Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Picture

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
-- Malcolm S. Forbes

Two Worlds...One Family

¡Familia y Amigos!

Shout Out: Spencer! Wow, you are in college! How does it feel, who are your roomates, have you kissed a girl yet, do you have a girlfriend, how often do you visit home, do you like your classes, are the teachers amazing, where do you live, is Cyd near you, have you told her hi for me yet, what is your favorite part of being out of the house, do you miss home...

News: Me! WHOOO! I have survived my first change here in Pasaje, Ecuador! WHOOO! 6 weeks. I am still partially in shock. I am currently in Machala, because I live with the Zone Leaders we have to be here all day to make sure missionaries that are coming and going make it out and in. The final bus will arrive at 6 tonight with our new zone leader Elder Rondón. I am excited.

As for the change, my companion and I did great. We baptized one person, taught 127 lessons (that is comparatively few seeing as how we have to travel TONS every day because our sector is HUGE!), had over 70 new investigators, and have a few baptismal dates set for next month.

We are working hard with a Family Segarra, they are really cool, but I am starting to think they are bipolar. My companion and I have been running around with their government papers trying to get them married, we finally got everything done (except the ceremony and signatures) and were returning their documents to them when they told us, well, actually the boyfriend told us, that they don´t want to be married and he has been kicked out of the house. Yet they still both want to be baptised... hmmmm.

Well, yesterday we called them and they want to be married again, and Johnny is back in the house... AH! I don´t know what to think. We need to get these people married before they change their minds again. The wedding is set for next Monday and my companion and I will be the witnesses. Cool no?

We were visiting with a family the other day when the mom told us that her son wants to be baptised! This was a shocker. The kid comes to church half willingly and he never seems to enjoy it. However, the mom told us that the family is "Catholic" and that like all "Catholics" they don´t have a clue why they are. So she told us that she also wants her son to be baptised because it makes sense to him (and probably because we have heard that he has started arguing with the local priest using our doctrine! This can make MASS a little bit interesting...) We will put a baptismal date on him next time we see him. His Aunt and sisters are also now attending. This will be interesting.

As for much else that happened this week... yeah, nothing.

1. Amy is cooking pig, I invite everyone to eat at her house, but I remind you that you are not a true Native of any country until you have Cow Intestine and Stomach (this makes me queezy talking about it...)
2. Changes are crazy
3. Drugged people are really dumb
4. Pakiquisha is the COOLEST part of my sector.


Elder Robinson


Spencer- Hey, I want to talk to your girlfriend so you should get one and have her write me. Actually, I really just want to hear about how college is going for you.

Ruth- China? Food? Culture Shock?

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
-- Malcolm S. Forbes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Roomate Elders

From Left to Right... Benavides (my companion), Cespedes (Zone Leader), Me, Huamp (Zone Leader)

Think of Me...Think of Me Fondley... (Phantom...)

Family, Friends, Ruth,

Shout Out: LETTERS!!! I recieved my first batch of mail while being here in Ecuador. Took long enough, but I was able to read all about the happenings in the United States. I walked away from District Meeting (in Santa Rosa) with 20+- letters. I think the total for everyone else was somewhere around... 3. Way to go team! We did a really good job! Keep up the good work. I think we can definitely walk away from today with a good feeling because we are all Children of God right? (Oh, Christy. Way to go. I got ALL of your mail. While I was in the MTC you were sending all of your letters to Ecuador. I loved reading about your June and July though. Have fun being pregnant! Thanks for the 6+ letters)

News for the week: Well Family, I would like to anounce that I will never bring home a trained spider. I just want to get that off my chest. The spiders that lived above me as I slept got zapped by me the other day. Sad day. And I have one little factoid to disclose! All spiders in Ecuador jump.

This week was a wizz of information and stuff. I don´t really know where to begin. So let me start off with some questions people asked me:

1. If I had to describe Pasaje from the view from my window... I look directly into a basketball court. I live in a little Ushaped community. The road beyond the court is dirt, tons of dogs, and a store. I also have a great view of the mountains when there are no clouds (once again I would like to mention that I will never get a tan in Pasaje because it is ALWAYS cloudy). I can also see the Testigos de Jehova Temple (Jahova´s Witnesses), they have 5 in Pasaje). The colors for the most part are bland. My part of town is not very bright, if you are down in Center you see loads of colors... wait, that would be the Cathedral. My bad.

2. Pasaje is a small community of about 40k people. Most of the roads are dirt but some have pavement, others are under construction (and have been since before I was born), and others have a combination of cement and dirt (almost as if at one time they were paved...). Santa Rosa is a City 45 minutes away. It is big. I was there this week 2x. One for an interchange and the other for District Meeting (which takes place every week). Santa Rosa is slightly nicer than Pasaje. I am currently in Machala. I love Machala. It is a HUGE city 30 minutes from Pasaje. Though it is out of my district and we have to call the President every time we want to visit it. We are in Machala today because it is Pday and there is nothing to do in Pasaje.

3. Oh! Need I mention that anyone ever planning to visit Alaska is brilliant. I hear Grandma and Grandpa were just there. I would highly suggest being a summer tour guide there. And I also understand people´s needs to sometimes get out of Utah. I felt the same way. Though I cannot wait to return in 21 months. (Shout Out: Jeff, how was Utah bytheway?)

4. Confession: I have a weekness. Winning. I love to win. Sometimes I win and the expense of other people. Then when I see I hurt someones feelings I feel REALLY bad. Though I don´t show it usually. But I hate it when I hurt someone´s feelings (no matter how bad I might hate them). (Confession 2: Spencer! Hey Padowan! Adavina Que? Hice Trampa en Risk).

5. Oh, Now that I am out of the States I would have to say that one of my biggest regrets is not telling people how I really felt about things before I left. Odd no? Sending someone to a different country really makes them think about how things are going and how they should have gone. This is up next to my other great regrets of:

-Not receiving a letter to go to Hogwarts at age 10.
-Killing my sisters fish at age 2 (mom did not let me go to the park).
-I dropped an icecream once, let go of a ballon, and cried (age 6?).
-Loosing out on Soccer after age 15.
-Mistakenly believing that Alma, Nephi, and Moroni would be at the Judgement Bar when it really will be Nephi, Moroni, and .... I don´t know (this can make a huge difference on Religion Finals!)

For the most part I think that answers the major questions I was asked this week through letters. Interesting things this week: 7 investigators of ours were at church. I am excited for them. I hope they progress. They are at a disadvantage, seeing as how they are all under the age of 18 and require their parents signatures to be baptised.

Tracting is still going great. We are finding tons of people and I am really excited for next change. If things continue to go as they are then we will have TONS of baptisms. Elder Benavides and I are still getting along great and I am catching onto the language. Spanish is really difficult, but not as difficult as I would expect something like Chinese to be...

I cut down a banana tree for Service this week. Wow. What fun! They are jammed full of water! I actually did not cut it down. I can´t hold a Machete on the mission. Though, Hermano Reyes hit it once and we watched it fall, just before it hit the ground (the tree) he said "catch it!" Ouch! He gave us some for free. Lots of bananas!

We have also started English Lessons. This is a good way to find new people. Everyone here wants to learn English and everyone tries to speak to me in English. This makes it hard for me because I am trying to learn Spanish.

Family. I love you all so much. I am ending the letter here, but there is more for individual people down below.

The missionary who now has a pet lizard living in his room,


Elder Robinson

Jeff- Who is Elise? You mentioned her in your last letter and I don´t have a clue who she is...

Ruth- You will find that all of your questions were answered in this email. I hope it was to your satisfaction. I will send a follow-up email with an actual picture outside my window. How to contact me? I am not sure. I will get back to you on that. Thank you so much for both of your letters. I was really excited. Elder Benavides as my witness. When do you leave for China? Your questions: Are you more of a Neckless or Braclet person? Have you ever thought about a time period that you really would have liked to have lived it? I personally would love to live far in the future or sometime during the middle ages. Both seem to have some really cool plus and minuses. Chow!

Mom and Dad- Love you both tons.

Spencer- Have fun translating my message to you. When does college start? Love you tons as well.

Temples and Prayer

Family and Friends,

Shout Out: I know there is absolutely no way that this shoutout will get to this person but... Abby Stubbs! Wow, you are pregnant! 17 more to go while I am gone. Get to work! (this is for my own memory mostly).

It has been said that my English is going down the tube. I have to agree with that statement. Por ejemplo: el otro diá, estaba escribiendo en mi diario y cuando escribió la palabra "Mary" yo actulamente escribió "Mery." Lo esta verdadero. Español es mas facil. Wow, that takes way to much effort to write in Spanish, even if my English is going down I am going to have to live with it... sorry everyone else.

So I want to talk about Temples and Prayer today. Temples have been on my mind the past few days and Prayer has a very significant role in a story I am going to tell. I hope you enjoy:

Temples. Wow, talk about AMAZING. I have not been to one in a month, and as long as I am in Pasaje I will be unable to attend the one in Guayaquil. But for Personal Study this morning I decided to study up and read the pamphlet "Preparing to Enter the Temple." I would highly recomend everyone read this, no matter if you have been in the temple 100x or wont go for another 2 years (some fall in this catagory). As I was reading I realized that nothing the church does is even significant or even worthwile if the blessings of the Temple were not possible. Por Ejemplo, is heaven really heaven without a family? And if the Family can only be organized properly (sealing) in the Temple then why go through with everything else (Baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, Commandments...etc) if you are going to live in heaven eternally single... odd. I hope I am making sense. In missionary work everything we do is toward our purpose "Invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo a fin de que acepten el Evangelio restarado por medio el fé en Jesucristo y Su expiación, el arripentimiento, el bautismo, la don del espíritu santo, y preseverar hasta el fin." (Invite others to come unto Christ to the end of accepting the Gospel restored through Fe en Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Preservering until the end....). But our purpose is nothing if people don´t hold out until the end and make it to the Temple. Basically... the temple is everything and the blessings we receive in the Temple are what life, repenting, family, todo, is worth living and working for.

Wow, I hope you enjoyed my niave lecture on Temples. If you want a much better lecture talk to my mom or my Grandpa. My mom is a Temple Worker and my Grandpa knows everything spiritual.

Prayer. We were teaching a lesson the other day to a less active member in the ward. We have been trying to get him to come to church but he really is making no progress in that area. Before our lesson began we sang a song "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" (Nearer my God to Thee) and during the song I had the thought, "change the lesson, talk of Prayer and Scripture study." Interesting. OK. I told my companion. We started the lesson.

We soon found that the family does not pray or read the scriptures (except the mother). Ouch. Why? Follow up question: Why? Answer: We don´t believe that God answers prayers. Hammer. Ouch. Hmmm... Next follow up Question: Why? Answer: (Mother almost in tears) My husband does not Pray in Faith so he stopped praying... Ouch. Ok. We have a family that is not going to church (Except the mom and her daughters) and does not believe in prayer, and has stopped reading the scriptures... and has lost faith. I think we found the root of our problem. Why would anyone want to spend 3 hours at church if God did not care enough about them to answer their prayers (am I making sense... if no, tell me in 2 years). If I may submit here is a great solution: Turn with me to Santiago (James) 1:6. Very powerful! We have to pray with Faith. What is the gosple again: Fe, arripentimiento, bautismo, ...etc. THE FIRST PART OF THE GOSPLE IS FAITH: IF YOU DON¨T HAVE IT NOTHING ELSE WORKS.

I am not yelling at you. I just had to get that out. We will continue to work with that family. I think they have great potential.

Ok... My week.

So I love Ecuador. I really do. The people in Pasaje are absolutely amazing. I love them enough to probably die for them. I thought I would never say that about anyone outside of my family. But it is so true, they are amazing. They have so little but yet they are happy. I definitely will learn a lot from them in the next few weeks.

We went to the edge of our sector this week. I am in one of the largest sectors in the mission, I have to take a 30 minute bus ride to get to the edge of it to teach people. And it is the coolest busride I have ever taken (rainforrest, hills, rollercoster effects, no shocks, 15 cents...). Come visit. For 15 cents I can take you on the ride of your life.

We are making progress with people. We have a family that will be getting married this week. They are strong in the gosple and love each other enough to get married and not separate. We are hoping to baptise them on the 12th of September with a few other people.

The Armijos Family is great. (we found them my first week, they cried...remember?) We can baptise them the second they get a testimony, they have been to church more than 3 times in the past month and thy continue to come. We just need a testimony...

Wow. Long letter. I am SOOOO sorry. I hope everyone is ok. I am. I have now been in Ecuador for 5 weeks. The change ends in a week. 15 more to go!

I love you all. I just bought a TON of postcards, people will be getting them in the mail soon... (give it 3 weeks or so)


Elder Robinson

Mom: A package will come in 3-4 weeks, please take care of it for me.

Ruth: I got your letter you wrote on the 10th on the 23rd. Thank you so much for your insights into prayer and your thoughts on so many subjects. I get really excited and really enjoy reading your letters. I can´t believe you are in China. I am so thrilled that someone else in the world now is as culture-shocked as I am (if not more so). No problem about the questions, just keep me updated on life in China, I can guarentee it is a LOT more different than what I am now used to here in Ecuador. THanks for being such a huge support.

Sister Judd: I get your letters. Thank you so much. I miss home and your family. You can write me about anything, I don´t mind and it won´t distract me. As for your cousin who is a catholic...You are going to have to get them to read the Book of Mormon, as long as they are in the Bible you are in their playingfield. However, if you have to be in their playingfield throw them a few curveballs

1. Ephesians (Efesios in Spanish...) 2:20, Christ´s church has Prophets, 12 Apostles, and Christ at its head.

2. They pray to Mary. Luke 6:11 (if it is not chapter 6 then check all the versus 11, it is a verse 11) Christ said not to do that.

3. They pray to Saints. This breaks the first commandment.

4. Mary is not a Virgin (last verse of Mathew chapter 1)

5. Amos prophecied of the fall and so did christ.

Good luck. Testify, Testify, Testify. It is the only thing they can´t disprove.

Spencer: Say hi to Cyd for me. She lives near you right?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wow. This is taking forever. More of Pasaje, the babtism. and who knows what else. I have tons of pictures but I won´t send them now.

Fwd: Week 2 Power, Chicken, and Phones

Family and Friends!

Shout Out: Betty Orellana. Betty Orellana is one of the most amazing people in the whole world. She is my first baptism in Ecuador. By baptism I mean that we got her all the way to baptism and she went through with it. The cool news: she asked that I baptise her... Wow! I did. It was great. I don´t know the language, and the prayer goes somehting like: Habiendo side comisionado por Jesucristo, Yo te Baustiso en el nobre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espiritu Santo. Amen. And I couldn´t say her name so I had to start the prayer over "Luz Magdalena Orellana Pelaez." That is the shout out. a little under two weeks in the country and one soul is saved!

So my life in South America... hmmm. Short: interesting.

Pasaje is the worlds coolest place ever. But if any of you ever come visit Ecuador I would not suggest you visit Pasaje unless you know people here or you visit with people that have lived here. It is a rough town if you don´t know what you are doing.

Por Ejemplo: The power went off the other day. Actually, it was off all day. It was the day of Betty´s baptism. Saturday. Well, this would be fine in the states. but here in Pasaje it created a real mess. Food: yeah, forget about it, throw it away. People: as we were getting off the bus at 7 the driver said "walk quickly and don´t stop" yikes. And light: so have I mentioned that I live in a small town that ALWAYS has clouds? Yeah, not even the stars show at night... so it is PICH black. We are required to return to our apartments at night if there is a blackout. So we did, but we had to visit the church first to tell anyone there that the baptism was cancelled (we did it Sunday at 1). The church is in a dangerous part of town. Then we had to walk home. Trust me, they have Manaquins everywhere here... ever seen "I am Legend"...gulp. However, missionaries are always protected and you never need to worry about me, even in a blackout. I will worry about myself.

This week was crazy. I can´t really explain how many things went wrong and how hard satan tried to stop the baptism. First we didn´t have cloths that fit Betty. Then we did. Then we didn´t. Then the Power. Then she was late. Then we found her. Then she was missing her husband. Then her niece just about got ran over (she was pulled out of the road just in time). My companion and I were like... JUST GET TO THE CHAPEL. SATAN CAN´T GET US THERE!!! Then her shoes broke. They fixed it. Then her other shoe broke. THen we got to the chapel. I am probably missing more of the drama, not to mention the appointments we missed because we had to look for clothes.

Missionary work is a ton of fun. I love it. It is really cool helping people understand that there is so much more to life than just life. We have been led by the spirit on many occations. Once I wanted to go into this house. My companion didn´t want to. But. Being the Amazing person that Elder Benavides (from California) is we did. The dad was there. The whole family was there. We started the lesson. They started crying. We talked of families and how they can be together forever. They really started crying. (talk about an awkward situation when I can´t even understand what is going on). The kids have now gone to church ever since. El Evangelio de Jesucristo es muy poderoso. Pienso que cuando mi compañero y yo seguimos el espíritu santo nosotros recibimos bendiciones. That is the extent of my spanish.

That is my week. I want to end every email with my thoughts. THey help me remember what my week was truely like without giving the gory details to mom.

My thoughts:
1. When two dogs attack they are against two missionaries and two backpacks.
2. Chicken feet DO NOT BELONG in soup.
3. Likewise, just because you cut the head off the fish and the tail does not mean you can eat it.
4. When a dog is foaming from the mouth it means it has rabies and one should not walk 12" from it.
5. Cat tastes fine. I think.
6. Drunk people are weird.

Love your favorite Elder,

"Sacame del bosillo" X3 "WOOOO" This is the ringtone to President Ganzaga´s phone that went off during the baptism. That man is so funny.

Elder Robinson


Mom- Love you

Jeff- Enjoy Utah, because I can´t

Spencer- What up?

Christy- are you showing yet?

Leif- What are YOU up too...?

Amy- I really miss your cooking.

Ruth- Yep. I am still here. Hope you enjoy CHINA!

Mary- Hey! My best friend ever! What else are cousins for? I miss you lots.

Michelle- Engaged yet?