May 31, 2010

Posted on 11:07 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone! It’s been another good week in Ecuador! First things first, I finally got the Easter package that the grandpa and Sarah sent. I think it got to Ecuador around the beginning of April but it got stuck in “mail jail” because it didn’t have a green sticker. They are pretty picky here about all that stuff. But thanks a ton for the package!

This week has been good. It’s been pretty normal but I’ll tell you about the highlights anyway. My companion got bit by a dog… haha. I wasn’t with him because we were on divisions with the zone leaders when it happened but I thought it was funny when he told me about it. He said it was a little tiny dog that just kinda grabbed onto his ankle. It doesn`t really surprise me though because there are dogs everywhere here and most of them are crazy!!!!! The always bark like they’re going to kill us but we’ve just gotten used to it.

2 of our investigators had their baptismal interviews this week and they both passed so we’re expecting 2 baptisms this weekend. Their names are Ronald and Celeste. Ronald is 13. We met him at church like 4 weeks ago and the first thing he said to us was “I want to get baptized” so we’ve been teaching and preparing him. He has had some opposition because everyone here is catholic and he was only a few weeks away from being confirmed in the Catholic Church when we met him. His mom wouldn’t let him just give up the Catholic Church so he’s been going to both. His mom says that in order to come to our church he has to go to the Catholic Church first. So every Sunday he goes to the Catholic Church first and then comes to our church at 11. We’ve been teaching his mom too and she seems pretty open to the gospel so we’ll see what happens. Maybe she’ll end up getting baptized someday too. Celeste is 26. She used to live in Guayaquil and was listening to the missionaries there and was about to get baptized but then she moved to Quito so she couldn’t. But she found the church headquarters here and they sent us the reference so we found here and have been teaching her for about 3 weeks.

We were going to have another baptism of a boy named Kevin but he couldn’t have his interview because he had his appendix taken out on Wednesday. He was fine and then all of a sudden out of nowhere he started having really bad pains and had to have surgery. When we found out we went to the hospital to visit him. He was on the 8th floor so we started going up the stairs but when we got to the 3rd floor there was a guard there that wouldn’t let anyone passed. We told him that we just wanted to visit someone that had had surgery but he didn’t care and wouldn’t let us pass. Right when we gave up and started to leave my phone rang and it was his grandma. She was in tears and was calling to ask us to go give him a blessing because things were getting worse and his fever was rising. I explained to her that we were at the hospital but couldn’t get up to see him. She gave us the phone number of his mom so that she could come down and let us in. we called her and she came down but when we tried to get passed the guard he still wouldn’t let us in. it was kind of frustrating and we explained to him that we wouldn’t be that long but he still wouldn’t let us pass. We finally gave up again and I just said a little silent prayer and we left. He’s doing a lot better now and is recovering quickly.
On Sunday we got to teach a combined priesthood and relief society class with the ward mission leader. My companion and I talked about befriending new members and converts and then the ward mission leader talked about befriending each other within the ward. He talked very strongly… as we say here he “macheted” them. He said that he was tired of seeing the missionaries work so hard and then have all the converts go inactive because of stuff that the members do. He said that the ward had way to much gossip and a bunch of stuff like that. Needless to say, a lot of people got really pissed off. It was really dramatic and I didn’t really like it. It caused a lot of contention in the ward. Hopefully it won’t affect the wards progress and hopefully everyone can get over it quickly.

Anyway, those are the highlights of my week. I hope everyone is doing good back home. Once again I apologize for being so slow at writing everyone back. I’m working on it though, little by little. Thanks to everyone that writes me. I love your letters! Until next week!

May 24, 2010

Posted on 7:25 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone!!!!!

I hope all is well back in the states. Let me tell you about my week. First off, This week went by really slow because my companion was sick and we couldn’t go out and work for like 5 days. It was kind of like a mini vacation for me since I just got to hang out in the apartment all day, do some extra studying, and learn some hymns on the guitar. My companion is new so it was expected that He would get sick sooner or later. It happens to all the North American missionaries when they get here.

We witnessed a rather interesting/funny incident this week. We live on a street where there are always a million drunks and occasionally they do something funny, like this time. It was like 7 in the morning on a Tuesday and I ran out of water so we had to leave the house real quick to buy some from our neighbor(she runs a little store out of here house. When we got there we saw that there were 2 old drunks arguing right down the street. Long story short there argument turned into a fight. One of the had a bottle and was trying to hit the other guy with it. We thought it was a glass bottle but when he finally landed a blow it turned out to be plastic. Yes that’s right, he was trying to beat up the other guy with a plastic bottle haha. It was super funny because they were super drunk and could hardly walk straight much less fight. They were so uncoordinated. All the neighbors heard all the commotion and everyone came out to watch. It was quite the event and everyone had a good laugh. I kind of felt bad for the guys afterwards because all they do with their lives is get drunk every day. It’s rather ridiculous.

On Sunday I had a really cool experience. It was just a normal Sunday. We got up, studied, and then went to some meetings in the chapel. After the meetings we were walking out and going to sacrament meeting when I saw some familiar faces. The ulloa taipe family that I had been teaching in Esmeraldas and that got baptized right after I left had traveled 7 hours on bus all the way from Quito just to come visit me and tell me that they got baptized and thank me for all that I had done for them. They only stayed for sacrament meeting and then had to leave and go back to Esmeraldas and the whole family couldn’t afford to come so it was just the dad and the 8 year old daughter but it definitely made my day and I’m going to have to say that it was the highlight of my mission up till now. I was super sad when I had to leave before they got baptized and without saying goodbye but I was super happy that they came all that way just to thank me and say goodbye. My joy was full. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to see them in the celestial kingdom.

Later on Sunday, we got asked to give a blessing because some lady in our ward had a sick son. We showed up to give the blessing and when we got there, there were like 20 people there. I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of nerve racking to give a blessing in another language with so many people there watching. I felt like there was a lot of pressure but I just put my trust in the lord and it turned out good. After the blessing the kids dad(who isn’t a member) asked us to come and teach him. It was a good experience and another piece of evidence that the powers of godliness are manifest when the priesthood is used(like it says in D&C)

Last week we contacted a reference and it turned out to be a lady that had been investigating the church in Guayaquil. We went to teach here this week and when we finished the lesson we asked if there was anything else that we could do for her and she said “yes, I want to get baptized”…. We definitely weren’t expecting that but it was a pleasant surprise.

This week I did a baptismal interview for some missionaries in my district. I interviewed the nephew of a family that has 2 sons that live in the US. One served his mission in North Carolina and is now studying in Provo at UVU. The other one is one is mission right now. He started out in the Colorado Springs mission but is now in California… it’s a small world.

That’s about it for this week. I love you all. Thanks for all the support!

May 17, 2010

Posted on 9:41 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey Everyone,
Let me tell you a Little bit about my week. This week went really well for us. We aren’t as lost anymore and we’re starting to figure everything out about our new sector. The members have been helping us out a lot as well. We went out with a member 5 days this week which is quite a change compared with Esmeraldas. I was there for 6 months and we never went out with anyone. The only times that a member came with us were when we baptized someone and had them come with us. So long story short, it’s really nice to have so much support from the members. The relief society has been helping us a bunch as well with all our lunch appointments. The president of the relief society is this super nice lady that has a son on a mission in Bolivia so she really likes to help us out a lot! They just reorganized the “mamitas”(the families that feed us) and now we have appointments to eat lunch AND dinner every day. They are really taking good care of us here. It seems like every time we see a member they are offering us food or something. There’s even a guy in the ward that is a professional cook that invited us over and made us this HUGE pizza. Basically I love this ward and this sector so far. It’s a ridiculous contrast with what I had in Esmeraldas.

I gave a talk this week in church about testimonies. I had written it all out and was planning on just reading it but when I got up there and starting speaking I just threw away what I had prepared and just started talking. It’s amazing how much the spirit helps me to remember things and to be able to teach clearly in another language. I know I’ve said this before but the gifts of the spirit are real. I know because I’ve experienced them.
We had a few successes this week.
1) We had a baptism. It was an 18 year old girl named Lucia that had been listening to the missionaries since December. She had been through a lot of struggles in her life and basically grew up without parents. She had to face a lot of opposition from her family and a lot of people that were telling her that she was crazy for getting baptized but she went forth and faith and did it anyways. Her parents even ended up coming to her baptism even though they were some of the people that had said that she was crazy. I didn’t really do that much to help prepare her for baptism… I just kind of got here and she was all ready and all we had to do was make all the preparations. My companion and I played “come thou fount” on our guitars at the baptism and it was a big hit since hardly anyone here has musical talent. haha

2) The ulloa taipe family that I had been teaching for 5 months in Esmeraldas got baptized this weekend as well. I was kind of sad that I couldn’t be there since I had been through so much with them. They used to have a completely broken home but over the last 5 months we have helped them to overcome their problems through the gospel. I saw miracles with that family. I wish I could have been there for their baptism but oh well, that’s how the mission is sometimes.
3) We received a reference from the mission offices this week and when we went to contact it we found out that it was a lady that was about to get baptized in Guayaquil a few months ago but then she moved to Quito. We met here and taught her a lesson on Saturday night and she went to church on Sunday. The only problem that we have to overcome with her is that she doesn’t really have any good friends in the ward yet… but that’s a very small problem compared to others that we have some times
4) We’re planning a few baptisms for next week. One is an 11 year old kid that is deaf. When we teach him his mom has to translate with sign language. I’m not exactly sure how his baptismal interview will be but we’ll figure it out.

What else…. My companion got sick yesterday, but that’s pretty normal for new missionaries. We just stayed in the house after church because he was too sick to go out so that was kind of a refreshing break from walking up and down ridiculous hills at 10,000 feet. That’s the only bad thing about Quito, the hills are killer! But my lungs are getting used to it so I’m sure I won’t even mind in a few more weeks.
Well that’s all I’ve got for this week. I hope everyone is doing wonderful back in the states! I love you all!

May 10, 2010

Posted on 3:06 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone, sorry I haven`t written in a while. A lot of stuff has happened like internet going out and getting an emergency change. I`m now in the southern part of Quito. My zone is called “zona chillogallo” and let me tell you things are a lot different here. I`m going to make a list of all the positive things about being in quito:

1) I get to shower with hot water

2) Its not 95 degrees everyday. Instead its usually around 70 (perfecto)

3) My apartment is 1000000000000000 times better than my apartment in esmeraldas. It has wood floors and theres no bugs or lizards or mud or dirt. Oh and it has real windows instead of just holes in the wall.

4) I don’t sweat in my sleep. It does get kinda cold over night but I have blankets so its not a huge deal

5) I have mcdonalds, KFC, Pizza hut, and many other wonderful restaurants IN MY SECTOR (that means any time we don’t have a lunch appointment with a member we get to eat wonderful American fast food)

6) There is a ridiculous amount of support from the ward here. We have appointments to go out with members almost everyday this week.

7) Everyone here speaks super clear Spanish that is super easy to understand

Other good news:

1) I have a cell phone now (now when I feel something vibrating in my pocket I know that its not just my imagination or the famous “phantom vibrate”)

2) We just found out that president sloan is going to let us watch the world cup games on Monday

3) I have a gringo companion(Elder Brailsford from Mesa Arizona)that is brand new so we get to experience all the crazy culture shocks together and make jokes about them haha

4) My companion has a guitar and we`ve been learning some hymns. (if anyone has guitar tabs for hymns I would love if you could send them to me)

Basically I like being in Quito so far. Although I was pretty sad when I left Esmeraldas because there was a family that I had been teaching for a long time that was about to get baptized and I had to leave all my hard work behind. But that’s what happens on the mission sometimes. I really wanted to be there when they got baptized but its all good. I saw miracles with that family. They went from being a completely broken family to accepting the gospel and finding joy in their lives. The dad went from being a completely drunk to a loving father. Hopefully I can have similar experiences here in my new sector. This week has been kinda hard since my companion and I are both new here so we`ve been pretty lost. We had investigators with baptismal dates but we didn`t know where they lived so we`ve been working frantically this week to try and find all the investigators and all the members who feed us lunch and stuff like that. Anyway, that’s about all I have for right now. I love you all and hope everything is going good for everyone back in the states. Until next week.