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.