December 28, 2009

Posted on 3:07 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

We had 3 baptisms this week. Adriana, Isabel, and Francisco. Adriana is 15. We’ve been teaching her and her family ever since I got here. She wanted to get baptized a while ago but her family didn’t want her to. So we just kept teaching them and working with them and eventually they gave her the OK. We’re still teaching the rest of the family and the mom wants to get baptized now but is afraid of what her extended family will think because they are all devout Catholics. They also have another 18 year old daughter named Fernando that has been progressing very well. We haven’t taught the dad that much because he is always working and doesn’t like to take a break and listen to us but we’re going to try and focus on him now because if he can gain a testimony then its likely that the rest of the family will get baptized. Isabel is 11 and Francisco is 9. They are brother and sister. Their mom is a prostitute and left them with one of the ladies in the ward. They’ve been through some rough stuff in their childhood. Francisco was too young to remember anything but Isabel has memories of horrible things that her mom did. It will really help them a lot if they keep coming to church and keep learning more and more. The problem is that the lady that takes care of them has back problems and can’t walk to church. The only way she can get there is if she takes a taxi but she never has money for that. And we can’t go pick them up every week because we have other investigators that we have to pick up. But hopefully they’ll be able to come a lot and keep learning and progressing

(Baptsim - Isabel and Fransisco)
This week we have 2 more baptisms scheduled for Saturday. Eleanor and Alexander. Their parents are members but inactive so the plan is to baptize the kids and then keep working with the parents to try and re-activate them. The gospel works best in families so if the whole family can become active they’ll be set. We were supposed to have another girl get baptized this week but she wasn’t able to come to church this week so now she has to wait until next week.

(Baptism - Adriana)
Elder Lopez and I have been sick all week. We think we got a parasite from drinking some bad water. It’s been kinda miserable but don’t worry, we’re ok now. We took “the bomb” which is a series of pills that cleans out all the parasites. But now we have to be careful because you can only take the bomb so often so if we get parasites again soon we’ll just have to deal with them.

(Bus Station in Quito)
I had to go to Quito on Wednesday because all the new elders had to go back for their censos and they couldn’t go without a senor companion so the zone leaders made me go with them. But then when we got there we found out that we couldn’t get their censos for a couple more weeks so basically the trip was a waste. But we got to go to the nurse and get “the bomb” and we got to eat pizza hut for lunch so I guess it wasn’t a complete waste

(Merry Christmas from Esmeraldas!)
A few days before Christmas we had a zone activity where we went and sang Christmas hymns in a big park in the middle of downtown Esmeraldas. We got some weird looks and not that many people came to watch us sing but it was still fun. Christmas isn’t a big deal here. Its almost just like a normal day. A lot of people just celebrate by getting drunk the night before and then sleeping all day. Oh and all the kids here got airsoft guns-ALL OF THEM! They’ve been running around having wars for the last couple days. One of them even decided it would be funny to shoot the tall white guy in the head…. Haha but no worries, it didn’t hurt because they don’t have very powerful guns.

I met a guy this week that offered me a full time job as an English teacher. He just saw me and started speaking English to me and telling me that he is in charge of the English department and some school and that they are looking for teachers. I had to tell him that I can’t do that because I’m a missionary but that we have English classes twice a week at the church. Oh and speaking of English. I met a lady in the mall today that is from Chicago but lives here because she married an Ecuadorian guy. She’s lived here since 1997 and has 2 little girls that speak English and Spanish.

Anyway, I hope all is going well back home. I sent a few letters this week. Thanks to everyone that has written me so far! If I haven’t written you back yet, write me again and demand me to write you back and I will eventually! I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. Happy New Year!

December 21, 2009

Posted on 7:42 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

I hope all is going well back in the states! This week has been good for me
On Tuesday I traveled to Quito to pick up my new companion. Luckily we didn’t get pulled over and searched this time. His name is elder Lopez. He’s from Colorado Springs but he was born in Puerto Rico and he speaks perfect Spanish. It’s been fun to have another American as a companion. And it’s really nice to be able to speak in English once and a while. We’ve been working hard and have 3 baptisms set up for this Saturday and we should have a few more next Saturday as well. We have a goal to get 12 baptisms this change. It will take a lot of hard work but I think we can do it.


This is the 3 trainers from Esmeraldas in Quito picking up our new companions. Elder lopez is the one on Brandon's right (the navy blue tie)

On Friday we went and painted a members house so they offered to feed us lunch. It was a bit of a culture shock when they came out with the soup and I noticed that it had 5 huge chicken feet in it. Even the Latin missionaries that were there were shocked when they saw that. It didn’t taste too bad the so that was good. It was basically just a bunch of fat.




I don’t have that much time left so I have to end now. Thanks for all your support! I’ll try and take more pictures to send this week!

December 14, 2009

Posted on 11:28 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone,
How are you all doing. This week has been good for me. We´ve been teaching a lot and we now have 11 investigators with baptismal dates. Statistics say that they won’t all get baptized but we´ll see what we can do about that. Its been amazing to see how much help we´ve gotten so far and I’m sure we´ll continue to receive the help we need as long as we put in the work. I´m excited to see what happens within the next few weeks.



Well I guess the biggest news this week is that we had changes yesterday and my companion left for another zone. I´m staying here in Esmeraldas and I was called to be a trainer. So I have to go to Quito tomorrow to pick up my new companion and bring him back here. It was a pretty big shock to here that I was going to be training after just 6 weeks. Especially since I still don’t speak Spanish very well. Hopefully my companion will be native again or else it will be pretty rough. Theres one other elder from my mtc district that got called as a trainer as well so at least i´m not alone. We´re definitely gonna be pushed to our limits in the next 6 weeks and we´re definitely gonna learn a lot! I´m still not sure which was more overwhelming, when I first got here, or when they told me I was gonna be a trainer. I´m just gonna work as hard as I can and put my trust in the Lord and i´m sure he´ll continue to help me. If theres one thing that i´ve learn so far since i´ve been here its how to really trust in the Lord.



So remember the picture that I sent of the me holding the chicken last week? well… I don’t really know how to say this softly… Elder larrea killed it this week. Apparently it stopped laying eggs so the family decided to just kill it and eat it…. And unfortunately we were there when it happened. They brought it out right as we were leaving and my companion decided that it was an opportunity for service so he volunteered to kill it for them. I´m not gonna tell you how he did it. It was pretty sad. It was one of the culture shocks of this week



So latelty there have been a lot of fires here. Like right next to where i´m at. I´m not sure how they start or if they are intentinal or what. Everyone else doesn´t even think twice about it so I guess its normal. But it makes the air quality horrible! Theres huge ashes everywhere. When we got back to our apartment one day our floor was covered in ashes because they had all come through the whole that we have in our wall above our door. I remember once in California there were fires and they wouldn´t let us go outside for lunch because the air was so bad. But here its practically like breathing smoke and everyone is just outside. Its pretty gross.



On Wednesday night we got done with our last appointment earlier so we decided to knock some doors until it was time to go home. On our last door of the night we ran into a guy that is tau (that’s super rare here) and he let us in and when we tried to teach him he just started preaching to us about how the universe is run off energy and how there are 7 demensions and we´re in the3rd dimension and how we have 7 bodies and how Christ ascended out of hell to come to this world. It was rather bizarre. Then he started telling us about how the sun receives its energy from a more glorious star and how that star gets its energy from a more glourious star and he started naming the stars. I was hopeing that he would say that one of them was named kolab but he never did. Anyways, it was just a bizarre experience.

Thanks for you support and your emails and letters! I love you guys!

December 7, 2009

Posted on 2:29 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Sorry! Its finals week, but here's his e-mail this week!

Hey everyone, I hope all is well at home. Let me tell you about this week in Ecuador.

On Monday night at midnight all the new guys and a few others that had to renew their visas got on a bus headed for Quito (its about a 7 hour drive from Esmeraldas to Quito). We were all really tired and fell asleep pretty quick. But at about one in the morning we were awaken when the bus came to a stop and some cops came on and told us all that we had to get off. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I just went with it. When I stepped off the bus I noticed that we were in the middle of nowhere and there were a bunch of cops with big assault rifles with there fingers on the triggers. I asked another missionary what was happening and he said they were checking for drugs since we were coming from near Columbia. Anyways, then they made us all line up against the bus and started going down the line checking everyone one by one-patting them down searching there bags and checking there IDs. That’s when I realized that I didn’t have any ID on me whatsoever. I asked one of the missionaries what I should do and he just said to tell them that I was going to Quito to get my censo and that I was a missionary. When they got to me they asked me for my ID and I said I didn’t have it and they started to get really mad. So then one of the other missionaries tried to them but that just made them madder. Then one of the Cops with the big assault rifles starts walking towards us (that was pretty scary) and started talking to the other cops. Anyway, long story short the guy with the gun ended up convincing the other ones that we were their friends and they let us go. It was pretty scary for a while though.

Quito was really cool though. I remember when we first landed there and got out of the airport and I thought it was the most ghetto place I had ever seen. But after being in Esmeraldas for a while and going back it seemed like one of the nicest places I had ever seen. All of us Esmeraldas guys were way excited to be there. We had donuts for breakfast and McDonalds and pizza hut for lunch. And we went to the mission office and I got 6 packages and a bunch of letters. I wish I could write everyone that sent me something to tell them thanks you but I don’t have the time. So can you please extend my thanks to everyone that has sent me something- both sets of grandparents, the Rowes, the Gromans, and there might be more that I cant remember right now. But anyway, Quito was way awesome. I definitely won’t complain if I ever get sent there. They have pretty much everything that we have in the states.

So other than my trip to Quito the rest of the week was normal. We have 10 investigators with baptismal dates for the 26th so were working hard to make sure we can prepare them all. Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and right after it started no one was getting up so I decided I would just break the ice and went up and bore my testimony first. Then it was good after that. One of our investigators got up and bore their testimony about how they’d been searching for the truth their whole life and finally found it and how they wanted to share it with all there friends and family. His name is Emiro. He really wants to get baptized but is trying to save up enough money to go to Columbia and divorce someone so that he can marry someone else that he’s living with now.

We went to the Christmas devotional last night but the satellite didn’t work so we didn’t get to watch it. I was bummed because I had been looking forward to it all week.

We found a huge rat in our apartment and my companion told me that it was big enough to eat our feet so hopefully that doesn’t happen. Haha

Anyways, I love you all. Thanks for your emails, letters, and packages!


p.s. Lindsey, can you tell everyone that has written me that I’m trying to right them back as fast as I can and I promise I will get back to them eventually! Oh and if you haven´t already, you can post my pictures on facebook or on my blog. Thanks! :D

November 30, 2009

Posted on 9:10 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

I finally got a whole e-mail from him today! I didn't have to piece anything together. I apologize for the lack of an update last week. It was a crazy week and I didn't get a whole e-mail from him so it wasn't really easy. But here's this week's e-mail. At the end I'll have some information about packages again, so read through to the end....

~Lindsey~

Hey everyone.
This week was pretty good. We were busy all week and taught a lot of lessons and did a huge service Project. On Tuesday I went on divisions with my district leader and that was really good. He’s American too. I was amazed at how much we got done. We were working hard all day and actually accomplished all our goals (that usually doesn’t happen). And we were in my sector so I had to lead and plan everything so it was really good practice and I felt like I learned a lot.


I found out this week that one of the girls were teaching is an escapee from terrorists in Columbia. Her and her family had to move to Ecuador because there was a group of terrorists trying to kill them. They were hiding in a mountain for a while in Columbia but decided it would be safer to move to Ecuador. But her sister didn’t want to move so she stayed there and is still living in hiding.


Baptism - 9 year old boy named Washington

We went to a meeting with the bishopric this week and they were talking about who they could call as a Ward misión leader to help us out. They started talking about one guy in particular but eventually decided no because he talks to fast that some people cant understand him (that was fun for me to hear because if native Spanish speakers cant understand him how in the world am I gonna understand him…. I hope there’s not many people that talk like that haha)

Baptism - Maria

Were teaching a 12 year old boy that reminds me a lot of Jason and I was talking to him about Jason and how he likes soccer and stuff. He is a Barcelona fan and asked me what team Jason like and I told him Barcelona and real Madrid and he said that you cant like both of those teams so I said I would ask which one he liked more. So Jason, what is your favorite team in Spain?


I found out this week that there used to be 5 stakes in Esmeraldas but something happened a couple years back and it all fell down into just 1. So I guess now were trying to build it all back up.
I spoke in church on Sunday. I talked about missionary work and how all of our friends and neighbors our really our brothers and sisters that accepted gods plan before coming to this earth and how we all have the

responsibility to teach them the góspel and the plan of salvation. I hope everyone understood everything I said. I think they did.


We had a service Project this week. We poured concrete in front of someone’s house and had to scrape a bunch of cement of there walls and said them down so that they can paint them. They made us lunch in exchange for our service.

this is the little boy that was at the service project. he liked to be help by the tall white people


A few days ago they opened a mall here in Esmeraldes. Its basically like a mini versión of park meadows (very mini). But it basically made my life to go there today. They have a food court with a kfc! All us gringos were more tan excited about that. It means that we can eat kfc once a week on pday. And it has a huge grocery store with almost everything that we wanted. I bought a bunch of goodies and some pancakes and syrup. I’ve been eating pancakes this week but they were some Ecuadorian brand and I had to make my syrup myself and it was pretty sketchy. But this week I have aunt jemima syrup and pancakes so I’m excited about that. And tomorrow ill be in Quito to take care of some visa stuff and the other Americans said that well be able to go to McDonalds there so I’m way excited about that. Haha I never thought id be excited to go to McDonalds again….


On Saturday night we got home and were trying to go to bed but there was a party going on the 1st floor of my apartment (we live on the 2nd floor right above the party). They had music BLASTING… like my bed was literally shaking. And they were all drunk and screaming super loud and they didn’t stop until 4 in the morning. And there was nothing we could do about it. I don’t know how I did it but I managed to at least get some sleep while all this was going on but my companion didn’t get any. So we were pretty tired when we woke up at 630 on Sunday. Apparently they don’t have any laws here about loudness because stuff like that happens every weekend. Usually its not right below us though.


We taught a guy this week that thought I was a spy at first (that’s not that uncommon here, some people think that any American that comes here is a spy). He almost wasn’t gonna listen to us but then I started teaching him about families and he ended up telling us that he felt good when we were teaching and was gonna listen to us more. Then after the lesson we started talking about soccer and I told him about how dad and I went to England and saw all those games and he was really interested and started asking me all these questions and told me that he used top play professional in Quito. Anyway, it was just cool because he thought I was a spy at first and then ended up warming up to me and allowing us to teach him more.


Right now we have 5 investigators with baptismal dates for December. Caterina, we originally challenged her to get baptized the last week in December but she wanted to do it sooner so we moved it up to the 3rd week. She still has to come to church 2 more times and get married or move away from the guy she’s living with. Maite, she’s 16 and her grandma is a member. She’s not sure if its all true yet but she has a date for the last week in December so were gonna keep teaching her and helping her gain a testimony. Nicole, she is 12 and wants to get baptized but so far her dad isn’t willing told et her so were gonna see what we can do about that. Fransisco and Isabel, they’re Chinese but there mother left them here 2 years ago and a lady in the Ward took them in. We don’t really have any problems with them though. We just have to teach them more and strengthen their testimonies. And we have a bunch of other investigators that are progressing really well so basically the work is going good. Were just trying to work hard and do as much as we can to support the Ward and our investigators.


I haven’t gotten any packages yet. I got 7 letters on Friday which made my day! Getting letters always makes my day. I just have to find time to write everyone back. If you send anymore packages can you stick some pictures in it so I can see how you all are doing. I just realized the other day that when I get back Jason and Desi will probably have grown like a foot each. Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for your letters and support!!!


-Elder Messer

So I told Brandon about a friend of mine that also poured ants out of his cereal one day on his mission in OGDEN, UT...and this picture was Brandon's response to me..."Steven may have had bug problems, but let me assure you, mine are different."


Ok...in the last week we have sent Brandon quite a few packages in hopes that they will get there for Christmas. It is quite expensive to send them through DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, etc - However, that would be the guaranteed way to get it there. We've sent them through the US postal service which will then go through to the local mail service in Ecuador to the mission home. We're not sure yet whether or not the mail system can be trusted and we're hoping that everything we sent him will actually get there...In order to get the green sticker that needs to go on the package it needs to be under 4.0 pounds. Anything above 4 pounds and the post office requires you to use a white one. So just so you're aware if you send him a package it needs to be under 4 pounds and it MUST carry a GREEN sticker not a white one. Thanks for all your prayers and support! Our family is very grateful to you!


~Lindsey~

November 16, 2009

Posted on 12:57 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

This week we got a couple different e-mails so I tried to piece them together as best I could - Sorry if some things seem out of order.

~Lindsey~


Hey dad, thanks for you emails. Thanks for all the advice. Things have been going better. Each day gets a little better but its still tough. my personal study in the mornings is saving me. I’ve been reading through first Nephi and it seems like everything in there applies to me right now. I’m sure with a lot of hard work and struggling I’ll be able to learn the language and stuff. its just frustrating right now because everyone keeps telling me that it takes months before you feel comfortable. but I’ll just keep working and praying and I’m sure everything will turn out alright. I think the physical stress of everything is the hardest part right now but I’m slowly getting used to it.

Thanks for all the advice about the apartment and living conditions. I’ll definitely have to try some of those. I was gonna buy a bunch of cleaning supplies and zip lock bags today but we didn’t have any money so I’ll have to wait for next week. we were supposed to get 90 bucks today but it didn’t come. I only have 10 bucks left because my companion used all his money so I’ve been loaning him money for like a week. (another north American told me that Latin’s do that a lot and if I’m lucky he’ll pay me back. but I’m gonna make sure he pays me back. I still have 60 dollars of my own but I didn’t have it with me when we took the bus to the store because we’re not supposed to have a lot of money in case we get robbed and because I was expecting to withdraw money when we got the downtown area. And yea I’ve mastered the shower technique so don’t worry about sending that solar thing I’ll just tough out the cold water for now. Maybe ill get transferred to Quito soon where they have hot water. who knows. Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll probably stay here for like 7ish months.
And don’t worry about sounding like a preaching dad because that’s what I need right now, good fatherly advice. I’ve been trying to just do my best to testify powerfully. its hard sometimes because elder larrea really focuses on being friendly because that’s the Latin culture. He’s almost more interested in being friends and having fun with people than preaching the gospel. But I’ve been trying to keep him focused a bit. Its kinda tough but I’ll keep working on it.
We were supposed to have zone conference tomorrow and Wednesday but president Sloan is in the hospital with pneumonia so he’s not coming. But tomorrow we’re going on splits with the APs so I’m sure they’ll help out.
Anyway, thanks for all the advice and love! You’re an awesome dad and you’re always there for me! I love you!

We had the baptism on Friday and it was good. The girl that got baptized is named Maira and she’s 22. she had been investigating the church for 6 months before I got here she already knew almost everything and I didn’t have to help much with teaching her. the guy that was supposed to be baptized last week still wants to. The thing here is that no one takes schedules seriously so he said he would be baptized but then he had to go to school that day so he couldn’t make it. we’re trying to work out another time for him to get baptized though

I’m in a super ghetto part of Esmeraldes. Its just west of the river. One of the elders I know is serving right next to the river and he has to take a 3 hours canoe ride once in a while to get to one part of his area haha. But yea, I haven’t seen any nice places yet. Some places are nicer than others but everything I’ve seen is pretty poor. The ward I’m in is called Propicia. I don’t know if you can look that up or something.

I’ll let you know when i get the packages! Thanks for sending them! Also, you can send packages through dearelder.com that might be cheaper. I’m not sure. But I definitely know that they get here faster. i think you can just send food and goodies in those though.

Everyone here will listen and a lot of people will just be baptized. The problem is that the retention rate is really low! a lot of times people are baptized but the culture is so lazy here that they just go inactive in like a week. Even some of the ´´active members´´ only come like every other week. We had like 50 people in church yesterday and that was considered a lot. I had to bless the sacrament and lead the music. I would have had to play the piano but they don’t have one right now.

If you send packages make sure and put a green sticker on it and follow the instructions that we got from president Sloan. if you transfer money to my account put it in checking’s. They don’t have much familiar food here. Oreos, Doritos, cereal. Not much. You can send food through dearelder.com and it might be cheaper but I’m not sure. Just keep emailing me and I’ll start printing them in the morning and then emailing you back later after I’ve read them. I have a calling card but I’m not sure how it will work yet. I’ll let you know when I find out.Anyways, right now any type of American food/candy/treats would be good. Thank you so much for you support! I love you!

Mom thanks for your email. It always makes my day to hear from you. it seams like all the new guys are having a hard time right now so that makes me feel a bit better to know that this is normal. I’ve been trying to just push through it and do what I know I need to even when it’s hard. And its definitely helped a lot! Every morning I wake up sick and run straight to the bathroom but that’s been getting better and better day by day. I just force myself to study and to go to work and that always helps. Its funny that you should mention that picture about Christ hugging a black child because most of the people here are black. In fact I’m scheduled to baptism a little 9 year old black boy next Friday. His mom is a semi inactive member/recent convert so we’ve been teaching him and he decided to be baptized this week. Every time we teach him it’s in his tiny backyard sitting on stumps with chickens, ducks, birds, and dogs running around everywhere. Its always fun to go teach him. we’re also teaching a little 12 year old boy and he wants to get baptized but his dad wont let him so we’re working on that. In the mean time we’ve just been taking him to church and I’ve been helping him with his English homework.And the advice about music is really good. I started listening to my efy music every morning and it really helps a lot. So if you send more music i would love it!And I loved how you compared my situation to Nephi’s family because that’s what I’ve been reading during my personal study and it’s really helped me a lot. Anyway, thank you for you support and love and advice! I love you!

Random things about this week:
some kid told me i was Wayne Rooney’s brother
my companion has started making a blow torch with his deodorant and matches to kill the bugs.
Happy birthday Jason! sorry I’m a little late! I’ll bring you a birthday present in 2 years!
at least once a day the lights go out and when it happens at night we have to hurry and get to a safe area so we don’t get robbed or hurt
The lights went out during a baptism on Saturday so we had to use candles. it was cool and I thought it made it prettier
Yesterday we taught a family of 11 that lives in a small shack that is about half the size of my room at home. they kept telling be to speak English and one of the girls gave me one of her rings (haha not sure what that means)
Everyone here listens to American music so i always hear familiar songs when I’m walking down the street. And everyone’s stereo is worth more than there house. their priorities are a littler messed up haha

Letter From Mission President

Posted on 12:54 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments



MISIÓN QUITO ECUADOR
Robles 640 y Amazonas
Casilla 17-03-078
Quito, Ecuador

6 November 2009

Dear Brother and Sister Messer,

Sister Sloan and I are pleased to tell you that your son has arrived safely and has begun his missionary labors. We spent some time becoming acquainted with him and want to compliment you on raising a worthy missionary. We also thank you for your willingness to sacrifice so that he can serve the Lord during this time in his life. Rest assured that we will treat him as we would our own sons.

You may be wondering how you can best support your missionary while he serves. We suggest that you write a letter at least weekly. Express your love for him. Tell him about the positive things that are happening at home. Encourage him to work hard and to be obedient. Ask him to devote all of his time and attention to his mission.

Prayer is a powerful means of support. Please pray for your missionary every day, for his success as a teacher, for his protection, for his health and well-being. Ask Heavenly Father to help him live worthily so he can find, teach and baptize Heavenly Father’s children.

Participate in your son’s mission by looking for your own missionary experiences. Pray that you will be able to find friends, relatives and acquaintances with whom to share the gospel. Invite your own local missionaries to teach them in your home. Share your missionary experiences with your son in your weekly letters. You will strengthen eternal family bonds as you engage in Heavenly Father´s work.

Again, thank you for sharing your son with us. Together, let us make this experience one that will bless and strengthen him and your family for the rest of your lives.

Sincerely,
Presidente Timothy Q. Sloan
Misión Ecuador Quito

Elder Messer's Address

Posted on 2:06 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hi Everyone! So here's his address for now. The postal system in Ecuador, I'm guessing is pretty sketchy, so it would probably be best if you sent letters through dearelder.com or the pouch system - dearelder.com goes through the pouch system, so its free and you don't have to worry about all the details or paying for a stamp . However, if you would like to hand write a letter to him through the pouch system you can only use one sheet of paper and write on only one side. You have to fold the sheet in 3rds (as if you were going to put it in an envelop) and put one piece of tape on it to hold it shut, then write his address on it and put a stamp on it like you would a normal letter. They don't allow envelopes to be sent through - if you put it in an envelop, they will send it back to you. Here's the address.

Elder Brandon Messer
Ecuador Quito Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150
USA

If you want to send packages or send normal letters with pictures and suff in it in a normal envelope here's the address you can send those to. And Packages sent from the U.S. to Ecuaodr may not exceed 4.4 pounds and must carry a green sticker, even if the post office workers suggest you use a white one.

Elder Brandon Messer
Misión Quito Ecuador
Casilla 17-03-078
Robles 640 y Amazonas
Quito, Ecuador

Note on this address - I have looked it on up on several different websites and each one gives me a different order than the one here, but this one was the most common and I believe as long as its all on there, it will get to him. When he sends an updated one I'll post it.

Please write him! and please PRAY for him! As you can see from his letter below, conditions are less than ideal. It would cheer him up to hear from friends and family and prayers ALWAYS help!

Thanks all!

~Lindsey~

November 9, 2009

Posted on 2:00 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone!!!!

How are you all doing? good i hope! This first week in ecuador has been crazy!!! its sooo different here! I never imagined it would be like this. My first area is on the coast in a city called esmareldes. Its super hot here all the time! like around 90 everyday. let me tell you about my living conditions. mom, if you thought the budget inn was bad you would die if you saw where I live. Its horrible!!! Its super dirty and gross! the windows are basically just holes in the wall so bugs fly in and crawl in all over the place. we have to sleep with bug nets so we dont get bitten. but at least we have lizards too to eat the bugs. no joke! my house is basically a small jungle! haha. I went to pour some cereal this morning and it was full of dead ants. i tried to keep it in the refrigerater to keep bugs away but aparently the bugs are in the refrigerater as well. The bathroom is pretty gross as well. get this, in ecuador they dont flush the tiolet paper, they just throw it in the trashcan. and since theres not a solid wall between the bathroom and the rest of the house it makes the whole place smell really bad. the only plus about the bathroom is that I never have to wait for the shower water to get hot becuase theres no such thing as heated water here. so basically i take a freezing shower every morning. But I definitely have no room to complain because compared to everyone else I live like a king. Most the ppl we teach dont have furniture so we always end up sitting on plastic stools or chairs. and a lot of ppl dont even have showers. one lady we taught only had 3 walls on here house. and we visited one family that lives in a wooden shack that is less than a quarter the size of my room back home. Theres wooden shacks and huts everywhere and almost everywhere we go we walk on little dirt roads. a few people have cement walls and some couches and maybe a table or something and we taught one family that had a computer but most of the people have nothing.I never imagined it being this different! These people need the gospel soo bad!!!!! Finding people to teach is never a problem. almost everyone will let us teach them. its not like the states where missionaries spend all their time looking for investigators. All we do is teach. My companion is a native from Peru. his name is elder larrea. He doesn´t speak any English but i can understand him pretty well. Its super hard to understand everyone else though. They talk super fast here and drop a lot of letters from their words so its super hard to tell what people are saying. The only time I ever understand is when we´re talking about gospel things. I can ussually catch the main idea in other things but I miss a lot of details so I´m confused a lot.

Anyways, these first few days have been pretty rough. Its been hard to adjust to everything and its frustrating to go all day barely understanding anything. I wake up everyday depressed and have to force myself to go to work. It ussually gets better once we leave the apartment and go to work. please pray for me as much as you can! I need all the help I can get! This is definitely the hardest thing i´ve ever done!!! Hopefully i get used to it soon and ill pick up the launguage quick. Once that happens i´ll love it for sure!

now i´m going to write in bullet points so I don't have to organize my thoughts.
-Driving here is crazy! pedestrians don't have a right of way ever so cars never slow down for people. A lot of times we´ll just cross a street and barely miss getting hit by a car or bus going 70 mph. but thats normal and every is just used to it so its no big deal. they dont have speed limits here either. theres police but they dont do anything. my companion told me that the police like to drive around looking fro pretty girls and then give them rides on thier motorbikes! haha

-we walked by an orthodantists office the other day and the othadontist was just sitting in his office without a shirt

-a lot of people here claim that they have dreams/visions here or claim that they´ve seen spirits before and apparently thats normal.
-we were suppose to have a baptism on friday and I was going to baptise the guy but he didn´t show up (for the second time). we have another baptism this friday and i´m pretty sure this girl will show up.

-The ward i´m in is tiny! there were around 30 to 40 people their on sunday. We met with the stake president afterwards and he said that we need to try and build it so it doesn´t get demoted to a branch. he said that president sloan said that he was going to send 2 of his best missionaries there becuase it was struggling so much. which makes no sense becuase we are definitely not the best missionaries. i´m new and cant speak the launguage yet and my companion has only been here for like 4 months. And apparently this is one of the hardest areas to be in.

-the food here is way different! they only eat like 1 meal a day for lunch and its always massive amounts of rice with beans or meat and soup. the soup is like chicken broth with potatoes and a chunck of meat thrown in. I sware they just cook the chicken whole, chop it into huge peice and throw it in the soup.. bones and all! Ita ussually not to bad though and I can ussually eat it. But i think i've already lost wieght since we only eat once a day. i dont know how they do it! My companion never eats breakfest or dinner and he never drinks anything all day except for like one cup of juice at lunch. i drink water all day becuase its so hot and i try and eat something for breakfest and dinner. but sometimes i dont have time to eat breakfest or dinner

-being on time here doesn´t matter at all. you can be an hour late and its no big deal. people are really laid back and don´t have schedules. a lot of people just sit at home all day and do nothing

-pretty much the only thing that is keeping me sane right now is when i get to see people from my mtc district. luckily there are 4 of us here in the same zone and we get to see each other once and a while. we´re all struggling right now trying to adjust to everything

-as far as my address goes, i dont have it with me right now but i posted it on my blog before i left so check that. or if people want to send letters it might be easier just to do it on dearelder.com or to use the pouch servive. ask lindsey about that if you dont know how to use that.

anyways, I love you guys so much and pray for you everynight!! please email me back and tell me how your all doing! pray for me!

i think i made it sounds worse than it really is so try not to worry to much! i´m sure i´ll get used to it soon. if you ever send me packages make sure you follow the directions in the letter that president sloan sent. if you dont have that letter look on my blog.
www.misionecuadorquito.blogspot.com note from Lindsey - This is all in Spanish
thats the mission blog. check it out if you have time. i haven´t looked at it yet.

i´ll send pictures as soon as i can. i´ve only taken a couple so far.

I love you Dad, Mom, Lindsey, Jason, Desi!

Cuidese (take care)!

November 2, 2009

Posted on 2:08 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey family!I arrived in quito last night and suffice it to say i'm definitely not in the U.S. anymore. And its awesome! I hardly understand anything anyone says but all is well. i'll catch on. I dont know my first area yet but should find out soon. President and sister sloan and super nice! I love them!

anyway, i'll update you more in my next email about ecuador and all that stuff but I just wanted to let you all know that i'm here safe and sound.
I love you all!

-Elder Brandon Messer

October 30, 2009

Posted on 11:33 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone! How have you all been?! i hope you've all been good! Thanks for the letters and packages this week! It always makes my day to hear from you all! I sent a package to you today with a cd of all my pictures and my old planer so i can always remember my time in the mtc. Mom, no i don't have nancys address so you can't send her anything. all i know is that she lives in pomona california

I'm gonna to call that number that dad gave me at 4pm miami time 2pm your time so be ready! and dad, no worries if that doesn't work or something. i bought a calling card so if that number doesn't work i'll just call you with that! In case you want to keep track of my flights i'm flying on american airlines on flights 416, 1208, and 967. I think you can use those to make sure my planes are on time or something, if you want.

so those mormon messages that i sent you were from me and they didn't have any viruses. on lds.org they have an app where you can send those videos to people. so on wednesday when I was waiting for some new missionaries to finish their gym orientation i was watching some mormon messages and thought about you all and decided to send some to you.

So I heard you guys had some crazy weather lately! Hopefully it doesn't end up over utah and interfere with my travels!haha. It snowed here a tiny bit yesterday and today but none of it stuck and it was only for like an hour. I'm glad i'm getting out of here right before winter though!

So this week was good. On monday tanner left so that was kinda sad but it was really cool at the same time. He's somewhere in el salvador right now speaking spanish and preaching the gospel. oh and this week I saw grant and tyson so that was pretty coolon tuesday Elder L. Tom Perry came and talked to us. It was cool to get to see another apostle before I left.We got new missionaries on wednesday in our zone so elder noe and I got to go help them out on wednesday and thursday and it went well. They all seemed like they were excited to be here.other than that we've just been studying a lot trying to get ready to hit the field running. I'm way excited to get to ecuador! I'm kinda nervous about the launguage barrier and all that jazz but i'm more excited than nervous so all is well. we talked to a guy from quito yesterday and he wouldn't stop bragging about what an awesome place it is! he said the missionaries there a spoiled and live better than the missionaries in the provo mission (thats where he served).

I"m excited to meet my mission president and find out what my first area will be! I'm excited to meet my companion as well. i'm curious to know weather i'll have a native companion or a gringo companion. I think either one would be cool but i'll be honest i'm kinda hoping for a native just because I think it would halp me pick up the launguage faster. But whoever it is will be great i'm sure. Its gonna be an adventure no matter what happens, thats for sure!!!I think they'll let me email you when I get there just so you know i arrived safely. but anyways, I dont have much more to say other than I love you all and hope all is going well! You can start replying via email now since letters and dearelder would take to long. plus i have an hour to email when i get to ecuador. anyways, I love you and i'll talk to you on monday!

October 23, 2009

Posted on 12:29 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone!Thank you for your letters and packages this week! It always makes my day to hear from you guys! Congratulations on your new calling mom! Your gonna be awesome! Hows everything else going back home? Whats the weather been like? Its been getting colder here but it hasn't snowed yet so thats a plus. Mom, The lady in the trc just wasn't the nicest person last week. I think she was having a bad day or something. I'm not sure. But she turned out to be nice in the end so that its all good. And yes your definitely right about learning the laungauge. We can only learn so much here. I'm sure when we get to ecuador our pace of learning will start to pick up a little. We just finished our last grammer principle yesterday so hypothetically we know everything. We just have to put it all to use and remember every single grammer rule on the fly and learn a bunch more vocab. I'm not really sure on ideas for christmas... I'll have to think about it and get back to you. I liked the ideas you had though about ctr rings in spanish and book markers. I think pictures would be a good idea to. speaking of pictures, i'm gonna burn a cd this week and send it to you. I haven't taken that many pictures but theres quite a few. I'm not sure about that water filter thing either. It sounds way cool but i'll have to ask when i get down there and see. They gave us instructions about how to purify water and they looked kinda sketchy. Like we have to boil it and then put bleach in it. and some other wierd stuff. i'm sure i'll find out more when i get there though. and yea i've gotten stuff from all the grandparents and i'm all loaded up! You all know how to take care of me! :)I dont have my ecuadorian address right now but i think its posted on my blog. if not i'll give it to you next week or when I get there.

We got our travel plans today. It was pretty exciting. We leave monday morning (nov 2). We fly out of salt lake at 6 am land in dallas at 9:35 am then leave for miami at 11:25 am. We arrive in miami at 3:10 pm and then we leave for quito at 6 pm and arrive at 9:55 pm. so I can call you either from salt lake, dallas, or miami depending on what time is best for you all. please let me know this week and i'll finalize it with you in my email next week.

anyways, this week has been pretty good for me i guess. last saturday night some elders in our zone tried to have a sleepover with like 14 guys in the same room (they're only suppose to fit 4) so elder noe and I had to break it up. Some of them were kinda mad at us at first. we told our branch president about how we felt like some of them were a bit mad at us and he just smiled, and said "welcome to leadership". haha it was kinda funny. then he told us that sometimes we just have to lay down the law no matter how much ppl dont like it. Mom and Dad I'm sure you know all about that as parents.On sunday we had to teach preisthood meeting because the branch presidency had another meeting to go to. We taught it on personal revelation. We taught for an hour and it went pretty well considering we only had an hour to prepare for it. i'm getting used to just teaching on the fly with no preparation. I guess thats a good skill to develop as a missionary. Its something that I never would have though i could do before my mission but now its just like normal.

On monday we got to leave the MTC! It was pretty much the most exciting thing thats happened since i've been here haha. An elder in our district had to go to physical therapy so elder noe and I had to go with him. Everyone saw us and started talking to us. it was kinda cool. We talked to one guy that served his mission in canada when president monson was the mission president. He told us all about it.

On wednesday we went to the RC. I made some outbound calls in spanish and was able to send a couple church DVDs to some people in puerto rico. I also got an inbound call from a lady named nancy. She asked if I could pray for her because her and her 3 kids had been homeless for a while. She asked if we had a service that could give them some food and I gave her some phone number from lds.org. Then I told her about God's love for her and talked to her about her family. Long story short I sent the missionaries to her and she is excited to hear the message they have for her. I hope it all works out for her! Can you all pray for her?I did sealings in the temple today and it was awesome! There are very few times in my life that i've felt the spirit that strong!anyways, i'm out of time but I love you guys! have a good week! and let me know when is the best time for me to call next monday

!Espero que ustedes tengan una semana fantastica!

October 16, 2009

Posted on 4:39 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone!Thanks for your letters and packages this week! Thats for the jerky mom! I have a few packs now so i should be good until I leave. If you send something this week could you send some type of healthy snack food. maybe like wheat thins or something.The swine flu is gon from my floor so i'm not at any big risk anymore. But i'll keep taking precautions like you said mom! Thanks for all the info about it and all the herbs and stuff.

Jason, I have an assignment for you. fing the aug. ensign and read the article starting on page 46. its about WOW haha

Dad you seriously worked 174 hours in the last 2 weeks?!?! Thats ridiculous! Thats pretty much working all day everyday with just enough free time to sleep! Hopefully your proposal will go good and you'll be back to normal hours soon!

My flight plans should come in about a week from today. either on thursday or friday, Hopefully. They might let me call you when i get them but i'm not sure. I'm not sure when i'll be able to call your from the airport either. I dont think it matters. I might even be able to call you from salt lake and from wherever else we stop at. I'm not sure though so i'll let you know when i find out. as far as the length of the call, I think i'll be able to talk for at least like 30 minutes. But once again i'm not sure so i'll have to let you know when I find out for sure. I"m way excited to talk to you guys though! I miss you all! and mom, I miss your cooking a lot. The food here is getting so old. I can only take cafeteria food for so long.

Dad, yea spanish is different wherever you go and it will definitely be difficult to understand and talk when i first get there. I've talked to a few people that have been to quito and they said that everyone in quito speaks really slow and pronounces everything very clearly so thats a good sign! Apperently in the jungles and by the coast they speak super fast though. But I'll probably be lost wherever I end up serving when I first get there.

This week we did calls in the RC in spanish. It was pretty scary. I would introduce myself and then they would say something back to me and I would only understand parts of it. I think its harder to talk over the phone because you can see body language or anything. We're going back this week to practice some more.

Oh and i'll be gone before bernie gets here. New missionaries come in on wednesday and old ones always leave on monday or tuesday.This week was pretty good for me. we went to the trc on monday and taught lesson one in spanish. The lady we taught was kinda mean at first and we weren't sure how it would end up going. We just went in and did our best to teach with the spirit. Then when the lesson was almost over she just opened up to us and told us her whole life story about how she used to live in california and drink and spoke but then the missionaries taught her and changed her life. Then she said that she had never felt the spirit so strong as when we were teaching. It was cool becuase I actually got to make a difference in someones life and help them feel the spirit and make there day better. I can't wait to get to ecuador and do that all day every day.

On wednesday we got to host new missionaries. We had to stand out on the curb and help them with there luggage and take them up to there room and then to there class. When they were teaching us how to host they made sure to emphasize that we needed to be really kind and friendly to the parents when they were getting dropped off so that they felt good about letting go of their son. A couple times I had to stand there and watch whole families cry for 10 minutes. It was pretty sad. I almost shed a tear at one point. This whole missionary drop off is brutal. Its just like pull up to the curb, get out and say goodbye, and get back in the car and drive away. It was definitely better that we just said goodbye at the airport.We got a new district in our zone on wednesday. They're going to texas, denver, and paraguay. Elder noe and I got to talk with them and take them on a tour. It was basically the same thing we did last week. one of our districts is leaving on monday so we might get another new district on wednesday but i'm not sure yet. I think Grant is coming in on wednes day so maybe he'll be in my zone. that would be cool.

Hey mom, can you send me everyones shirt size? I want to buy you all some ecuador shirts that you can wear and when people ask you about them you can tell them about me and it will be a missionary opportunity.
Thats so cool that jason gets to go to sea camp and desi gets to go to washington dc. Make sure and tell me all about those trips!
anyways, my time is almost up so i have to rap it up. I love you guys! Dad, mom, lindsey, jason, desi, and jojo. Write me and tell me about your lifes!

-Elder Brandon Messer

October 9, 2009

Posted on 1:35 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone! I hope You're all doing awesome! Thanks for the packeges mom and thanks for the watch. Its perfect! Your pretty much the perfect missionary Mom! This week has been pretty good.
Conference last weekend was awesome! We watched every session and loved every minute of it. My favorite talks were Elder Hollands talk about the Book of Mormon and I think it was Elder Hales who talked about how God's love doesn't supercede his laws. What were your favorites? Everytime they talked about families I thought about you guys and how much I miss you all. And during priesthood I thought a lot about Dad and Jason and how Dad and I used to go to priesthood together and go out to Dinner after.
On sunday night we had a fireside all about music because apparently they played a lot more music this conference than they have before. The mission presidency sang to us and they had a bunch of missionaries say their favorite songs and why they liked that song and then we sang a verse of it. It was a pretty cool fireside and it was nice to get to sing instead of just sit and listen like we had been doing all weekend. The guy playing the organ was sooooo good!He would always just add in extra notes and just like change keys in the middle of the song.
On monday we went to the TRC and taught lesson 1 in spanish. It went suprisingly well. We struggled over saying some stuff but all and all we were able to get the message across. I can't believe i'm gonna be doing that for real in a few weeks. I'm so excited to get to Ecuador! It feels like I've been in the mtc forever! It's kinda starting to feel like a prison now since we can't ever leave. I get excited when I get to go across the street to play volleyball or go to the temple. we get excited when we see cars or when we see someone walking a dog. Its kind sad haha.
Devotional on Tuesday was pretty good. We had some guy that used to be a member of one of the quorums of the 70. I heard him speak once at BYU and he gave the same talk again so it was really familiar to me. He told a story about a guy he met in south africa that owned a multi-billion dollar diamond bussiness but sold it to move to Utah when he read the Book of Mormon and heard about the Gospel. He was actually at the meeting so we got to listen to him tell his conversion story. Its amazing how much the Gospel can change someones life!
On wednesday we got a new district in our Zone. There are 12 elders in the zone: 9 going to el salvador san salvador east (the same mission as tanner), 2 going to guatemala, and 1 going to costa rica. Elder Noe and I got to talk to them for a bit and then take them to their rooms and help them get setteled in. Then on Thursday we got to teach them for an hour about planning, using time wisely, and having strong companionships. Then we took them on a tour of the Mtc and explained all the rules to them and all that good stuff. They all seam happy and excited to be here.
So basically the MTC has swine flu again. I don't think there are that many cases but there have been 2 on our floor right down the hall from me. Both of the Elders were Quarentined so hopefully it wont spread. It seems like everyone is getting sick though. One Elder in our district has the regular flu (I just took him to the doctor to confirm that it wasn't swine flu) and a bunch of other elders have colds, including me. I've pretty much been sick all week but it's nothing too bad so don't worry. I've been taking all the medicine and stuff that mom gave me before i left and it seems to be helping. I showed everyone "the spice of live" and they all thought it was super wierd. But then they took it and it helped them so they're believers now haha.
I can't believe I only have 3 weeks left in the MTC. That means we'll probably get our travel plans in about a week and a half-ish. When I get them I'll let you guys know. I'm allowed to call home while i'm in the airport so you guys have to make sure and be home or answer your cell phones when I call. We'll figure something out.
Anyways, I love you guys! Keep writing me and telling me about your lives! Thanks for your letter mom telling me about the disasters in Indonesia and somoa. It was cool to hear about that because we don't get any news from the outside world.
Espero que hay angeles en sus vidas!

October 2, 2009

Posted on 10:10 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey Family!

How are you all?!?!? Thank you for the package Mom!!! I loved it! and thanks for the letters everyone!!!!

This week has been pretty busy for me. On Sunday Elder Noe and I got called as zone leaders so now we have a bunch of meetings that we have to go to every week. Our branch president told us that our biggest responsibility as Zone leaders is to love everyone and be a good example to them. Other than that we have to plan church on Sunday, Meet with new missionaries in our zone and talk to them about a bunch of stuff and give them a tour, Direct Zone activities, interview all the District leaders once a week to make sure everyone is doing ok, and meet with the branch president every week and give him a report. And a bunch of other things that I can't remember right now. basically we just have to make sure everything goes smoothly and make sure there are no major problems in the zone. Right now we have about 40 elders in our zone going to Ecuador, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Chile, and all over the United states. And we're getting a new district on Wednesday so that should be fun!

On Monday we went to the TRC and taught the plan of salvation. Luckily this time they let us do it in English. It went really well! The spirit was way strong! This week we have to teach lesson one in Spanish so that should be fun. I can't wait to get to Ecuador and actually do it for real!!!!!!

On Tuesday we had an elder in our zone decide to go home. It was really sad and his whole district was crying. Elder Noe and I went over to there building and talked to them about it. We shared a scripture and said a prayer with them. It was really hard for them because they loved the elder so much and didn't want to see him go

On Wednesday we went To the referral center and I talked with a guy named Julio. He was from Brazil and was really interested in the church. He was asking about eternal families and told me that he is married and has 6 kids. He didn't speak very good English and asked if I could speak Portuguese. I told him I could speak a little Spanish but no Portuguese. I didn't know any Spanish though so we just kept talking in English. He seemed like he was really interested in the Church and was really looking for the truth. I had to leave so I transfered him to someone else before we finished but I hope he decides to meet with the missionaries and learn more!

So all this week we've been speaking Spanish all the time. All of our classes are just in Spanish now. Its kinda hard sometimes but I understand almost all of what our teachers say. They even started teaching us spanish in spanish which doesn't really make sense to me but whatever haha. I'm sure it will be really hard when we get to Ecuador so this is probably good practice. We talked to someone that went to Ecuador on his mission and he said they speak really slow in the mountains and really fast in the jungles and by the coasts. So I hope my first area will be in the mountains.

I went to a meeting this week and got to shake hands with someone that had shook hands with someone that had shook hands with Joseph Smith. So basically I'm 3 hand shakes away from Joseph smith haha.

Anyways, Do you know who the knew bishop is yet?
Jason and Desi- How is school going?
Lindsey- I love your letters! please keep them coming!
Mom- It sounds like you've been staying busy! How are Lucifer, Rasputin, and Obama doing? and How is JoJo doing?
Dad- How is work and scouts and all that good stuff?

I love you guys!!!

-Elder Brandon Messer

September 25, 2009

Posted on 5:29 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone! first off, Thanks for the package with the pictures and candy mom!!!! That was awesome!!!! I love getting any type of mail or packages or whatever. as far as what kind of stuff I want.... well snacks would be good... like as close to real food as you can get. I don't need candy or anything like that. oh and could you send my a cheap watch? mine broke. possibly the one you gave me for Christmas a while ago if you can find it on my desk and figure out how to set it. And yes mom I got the copy of my blessing! thank you for sending that!!!!!!!!!!
Whats this I hear about getting a new bishop? thats kinda sad. Bishop Lindsey was one of my favorites! He was un hombre de dios (a man of god). you'll have to write me and tell me who the new bishop is when you find out!

So this week has been pretty good! Elder Noe and I had an interesting experience at the TRC on Monday. We were supposed to go do this whole situation where we pick someone up for church and get to know them in Spanish on the way to church. after we did that we were supposed to go back and teach them the plan of salvation in english. But when Elder Noe and I went back to teach our investigator he wouldn't let us speak english. He was an RM and spoke perfect english so I don't know why he wouldn't let us speak english. it was kinda weird. But anyway, We ended up just teaching for 45 minutes in spanish. It was pretty sketchy but we made it through ok. I was suprised at how much spanish we already knew. I'm sure we made a lot of mistakes but it was cool that we were able to get the point of the lesson across. We're not even suposed to start teaching in spanish until week 5 and that was our 3rd weeks so we got a jump start i guess. Hopefully this monday we'll get to teach someone that will let us speak english.

After this monday everything switches to spanish though. Like our teachers will start only talking to us in spanish and we have to answer in spanish and all that jazz. I can't believe that next week i'll be half way done with the mtc. its kinda crazy.

On a lighter note, I saw Betsy last Sunday. She was helping out in the referral center and I saw her leaving just as I was walking back from the temple. I yelled at her and said hi and stopped and talked with her for a bit. it was kinda cool to see someone I knew.

And on an even lighter note, When BYU has football games its pretty much the biggest distraction ever for missionaries because we can hear all the noise from the stadium. They were playing on Saturday and we saw some elders standing by the fence just listening to the game. And then a little kid on a bike pulled up and told them the score. apparently they recruited this kid and were paying him to ride back and forth and get the score of the game for them. I thought it was kinda funny.

Mom, An elder in my district got a letter from his mom this week asking "is there an elder Messer in your district because his mom just joined the missionary mom website" or something like that. haha
anyway, I hope you guys are doing awesome! your in my prayers everyday! I love you all!

September 18, 2009

Posted on 5:47 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hola familia! Como estan! espero que todo estan muy bien!!!
Mom gracias para los cinnamon rolls!!!! fueron muy delicioso!!!

This week was pretty good!!! last weekend I was feeling really frustrated because I have so much to do and not enough time to do it. I've been finding out that missionary work is really hard. Its non-stop work all day. I think its probably the hardest thing I've ever done. last weekend i was feeling like i wasn't learning Spanish fast enough and like i wasn't learning all the lessons fast enough and like i wasn't teaching good enough and it was really frustrating and i was wishing that it wasn't so hard. Then on Tuesday we had a devotional and there were rumors going around that it was going to be an apostle so we went like 2 hours early and got really good seats. It ended up being elder Holland and his talk was exactly what I needed. He started explaining how missionary work is always hard and there is never an easy mission. He said it has to be like that because salvation has never been easy. When Jesus Christ performed the atonement that was in no way easy and as missionaries we are his disciples so it shouldn't be easy for us. Elder Holland said that everyone on their mission has to go through there own Gethsemane and carry their own cross to calvary, otherwise how can we say that we are really disciples of Christ? It made me think about how hard salvation really is and i started to consider how hard it was for the savior to do what he did. then elder Holland said that when we go through our own gethsemani and carry our own crosses it gives us a small taste of what it was like for Jesus and helps us grow closer to him. Anyway, the talk was really good and it helped me a lot!

On Monday elder noe and I went to the TRC and had to make contacts in Spanish and teach the first lesson again. we ended up teaching to this old Latino man named Napolean. but long story short, he ended up teaching us the lesson. he was supposed to be an investigator but when we started talking about prophets he just went off and started bearing his testimony to us about how he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet. and it was like that the whole lesson. we would teach for like 30 seconds and then he would bear his testimony to us for like 5 minutes. He was a cute old man that was really excited about the gospel but he didn't really let us teach that much haha.
We went back to the referral center this week but instead of making calls we did online chats. it was interesting because some people would come on with real interest and we would kinda teach them but some people would come on just to insult some of our most sacred practices (temples and other stuff like that) and try and talk about really deep doctrine with us and try and prove us wrong. when people do that we just have to either steer the conversation the other way or if they're really bad we just don't talk to them at all. I did a few calls too and I talked to one guy that said he was having struggles in his life so i testified to him of how the gospel could help him and he agreed to let me send missionaries to teach him. I hope it all works out for him!!!!

I can't wait to actually go to Ecuador and start doing real missionary work all the time!
Can you guys send me some pictures of the family and jojo and stuff? I don't have any and I want to use them to 1) show to people when I teach about families and 2)hang in my room so I can remember you guys!
mom- if you want to send me any packages I would love them but you definitely don't have to! The cinnoman rolls were really good! thanks again!

I Love you all! Dad, Mom, Lindsey, Jason, Desi, and of course jojo!

September 11, 2009

Posted on 11:20 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey!Mom, Happy birthday!!! I hope all your birthday wishes came true!!!
thanks for the letters dad and desi!

ok let me try and answer all your questions real quick:

i ussually just feed the mice about every other day but i dont think it really matters much if you feed them everyday. just as long as they have enough water and dont go too long without food.I saw tanner today just as he was coming out of the temple and i was going in. It was way cool! we talked for a bit and i wrote him a letter so he's gonna write me back and we'll have to talk mostly through letters. I haven't seen boyd johnson yet. idk if i will. we'll see. i saw andrew kinney the first day i was here and i think i saw sam later that night as well. I get to practice the piano every once in a while when we have free time. luckily my companion doesn't mind listening to me for a few minutes! my companion (elder noe) took two years of spanish in high school so he knows a lot. we try and talk to each other in spanish as much as we can. and my p-day is on friday so you can expect emails from me around 4ish on fridays. i'm not allowed to write on anydays except p-day and i can only email on p-day for 30 minutes.

ok now let me tell you about my week:

-on monday we went to the trc for the first time. we had to talk to a bunch of people in spanish and get to know them and teach a short message and ask if we could come back later and share more. it went pretty good. one guy that we talked to was amazed that we had only been there for 5 days and could already speak such good spanish. after we made teaching appointments in spanish we had to go back and teach them the first discussion in english. It went sooooo good! the spirit was soooo strong!!!! Elder Noe and I were really nervous at first but we trusted that the spirit would guide us and it definitely did!!!! its crazy how much help we're getting!!!

-on wednesday we went to the RC (refferal center) for the first time. we had to call people that had ordered stuff from the church and confirm that they got it and ask if they would be interested in learning more. we were there for an hour or so and all i did was call person after person but no one answered for like 55 minutes!!! then right when we were about to quit I called one more person and someone finally answered! I started introducing myself and right after i said my name she said "hold on" and went away from the phone. I was on hold for like 8 minutes but i didn't want to hang up because I really wanted to talk to her about the bible that we sent her. everyone else was already packing up and ready to go back to class but i just waited for her and she eventually came back after like 8 minutes. I asked her if she had recieved her bible and she said yea and we talked about it a little. then i started telling her about the book of mormon and how it was a second testament of jesus christ and i asked her if i could send some missionaries to her house to share a message about jesus christ and she said yes! it was awesome! her name is shiela and shes from georgia.

-i went back to the RC on thursday and once again no one was answering. but i kept calling and eventually got someone to answer. i asked for the person that i was trying to call but he wasn't home so i just started talking to the person who answered. it turned out to be the guys brother and long story short i asked if i could send missionaries to his house to share a message about jesus christ with him and he said yes! his name is zak and hes 17 and from ohio.-we had a devotional on tuesday and got to her from president hinckley's son and his wife. They were so bold with some of the stuff they said!!!! it was so crazy! dad, all that stuff we used to talk about as not being offical doctrine- they just flat out talked about that! it was sooo cool!!

-so i definitely have the gift of toungues!!! its sooooo crazy!!! yesterday i swear i was almost fluent for like 15 minutes! it was so wierd cuz i was speaking perfect spanish for like 15 minutes and then all of a suden i couldn't anymore. and i was saying words that i didn't know and then i looked them up and they were right!!!! it was soooooo cool!!!!!

-one last thing, i official hold the mtc juggling record now haha.anyways, my time is almost up so i'll write again next week, oh and it would be easier for me if you would dearelder me your responses as well as email them to me so i dont have to try and read your emails and respond during my 30 minutes of email time.

I love you guys!!!!!

9/5/09

Posted on 11:15 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Here's his first e-mail!!!

Familia!!! como estan?!?! how are you all?!?! i miss you all so much! mom, dad, lindsey, desi. I hope you guys are doing awesome! i only have 24 minutes left to write this so i'm gonna use bullet points so i don't have to organize my thoughts...

-The past 3 days have been crazy!!! all we do is go to class, study, eat, and play in the gym for an hour a day. we're always doing something and theres never any time to rest.

-my companions name is elder noe. He's soooo cool! we get along great and hes a hard worker so its awesome! we always quiz each other on spanish and practice bearing our testimonies in spanish to each other-so far we've learned how to pray and bear our testimonies in spanish. we're not very good but we're working hard to get better! the gift of tongues is already kicking in though and its awesome! I keep remembering random words that i haven't even thought of since i took spanish in high school. its sweet!

-our district is made up of 9 elders all going to quito and we're all becoming best friends. one of them is named elder hirschi and hes really good at soccer. we practiced juggling today and got up to 617 together. i think thats a new mtc record.... maybe.

-i've learned that time in the mtc is like the lords time... that is, every minute seems a thousand times longer that it is. the days go by so slow. but we're doing good stuff so its all good.

-all the elders on our floor are spanish speaking elders and they all speak in spanish a lot and its really funny because 1)they have horrible accents and sound SOOO white! and 2)they always try to say things in spanish and think we can't understand becuase we're new, but the stuff they say is super easy so i always understand it. they do some pretty crazy/wierd stuff too. like today they were playing "super ninja". its some wierd game and i dont really understand how its fun but whatever floats their boat haha.

-if anyone wants to write me letters they can send it to:
Elder Brandon Messer
MTC Mailbox #95
ECU-QUI 1102
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

me gustariacompartir mi testimoni. yo se que dio nos ama y jesucristo nos ama. porque dios nos ama, El restauro el evangelio y el sacerdocio a traves jose smith. el libro de mormon es la palabra de dios y recibimos bendiciones cuando lo leemos. la iglesia de jesucristo do los santos de los ultimos dias es verdadero!!!!!! digo estas cosas en el nombre de jesucristo amen.

I love you all!

-Elder Messer

MTC Address

Posted on 2:36 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hello!

I'm Lindsey, Brandon's sister and I'll be the one posting his e-mail updates on here.


I picked Brandon up from the airport today at 7:30am and took him everywhere he wanted to go around Provo before dropping him off at the MTC. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do...just drop him off and he walks off one way while I drove the other way, crying, and knowing that I would not get to see him or hug him again for 2 years, knowing that a lot changes in two years and who knows what kind of life I'll have or person I'll become during that time. Even though I'll miss him more than words can express, I'm incredibly proud of him and I KNOW he'll be an incredible missionary!


His specific MTC address is....
Elder Brandon Scott Messer
MTC Mailbox # 95
ECU-QUI 1102
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT 84604-1793

You can send letters for free through http://www.dearelder.com/

If you attend BYU they have a same day delivery service for packages to the MTC at the pack-n-ship in the basement of the bookstore for a reduced rate. Take advantage of it while you can cause once he gets to Ecuador there's a weight limit and no guaruntee that it'll get there.

Mailing Addresses

Posted on 8:42 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

I've been called as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints and assigned to labor in the Ecuador Quito Mission. I'll be gone until September 2011. My family will post my emails on here so you can keep up with my adventures. You can write me letters or send me stuff or whatever if you want. I would love it! And if you do I'll for sure write you back! You can write to me on dearelder.com and they will print your letter and send it to me for free. Or you can send me normal letters. Whatever you want!

From September 2nd 2009 to November 2nd 2009 you can send stuff to me at the MTC:

Elder Brandon Messer
Ecuador Quito Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center*
2005 N 900E
Provo, UT 84604

*My P.O. Box number will be posted by my family as soon as they get it

From November 2nd 2009 to September 2011 you can send stuff to me in Ecuador:

Elder Brandon Messer
Mision Ecuador Quito
Casilla 17-03-078
640 Robles y Amazonas
Quito, Ecuador

I'm not expecting people to send me any packages but if you feel so inclined they can't wiegh more than 4.4 pounds and MUST carry a GREEN sticker. Even if the post office worker suggests you use a white one, make sure that you use a GREEN one.

These addresses are subject to change so make sure to keep checking back for any updates.