Feb 8, 2010
This week has been good. We had a baptism on Saturday where we baptized a 10 year old boy named Ryan and an 8 year old girl named Dana. Ryan’s parents are members but they are both inactive and they aren’t married. We’ve been working with the whole family to try and help them as much as possible. I think it was good for the parents to see their son get baptized. They’ve been at church the last 2 weeks which is good and they’ve been making a lot of progress. We’re gonna keep working with them to try and help them stay active. Dana is 8 and her mom is a members so it didn’t count as a baptism for us but we still baptized her because there is no priesthood in her family. Her mom is one of our mamitas… that means that she makes lunch for us every week. Dana bore her testimony about her baptism on Sunday and it was way cute haha.
We don’t have any baptisms planed for this week but next week we have 2. Violeta and Rodney. I``ll write more about them when they actually get baptized.
So there’s a senior missionary in our mission that served his mission in Mexico and has some CRAZY stories about it. I heard one and thought it was worth telling so her it is:
He showed up in a little town once and as soon as he got there all the people ran up to him and started asking him if he could baptize them. He didn’t understand how they knew who he was or why they wanted to be baptized so he started talking to them. They told him that a few years earlier 4 men came and taught them everything but that they said that they couldn’t baptize them but that others would come that could baptize them. They already new all the doctrine and everything and there were 80 that wanted to be baptized. Because there were so many in one place at one time the church sent Marion g Romney to make sure everything went smoothly and to make sure that all the people were really prepared. When he got there he said that they were all ready so they baptized 80 people all at once. Then later Marion g Romney pulled the elders aside and said “congratulations, you just baptized some of the people taught by the 3 nephites and john the revelator”. I thought it was a cool story. Oh and one more random story. my companion is from Mexico and he said that there’s a huge stone there in some ruins that has a picture of Lehi`s dream on it.
My companions “trunky papers” got here this week, aka his paper that he has to fill out before he goes home. Hes leaving at the end of this change… so in 4 weeks. I`m not gonna lie, its making me a little trunky to have a companion that’s going home so soon haha. But luckily he still wants to work hard and finish out his mission strong.
We ran into a guy that was SUPER drunk yesterday… I mean i`ve seen drunk people but nothing like this guy. He couldn`t walk straight and he was absolutely crazy! He started asking us how to walk with god so we tried to explain that the first thing he had to do was stop drinking. He didn`t quite understand and just started cussing us out. Luckily I don’t understand cuss words in Spanish haha.
One last thing, the rules changed on sending packages… they can know be up to 8 pounds. Before it was only 4 pounds but it just changed. Just in case someone wants to send me something.
I hope everyone is doing well! Until next week…
Feb 16, 2010
Well, another week and another email, although this week my email is being sent on Tuesday because pday was changed this week because of “carnival”—a ridiculous south American holiday when everyone goes crazy for a few days. Here in Esmeraldas it’s a giant water fight. Everyone just gets drunk and throws water on whoever they can find. Normally the missionaries don’t leave their apartments during carnival but president Sloan had us go out and work anyway. So basically if been getting water thrown on me for the last 3 days. I’ve had little kids, crazy teenage girls, and crazy drunk guys all throw or dump water on me. One girl just walked up to us as we were walking down the street, poured water all over us and then just stood there and watched as we walked away. She didn’t even say anything. Another guy approached us as we were walking and asked if he could pour water on us. We told him no so he waited till we passed and then threw water all over us anyway. Another time we were walking down a street and a truck drive by with people in the bed and they all just chucked water at us as they passed. People don’t seem to care that we are wearing shirts and ties or anything. And yesterday we saw one girl that was passed out from drinking to much being carried away to the hospital. And we found one of our best investigators wasted out of his mind. It was disappointing. We talked with him and asked him why he decided to drink and he said that he was weak and that Satan had already won the battle and that he didn`t think he could stop drinking. He started crying and everything. We told him that we were there to help him and encouraged him to not give up. We’re going back tonight to see how he is doing.
It’s been raining a lot lately and as a result all the houses on our street have flooded. Luckily we live on the 2nd floor though so our house didn’t get flooded. Also, there were only 27 people at church on Sunday because of the rain. Nobody wanted to get went so no one came to church. It was kinda disappointing.
Anyway, there’s not much else to say. We might have a baptism this week depending on weather or not one of our investigators got married. I was going to send letters today but the post office was closed for carnival so I’ll have to do it next week.
I hope everyone is doing well! Until next week!
Feb 8, 2010
Posted on 1:01 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments
This week has been good. We had changes yesterday/today. I stayed in my same area but elder lopez(mycompanion) left. My new companion just got here and his name is Elder Lopez too. Our investigaters are gonna laugh when they see that elder lopez left but that another elder lopez came. My new companion is from mexico and he only has 3 months left on his mission. Hopefully he`ll be able to teach me a lot with all of his experience. Its nice to finally have a companion that is experienced at being a missionary.
Other than changes not much happened this week. It was pretty normal. We did manage to offend a lady really bad though. We went to teach a lesson to this one family and in the middle of the lesson they brought out some type of tea for us to drink. We weren`t sure wheather it was the kind of tea that we cant drink or not so just to be safe we explained the word of wisdom and told them that we couldn`t drink tea. Then the mom got mad and just flat out called us out on it. She had invited us to eat before but we told her know because we had another appointment. Anyway, she just got really mad and started asking us all these questions about why we always reject their food. She thought it was because we thought her kitchen wasn`t clean and all this other stuff. The whole time I was just thinking “is she really that mad about something so stupid” but I guess that’s just there culture. Someone told me that in otavalo if you reject food you might as well not even go back to the house because the people will never forgive you.
I had to speak in church yesterday on “hermanamiento” which means being friendly I guess. I`m not really sure what the direct translation is. The bishop told me like the day before so I only had an hour in the morning before church to prepare. But it went alright I guess. Its always hard for the bishop to find people to speak because there aren`t very many active members.
Thanks to everyone who sent me letters! I`m trying to write back as fast as I can. Thanks for all the support and prayers!
This week has been good in Esmeraldas Ecuador. My new companion and I have been working hard trying to find and teach the Lords chosen people here. Elder Lopez is a really solid elder. He’s been out for a long time and knows a lot of stuff and is a really good teacher. I’ve been learning a lot from him. We have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday. A 10 year old boy named Ryan. His parents are members but are inactive because they are living together but aren’t married so they’re embarrassed to come to church. Anyway, we’ve been teaching Ryan and we even got his parents to come to church with him this Sunday so that’s a good sign. The biggest problem that we have to face as missionaries here in Esmeraldas is people that have broken families. In the whole ward there are only 4 married couples. My new companion Elder Lopez as served all over the country (Quito, otavalo, baños, Ambato, Ibarra, la Concordia) and he said that its not like this in other places. He said that in his last ward the average attendance at church was 180- that’s like 3 times the size of our ward here haha. But seriously, its all because families almost don’t exist here. Kids just grow up in broken homes and its normal to them so then when they are older they have kids and raise them in broken homes as well. Life is seriously sooo much better when we live the gospel inside of families. Its hard here because even if we can get a convert they usually don’t have a family to support them so its hard for them to stay active. They really have to be self motivated to gain and maintain a testimony.
Ok culture shock time,
1) We knocked a door this week and a lady came and answered without a shirt or anything. It was kinda awkward. She just opened it, looked at us, then closed it and when and put a shirt on and came back and opened it again.
2) On Sunday we went to eat lunch with a member and they gave us rice with some sort of meat. I tried it and thought it was good. It tasted kinda like beef. Then after we left my companion told me that it was some sort of cow organ that we just ate. Its probably better that I found that out after.
3) There’s an elder that just got transferred to Esmeraldas that has a huge ponytail. He’s from otavalo and apparently if he cut his hair it would be like denying his heritage and really bad so they let the otavalo missionaries keep their long hair. They make all sorts of weird exceptions in the rules for them
Other than that not much else is new this week. I did manage to convince one of our investigators that I speak Chinese though. It’s this 12 year old boy named jordie that has an obsession with learning languages. He always asks me how to say something in Chinese and I just make some weird noise and he believes me. It’s kinda funny. Oh and it’s been raining a lot lately which is good because now the rivers are filling up and we don’t have power outages anymore but it’s bad because my shoes and clothes are getting destroyed by the mud. My companion slipped and fell in a bunch of mud, but luckily I haven’t done that yet.
Thanks to everyone that has sent me letters or packages. I loved getting them! I’m working on writing back. I’m gonna try and send some letters next week if I can get them all written.