What the heck? Mom got a dog? I feel like I don’t even know my own mother anymore. Who are you people that I have been writing all these months? Maybe I’ve been sending my weekly emails to the wrong family. Just like I was sending my reports to the wrong email; because I know my mom and she would never get a dog. OK, now that I got that off my chest, on with the email.
No baptisms this week but that’s not that surprising; we only had three people that were supposed to get baptized after all. We did have a really good teaching week though. We taught 34 lessons total this week. That’s pretty good when you consider that we average about 20 a week. There were a couple of factors that helped pull off such a big jump. First off almost none of our appointments fell through all week, which is very rare. The other reason we managed to get so many is that we taught a lot of 25-30 min lessons to get people ready for general conference. It wasn’t a very long lesson but it was pretty good. Basically what we taught was this:
In the past God called many prophets and the entire bible is made up of their teachings and the revelations they received from God. For example, the Book of Isaiah is about the life and teachings of the prophet Isaiah. During his life Jesus established his church on four basic pillars, prophets and apostles, revelation, the priesthood, and scripture. After the death of Jesus the people persecuted the church and killed the apostles; when the apostles were gone we lost three of the pillars of the church—no apostles or prophets—without them, no revelations or priesthood. After that the world entered what many call “the dark ages” or the great apostasy. During this time many wanted to live the gospel but there wasn’t anyone who was authorized to administer the ordinances or to preach the gospel (no priesthood). But luckily, God does still love his children and when the people were ready he restored his church through the prophet Joseph Smith. And so once again we had the fullness of the gospel on the earth again with prophets, apostles, revelations, priesthood, and of course we still had the scriptures. And guess what? There is a living prophet today who is just like the prophets of old! How cool is that! And not only that, but we have the opportunity to listen to him speak this Saturday and Sunday in a conference that will be broadcast all over the world. He and the apostles will talk about how we can have more happiness in our families and personal lives, and he will help us understand how we can live the gospel better. Everyone wants to have those things right?
Anyway that’s basically what we taught. We also used all sorts of scriptures and stuff as well, but I didn’t feel like typing out all the references. I could send them if you really want though. It would have all been much easier if we could have just walked around and told people to go to mormon.org to learn about this stuff, but not too many people here have computers. But it did help us get lots of lessons, so I shouldn’t complain.
Are you guys getting ready for conference on your end? Is anyone coming over to the house to watch conference with you guys this year, or is it just the family? By the time I get a response to those questions conference will be over, seeing as it’s this week and I won’t talk to you until next Monday.
Hey I hear Tyler Condiff got his mission call. Hawaii huh? Guess what? I’m not jealous. I’m already in the best mission. Although I have not been to the coast yet, it’s supposed to be just as nice as Hawaii and besides, our toilets flush the other direction!
Speaking of awesome, I had a comp swap with Elder Elwood Thursday and we taught a very interesting “lesson”. We went to contact a reference that me and Elder Alferez had gotten a few days back, but when we got to the house there was just some drunk guy. Boy was this guy drunk. I have trouble understanding what drunk people are saying in English, but in Spanish I understood about every other word. Basically he was in a paranoid rant about “the police and the liars” and something else about how we had to talk quietly like him, even though he was yelling. He said it all with the strangest look on his face and it was so funny that the whole time I had my hand over my mouth because I didn’t want him to see me laughing. I couldn’t even look him in the eye because I almost busted up every time. That was definitely the funniest moment of the day, but to make up for it our last appointment was really tough. We were teaching a couple who are unmarried and waiting for the husband’s divorce to go through so that they can get married and then baptized. It’s a pretty common thing in Ecuador because it’s really hard to get a divorce here. What was hard about this appointment was that the husband is living in two different houses. He spends one night at one house and the other night at the other house. I know it sounds pretty messed up but he is a good guy. His reason for doing it is that he has kids in both houses and says he wants to be there for both of them. I know it sounds weird but that’s just the kind of guy he is. The problem is that it is tearing his life apart on both ends, and for about 2 hours Thursday night me and Elder Elwood played marriage counselors. I have no idea what I was thinking trying to help people with their marriage when I’m just some unmarried teenage kid, but we are the best help they have available. I was not expecting to have to deal with all of these things before hand so we were completely winging it. We must have done something right though because by the end of the 2 hours they weren’t yelling at each other, which was a very big improvement. It’s probably because Elder Elwood is such a great teacher. He claims otherwise but I had my best lessons of the week that day.
Friday night me and Elder Alferez had an appointment that was a different kind of interesting. It was late and we were heading home but as we were passing the house of one of our old investigators that we had stopped teaching a while back we thought, “hey we should teach her a lesson and invite her to conference,” so we did. She was more excited than usual to see us and it was a really good lesson. At the end she said “Elders I had a dream that you would come today; I want to be baptized.” We said “yeah we can help you out with that”. It was pretty cool. People don’t usually dream about me. Then last night we had a meeting with the stake president and all the bishops to talk about how we could help each other out more. Elder Alferez taught about how the wards could work better with the missionaries and I talked about what kinds of activities are productive and which ones are a waste of time. Basically a longer version of what I was complaining about last week. It was pretty cool because they actually agreed with me and next month they are going to have a movie night in all the churches where the community will have the chance to see “The Testaments.” I won’t be around to see the results of all this because I’m probably getting transferred next week; but if it helps the other Elders here it’s worth it.
We did have an unplanned activity last week though because a missionary in our ward came home and we stopped by the homecoming party they were having in the church to talk to someone; and we realized there were a ton of people who where not members. So we were running around for a few minutes talking to everyone, “Hey are you a member? No? Awesome! What’s your address?” We couldn’t stay long because we had an appointment, but we got 4 references in 10 minutes, so it was pretty productive.
Today our zone had interviews with President Gamboa, which is why I’m sending my email later than usual. I saw my “dad” (Elder Fuentemavida) for what was probably the last time because this is his last change. Elder Adamson was there as well, so I took a picture with all of the people that have been my companions so far. The assistants handle a lot of the stuff for transfers so I told Elder Fuentemavida to get me transferred to the beach. He said he would see what he could do. During my interview I asked President Gamboa if he got my email and he looked a little confused. I said, “Remember how you haven’t gotten a report from me in a while? Well I figured out it was because I sent it to the wrong email, did you get it this time?” And he saidm “oh that was you; yeah I got it, thanks”. After all that work, it turns out that emails are only mildly important to him. I guess that explains why it took him so long to notice I wasn’t sending it.
As for mom’s questions: yeah they do grow sugar cane near Babahoyo, but they don’t sell it raw in the city, as far as I know, so I had not tried it before. The memorizing is coming along I guess. I’m feeling a little burnt out at this point but I finished memorizing all of the 60 references and all the Book of Mormon scriptures, plus various others. I still have 33 more to go plus “The Living Christ” and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. Our teaching pool is growing steadily at this point thanks to all teaching we did last week. And yeah, there is something you could send in your next package. My mamita de ropa lost one of my pillow cases somehow, so every other week I have to use a tee-shirt. While tee-shirts do make ridiculously comfortable pillowcases, the sleeves and neck hole are kind of annoying. So if you could send me another pillow case, I would appreciate it.
Well I think that covers everything. Next week is transfers so who knows where my next email will be from? If Elder Fuentemavida comes through, it will be from the beach. Talk to you next week and have fun at conference!