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, August 26, 2013

News and Changes!

First off, I can't believe that news that Grandma is getting married again....that's just too weird to think that I'll have another grandpa and twice as many cousins...You can tell Grandma that I said congratulations, but that's still super weird lol. It's awesome to hear that you're now a temple worker Dad. That should be an awesome experience. Cool to hear about the temple movie that they made. I thought it was about time they made a new one =). It's weird to hear that everyone is getting married, including Grandma...

So! I have some news too. I got the call for the changes last night and they told me that I'm not going to be training. I will be here in San Roque still, but my companion will be Elder Vallejo. I already know him because when I was in San Carlos he got sent there for emergency changes. I was with him for a week and a half. He's from Guatemala and he's weird lol. I'll send a picture and you can tell just from that that he's weird =). I guess he needs lots of help. Not sure exactly in what way, but I guess that's what I'll be doing now. 

Things in San Roque are going good. For the first time in many months we have someone with baptismal date. We're starting to have success here now. By coinsidence, right when Elder Cruz left =). So in church we had 4 investigators. 3 of them were references =). They all have friends or family in the church so I think they'll be good investigators. 2 of the references have 3 attendances. I'm pretty happy about that. Also, we're been working with 2 less active families. Familia Ramirez and Familia Tituañia. Both of them went to church this week. So basically we're slowly changing San Roque. 

That's pretty much it for now. Everything is going good here. Now I'm just waiting here in the terminal in Otavalo for my weird companion to get here. By the way, nobody told me what they want me to buy here. Tell me!

Funny thing of the week: So I got the changes last night and I found out that the weirdo will be my companion. Seriously you have no idea how weird he is. His face is always moving and his arms move around in a twitchy kind of way. So Elder Ramos called to make fun of me. Knowing why he was calling me I said, "Yeah I know, I know....", right when I answered. He started laughing his face off. He told me that the only recompense was that he has lots of money and he would invite me to eat in restaurants. Then I replied by saying that in my sector there aren't restaurants. There aren't even corner stores lol. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good Sunday!

Hello earthlings,

Well, things are going alright here. It's really hard trying to coordinate working in 2 sectors at the same time, but I think we're working things out alright. We weren't able to do a whole lot, but I do have some good news this week. Some less actives that we've been working with for a long time, including other missionaries, finally came to church this week! She and and her husband are sealed in the temple and she served a mission and was a temple worker. So shame on her for being less active >=(. They finally went to church though. I was so happy =). Also, a few other less actives and investigators that we've been working on for a long time finally went. We even had a reference that went to church. It was a good sunday for me =). I also liked how all that happened right when Elder Cruz left lol.

Well, there's really not much to say. We didn't really work in San Roque much this week. And in Quinchuqui all of their visits fell through. I'm staying with 2  Peruvians; Elder Miranda and Elder Ramirez. Elder Miranda is training Elder Ramirez and he only has 3 months in the mission. They're both really humble and are good missionaries. They're both converts of 4 years. They're cool guys. A little weird sometimes lol. 

Things are going good though. I'm not sure why, but San Roque seems to be doing better now that Elder Cruz has left lol. All good. Just waiting for my new son to get here.

Elder Black

Monday, August 12, 2013

Changes Again!

If you think your phone is a piece of junk... Look at mine...!
Lake Cuicocha

Panamerican Highway goes right through my sector

Yup...! It's just what it looks like...a bunch of cow stomaches... They think it's delicious here

She's 7 years old and washes her clothes by hand!

He's 13 and cooked us lunch!

This is what he cooked for us!
I've got some news for all of you. My companion Elder Cruz had emergency changes and left for Quito. I haven't really said much about him lately, but now I can tell you. He wanted to leave San Roque really bad. He was always whining and complaining. He also doesn't have any desire to be obedient. Last week was kind of rough for me and I lost patience with him. I was pretty miserable...Then this sunday at 11:00pm the zone leaders called me up and told me to pass the phone to Elder Cruz. That he would be happy with the news. So I passed the phone to him and they told him that he had emergency changes and he would be leaving tomorrow. He was so happy to be going. I was kind of happy too =). So he left this morning. I'll be staying here and training. But there's a catch. The new missionaries get here in 2 weeks, so I'll be with some other missionaries in my district until then. My sector will basically be closed for the next 2 weeks. We'll only have a couple of appointments there in these 2 weeks. 

Despite my loser-ish companion Elder Cruz we actually had a pretty good week. We found the secret to our sector. The secret is visit people with the members. For example. The missionaries have been working with certain less active families for a long time, about 4 months, and we haven't gotten anywhere. We take a member with us, he says a few things in Kichwa and then they say that they're going to go to church. We had a few experiences like that. We also ended up finding about 4 new investigators just because we went out with the members. I'm pretty excited about our new discovery. Although San Roque is a hard sector, I want to stay here a little while to be able to help the people here more.

Just so you all know. I want to train a "gringo" (an american =)). I'll tell you why. So, when the american missionaries get here they don't know any spanish. When they hear someone speaking spanish they can't tell if the have a gringo accent or not. Or in this case if I speak spanish he wouldn't be able to tell if I had an accent or not. So what I want to do is tell him that I'm Puerto Rican, which wouldn't be lying =). Then I'll only speak spanish for a good long time. Maybe the whole change. The whole time he would think that I don't know english. Then, the last day of the change I'll start speaking english like it's normal =). He'll be so surprised. You might think, "He'll notice that you're gringo if he sees that your name is "Elder Black". Let's remember that in Puerto Rico there is a lot of American influence. So I could tell him that my grandpa was a gringo and his last name was Black. Then my parents were born in Puerto Rico and I was too. Yup, I know. It's a brilliant prank .

That's basically all for now. The things are slowly getting better in San Roque. Especially since we're starting to leave with the members. Helping them to share the gospel and do something other than just sit in church and then forget about God for the rest of the week. I also gave a talk in church this sunday on pride, repentance and forgiveness. I tried to machete them a bit to get them to wake up. Hopefully it worked.

Funny thing of the week: Look at the next pictures =)

Monday, August 5, 2013

We've Been Robbed!

Hello world. Greetings from Ecuador. I would like to start off with an announcement. It's great news so listen up....our house got robbed. So here's the story. On tuesday morning we left the house at 11:00 like always. Then we went back to the house at around 3:00 to drop off some things and get back to work. To get to our house you have to walk up a few stairs and you are met by a door made of metal bars. Once you open that you have to open the door to our apartment which is made of wood. So, going up the stairs I went to open the first metal door and it was open. The I looked at the lock and it was busted open. Panicking I looked at the door to our apartment and it was open and broken by the handle as well. In that moment I knew that someone had robbed our house. I looked around to see what they had taken. They had gone into my room, opened the closet and thrown my clothes on the floor. I looked at everything and this is what they took: a clock, 3 watches, a mp4 player, a speaker and a bag of medicine. In total about $350 worth of stuff. Yup, it stinks. We talked to the neighbors and we found out that almost nobody was in their house at that time of the day, about 12:00. One person said that they saw a car in front of our house and a couple of guys. But they thought they were some leaders of ours inspecting the house. So they didn't do anything. So that's the story....We got robbed in broad daylight...I even kept a piece of the door they broke =).

So! I've had a couple of requests as to what my new sector is like. The area that I'm in is surrounded by mountains and dormant volcanoes. EVERYONE here is indigenous and work in the field. In my sector they people are really prideful and get offended easily, so there are a lot of less active and inactive members. Many of the inactives are not just inactives, also apostates. They start going to the catholic or evangelist church lol. The food here is very simple and eat lots of potatoes and what they call tostado. Tostado is dried corn that they later fry on a pan over a fire. It tastes like popcorn, but isn't fluffy. Everyday they eat tostado and potatoes....everyday....... lol. Right now the weather is pretty mild but with lots of wind and dust. Also we're in the dry season so it doesn't rain very often. Actually it hasn't rained in the 3 weeks that I've been here. The streets here don't have names. Actually they don't even have streets; just dirt roads. So they give directions by saying by which irrigation canal is close and by which family they live. Everyone here knows each other. That's basically my sector =).
Well...not much happens here in our sector. Pretty slow as far as the mission work goes so there's not really anything to say about our investigators. I think this week we only taught 2 lessons to investigators....Yup. More than anything we're trying to help out the less active families. The church attendance is dropping and there are a lot of less actives and apostates. We're having more success with them than the investigators. 

One thing I would like for you to send. It's called "17 Cosas que hace la iglesia verdadera". If you could send it to me in spanish that would be great =). Also a recommendation for everybody. I read a talk called the Trilogy of Skousen. It's about why the cruxifiction is important for us. It's awesome. I'll attach it in this email.
Funny thing of the week: So, we were going to visit a less active family. While walking, a drunk guy started talking to us (I don't know why, but drunk people always want to talk to us). Neither me, nor me companion understood him. He just kept talking about "Papá", or father, referring to God. He didn't make any sense. He went on for 3 minutes saying papá and my companion asked him if he thought God was happy seeing him drunk like this. He said, "Of course, he's my 'papá'". And then he kept talking about papá. We tried to leave but he wouldn't let us. Then Elder Cruz shook his hand and told him that we were going to go. But then he didn't let go of him. Finally my Elder Cruz got free and then the drunk guy made a fist and acted like he wanted to hit him. Then we ran away =)

Elder Black