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, July 21, 2014

Well....I think this is my last letter, so enjoy it =)

This week went alright. Some good and some bad things. Good things; Bryan Maigua (the 19 year old that needs to get married), doesn't want to get married.....The good thing is that he sung in a ward activity that there was on saturday. So he's progressing in some things, and going backwards in others....Kimberly is doing great! We even think her dad is going to give her permission to get baptized now =). Another good thing about her is that her and her mom did a barbeque for me since I'm ending the mission =(. I'll attach some pics. Osama, the guy from Haiti, isn't doing so great....He still says that it's very important for him and everything, but he doesn't go to church....Then we had another guy who is the husband of an hermana that's getting back into church. His name is Santiago. Before he didn't even want to listen to the missionaries or anything, but we got him to accept a baptismal date! He's even been reading and praying. But his baptismal date fell because he didn't go to church =(. 

Overall the week went alright. Nothing too special. But this week we're going to work like nuts, being my last week in the mission field =(. We're going to try and talk to people in the street and focus on finding new people to teach. We should end with a few people with baptismal date and if all goes well, with Kimberly's baptism!

I thought I would make a short summary of my mission:

Companions: 20
1. Elder Salazar (Guatemala, Guatemala), trainer
2. Elder Leal (Argentina)
3. Elder LeBaron (Utah)
4. Elder Lopez (Spain)
5. Elder Ramos (El Salvador), step-son
6. Elder Logroño (Riobamba, Ecuador)
7. Elder Vera (Manta, Ecuador)
8. Elder Santana (Dominican Republic), son
9. Elder Cruz (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
10. Elder Vallejo (Guatemala)
11. Elder Miranda (Cuzco, Peru)
12. Elder Ramirez (Trujillo, Peru)
13. Elder Equité (Guatemala) son, for 4 days =)
14. Elder Thomas (Minnesota)
15. Elder Tirado (Peru)
16. Elder Kingsford (Bountiful, Utah)
17. Elder Bolton (Utah)
18. Elder Poma (Lima, Peru), son
19. Elder Pinta (Colombia)
20. Elder Barros (Trujillo, Peru)

Sectors: 8
1. Yaruquí, 4.5 months. Yaruquí is a large sector that consists of 4 small cities. There are about 70 attending members in the branch. It is out in the country, is tranquil and there's lots of dust. It's located in the valley outside of the captital, Quito
2. El Carmen, 2.5 months. El Carmen is very tropical and has lots of mosquitos and biting flies, but is awesome. It is know for it's good food and exportation of plantain. 
3. San Carlos, 3.5 months. In the center of Quito. It's a hard sector and you only talk to people through the speakers in front of their houses. The members are cool though =)
4. San Roque, 3 months. In Otavalo, the most indigenous part of our mission. Everyone speaks Quichwa between themselves, but most of them know spanish. They don't get very attached to the missionaries and it's one of the hardest sectors in the mission. Known for also having the worst food in the  mission =)
5. Esmeraldas, 3 months. Coast! Everyone is black and on drugs. We lived in front of the main cemetary of the city and you can see the ocean from the sector. Lots of sea-food which is super delicious. Known for the food, drugs, and pregnant teenagers. 
6. Coca, 4.5 months. Awesome! In the Amazon and it's way hot and humid. You sweat your brains out there but it's so awesome that it's worth it. The church there has 5 years and there are 120 active members. It's still a branch, but there are plans to build a new church. Is known for tourism and native tribes. It's the best spot in the whole mission =)
7. Otavalo, 1.5 months. Like San Roque, but the people aren't horrible lol. Otavalo has the strongest members in Ecuador and also has it's first converts. Lot's of farmland and there are more animals than people. Known for the tasty guinea pig, and handmade souvenirs.
8. Comité del Pueblo 1.5 months. Across Quito from San Carlos. Has good members and the contacts are good. Lots of hills too. Known for having a couple of dollies and good mamitas =). By the way I can see the airport from our house.......

Weird things I've eaten: pig skin, pig tail, cow stomach, cow heart, cow liver, bull testicles, cow hoof, cow tongue, guinea pig, beetles, 

Baptisms: not going to tell you! Ha!

Well, during my mission I have changed a lot. I now have good scripture study and prayer habits and I've grown to have a big appreciation for them. I am a lot more disciplined and I feel like when I get back I'll actually do my homework and not procrastinate so much =). I've been able to see many miracles during the mission and hope to be able to continue seeing them. I've also been able to grow closer to Christ. Through the scriptures we can get to know him and strengthen our faith in him. It's been a short 2 years, but It'll be nice being able to sleep past 6:30 am =). My personality hasn't changed much, but I'm a better "me" now. The gospel is awesome and it changes lives. 

Funny thing of the week: So we were contacting and we knocked on a less actives door that we didn't know before and a fat 25 year old came out. He was talking to us and he was kind of a nervous person, I was hypnotized watching his double chin vibrate and shake. Then he was telling us about missionaries from other churches; that you can recognize a missionary from our church by the plaque and then he was talking about the Jehovah's Witness. Now, for this part I'll have to write it in spanish because in english it doesn't really make too much sense, but I'll translate it for you that don't know spanish, "Y puede reconocer a los Testiculo......uhhh Testigos de Jehovah por sus sombreros". In english that, "And you can recognize the Jehovah's Testicle.....uhhh Jehovah's Witnesses by their hats". Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!! He was totally serious and didn't really recognize the error he had made. In the moment we didn't laugh, but on the inside I was lol. After we left we busted up laughing lol. So funny........

Pics: the barbeque with Germania and her daughter Kimberly. Also, Bryan Maigua, his almost wife and his parents. 

See you (for those of you that are home) in 2 weeks

Elder Black

Monday, July 14, 2014

Link hat he had made for $10.00

"Dead" Missionaries from MTC group, Ecuador Quito Mission

More "dead" missionaries from MTC group, Ecuador Quito Mission

Well, don't have much time to write. I went to the offices to say good-bye to the other missionaries that were in my group and stayed in the other mission. They end today =(. Trunky cough, cough......

Well this week went alright. Bryan and his wife Guadalupe are doing great and the missionaries in El Carmen are teaching her and she's doing great. Kimberly is doing great as well, but her dad isn't giving her permission to get baptized...actually he took her to the catholic church this week and she couldn't go to church. The good thing is that she said that she likes our church better and she didn't feel anything in the catholic church =). But I don't think she'll be getting baptized this week...Osama, our investigator from Haiti was doing good, but he went to some other church on sunday. We even did a tour with him in the church and everything....Don't know what else we could have done. 

This week we did alright with finding people to teach. Kind of frustrating but meh. We tried hard to work with the other people we had found last week but they weren't home. The hard part here is that we find lots of people to teach, but we can never find them a second time.....But we're chugging along in the work. If all goes well we can have 3 baptisms my last week in the mission! Hopefully. 

Well, all out of time. Got to go visit a less active family who doesn't even want to talk to us =)

Elder Black

Monday, July 7, 2014

Well, well, well....This week was pretty good. We contacted a lot and found some really awesome people. Once we were contacting a lady at her doorstep and then a guy from Haiti (there's a lot in that particular spot where we were contacting) and he started trying to talk to me. So I contacted him while my companion taught the lady. Pretty cool. The guy from Haiti is named Osama. He says he used to go to the church all the time when he lived in Haiti and Dominican Republic. He's super awesome =). We got an appointment with him and we taught him the Restoration and slapped a baptismal date on him for this month. We went this sunday to go to church with him but he wasnt't there for some reason...We'll be continuing with him though =)

The other super awesome people we found were just normal contacts. We contacted a guy named Felix and answered a couple questions that he had. He was really interested and said that he would go to church on sunday. We weren't really sure if he would go because everyone says they'll go to church and they never do. But we told him we would wait outside the church for him at 10:30. We waited there until 10:45 and he didn't come so we went inside. Right during the sacrament hymn I felt someone tap on my shoulder and it was him and his wife!! I was so surprised and happy to see them. We invited them to go to a ward home evening on sunday night. Not sure if they went but it was I think the first time in my whole mission that a contact (without teaching anything) has gone to church. Sweet.

Now for Kimberly. We haven't been able to visit her this week, but her cousin finished teaching her all the lessons and she went to church this week. We're going to postpone her baptism until next week because she doesn't know any members and hasn't met anyone from young womens or anyone from the bishopric. She's still doing awesome though =). 

Also! We have another new family that we're working with. It's a young, unmarried couple and the hermano is the son of a member here. They used to live in El Carmen, one of my old sectors, and now they're here. Well....just Brian, the son, is here. They're super awesome though. We taught the Restoration and Guadalupe, Brian's almost wife, said that when she heard the First Vision she felt something weird and feels that he was a prophet. Awesome! They accepted a baptismal date for the 26th of this month! They went to church as well. 

Overall the work here is going great. The trick is pray before contacting, contact lots and show your diligence, and pray that the prepared people will be able to find you. That's what we've been doing and it's working great for us =)

Funny thing of the week: So remember how I said that we had a small problem with our house? Well....here it is. So about a week ago I was sleeping and I woke up at 5:00 am. It sounded as if something had fallen. As I was awake trying to go back to sleep I heard someone whispering my name outside the window, by the way we're on the 4th floor....I was freaked out and couldn't sleep the rest of the morning. The next night it was the same. I couldn't sleep because I continuously heard my name being whispered through the window. I only slept maybe 3 hours. The next night I couldn't sleep either. Then the next day we went all our and dedicated the house and everything. I felt super good about the prayer that I did and went to bed. I couldn't fall asleep because I wasn't tired, but I was really calm. Then at 12:00 am I heard my name outside the window again. Impossible! We blessed the house and everything! Kind of frustrated I poked my head out the window to see what was whispering my name. I listened carefully and I heard a bird making noise. Then the same bird made a slightly different noise and I don't know how, but it sounded like a person whispering my name.........I couldn't see it because it was far away. I guess witht the distance and with the window shut it muffled the sound a bit and sounded like someone was whispering my name right outside my window. Really!!?? I couldn't sleep 3 nights and I was about to pee my pants because of a stupid bird outside my window. Point is, it wasn't a spirit or anything, just a stupid bird that I want to kill......

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cool View
Cool View
Weekly Goals of the Mission

The work here in our sector is progressing great. We're trying to focus on contacting effectively and we're having great results. One thing our mission president has been teaching us is that we should pray to have the prepared people find us instead of the other way around. It really is easier if they come to us because there aren't many missionaries and there are a lot of people. So we've been praying for that and we're had some good references just fall into our laps. We even have someone with baptismal date now. Her name is Kimberly and she's the daughter of a member that's recently getting back into church. She's already been to church quite a few times and her cousin (member) has been teaching here the lessons. She's super awesome and prepared. The best part is, we didn't have to look for her =). She came to us. If all goes well she should be getting baptized next saturday

By the way, after the exorcism last week nothing else has happened in that house. All better =). But now we have a slight problem in our house. Yeah! We'll be fixing it today though >=D. 

Funny thing of the week: So we were contacting this week and we started talking to a 25 year old woman about the gospel. She was pretty interested in what we were saying and we asked if she goes to any church. She said, "No. I can't". We asked why she couldn't go to church and she said that it's because she's under house arrest for the next 8 years..................well then.................A little awkward lol. But she's colombian and we think that it's for drug problems.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Volcano that you can see from my house.

Panoramic view of Quito

Second volcano you can see from the house

Clouds in Sunset in Quito

Cool clouds in the city

You can see the airport from my house

Third volcano you can see from the house and that is the LDS you can see in the front
Meh.....I get lazy writing letters lol. That's okay I guess because I only have to write 5 more after today hahaha...but whose counting? =)
So my first week opening a sector was good. We spent a couple of days getting to know the sector. There's a member called Hermano Duque (he's a crazy old guy) and he showed us a bunch of members' houses without even asking him to do it. He just said, "let's go!". Pretty cool guy. Then we also went around with another missionary who used to be here and he showed us some houses. And then another day we went out with our mission leader. The members here are super cool and help us out a lot with references and getting to know the houses and stuff.
So the missionaries/missionary that was here was Elder Bolton, one of my companions in Coca. He didn't really leave any super good investigators and we didn't have anybody in church this week....but we did contact and find some really good people, so we're excited for them =).  Most of our time we tried to contact and get to know the members houses.
My companion Elder Barros is doing good. He suffers from some health problems like allergies and some other things, but he works hard and is almost always happy.
Something interesting this week....We did an exorcism!!! So here's the story. On wednesday night at about 10:15we heard a knock on our door, which was weird because nobody knocks on a missionaries door and much less because we live on the 4th floor of our building.....So we opened the door and 2 missionaries that live close to us came in breathing hard and sweating and they just said, "something happened in our house. Something bad"....We asked what happened but they didn't say anything. We asked a couple more times and they told us more or less what happened. I already knew from my companion (he was in that house last change) that the house was haunted. I'll save the specifics, but they had a scary experience and came over to our house wanting us to go over to help them get some of their stuff out so they could sleep with the zone leaders that night. So we offered a prayer in our house and then went over to their house to help them get their stuff out at 10:30 at night. Honestly when we went in I didn't feel anything. Probably because there were 4 of us and we offered a prayer before going in. We got their stuff out and left without any problems. The next day President Richardson came over to bless the house and cast out the spirits that were there (the missionaries have been having encounters there for about 3 weeks). He, the assistants, the zone leaders, the missionaries that lived there and us were all there and President Richardson offered a dedicatory prayer on the house. Pretty crazy stuff. Since then (last thursday) nothing has happened. Yeah for priesthood!
Funny thing of the week: This saturday we went to a less active's house to teach her and she had made us something to eat. We were telling them about Elder Barros' allergies and stuff and saying how it stinks and everything. She gave us a plate of rice and we started eating. In my rice I saw a piece of walnut and picked it out and started looking for more. Then I felt that my throat was itching. Darn it...I had already eaten a piece. I told her that I was allergic to walnuts and I couldn't eat it. My throat wasn't really itching, but then my chest started hurting like crazy. I took my pill, which I always have =), and I was fine after about half an hour. But the hermana felt super bad for almost killing me and made me some rice and sausages without walnuts. The whole time she was asking me if I was okay or if I needed to go to the hospital or something. It wasn't serious, but it did hurt like the dickens. After everyone had eaten she brought out the dessert which was chocolate cake; and guess what! It had walnuts too!!!........Meh....She felt really bad lol. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Elder Thomas and Elder Black, Elder Thomas goes home tomorrow!

Zone in Otavalo

Elder Black and New companion Elder Barro, from Peru
Well...surprise! I got changes! Kind of weird...Now I'm in Quito with a Peruvian named Elder Barros. They told me that he needs help and they want me to be his companion.... I'm not a zone leader or anything, just a normal missionary that's training. The only bad part is that I won't have a phone anymore =(. So yeah, I'll be dying here and Elder Barros is going to kill me =) and this will be my last sector. From what I've heard my sector is really big and kind of dangerous, and we're also opening it. Never done that before but I guess we'll see how it goes. So that's what's happened today; I'll just update you all on what happened last week.

So my week in Otavalo was good. We tried really hard to find new investigators and we were pretty successful. We found a really good family, they were contacts and they let us in right off the bat (by the way that is really weird here). They were really interested in what we taught them and they said they would go to church on sunday. They didn't go, but they should be pretty awesome =). Then we met with an investigator that we had found a couple of weeks ago. His name is Alberto Sanchez. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it's true. He's really interested and said that his neighbors would probably make fun of him for listening to us and reading the Book of Mormon, but he would ignore them and ask God if it's true. He also has a baptismal date forJuly 12th. I have lots of hope for him and I hope he progresses well. 

This morning, when I was all packed up, we went to go say good-bye to the Arias Famiy (they're the cool colombians that can't get married. They live 1 block from our house). And Ladys the hermana started crying and then she hugged me good-bye, wheich was super awkward for me as a missionary. But I guess it's cool that they actually care enough. 

Well that's basically what happened this last week. We'll see how things go here opening a sector....should be interesting. 

By the way, I will finish the mission with 20 companions and 8 sectors

Elder Black

Monday, June 9, 2014

Well, don't have much time to write because we have to go to Quito really quick because my companion wants to talk with President. Not sure about what, but we're going to leave in a little bit. Last week I didn't write because we had the Leaders Council in Quito and we did a couple of things there and there wasn't time to write. We went to the offices and bought some stuff, went bowling and I bought myself something nice to eat, lasagna and a Cinnabon. So worth it =).
So these last 2 weeks have been kind of hard in our sector. We have some good investigators but things just keep falling through. We had a really awesome investigator couple and the husband (Leandro), was killed by a car while he was crossing the street. That and a bunch of other stuff has happened. But before we go to Quito we're going to make chocolates for Jenny (Leadro's wife) and teach her about the Plan of Salvation tonight when we get back from Quito. Looking forward to that. Should be pretty good.
This last week we really focused on trying to get to know the less actives here. We went all over the place with an x-bishop and he took us to the edge of the world. There was one family that lived 25 minutes in bus and then 45 minutes walking up a hill into the middle of nowhere lol. It was kind of cool though because there was a good view. =)
We also haven't had anybody with baptismal date in a month....We're working as best as we can, but the sector is kind of difficult because there aren't many members or houses to contact. But the work is steadily progressing.
Funny thing of the week: So like I said, we really tried to work with the members and less actives this week. We had an appointment to go out and visit a reference with the bishop's dad. He's an old indigenous guy who doesn't speak much spanish. Now, you have to understand that the indigenous people here don't really bathe or shower. Once a week or so is enough for them. So we were sitting there waiting for him to get ready and he was taking dried corn off the cob, he did that for a while and then went into another room and then started making food, we ate and then he got "cleaned up". He washed his hands, got his hair wet and then said, "Limpiecíto", with a smile on his face. Limpiecíto means "squeaky clean" more or less in english. We thought it was super funny lol. Then my companion said, "He probably feels so clean that he'll wait to do it again in 3 days". Lol....they're so funny here =)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Here's a picture of us and Elder Waddell. FYI he's 6 ft 6 in....Huge..

Well, this week was alright and amazing at the same time. Alright in the mission work part, but awesome in that Elder Waddell from the Area Presidency came and visited our mission!
I'll start off with the mission work and save Elder Waddell for the end. So here in the sector things went alright this week. We did find 2 new families that are very promising, but the ones we already had didn't go to church and we weren't able to visit them this week because they weren't available...Quick update on the Arias family; they're doing great and everything and really want to get married. The problem is that they are illegal Colombians and they can't get married here and if they try to hop the border to get married in Colombia they might not be able to get back....That's the problem...unless they find a magic solution they'll have to wait at least 3 months before they can ask for a permit to stay here in Ecuador. By then I won't even be in the mission! So that's them. Other than the marriage problem they're doing awesome. 
Other than the Arias family we don't have any investigators that are progressing that much, just a bunch that aren't keeping commitments =(, but that's normal I guess. Like Elder Holland says, "Salvation is not a cheap experience"...sad but true. 
Our zone here is super awesome though. It's one of the most obedient/diligent zones I've been in. You tell them to do better with referrals and they do it lol. Makes our job as a zone leader that much easier =).
Well, that's the mission work for you, now Elder Waddell! It was super awesome and I learned a bunch from him. He knows a ton and is very intelligent; pretty much has the mission library memorized. The taught us on why we're here, what is expected of us, and how we accomplish with that purpose. He said a lot of stuff, so I'll just summerize what he said.

He said we're here in this mission, in this time, because God wanted us to be with THIS mission president. He said that 2 Apostles have told him that when they give a missionary a calling, they feel more like they're assigning the missionary to the mission president and less to the actual mission. He said that we are here to learn from our mission president. God also wants us to be with these companions and learn from them. That, in few words is why we're here in this mission, right now. 
We are here in the mission not just to baptize, but to activate, retain, and convert. Before the missionaries just focused on baptizing and that's it. Now we work with less actives, converts, members, and less actives. We also don't teach with the focus on baptizing them. Baptism is not the end, rather a mean to get to the higher goal which is temple marriage. He said that baptism doesn't mean much if we don't acompany it with temple marriage. The purpose of life is to get married in the temple, not just to get baptized. The temple is everything! We have to think, study, and teach to get people to reach that goal. 
How do we do it....Inviting them to repent. He said something interesting that I agree with. He said that people here in Latin America are christians and already have faith in God. Normally to get baptized a person has to have faith, REPENT, and then get baptized. But the people here already have faith and are willing to listen and we as missionaries can skip the repentance part and go straight to baptism. That is the reason why there are so many less actives here. All of them have faith, but very few of them have repented and become truly converted unto Christ. We have to help people to become converted by helping them to repent, and keep covenants such as praying, and reading. If they do those 2 things it is very likely that they will go to church.
Well, that in summerized words is what he talked about, but it was way more awesome. I could feel the Spirit very strongly and I knew that I was supposed to be in this mission right now. I also learned a lot about my purpose as a missionary and what I'm supposed to be doing.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello earthlings,
Well, this week was alright; nothing too exciting happened. We contacted a lot but we weren't able to find very many new people this week...But we do have a few investigators that we're really excited for. One is the Arias Family. There's only 2 of them, but they're middle-aged, unmarried colombians. They're super awesome though. Carlos, the dad, isn't even baptized yet and he's almost finished the Book of Mormon and the Teachings of the Prophets book. Yup, he knows more than some members lol. He does have a lot of doubts and things he doesn't know, but he's got a really open mind. I guess most of his life he's been looking for the truth and has maybe literally researched every religion known to man. Christian, muslim, hindu, jew....about everything lol. So that's why he has a lot of ideas in his head. But the good part is that he believes almost everything we tell him lol. They're also planning on getting married this week. Hopefully it works out =)
Well...that was really the only exciting this this week. We spent most of our time trying to contact new places in our sector, but nobody really wanted to listen to us. One funny thing that we saw in all the contacts though is that they all thing that we're wrong about having modern revelation and prophets and they say that it says in the Bible that there can't be any more scripture because it's already in the Bible and that it also says that it says that there can't be anymore prophets or apostles. Then we ask them where it says that and they start looking in their Bible and can't find it, "Oh I know it's here! I read it! I can't find it but I know it's here!".....Yeah.....Then once I told a lady that if she can find where it says that in the Bible I'll get baptized in her church lol. She still didn't find it lol. People are funny sometimes. They tell us that we need to study better the Bible so we can teach the people the truth. It's funny because we CAN pull out scriptures to back up what we say and they can't.
Funny thing of the week: I found this little notice in a bus stop and translating it says, "Urgent. Need normal people to accomplish abnormal activities"....Uhh.....Like what lol. Yeah, that's all it says but I thought it was really funny and random =)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Well, I got changed this week =(. I was really wanting to stay in Coca until the end of my mission, but I guess that's how life is =).
So now I'm in Otavalo (where are the indigenous people and souvenirs are). It's pretty cool here in both senses of the word. After being in coast and jungle places for the past 7 months the climate change has been rough on my body. Where I used to like the cold, not anymore lol. Here it's been really rainy and cold. To top it off there is no hot water in our house, not even in the shower....Now I want everyone who is reading this letter to go to the nearest sink and put their hand under the water as cold as it goes. Super cold huh? That's what I have to shower with everyday....The first few times you shower you can't really breathe, but after a few days you get used to it and you feel like a real man for showering with that water =).
Other than the cold the ward is pretty good and pretty big. The bishopric actually does visits and the members are very willing to go with us and visit people. When I got here we didn't really have any investigators, but we found a bunch this week. There are lots of people that are prepared to recieve the gospel here; and out of all the investigators that we found this week 5 of them came to church. Now that is awesome!
Now my companion, his name is Elder Pinta from Colombia. He's got about 18 months in the mission and he's cool. We got off to a rough start, but I think we were able to work out our problems. We were able to contact lots and build up our program of investigators a lot. 

Elder Black

*(I will post pictures later on today)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Well, we haven't received a letter from Skylar this week.  We are assuming he got changed...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Well...the most exciting thing that happened that happened last week was that I didn't go to Quito. The bad part is that I'm in Quito right now for another meeting lol. The members in Coca are telling me to buy a house in Quito because I'm always here anyways =). 

This week was great! We found lots of new investigators and some even came to church. One new investigator was a contact named Fani Calpo. We contacted her and taught the Restoration right there. As we were about to offer the opening prayer she asked, "You pray sitting down?". Uhh....yeah? She wanted to pray kneeling down. Nice! So we knelt down and we explained how to pray and she said that she wanted to offer the first prayer. Yeah why not. Then she raised her hands up in the air and started praying the Lord's Prayer and then said "Amen". Uhh.....thanks for the prayer? lol. It was kind of awkward because we were teaching her in the open on her front porch....But she seemed really interested though =). Then another family we taught was a reference from some recent converts. In total there's 5 of them. They're pretty awesome and even came to a branch activity and church this week. They'll also be doing a FHE in the members house who's reference they were. 

Other random successes are these. We've been working on a less active family (Familia Villón) for a really long time. They have been long time inactive members; but the good part is that we've got them to church 2 weeks in a row and one of their sons that's now 9 has a baptismal date for May 17th. Also, an investigator couple of 2 years finally got all their marriage papers fixed and are all good to get married and baptized! Yeah! 

Overall things are going good here in Coca. It's been a bit difficult because we haven't had any baptisms in almost 3 months, but we've found people that aren't just good, but are keeping commitments. We're excited for all the work to be done! Hopefully they don't change me this change....

That's all for now!

P.S. Yes Mom, she actually really liked the cookies =)

Elder Black

Monday, April 21, 2014

Making Peanut Butter Cookies!

Well, we went to Quito again! For the 3rd week in a row....This time it was for a Zone Conference; we have to go to Quito because President and the assistants don't want to travel all the out to the jungle to do it, so we have to go there. That took up most of the week and then the rest of the week was Semana Santa. Semana Santa is the latin america version of Easter. All they do is watch Bible videos and party; so it's a very sacred time of the year for them. Semana Santa made things hard because nobody was home....We couldn't really meet with any of our investigators, but we did find a family of 6 this sunday that accepted a baptismal date....Nice....That was pretty much the only interesting thing that happened. Oh, there was one other thing. Here in Ecuador we had a Stake Conference that was broadcasted from Salt Lake. Elder Holland and Elder Scott talked to us, just Ecuador =). Pretty cool to hear them talk about Ecuador. Elder Holland started his talk out in spanish, but with a very strong accent. He pretty much said said sorry because his spanish is horrible, terrible etc...Pretty funny =). It was a good conference though.
Funny thing of the week: We were teaching a lesson to about 10 people (some investigators, some converts) and we had just finished. Then one of the converts (Jazmin Santos, 25 years old) asked if she could say something; I said "sure". Then she asked if we remembered her friend that we taught last week, "yes"... Well she said that she really likes Elder Poma. Bwahahahaha!!! We all busted up laughing and Elder Poma just looked down and had an embarassed/shocked look on his face and didn't say anything. So hilarious =)
Pic: Making peanut butter cookies for a mamita's birthday! Thanks for sending the stuff mom =). Yes they turned out well.
Elder Black

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Well, going to Quito again....meh....yet another meeting and a 7 hour bus ride. I think we've set a record for going 3 weeks in a row =). How great is that?! Anyways. Again not much happened last week because of the trip to Quito. We can't ever really make progress because of the trips, just maintain what we already have. 
We are excited though because an investigator couple of 2 years went on a trip with a member to try and get some marriage papers fixed up so that they can get married! It'll be so awesome if they can finally get married after waiting to long. The mom of the family was attending every week for an entire year! Yup, they're ready to get baptized. 

To answer a few questions, I have not been able to meet with the family of 7 that my companion found. We had an appointment with them but it fell through =(. We weren't able to make the cookies this week but will be doing it this week maybe. We're going to make them for an awesome mamita that had her birthday recently. And my companion is doing well. He's pretty tough and he's taking it well. He doesn't really get down =). 

Bus leaves in 15 minutes....

Hasta luegito, 

Elder Black

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

So yeah...I went to Quito last week for a Leaders Council for Zone Leaders and was there from monday untilthursday....Blegh. Then we had General Conference on friday and saturday. Very little work in the sector this last week, but we did have some success. Elder Poma did divisions with some members and worked by himself. He did pretty good and even found a new family of 7! They don't have a baptismal date but cool beans. We also had a pretty good investigator and less active turnout at General Conference. I'm loving it here in Coca and it feels like my home =). So that was basically it...By the way, thanks for the packages. They're perfect =). Ill try and make the cookies next monday

The missionary with the most boring letters in the world, 

Elder Black <---yup...that's me

Just so you know yesterday President Richardson called me and told me that Elder Poma and I had to go to Quito asap. I knew it was for bad news....We got to President Richardsons house (we re still here), and he broke some bad news to him. I guess his mom unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. He only has a sister and his dad that doesnt live with them. Hes doing pretty good. Obviously its something hard, but hes handling it pretty well. If you could pray for him and put his name on the prayer roll that would be great.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Well...this week I didn't go to Quito, but my companion did! But I still wasn't really in our sector because I had to stay with other missionaries. So....once again...didn't really do much. I feel like I always say that lol. Really not much to report though. The only cool thing is that a less active hermano and his family went to church this sunday. The dad is a member and isn't married to his "wife" and we had been teaching them awhile back; the Familia Mera if you can remember that far back. That was about it though. Nobody else came to church...Yup. This letter is super boring lol. By the way mom yes I got my packages, although I still have yet to open them. To not bore you any longer I'm just going to end lol

Elder Black

Monday, March 24, 2014

First off, I didn't get changed!!! Finally! I've almost never been in a sector more than 2 changes. It'll be nice being able to stay in my favorite sector here in the jungle for at least a little bit longer =). I'm still here with my little peruvian son Elder Poma and things are going well. 

Again we were in Quito most of the week and we didn't work much in the sector. But we've been able to see miracles. We've been able to find some great people to teach and I'm really excited for them. That's most of the reason that I wanted to stay. I really want to see them get baptized and I'm sure that some will. Most of them are from Crecimento Real as well. It's going to be awesome!

And Dad, to answer your question, "CURIOUS, Have you guys come to like some food that you never thought you would?". Yes, yes I have. I now like fish, soup, and plantain. Those are the big ones =). I've also grown to like bread a lot more. Here there are a lot of different kinds of bread and there are bakeries everywhere. 

Funny thing of the week: So, for those of you who didn't know, my birthday was this week. Guess what I did.....That's right! I was in the bus traveling to Quito all day! Yeah!!!....So boring lol. Happy Birthday 

Elder Black

Monday, March 17, 2014

Well, not much time to write and not much to write as I was in Quito all week again =). Unfortunately Orlando did not get baptized this week....I guess he started working and he works everyday including sundays. That's why he didn't get baptized. We also don't have anybody with baptismal date...On the other hand we had 5 new investigators show up to church out of nowhere. Awesome! We got appointments with them for this week and we're pretty excited =). We also have an appointment with a really good potential investigator tonight. I'll tell you about her in the "Funny thing of the week".

Funny thing of the week: So this monday Elder Poma and I were walking to the terminal with my little suitcase and his bag of clothes. I was going to Quito and he was going to be staying with the other missionaries during the week. We were walking along and I heard someone behind us hiss (that's how they try to get your attention here...). Normally I don't pay attention to the people who hiss because I'm well, not a snake. But this time I did and it was a lady. She motioned for us to go over to her; we did and she started to talk to us. She started telling us that she had heard from the sister missionaries awhile back, then she offered to take us to the terminal. We had to tell her "no" because we couldn't get into the car with just her there. Since she couldn't take us she tried to give us $2.00 so we could take a taxi. We tried to refuse but she wouldn't allow it....Okay, thanks. Then she started teaching us. She said she believes in the gift of tongues, and profecies and dreams. She even told us that she had seen an angel (fyi, I don't believe she's crazy). Then she tried to give us $10.00 so we could buy something nice to eat for the trip. We really tried to refuse this time. She said, "Don't you take offerings?". No we do not take ANY money...."Haven't you ever heard of a love offering?"....Uhh....no? lol. She said that you reap what you sow and she wanted blessings for helping missionaries. We were forced to take the money (darn lol). Then she went on to say that we're princes and pearls of great price for being missionaries and preaching the gospel. Then she offered a prayer to end......Uhh... I was really confused afterwards, but she gave us her number and we got an appointment for today. She really wants us to visit her. I'm kind of excited to see how it goes =). 

Pics: the parrot thing is something that Diana (the one I just recently baptized) gave to me. It's super awesome! It's about 8 inches tall and she wrote on it (the translation), "Elder Black, Thank you for being an instrument of God, for coming into my life and opening the door to eternal happiness". Awe.....=). She's awesome. The other picture is with Hermano Alvarado. He is literally a clown and is the 2nd councelor in the branch presidency

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whew! This week we did do a lot. We taught a bunch of lessons, found new investigators, and have people with baptismal date. A bunch of stuff. So Orlando did not get baptized this week. I guess his baptism will be for this saturday. Don't worry, he's doing good though =).

I don't know if you remember, but a while back we were teaching a guy named Henry. Well, after about a month we finally visited him again. He's still living with Keli (an inactive 15 year old member...) and he told us that in 2 weeks he'll be going into the military. It was possible that he could have gotten baptized, but on friday we visited him and told us that he was informed wrong, that he'd be going into the military tomorrow, or last saturday. Okay then....lol. So he went to the military. But the good thing is that Keli will finally stop living with him and she can keep the lay of chastity!

We also found a great investigator this week. Her name is Alejandra, she's Pedro Heredia's girlfriend. They're not married, but they want to. Before, Alejandra didn't want anything to do with the church, but now she even wants to get baptized! Nice. She's really good though.

Then here's something cool that happened. So there's this tribe here that wants the missionaries to go and visit them. A while back the missionaries tried to visit them but it didn't work out for some reason. But I guess they want us to go and teach them =). They live about 2 hours away from here and they used to walk around naked and kill people. Now they put clothes on and they only kill people sometimes. Once they killed 2 catholic missionaries, but that's because they weren't invited there and they went unexpected. But we've got a connection with the chief =). Not sure how it'll work out or anything. I think it would be awesome to teach an entire tribe!

That's all for now. I'll be going to Quito this week and the week after as well, so not much should be happening...

Funny thing of the week: So last week I bought some yogurt. It was fine and everything and then I pulled it out this morning to eat some. I noticed that some yogurt was leaking out of the bottle into the fridge. I felt the bottle and noticed that it was hard and inflated. Knowing that it was pressurized I aimed the bottle at the kitchen sink and slowly unscrewed the lid; some air came out. Then, suddenly it exploded and shot out of my hands and onto the floor like a rocket. I guess the yogurt had fermented or something and the pressure built up a bunch. It was pretty funny because it got yogurt all over the wall and it kind of scared me since it blew up =)

See ya!

Elder Black

Monday, March 3, 2014

This past week was alright. Meh...It was all thanks to Carnaval...It's a holiday here and everyone here goes to the river or out of town, as a result, lots of fallen appointments =). Hoorah! The good part is that we were still able to do some good stuff. We found a few promising new investigators who did not attend because of STUPID CARNAVAL!! Hrm... anyways...I'll skip all the bad stuff and just talk about the good stuff that happened. 

So we've been working on a less active convert named Patricia. She's 12 and was baptized about 4 months ago; in all my time here I have not seen her in church. We've been trying to get her to go and nothing....Then, this week we taught her parents who almost got baptized awhile back. They need to get married but we're going to try and help them with that. So we taught them on Saturday night and they weren't so committed to go to church on sunday. They didn't even want to commit to go 1 hour. But on sunday they (parents, Patricia and her little brother) all showed up to church and stayed all 4 hours! Nice =). It was awesome to see them there. 

We will also be having a baptism this week. His name is Orlando. We've been teaching him for a while and he kept saying that he wanted to know more and he wasn't ready to get baptized, but then on saturday he went to the baptism of a family that the other missionaries were teaching and then he said he was ready to get baptized. Awesome! So out of nowhere we'll be having a baptism this week =). 

Also, there was a cool experience that I had this week. So, this week was supposed to be the leaders meeting in Quito. I was going to travel to Lago Agrio on sunday night to be able to travel on monday morning with the other zone leader Elder Coram. Me and my companion got to the terminal at 7:30 to be able to meet up with the other missionaries to leave my companion with them and pick up a couple of things that I needed to take to Quito. We waited there for awhile and they got there at around 8:05. They gave me the papers that I needed, they left and I went to go grab my bus. The last bus left at 8:00 and I missed it....Luckily there was another bus going to Quito that passed by Lago Agrio at 9:00. But it would get there at around 10:30 and I needed to get permission to take a bus so late at night. So I called President and he told me that we would not be having the meeting and that we should not go to Quito. So, abandoned in the terminal I went back to the missionaries house in taxi where I waited for them to get home....So, what's the cool part of this. If the missionaries wouldn't have gotten late to the terminal I wouldn't have missed my bus, I wouldn't have called President to get permission to go late, and me and Elder Coram would have gone all the way to Quito without knowing just to come right back to Coca. The Lord takes care of his missionaries =)

Funny thing of the week: So this week I had to do a baptismal interview for a half deaf guy in a room that has a metal roof during a rainstorm...It was really noisy in during the interview and I could barely hear. He was talking softly and the rain was really pounding down on the roof. From what I could hear the interview was going well and then we got to question 4, the part about if he had commited a serious crime. Right then the rain came down harder and he went on talking. I tried really hard to listen but I could hardly hear anything. Then, as he was ending his story the only thing I could make out was, ".....so that was the worst sin I've commited...". Uhh.....darn it...Uhhhhhhh........."So you haven't any problems with the law or anything?". "No. Never". Okay good lol. It was funny. It was literally the only thing I could hear. Although I couldn't really tell what he was saying I could tell that he didn't have any problems. =)


1. Baptism of the other missionaries, Familia Guaman (4). They're so awesome =)
2. Orlando, Elder Poma and I at the baptism. 
3. Awesome cooked cinnamon apple french toast I made this morning. It was just as good as it looks =). I was so proud for making it =)
4. BMX show that we saw before coming to right today =). The close up is a member named Pedro Heredia who happens to be Diana's brother (Diana's the one that got baptized a couple weeks ago)