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."

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's My Birthday and 8 Months out in the Field!

Hello again, 

Guess who's birthday it is!? And guess who has 8 months in the mission?! Yup that's right. Me. Oh yeah =). This week was an alright week. I don't know why but this week we had lots of fallen visits. 

First off, Fam Rodriguez. I don't know if I mentioned this last week, but we've nicknamed Sanì, "The Philosopher". We go in to his tienda (corner store) to teach him and with 1 word he just goes off. He had a question about baptism and what the difference is between a baptism in our church and all the other churches. So we read some stuff in 3 Nephi,"Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". We talked about that for 30 minutes."But Father isn't a name. So what's the name?" No Sanì the prayer is a phase that you say all at once. You don't actually baptize them in the literal name of the Father. We went off forever. He's very had to control. He always has a bazillion comments/questions. He does say some good stuff though. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that first you need faith, then repent and then be baptized. Then we talked about how baptism is the door to the path to the kingdom of God."Oh...if baptism is the door then that makes repentance the key to the door". He has his moments. Most of the "lesson" revolves around his philosophying lol. 

Next up we went to a reference's house. They live a little far away in a place called a "finca", basically in the middle of the jungle/banana plantation. We began our journey in what we call the "monkey train". Monkey train because it takes all the monkeys(the ecuadorians) to where all the bananas are. It's that picture where all of us are sitting on those bench things. The 3 girls are members in the ward here and are friends of the references. So we were in the monkey train for about 30 minutes and then we got to all of that green, hilly, tree stuff that it the other pictures. Pretty cool trip. After a little we got to our stop. Luckily right when we got down it started raining really hard. Also the trail(not even a dirt road) was really muddy and it was hard to walk on. After 15 minutes of walking we finally got there. Basically all we had time to do was give 2 Blessings of Health to 2 crazy old people that don't respond to anything. One of them takes his clothes off and tries to leave the house naked. Yup. They're crazy. We set up another visit to come back next week. One of the 4 of them I think will progress well. Hopefully =)

Quick side note, Eulaulia is doing good now =). Strong as an ox

We've also started working with a less active member of the family that is sitting in the monkey train with us. His name is Wilson. Not sure if I've talked about him yet....Anyways, he's been less active for about 12 years now and he's been having a drinking problem. We went over one day not even thinking anything of it. Normally he's just there chilling and never really says anything to the missionaries. This time he asked us,"How hard is it for a less active member like me to get back into the church?". We shared a scripture in Moroni about that we'll always be forgiven. He started crying. That scripture really hit him. To sum it up we came back few times and set a bunch of goals for him and gave him a priesthood blessing. He's excited and doing awesome. 

Fam Barreto.....doing good. Still progressing and keeing commitments. They all went to church this week too....except the mom....She's pretty timid and I think that's why she didn't go. Her husband told me that she didn't want to go this week, but that she would come next week. Since she didn't go this week we don't know if they'll be able to get baptized this month.....egh...We'll see what happens. I send our mission president asking him what we should do with them. Hopefully they can get baptized this month and won't have to wait another week. We'll just see what President says.

This sunday we also met 2 people that have a bunch of assistances and want to get baptized. One has been going to church for 3 years and hasn't been able to get baptized because he couldn't get permission from him parents. Now he's 18 and it doesn't matter what his parents say and he's going to be baptized this month =). You might be wondering how we "meet" people that have a bunch of assistances and want to get baptized. Well, it happens a lot here. I'm still pretty new here and I don't know everybody. When people are in church every sunday I assume that they're members. Not always the case. So basically golden investigators fall right into our hands =). Awesome. 

Another random side note. In his last area, my companion was teaching a man. He was keeping commitments and going to church. Seemingly golden. They had the baptismal interview and then the Elder that was conducting the interview walked out all white. He said that in the interview the man had told him that he was a bounty hunter and that he had killed more people than he can count. The called President Ghent (president of the mission) to see what they should do. It ended up going all the way up the the Quorum of the Twelve. They wrote back and said that he just needs to wait until the Second Coming and hope that Christ saves him personally....wow... what an experience.

Couple of random things about my sector, El Carmen. Almost none of the women shave their legs and lots don't shave their pits either. Lots of people here have only a few teeth and the few that they have are rotting. Very few people here are married. If a girl hasn't...done it until she's 18 that is considered an accomplishment. It rains a ton here, sometimes all day and all night, there are murders here every day. Last night I heard 6 gunshots. The costal accent is really hard to understand sometimes, sometimes not even my companion can understand. Lots of people live in bamboo houses and most everyone has a metal roof. And most of all it's awesome here =)

That's about it for this week. To answer and couple of questions; no I have not gotten the packages or letters, you send plenty of packages. I'll probably end the mission with a record number of packages =), yes I've made withdrawls lately, those are mine, and thanks a ton for the music! So awesome. The only bad thing is that I won't be able to listen to it until April. There's a rule in the mission that we can't listen to music during febuary and march. We're making sacrifices in the mission to be able to have success in these 2 months. So in 2 weeks I'll be able to listen to it. One more thing. I realized this week that on Mother's Day we'll be able to have a 3 way conversation between me, all of you and Hunter. We'll all be able to talk in spanish to eachother and laugh at how different our spanish is =). You better practice mom. I bet you sound like a gringa since you haven't been practicing much =)

Funny thing of the week: friday morning we were going around with the bishop to get to know some houses of less actives. We walked out of one of the houses and started going down a hill. I looked to my left and saw a strange sight....A fat lady of about 35 years. That's not the weird part. She had half of a hollowed out watermelon on her head, like a helmet, a towel around her neck like a cape, and to top it all off, a machete in her left hand......what the heck lol!? Pretty funny to see. Only in Ecuador. 

Peace out,

Elder Black

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