Posted on 11:54 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Posted on 11:50 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

February 23, 2011

Posted on 11:16 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Well this week was a pretty good week. We had a baptism and found 3 new families so I can`t really complain. Our baptism was a 10 year old girl named Nicole. Everyone in her family is a member but they have been inactive for a while. Over the past couple of months we have been visiting them and little by little they have been coming back to church. They have a lot of problems in their home and to be honest are very prideful and hard to help but we have been doing our best and they have been coming to church about every other week. Hopefully Nicole’s baptism will motivate them to keep coming and to keep improving. The baptismal service was good and bad at the same time… let me explain. It was good because that same day we had an open house in the stake center so there were a lot of members there but it was bad because there were only 2 members from our ward…the bishop and his wife. I guess it’s not hard to see why there was only 1 baptism in all of 2010. But hey if you look at it from a positive perspective we`ve already baptized as many people this year as all of last year and its only February! All of the missionaries in the zone were at Nicole’s baptism so we formed a small choir and I played the guitar while everyone sang “Nearer my God to Thee”. It turned out really good considering that almost no one in Ecuador has any musical talent. Here I sing well…. Can you believe that?! Haha
Anyway like I said we had a open house on Saturday. We had been planning it with the high council member in charge of missionary work for a long time and had everything planned out wonderfully…. But it didn`t turn out that great because all the members got there really late and not very many people brought friends. Each ward was assigned to a subject to talk about for 3-5 minutes. For example 1 ward was assigned to the restoration, another to the book of Mormon, another to temples, ect…. The investigators were supposed to come in and go from room to room learning a little bit about each subject. But they all got there late and weren´t organized at all. One ward got there half an hour late and started to set up their room and by the time they were finished 2 and a half hours later the open house was already over. They were supposed to come at 11 am to set up and be ready to start at 2 but apparently nobody thought it was necessary to come that early… I`m not gonna lie…. I wasn`t surprised haha. But at least we learned a lot about how to make it better for next time.
Random Story: My companion and I were walking to an appointment on Wednesday and we ran into a random member from Colombia. He recognized us and came up and started talking to us. He said that he was a member from Colombia and that he used to be the elders quorum president. We asked him where he lived now and he told us that he traveled all around Ecuador selling trash bags on buses and in the streets. I thought that was a kinda weird thing to do but then he explained his story. Apparently he worked for the government in Colombia and somehow was involved in some legal case against a rebel group in Colombia so the rebel group tried to kill him but he escaped to Ecuador but can`t just live in one spot because the rebel group can find him and kill him. He is trying to get all his documents changed and his name changed and he is trying to get a visa to Spain to escape. My companion told me that a situation like that was normal and that almost all the Columbians that come to Ecuador come for stuff like that. Apparently the Ecuadorian government helps them a lot to escape.

On Saturday my companion and I were walking home at about 8:40 pm. We passed by the Chicazia family`s house and as we passed by I had the impression to stop by and remind them about church on Sunday. We knocked on the door and they came out and let us in. It turned out that the oldest son had come home drunk and started beating his mom and the dad had stepped in to defend the mom and beat up the son and called the police and the police came and took the son to jail. We were able to calm them down a little and help them restore peace in their home. It was a cool experience because we weren`t planning on visiting them but the spirit told us that we needed to.

On Sunday My companion and I gave talks in church. The ward mission leader was supposed to give a talk as well but never showed up. I talked about a talk that elder Oaks gave in 2001 called the challenge of becoming or something like that. It talks about how the gospel isn`t just about having a testimony… It is about becoming something. It isn`t enough to just know. It isn`t enough to just know and do. We have to know and do with real intent and real desires so that we become. We can`t just go through the motions and expect to receive eternal life. The gospel isn`t just to know or do. It is to be. I have visited a lot of inactive members that have very strong testimonies. The problem is that they don’t do anything to act on their testimonies. At the same time there are a lot of active members that have testimonies and that go to church and do a lot of good things but they don’t do it with real intent so as to let themselves be molded and changed by their actions. They never become something. Its like it says in Moroni 7…. If a man makes an offering or prays without real intent it doesn`t profit him. Joseph smith waited 2 years after reading James 1:5 before he prayed and received his answer. I imagine in those 2 years he strived constantly to change his desires and to make them pure and real so that he could receive an answer. God will always grant us the desire of our hearts. If we aren`t receiving something it is because the desire hasn`t been etched onto our heart. If we go to church week after week and don’t feel like we are getting better and becoming what we need to be it is because we don’t desire it enough.

Anyway, sorry for that little doctrinal spill…, that’s all I have for this week. But before I finish I want to ask a favor of everyone at BYU that reads my blog. I have to register for classes in April and I don’t really have that much time to research things and pick classes and teachers and all that. I have to take the civilization1 credit, 4 religion credits, and I’m gonna take Spanish 321 and I’m thinking about calc and chem 105. If anyone has any suggestions about what classes to take or which teachers to take them from or which teachers to avoid PLEASE WRITE ME through dearelder and let me know!!! i would be very grateful! Ok that’s all I have for now. I love you all.

Posted on 2:31 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

February 7, 2011

Posted on 2:27 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Hey everyone. I had another good week here in Ambato. On Monday we traveled to Quito to have dinner in presidents house and a doctrine class and we stayed the night to go to Zone leader council on Tuesday. It was good. I learned a lot from the other missionaries and we have a lot of new ideas to try here in Ambato. The mission set a new record this month: 206 baptisms. This is the first time that we`ve had more than 200 baptisms since I`ve been here. And it is especially excited considering that last year in January we had less that 80. The mission has changed a ton since I first got here. We are now one of the best missions in the area when before we were one of the worst.
Random story: one of the investigators in Pelileo had a dream about me last week. Apparently she dreamed that she was climbing up a huge mountain carrying a huge weight/burden and she dreamed that Elder Rodriguez (another missionary that used to be in Pelileo) and I came and took the burden off of her and put it on a raft and sent it down a river. I had only visited her once with Elder Rodriguez so it was kinda strange that I was in her dream but I guess that’s how dreams are right? Haha. She’s gonna get baptized this week.
The family that had problems with beating their kids is doing better. They didn`t come to church again this week but at least the mom stopped beating her kids. We went to visit them this week and the mom told us that her other daughter came home drunk this week and that she was about to start beating her but decided not to. She said “What good does it do to beat her anyway. That will just make her more rebellious. I figured it was better to just sit down and talk to her…” That’s a ton different from last week!!!! Hopefully they come to church again this week. “ of the kids have baptismal dates but we`re trying hard to get the whole family baptized together.
This week on Friday we were walking home after our last appointment when we saw a family walking towards us so we stopped and contacted them. They were in a hurry so the contact only lasted for like 30 seconds but they told us to come back the next day. When we went back the next day they let us in and as soon as we walked in we noticed that there was a spirit of contention. We talked about families and told them that if they learned and lived our message that they would be able to have a happy family. As we were walking out the husband talked to us for a little bit at the gate before letting us out and started telling us about all the problems that they have and how he wanted to change and be happier. He has a huge problem with alcohol and has gotten into a lot of fights. He has scars from knifes all over his arms and face from all the knife fights that he has been in. Talking to him reminded me of the Taipe family from Esmeraldas but a little bit worse. Anyway, they agreed to come to church on Sunday so we went to pick them up half an hour before church started. When we got there we heard yelling from outside. They were obviously fighting. We knocked and after about 5 minutes the husband came out and told us that they were fighting and told us to come in. We stepped in and immediately they started whining and yelling like little kids about how the other one was such a horrible person. It was overwhelming to have full grown adults telling us about all their marriage problems and fighting right in front of us expecting us to resolve the conflict. Luckily the spirit helped us out. We just assured them that they could both change and that if they accepted the gospel in their lives they could achieve a happy marriage (They aren`t legally married right now so that will be one obstacle to overcome in the future). Then we sang “families can be together forever” and asked them how they felt and they both said that they felt a lot calmer. We told them that at church they would continue to feel that peace and calmness. By this time it was 15 minutes until church stated so we told them that we needed to go. They came to church and afterwards they told us that they felt a lot better and that they weren`t going to fight anymore. We have another appointment with them tomorrow. They have a lot of things to change and get over but hopefully with time we can help them and see miracles in their family. They are very humble and willing to change but its going to take a lot of work. Only the gospel can save them from their miserable state and problems.
Random story 2: There was a family in church this week that I had never seen before. When we walked in I saw them and was wondering who they were. It turns out they were from my companions stake in Guayaquil. After the meeting they started calling his family so we had to run away so that my companion wouldn`t get homesick. He told me that stuff like that has happened to him his whole mission and that everywhere he goes there are people that know him.
Mom thanks a ton for the Valentines Day package! Thanks Jason and Desi for your letters!! Jason I can’t believe what’s happing in the premier league! What happened with Chelsea and Liverpool?! They are always in the top 4! Crazy! Yes I did get the letters from the high priest group. Please tell them thank you very much!
That’s all I have for this week. I love you all and I hope that all is well back in the U.S! Talk to you next week!

February 1, 2011

Posted on 12:48 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

This week was good but crazy but before I get to this week i`m gonna tell you a story from last week so that the pictures that I sent make sense. Last week I was on divisions with some elders in the zone and we went to visit a family that was going to get baptized that week. One of the daughters’ friends was there and he wanted to get baptized too. He had been going to church and institute for a while but just hadn`t had the opportunity to have a baptismal interview. So we decided to take advantage of the situation and I did the interview right then. When I finished the interview I asked him who he wanted to baptize him. He paused for a minute and then said that he had really enjoyed the interview and that he felt like I helped him a lot and that we have to same type of personality and that he wanted me to baptize him. It was kinda weird because the missionaries had been teaching him and that was only the 1st time that I met him. I asked him if he was sure and tried to convince him that it would be better if one of the missionaries that taught him baptized him but he was pretty set on me baptizing him so finally I just gave in and said ok. So that’s why I sent a picture of a baptism. He’s the one that’s all wet.
Next story: So for the last couple weeks we have been teaching a Columbian family. On Friday we had an appointment with them but when we showed up only the 12 year old son was there. We asked if his mom and sister would be home soon and he said that he didn`t know so we decided to just teach him instead of wasting time just waiting there. It turns out that this kid is like one of the smartest kids I`ve ever met in my mission. If you remember anything about Jordy in Esmeraldas… He was kinda like him. He understands and comprehends everything that we teach him and he had even been reading the book of Mormon by himself and he gave us a perfect summary of 3 nephi 11 and started asking about baptism. We taught him about baptism and invited him to be baptized and he accepted and was really excited. The spirit was really strong and we were just about to say the closing prayer and leave when his mom and his 2 sisters got home. As soon as they walked in we could tell that something was wrong. One of the daughters ran to the back room right when she came in. The mom shook our hands quickly and grabbed a belt that was on the table and followed her daughter into the back room. The next thing we heard was a mix between screaming, cloths ripping, and the daughter getting beat with the belt. Whatever spirit was there left within a matter of seconds. It was amazing to feel such a dramatic change so quickly. We went from feeling the spirit super strong to feeling like Satan himself was in the house within a matter of seconds. My companion looked at me and asked what we should do and I said that we should leave so we got up and left as quickly as possible. I didn`t want to spend another second in a place with that kind of horrible feeling. It turns out that the daughter lied to her mom and went to a club and was drinking and her mom found out and went and got her and brought her home. It made me really sad to know that there are parents that beat their kids like that. I feel very lucky and blessed to have been born in a functioning family with parents that use love instead of fear to influence me and help me. Anyway, we went back the next day to see if we could help them. They were relatively humble and recognized that they had to change. We talked about families and what makes a family happy. I think it helped them a little. We invited them to come to church and they came on Sunday. The gospel is the solution like always. We are going to keep teaching them and hopefully they can come unto Christ and change and be healed.
This week we had a special training and interviews with president. My interview was good. President told me about when he found out that I was coming and that the Trounce family and said good things about our family so he was excited that I was coming because at that time he was sending a lot of missionaries home for doing stupid stuff and the mission was struggling a lot. Sister Sloan also told me a story. Her daughter works in a diamond store in Provo and said that someone came in and they got talking and it turned out to be someone that knew me and they made the connection that her dad was my mission president and what not. I have no idea who it was… I thought it was funny… its one of those “it’s a small world” stories.
I have more stories but I`m pretty much out of time so hopefully I have more time next week! I love you all! Betsy I do get the letters that you send straight to Ecuador and I have written back so I hope my letters are getting to you. I sent one last week so it should get there within another week or 2.. I think.
I love you all! Talk to you next week!!!!