This last week has been just awesome! We have been pretty busy with investigators, members, and everything else. First off, I´m an orphan now. My daddy, Elder Agapito, was suddenly assigned to Quito. In fact, three of the five missionaries in Coca are gone right now. Elder Yarbro and Elder Richimondg left last night to Lago and then to Quito because Elder Yarbro has been having some troubles in the mission so far. So pray that he doesn´t go home and he stays in the mission somewhere. Elder Richimondg has a zone leader conference in Quito too so he won´t be back until probably Wednesday. So for a couple of days, it´ll just be Elder Yarbro´s companion, Elder Magalhaes(That´s Portugese), and I handling two sectors. or in other words, all of Coca by ourselves. Bring it on! He actully speaks Portugese, Spanish, and a little bit of English, so he´s pretty useful. And whenever I can´t understand something in Spanish he tries to tell me in English and it usually helps. I´m not sure if Elder Richimondg will bring back with him another missionary or if it will be us three until the next change. We´ll see...
Our zone and district are the same. Coca has(had) a little over 30,000 people and 5 missionaries and Lago(3 hours north) has 4 missionaries. Whenever we have district meetings, we switch off on who travels where. Last week we went to Lago and after the district meeting, I went on a split with Elder Murphy. He´s like 6´5, 240 lbs, and is a gringo(Like me!). He´s a really cool guy though. He´s from a humble home near Los Angeles. He´s a really good teacher too. We taught this guy named Oscar about the restauration and I learned a lot from it. He also answered a lot of questions that I had that my native companions couldn´t answer. He really helped me out a lot. We brought a member along with us while we were contacting. I can´t remember his name but he was 13 years old and wore a little plaque that said: "futuro misionero". Adorable, right?
I´m glad my dad figued out how to use google translate to send me a letter half in Spanish this week. Maybe I´ll write the rest of this letter in German and see how well he can translate that...Oder vielleicht hat er nicht wirklich wissen, Spanisch oder Deutsch, wie er claimes haha. I dig the Halloween video! I don´t think Ecuador really celebrates Halloween but maybe I´ll carve a pineapple or something haha. And I´m sorry to hear Rocky is having stomach problems, if it will help him, tell him so do I haha. I was pretty sick like 5 days ago but I feel perfect now. Our apartment is located by the Napo river by the southwest corner of Coca. It´s strait down the street from our little church on the corner of San Miguel and Espejo. It takes like 2 minutes to walk to church. There are no sister missionaries in Coca or Lago. I dont´t know the exact reason why but this is a really different area in the mission.
As you could have guessed from the account: Yes, I have a camera now! YES!! It´s a blue sony camera with 16.1 megapixels, 8x optical zoom, and it came with 8 GB of memory. I bought it for $213. I don´t know if that´s a good deal or not but all the other cameras like this one were all $300. So I scored! I´ll send pictures today. No monkeys or machetes though. Unfortunatly Elder Agapito is gone now and he has the pictures. Right before he left I asked him to try to send them to me but it wouldn´t work. I later remembered that they have a rule that you can´t send Emails to other missionaries in your same mission or the Ecuador Quito misson. So I think it was blocked. Which kinda really sucks since I didn´t have a camera for 2 weeks and all I wanted was a couple of pictures. Oh well. I have others.
Another thing! I almost baptized someone already! He name is Glenda. She´s 31 years old and has a husband who is a member and a 4 month year old son named Franchesco. I was going to baptized her in the Coca river. Her husband is a good member but he slips sometimes so she asked me 5 days before if I´d baptize her. Two days ago, just before we were about to step in the river the brach president stoped us cause the river is really shallow until like 50 feet out. And I guess it´s a rule that I can´t go out that far being a missionary so I had to take off my white pants and give them to the branch president so he could do it. Ani´t gunna lie, I was pretty disappionted for the rest of the day. Then I realized that I was being selfish. I only participated in 2 of the many lessons to get her prepared and it doesn´t matter who does it, as long as they´re worthy. What´s important is just the fact that she is baptized and confirmed. And she was. Plus the branch president and his family are awesome just like my mission president and his wife. They are very kind and work hard for the members in Coca. Plus, this is Ecuador, People are ready to accept the gospel here. I´ll have more chances in the future with investigators that I actully helped them from the beginning, come to Christ.
We have two more investigators that are near baptism, Diana and Patricio. Patricio loves the Book of Mormon and is the older brother of Jiero(I just figured out that´s how you spell his name). Plus his older sister that is married is also a member so she´s been a lot of help too. As for Diana, she lives with her brother, Pedro. Pedro is a member and he´s been a really big help in teaching Diana. We taught her about the Restauration, the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week she keeps inviting us back. Both investiagators came to chruch this week and their baptism dates are next week, I believe.
Tell Jared good luck in Drivers Ed, and take the dang permit test!!! Haha. Also tell him to be prepared for his mission more than I was. Read Preach my Gospel( Especially chapters 3,5,and 10) Read the Book of Mormon and memorize scriptures, It´ll really help him for the future. Tell Kak, Savannah, and Kylie I said, "Hola." Los amo ustedes! Buena suerte con sus vidas y me recuerde en sus oraciones!
So the cold showers are what I crave now. Before my mission, I would never take a cold shower, why would I? But because of the constant, unavoidable sweat, I love em. The sweat is becoming more natural though. The first few days I couldn´t stand it but now I´m like, "Oh, there it is...Bienvenidos" Even when it´s cloudy here, it´s hot. But with they sun out, I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass haha. I actully carry around a small towel in the side pocket of my bag to wipe my forehead like every two seconds. The computers here are in Spanish so almost all of the words I´m typing have that infamous, red, squiggly line under it telling me the words are spelled incorrectly and I´m just like, " No! I´m right, and you´re wrong!" Haha.
Jidro, The kid I´m teaching English, has an older brother with the exact same name. How confusing is that, "Hey, Jidro?" "Yes" "No, no... My other son, son." But we did a service project with the older Jidro, which was cutting down thick jungle foliage with a machete! How cool is that! I´m a jungle man now! We did it on this hillside on the opposite side of the town from where the two rivers meet. They had sugar cane down there. I cut down a giant stalk and spent like an hour just chewing on it. When I have a family, we´re growing sugar cane in our back yard. I saved some in our fridge and am guarding it with my life. The sun was just beating on us though. So I got sunburnt. But since it´s humid, I didn´t peel! I´ll be brown by the time I´m done with my mission and no one from home will recognize me. Elder Agapito took a picture of me with his camera so hopefully I can send that too you today. I´m determinded to buy a camera today. There´s decedt ones here but they are pretty expensive...
I also saw 4 monkeys a couple of days ago! 4 monkeys! Not in a zoo! Elder Agapito got a picture of one on a telephone wire, It was sweet! Hopefully I can send that one too. We saw it when we were knocking on doors. And speaking of that, The very next door I knocked on after the monkeys, A guy named Jason answered the door and we taught him for like an hour about the restauration. I asked him if he would follow Christ´s example and be baptized, and he said yes! 1 down! Hopefully he pulls through. He loves the bible and Jesucristo. His baptimal date is on the 9th of November. A lot of people are really open to hearing the gospel here. There´s been quite a few times were they just let us in without question and we teach them. We have a lot of appointments lately so there´s usually not a lot of time to do a ton of contacting, which is pretty cool. That´s why I´m like, "Send more missionaries to Coca!"
It was a really clear day yesterday and I could see a really tall volcano (which I forgot the name of) in the distance. I really want to go there some time during my mission for like a district activity or something. There´s everlasting snow up there. Which just sounds so wierd to me. I could never imagine it snowing in Coca. Tom will catch Jerry before that happens.
Tell Dirty I´m super stoked for him! He´ll love his mission!
I WILL buy a camera today, even tough it may cost a lot. El amor que ustedes mucho! Recuérdame en tus oraciones! Paz hacia fuera!
Primero, culture shock! Ka-bam! This is the craziest place. Especially compared to Cedar city, UT. Right now I'm writing from Coca in some public, timed internet place. They actully give us about two hours to write home in the mission field, so that's bueno. My 2 companions are from Ecuador and Peru. They speak no English. Haha so crap, right? We actully just have companionship study with a English-Spanish dictionary and play sharades(How do you spell that) with each other. It's kinda hilarious. I'm teaching Elder Agapito some English phrases like: "I'm so confused", "I'm awesome", "I love my life", and "Can I sniff you?"(He thinks that one means "Can I help you?" Hahaha I'm dispicable...) Elder Agapito only has four more months of his mission left, Elder Richmondg(Yeah that's how it's spelled) has about eight months left. So I hope they are patient with my Spanish. Elder Agapito wants you guys to send me an ipod touch to give to him and then he'd pay for it; He can't buy one in Peru I guess. But I'm sure that would cost an insane amount of money, especially for him so, ehh... Don't do that probably haha.
So when I arrived in Quito, and finally got through airport security, The mission president was there to greet me. He's the nicest guy and cares a lot about his missionaries. After that we chilled in a church in Quito while they taught us basic In-field missionary stuff. All in Spanish too so that was very unbenifical since the missionaries that were teaching us were from Peru and Guiaquil where they speak exteamly fast haha. Oh well... Then we dropped our stuff off at La Luz, our appartment(which is where we spent the first two nights.) That night we had dinner at his house and it was gosh dang delicious! Then we all bore our testimonies in spanish. The next day was just gaining basic missionary instructions.
The following day I met my first companion, Elder Agapito. He´s a goofy guy. My MTC companion, Elder Guild, went to Esmeraldes, the other side of the country. Sad, right? That next day we traveled for 8 hours on the bus from Quito to Coca. The mountains were muy verde! Slowly the mountains vanished and the jungle appeared. I haven´t seen any yet but there´s boas, monkeys, and just every kind of animal down here. Especially DOGS!! They are everywhere. Completely unavoidable. And it´s so hot and humid. I thought that was avoidable with the Andes mountains but I guess not here haha. There´s only 5 missionaries in Coca. The joke is here, "Oh, they forgot about us again" Haha but the biggest problem here, is that they need more missionaries down here! The people are so nice and just need the gospel more. This place historically has been more successful than all the other zones in the mission if you count that there´s only 5 people down here.
Today I saw a guy with a flamethrower. I want to just steal it and carry it around for lessons and say; "Now first you are baptized by water... And then by fire(Then just blast the flamethrower!!!) I wonder how many people that would convert.
Don`t get mad when I say thins, but my camera was stolen... Yeah... I was taking pictures by the cute little church that I go to at 9:00, and I was taking some pictures of the members for them, I set my camera down for like 20 seconds behind me to talk with my companion and a couple other members, next thing I know, I see a guy running down the street like 200 feet away and my camera gone. Haha I ain´t gunna baptize him now. It´s fine though, he only took that so I still have the cord and the charger. Hopefully I can buy a similar one soon.
As far as my ward, I´ve already attended two baptisms! Issac and Patricia. Just my presence makes the people flock to the font haha. It´s awesome though. I conducted the first one and was a witness in both of them. Pretty tight. The ward had about 40 members this Sunday. The last couple of days I´ve been walking around to appointments made before I got here and teaching lessons. I usually don´t say much, but for one lesson a 16 year-old we were teaching had trouble believing that God was real, and didn´t know what faith really was, I shared Alma 32:21 and Moroni 10:4-5. I thought it was pretty sweet haha. I also promised him I´d teach him English cause he really wants to learn it. He asked me to speak english to him and he was facinated. Which is cool but kinda weird because Spanish is a pretty language, English is just whatever haha. I mean, have you ever heard someone say: "Oh he has the most beautiful gringo accent!!" Haha, no.
The mamitas(Our mommys that feed us dinner) are great!! The food is actully really decilious here. I mean, I´ve only been in Coca for 3 days but I absolutly love it! The most common thing is easily rice. A lot of bananas too. Fried bananas, frozen bananas, dried bananas, banana bananas. It´s awesome. I´ve already gotten pretty good at killing roaches. My first kill was within like 20 seconds of walking in the door of my apartment the first night. I´ve killed like 15 since. We actully cleaned our apartment pretty good today though. We might not see as many in our apartment now. It´s probobly obvious, but the favorite sport is soccer. They like volleyball here too. Even though all of them (save a very small handful) are shorter than me, they like volleyball too. I dare any Equadorian to face me on the front line in a volleyball game. I`ll show them my signature, "Gringo Spike!"
That pretty much sums up the first week! My P-days are on Mondays always so that´s when the next letter will come! Love you guys!
¿¡Como le va!? Mexico has been awesombroso para Elder Bolton! I only have 5 days left here. Ecuador in less than a week baby! It´s so weird because it feels like I´ve been here for like 2 weeks at the most, and at the same time it feels like I´ve been here and known everyone in my district for years. Fortunatly I´ll see my companion and 2 sister missionaries every now and then in my mission. The rest of the people are going to different places in the US. In fact, I´d say more than half of the missionaries here have been called to missions in the US. How ironic is that? Let´s send people from the USA to Mexico, so they can teach in the USA. But yeah, I´m pretty sure I´ll fly out on Tuesday really early in the morning. I´m not sure though. I have In-field orientation tomorrow so I bet I figure out my travel plans then. I don´t know when I´ll be able to call home but it¨ll probably be like around 4:00 am. Haha, lo siento! And I still haven´t recieved an E-mail or anything from my mission president or anything like that, so I don´t know if I´ll be able to send an E-mail right when I get there, or when my P-day is. But I´ll let you know when I can! After in-field orientation on Friday, I get to watch General Conference. LIVE! I cannot wait. No one even knows exactly what were going to do as a district between conference sessions. I have a feeling it´ll be a good one! Our Devotional last week was one of David A. Bednar´s Tuesday devotionals in Provo about how to watch conference most effectivly and how to take to most effective notes. So I´ll be doing that!
So this past week guess what... Our progressing investigators, Ivis and Luz, were baptized!! KABOOM!! We had our last lessons and our last chance on Monday andTuesday. For Luz, we knew we were close so our lesson was just on the gift of the Holy Ghost and baptism. We shared personal stories about both subjects and then we showed her 2 Nephi 31, which is a scripture gold mine, as far as the importance and blessings of Baptism. She said, without hesitation, "Si!" For Ivis, we were not quite as far with him. He´s been reading the Book of Mormon every day and going to church. He even said he knows the Book of Mormon was true. He was just a strong Catholic. We had no idea what to do with him. So we just had a 30 minute lesson where we went in there with nothing but a Spanish Book of Mormon. We just shared our favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon, read parts of Alma 32, and 3 Nephi 17 with him, and shared our testimonies in broken Spanish frequently. At the end when I asked him, we first showed him Christ´s example and then express how he could be a good example to his wife and children, which are Mormon, if he would do this. He hesitated at first, but then nodded his head yes! Clutch. Today I also went to the temple. For the last time in 2 years. I could understand a decent amount of the Spanish in the temple now. A lot of it may be because I´ve seen it in English before. But I´ve been to the temple in Spanish more than English now. Not too long after I do get home, I´m attending it in Spanish again so I can understand everything being said.
I love hearing about and seeing pictures from your homecoming! Did Jared go? Or did he just chill with Rocky at home? That´s awsome, I just remember that I hated filling out whatever scholarship applications i did fill out. Speaking of college, tell DeWitticus to hang in there if you see him. Dispite the fact it´s kinda funny haha, I do feel bad that we´re peacing out and he´s still in Cedar without us. Tell him I said he´s a good Doctor, he´ll like that. And tell Dan to just go pack his bags and leave to Provo now. Because this whole mission experience has already been the coolest and happiest time of my life! Dispite playing a lot of sheraids with locals. Actully that´s kinda fun. Love you! I don´t know exactly when I´ll write you next. But It¨ll be in Quito, Ecuador!