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....


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." 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!


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.


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 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 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

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.

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 or the pouch system - 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

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!


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 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. 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