Monday, November 3, 2008

2008_11_03 Week 2 Balzar

Carol wrote to Curtis on Monday, November 03, 2008 at 1:25:27 am
Curtis replied on Monday 11/3/2008 10:14 AM
Subject: 2008_11_02 Week Two in Ecuador

Hi Curtis,

Reply and answer my questions again please.

I hope all is going well for you. I have had a fun week searching for everything I can find on Balzar. I have a much better idea where you are now and what the country around you is like. It appears you are in a valley between two mountain ranges, a small one on the west of you, only about 1500 feet above sea level at the highest point and a part of the Andes Mountain range to the east with really big mountains. Mount Chimborazo, one of the highest mountain peaks in the world, is about 70 miles to the east of you and just a bit to the south. I wonder if you can see the peak from where you are. Dad doesn't think you would be able to see it that far away. It was probably too dark to see it when you flew into Ecuador. Mount Chimborazo rises to 20,565 feet above sea level. It is ranked as the 17th highest mountain in the world and is the highest mountain in Ecuador. It is an inactive stratovolcano. Can you see it? Do the mountains help it to feel like home?

I can´t see the mountains from where I am at. I am having a hard time keeping my bearings of where the directions are but I am getting the hang of it now it is so much easier in utah mountains=east and lake=west much easier

What city in Utah would you compare Balzar to in size? It has about the same amount of people as Clearfield has.

I don´t know it is hard to decide the city part is probably smaller than west point and then we have the stuff outside of the city that is a whole lot bigger

Northwest of you there are some small lakes up by Hacha and Boca Chica. The river appears to flow through some of them and just near others. They remind me of lakes like in the Uintah Mountains on the map. There are a number of roads coming into Balzar. There is the main highway route 21 that goes from Guayaquil up through Porotillo, then west through Daule then north through Santa Lucia and Hacienda Javiera and on to Balzar. I would guess this is the road you traveled to get to your area on the bus. Is that correct?

I think so but i´m not sure I know we went through several cities to get here that is about all though

There is another road that goes south east out of Balzar through Pauji and on to Vinces. There must be a university in Pauji as there are a bunch of Utube Videos from a University that show on Google Earth. I found some maps on a church site that show that Vinces is the district that your branch is in. They are from 2001, so they are probably way outdated. They show one branch in Balzar and two branches in Vinces to make up the Vinces District. I would hope that the church has grown some since 2001 and that there are more branches in this area now. To the east of you and a little south is a city called Palenque, but there is not a road that goes straight from Balzar to Palenque. You have to go to Vinces and then up to get to Palenque. Have you been to any meetings in Vince yet? Do you know how many branches there are now in the district?

I am not sure I know there is the one in Balzar and the one that is about a half hour south of us but I don´t know of any others

There is an interesting road that loops around to the north of Balzar. Meza is along the road on the far side of the loop. There is also a smaller loop on the upper part of the circle. I wonder if you have been out walking in that area. It would be the country area to the east that you talked about. It looks like farm land on the map, but we can't zoom in to tell for sure.

I have been out there a little bit but not very far maybe a half mile out there to some homes but that is about it

To the south a little ways there is a neat loop in the river. It almost comes back around to form a complete circle. There is lots of green around the river. We think these must be rice paddies that are growing along the river banks. There is another place just below the circle that forms a small rectangle loop and below that another smaller rectangle loop. I have never seen a river that has such interesting bends and curves in it. Did you get to see them on your way there?

I did see some rivers on the way here and they did have rice paddies that were flooded around them too

It looks like one road crosses the river to the west of town. There must be a big bridge there to go over the water. I found 16 photos of Vince on the Internet. One shows a bridge over a river. I would guess it is typical of what the bridge crossing the Daule River would look like. I also found a photo of people working in rice paddies in Daule. I am sure that is what they look like all along the river banks. If you continue east on the road after crossing the river, you would travel to Guarumito, which looks like it is about five miles away. About a mile after crossing the bridge, the road intersects with another road that goes north and south to other cities, Hacienda Primavera about five miles to the south and Boca Chica about five miles to the north. How far does your area cover? Have you crossed the bridge over the river?

no I haven´t crossed the river yet but our area is about 45 minutes in a bus north of Balzar and 45 minutes south of our city but we do most of our proselyting in balzar

You said you had been walking in this area. Are there any other forms of transportation to help you get around?

nope not unless we want to pay for a taxi the busses only come through on the main road that is all

Do you have maps showing you all of this area?

I only have a map of the city of balzar that is it

Have you been to any of these other cities, or just in Balzar?

Just Balzar except for on wednesdays we have district meeting every wednesday and we have to travel an hour and a half to Quevedo for these it only cost a dollar fifty to go to Quevedo

Where are your branch meetings held? Are they in a city to the south or just along the road somewhere?

We have a chapel in Balzar and the one that we have to travel for that we are the branch presidents over is held in the home of a member

One map I found of Ecuador says that they raise bananas and coffee in your area. Is that what the people in Balzar do for employment? Do they raise other crops? Are there any industries there?

there is a lot of farmland here for sure lots of the people in Balzar are vendors they have their product and they sell in the streets or on the busses or both and they make a decent living a lot of the people from the surrounding area come to balzar to shop for things

Another map shows that you live in a deciduous forest area. To me it looks more like open farm land, but I can't really tell from the maps. It is kind of a patchwork of fields in different colors, lots of browns and greens. Some of the dark spots could be water. Is it fields that I am seeing on the map or forested areas?

a lot of the area is farm land banana trees and other crops away from the road further there looks like there could be trees and forests but it is hard to tell in a bus

Tell us more about your Branch. How did church go this week? What is a typical Sunday like? How many members are there in the branch? How many come out to church? Are there Priesthood holders there? Besides Presiding, what other tasks do you do to make the branch function? Do you have only Sacrament Meeting or do you have the other meetings as well?

In Balzar we have a branch with a branch president his wife is our mamita de comida he leads the branch in Balzar there are about 30 to 35 that come to church lots of children and then a few families and about 8 are priesthood holders we have sacrament meeting first and then sunday school and then priesthood and then a meeting with the president and the elders quorum president and the ward mission leader and discuss the missionary work and then we have lunch with the president and his family and then we prosolyte for an hour and then we catch a bus to the other branch to the south and then we conduct and preside at another sacrament meeting. Only sacrament meeting though

How did your baptism go on Saturday? Where was it held? Who performed the ordinances? Did many people attend her baptism? Do you have any other baptisms scheduled?

Our baptism actually fell through the girl she is 16 her name is sonia she couldn´t get her parents permission and her family is catholic so they have been trying to talk her out of getting baptised so it is hard

Tell us about the lessons you have taught this week. Tell us about your investigators. Did you find any promising new investigators? Are you able to speak to the people well enough to be understood? Can you understand them?

I am having trouble understanding the people in the mtc the people all pronounced their words well here the people are lazy and slur words together and don´t speak the whole word so it is hard. They understand me just fine. This week we taught a lot of lessons 8 with members present and 22 without a member present we have been teaching a young man 17 i think his name is Fernando he acepted to be baptised the end of november we would do it sooner but we have to have them attend church 3 times prior to being baptised

Tell us about some of the people you have met. Can we pray for anyone?

pray for Sonia that she will be able to get the permission of her parents for baptism and that she will not be dissuaded from the idea of baptism. pray for Fernando that he will continue to progress and gain a testimony.

What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

I got to go to Quevedo twice on wednesday for the district meeting and then thursday
to get my senso it is my ID card that I have to have to be legal in ecuador Elder williams was there too to get his senso. He is in my district so I see him weekly

What was the worst thing that happened to you this week?

I don´t know there really hasn´t been much probably that my knees hurt from walking so much

Did anything funny or strange or interesting happen?

I ate at a KFC in Quevedo and instead of sides of mashed potatoes and gravy they have rice and beans who would have guessed?

Did you go to the cemetery for the Day of the Dead? Do they celebrate Halloween? How?

No they don´t celebrate haloween but the day of the dead wow think of the whole city in one city block the cemetery honoring the dead and there were vendors everywhere and music blaring and it was crazy so we avoided it as much as we could because we are supposed to avoid large crowds of people if we can

What color of Space Pen do you want? shiny silver, brushed silver, camo green, black. Do you want a clip on it?

Probably a shiny silver with a clip on it preferably if there is the choice in a size 0.5 if not that is ok

Is there anything else you need or want? I need to send your Christmas package fairly soon, so let me know if there is something you want in that package.

I can´t think of anything you could send me some reces peanut butter cups if you wanted to

Have you received any mail since you have been there? Have you gotten any DearElders?

i got one dear elder from aunt sheralyn I get them through the pouch on wednesdays in Quevedo and then I have to wait untill monday pday to open them it is hard to not open them

Are you well? Have you been sick at all? Is the food and water agreeing with you?

the food and water is fine I haven´t had diareah or anything the food is good soup first and then a large plate of rice with beans and meat and fried bananas it is good

Do you drink other things besides water? How is your filtering cup working out?

I have been buying the water here in 5 gallon jugs and it is just fine or we can purchase it in bottles on most corners for a quarter we can drink colas as long as they are not black so I have been drinking a couple drinks inca kola and ponly malta they are good and there is a citrus drink call cifruit that is good too we can drink anything that has been sealed and that we open ourselves

Where do you go for district meetings? Who is your district leader? Do you know any of the other elders in your district?

Quevedo for the district meetings and yeah I know elder Williams there are five gringos in my district me elder williams elder sanches elder williams companion and then two others

Where do you go to send email? How long do you have? Last week seemed really short. Aren't you supposed to have an hour for emailing family?

yeah I had an hour but 40 of it was spent answering that one email with the questions just like this one we email at a cyber just down the street from our house

I have created a blog for you. It is a place where I can post your letters and emails and photos you send. I have emailed the link out to all of the family so they can check on you whenever they are thinking about you. You probably can't go to other Internet sites besides email, but if you can, the URL is:
I setup a desktop shortcut to this site for Grandma and Grandpa Goode. Now they can just click on it and read what you are up to. I think they miss you a lot. They are helping to support you on your mission. It would be great if you could send them a thank you note.

OK I will make sure that I do send them a note this wednesday

It would be great to have some of your favorite scriptures to put on the blog and your testimony if you have time to write it.

I´ll put it in a letter for you and send it this wednesday too

Tell us more about your companion. Where in Peru is he from? Tell us about his family. How long has he been a member of the church? Did he go to college before a mission? work? What are his hobbies and interests? Are you getting along well?

We get along fine he is from lima peru. he is the oldest in his family he had a sister that is 16 and then a brohter younger probably 12 his family have been members their whole lives he didn´t go to shcool before the mission I don´t know if or where he worked but I will find out for later ok

Are you writing your great experiences in your journal?

Yeah I have been not everyday but most days I do

Are you happy?

Yeah I am happy

How do you feel about your mission now that you have been there for two weeks?

It is different it still feels weird to think that I am on my mission now.

How is your language training coming? About how many new word do you learn a week? Are you speaking only in Spanish all day? Does your companion speak any English?

My companion is learning english but he has a long way to come. For just about the entire time we speak spanish so I am learning a lot it is hard to put a number to the amount of words that I am learning a day

Tell us anything else you think we would like to know. We love you lots and miss you, but we are so excited for you to have this opportunity. We know you will be a great missionary. Bishop Hipwell and Bishop Eddy both asked about you today at church.

Take care. I love you so much,

Hi Curtis. Thanks for the answers. I am glad to hear that you are doing good. I sent you two Dear Elders last week, so you will probably get those next time in the pouch. Are you still on the computer? Are you emailing anyone else?

I just sent an email to dad I was going to send one to michelle and to shara next I have about a half hour left to email

Okay. Have you already written to your Mission President today?

Yes I have written my mission president today

You said you have a building to meet in for church. Is it like our buildings here or much smaller?

it is much smaller than our building but has the same things in it

When you meet in the small branch to the south, what duties do you take care of? Do you prepare, bless and pass the Sacrament or do they have enough Priesthood holders to do that?

they have enough priesthood holders to do that we just conduct the meeting that is all

I am glad to hear that you are well. I am glad you haven't had diarrhea. That would make it miserable. Where do you go to use the restroom during the day while you are out proselyting?

Has it been raining on you a lot down there? The weather reports have been partly cloudy almost every day while you have been there. How is the humidity?

We go back to the house if we have to use the bathroom it rains at night here not during the day the humidity is fine not a big deal for me anymore at first it was horible but now it is no big deal

Are you getting many referrals from members? Are they helpful in the missionary work? Do you spend a lot of time knocking on doors trying to find people to teach? What other things do you do to find people?

a few referrals from members but not much well It is time to go

Thanks Curtis. It is great to hear from you. Have a wonderfully, marvelous week. You are a terrific son and I am so very proud of you.
Love always,

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