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