November 15, 2010

Posted on 9:30 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone how’s it going? This week has been pretty good for me. I had a few interesting experiences. Yesterday we were contacting and we ran into a guy that at first seemed golden until we started teaching him a little bit. He knew a ton about the bible and had studied it in Hebrew and was telling us all the interesting stuff that is different when you read the bible in its original language. It was interesting because he was telling me stuff that I had been taught at BYU. He knew a lot of deeper doctrine and at first everything he said agreed with what we believe. But then we started teaching him about the restoration and I told him about the first vision and that we can know if Joseph smith was a prophet by reading the book of Mormon which was his fruit(he had quoted early the scripture that says that false prophets will come but by their fruits we shall know them). After I got down explaining things just started going downhill. He started saying that it wasn`t possible that there could be another book other than the bible and that Joseph smith was obviously not a prophet because no one can see god and not die instantly from his glory (apparently he doesn`t understand the doctrine of transfiguration). Then he started bearing his testimony to us about how his church was church and he had had “real experiences with god”. Then he was like “If you ever want to learn the truth I suggest that you come to my church”. It was interesting because people don’t usually bear there testimonies to us and invite us to “learn the truth”. That’s what WE do. It made me think a lot about how many people there are that are trying really hard but for some reason don’t accept the true gospel. He seemed like he was being sincere and I’m sure that he had really had experiences with god and he had studying a ton and had a lot of truth. He was someone that was convinced of what he was doing and that was trying really hard. He didn`t know what he was rejecting. Of all the people walking through the streets we are the only ones that really have the truth and gods authority but almost nobody realizes it.
This week was kinda rough with the Nata family and Alejandra. We went to their houses everyday but could never teach them and they didn`t come to church this week. Satan is starting to work pretty hard with them… Hopefully we can find them this week and help them to overcome all the opposition so that they can get baptized.
Even without them coming to church this week we had 4 investigators there. It was the Suarez family. They are the reference that we got that lives way out in the middle of nowhere. They came to church this week and afterwards we all went to a member’s house to eat lunch and teach them some more. It turned out to be an interesting experience. We asked them if they had any questions about church and one of the daughters said that she did. In the gospel principles class one of the members had mentioned that god knew that Adam and eve were going to eat the fruit and that everything bad was going to enter into the world. She didn`t understand why god would let so many bad things enter into the world. We tried to explain it but we weren`t getting anywhere. She just didn`t seem to accept any of our answers. She didn`t understand why there was so much suffering in the world. After a while she asked a rather strange question (at least that’s what I thought at the moment). She asked why god would allow that people would have terminal illnesses that made it so they had to live knowing that they were going to die. We ended up finding out that she has cancer and the doctors told her that she won’t live much longer. The whole family was suffering for it and that’s what made them start listening to us because they wanted some time of help and hope. We taught them a little bit about the plan of salvation and the secure feeling that accepting the gospel gives us and about how families can live together forever if they make and keep covenants in the temple. The spirit was there. I testified about how I had lost 2 brothers but that I knew that they were in a better place and that some die I would see them again. We gave hope to a family that had none. The impression that I got during the lesson was that they are a miracle in the making. We have another appointment with them on Tuesday night.
A few weeks ago we asked the Stake President if we could have some sort of special meeting with all the leaders to talk about how to improve missionary work within the stake. He invited us to come to the meeting that he has once a month with all the bishops and branch presidents. So on Sunday night we went and gave a training type thing to all the bishops and stake presidents. I never imagined that as a missionary I would be in a meeting like that teaching bishops and branch presidents. I`m not gonna lie it was a little intimidating. We talked about “The Doctrine of Christ”, Watched a small movie from the preach my gospel dvds, and then talked about the knew families that we have been finding in the zone and how they can help them come unto Christ. We talked about how they can make their executive committee meetings and ward councils more effective and how they should always talk about and make plans and assignments to do 4 things- Finding, teaching, fellowshipping, and reactivating. After we got done talking the stake president got up and supported everything that we had just said. Hopefully it will make an impact. There were some bishops that weren`t even having ward council or executive committee so hopefully they will start,
Today I got a letter that brother McCready sent to me. It was a letter that I had written in primary to myself that was to be sent to me on my mission. It was pretty funny. I gave myself some pretty good advice. I`ll quote some of it for you… “Dear Elder Messer, Congratulations on being called on a mission. I hope you are going somewhere in the USA” (HAHA when I was younger I used to be scared to leave the country) “You are the most handsome guy I have ever seen” (haha....)….. “My Testimony: I believe the church is true. I love my family and I know that they love me too. I know that Gordon B Hinckly is a true prophet.”….”Love, you younger self…….. P.S. If you have a girlfriend then dump her” (haha good thing I don’t have a girlfriend).
Anyway that’s all I`ve got for now. I love you all. Talk to you next week.
P.S. Happy birthday Jason!!!! Like I said last year… I`ll bring you a present from Ecuador in 10 months!

November8, 2010

Posted on 12:00 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone. How’s it going. My week was pretty crazy. It was definitely one of the busiest weeks that i`ve had. Last Monday night we traveled to Quito for zone leader council on Tuesday. It was way fun. We analyzed the progress of the mission and all that good stuff. This month we had 184 baptisms which is really good. We were one of the best missions in the area. We got to play soccer as well so that was really fun and they gave us delicious American food. We also had a doctrine class that was really good were we talked about faith with works. On Tuesday night we stayed in quito because on Wednesday we had “leader meeting”. That was good too and they gave us more delicious food. Then we had to stay another night in quito because on Thursday I had to go renew my Censo(Its like my ID while i`m here). We did that in the morning and then traveled back to Ambato in the afternoon. We got here and had to leave right away to go do baptismal interviews in a little town called chiquicha… and let me tell you that was an adventure. Chiquicha is a TINY farming community in the middle of nowhere. Just getting there was an adventure. First we took a 40 minute bus ride to Pelileo. There are no buses or any public transportation that go to chiquicha so we had to hitch a ride in the back of a truck for 50 cents each. The road up to chiquicha is super narrow and sketchy (We ran over a dog at full speed on the way back L)but the scenery was amazing. We could see like 2 volcanoes and were looking down into the valley where pelileo and baños are. The family that we went to interview is a miracle family. They are straight up indigenous people. The speak quichua but luckily that speak Spanish as well so we were able to do the interview. They gave us fried chicken feet while we were there too. It was surprisingly good. Anyway, about a month ago their son died and they weren`t satisfied with the answers that the catholic church gave so they talked to some people that they knew that are members and showed up at church. They family has like 20 people and the branch in pelileo is super small so when they showed up to church the first time the size of the branch almost doubled. The missionaries started teaching them and they found the answers that they were looking for. 6 of them got baptized this week and the rest are planning to get baptized in the upcoming weeks. And everyone in chiquicha knows their story because it’s such a small town and everyone wants the missionaries to teach them. When I was up there doing interviews a bunch of people just contacted us and asked us to visit them and teach them. The family that had their son die is like the founding family up there so everyone knows them and respects them. It’s basically a golden town of indigenous people in the middle of nowhere in the Andes mountains. One of the kids asked me to baptize him so I got to be part of the baptism.
As far as my sector goes… we’re making progress. We had 3 people in church this week. The Nata family came again and they have a baptismal goal for the 20th. They still have a lot of doubts and obstacles with their friends and family but hopefully we can overcome it all so that they can get baptized. It would be a miracle to baptize a family after this sector has had so many problems in the last year.
On Sunday night a member told us that they had a reference for us so they took us out to their friends that live in the middle of nowhere on a farm and we taught them and have another appointment with them on Tuesday. I`m not gonna lie… I really enjoy going to all these places that are in the middle of nowhere. It always feels like an adventure and the scenery is always amazing. That’s probably my favorite part about this zone. Anyway that’s all I have for this week. I love you all! Lindsey I hope you enjoyed your first week in the field. Tell us all about it!!!! Oh and random story. Yesterday in the bus I was talking with an elder that likes football and he randomly mentioned that the coach of the eagles is mormon and I was like “I know. His daughter was my sisters companion in the mtc” haha.
P.S. its indigenous culture to not smile in pictures. i promise they were happy haha.

November 1, 2010

Posted on 3:59 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone. Let me tell you a Little bit about my week. On Monday and Tuesday I was in a little town called pelileo. I was on divisions with on of the district leaders- Elder Caskey. He’s a stud. He is from Arizona and was a forest fire fighter before his mission. It was an adventure to be in his sector because he`s only been there for like 3 weeks and his companion only 2 weeks and it’s a huge sector so its easy to get lost and really hard to find where your going. It includes a bunch of small villages with a bunch of farms. And its right next to baños so its really pretty as well. He had some references that he needed to contact in a little village called Patate. But no one out there has phones or addresses so all we had were names and that they lived in patate. We found the bus that went to patate but when we got there we didn`t have any luck. No body knew any of the names we had. So we just decided to contact. It turns out that Patate is like ridiculously catholic so we ran into some people that weren’t very happy to see us. One lady literally started screaming at us and after screaming just walked away and left the door open. I just said “It was nice to meet you” and we walked away. The best part about my division with elder caskey was that he has an oven in his house so we made peach cobbler before we went to bed. We didn`t have a recipe so we just kinda winged it but it actually turned out pretty good. On Thursday and Friday I was on divisions with Elder Garcia. He’s from Nicaragua. His sector is downtown Ambato so it was a lot different that pelileo. I did a couple of baptismal interviews while I was there as well.
This weekend and today and tomorrow are holidays in Ecuador. Its “Day of the dead”. To celebrate everyone makes this weird drink that they call “colada morada” . It’s this thick purple drink with pineapple and leafs inside. I don’t really like it but I’ve had to drink it a ton. Everyone is like “oh your not from here so you have to try colada morada” no one realizes that we visit like 8 families every day and that everyone else has said the same thing and given us the same drink. It’s been pretty rough to have to drink nasty purple goop so much but I guess that’s part of the sacrifice I have to make as a missionary to not offend people.
This week we broke a record since I’ve been here. We had 4 people at church, a family of 3 and another person. Its not really that big of an accomplishment but considering that the last 2 weeks we had nobody I feel like we accomplished something.
This week we wont be in our sector at all. We’re leaving for Quito right now because we have zone leader council and leaders meeting on Monday and Tuesday and then on Thursday I have to renew my censo to be in Ecuador and then when we get back we`re going straight to pelileo to get started with doing baptismal interviews for a family of 13. This month in Ambato we broke a record with 16 baptisms. The old record was 12. So if this family of 13 gets baptized and a few other people we could break our record again.
Anyway that’s all I have for this week. Thanks for everything! I love you!