Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Semana 19

Hi everyone. This has been a pretty fast week. I really like my new area in Pelileo. This area is huge! There are parts of our sector that take over an hour to get to. There`s very few members so we`re in a Branch here. My companion said that just before I got here they stopped teaching a ton of their investigators because they weren`t progressing, so we don`t have much investigators and we`ve mainly just been finding new investigators. We found a family that is really good, who the dad said that the day before we found them he was praying for someone to visit him to teach him the Gospel. We had a good experience with them. We just need to help them all come to church now.
I was able to go to Quito yesterday and go to the Christmas dinner at President Ghent`s house. It was a lot of fun, and we got to play ping pong with the other missionaries and the President`s Assistants before dinner. 

Well this Christmas I hope you all can think about the true meaning of Christmas. Even though it`s fun to get gifts we should always think what the best gift of all is which is salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas and have a great time this week. Hope to hear from you all soon!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfer Week-Semana 18

Hey everyone!

Transfers were today and I got moved to a new area; Ambato! I had to take a three hour bus drive to get there. I´m going to be a District Leader here so that´s pretty exciting too. My companion Elder Church is staying in Conocoto and a Peruano is coming there to finish his training and Elder Moreano is in the same zone still just moving to a different district. My new companion is Elder Morones who has been here for one transfer so I will be finishing his training (which means I´m his step-father ja ja ja). This area is more in the Andes mountains so it´s a bit more rural and a lot more hills. It sounds like it´s a really nice area and I´m excited to start working. I was pretty sad to leave Conocoto since after being there for four months, it´s felt like home to me and all the members and investigadores have been like family to me. I know though that this is where the Lord needs me to be at this time.

 Elder Morones told me that they´ve had some difficulty here finding investigadores that progress and go to church so this is going to be a bit different from Conocoto where we had a lot of people that progressed. I´m looking forward to working hard though because if we work hard and have the faith the Lord will give us success. 

We had the baptism for the Gomez family this Saturday. It was really great but the older daughter didn´t show up so she couldn´t get baptized. She has some bad friends and influences that it seems like she´s with a lot and her parents and worrying and upset over this. We talked to her yesterday and set goals for her to stop hanging out with these bad influences and find better friends and won´t get into trouble so that she´ll eventually be able to be well prepared for a baptism date.

Well I´m really really excited to start working here and being a DL. We had a lot of success in Conocoto and I know we´re going to have success here. 
Hope to hear from you all soon!

-Elder Gómez

Transfer week

We got an email from Alex today.  He is being transferred to Ambato which is about 3 hours South of Quito and they are making him a District Leader.  Hopefully he will be able to email when he gets there.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Semana 17

Hi everyone!

We`re already coming to the end of another transfer, and this has been the fastest transfer ever. I feel like every week seems to just go by faster and faster. I`m feeling like after 4 months of being here in Conocoto I`ll probably be transfered to another area. It`s kind of sad thinking that because this area has become home to me and I love all the people here, but I feel good about the work we`ve done here.

So I said last week that we had emergency transfers. Elder Collantes was sent to another zone. In place of him we got Elder Moreano. He is from Peru, has 6 months in the mission and is 25 years old. I`ve learned a lot from him about teaching by the spirit and following lesson plans.

We didn`t have the baptism for the family Gomez this Sunday because they had an interview with the mission president`s counselor and he said they need a little more time to work out some family matters. But he talked with them on Sunday after church and everything`s working out. He said that they are all ready to be baptized on the 14th. So we will have 4 baptisms this Saturday; a great way to end this transfer. We visited them yesterday and the mom E told us how over many years they have been trying to find a church and they just hadn`t found what they were looking for. Then once we started coming and teaching them the beginning of October, we and them have seen many changes and miracles in their lives. She was never sure about being baptized in any of the other churches but now she says she is for sure wants to be baptized in this church. It`s so amazing to see these kinds of experiences happen. It makes me really happy that I chose to serve a mission because I`d never have these experiences if I never went. These experiences have been a real testimony and faith builder for me. I know that this church is true and and Jesus Christ lives and this Gospel does change lives. 

Well next week when I write I`ll find out if I`m staying here or going to another area. Until then, hope you all have a great week and stay safe. Hope to hear from you all soon!

-Elder Gómez

Monday, December 2, 2013

Semana 16

Hi everybody!
Today marks five months since I left home, and it`s been the fastest five months of my life. November was the fastest month ever. We only have two more weeks in this transfer as well. The time just keeps getting faster and faster here. When you enjoy the work and your companions and work as hard as you can every day, it goes by super fast. You don`t think about the time and you`re not homesick or ´´trunky.´´ 

In December, the mission president invites all the missionaries over for a Christmas dinner, and we should be finding out the schedule soon for when each companionship gets their turn to go. Also we get to skype the family this Christmas! I`m probably going to have to practice my english! 

We`re seeing the fruits of our labors come forth. The Gomez family has their baptism this Sunday the 8th before church and their daughter has her baptism the 14th. We also have a lot of investigators that are progressing and coming to church. 

I just found out today that we are going to have emergency transfers and Elder Collantes will be leaving tomorrow to Santo Domingo. So now it will just be me and Elder Church for the rest of the transfer. I`m not sure why they did emergency transfers, but it`s kind of sad, because I really love Elder Collantes and he`s such a great missionary. 

It`s been going great here, and with transfers coming in two weeks, I feel like I might be staying here for a fourth transfer. But we`ll just have to wait and see. Hope all is well with all of you back home. Hope to hear from you all very soon! 

-Elder Gómez

Monday, November 25, 2013

Semana 15

Hi everyone! I hope things are all going well for you all. Things are going great here. We`re already in the fourth week of this transfer and November is almost over and I feel like this has been the fastest transfer and month ever.

Well we thought that last week was Thanksgiving so we made mashed potatoes to celebrate. Then we just found out today that it`s this Thursday!

Things are going really great here. After splitting the sector and losing investigadores we`re arising up from the difficulty and the success is coming back. We had six investigators come to church yesterday. The Gómez family has their baptism for the 7th of Diciembre

We had a family home evening last week for the farewell of the bishop`s son who just left on Wednesday for Perú. Their family invited a lot of the members and a lot of their family who aren`t members. The five of us missionaries taught the family home evening and we shared what a mission is and why we go on a mission. It was a great experience. He was really great and we did visits and exchanges with him a lot so we`re really grateful for him and his service. He`s really prepared and will do great. 

Zone Conference was last week and we met with a few other zones and President Ghent and a Seventy were there and gave us a training. It was really cool. We also had a video satelite conference last night where the Area Presidency gave the missionaries and ward councils very good training. They say that we`re in a new era of missionary work and that this is an era as significant as the early events of the Restoration. It`s really exciting to be a part of this. The Area Presidency has received instruction on this new Work of Salvation plan that we have here from the Prophet and Apostles and that we have to work with members like never before. Reactivating less actives is now as important and significant as teaching and baptizing investigators. 

Well that`s all for this week. I hope you guys all have a great week and I can`t wait to hear from you. ¡Buenas Tardes!

-Elder Gomez

Thanksgiving dinner a week early...minus the turkey

Christmas lights in their apartment

Monday, November 18, 2013

Semana 14

Hola buenas tardes! Todo está bien y chevere aquí.

Things are going good here. With two companionships here, we had to split the sector. We´ve lost some investigadores and less actives and converts recents to the other sector, so we haven´t been having very many lessons this week. In the last transfer we would have about 34 or more lessons every week but now we´re getting about less than 20. We had interviews with President Ghent on Friday and he and his assistants told me that we should be getting more now because the wards are giving all the missionaries 15 names of less actives to visit and they also said to just stay diligent and obedient and results and investigadores will come. We´re going to start trying to find people near the chapel which means that it´s easier for them to come to church and progress and everything. Since the other two missionaries (Elder Lopez and Elder Robinson) live so close to us, we study together almost every morning spend a lot of time together. It really helps Elder Church Elder Collants and Elder Robinson learn the lessons and in their training. 

We have a family that we are teaching that is the Gomez Family, who we found over a month ago. They were never really sure about being baptized and never came to church. They said though that before we found them, they would fight and argue a lot and had a lot of problems and once we starting teaching, their problems went away and they felt a lot of peace at home. One day about three weeks ago the mom told us that she was going to return to the church she used to go to and the dad said he was going to return to the Catholic church. We just invited them read the Book of Mormon and pray to know what they should do. We didn´t visit them again until this last Monday and they said that once we stopped visiting that all their problems and the fighting came back. Our ward mission leader told them that they should take that as a sign that they should follow this path. They´re reading the scriptures and praying now and are gaining a testimony. They also finally came to church this Sunday which was really cool. They said the sacrament was really good and the mom said she felt like crying during it. We have a baptism date for them the 7th of December and I really think they´re going to reach that date. A lot of good things are happening here. 

The Area Presidency has introduced a new plan for all the missions in Ecuador Colombia  Peru and the other countries in the Area. We´re supposed to be starting working more with members in rescuing less actives. All the wards are giving their missionaries 15 names to work with and we have to work to bring them back to church. They´re saying that we´re in a new era of missionary work. These are really exciting times. The Lord is hastening His work. I´m excited to start this Work of Salvation plan and work more with members. We have a Seventy that lives in our ward and we want to do visits with him. We´re also still doing lots of visits with our ward mission leader HR. 

Everything here is going great. It´s good to be a trainer. It sure is a lot of responsibility, especially with two new missionaries. They both have different needs and you have to give both of them the attention and help they need. They look up to you to know what to do and you have to be on top of everything that´s going on here. It can be a lot at times, but it´s worth it when you give them great spiritual experiences and you´ll have an impact on them for all of their mission. Elder Church and Elder Collantes are very great. I really enjoy being with them. 

Well that´s all for this week. I hope things are going well for all of you. Love you and miss you all and hope you have a great week. Hope to hear from you soon!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, November 11, 2013

Semana 13

Hi everybody!

As I said last week, I am a new trainer. I`m actually training TWO new missionaries!! They are Elder Collantes from Perú and Elder Church from Orem, Utah. I guess I was the only trainer who got two new missionaries (or sons or hijos as they call them here, and the trainers are dads or padres). They are really good and I really enjoy being with them. At first I was kind of nervous to train two new missionaries at the same time, but I`m really enjoying it. Elder Church doesn`t speak much Spanish so we`ve been helping him to share his testimony and learn to speak more. I think we`ll be able to help him speak very well within the next few weeks. I think this is probably the most responsibility I`ve ever been given to train two missionaries. I`ve been really striving to be an example to them and an obedient missionary, because the first companion really makes all the difference for the new missionary. I`ve been trying to be an example in my attitude and how to handle dissappointment in the mission and how to teach and show them all the areas and help them get to know the investigators and members. They are really growing and progressing. I`m very happy and grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity and this leadership. I know that we will have a lot of success this week and this transfer. I love you all and can`t wait to hear from you all. Have a great week!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, November 4, 2013

Semana 12-Transfer Week

Hi everyone!

I don`t have much time today to write since we were in Quito nearly all day, but we had transfers today. My companion Elder Navarro left to Riobamba and I`m staying here for another transfer and I`m going to be a trainer. We`re going back to Quito tomorrow to meet the new missionaries and find out who I will be training. Maybe he`ll be a Gringo or a Latino! It`s crazy that I`m already going to be a trainer in my third transfer in Ecuador. It`s a bit nervous but I know it`s going to be good and the Lord is with us. This night I`m staying in a trio with two missionaries in my zone that will be training too; Elder López and Elder Zuta. Me Elder Navarro and Elder López were in a trio this last week for emergency transfers since Elder López´s companion was transfered. It`s been really fun to be with him. He is from Mexico and has 7 months in the mission. He`s going to be our new district leader here and will be going to the new sector since our sector is being split and we`re going to have four missionaries in the ward. We had a good week this week and had about 34 or 36 lessons this week so we`re staying busy. Well that`s all the time I`ve got for now. I can`t wait to hear from you all and tell you next week who my companion is. See you all and stay safe and have a great week!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, October 28, 2013

Semana 11

Hi everybody!

We`re already at the last week of this transfer. These six weeks went by a lot faster than the other transfers. That`s good though because it means we`re focused and working really hard. We had a lot of appointments that fell through this week and no baptisms this week since our investigators with baptismal dates didn`t show up. None of that should let us down though. One of my teachers in the MTC showed us a talk from Elder Jeffery R. Holland that he gave at the MTC where he talks about why he thinks missionary work can be really hard at times:

"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul."
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland
I really like this because if it wasn`t easy for the Savior to suffer every one of us, then why should we think that missionary work and living the Gospel is always going to be easy. Missionaries who enter the field thinking they`re going to have success every day and every investigator will get baptized are in for disappointment. I`ve decided for myself that I will never fight or argue with any of my companions. Because that will just drive the spirit away and we won`t be able to get anything done. The missionaries who have trouble with companions and troubles in the mission say that it goes by so slow in these times. I don`t want that to happen so I`m going to try enjoying every transfer and companion. 
Well even though we had a lot of appointments fall through this week, we were still able to teach 33 lessons. The new goal is that missionaries teach 34 lessons every week so this should be easy for us. Some missionaries here don`t always get this much, usually like 15 or 20 lessons a week, so I feel like we`re really blessed. We also go on divisions multiple times a week so we can do more than one lesson at the same time, so that helps a lot too. Our Ward Mission Leader is amazing too. He is always willing to help us. A lot of wards have mission leaders who don`t want to work so this really is a blessing from our Father in Heaven that I`m in a ward where the majority of the people are excited about participating in missionary work. 
So we have our transfers next week and I`m really excited about what`s going to happen. I feel like I might be staying here but wherever the Lord needs me is where I will go! 
Well hope you all have a great week and stay safe and I can`t wait to hear from you all. 
-Elder Gomez

Monday, October 21, 2013

Semana 10

Hi everybody!

Well we had a good week. We had two baptisms this Saturday. One for EC and the other for MH. We had a few baptisms planned for this week but none of them came to church so we won´t be having any baptisms this week. But we´re still working really hard. We go on divisions many times every week since we have a lot of appointments. We´re almost always kept busy with teaching appointments. At our zone conference this Friday, Sister Ghent, the mission president´s wife, was checking all the area books and she said that she was very happy to look through ours since we have so many people that we´re teaching and that we´re working hard. It´s like what President Benson said that the secret to missionary work is ´´work´´! That´s the only way you can be successful in the mission. There´s some missionaries that like to take breaks and don´t put in all their effort or don´t have much enthusiasm to work. Those who are excited to work and put in all of their effort will be successful missionaries and have the Spirit with them guiding them to the people who need to hear this message.

Well we had only two investigators come to church today. We have a family of four and others that said they would come but things happen I guess and they didn´t come. My companion was pretty upset, but I don´t see any reason why we should be upset. If we expect every single investigator to progress then we´re going to be disappointed. People who always worry and get upset or angry easily are going to have a hard time. As President Monson said ´´It´s better to look up.´´ The best thing to do is just smile keep happy thoughts and press forward.  

Well this has been a really good week and I´ve been really feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost a lot more in my life. I know that this work is true and it can be happiness to many people because I´ve seen what it´s done to many people. We have a family named the family Gomez who have said that they don´t fight as much as they used to and there´s more peace and happiness in their home because of what we´ve been teaching them. This really can bring families closer and more united and become eternal families. 

Have a good week everyone and I hope to hear from you all soon!!

-Elder Gomez 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Semana 9

This has been a good week. We had three baptisms this Saturday and are getting ready for two more this coming Saturday. J and NE got baptized and also MG who is the wife of a member who studied at UVU and is recently getting reactive in the church. The work here is really progressing. They keep saying in conference that the Lord is hastening His work and it is so true and evident here. We`re working a lot with our ward mission leader and the members in finding and teaching people and it`s working. It`s true that missionary work only works if both the members and missionaries work together. We have an amazing ward mission leader. His name is HR and he`s always so excited to help us. He comes with us to lessons almost every day. And we fast with him every Sunday for our investigators so that helps out a lot too. There`s a lot of miracles happening. We have an investigator named O who would never come to church and we were about to stop teaching her because we need time to teach people who will progress. But we taught about the temple last week and I think something happened because she seems a whole lot more willing and excited to prepare for baptism. She came to church yesterday and I know she is going to progress very well. We should be able to have a baptism for her on the 26th of this month. 

We visited this new family who said that one of their sons was killed a while ago and the wife was really sad and crying and wanted to know why we have so much challenges in this life. Our ward mission leader was able to teach her that families can be together forever and she doesn`t need to worry. We were able to help her a bit and I could see the spirit.

This Saturday we have the baptism for EC and MD. We`re also teaching E`s dad who we invited to be baptized. He accepted but didn`t accept a date yet. 

Well that is about all that`s happened this week and I know that with the help of the Lord, we will have even greater success this coming week. 
Hope to hear from you all soon!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, October 7, 2013

Semana 8

Hi everyone hope you all had a good week. Conference was really good. We watched all of the Saturday sessions in the Stake Center, then we had a baptism for J in between the Afternoon and Priesthood Session. It was a really good experience. His cousin C baptized him and his parents and brothers came who aren`t members, and so it was really cool since we were able to teach them about baptism and why we do it. Then the next day we watched General Conference in our Ward building. The mission president and his wife came to the Stake Center to watch it on Saturday and Sunday then they made all of the missionaries lunch and brownies on Sunday. There was a lot of really inspiring messages that I really liked from Pres. Uchtdorf in the Saturday Morning Session and also Elder Holland.
We`ve been working really hard and keeping ourselves busy. This week we have three baptisms planned. One for MC whose husband is a member who has recently started coming back to church. The others are for J and NE who are living with their uncle who is in the bishopric. Most of our investigators are progressing very well. The Lord is hastening His work and the Gospel is being spread rapidly here in Ecuador. Sadly we`re going to have to stop visiting a few investigators because they aren`t progressing, but there`s always more people to find that will progress and attend church. 

We were told that last year that this mission baptized over 30,000 people, but currently only about 9,000 are actually active. So this is what`s going to be the focus of Ecuador and four other countries. The area presidents and 70s have introduced a plan to the mission president and we`re going to be getting training these next few weeks. 

Last week we had a really good opportunity to work with President Ghent last week. He had to come down here and give one of our investigators an interview before he could be baptized. After we asked him if he would come and do some visits with us. I went with him and our ward mission leader to visit a family. And my companion went with members to other visits. We visited the family C who have a son named E who is getting ready to be baptized but his mom is inactive and his date is investigating the church but feels like E isn`t ready for baptism. President Ghent shared some really good thoughts and council that helped them and they were really excited after he came. We were able to set a date for E's baptism for October 19th and he and his dad came to general conference together and his dad seemed to really like it. 

Well we`re doing really great here and progressing far. Hope you all have a good week and I can`t wait to hear from you all. 

-Elder Gomez

Monday, September 30, 2013

Semana 7

Hi everyone! It´s already been a week since transfers and this first week went by really fast. I said in the last email that we found another apartment, but no new missionaries came here so it´s just going to be me and my companion here and missionaries should be coming into the new apartment in five weeks when we have transfers again. It´s different not being in a trio but we´re doing very good. Me and my companion have a goal of getting 15 baptisms this month and I think we should be able to make it. We have at least one this week and possibly one or two more this week. We had another planned for this week but it fell through beecause the investigator didn´t attend church so we´re going to try to set another date. But whether or not we reach the goal, what´s important are the people, not the numbers. When we think about these goals more as individual people and not just statistics, we grow a greater love for these people, which makes us want to work harder and harder to help these people and to continue helping them after baptism.
The baptism we have this week is an investigator named J. He is living with his cousin CR who is a member and has been supporting him and teaching him. He had some problems in the past with drugs and stuff but he´s completely changed and is really happy. I remember the first time we met him, he had piercings in his lips and crazy hair and clothes, but now he´s taking out the piercings, cut his hair and wears a white shirt and tie to shirt. He just seems a whole lot more happier to; more friendly and he always smiles when we see him. It´s just amazing to see how the Gospel can change peoples lives and can make them happier. We can find happiness and joy in entertainment and things of the world, but it´s only through Jesus Christ and His Gospel that we can find true and eternal happiness and it´s just so amazing to see this happen in peoples lives as a missionary. 

Yesterday, we had an interesting experience. We were just walking and this guy wants to sit down and talk to us. We sit down and find out that he was really drunk and asked for help with a problem then he would randomly start talking in French to us then he called one of his friends on his cell phone and made me talk to them. He repeated himself a lot and so we were sitting there for a while and were finally able to go. It was really interesting and it just makes you think that the world is a lot different from where you live and everyone has different personalities and different ways of life.

I´m still teaching English on Saturdays and it going really good. We have two people that show up often. One is a manger at the grocery store we shop at on Mondays so we always talk to him when we see him at the store. They´re all really good and are open to hearing about the Gospel. I even offered to teach them the missionary lessons in english and they thought that would be really great. 

As a missionary you really learn the importance of using time wisely, setting goals, and planning. We do these things every day and without them, we wouldn´t be as successful as we are. I know this is going to help me too after the mission to use time more wisely in college and all other aspects of life. 

Spanish is coming along really well. I´m not fluent yet and I stumble every now and then but I can understand they majority of things and it will just get better and better. I´m going to set short term and long term goals for myself on where I want my Spanish to be and then how to achieve it.

Well I´m really excited for General Conference this weekend. On Saturday we´re going to watch the sessions in the Stake Center and then on Sunday we´re going to watch the sessions in our ward. It´s going to be exciting to hear what the prophets and apostles have to say. They always give us guidance. I know that if we prepare for conference and pray, we will get more out of it and it will be a better experience. 

Well that´s all for me this week. Hope everything is okay at home wherever you all are. Have a good week and hope to hear from you all soon!

-Elder Gomez

Monday, September 23, 2013

Semana 6

Hi everyone!

Well it´s already been six weeks and time for transfers. I´m staying here in Conocoto with Elder Navarro but Elder Christensen got transferred to Riobamba. He was kind of sad because he had been here for four months and he loved it here and the people. Once your in an area for so long you get attached to the people and the members and the investigators. It´s possible that I might be moving into a new apartment and opening a new sector because we found a new apartment down the street from the church and really close to us and our area is going to be split. So I´ll probably find out within the next day if I´m going to this new apartment.

We had my first baptism this Saturday! We were originally planning a few more but they fell through and we had to move the dates, so we had one baptism. I got to do the baptism too and it was really cool because it´s the first time I´ve ever baptized someone so it was a really cool experience. The spirit was very strong and it was really great. The baptism was for one of our investigators named AC who is blind. He´s had some problems with family and health and we´ve really worked hard to help him. He always says how good he feels when we teach and when he goes to church and takes the sacrament. We also made brownies for the baptism and they were really good since I haven´t had brownies in a while. We should be having a few more baptisms this week too. One fell through because the investigator didn´t attend church this week and in this mission we can´t baptize people unless they´ve been to church at least three times. But we have a baptism interview for an investigator named EC who is 10 or 11 and his mom is inactive but his grandma is active. We have trouble finding times to teach because he is always so busy and gone playing or doing sports so it´s hard sometimes to find time to teach him so we´re hoping he can make it to the baptism interview today.

This week we´ve been working really hard and it´s paid off. Seven investigators came to church today and that´s the most we´ve ever had so that was really good. We have a lot of investigators who are progressing really great and it feels good to see all our hard work pay off. We have a few though that I´m worried for since they´re kind of starting to fall through so we need to work really hard to help these people stay on the right path. 

I´ve been really feeling the spirit work through me more in lessons and I feel it more throughout the day. I´ve been working really hard to stay focused and positive here. One thing I´ve been doing a lot is keeping a prayer in my heart to help me keep the spirit. So whenever I feel discouraged or annoyed or whatever I try saying a prayer and it really helps in every situation. You guys can try it when your faced with a problem or stressed or just need the spirit more because it really helps. 

Well this week has been great and went by super fast. With this new transfer I hope to be even more successful than I was in the last. It´s gonna take a lot of effort but I know I can do it with the help of the Lord and I know the harder I work, the faster time goes by. 

Well stay safe everyone and I can´t wait to hear from you. Have a great week!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 5

Hi everyone! This is my 6th week here and I can`t believe how fast it has gone by. When you work hard time goes by way fast. Next week I`ll find out if I`m staying here or going to a new area. I really like this area and would like to stay, but if I`m needed somewhere else that will be alright.
Well today for P-Day we went to Quito with our zone and saw some really cool historic Catholic cathedrals and we went to this place where I think everyone was there waiting for the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa to talk. We didn`t stay for it all but they had this big opening ceremony thing with a marching band playing and royal guards and stuff so it was pretty cool. Then we went to two historic Catholic cathedrals and they are huge! We were able to go to the very top of one and you can pretty much see all of Quito and it`s really windy there. It`s way cool. Ecuador has a lot of rich history and culture and it`s really cool to see it all. The city is huge and there are a ton of people. I really like it but I like where I`m at because it`s smaller and not so crowded. I kind of think of where I`m at as the Riverton of Ecuador. 

We had zone conference on Wednesday and President Ghent and his wife and his assistants came and they talked to us and gave us some training. One thing I really liked that Hermana Ghent taught us was that our missions are not only going to bless our families back at home but they`ll bless our future families and kids and that we should keep pressing forward and serve the best mission we can so that we can bless are families now and to have these experiences to tell our kids in the future to help them. 

Well we got five investigators to church this week. Not as much as we were hoping for but it`s still good. We have a few investigators that are having troubles but we have a few that are progressing very well. We have two or three baptisms planned for this Saturday and three the next week. Our mission has set new goals and our goal is to get at least five baptisms a month and I really hope we get it. We have one investigator named VZ who loves to talk and always makes really long comments in lessons about doctrine and stuff. At first I thought that he really just wanted to learn and had no intention of progressing or being baptized, but he is probably one of our best progressing investigators. He`s been reading and praying and has come to church twice now. Our last lesson with him was really good too. I could see that what we were teaching is having a change on his life and I feel like he really wants this. We also have an investigator named AC who is blind and has been having problems with family and physical pains. We`ve been working with him a lot and he is doing very well. We burned him a disc of the Book of Mormon so that he could listen to it and we wanted to try to find a braille version too that he could read. He`s doing very well and we have a baptismal date for him this Saturday. I really love having investigadores like this who are accepting the Gospel and it`s changing their lives. This is what makes mission so great is seeing the Gospel touch peoples lives for the better. 

Well we`ve seen some good progress here and I hope for even more this week. I have been opening my mouth more in lessons and trying to contact more in the street and it`s working very well. This is what I want to focus on more this week is being a more effective missionary.

Well hope to hear from you all soon and have a great week! Take care.

-Elder Gomez

We asked him to send us a picture of his apartment.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Semana 4

Hi everyone. I can`t believe it`s already P-Day again. These weeks go by way fast when you`re focused and working hard! A lot has happened in a week. I got bit by a dog and hit my head on a metal box, but I`ll get to that later.
Well this week was pretty successfull for us. We had five investigators attend church and that was really exciting. We have a lot of people who say they`ll go but don`t show up and when we go to pick them up, a lot of times they aren`t there. So it was rewarding to have that many investigators show up. Let`s make it 10 this next week! :D I really want to set high goals for myself, because it makes me want to work harder to reach the goals and then I`m more focused and not as homesick and time goes by faster. 

One thing we`re going to be doing now to find new people to teach is we`re going to start teaching free English classes every Saturday at the church. We had our first class this Saturday but I don`t think it was advertized at all so no one showed up and we just taught our Bolivian companion and ward mission leader. I`m hoping this week as we advertize it better that we can get a lot of poeple to come and hopefully find people to teach. 

We`re pretty busy here with appointments and finding new people. We`ve taught the first lesson a whole lot because we`re always finding new people to teach. The thing we have to do now though is get these people find out for themselves if this is true. That`s something we try teaching a lot that we can say whatever we want but they shouldn´t believe just because we say so, but they should pray and find out for themselves if this is true or just another church.

I really love the investigators that we teach. Most of them are progressing very well. A lot of them go to church on their own without having us have to remind them and their faith is really growing strong. I feel like the more sincere love you have for these people, the harder you`re going to work for them and that`s what helps them progress and develop a testimony. We probably have about 5 potential baptisms for the end of this month, but we have transfers the week before and I don`t know if I`ll stay here or go to a different area. 

So last Monday I got bit by a dog. Luckily it didn`t break the skin or leave any mark so the nurse said I`m all fine. But then the next day it was raining and I was bending down with my face down to avoid the rain. But I didn`t notice that there was a metal box on the fence next to me. So next thing I know, I get hit in the head and fall down. It cut my head and was bleeding a bit, but luckily it wasn`t a deep cut and wasn`t bleeding much. We called the nurse again and she said that since it wasn`t deep and wasn`t bleeding much that I`m okay and just need to clean it and put neosporin on it twice a day. I just need to be more careful here which I am. :D (Good thing we sent him with a first aid kit)

I`m really enjoying it here. There`s so much to do and so many wonderful people here to teach. I`m so excited for this week and can`t wait to tell you everything that happens next P-Day. Stay safe and hope to hear from you all soon. 

-Elder Gomez

Well we don`t really make a lot of food in our apartment. We do make popcorn a lot. I got these mini frozen pizzas one time, but we don`t have an oven so I cooked it on the stove. The pizza was kind of gross though. But I don`t really spend much money. Everything here is so cheap. Like I can buy a loaf of bread for about 1 dollar then big thing of yogurt for 2 dollars and everything else is cheap. Today I spent about 20 dollars on all of my groceries and the week before I only spent about 7 dollars. But since there are a ton of bakeries on almost every street, we buy a lot of bread that we snack on throughout the day since the bread is like 12-18 cents each. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 3 in Quito

Hi everybody!

It´s been three weeks since I got to Ecuador and we´re half way through this transfer. It´s also been two months today since I left for the MTC. I don´t think summer has ever gone by this fast for me. 

We´ve been working hard this week and it´s nice to have P-Day today. Today we had to go the mission offices in Quito to get some Book of Mormons and afterwards since all the American restaurants are in that area we ate at KFC. It´s really nice to have American food every now and then. A lot of the food here is really good though. There are bakeries everywhere and you can buy bread for only like 15 cents each so we always get a lot of bread.

Well we´ve got a whole lot of new investigators this week but only a few are actually progressing. I´ve noticed that there are a lot of people that who want to learn more and have us teach them but they have no desire to see if this is true. They just want to learn just to have the information. One of our investigators who has been progressing very well and had a baptismal date told us yesterday that he doesn´t want to continue with the lessons anymore. But that´s okay because there are still a whole lot more people who are accepting the Gospel and there´s more to be found. 

We´ve got a really good ward and a lot of them are really strong active members who always love helping us. It´s a pretty small ward compared to back at home but still really good. There are a lot that are inactive though so we´ve been working with some inactives to try bringing them back to church. It´s kind of funny though because it´s just like how it is in Utah where there´s not very many people that show up at first but then a ton of people come at the same time like 10 or 15 minutes after the meeting has started.

I´ve heard that with the mission being split, a lot of missionaries got switched to the new mission and so like 90% of missionaries here are pretty new and there are a lot of people who are trainers even though they are new. There´s a first 12 week program that the new missionaries are supposed to do but a lot of them have become trainers after their first transfer of only six weeks. I was told that I´m probably going to be a trainer after this transfer, so that´s kind of exciting and a bit nervous since I´ve only been here about three weeks. 

I feel like my Spanish is improving too. I can´t understand everything and every now and then the people can´t understand my Spanish but it´s getting a lot better. Just a few nights ago I had a dream in Spanish which is kind of funny. 

One of the things I really like here though is seeing families and investigators progressing and working towards goals. We have a family who wants to get baptized but they have to get married first and the husband was previously married but got divorced and so it costs more money to get married again here. But they´ve got a goal to get married at the end of this month then get baptized the same week then get sealed in the temple a year from now. They really want to do this. They always seem excited to go to church and progress. We also found this one girl who´s been accepting all of the lessons and commitments and has a baptismal date for the end of this month. We have a lot more that are progressing but are just having trouble getting to church because of work and stuff but we´ve been teaching that the Lord wants us to be able to keep the commandments and that he´ll provide us a way to do all that he wants us to do. 

We´ve also been giving people a lot of blessings and it´s really powerful but I haven´t actually said the blessings, but yesterday I did the anointing part in Spanish. It´s good to help people and we should always be prepared for when someone asks us for a blessing or for any help like that. 

Well I hope everything is going good back at home and I hope you to hear from you soon. Enjoy your week!

-Elder Gomez

I asked him a few questions about the food he is eating, how clean the city is, safety, and his apartment...

I haven´t gotten a sweater yet but I might soon since it gets pretty cold at night. The city is pretty clean and not very much trash on the ground. Most people throw it away in a trash can. There´s not very many bugs, but I´ve seen a few in our apartment every now and then. Yeah there are a ton of dogs everywhere that just wander the streets. Most of them leave you alone but a lot of the ones behind fences bark at you when you walk by. There´s also this dog that always whines and sounds like it´s dying all the time. Remember how you didn´t like that one dog that always barks? This is just as bad if not worse, but at least it doesn´t do it everyday. I think the dogs back at home are a lot nicer and not as annoying. I haven´t gotten sick yet either so that´s good.

Well for all of our lunches with mamitas we have soup first then we have rice and chicken or meat then sometimes beans. There´s also this really good thing we have that´s one of my favorites. They´re called patacones. It´s like fried banana but I think it´s a different kind of banana that´s green but I think you can use regular bananas though. But it tastes really good and almost tastes like french fries sort of. I haven´t had guinea pig yet but I heard there is a restaurant here that serves it. I´ve heard that it´s pretty expensive though.

There´s a lot of people that give us really good fruit juices too and the watermelon here is very good and sweet. There´s also this herbal tea that we can drink that a lot people here like and we get it a lot from members and investigators. I think it´s called manzanilla but I´m not sure. 

Well I think the area we are in is pretty safe since we´re not in Quito or any big downtown areas but one thing they told us is that if someone tries handing you a card or paper to not take it since it could be covered in drugs. Another thing was to make sure you only use legitimate taxis since there are some that aren´t and they say some of those can be used for express kidnapping. But the area we are in is very safe I feel. Not as much people as there are in Quito and the people are nice.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 2 in Ecuador

Hi everyone!

This is has been my second week in Ecuador and we are pretty busy. I feel like the days go by faster than they did at the MTC. Well we didn´t have very many new investigators to teach but we did find a few. We met this guy who let us into his house and he had these big coconuts that he got from the coast and cut them open with a machete for us to drink and eat. There was a ton of water in it. I felt like I was going to get sick if I had anymore! But he was a very nice guy and he said he used to be some sort of pastor in Peru a while ago and he seemed very interested in our message. We also found this one guy whose parents received the missionaries twenty years ago and he really likes our message and we´ve taught him a few times. We also found this really great family last night. We had to walk through this building and past these little houses to find this house that I doubt hardly anyone knows about, but we were trying to find someone who lived around there and when the family said that person lives somewhere else or something we just started a conversation with this family and they let us in. They have just one son and live in a very small house but they were very nice. They seemed like they´re very prepared. They told us that not many people come to there door and a lot of people aren´t very nice but that they liked how we went out our way to find them and they want to hear more from us. I also gave them an invitation to be baptized which was the first time I´d ever done that and it was cool because I felt like the spirit was putting the words in my mouth. They didn´t say yes though, because they were baptized Catholics when they were younger and weren´t sure but they said they would pray about our message and baptism and we told them that they would receive an answer if they did. Most of the people we try talking to are nice. Most of them will at least listen to us and tell us they´re not interested in religion or don´t want to change their religion, and only sometimes are there people who will just ignore us or be a little less friendly. But that´s okay because no one shouldn´t have to do anything they don´t want to do and we should always be respectful to all people no matter their lifestyle. There are a ton of people here who we´ve taught who live very different lives than we do but they are still good people. They´re all children of Heavenly Father and we should be nice to everyone. 

I feel like we eat way too much here though. Almost every house we go to they almost always give us food and I always feel so full even if we were fasting earlier or if I hardly ate that day. On Friday we visited a member and gave his mom a blessing and they gave us a full lunch with soup and rice and chicken. But then we were supposed to go to the mamita who was preparing us food and we got the whole meal there too. We´re supposed to be nice and finish the entire meal no matter how full we get. So when we were eating I felt like I was going to throw up and so my companion helped eat some of it, but then I couldn´t eat anymore so I wrapped up the last little bits in my napkin and hid it and waited to throw it away. I don´t know if that was mean, but we did tell them before we left that we had eaten before and they completely understood. Their fruit juices are very good though and so is their bread. It´s all very fresh and tastes amazing. 

Well I feel like as we work hard and are faithful we´re seeing really good results. Even though there are some days where no one listens to us or appointments fall through and no one is home, you just have to keep on working because there´s always that one family or person who will listen and their lives will be changed for the better. That´s what I love is when we´re in lessons and you can see that the Gospel is starting to make a change in their lives and you can see it on their faces. It´s so real and it´s so rewarding to see this happen for real and just hear about it in stories from others. 

Well I really hope to hear from all soon! Have a good week!

I asked him about the water and what they drink...if you didn't know, Alex does not like soda pop.

Yeah I mainly just drink water and juices, but a lot of times when we do family home evenings and my companion will buy pepsi and other sodas and I have to drink it because the members or family serve it to us in their nice cups so I`ll usually try to just drink it as fast as I can to get it over with.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 1 in Ecuador

Hi everyone!

So you all probably know that I made it to Ecuador on Monday night. When we got there we were picked up by two sister missionaries who drove us to the church. When we got there the senior missionaries made us dinner. Then I went to stay with the Mission President´s Assistants that night. Some more missionaries came the next day so I stayed with them until I got my companions on Thursday. They were all Peruvian with a few from Chile and Ecuador and most of them went to the Colombia MTC. Until we got our companions we just had a ¨Mini MTC¨at the church. They fed us really good. We got Papa John´s one night then we had McDonald´s for lunch one day. 

I got my new companions on Thursday and I´m in a trio. One is named Elder N and is from Bolivia and has been in the mission field for 2 months. The other is named Elder C and is from Boston and has been out for 10 months. 

I´m in an area called Los Chillos and it´s a really cool place. It´s about 45 minutes to and hour away from the mission offices in Quito. There are a ton of dogs that wander the street and some that just sit around that look like they´re sick or something. I was told in the MTC that if a dog starts coming up to you that you just bend down and touch your shoe and they´ll leave you alone so that´s worked so far. Most of the time you can walk by the dogs and they usually don´t do anything; they´ll just wander around minding their own business. 

Our apartment is really nice...other than the bathroom. :D It´s really small and the shower head is fried because when I was using it on Saturday and was turning off the shower, the water started getting really hot then steam started coming out of it then the shower head lit up red. I was really scared that thing was going to blow up or light on fire, but luckily nothing happened. We just have no hot water and have to shower in cold water. :D 
Since we only have two beds, we´ve had to put the beds together and I had to sleep in between with my head at the opposite end of the bed. This morning though we got bunk beds so now I finally have my own bed. 

The weather is pretty nice. It does get pretty cold at night though so I usually wear thermal socks to bed. I do get sweaty but not too bad. 

Since the area that we are in built on the mountain, there are a lot of hills and some of the streets can be pretty steep, so it´s almost like hiking in the mountains every day. But we take the buses and taxis too so we don´t have to walk too far since a lot of the places we have to go to can sometimes be a long walk from our apartment.

The food is very good. I love the fruit here. It´s very sweet. Also a lot of the little stores have rolls of bread that are sooo good. We went to the store today and I bought frozen pizzas, yogurt and chocolate milk powder. We have a mamita who is going to be feeding us lunch and we´ve gone once so far. Some of the members have also fed us and the´ve given us some good food. 

We´re really busy here, and it feels like the days do go by faster than the last few weeks at the MTC, and those went by pretty fast. We´ve street contacted a lot of people and have had a few lessons and we had 2 baptisms on Saturday. We´ve also gone to some family home evenings. This mission gets baptisms every week and we´ve got I think one or two planned for this week. Most of the investigators we have though had been starting taking lessons before I got there so I´ve only taught the first lesson once, which was a cool experience. We found this family and we taught them on Friday night. They´re very faithful Christians and go to a Evangelical church. When we got there, we found out that they have all their family (some cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) come over on Fridays to read the Bible so the first half of our time there was one of their family members reading teaching a short lesson from the New Testament. There were more then 10 people there. When it was our turn to teach, they received it very well. The family member who taught the lesson earlier knows about the church and so then he gave a summary of the Book of Mormon and its origins. He said good thing about it. He said that he knows this book compliments the Bible in being another testament of Jesus Christ. The family seemed to agree with everything we said and found it interesting and really liked it a lot. I really felt like this family was prepared to hear our message. We teach them again on Friday and I´m looking to see how they´re going to progress since they´re a very strong family and I know this can bless their lives since they´ve already been blessed with Gospel and are prepared to receive more. 
We have an investigator whose husband is a member of the church and is from Mexico. and he actually went to UVU for college and he says that he loves Cafe Rio. :D
We met a new a family of investigators who went to church on their own this week because a friend told them about it. It´s cool because they´re the Gomez family. We´re going to teach them the first lesson this week. 

I feel like the Spanish if different here. I think I´ve gotten used to the Spanish of Mexico and I need to get adjusted to this Spanish. I think I like the Spanish in Mexico better. One member told me that I do speak Spanish like a Mexican so that´s cool. A lot of people here and in South America speak kind of weird Spanish to me so sometimes when we´re teaching or talking to people like members or my companion I don´t really know what´s going on. But I can still understand the majority and I just need some time to adjust to the dialects and stuff. 

Well this is a lot different from the MTC and a whole lot different from Utah but I know that if I´m busy and working hard it will go by fast and I´ll have a good time. We had a family home evening yesterday and I was able to play guitar for it and that made me really happy because I´ve missed being to play guitar and music. 

I really can´t wait to hear from you guys and how everything is going back at home. Hope to hear from you all soon! :)

I think that for Ecuador this is a pretty nice place. A lot of the people have nice homes and some have nice tvs or ipads and stuff like that. There are some though that live in really small places. We have one investigator who is supposed to get baptized this week I think who is blind and lives in a very small house. But all of these people seem to be happy with what they have and most of them are nice and humble. It´s weird because in the United States we have so much and huge houses and we still act like we don´t have much but these people here have less than us and live happy lives.

I think these are the missionaries that arrived in Quito last week.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Arrived in Quito

After almost a day of worrying if he made it safely we finally got this email:

Hi I only have a few minutes to let you know that I made it to Ecuador last night and that my P-Day will be on Mondays so that's when I'll be able to write more. Some more missionaries came today and I went to the airport to get them. They're all Latinos and I'll probably be with them the next few days till I get my companion on Thursday. The city is really cool and I'm really excited to start working. Talk to you all soon. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

On his way to Quito

We were able to speak with Alex this morning.  He left the MTC around 1:30 am for the airport.  He called while he was in Panama City waiting for his flight to Quito to leave.  He said he should be arriving in Quito around 5:30 local time.  It was really good to hear his voice!  He sounds very excited to start serving in Quito.  His Spanish sounds great!  He speaks so fast he sounds like a native.  He is traveling with 3 Hermanas who will be serving in Quito and one Elder who is going to Guayaquil.  He had a very good experience in the MTC and met a lot of neat people.  He said he will try and email when he gets to the mission home in Quito.  I believe their P-days in the mission field are on Monday so we may not hear anything until then.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last week in the CCM

Hi everyone!
I have five days left before I leave the MTC and head to Ecuador. I still haven´t been given any flight plans or whatever, but we have our in-field orientation on Friday so I will probably get it then. It´s really lucky that I´m leaving when I am because after I leave there´s supposed to be a total of 800 missionaries here. We were told that both the Provo Perú and Argentina MTCs are completely filled, so they are going to be sending some here.
In class, we've been working on street contacting and sharing short messages. We will look and around and just walk up to missionaries here or teachers or the Latino workers and just start trying to talk to them. It´s kind of scary at first to go up to someone you don´t know and you want to be really polite, but we are able to do it very well.
This week, I have been playing a lot of soccer everyday for gym. They have basketball courts that also act as soccer courts since there are goals built in under the basketball hoops.It´s a lot of  fun and it´s a good workout and we usually play with the Latino missionaries who are very good. Hopefully it help me when I play soccer on P-days in Ecuador.
So as you know, we do have some really good food and interesting food. Almost every Tuesday when new missionaries come in, they give us Costco pizza. We have had flautas for dinner one week and that was really good. It reminded me of Red Iguana. 
I made a goal for myself to try to give out at least one Book of Mormon at the airport or on the plane to Ecuador. Every Thursday we have TRC which is where volunteer members from Mexico come and we teach them, and I´ve given out a Book of Mormon the last two times. I really like doing it and I think it will help prepare me for the mission.
Since we do the same things everyday, I don´t have very many new experiences, but this last week, I´ve really been wanted to finish off strong here and make it a good experience. Our teachers have been telling us that even though we are ready to leave the MTC that it´s important to stay focused and keep working hard, because those who do will be better prepared when the enter the mission field. I want to be as prepared as possible, so I've been making an effort to trying harder and finishing off strong here. I feel like my testimony has really grown as a result. I´m excited to go out and serve because I know that God loves all of us and wants us to be happy and the missionaries are here to find these people who need this in their lives.
Can´t wait to hear from you all! Next time you hear from me I´ll be in Ecuador!! :)

-Elder Gomez

Sometimes at night if we leave the front door open too long mosquitoes get in. I haven´t had a problem with them but my companion has been getting bit. Sometimes at night too they buzz really loud around your ear. Most of the time we won´t go to sleep unless we kill all the mosquitoes in our room.

I asked him if he was dreaming in Spanish yet:

I don´t really remember much dreams so I don´t know if I've been dreaming in Spanish. But I have gotten a whole lot better. I wanted to try to send you a video of me talking to you guys in Spanish but I think it was too big to send. But I´m able to say nearly everything I want to say in Spanish. It actually sounds really weird if I speak in English for too long at one time. We´re able to talk to our Latino roommates very well. All of the Latinos are super nice and love to talk to us. They always tell us that we speak very well and have good accents. We just got new Latino roommates today and talked to them for a few minutes and we can understand them very well. One of them is named Elder Gamez which is cool since it´s very close to Gomez.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 4 in the CCM

Hi! :)
So we´re almost there. I think it´s only 12 more days until I get to Ecuador. I feel like I really want to leave right now, but at the same time, I feel like there´s still more for me to learn and that I should try finishing off strong here.

Well there are a ton of new missionaries every week here. The first week we were here, we knew  everyone. Now there are so many people that you see someone new everyday. It´s cool though since I think some of them look up to us as an example, so we need to be the best missionaries we can be.
I´ve been having some really good experiences here with teaching. Every Thursday, we have this thing where members of the church that live around here will volunteer to come to the MTC and we will teach them as if they were an investigator or an inactive member. I think some of them are actually inactive and some have problems or doubts in their lives that they will talk about in the lesson. So last week we taught this one member who came in and it was an amazing experience. He told us that he had doubts and asked us questions. So we based our whole lesson on what he wanted to talk about, (which is what they have been telling that we should teach according to the needs of the investigators, even if we spent a long time planning a lesson, we should always be willing to change the lesson if the investigator needs to hear something else or if the Spirit guides in another direction). But anyway, I guess were really able to help him and he said he could feel the spirit very strong and feels God´s love for him after that. He said that he had been having questions and doubts about things, but that after we taught him he felt so much better. He was very touched since he knew that we actually cared about him and I gave him my Book of Mormon to keep. In the report we got back the next day, he gave us his phone number and he said that he´d really like to talk to us when we get back from our missions to see how he is doing. Even though not all investigators will be like that and some may argue or get angry, it made me really excited to go out into the mission field.

Language: We have language class everyday where we learn grammar, but we've actually learned all of the grammar so now I think we´ll just be doing review now. I´m able to have conversations with the Latinos and I can understand most of what they say. Sometimes I have to ask them to repeat it or they will sometimes slow it down or try to explain it in English. There were two times this week where I planned to speak only in Spanish for the whole day, but it didn't work out well, so I am going to try again a few times before I leave. Also, I really think I will be able to achieve my goal of fluency before I leave, as long as I practice and study the language more and speak less ingles.
Lessons: We teach two of our teachers a few times every week who will play as progressing investigators. In parts of our study time each day, we are supposed to prepare a lesson for them. We try to figure out their needs and the things in their life and try to plan a lesson around that. In our classes too, we are taught how to teach better and things we can do like asking questions and getting investigators involved and feeling like we actually care about them and that they´re not just a statistic. We also have coaching time, were our teachers will come around as we study and talk to us and give us tips and things on how to teach better and we will practice on them.

We teach the lessons all in Spanish. I can pretty much say anything I want to now in Spanish, but sometimes it´s hard if I don´t know a certain word. One my teachers told us to never ever ever speak english in the lesson since you´ll just confuse them if they don´t speak any english.
My district has been saying all the time that they want to speak less english but they never do it. I feel like we´ve been speaking more english this week. So it gets hard when I want to set a personal goal to speak only Spanish for a day when they only talk in english. I think we just need to remind ourselves and discipline ourselves better.

Apparently there is a rumor going around that someone got a worm or parasite from the food and someone else might have, so if that´s true then that would be why people are getting sick. But I think it´s also because it takes time to adjust to food from other countries and your body might reject it at first.
They add stuff all the time at the tienda. They have a ton of candy so some of the people in my district go there every day and buy candy. I even found some dress shoes there that I´m considering getting just so I don´t wear out my shoes too fast but I don´t know. There´s a lot of members of the church from out in the city that come to the store and buy stuff too.  

It rains almost everyday here. But the last few days it hasn´t rained. But when it rains, it comes down hard and when there is thunder and lighting it lights up the sky at night and is very loud.

Well , I really don´t know what else to say since every week we do the exact same things. But I´ll just end saying that I know that I´m supposed to be serving a mission right now and that that I love this Gospel and the happiness it brings to people.
Can´t wait to hear from you all soon!!!
-Elder Gomez

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Third week in the CCM

Hi Mom and Dad!!!!
How are you all doing this week? This week has been really fun. So I heard that the reason why my flight plan says I leave August 3rd is because the church has to buy a plane ticket back to the US but they don´t use it. This is what people have told me, so I´m pretty sure I will be leaving on August 12th. The only reason I´d be leaving early was if  I was so good at Spanish that I didn´t need to be here, and there were actually two Sisters in my district who left this week because they were basically fluent and didn´t need to stay the whole six weeks. But I´ve made a goal for myself to be fluent in Spanish by the time I leave the MTC. So I´ve got like two and a half weeks for that, but I´ve come along so far. I feel like I´m already semi-fluent. We had some Latino roommates who left for their missions this week, and I would usually stay up and talk to them and their friends almost every night. It´s really cool how much I got to know them using only Spanish since most of them didn´t know hardly any English.

I really just want to get out into Ecuador. I feel really excited to get out there and serve.
The food is hit or miss. Most of it can be really good though. I feel like this is the most food I´ve ever eaten though, so I hope I don´t gain weight. Normally I´ll just have oatmeal or cereal for breakfast. But I guess in Latin America, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, so we have an hour for lunch starting at 12:00, which we always get done by 12:30, usually after lunch we go to the store and my compañero and some of the others in my district will just buy a bunch of candy.

When we first got here,they gave us these cards that they add 120 pesos onto every week and we can use that to buy stuff at the tienda or use the ATM here to just take the money out.

This place is starting to get really packed. The first two weeks, everyone knew each other and was friends. Now there´s a ton of missionaries and the cafeteria is packed!

Well I think I´m going to end this letter and just talk to you guys. I think it´s easier and doesn´t take so long.
Love you! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Second week in the CCM(MTC)

Hi Mom and Dad,
So it has gotten a lot better here. I feel better and the days have been going by faster. I felt so happy today to be able to talk to you guys today. I really miss you guys a lot and hope you´re all doing okay. I´m going to try mailing letters every week so I have more time to write more things about what´s going on here if I forget anything in emails.
So I´ve gotten a whole lot better en mi español. We speak it so much that it´s kind of become second nature to slip in spanish words when I´m talking or writing or thinking. I´ve also forgotten how to say some words in english at times, but that´s rarely. There´s also a lot of Latinos here that we talk to and I can understand mostly all that they say and have a conversation with them. If I keep it up and work really hard, I´ll probably be fluent in a months I think. Our district has been trying to make goals where we don´t speak any ingles at all and only español, but we´ve kind of slacked off this week.
The food here is really good. They have some weird things every now and then like pizza or corn dogs for breakfast or mashed potatoes with hot dogs in them, but most of it is good. They also have fresh fruit for every meal and it´s really good.
Remember how the Andersons said they had an uncle who was going to be working here? Well he is my branch president. I really like him and he´s really nice.
We have a very rigorous schedule. Everyday other than P-day, our schedules are completely filled. We have classes for a few hours in the morning and night, then we have a few hours of study time throughout the day, Then there´s our meals. We then have this thing called TALL, which is this language learning program on the computer we use for about an hour everyday. Then we have gym time for about 50 minutes, which we usually play volleyball in the sand outside. We played soccer today before I came here to write.
We have this thing here where teachers here will pretend to be investigators and we´ll have to plan and prepare to teach a 20-30 minute lesson to them. It´s cool because we have the spirit with us when we teach and I can say mostly all I want to say in spanish and I can understand the investigators even the ones who are Mexican.
We´ve been having a lot of fun here and I feel like I´ve been starting to talk more and open up more to people, so that´s good. I love all so much and you all make me so happy. I can´t wait to be able to see you guys again, but you´re letters will give me the strength I need.
Love you so much,


Alex and his companion, Elder Scaife

Alex's district