Friday, October 31, 2008

2008_10_27 First Email from Ecuador

Mom’s Email sent on 10/23/2008 at 10:36 AM
Curtis’s Reply sent on Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:40:16 -0600

Hi Curtis,

Please hit reply and answer the questions right below each one. Please write more than one or two word answers.

I hope you are having a great time in Ecuador. I watched your flight information on that last flight with a bit of nervousness. You were almost an hour late taking off and landing in Ecuador. I was sure relieved when the internet said you had finally landed. I am sure it made it a lot longer day for you with having to sit on the plane for an extra hour before take off. Do you know what caused the delay?

Yes one of the levers in the cock pit wasn´t working so they had to get maintenance to come and fix it.

Who did you sit by?

I can´t remember her name but she is a native of ecuador living in miami she was going home to visit and for a baptism in the catholic church and a wedding. she is 26 years old I taught her about tithing fast offerings temples mission joseph smith and the restoration baptism the word of wisdom and the law of chastity during our flight it was really cool she wouldn´t accept a pass along card but that is ok.

Did you talk to anyone about the Gospel?

yeah I tried to talk to everyone I could about the gospel.

What did they feed you?

I had mashed potatoes and gravey with a ground beef steak on the plane

How was it to go through Customs?

Customs wasn´t really that big of a deal I didn´t have anything that wasn´t allowed so I was fine

Did you have any problems at the airport?

No we didn´t have any problems at the airport

How long did it take to get your bags and get through Customs?

once we landed it took about an hour to go through customs get our bags and then go through security too.

Tell us about President Gamboa and his wife. What do you think of them so far?

The president is was nice he seems like he is way strict but he really isn´t he is really quite nice actually

How was your interview with President Gamboa?

my interview was short he asked me about my integrity and then he asked me how I felt and then we were done

Did they take you to the mission home and feed you?

that night that I arrived in ecuador we went to the temple and stayed in the temple hotel and had pizza for dinner and then after dinner we went strait to bed the next day we got up and went throught the temple in spanish and then we went to the presidents house and had lunch after having a meeting with the office elders about the mission rules. For lunch we started with a delicious fruit salad it was amazing then we had mashed potatoes and gravy with chicken and then we had apple pie and icecream for desert and then we had a testimony meeting after we went to the temple and met our trainers for and we took some pictures and then we headed for our areas my area is the city of Balizar it is about half way between guayaquil and quevedo.

Did you stay at the temple housing? How was that?

the temple hotel was good but cramped

Did you sleep well your first night there?

yeah it wasn´t bad once the AC got going

Have you slept well since that first night?

yeah but it is hot and sweaty at night

Tell us about the temple. Did you get to go?

yeah I went through in spanish the temple is really pretty inside

How was it in Spanish?

it was good, it was hard though

I looked up the weather down there on Google Earth. It looks like you are going to have ten days of cooler weather, though humid ones and lots of rain. You are going to get really dependent on that umbrella you took with you. I should be able to see what the weather is like all the time on Google Earth. I found a way to turn on the weather settings so I can see the next ten days forecast and the cloud cover. Are you feeling okay with all the humididty?

Yeah the humidity is fine it isn´t a problem except when I try to dry off after a shower it just doesn´t work very well

Are your allergies doing okay?

yeah they arent a problem at all

Are you well?

yeah I am doing fine

Tell us about your companion. What is his name?

My trainer is Elder Bejar he is from Peru a native speaker it makes communication hard sometimes but that is ok.

Where is he from?


How long has he been out?

he has been serving for a year november 1st

How many other missionaries has he trained?

none besides me

What do you think of him so far?

he is great things are really good

Tell us about your location. Where are you serving?

in the city of Balizar it is crazy we live in the city but to the east of the city there is country with dirt roads and the houses are made of cane posts and split cane posts for the siding with tin roofs usually built on stilts it is so weird

We want to find you on Google Earth, so what is your street address?

26 de septiembre la municipilidad de balzar I don´t think you will be able to find it very well but in balzar there is in the west there is a river to the east of the river is the city in the west of the city there is a catholic church with a big open space to the north of it with a little playground in the north east corner of the lot I live to the north of the playground on the next block in an apartment on the second floor the door to our apartment faces the east.

What is your apartment like?

my apartment is quite big really it has two bathrooms a kitchen area and a large area for beds

How many elders are living there?

there is just me and my companion living there

Do you have a mamita to cook and do laundry for you?

yes we have both but they both live in the cane houses to the east of the city

Tell us about your daily routine. How much time do you spend studying?

we get up at 6 30 start studying at 7 30 study till 10 30 do everything else we need to and usually leave by 11 to prosolyte we have lunch at one a huge lunch and then prosolyte untill 9 and then go home plan from 9 to 9 30 and then we get ready for bed and I am usually ready for bed at 10 or 10 15

What kind of Spanish words are you focusing on now that you are in the field?

I can understand gospel words now I am trying to understand the everyday words that I don´t know

Have you been out tracting?

yeah we have done a lot of tracting I have probably walked over 20 miles this past week

Have you started teaching yet?

yeah we have been teaching in fact we have a baptism this saturday!

Is your companion new to your area or was he there with another companion before?

my companion has been in this area for 3 months now so he knows everybody really well

Do you have investigators you are teaching already? Tell us about them.

yeah there are a few the one with the baptism date this saturday is sonja. I don´t know much more about her we only taught her one time since we have been here. there is the santi yung family that the father would get baptised but they are working throught a divorce and we cant baptise them yet. most of our other investigators are fairly new and I don´t know them very well yet

Is there any that we can pray specifically for to help you with the work?

No not yet that I can think of

Tell us about your very best experience so far.

Yesterday we got on a bus and headed towards guayaquil for about 45 minutes and then we got off we went to a house and had sacrament meeting where I presided and Elder Bejar conducted I didn´t konw this but we are branch presidents in this area it is really weird to think that I am basically a bishop

Tell us about your worst experience so far.

I really haven´t had any bad experiences so far they have all been pretty good

Has anything funny or memorable happened?

no not really that I know of but I´m sure there are things that I have said that are funny I just don´t know it

Do you know where Elder Barolomei is serving?

I don´t know where he is serving

Did you remember to give him his stuff back before you parted?

yeah everthing but his spanish english dictionary but I will send that through the pouch this thursday at our district meeting

Was it hard to leave him and go to a new companion?

It was hard but at the same time no it wasn´t because I knew that it was time to change and get a new companion

How did you travel to get to your area and new companion? Bus? Car? Alone? With Other Elders?

we took a taxi in the city to the bus depo and then we took a bus for 4 hours to my city

I called America First and they filled out a form to put with your account so the fraud department will not flag anything from Ecuador as possible fraud. Have you bought your backpack yet?

yeah they gave them to us when we got here and they will take the 16 dollars from our allotment 8 the first two weeks and 8 the next ones we get 80 dollars every two weeks

Have you done any shopping for food yet?

yeah it is a lot different here milk comes in liter bags

Have you bought anything else?

yeah food eggs milk cereal cheese

Is there anything you need?

not that I can think of right now remember if you send any packages use the green slips not the white ones they take 15 dollars from me if I get a package with a white slip

Tell us about the food you have eaten so far. Remember to take your vitamins every day.

soup with every meal usually some sort of chicken soup with vegatables amd a little meat and then a huge plate of rice with beans and fried bananas too they are good. and some meat on top of the rice

What is the best thing you have eaten so far?

probably yesterday I had rice with beans with I think mangos in them and then it was seasoned beef strips with fried bananas

What is the worst thing you have eaten so far?

probably the first day it was the soup broth with some sort of bone in it with a little meat on the bone and a lot of fat on it it wasn´t good but I ate it anyways

Are you happy you are there?

yes I am way happy to be here

Is it what you expected it would be like?

No it is nothing like what I expected it to be

Tell us about the people you have met or seen so far. What is your impression of them?

They are humble for the most part they are mostly catholic but not many are active in their church they are very friendly especially to a gringo

Tell us about your area. Are you in a poor area or a well to do area?

my area has both in it in the city live the well to do people and the people not in the city are poor

Is it big city, country, mountains, coastal?

It is a larger city with country surrounding it

Tell us about the sanitation and health conditions of your area.

it really isn´t that sanitary here I do have a flush toilet and a shower but most people don´t the water isn´t safe so people buy the five gallon water containers they cost a dollar each which isn´t bad at all. we use them too. the big thing that gets me is throwing the toilet paper in the trash after using it but that is becoming more normal for me.

Please write more about anything else you think we would like to know.

I love you so much and I am so very proud of you. I hope you have a fabulous week. I look forward to hearing from you. I know you are safe and the Lord is protecting you, but it will still give me peace to know where exactly on this earth you are and with whom you are serving.

Love always,

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:40:16 -0600Hi Curtis. I am so happy to hear from you. Thanks for writing all of this. Are you still there?

10/27/2008 11:41 AM
Yeah I am still here for about another five minutes and then my time is up sorry

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:43:16 -0600Is there anything else we need to know or you need me to do for you? Have you looked for Contact Solution or Vitamins to see what they cost?

10/27/2008 11:45 AM
no I haven´t but i don´t think there is anything that I need right now

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:47:07 -0600
Have a really great week. Take a few photos and send to us soon if you can. Did you get photos of you with the mission president and his wife? We would love to see your new companion. Have you already written to the mission president today?