January 17, 2011

Posted on 9:50 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

This week was probably one of the more successful weeks that I`ve had since I`ve been here in Ambato. It started out kinda rough because on Tuesday and Wednesday a bunch of our appointments fell through but it ended up pretty good because the Suarez family came to church and we were finally able to teach the Nata family again. Let me tell you a little bit about our main investigators:
Suarez Family: This is the family that has a daughter with terminal cancer that the doctors say doesn’t have much time left to live. We weren’t able to teach them that much in December because they were really busy (Everyone here was really busy in December). They live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm. They aren’t very educated which is one of the hardest parts about teaching them. They don’t understand things very quickly and they don’t read very well and understand almost nothing of what they do read. They have come to church twice now and to a ward activity but they still don’t want to get baptized because they think they aren’t prepared and it’s too soon. The daughter that has cancer is surprisingly prideful for the situation that she’s in. You’d think someone like that would be really open to the gospel and the peace that it brings but she seems to find every excuse that she can to reject it. Hopefully something will click really soon with them and they will understand that the gospel is the solution to their problems.
Nata Family: The Nata family has been to church and had a baptismal date a couple months ago but something happened and they were super busy all of a sudden so we couldn’t visit them and prepare them for baptism. We visited them twice this week. They know that what we teach is true and they know that the book of Mormon is true because it changed their lives when they first started reading it. Their challenge is that they are scared to change religions because their whole family is catholic and they don’t like that they are listening to us. They say that by listening to us they are denying their religion and family traditions. It’s hard with them because they know its true but they don`t want to get baptized. I asked them this week why they still listen to us and they said that every time we come they fell something different and learn something new (IT’S THE SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). The dad even said that every time we visit them its like Jesus himself was visiting them. They just have to forget about their family and do what they know is right.
Those are our main investigators that have the most potential. We are teaching some other families as well and hopefully they can progress as well.
This week for the first time in my mission someone really started contending with us. We knocked is door and he seemed really open to listen to us. He said that they were painting his house so we couldn`t come in but he told us that we could sit and talk in his car which was right outside. We started teaching the restoration. And after we talked about the first vision he started to contend with us. He went in his house and came back with his bible and an anti Mormon book and just started preaching to us all about how you just have to accept Christ as your personal savior and then you will be saved and how we aren`t saved by works and whatnot. Then he pulled out his anti Mormon book and started telling us all about how Joseph smith prophesied things that never happened. First he said that Joseph smith prophesied that a war would break out in South Carolina and that it would spread to the whole country and he said that it was a false prophesy because it never happened. I just chuckled a bit and told him that he should study his history a little bit more because that actually did happen. Then he mentioned about how Joseph smith and prophesied that Albany, Boston, and New York were going to be destroyed if they didn`t repent and he said that it was a false prophecy because they were never destroyed. I told him that Joseph smith never prophesied that it would happen within a certain time period and that it would happen eventually. I said I thought that it might happen at the second coming and he argued saying that if that was the case then it wasn`t a prophesy at all because Jesus prophesied as well that the wicked would be destroyed at the second coming. Then I asked him if he had a problem with someone teaching the same things that Jesus taught. He wanted to keep going but I figured that we would get nowhere so I told him that we had an appointment and that we had to go and we left. I don’t understand people waste their time trying to prove that our church is false. Especially to a missionary. Did he really hope to convince me that the church that I represent is a fraud? It’s kinda ridiculous.
Well that’s all I have for this week. I love you all! Thanks to everyone that still sends me letters and packages! I love getting them!!!

January 8, 2010

Posted on 9:57 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Well this week was kinda crazy down here in Ecuador. Everyone went crazy for New Years. Apparently it’s a really big deal here. They have a lot of very strange traditions. Let me explain… all over the place there were road blocks with men dressed as woman standing in the middle of the road dancing and asking for money. They put ropes up so that cars cant pass and they don’t let anyone pass until they give money to the guy dressed as a woman. If you don’t give them money they dance all around you and touch you and act like they are your girlfriend until you either give them money are walk far enough away. It was pretty crazy. Luckily we took taxis and buses everywhere so we didn`t have to pass them on foot all day. We only had to pass one on foot right in front of our house and I just gave him super dirty look like I was way pissed off to try and scare him away. Luckily he didn`t touch us or anything. We had to be in the house at 4 so we weren`t around when they were really drunk and crazy. There was a huge party right next to our house and they had music blasting really loud until about 1:30 in the morning. I managed to fall asleep at like 9:30 but all the fireworks and explosives woke me up at about 5 minutes to midnight so I got up and looked out the window to see everything that was going on. Another tradition here is that every makes these huge wooden and cardboard dolls and they burn them at midnight so when I looked out the window it was like there was a bonfire in front of every house. I kinda felt like I was in a war zone. It was all pretty surreal since I was still kinda half asleep.
I guess the spiritual story of the week would be that we did manage to find a new family.. The Garcia Salazar family. I was on divisions on Tuesday with elder choez and our 8 o´clock appointment wasn`t there. We had been contacting and knocking doors almost all day and usually there is almost no success contacting late at night because everyone always says that they are busy and that it’s too late. Anyway, I really didn`t feel like contacting more. But the options were to visit a member or keep contacting. I thought about the story that dad always tells about that family that he found in the last house on the street and I decided that the miracles always come in the last minutes so I decided that we would just keep contacting. At about 8:30 we knocked a door and they let us in and we taught the restoration to the whole family. They were really receptive and accepted a return appointment. Anyway it was a good experience to show the importance of working hard and being diligent until the last minute.
Other than that nothing else really exciting happened this week. It was a pretty slow week because no one was working so there were a lot more drunks in the streets and a lot of people went on vacation so we couldn`t teach that much. This upcoming week is gonna be pretty slow as well because we`re going to Quito for zone leader conference and leader meeting.
The picture is definitely PG-13 but I just wanted to show you how crazy new years was. This was a sign left over from the night before at one of the road blocks by our house. Basically what it says is that if you give the guy dressed as a woman 10 cents he will kiss you with his tongue, if you give him 25 cents he will do a strip tease, if you give him 50 cents he will kiss you on the cheek, and if you give him a dollar he will just say happy new year and let you go by…. Scandalous, I know… If I had to make a bible reference to this I would probably compare it to Sodom and Gomorrah… .