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 PerĂº 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.