Favorite Scripture

Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Great Lettter


Sorry my last letter was so random and everything lol. I only had like 20 minutes to write. First, pictures. These 3 are what we did for companionship study one day lol. I made them out of silly putty. Pretty productive huh? I'll send a few more in a different e-mail so they hopefully all get through. But here's what they are. Me cutting open a guanabana, a very delicious fruit that they have here. My first time eating the actual fruit. And here are a few pictures of Yaruqui, the city that we live in. Small, but quiet and chill. I like it =)

So not too much happened with our investigators this week. Fam. Zambrano is doing alright. The mom is good and knows that she needs to be baptized, but hasn't accepted a baptismal date yet because she wants to feel ready. By the way that's what half of them say lol. But she's good. One problem that we're having with her is that she works on some sunday's, so it's hard for her to attend church, and she has to attend church to get baptized....so yeah. We taught her about the keeping the Sabbath Day Holy commandment and we're trying to get her to be able to go to church. We'll keep working on her. 

Fam. Oña. A mom, her husband and 3 kids. The mom is good and has desires to get baptized, go to church, read, pray and everything. But the husband likes drinking a lot and it's kind of hard for her to get "permission" to go to church and stuff. And he didn't even know about us until a few days ago and we've been teaching her for a couple of weeks and she didn't tell him anything. Maybe out of fear or something. Her and her kids are also really timid, with the fact that she didn't tell him anything and the drinking there might be something going on there....We talked with the husband for like 30 minutes yesterday and he seems fine. Blegh...we don't know what exactly we're going to do with him lol. 

Fam Anchundia, that supposedly golden family that works in Quito....they're not golden lol. We called them this week to see if we could meet with them (we never did meet them) and they said,"Oh, we're Evangelists now".....what?!.....yeah....not golden lol. 

We were contacting in Checa, the city where fam Oña lives, and Elder Salazar asked me where we should contact. So I pulled out a coin to decide which way we should go. He wanted to go one way but the coin said differently. We went with the coin lol. I told him that we should follow the coin. The coin knows all I said. He didn't believe me lol. The coin led us to this particular street and the first door we knocked we got in and taught a lesson. An older lady that has great faith in Christ  prays regularly and everything. She agreed to let us come back another day. After we left her house I looked to my companion and said, "Like I told you, the coin knows all" lol. I was right =)

And the reference from church last week. We taught him on sunday on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to baptism. 2 seconds after we asked him the ward mission leader started talking about how important of a decision it was and everything. I thought to myself, " Yes, it is an important decision. Why don't you give him 5 seconds to think?" lol. If any of you are sitting in with missionaries and they ask a question, don't ever ever ever ever talk before the investigator or the missionaries....ever. The investigator needs time to think and have the Spirit work on them. Time to think is a better teacher that talking sometimes. Don't do it =). And to finish off the story....he said, "Yeah, with the time and when I'm ready" Darn you! lol. Hearing that gets kind of old sometimes =). But we'll keep teaching him. 

A quick little thing on the people here, they're really nice. They give up seats in the bus for people holding babies or for older people. And when we were looking for apartments people would go all out of their way to help us. This happened twice. We asked someone on the street if they knew if there were any apartments avaiable in a certain building. They would say, "Oh I don't know, but I know the owner" then they would call the owner and ask for us, then they would walk us to the apartments and take us in and go around with us to see the owner. Very nice people. Very friendly. 

One funny thing that happened to me last week. I was on exchanges with Elder Matamoros and we were going to eat at his mamitas house. Before we were going to eat I was looking around at their house (there was nothing else to do lol) and I saw what looked like a giant, black butterfly on their wall. It wasn't moving so I assumed that it was a decoration. After we finished eating the beast flew off the wall and started terrorizing everyone in the house with its monstrosity. The mom ran into a room and peeked her head out to observe the caos. The butterfly was about 10 inches across by the way. We finally got the thing out a door. Then it flew around the house and flew back in another door. NOOOO!!!!! Lol. Then it left and everyone escaped unscathed. A close call for all of us. 

Carter, to answer your questions your birthday is November 30 (....I think) and we have not baptized any more people. We do have promising investigators though. And no....we haven't really had anything else really weird happen lol. 

And sorry if I don't answer all of your questions for everyone out there. It's hard to remember everything and have time to answer them all. I'm trying =)

Now some random things. Mom, when you send my mouthpiece, lie and put $10.00, they won't know the difference lol. You can turn left on a red, but not right....how...nonsensical. I haven't seen any big bugs here. I'm up in the mountains and it's pretty cool here. So there's not much wildlife besides chickens and dogs lol. And I write my journal in english. Jorge the weirdo didn't get baptized this week. He's too weird to qualify right now. And we did dedicate the house this week. Elder Gonzeles from Chile did the dedication. Kind of a cool experience. We told them that the dedication will work by their faith. Hopefully they have enough faith lol.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Short Letter

Sorry this is going to be short today. I don't have much time to write. It will be really random but here we go. I read in 2 Timothy 2:23 and it pretty much says that there is such a thing as a stupid question. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. It's in the Bible. Yes I got the package. First bowl of normal cereal with normal milk in 2 1/2 months lol. And by the way the M&M's are really good. The latinos here (latino missionaries) say "crapear" which is the spanglish verb for crap. They all use it lol. Yes they are planning on dedicating the nightmare devil house. Jorge, the crazy reincarnation guy, is getting baptized this week lol. I taught him with another elder this last week and we used tons of machette's (scriptures or anything that's strong or "duro" in spanish) . Basically laid down the law for his weirdness. Mom, any good, easy food that we can make with only a stove to cook that you could send a recipe for? And could you send the recipe for caramel popcorn? I want to make it =). Fanny, our golden investigator was baptized and confirmed this week! Elder Salazar has been out in the field for 9 months and has had 20 baptisms now and he said that Fanny was by far his favorite. In her testimony after her baptism she told the story of how she met us and said that she was prepared by god to hear the gospel and that it was no coincidence that we found her. She said that god sent us to her. And her brother ended up baptizing her. My guess Hunter is going to Nicaragua. Don't no why, just a guess. How muchy does it cost to send a package to here? They drink lots of herbal teas here. Some are acually pretty good. The Quito mission has a blog at meq.posterous.com. Don't know what's on it, but it's a blog. Can somebody look up if popping your back/neck/fingers has any side effects? My companion is positive that popping your back can cause paralisis.....I don't think so. And my bed has fleas.

Now there's a bunch of stuff that I want you to try and send me =). A missionary reference book from Deseret Book. It's by Adrian Parker Call Jr. Good stuff. Get one for Hunter too. One of my mouthpieces. The one that says Ingram on it. I want to be able to practice a bit =). A mini Book of Mormon in english. My hot sauce. A pair of matching wool socks. I say matching because the ones I brought are different colors and sizes lol. Jerky.....aww yeah.....And my crocs.

I know, it was a really random letter. I'll do better next week =).

Elder Black

And our house is bad because the roof is made of metal, there are gaps between the roof and the wall, So it's freezing in the mornings and dust blows in and it's hard to keep clean lol. Look at the bathroom.....kind of breezy because there's gaps in the roof too lol. And the ventilation pipe for all of our water (toilet, sinks shower etc) comes out right next to our stove.... so it basically stinks when ever we flush or use the shower lol. Also it's about 17x60 ft....so it's really big for 2 people. And they aren't letting us move =(. There's a $300 guarentee when we bought the house, and if we terminate the contract early, we don't get the money back. That and if we moved they would have to pay another $300 guarentee on the next house....so we're not moving lol

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lots of Weird Stuff


This is going to be an awesome letter =) Lots of weird stuff. So the pictures I send are of our apartment, which we're trying to move out of, Jenny and Diana (the 2 girls we baptized this week), I baptized the taller of the 2, and my companion, Elder Salazar. 

So a member of the ward gave us a referral (her sister and her family) and we talked to them and set up a visit for a couple of days later. We taught them the Restoration and then invited them to baptism and is normal on the first lesson. And they said no. But we talked for about 5 more minutes and then asked again, they said yes. Oh yeah. There's the mom and 4 kids and one of them is autistic. They attend another church in part because the mom said it had been helping her autistic son. Before they started going to church he couldn't talk at all and he was really shy. And since they've been going to this other church he's gotten a lot better and can speak a little and he's much more sociable. So we explained how the restored gospel can bless her and her family, particulary her son, more. They're a very good family and have a desire to follow Christ. 

Fanny, our golden investigator is doing awesome. She loves when we come over and is really trying to do what is right. Her baptism is this Saturday and her brother is going to baptize her....I think. 

Family Anchundia, our supposedly golden investigator family.....not sure about them. We still haven't met with them and they haven't gone to church yet....we'll keep working on them....

Now for the moment you've been waiting for. The weirdness. First off. We were knocking doors in a smallish town called Checa. We met a guy who was stinky and weird. His house was one room and my companion described the smell as follows, "It's like someone pee'd on a bed and let it cook for a few days". I thought it smelled like someone pooped in the corner and let it sit there. Now that I think of it, it smells like both. So his son led us to the door and we look inside. He's sitting on a bucket with his pants down to his knees and I think he was wearing a jock strap or something.....he was fixing his pants so that's why they were down btw. So we started talking to him and we could tell withing about a minute that it wasn't going anywhere. He was so random. He was one of those people that could have a full conversation with a wall and be happy about it. We went from, "We're missionaries" to , "how many people does it take to fly a plane?". To answer his question we said it takes 2 people. "Oh, so it's not like a car.".......what? lol. Super random and clueless. I think he's a few sandwiches short of a full platter....

2nd weird thing. I went on exchanges with an elder in our zone, so I was in his area for the day. We went to one of his investigators houses and started talking. We taught the lesson and my companion said that he knew that they were having a hard time but that he didn't know what it was. So they told us. The wife and the kids have these horrible nightmares and are afraid to go to sleep at night. The daughter had dreams of her mother shooting herself and the mother said that she thought she saw the devil. Also she said that even when she's alone she feels like she's being watched. So basically they're all afraid to go to sleep at night. I told them that it's impossible to feel fear when we're reading the scriptures, praying or going to church. They have already recieved a priesthood blessing btw. So we'll have to see how they're doing later.

3rd weird thing. I was at church with Elder Gonzales, the one I was on exchanges with, and we were just starting priesthood meeting. The bishop came and got us and started walking to his office. On the way he talked to us about this weird guy and his beliefs and he wanted us to set up an appointment with him to set him straight. His wife is a normal member by the way. So we got to his office and started talking to the weirdo. Here's a summary of his beliefs. He belives in reincarnation. There are 7 cosmos with 33 universes in each cosmo. God live in the last cosmo and last universe. Mormons pray the wrong way, we're supposed to pray in groups and repeat after the one leading the prayer. The Book of Mormon is a good book, but we have a bad interpretation of it. He receives revelation in his dreams. He has a book of "revelation" called Angelorum. He learned all of this through a conference of another  church and all of it is"logic"......oh boy.......oh, and he wants to be baptized. Good luck Elder Gonzales and Matamoros lol. Basically he's crazy. He really feels that what he belives is true. But he's willing to hear from the missionaries.

4th weird/funny thing. We went to a members house for FHE yesterday and we taught a lesson on scriptures. After the lesson they asked about my family and I said that I had pictues. I showed them to a couple people. One of them is named Venny. Once he saw Katarina's picture he said that she was really pretty. He's 26 by the way lol. He's a smily  guy and it seems like there's something on your face because he just smiles and chuckles to himself whenever he looks at someone. So he kept telling me how pretty Katarina was and that he wanted to marry her, I think he was joking. We talked about eternal marriages last sunday and I think he got the wrong idea lol. He wanted to copy the picture but I told him no lol. He's not creepy or anything. Just a funny guys. So if you ever get desperate Katarina. You've got someone waiting for you. And he doesn't really speak english, so that might be a barrier.

So that is the weirdness this week. Things with my companion are going great. We joke a lot and get along great. Quick sidenote. All latinos like Dragonball Z and most like other anime. That's right, not weird, anyways. Yes, cleaning day was awesome. Our house really needed cleaning and now it's very clean. I'm so proud =)We're hoping to move out sometime this week though. We really need to get our. Oh and the picture with the my companion and I and the sign. We need to send in pictures of our house and explain why we want to move. We are going to throw in that picture for extra effect. That thing is golden. I'm sure it will work. The weather here is pretty mild and is about 65-75 degrees all the time and right now we're getting into rainy season. We always take the bus, which can literally be so packed sometimes that people have to hang out the door. Or we take a taxi if it's too late to take a bus. Members in our branch....I don't know for sure. Maybe about 70 or 80. We normally have about 50 every week. We meet in a house. But it's a big and pretty nice house. So it seems pretty much like a small church building more or less. And no I never smile. 

I forgot so say happy birthday to everyone. So happy birthday Mckenna, Katarina and Dad. I'm glad you liked my present dad. It was right from the heart. =)  And happy birthday to the rest of you in case I forget. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Questions answered and Notes from General Conference


Questions first. No I don't play the piano. They don't have a piano....that's right...in your face lol. No I will never have to cook if I don't want to. The women volunteer to cook and don't get paid. Yes, they all take turns every night. We do our laundry at a ladies house. She's a non member but lets us use her washer, dryer and she cooks for us =). Yes, the new towels are much better. They take up less space, dry faster and dry me off faster. I haven't used the photos yet. And we go to a "Cyber" to use computers. It's just a place where you pay to use internet and computers. It's about 70 cents/hour. Our apartment.....is ghetto lol. It has a metal roof with holes between the wall and the roof, so a little dust blows in and we have to sweep regularly. And our shower is in a corner of the bathroom, which is about 4x5 ft. It's just a curtain and a shower head. So the water gets all over the floor because there aren't any dividers or anything. We don't have a  dish washer and we only have  mini fridge with no food in it lol. We're going to fix that today.....No I haven't reviewed that article dad...I'm not sure if I have it still. Send me an email of it just in case. But I'll look for it.

Sadly, no strange food to report this week....sorry fans. And sorry I can't send pictures again. We're in a different city called Tumbaco and we don't have time to go to Yaruqui and get my camera. But next week for sure. We're cleaning our apartment next monday....every....square....inch..........fun.....So I'll be around to get my camera and send pictures. We have 4 more baptismal dates lined up. Some other elders found a family (3) in Quito and taught them there (the family works in Quito). They got them to commit to baptism but they live in Yaruqui so they're in our area =). We were on exchanges and I didn't get to go, but my companion and another elder taught this family on saturday and got their grandma to baptism =). So 4 in total. We also found a couple of new investigators this week. A Jehovas Witness, dun dun dun...... and a few columbians. Not sure how they'll progress but I guess we'll see. That's all I can really think of now....

General Conference!!! I've never been more excited for conference in my life lol. Hearing that much english was refreshing =). Yes we were able to watch all the sessions. My favorite talk.....I don't know. I really liked President Eyrings and Monsons priesthood talks. Eyring because I thought it was cool that he could pray to know all of his sons potential and spiritual gifts. And pres Monsons because it was an awesome missionary talk and I'm a missionary lol. Also Pres Eyrings talk from sunday morning. Because God is always there, we just have to listen and align our timetable with his. And Walter F Gonzalez. My favorite line was, "What is essential, is invisible to the eye". I just liked that he said "God can give us knowledge when we navigate the Celestial web of our minds". Pretty cool I think. And the last one, Elder Ballards. The bee analogy was cool from a biologists point of view. Also that honey is one of the few things that has all the nutrients (including water) needed to sustain life. And that spiritually speaking, the honey of the gospel has everything to be able to have eternal life. Good stuff. Dad...I want you to pray and then tell me what my spiritual gifts are (President Eyring).=) And if anybody has a question about anything....ask me, I'm a missionary!! lol (Elder Nelson). And the age change for missionaries is awesome. You can start your papers in a year and a half Katarina =). And Hunter, it's cool that you're already getting started on your papers =). This conference I made a different goal for each one of the talks. So I have 33 different goals. If I keep all my goals, don't be surprised if I'm translated lol. I'm hoping that those goals will help me to have a better mission and be better all around. Before I forget, no. I never got the cereal or whatever it was. Remember, packages have to be under 4 kg and you need the green piece of paper! Hopefully I'll get it later...

Things are going good overall. The spanish is coming little by little and now I can eat like a horse =). Life is good.

See ya,

Elder Black

Monday, October 1, 2012

First letter in the Field!

Note:  The first paragraph was copied from a letter sent by Skylar's Mom.

Hello From Ecuador!!!, 

I'm sure your week has been eventful and very exciting!  What's it like to be completely on your own?  What's it like to prepare your own meals?  Do they have Ramen?:)  jk. How many people have you taught?  any baptisms yet? :)  jk! Who's your companion? Where is he from?  I'm so excited to hear what Ecuador is like and all about your first week...!  Are you wearing your flip-flops? :)  How are your shoes and socks working for you?  Have you tried your barefoot shoes?  What do you think?  Do the members feed you daily or do you have to fix most of your meals?

Sis. Benedict told me today that Columbia had a 7.1 earthquake today.  Did you feel any aftershocks?

First to answer all your questions. No actually I don't have to cook any of my meals. I don't know  if they have ramen because I haven't looked. We have taught....I don't know, 10 people? Yes we had baptisms! 2 Jenny and Diana. They are 12 and 8 years old. Their mom isn't a member but they were golden my companion said. They already had a baptismal date when I got here so I've only taught them once. I baptized Jenny. I'll send pictures next week. My companion is Elder Salazar, from Quatemala. He speaks fluent english, which is a blessing lol. Yes I'm wearing flip flops and doing all the things that I'm supposed to and not doing all the things I'm not. Shoes and socks are working well. We don't cook at all. We have bread, yogurt and fruit for breakfast, we have what is called a Mom-ita, who cooks us a lunch every day. They change every day.

So my first day in Ecuador/ the mission field was...eventful. The people here eat insane amounts of food. A decent bowl of soup followed by a plate full of rice and meat, then something else like dessert or fruit. And they want you to eat all of it....but luckily they understand when you can't eat all of it....except on the coast; apparently they get affended if you don't eat it all. And they give you even more there....glad I'm not there lol. So I ate it all and then I felt sick and almost threw up, then half an our later....I threw up lol. First day and I barf =), fun. I forgot to describe my area. It's about 1.5 hours away (by bus, always a bus) from Quito. It's a smaller town called Yaruqui. It's not too ghetto luckily lol. It's a pretty friendly town with good members. So mostly we do study and stuff until 12:00 (until 12 for the first 12 weeks in the field), but normally you only go to 11:00. Then we got out and teach. We normally have 2-5 appointments per day with either investigators, less actives, or members. We visit members to strengthen our relationship with them and get references. It's a pretty good system. So on I think...Friday...? After we ate lunch (around 2:00) we went out tracting for a hour. My companion said that it's not really effective to go tracting at this hour because people are preparing lunch and stuff. First door, not interested. Second door, an old lady poked her head our of a window on the second story and after we intruduced ourselves she said she would throw the key down to us to unlock the door.....weird....So she threw it down and we went in. We found out she has Parkinsons and has a hard time walking, so that's why she threw the key....ahh....makes sense now. =) We got started and she said that she had 2 brothers that were members and that she had been Catholic her whole life. We were teaching and she seemed really interested. So I invited her to be baptized and she said yes! Wow. But the only problem is that she wants her brother to baptize her....and he's on a mission....so we're going to have to try and work around that somehow....I'm amazed though at how prepared some people are to recieve the Gospel. After only 1 visit, an old lady who had been Catholic her whole life, accepted baptism. Awesomeness.

The other interesting thing that happened this week was on saturday, baptism day. The first thing.....lunch....it was....gulp....bull hoove and bull...here it is....half a ball. EEEKKK!!! The soup it's self was good. But I couldn't bring myself to eat the...you know what...And that's not all! After the soup there was the plate of meat and rice. The meat had 2 lovely hairs in it....of course....So that was lunch. =)The baptism went great and started an hour late (latin standard time). There were around 15 people there that were there to support, which was good. Then we went over to their...humble home for dinner. Their home is pretty ghetto. Cement walls and cement floors that are dirty, also everything in the house is dirty too. They have a slanted cement slab over a cement tub. On which they do dishes and laundry. The tub fills with water "clean" and then there is a drain at the bottom of the cement slab that drains into who knows what....This is what they use. They also have like...20 guinea pigs. We'll get to them later, dun dun dun....So dinner chicken soup with a chicken toe in it, YEAH! And then after the soup.....guinea pig. Bwahahahaha!! My companion said it was good, but I was too full to eat the plate of food.

Sunday was good. Of course everything is in spanish, and I understood most of it. About 60 members were there, which is pretty good for here apparently. Afterwards we went over to a members house brother and sister Bolivio's house. The food was really good. And, I ate all the food =). Woot. Then we went out and taught less active members for the rest of the day, about 5 hours. We went with 3 other awesome members of the ward. We taught one self-reactivated member who had been inactive for 15 years. He said he knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that the prophet's are true, but doesn't know if this is the only true church. So we taught him to pray to be able to know that the church is true. I told him that I thought that he knows the church is true, but just can't recognize that he knows it, and that he can pray to be able to recognize that he knows it.

So yeah....it's great here....And if whoever wants to write more, feel free. I have an hour to write now and I have plenty of time to read lol. The spanish is coming along great. Some people I can understand everything they say, others...not a word lol. It's the different accents, mumbling, or their just old and I can't understand them sometimes lol.


Elder Black (Negro)