January 18, 2010

Posted on 6:31 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

This week has been really good. ON Saturday we had 2 baptisms. Rocio and Fernanda Martinez. Their baptisms went well (despite the fact that Rocio and to try 3 times before she was successful, I think she was scared to go under or something like that haha). Rocio is the mother of Fernanda and Adriana(one of the people we baptized on December 26th). I’ve been teaching them ever since I’ve been here. Adriana made a lot of friends in the church and gained a testimony really quick so she was a little easier. Rocio and fernanda on the other had were a bit harder. We challenged them for a baptism a few times and they didn’t really give us a straight answer. We finally ended up just going to an appointment with them and just bearing pure testimony that they needed to get baptized and that baptism is what God wanted for them. We found at that they were scared because all of there family is catholic and they didn’t know how their family would take it if they got baptized in our church. We just testified again and asked them to pray and ask if they should be baptized. We went back the next day and they said that they wanted to be baptized. So now the whole family has been baptized except for the Dad. Every time we try to talk to him he kinda puts up a wall. He’s a really nice guy, he just doesn’t like to talk about church stuff and it always seems like he just feels awkward when we try and talk about church stuff with him. But its nothing we cant take care of with a littler patience and longsuffering!

Ok I have a few scary stories this week:
1) On Monday night we were at an appointment when the energy went out. We were just finishing so the people asked them where we were going next so we told them that we were going to barrio unidos somos mas. Then they told us that we shouldn’t go there when the lights were at because it’s a dangerous area. We told them that we had god on our side and weren’t worried. So we went anyway. While we were walking to our next appointment we came around a corner and saw some people sitting outside on a curb. When we walked past them they started to sing/chant “Los mormonas, vamos a matarles” (the Mormons, we’re going to kill you). We just looked at them, smiled and waved, and kept walking. Then the next day we found out that 2 people had been killed in that neighborhood the night before. Haha it was kinda sketchy… (but don’t worry mom, there was never any real danger. I promise! We have the spirit with us which is the best protector you can find.)

2) On Thursday night I woke up to find a man standing right outside our window. He was tapping on the window so we went and opened the door. It was some random person that we didn’t know but he knew us. He said he was a member and that he needed money to get home. Anyways, long story short, he was begging for money and we had no idea how he knew where we lived or how he got in the gate in front of our house.
This week we were at a lesson with a 15 year old boy named jimmy. He told us he didn’t have that much time because he had a ton of homework to do and he had to wash the dishes and clean the house so we offered to help him out. We ended up doing the dishes and I thought it was funny because they only materials they had to clean were a sock and laundry detergent. Haha they definitely do things differently here.

Usually we never take dinner but on Tuesday we decided that we were hungry and wanted to. So we went back to our apartment. When we got there, there were 2 white guys knocking on our door. When they saw us they turned around and started speaking in English to us. It turned out that they were missionaries from some non denominational Christian church and were in our area knocking doors. We talked to them and got to know them a bit. One of them had been a missionary for 25 years and had been in Ecuador for 9 straight years. They started telling us about themselves and how they decided to be missionaries and stuff. I’m not gonna lie, I got a really creepy feeling when they were talking. It was weird. They said that god started talking to them when they were little and told them that they needed to be missionaries. I don’t mean to disrespect them or anything but I just knew that they weren’t serving God. It reminded me of the story in the book of Mormon where Korihor says that and angel came and told him to preach against Christ but really it was an angel of the devil. I think its like alms 30 or something like that.

On Wednesday we went on divisions with the Zone leaders and the one I was with told me what was going to happen next week when we have changes. I don’t know if he has inside info or if he was just guessing so I’ll have to wait till next week to find out. I’m still hoping the president gets inspired to send me to Quito where I can feast on McDonalds, pizza hut, taco bell, ect… everyday. Haha I get to go to Quito tonight though so i´m excited about that. I have to take all the new missionaries back to get there documents to stay in the country.

Thanks to everyone that wrote me a letter or sent me something. I’m trying to write back as fast as a can! I love you all!

Jan 11, 2010

Posted on 9:45 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

This week went well. On Monday Elder Lopez and I went on splits with the APs (they were here for zone conference) and they helped us out a lot. We were able to finally get one of our toughest families to commit to baptism and we made a lot of other progress with some other inactive families.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had zone conference and that was good. It felt like it was missing something though because President Sloan wasn`t there. He`s still trying to recover from his surgery but one of the APs told me that he`s been doing really well and they`re expecting him to be there for the next set of zone conferences.
Our ward just started a home teaching program which we`re really excited about. The biggest problem here is that there are like 500 members but only like 40 to 60 show up to church everyweek so we`re hoping that the home teaching program can help to reactivate some of the inactive members. We`re been visiting a lot of inactive members lately as well. A lot of them have testimonies and good desires but they just don’t act. I think its because the culture is so lazy here. No one wants to wake up on early on Sunday morning to go to church.
This week we started on a service project for an inactive member named hermana mina. She doesn`t have any running water in her house and she doesn`t have a lot of money so we`ve been talking with a contractor to try and get the materials as cheap as possible and then we`re going to do all the labor. She is short by about 30 bucks right now so we`re just waiting for her to find enough money so we can start. I wish I could just give her 30 bucks but it’s against mission rules to just give money to people so I can`t. But I guess important for people to learn to provide for themselves.

On Saturday we had a baptism. Her name is Nicole. We`ve been teaching her for a while and shes wanted to get baptized for a long time but there were a few obstacles that we had to get over. At first her dad didn`t want her to get baptized. We had to talk to her mom and her mom said it was ok and since she doesn`t live with her dad that was all that we needed. Then it was hard for her to get to church a lot of the time because there would always be parties at her house on Saturday night so she wouldn`t be able to sleep and didn`t wake up in time for church. But eventually she got to church enough times so she could be baptized. It might be hard for her to stay active since she doesn`t really have much support from her family but one of her best friends is a member and has been helping her a lot. We`re teaching her mom but she has a lot of problems that she has to get over that are going to be challenges.

This week we have 2 more baptisms- Rosio and Fernanda. Rosio is the mom of Adriana (the girl we baptized a couple weeks ago) and Fernanda is her sister. We`ve been teaching them ever since I got here so its exciting that they finally decided to be baptized. Now we just have to baptize the dad (the dads are always the hardest part) and the whole family will be members. I`ll let you know how it all went next week!
Thanks to everyone that sent me something for Christmas or any other letters! It makes my day every time I hear from someone back home. You guys are awesome!

January 4, 2010

Posted on 2:28 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Happy new year everyone from Ecuador! New years is definitely celebrated a lot different here. Everything was closed all day on new years and the only people out were drunk people that had been up all night and hadn’t gone to sleep. There was one time when we were walking to an appointment and we got stopped by some drunk people that wanted us to teach them. We told them that we had an appointment but that we would come back later (which we weren’t really going to do). We went to our appointment which was right down the street and about half way through the lesson we heard a lot of noise outside so we looked out the window and a huge fight had broken out between all the drunk people. Then one of the kids ran outside to watch and then came back in and shut the door and told us that one of the guys had a knife and was trying to kill the other one. It was an interesting experience. A few minutes later the cops showed up and I’m pretty sure no one really got hurt so its all good. I’m sure they don’t even remember know that they sobered up.

We had 2 baptisms this week. Eleanor and Alexander. They are brother and sister and their parents are inactive members. Eleanor is 13. She’s just a normal 13 year old girl and was excited to be baptized. Alexander is 14. We gave him the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday so now they ward has more that one youth to pass the sacrament. He told us that he wants to serve a mission one day so we took him out with us yesterday to give him some practice.

We have another baptism this week. We might have up to 3 but we’re still not sure about 2 of them. We have to go visit them tonight to try and encourage them and set up a time for their interview

This week we met a crazy guy that was locked in his house and asked us if we had a saw to saw down the bars and let him out. It was kinda a weird situation. We didn’t know what to do at first cuz we didn’t know why he was locked up or what the deal was. We asked someone else near by and they told us that his family was out of town and they locked him inside while they were gone because if he gets out he likes to run around naked and be mean to little kids. Haha we told him that we didn’t have a saw but that if we found one we would come back and help him. Poor guy though, his family just left him all alone locked up in the house.

On new years eve a bunch of the little kids started hustling people. They set up road blocks so that cars couldn’t pass and then when a car came they wouldn’t move their roadblock until the car gave them money. They tried to get money out of us a bunch of times but we would just tell them no and walk around.

Anyways, there’s not much else to tell you. This week is zone conference so we’re excited for that but we’re kinda bummed that president Sloan wont be there because he’s still recovering from his surgery. I have to give a spiritual thought about exercising faith to accomplish the mission norms (4 baptisms a month). Anyway, I hope everyone is doing good and had a happy new year!
-Elder Messer