April 25, 2011

Posted on 5:17 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

April 25, 2011

Posted on 5:17 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

April 18, 2011

Posted on 12:03 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

April 18, 2011

Posted on 11:38 AM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Well this week was pretty normal I`d have to say. On Tuesday president Sloan came and we had a special training. He talked a lot about what it means to be working with the indigenous people and all the promises that are made to the lamanites in the Book of Mormon. Over the last few weeks I have been reading the book of Mormon highlighting all the promises given to the lamanites and its pretty cool since I go out and work with them every day. When President Sloan was a missionary he was in Bolivia and was on special assignment for his whole mission to just work with the indigenous people. He spoke quechua (almost like quichua but not quite). He told us a cool story. One day he and his companion were getting ready in the morning and an old indigenous man knocked on their door. President Sloan said that by the way he was dressed he knew that he was from a different village because the indigenous dress differently depending on the village that they live in. the first thing the guy said was, “Are you the ones that have a book about the white god that visited this people hundreds of years ago?”. President Sloan asked him who told him that they were there and he said started telling them that before his grandfather died he promised him that someday 2 white men would come that has a book about the white god that visited the Americas and that he had to find them and follow them. President Sloan and his companion taught him for 6 hours straight, answered all his questions, and then he got baptized. It was a crazy story. It’s easy to see how the prophecies about the lamanites are being completed. I think the church is stronger here in Otavalo with the indigenous than any other place that I`ve been in my mission. The people are just so happy and humble and firm. The retention rate here is like 95% which is ridiculously high for Latin America.
We went back and saw Carlos this week. He’s doing really well but he does have a pretty nasty scare on his forehead. He doesn`t speak Spanish so we had to teach through a translator and that’s always kinda hard. He said he might come to church this week but I don’t know if he went because he would have gone to the ward that we never go to. He also asked for another blessing because he is getting surgery tomorrow to fix a hernia that he has.
The Mantillas didn`t end up getting baptized this week because the dad went to work in Quito and his boss made him stay until Sunday. It’s kinda hard with them because they don’t have a phone and there is almost no way to get a hold of them besides making the epic journey up to their house in the middle of nowhere. And it makes it even harder that they don`t speak Spanish very well. But hopefully he`ll come back in time this week so that he can get baptized.
We have another family of investigators that have come to church 2 weeks in a row that live even further than the mantillas. They are the Licinchano Lambchimba family. We are hoping that they get baptized on the 30th but it’s kinda hard with them as well because they speak even less Spanish and live soooooooooooo far away. It takes like half an hour to get there in taxi but we definitely don`t have enough money to pay for a taxi every day so we can`t visit them as much as we would like. The bishop has a car and can take us sometimes but he’s pretty busy and can`t go as much as we want. But hopefully a miracle happens and somehow they can get baptized soon.
We`ve been teaching a family called the Cevallos family for about a month now. The dad used to drink and they had a ton of problems but he had stopped drinking and they have been doing pretty good lately. Yesterday night we went unexpectedly to see if we could share something short and when we got there the dad was drunk and everyone was crying and screaming. It was pretty dramatic. It’s crazy how often I have found myself in situations like that and its crazy how married adults look to 20 year old boys to help them solve their marriage problems. We helped them calm down and basically just talked to the wife about what she could do to help her husband and her family. We didn`t really talk to the dad because he was wasted and I`m pretty sure by now he doesn`t remember anything. It was cool to feel the difference in the spirit that was there when we got there and when we left. It was a complete change. When we got there everyone was yelling and screaming and when we left everyone was calm and felt a lot better.
That’s pretty sad that JoJo died☹. I`m sure she’s loving it in the spirit world though!
Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for everything! Talk to ya next week!

April 15, 2011

Posted on 1:38 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Well this week was pretty good. On Tuesday morning we got a call from one of the bishops in our stake saying that the river by his first councilor’s factory had overflowed and that he needed out help to get all the water out. So we hurried and got dressed in our service close, went and rounded up the other missionaries, and went to help. Let’s just say it was the dirtiest service project that I have ever done. There was mud all over the place and in some parts it was almost up to our knees. We just started scooping it up with buckets and dumping it into wheelbarrows and talking it back out to the river. We all got mud all over us (I`ll try and send a picture next week) but luckily when we finished they had a high pressure water gun and sprayed us all off and we went home soaking wet instead of covered in mud.
We had a baptism his week. Geovani Maiwa got baptized. He’s a 17 year old indigenous guy. He was basically more than golden. The missionaries contacted him in the street about 4 months ago and then never saw him again until he came to church 4 weeks ago. We started teaching him and he got baptized on Saturday. He says that he wants to go on a mission. Hes probably the strongest convert that i`ve had on my mission so far. The indigenous people are very loyal. When they decide to join the church they don`t go inactive very easily. I guess its just part of their lamanite blood.
On Sunday night we went to visit the Mantilla family with our bishop. All are members except for the dad and one 12 year old daughter. They live WAY out in the mountains in a little village called Topo grande (Big mole). They don`t speak that much Spanish so the bishop just started talking to them in quichua. After about half an hour of not understanding anything the bishop turned to me and asked if the dad and daughter could be baptized this weekend. I said that if they passed the baptismal interview that they could and gave the baptismal interview questions to the bishop. He then proceeded to verify their knowledge in quichua and said that they knew all the questions expect for a few commandments. The problem is that the dad works in quito all week long and is only home on Saturday nights and Sundays. So this Saturday at 4 we`re gonna go with the bishop to teach the rest of the commandments and at 5 they`re gonna have his interview and on Sunday morning they`re gonna get baptized right before church and then get confirmed. The dad used to be a drunk. A few weeks ago we ran into him in the street and he was wasted off of his rocker. But apparently y hasn`t drank since then and is really repented and wants to get baptized. Hes been coming to church for over a months´. Long story short we should have 2 baptisms th¡s weekend if all goes well. We didn`t even really do anything to deserve these baptisms because we can`t really even communicate that well with these people. All we did was set up the appointment and ask the bishop to come with us and he did the rest. Our bishop is really good. He’s probably the best bishop I’ve had on my mission. Hes way rich too. I think his house is bigger than ours.
I think I forgot to mention it last week but our mission has been doing really good lately. We had 256 baptisms in March which is a new mission record. And until this point we have doubled the number of baptisms from last year. I`m pretty sure we are the best mission in the area right now which is incredible because we used to be one of the worst. Hopefully we can keep it up in the upcoming months.
Well that’s all I really have for this week. Thanks for all your support. I love you all! I`ll try and send pictures next week. This computer won`t let me do it this week.

Love,
Brandon