance to send an actually email after a week. This place is pretty crazy but I love it here. The CCM here is really nice. Ill try to catch you all up on what has happened this past week. So we arrived in Bogota after a connected flight in NY. We landed around 1030 and from there we had to navigate our way through an all espanol airport. Ive never realised how important being able to read is but it was pretty humbling to not have any idea what anything said or what was going on. Its pretty embarassing when a little nino speaks better espanol than you. A few of the elders in our group lost luggage so we waited around the airport until 1130. The attendents said just to wait till tomorrow and they would send it to us. We left the airport at 1030 and found our driver amid the crowd of yelling and screaming people. We all crammed into a van and drove to the mtc. 8 elders and 2 years worth of luggage, it was a tight squeeze. We got to the MTC and they gave us some snacks and sent us to bed. The next day we started our day at 630 in the morning. Its relatively similar to the provo mtc but the food is so much better. The food is all real as oppesed to the provo mtc and every meal we have freshed squezed juice. Its probably one of the best things ive ever had. We have language classes and gospel classes but the only difference is that we are constanlty surronded by latinos. Currently there are 8 americans and 84 latinos here. Its a real blessing though. Its forcing me to learn the language really fast. Once i decided not to be offended by being called a gringo they are all really nice. They will help me out with my spanish all the time.
So the next day of note would have to be saturday. We have only been in colombia for 4 days and wat do they have us do? Oh thats right go tracting all day with some elders in the bogota north mission. To say i was nervous would be an understatement. I had a native companion from the ccm here and we were with an elder who had only been in the field for 3 weeks. He was a gringo tambien so he didnt know much spanish. This day started out pretty nervewracking but it turned out to be one of the best days ive ever had. The people who we taught here in bogota were some of the nicest people ive ever talked to. Although for a good majority of the time i had no idea what was going on i was able to talk to people on the street, knock on doors and share my testimony. Since we were working in what will most likely be my mission im really excited to go back and be able to follow up with the people we talked with and who seemed receptive. Even the people who didnt want us to share with them were really nice. Now onto the actually city itself. Its likea whole different world here. Im a bit sad i cant send pictures but here in the mtc they take our cameras so we cant use them. Next week ill ask if we can grab our memory cards prior to email. So on saturday i walked around the city all day (missionary work is tiring, my feet were way sore) but yesterday (tuesday) we were given the day to tour. We started by going to the bogota temple which was an amazing expireince. I cant even begin to describe how beautiful it is. After that we went the meuseum of gold, the name speaks for itself. But the highlight was taking a tram up to monteserrat. This is a catherdral on top of a mountain that overlooks the city of bogota. Its amazing i encourage yall to google it. The city has no limits it goes on for ever. So my times about up but im enjoyig myself here a lot. Ive got three weeks in the mtc then i get to be in the field.

Bogota Temple

Address in Bogota

Zander left very quickly for Bogota, Colombia this week when his Visa came through.  He found out on Tuesday and flew to Bogota via New York on Wednesday!  Here is what he said:

Hola familia,
Ive arrived safetly in colombia. Our flight got in last night at 10pm but we were stuck at the airport till 1130 waiting for our luggage. It was pretty crazy to land in bogotá and be completely surrounded by natives. It was pretty hard to get through customs but i managed. The official had no idea what the “ccm” is and they didnt speak any english. We got to the mt at 12 and got a short tour. I dont have much time but the mtc here is really nice. its right in the middle of bogota. I can write you guys on my pday which is thursday i think. adios.
Con amor0 elder sawyer
His new address is:
Elder Zander Sawyer
Colombia Bogota North Mission
Calle 72 #10-07 Oficina 1001
Edificio Liberty Seguros
Bogota, Cundinamarca

Week 5

Hola Familia,

Im on my 5th week in the MTC and its going very well. I finished the Book of Mormon this week which was pretty awesome. I started it when i got to the MTC and was able to finish it in less that a month. It was helped thankls to my companion being sick for three days and having to stay locked in the room with him. I got through over 160 pages in 3 days. Ive also been focusing on the book of mormon in my personal study and that has helped me get through it. It was a great expirience and really strengthened my testimony of the truth of the book. Im now going to focus my personal study time on the New testament. Ive never read much about Christs ministry so im looking forward to that experience.

Im doing good here. Im healthy and still learning alot. Im getting along fine with my companion and my district. It feels like ive known some of the mombers of my district my entire life because of how great of friends they are. If you guys ever see brother or sister black from our stake say hi because elder black is in my district and im with him all the time.

Por carolina, la idioma de french es no bueno, espanol es mejor. Yo estoy animad a regreser y hablo espanol todos mi dias. La idioma sera muy benicial en mi vida. Mi amigo es llamado a la france paris mission y el ama la idioma pero espanol es mejor.

I love you all and miss you.

Con amor Elder Sawyer