Monday, November 25, 2013

The Jungles latest (week 14)

¡Chuta amigos! How is the rest of the world as far as weather? In Coca it's still as hot and sweaty as a sauna. It may not ever snow here but were still going to have a white Christmas here in Coca, get it? Picture a missionary... Ah yeah, now you understand. Bien hecho.

So this last week was "The Hunt." We need more new families and investigators. Plus we needed at least one new appartment for the new missionaries coming in 5 weeks(I'll get to that later) Our last wave of investigators is basically done. We set up new baptismal appointments with Diana and Patricio for pretty soon but we have to work on more people now. We had lunch with Diana think Saturday and we had shrimp. It soooooo good. We found a family of 6 two days ago that has a lot of potential. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Chirst first as the spirit directed. Next time will be about the restauration because they had questions about the Book of Mormon and Prophets.

We found 3 different appartments but they aree kind of expensive so we'll see if we can find more. We think we have a mouse in our house(Nice rhyme, Dr. Seuss...) So if he comes back I'll kill him, or give him a Book of Mormon. Tal vez, los dos. For the next change in 5 weeks, we're going to have 6 missionaries in Coca and 6 in Lago Agrio. So instead of 7 total missionaries in the two cities, we're going to have 12. (There's an answered prayer for ya. The work is moving forward.) And we have already been separated into 2 districts now because of the expenses and time it takes to travel back and forth every 2 weeks. Elder Hess is the new district leader in Lago, and Elder Magalhaes is still the district leader here.

Right now there are 4 missionaries in Coca. Elder Magalhaes picked up his new companion from Quito yesterday. His name is Elder Wright from Riverton, Utah. Like me, He didn't know any Spanish before his mission. He took French for 3 years in high school. He's a pretty cool guy, he's like my heighth but he weighs probably about 30 lbs more. I 'll send a picture of the fella. I saw monkeys today by the way! 4 or 5 of them. I want one as a mission pet. Elder Richimondg was telling me of this place in Ecuagor where they are on every street and people have to be careful because they steal things. The mosquitos here are smarter than the mosquitos in the US. They're like blood-sucking ninjas. Elder Wright said he has like 14 bites on his legs. Hahaha oh it's fun. Sometimes you get like a one-day-bug and you feel sick just for that day and then you're fine again.

This last week for Tuco Tuesday,(The day after P-day when we preach the gospel like Paul or more) we didn't think it was Tuco enough. So we had a Tuco Mircoles to make up for it. This next week we still need more people to teach so tomorrow we'll do work again. In fact, this next week will be our Tuco Semana. Bring it on. Elder Richimondg always asks me if I know certain songs in English. Whenever I do I just start belting it and he sings along and asks what the lyrics are and mean. He knows like almost as many English songs as I do.

Dearest parents, no I didn't get any mail yet haha. I'm not in Quito so it'll take quite a bit longer I think. We'll see. But thinks are going awesome down here and they keep getting better and better each week. I finally have a good amount of confidence to openly talk with the ward members. Sometimes I can't understand them or I don't know a certain word in Spanish that I want to say, But I'm starting to get a lot better at still finding ways to express what I wanna say. And if now, we just laugh about it. Or maybe they are just laughing at me. Aah dang...

I love you all! keep sending your stories, updates, and whatever else happens. Paz fuera!

(week 14)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Semana Verificación (week 13)

So this week I spent mostly in Quito. It was my 6 week verification. So I traveled back up to Quito from Thursday to Saturday. It takes about 8 hours by bus to get there. But it's all good cause Elder Richimondg and I joke around the whole time. I tried to teach him some English toungue twisters like; "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" and when he tries to say it it{s just like, "Wud chuck wud chuck chuck wud chuck" and I'm just like, "Ooh! Perfecto Elder Richimondg! Su Ingles esta perfecto!" haha. We finally got there around almost 10:30. We always stay at La Luz when we travel to Quito. It holds like 12 missionaries. There's just beds everywhere.

On the verification day we first traveled to the church and listened to a bunch of lessons and other messages pertaining to the 12 semana program. Basically it prepares us to train a new missionary after 12 weeks. However that doesn't mean that we all will. Then we went up to Panecillo hill which is a huge hill in the center of Quito that overlooks almost the whole city. It's where President Kimball offered a prayer and dedicated missionary work in South America after David O. Mckay authorized it. There's a huge angel statue on top too. I have some sweet pictures of it. After that we had to go to the hospital with the mission nurse because Elder RIchimondg's shoulder has been hurting him for a while. It turns out he had nerve damage in his shoulder and neck. So that's a ton of fun.

I got to see some friends from the MTC like Elder Guild again. So it was sweet to heat there stories. Elder Guild is on the coast in Esmeraldas and they have to be in there apartments by 8:00 cause it's so dangerous there. We were laughing about the fact that our Spanish still isn't good haha. After that we had La Luz to ourselves cause everyone else could travel home that night cause they don't live 8 hours away. So that was fun. We traveled back on Saturday and were welcomed my a dinner fiesta with steaks and awesome food at Presidente Marco's house. Now it's time to start working in Coca again.

Yesterday was the beginning of the new change. My companions and I are all staying. Elder Magalhaes gets his new companion finally. I think his new companion will also be a new missionary. Elder Richimondg will continue to train me and I'll share Christmas with these guys. (To answer the Christmas question: By Skype) The weather will continut to be hot through Christmas haha. The weather is basically the same year-round where ever you are in Ecuador. Quito weather is perfect but I'm not there haha.

This week we continue to work with our new investigators and hopefully Patricio and Diana will finally be ready for this week. I haven't been able to teach Antonio yet because of the Verification trip but this week we'll teach him a bunch. We{re also working with a lot of menos activos right now. Members that regularly attend church are very antious to have more members there. I think we'll need a bigger chappel though. It's crowded as it is.

Les quiero! My family is the best! And keep doin' work my fellow missionary bros!

P.S. That candle didn't just look like a firework dad, it was one. Haha yolo, Ecuador!

Pictures (week 13)

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Sujeto" esta el sujeto. (week 12)

Hola familia! I´m sweating profusly right now in this internet store. So picture that. I´m sure it looks beautiful. This week went pretty well. We had the same machete service project this week, Mattew was baptized, and I got sick... But I´m over it now mom, don´t worry!

First off, our main progressing investigators, Mattew, Diana, and Patricio. Mattew is Italian and his mother is living there right now. His father lives in Guayaquil right now so I don´t really know why he´s living with our branch president and his family. But he´s been great and Presidente Marco and his family have been a great influence on him. He was baptized by Presidente Marco this last Saturday. Diana has recieved basically all of the lessons and we tried to confirm the her date with her last night, which is next Saturday. She kept saying she needed more time. We tried to help her and she believes it, but no matter what we said, he answer was she needed more time. So we´ll give it to her. Patricio is totally ready for his baptism other than one detail, Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. He plays soccer with his friends on Sundaymornings and he doesn´t really want to give that up. Plus he´s never home lately so it´s been so hard to get ahold of him. He´s had his baptismal interview now. So we´ll see if Diana and Patricio will be ready by this weekend or maybe the next.

We are so blessed to have awesome ward members here. Lately they keep feeding us referals. We´ve only meet with a couple of them. Antonio is one of them. He´s so solid. He looks like he´s in his late thrities. I can´t remember his age. I can´t even understand all his Spanish but I can pick up parts of it and during our lesson with him he just has the most humble and profound feedbacks and questions. We asked him if you could talk to God face to face right now, what would you ask him? And he told us he would ask him which church is true. So we´re going to share the Restauration with him next time. Because someone about 193 years ago had that same question. We are finding a lot of less active members and setting up appointments with them too. A lot of it we have to thank hermano Alberado. We worked with us for a long time one day to find them.

A couple of days ago I had headaches like never before. Diarrea was also a symptom. Beautiful. And just a complete soreness of body. Elder Magalhaes let me borrow some Tylonol which helped a lot with the headaches. It lasted for about 3 days and I´m totally fine now. The worse though was the second night cause I was too exhausted to take any pills or anything. I just went to bed. But I woke up like an hour later with  the worst headache ever. I tried to fall asleep but it was impossible. My head was so hot that the other side of the pillow wasn´t even cool. Finally I decided to take the last pill, knowing that I now wouldn´t have any for tomorrow. So I did. But I forgot to eat food before so now I was laying in my bed around like 3:00with a headache that was still killing me and now my stomach was killing me. Finally after like an hour the pills kicked in and I fell asleep. That morning I prayed hard that I could work without my headaches and it was awesome cause I had no problems that day. And I´ve been fine ever since. But that night was the worst haha. Hey mom, breathe.

We have transfers every 6 weeks but that doesn´t meen everyone transfers every six weeks. Elder Murphy has been in Coca and now Lago for like 6 months. I haven´t really seen any more cool animals lately. Just some giant bugs every once in a while. I´m still waiting to see a Boa. They swim all over in these rivers. Haha I still want to baptise someone in the river though. I finally figured out how to unlock the back door to the church that leads to the basketball hoops. So, YES! Now I just need a ball.

Love you guys a ton! Tell Rocky he´s a dog.

Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal en tres tristes trastos... Little toungue twister for ya!

Pictures (week 12)

Monday, November 4, 2013

I´m running out of clever subject titles... (week 11)

¿cómo le va, otro continente americano? I´m moving up on week cinco now! Cinco weeks in Ecuador! Actully the way we we´re supposed to say it is "I´ve been here for less than a year." Which makes me feel more experienced. However that title goes against me until my spanish is tested. I´ve actully improved quite a bit since I first got here. And I feel pretty comfortable with how things work too. But today for example, I just got my first haircut in Ecuador and the guy cutting my hair was so hard to understand. Not only he spoke really soft, but he didn´t pronounce his S´s. And he realized that I couldn´t speak perfect spanish so we cominicated like cavemen with these grunt-like sounds. I looked in the mirror and behind me my compainions are just laughing. Haha so that´s something I´ll have to work on, cause I asked another Elder that´s in Lago Agrio right now and he said it´s common for people to not pronounce their S´s. But has far as normal spanish, I can understand my companions pretty well now. I figured out that Elder Richimondg´s great grandfather was french. So that´s where the non-spanish name comes from.
Since it´s just Elder Magalhaes, Elder Richimondg and I here in Coca, we have to take care of the two sectors in Coca now. So I´m working with Elder Magalhaes´s investigators too. One of them is Mattew. He´s actully from Italy and he´s living with the branch president and his family. We´ve taught him the first three lessons and most of the commandments in lesson 4. His baptism is on the 9th and he´s ready. Patricio´s baptism is also on the 9th. Another investigator of his is Juan Carlos. I actully found him while contacting like two weeks ago. It was when we went on splits because Elder Yarbro was pretty sick. Anyway, Juan Carlos knows just about everything about the Bible. And he is filled to the brim with questions. He is looking for the truth though. And he really enjoys our lessons as well as church. He´s 17 years old. Unfortunatly, he was just living in Coca for a short period of time and he´s in Quito right now. But we gave his number to the missionaries in Quito and I´m sure he´ll continue to progress there. If he were to become a missionary, he´d be rock solid.
We haven´t been able to get a hold of Jason for a while. So that´s unfortunate. But Diana is still progressing. It´s been annoying trying to get a hold of her sometimes though. Like a couple of days ago we had a scheduled appointment with her and we went to her house and she was gone. So we called her and she said she was working. So we planned for the next day. She was gone again and said she was in Quito. Haha come on...Here in Coca you really have to try to keep the investigators and recent converts on track. She´s awesome though and her family has been members for a year so they can help her. The reason she isn´t a member but her family is, is because her family was taught in Quito a year ago while she was living in Coca. Jaero finally went to church for the first time with his older brother who has been a member for 3 months. We always see him in the public busses and are like, "Are you reading your scriptures? Saying your prayers?" And he just smiles like, " Eh... Mas o menos"
This Saturday we had a Zone conference with the Mission president there and two of his assistants, Elder Rodriguez and Elder Dearden. We had it in Lago. They were supposed to fly in to Lago aroung 11:00 but their flight was cancelled so they didn´t arrive until about 1:30. Elder Dearden told us flights all over the place were getting cancelled for some reason. One flight that was supposed to leave to Coca at 9:00was delayed until 3:00. People were flippin´ out. And there´s always that one group leader that´s like, "Hey! What´s the big idea!?" and the group behind him is like: "Yeah!" with their fists in the air. Cracks me up. The scene I have in my head is priceless... After they arrived at the church the president and his assistants each taught us a lot of good mini lessons and then we had our interviews one-on-one with the mission president. He´s an awesome guy. And he offered me good advice on how to keep improving.

On the way back from the conference we watched Die Hard in spanish. I´ve actully seen a lot of movies playing in members homes and on bus rides that are Hollywood movies just in spanish. Like The Patriot, The Smurfs, The Blindside. As well as music too. I hear on average like 2 songs in English that I recognize. On travel days to Lago I hear at least like 4 or 5. I even catch my companions singing English songs sometimes and it catches me off guard. Here in Ecuador they only have two types of music: the romantic type, and the re
petitive fiesta type. (The members of the church get a bonus: Hymnos.) And I could tell in Mexico as well, The United States has a big influence on other countries.
From what I´ve picked up, as far as food, the people here don´t believe it´s a meal unless there is rice. So I continute to have that every meal. I´m not complaining though. The rice is actully pretty good. Chicken is very common too. I guess they are common "Pets" too because when we walk through the dirt road areas where all the homes are, there´re chickens and dogs everywhere. The other common foods in Coca are beans, soup, and bananas. However, there´s always rice.

This zone is different from all the others so our two zone leaders live apart. Elder Richimondg and Elder Murphy. While my other companion, Elder Magalhaes, is the district leader. So I got leadership with me the least. As far as the Chirstmas package Mamas, haha no se. I just like food. Send me a steak from applebees or something haha. I already have a water bottle that purifies water. I got it in the Mexico MTC. Every missionary gets one. Or you can send me a car. Cause we don´t have a mission car haha. We always travel by walking or the public busses. Sometimes we have to take a taxi when we´re far away and it´s almost 9:00 cause the busses don´t run that late. Usually we try to plan appointments around that though.

I´m glad things are going awesome at home! Except hearing that Rocky´s probably diabetic now, so dang it. Keep being the best family ever! Love you guys!
P.S. Ecuador doesn´t really celebrate Halloween. I only saw a couple of small traces of Halloween. But apperantly Chile celebrates Halloween. Paz hacia fuera!