Monday, November 10, 2008

2008_11_10 Week 3 Balzar Mom

Mom wrote on Sun, 09 Nov 2008 23:56:11 -0700Subject: Week 3 in Balzar
Curtis replied on Monday, 11/10/2008 10:08 AM

Hi Curtis,

It is Sunday evening. It has been a good day. Church was good. It was the Primary program for Sacrament Meeting. This afternoon, Dad and I went up to the church to hear a piano recital by Martha Aston. She is almost done with her master's program. Next week she will do her final performance for her Master's program. Tonight's performance was like a dress rehearsal for that. She played for almost two hours and all of it was memorized. I cannot believe how much music she has memorized. It was amazing and very beautiful. This music was all classical stuff from other composers. I know she has written many of her own pieces, too. I would have liked to have heard more of her own compositions and more church music, but it was really good.

Braxton had two indoor soccer games yesterday. They lost the first one and won the second one. On the way back we stopped and got pizza and crazy bread for his birthday party. He had four friends over to play games. They had fun. I did pears while they played. Many of them had started to spoil, so I didn't get as many jars as I should have. I got six quarts. I still need to do some apples. I think I will try to do some applesauce and jam this week. Hopefully I can fit something in. There is a lot going on again this week. On Wednesday, we are having a birthday party for Taylor here. Shara and Rob are going to come down and spend a couple of days and do some shopping. They are going to sleep here Wednesday night. We have Relief Society, Pack Meeting, and a program at the school on Tuesday night. We have Soccer Practice Friday night and another game Saturday afternoon. I have a wedding shower for Sam Hummell's fiance Saturday and dad and I have a ward adult party on Saturday night. Not much time left to do apples with all that.

I had a good experience Friday. I had to teach a presentation to my faculty at West Point Junior High on the PRS clickers. I think I told you about them in another letter. I didn't get a lot of time to prepare for it so I was pretty nervous about doing it. I prayed really hard for the few days before and Friday morning. Just before going in to teach the class, I prayed in my office that it would go okay. I went to the room and got all set up. I thought everything was fine, but I couldn't get the projector to work. One of the teachers noticed that I had missed plugging in one cable. Once that was plugged in, it worked fine. I started my lesson and it went really well. I was calm and the words flowed out smoothly and everything worked so well. The teachers and staff were having a great time and learning what I wanted them to. I was so pleased with the way it went. It was probably the most fun training I have ever been to at the school. I was so grateful for the Lord's help. I know I could not have done it without Heavenly Father's help. I went back to my office after and offered a prayer of gratitude. I hope you are using prayer every day in your life. I know it works. Heavenly Father will always bless us when we ask for His help.

How has your week been?

It has been really good this week I have been so busy it is crazy

What was your best experience this week?

This week on thursday we went to the cities of culimnes and relicario because we have investigators in these cities. The ones in culimnes are a reference we recieved from salt lake from a child of the parents of this family that are members and the people are way excited about the gospel so we will probably have some baptisms in culimnes in a few weeks.

What was another great experience?

The person we are teaching in relicario is the mother of a young man that was baptised before I got here she is getting baptised this saturday for sure.

How many lessons did you teach?

13 lessons with members present and 25 without members present a lot of lessons

Has anything bad happened?

No not really

Has anything funny or interesting happened?

I am still having a hard time understanding the people it is hard because they talk so differently but it is getting better. a lot of people will see me in the street and they will say Hi or hey you or some other random phrase of english but what is really funny is I will act like I don´t understand and respond with spanish hola como esta and the like it is funny to see their reactions. also the people here have a hard time believing that I am only 19 and no older

How are you feeling? Are your knees still hurting? I hope not. I hope you will get used to all the walking.

my knees are getting better they only hurt now when I have to sit in cramped spaces for long periods of time such as the hour and a half bus ride to quevedo each week

Are you losing weight?

I don´t know I don´t have a scale to weight myself but probably not because our momita feeds us really well lots of rice which I found out is very fattening

How are your feet doing? Are they cracked and sore?

no they are fine and I haven´t been using anything on them either

Tell us more about your apartment. What appliances do you have in your kitchen?

we have a small fridge about 5 feet tall maybe a microwave and a gas stove with four burners and a sink with running water which is really quite good for this area

What are you eating for breakfast and dinner when you get home in the evening?

cereal and milk or fried eggs or bread and milk or toast

Are you doing okay with only one big meal a day? Are you hungry at night when you get home?

yeah I am hungry but that is ok don´t worry I am fine

Have you learned to cook anything different or interesting?

I now know how to cook fresh rice very well it is really quite easy. it tastes so good when it is fresh the rice we buy is maybe been out of the rice patty a month at most so it is really fresh

What is the most interesting thing you have eaten?

probably boiled potatoes cut into small pieces with tunafish mayonaise and fresh chopped onions mixed in I have to say that this one is not my favorite dish here

When you have gone to your district meetings, have any of the elders received packages that you have seen?

yeah there are a few that have recieved packages usually they look like they have been through a war or that someone played soccer with the box for a while.

I have been checking on shipping packages to you. It looks like the cheapest way to send them to you is by using the Priority Mail boxes that the Post Office sells. They have flat rate boxes. You can put as much as you can fit into the box, up to 20 pounds for one price. You can send them with the green Customs label. I just don't know if they have to go through customs or not. The mission president made it sound like anything over four pounds had to go through customs. What do you know about the packages?

All I know is you need to use the green label not the white one that is all

Has your companion received any packages while he has been there?

no he hasn´t

Do the packages arrive unopened?

the ones I have seen arrive unopened

If I put only four pounds in one of those boxes, I will have to send you three or four packages and that will cost a lot more. If I can put more than four pounds in a box, I can probably send you just two for less money. What do you think?

I dunno Try one and see what happens just don´t put anything of really great value in them and it should be fine even if they open the box

I would like to try and send you one package this week if I can and another one next week. I want to make sure they get there before Christmas. You will have to open the boxes when you get them to make sure the stuff arrived then let me know. Then you will have to put some of it away till Christmas so you will have something to enjoy Christmas day. Is there anything else you would like or need?

I honestly can´t think of anything that I might need except a knife I can´t find anywhere that sells a pocket knife they only have kitchen knives and macheties here I just want one that I can put in my pocket and use for opening things and the like.

Are you still taking the Allegra? Do you want me to send more? Can you get allergy medicine in Balzar with the same medicine in it? Allegra is available over the counter now.

I will have to look but I haven´t been taking it so I should be fine right now

What kind of stores do they have in Balzar? Are there any big stores like a Walmart?

No there is one store that is a grocery store it is fairly large about five aisles and each one is fifty feet long and we walked past a fairly large hardware store the other day and that is honestly all of the big shops there are lots of little ones that sell different things the ones on the corner that sell most of the stuff you would need like food drinks and other small things but the big things you have to go to the main market for.

How far away is the store where you shop for groceries? Do you only shop on your Pday?

no we shop 3 or 4 times a week as we need the store is three blocks north and three blocks east of our house so not far

When you go to Quevedo do you do any shopping? Do they have bigger stores there?

yeah they have much bigger stores but we don´t shop there only have our meeting and then leave we don´t even go into the main part of town just a church on the outskirts of town

Have you checked on contact solution and vitamins yet?

no I have not yet sorry

How are your investigators coming? How are Sonia and Fernando doing? Did they both come to church yesterday?

no neither of them did we didn´t have many investigators at all at church we need to work on that for next week

Do you have any new investigators? Did any come to church?

we usually have lots of new investigators but not many that progress after becoming investigators but we are working on it

Can we pray for anyone?

sonia and fernando and Cattie Espinosa she has been investigating the church for a while now she stopped progressing a while ago but she has sharted to progress again so pray for her too.

What is the name of the smaller branch where you are the Branch President? Is it Cerritos or Don Boreo or something like that? I found a map that showed some of the smaller cities in your area. Both of those are to the south of you. There is a spot on top of the second name so I can't read it for sure.

the other branch is Relicario

How is your smaller branch doing? About how many members are in the branch? How many come out to meetings?

it is fairly small about 15 people were there for the first meeting but we haven´t been back since so I´m not for sure what is going on there right now this is one of the areas that the language barrier makes really hard for me

What are the names of the Branch President in Balzar and his wife? Do they have children?

President Ruiz his wife is Elana and then they have four kids the first is Evan he is about 16 or 17 then mary elana she is 13 then amy she is 6 and then moroni he is 2 or 3 and full of energy

What is the name of the other sister who does your laundry? Is she a member? Do you have to carry your laundry all the way out there and back? How far is it?

Sister Valdez it is was acrost town probably a mile or more. yeah when we have laundry to do we have to take it all the way over there to her house

Do many people there have vehicles?

yeah lots of people have vehicles most have motorcycles little suzuki 100 or 150´s there are tons of these and a few have cars and trucks as well

The ward is doing a Christmas party on December 2nd. They are putting together a video of photos of families in the ward and their Christmas memories. They asked me to find out if they sent you a copy of the video on a DVD could you watch it? Is that against mission rules or would it be okay to watch at a member's home?

It would be ok for me to watch there is a tv and dvd player in the church that we have acess to

Does your Branch President have a DVD player or a member that you know? Do they have VHS? What about the church?

a lot have tv´s and dvd players I haven´t seen any vhs players here

Do you use any videos to teach the people?

yeah we use the video of the restoration all the time with people

Have you taken any photos down there?

yeah I have but I haven´t been carying my camera every day because I don´t want it to be stolen I haven´t been robbed don´t worry I just don´t want to take the chance

Are you understanding the Spanish any better?

it is better certain people are much easier than others to understand but it is coming along for sure

Please tell us anything else you want to share about this week.

Skyler called me yesterday. He said the insurance company denied his surgery. They are going to appeal it, but for now, he can't have it done. Without insurance the cost is $60,000. The church said that he can't even go to a state side mission as long as he is having kidney problems. He isn't going to go to SUU until next fall. They don't want him to start in the middle of the program. He needs to start in the fall at the beginning. He is getting laid off from his construction job this week. He said he had a couple of job interviews lined up for this week. He is just going to work for now. He sounded really sad about it all. I feel badly for him.

It is raining here tonight and getting colder. We may have a bit of snow by morning. How is your weather?

The weather here is partly cloudy at the moment with lots of heat and humidity and there is always the chance of rain in ecuador

I miss you a lot and think of you often every day. We pray for you morning and night and at every meal. I hope you feel our love and prayers. I hope they help you. We have prayed for Sonia and Fernando this week. Many at church ask about you each week and the family members all ask about you when we talk to them. We are all thinking of you and loving you. We are all very proud of you and excited to hear more about your adventures.

Love always and forever,


Good morning Curtis. Thanks for the answers. I am glad to hear all is well down there. Why haven’t you been back to the branch in Relicario? Who takes charge when you don't go there?

I am not really for sure like I said the language is a barrier two sundays ago they came to balzar because it was fast and testimony meeting but I don´t understand why we didn´t go to relicario yesterday

Okay. I am sure you will overcome the language barrier soon. Do you feel like you are understanding more of what the people say each day? Are the children easier to understand or the adults? I am sure they are very surprised when they find out you can speak Spanish.

yeah I feel like I am understanding more each day the kids and older people are hard to understand and some of the adults but most of the adults are getting easier for me to understand

That is good. What things do you do on Pday? Have you done any kind of service there yet?

Are you still there? How much time do you have left? Are you emailing other people?

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