Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008_12_30 Birthday Card for Braxton

Braxton got a card from Curtis today in the mail. He was so excited to hear from his big brother.

Nov. 3, 2008

Dear Braxton,

Hey buddy, how was your birthday? Things are crazy here in Ecuador and I'm sorry I forgot your Birthday, but I'm sending you a present late. I'm sure you will like it.

How is soccer going for you? The mission is going good for me. I had a young man accept to be baptized last Saturday, the day of your birthday. I wish I could send you a bottle of Inca Kola. It is way good. You would like it a lot. I'll bring some home at the end of my mission for you along with some Pony Malta. Both are yummy. Take good care of my puppy. Take her hunting lots, ok? Start preparing for your mission. It comes sooner than you think. I love you lots Buddy.

Elder Goode

This was on the back of the card.

I'm really sorry this is so late Buddy. I sent this once with one of each type of coin and they sent it back so I am going to re-send it without the coins. I'm sorry Buddy. I love you lots.

Elder Goode

He sent the card through the return pouch mail and sending any money in the pouch is illegal, so I am sure that is why it was returned. Maybe he can send the coins with his next CD of photos in a padded envelope through the regular mail.

2008_12_29 Week 10 Balzar Dad

Dear Curtis

It was good talking to you on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was too bad we had the phone problems, but everything worked out. I had an email all typed to send and I spell checked it and lost the email so I had to start over. Mom is reading your email to us as I am typing this. I am going to have Braxton and Clain help me put sand and hay in the nests and put the breeders together today. I will have Clain carry the crates of birds for me. I love you.

Love Dad

That is good. Keep the boys busy and out of trouble. See if you can´t take them hunting one more time before the season ends.

I will try to get them out hunting again. That is exciting about Skyler and his mission. He wanted to tell you himself. Keep working hard and you will be blessed. We pray for you every day to find new people to teach and baptize. Have a good week. I love you.


I´ll keep working hard. Tell Skyler that when he gets to the MTC to just be obedient to all of the rules and it is easy. Tell him that the first few days are the hardest and if he can just make it to Sunday, that things get a whole lot easier. Also tell him to speak as much Japaneese as he can while he is at the MTC because once he gets to Japan he is going to wish that he had spoken more. Tell him Thursday is wing night in the MTC. He will figure out what that means when he gets there.

I love you all a lot. Tell the boys "Hi" for me and tell them to write me a letter telling me what they got for Christmas.

Hi! This is Braxton.

Dad got 2 new paddleducks and I got 2 DS games, 3 PS2 games and an i-pod. Clain also got an i-pod and "Dangerous Hunts 2009" and "Legendary Adventures" from me. The DS games are "Castlevania Portrait of Ruin" and "The Legend of Zelda" and "The Phantom Hourglass" plus one from Taylor that is "Castlevania and The Dawn of Sorrow". My i-pod is blue and Clain's is green.

We got movies also, "The Dark Knight" and "Hancock" and "The Rescuers" and many more. Clain and I got a gun cleaning kit. It is cool and has lots of cool stuff. The PS2 games I got are "The Legend of Spyro" and "The Dawn of Dragons", and "Lego Batman", and a new "Lord of the Rings, Return of the King".

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008_12_29 Week 10 Balzar Mom

I have added more of my conversation with Curtis to the bottom of this post. I only had time Monday to post part of it. Sorry it is a little disjointed. We had several email threads going on at the same time.

Mom wrote to Curtis Mon, 29 Dec 2008 01:47:57 -0700
He wrote back that day.

Hi Curtis,

Tell us about your Christmas Eve? You said you got your packages, so you must have had a District Meeting, then you had a Festival (I am not sure that was the word you used) in each of your two branches and a Christmas Eve Dinner. Tell us all about that day, please.

We went to our district meeting. I received the three packages and then we went back to Balzar. In the house, I opened the packages. Then we ate a little, not much though, and then we took a bus to Relicario. We visited in Relicario for about two and a half hours because the members in Relicario invited a family that is not members, so we visited with them and made sure that they were invited to church Sunday. After we took another bus to Balzar and went to the church for the Fiesta. It was good. We had a little program. Elder Bejar and I sang a duet and then we watched Joy to the World and then we ate chicken with rice and a salad of onions and tomatoes and peppers. It is actually pretty good. After we ate, Elder Bejar and I left for a Cyber Cabina so he could talk to his parents. While he talked, I memorized more of the proclamacion for the world, and then we went to our house.

Tell us what you did on Christmas Day please. Lots of details please.

See above this is Christmas Day.

Did you like the packages?

Yes they were great. Elder Bejar really likes pistachios he had never eaten them before now. The pens are awesome. Elder Bejar was surprised that you knew what his first name started with.

Was there anything that did not arrive okay?

No, everything arrived just fine. No problems at all.

What did you like best?

The notes from everybody that was way cool to be able to hear from everybody in the family.

Did you take photos of the Christmas tree after you hung it and decorated it?

Yes I have pictures of the tree on the wall don´t worry.

The little puzzles were for you to share with kids you meet down there. Do you want me to send some candy or anything else that you can give to the kids? Is that something that is okay to do?

Yeah it is ok, but you don´t need to. There is plenty of candy here to share with the kids. I can buy the huge bags of assorted candy for a dollar or two.

Did your companion like his Christmas stocking and gifts?

Yeah, he did. He says thank you very much. (He said this in English.)

Has he ever had a Christmas stocking like that before?

I don´t think he has, but he knows what they are for and the tradition.

What did Elder Bejar's parents send him for Christmas?

He hasn´t received a package from his parents while he has been here.

Did you have your baptisms on Saturday? How did that go?

Yeah, we baptized three people, Ricardo, Maria and their oldest son Carlos.

Did you take more photos at the baptisms? Did you take photos of Allison's baptism?

Yes I have photos of both baptisms. I just need to make another cd and get it sent.

Do you have any more investigators that are progressing or that you have challenged for baptism?

We have a few. Irina, she is 9, but her mom won´t give her permission to be baptized, but she has lived with her grandmother for over a year so legally her grandmother is her guardian and can give her permission to be baptized, so we are planning on this Saturday.

Is there anyone that we can pray for? What specific needs or challenges do they have?

We need help to find more people to teach right now. We don´t have many investigators that are progressing. We need to find more.

How many investigators came out to church this week? Did you teach a Sunday School class to them?

In Balzar, we had two investigators and they have been investigators for a long time, for about 4 or 5 years. They know Elder Ika, the one that emailed you. In Relicario, the family that came to our Fiesta came to church also and brought more of the family with them, so we had 7 investigators in Relicario.

Did you do anything special for your members or investigators for Christmas? Elder Walke's blog said they had a cool activity in the park in Babahoyo, where a member dressed up as Santa and they took photos with the children and Santa. They got the addresses of the kids so they could deliver the photos and give a short message to the families about Christ. It sounded fun, though it was a lot of hard work. Did you do anything like that?

No, we didn´t do anything like that in Balzar, but on the 24th below our house Santa was there for the people to take pictures with. He was below our house, because we live next to the city hall of Balzar.

What plans do you have for this week with New Year's Eve? Do you have to stay inside because of all the partying?

No, we don´t have to stay inside the whole time and the only thing that we have planned is another dinner with the Ruiz family, that is all.

Is there anything you need or want me to send to you?

No, I am good, no problems and I don´t need anything.

Is there anything you would like to have, but can't find in the store?

Just a pocket knife, but that is not a necessity right now.

I will transfer some money into your account for the packages and the $50 that the Gailey's gave to you. I will try to do it this week. Dad said you mentioned buying a belt. That would be a fun souvenir. Are you still looking for a knife?

Yes I am looking, but have not found one yet. Here in Balzar, they don´t sell much in the way of knives. Elder Bejar says that when the people want to buy a knife, they go to Manavi to buy it.

One of the missionary blogs mentioned that you are supposed to be getting the Liahona every month. Are you getting it? If not, should I sign up for a subscription for you?

We don´t receive it every month, but our Branch President does and we borrow his copy and read it during lunch.

Are you happy and healthy?

Yes, I am happy and healthy.

Has it started raining a lot yet? Is it getting hotter?

Yeah, it is getting hotter, but it hasn´t started raining yet.

Will you please share your testimony with us.

I love you so very much. You are such a fine example for your brothers, cousins and for many others who are reading your blog and sharing in your mission. I talked to Daniel Greenwell and his mother, Rita today at church. Daniel has his call to Calgary, Canada. They have been reading your blog and he is so excited to get out there and start serving his mission. They want to create a blog to share his mission experiences also.

I am so happy for Skyler. I am so excited for him to get to go and serve. I know he will be a great missionary, too. I have felt all along that things would work out for the best for him if we just had enough patience. I hope he will go and serve with all his heart, mind and soul like you are doing.

At the Parkinson Christmas party on Friday, we didn't do gifts like we have in the past. Instead we put together some kits for the humanitarian center. We did newborn kits, hygiene kits and school kits. The kids got to help assemble the kits. It was good to give instead of getting because we are all so blessed and we reallly didn't need more gifts. I took my laptop and a projector up and showed the photos and videos you have sent home. It was good for everyone to get to see what you are up to. I put it on a slideshow so it just kept playing over and over while we did the kits and tied a couple of quilts and other activities. I also took some paper and markers and many of the family wrote you letters or drew pictures for you. I will mail them soon for a Valentine surprise. They may get there a few weeks before that. You will love the drawings. They are really cute.

I love you son. I am so very proud of you. You are the BEST!!!

Love always and forever,


You didn't type your testimony. I know you have one. Will you either type it or write it and mail it to us?

I´ll mail my testimony to you, and I meant that while I have been with Elder Bejar he hasn´t received a package.

I thought you had said on the phone that the district meeting, the two fiestas and the turkey dinner were all going to be on Christmas Eve. Did you do all of that on Christmas day? What did you do on Christmas Eve?

No, I mixed the two days sorry. District Meeting was the 24th. We visited some investigators after lunch and then went to dinner and I called again. The 25th we studied and then had our weekly planning session and then after a little lunch we went to Relicario and then Balzar for the Fiestas.

In the photos you sent, there is a map with arrow sticky notes on it. You have written on them. We think we have figured out some of the places. Is this right?

You live at the red arrow.

The church is at the blue arrow.

The green arrows are your mamita's homes.

The single one is the place you eat on Wednesdays. What is the name of that sister?The two green arrows are where the Ruiz family live and where Sister Valdez lives.

We can't tell what the yellow one is.

We can't tell what the purple one is.

The single green arrow is the Ruiz family. The other two are the other mamitas. The top one is the mamita Alvarado that cooks for us on Wednesdays and the bottom one is the mamita Valdez. The purple one is the store where we buy all of our things. It is called the Tia and the yellow is the Clinica where they rehab drug addicts and alcoholics. We help there when our ward mission leader is here, but he has been in Guayaquil the whole time I have been here, so we don´t go to the clinic. But our Ward Mission Leader was at church Sunday so maybe he will start helping us out now.

Ok. Thanks. I wasn't sure how you were going to fit all of that into one day, after we talked on the phone.

You said you are needing to find more investigators. What are you doing to find more? Do you go tracting or talk to people in the streets? Do you give out Books of Mormon? That book I sent you has a lot of ideas for things you can do to find more people. It talks a lot about just making more contacts. The more people you talk to each day, the better chance you will have of finding someone who is willing to listen.

We knock a lot of doors, but the best way for us to find people to teach is through members, but they haven´t been helping us out much lately. But in Relicario the members are doing great. We have lots of new investigators there. We just don´t have the time to visit in Relicario every day.

Great. So it is not as far to the Ruiz family as I thought. It is a ways to Sister Valdez with the laundry. How do you carry your laundry there and back? I noticed in the photos you have some containers holding some of your laundry. Do you carry those containers there to put the clean clothes in and your dirty clothes in your laundry bags?

No we drop our dirty laundry off on Mondays in our bags and then we pick it up clean on Friday or Saturdays and then we drop the dirties off again the next Monday.

It will be good if you can teach all of the people that came to church this week in Relicario. Tell us more about that Branch. You said you meet in a member's home. Do you have the meeting inside? Where do you all sit? Is it crowded? Do you have regular sacrament trays? What do you use for a Sacrament table and table cloths?

How big does the branch have to get before they will get a meeting house? When will they get a Branch President called who is not a missionary? What do you do with the tithes and offerings that are gathered? Do you have to enter it into the computer in Balzar or do you take it to Balzar for the other branch to take care of it?

We have Sacrament trays and a white table cloth that we put on the table. Everybody sits in chairs or stands or sits on the floor. We meet inside the home of one of the families. It is good. This next Sunday is Fast and Testimony Meeting, so the members in Relicario come to Balzar for church, so we don´t have to go to Relicario next Sunday.

Oh. I thought you said earlier that you dropped it off and then went proselyting in the area while she did your laundry, then you picked it up and took it back home. Is it awkward to carry it all the way through town? There doesn't appear to be a straight path to get from your home to hers. I guess it makes sense that you have so many clothes now if the mamita has half of them all the time.

It is time to go I love you all lots Thanks for the packages and all the notes they were good. Bye.


Elder Goode

Okay. We love you lots. Braxton is almost done typing an email for you. I hope you can wait long enough to read it. Have a great week. Send us a paper letter if you have time.

I always have way more questions than he has time to answer. Oh well. We love to hear from our missionary and we are grateful for all he does tell us.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008_12_22 Week 9 Balzar Clain & Braxton


Hey, how are you buddy? How many ducks have you killed this year? I haven't killed any ducks this year, but I did try to kill a person. This is actually really funny!

We were walking home from an appointment. It was a little before 9 in the evening and a drunk guy on a motorcycle saw me and decided to say "Hi." So he said, in English, "Hey, my friend." When he said this, he stood up on the pegs of the motorcycle and when he did this his motorcycle veered left. Another drunk guy on a motorcycle was trying to pass him as he stood up, so the second guy hit the first guy and they both hit the ground. They both stood up and started to pick up their motorcycles. At this point we started waking really fast and took the next taxi that came by, to the house. It was pretty funny.

Be careful buddy. No accidents, ok. They aren't fun. Trust someone that has been in one. Drive safely and DON'T hot rod, ok. I love you lots. Be good.

Hey Braxton,

How are you Buddy? What are you hoping to get for christmas? I'm not hoping to get much for Christmas this year. But tell mom for me that if Santa wants to bring me something to the house that a Money Maker goose call will be fine.

Tell dad to take you hunting a few more times before the season ends. I love you lots. Be good. Send me more pictures of the duck hunt! Ok? Thanks, Buddy.

2008_12_22 Week 9 Balzar Dad

Dad wrote to Curtis on Mon, 22 Dec 2008 10:03:57 -0700
Curtis replied that day.

Dear Curtis,

I just got home from getting turkey grower pellets for the pigeons. Mom has told me what you have been telling her. How has your your week been? I have not been hunting since the 10th. I need to go. I hear you will get the packages on Wednesday. That will be good. I Love You!



I have to go, but I love you a lot. Go hunting. You need to go. It is good for you.


Elder Goode

I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

2008_12_22 Week 9 Balzar Mom

Mom Emailed Curtis Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 08:49:14 -0700
Subject: 2008_12_22 Merry Christmas Curtis!
Curtis Emailed back that morning.

Hi Curtis,

I have not sent you any other emails today because I wanted to make sure you had time to email us and discuss when you could call. We are all at home today, so we hope to be able to chat with you for a bit.

The day that will work best for all of us is Tuesday, December 23rd. We will go to Smithfield that day. If you call at 6:00 our time, 8:00 your time, that should work. Michelle gets off work at 6:00, so she could get there just a few minutes after you call. Rob would also be able to get there about that time. So anytime after 6:00 for us would work that night.

If that is not good, we could also do tonight. Will either of those nights work for you?

Love always,


Tomorrow, Tuesday should work ok. We have an appointment at 7 that usually goes until 9, but I will see if we can visit earlier and leave in time to get to the phone in time for 8 or maybe a little after 8 like 8:10 or 8:20. Will that be alright? Last week I didn´t get off fast or early the cyber lost the internet and didn´t get it back until the day after so there wasn´t much I could do. Sorry.

Okay. That will work. We will be up at grandma's earlier in the day if you should have to call sooner, but later would be better. The phone number there is 435-563-5709.

I understand about the cyber. Braxton just called. He is at the church for Basketball practice and the poweris out there. I am glad it is not out here or I wouldn't be able to email you.

Have you gotten any packages yet? Or more letters?

I will receive my packages this Wednesday. When I visited the temple, the pouchero or the elder that takes care of all of the letters and packages, was there and he had me sign two papers and he took my censo (my Id for Ecuador) and went to get the packages. He called today and said that it cost 33 dollars to get the packages and he told me to tell you to only use the green stickers from now on. He said it is much easier.

Okay. I will be good and follow the rules. I am glad you will get the packages. Can you open them when you get them or do you have to wait till next Pday? Did you get any more letters?

Have you gotten the third package? I sent it with a green sticker.

No, I haven’t received the third package, but it will come without problem, maybe this Wednesday, too. I will have to wait for Pday to open the packages, but that is ok, not a big deal.

Surely they will make an exception for Christmas. You won't be doing a lot of teaching that day anyway. I hope you get them okay. Sorry about the problems with them. I can see what a pain it is if they have to have your senso to pick them up. Do you have any Christmas plans this week?

Thursday, we have a Fiesta in Relicario at 2 in the afternoon and then another one in Balzar at 5. And Wednesday, in the evening, our mamita is cooking a Christmas Dinner for us. She bought a turkey that weighs about 18 pounds that she is going to cook.

They are probably going to change the rules about the mamitas de comida. Change it so that we eat each day in a different house of members and we won’t have to pay the mamitas either, so it will be good, if they do change it. Right now, I think that they are testing this idea in a few zones in Guayaquil, but I am not for sure.

I had read that in one of the blogs of another elder in your mission. He wasn't sure it was a good idea. He worried that the quality of food would go down. I guess it will save you some money, but I wonder if it will be a hardship on the mamitas.

I am glad you are going to get some fun Christmas experiences there. I think you will remember these special experiences all of your life. The times you spend with the members and your investigators will be special. Did you have your baptism yesterday?

How was your temple visit? Where did you sleep in Quevedo? Tell us about it please.

The temple was good. I understood a lot more this time than the time before when we arrived. We stayed in the house of the zone leaders. There were 8 elders there. It was crazy, especially because I was the only gringo. All the others were latinos, so I was the "but" of a lot of jokes. We spent the night in Quevedo, got up at 1:30 in the morning and left for Guayaquil. We got back to Quevedo after the temple and the zone conference at 8 and spent the night again in Quevedo. Then we left in the morning for Balzar and worked all day in Balzar and then the next day we got up and left for Quevedo again for the district meeting. So we were in Quevedo for 4 days straight so we didn’t get as much done in Balzar as we would have liked to, but that is ok.

That sounds great. I am glad you got to go to the temple again. Most missionaries don't get to go while they are on their missions, so it is cool that you got to. The day you arrived, did your trainers get to go to the temple or just come there to pick you up? Was the zone conference good? Was it 4 hours long like the last one? Did they feed you?

We got your package with the CDs of pictures. Thank you. They were really great, but someone stole the letters. The tag on the package said it had CD and letters. :)

The package with the CDs only had CDs in it, so nothing was missing. Our trainers just picked us up. They didn’t get to go through the temple. We ate in the temple. It was good, soup, rice, pasta salad, broccoli cauliflower and chicken in a stir fry of sorts, and cake for dessert.

Please write a quick note to each of your brothers. They are waiting "impatiently" to hear from you. I figured you didn't send the letters, not that they actually got stolen. :) A paper letter or card now and then would be nice.

I have some more Christmas cards to send to you; One from Brent Rose, one from Darlene King and one from Garvene Garrett. They won't make it for Christmas, but I told them you would be glad to get them anytime. Bishop King is still in the hospital in intensive care. He has Pneumonia and Congestive Heart Failure. He isn't doing very well. Darlene is doing much better. She was at church yesterday.

I have to go. I love you all very much. I’ll talk to you tomorrow at 8 my time, 6 yours. Ok. I love you lots. Bye.

We love you, too. Have a really great week! Talk to you soon.

Love always,

This is a second conversation that Mom and Curtis were having in between the one above.

Mom, Can you do me a favor? Can you send an email to (Kelsey, he missed her name) with the address to my blog in it and tell her that I asked you to send it to her? Thank you.

You want me to send it to Kelsey?

Yes, please if you would.

Yes. I will send Kelsey the blog address. Are you writing to each other?

I write her a letter every 2 or 3 weeks and occasionally I recieve an email, but that is about it.

I will send her an email with the blog address. Dad ran to the store. He is on his way back. He says hello and to tell you he loves you. I don't know if he will make it back before you are off. Please say goodbye before you go today.

Can you print anything from there? I have some cool Christmas stories I would like to send you, but only if you can print them and read them later. I don't want you to take our time reading them now.

I can print them if you send them so I can open them in Word.

Here are the Christmas stories. I hope they will help you feel the spirit of Missionary Work at Christmas time.

We love you so much and we are so proud of you. You are setting such a great example for your brothers. They love you so much and they love to hear from you each week and read of your experiences as a missionary. Tell us the kind of things in your letters that will help them want to go on missions and serve as you are doing. Make them want to be a missionary like you are.

Elder Goode's Favorite Poems

God, Speak to Me!

The man whispered,
"God, speak to me."
And a meadowlark sang.
But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled
"God, speak to me!"
And the thunder & lightning
rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said,
"God, let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.
But the man did not see.

And, the man shouted,
"God, show me a miracle."
And a life was born.
But the man did not notice.

So, the man cried out in despair,
"Touch me, God,
and let me know you are here."
Whereupon, God reached down
and touched the man.

But the man brushed

the butterfly away

and walked on.

The Zode

Did I ever tell you
about the young Zode
Who came to two signs
at the fork of a road?

One said: To Place One,
and the other: Place Two.
So the Zode had to make up
his mind what to do.

Well . . . the Zode
scratched his head.
And his chin.
And his pants.

And he said to himself,
“I’ll be taking a chance
If I go to Place One.
Now, that place may be hot!

And, so how do I know
if I’ll like it or not?
On the other hand, though,
I’ll be sort of a fool

If I go to Place Two
and I find it too cool.
In that case I may catch
a chill and turn blue!

So, maybe, Place One
is the best, not Place Two.
On the other hand, though,
if Place One is too high.

I may catch a terrible
earache and die!
So Place Two may be best!
On the other hand, though. . . . .

What might happen to me
if Place Two is too low?
I might get some very
strange pain in my toe!

Then he stopped, and he said,
“On the OTHER hand, though. . .
On the other hand, other hand . . . . .
other hand though!

And for thirty six hours
and one half, that poor Zode
Made starts and stops
at that fork in the road.

Saying, “Don’t take a chance.
You may not be right.”
Then he got an idea
that was wonderfully bright!

“Play safe!” cried the Zode.
“I’ll play safe! I’m no dunce!
I’ll simply start off
for both places at once!”

And that’s how the Zode,
who would not take a chance,
Got to No place at All,
with a split in his pants.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008_12_15 Week 8 Balzar Dad

Dad emailed on Monday, December 15, 2008
Curtis emailed back that same day.

Dear Curtis

How was your week? Did you have some baptisms this week? Kavin did not go hunting with us on Wednesday. Todd asked his friend Phil to go with us. It was the best day of hunting we have had this year. It would have been good for Kavin to have gone. He would have liked it.

Christmas is coming fast. Friday the 19th, is our last day of school, so we get two full weeks and three weekends off this year. When are you going to the temple this week? When do you leave to go and when are you getting back?

Clain went with Skyler Saturday Hunting out at Howard's Slew where you and Skyler go. It was snowing and windy. They got a few ducks. I am going to try to go hunting a couple of times over Christmas break.

I Love You and am proud of what you are doing.

Love, Dad

No we didn´t have any baptisms this week. We have one next Sunday. This week is crazy. We have to go to Quevedo Tuesday night and spend the night there and then Wednesday at 3 in the morning all of our zone and two others get on a bus for Guayaquil. We will get to Guayaquil about 7 inthe morning and then we go to the temple first thing. Then we have our zone conference after the temple in the temple hotel. And then we eat in the temple cafeteria and then leave and head back to Quevedo. spend the night in Quevedo again, go to our district meeting Thursday and then after we return to Quevedo. (I think he meant Balzar).

Love you lots,
Elder Goode

That sounds like a busy week. It should be a good one. How long are you going to be on today? I have to go do lunch duty in a few minutes.

2008_12_15 Week 8 Balzar Mom

Mom Emailed Curtis on Mon, 15 Dec 2008 01:38:28 -0700
Curtis Emailed back that same day.

Hi Curtis,

We would like to have you call on Thursday night. That is this week, on the 18th if that will work for you. Rob, Shara,Taylor, Michelle and Jeff can all come down that night if it will work for you. They will not get here till 6:30 or 7:00. I know that is getting really late for you. If it needs to be earlier, Michelle will leave work early to get here sooner. Will that work and what time is best for you? If not, we could do Friday, the 19th or Sunday, the 21st. Those days don't work as well for everyone, but they will adapt to work with your schedule.

is there a time that I can call the next week? when it is closer to christmas. I will have to ask permission in order to call this week and the time to ask would be this wednesday when I have an innterview with president gamboa but then I won?t be able to tell you if I am calling or not. the next week would be much better if you could.

Where will you be calling from?

The house of president Ruiz he has a phone that they allow the public to use and it has a meeter on it to tell how much time you have used and how much it costs so I can call you on this and then you can call back

How long are you allowed to talk on your phone call? I need to buy the right length of calling card.

I can only talk for 45 minutes no more

When is your companion going to make his phone call?

on the 25 in the evening

Have you received any packages yet? Did you call the office about them?

no I haven?t recieved them and no I didn?t call about them

Have you received any more DearElder paper letters? I have sent you one or two every week since you left.

yes I recieved 8 last wednesday and read them today

Did you get to baptize Christopher this week? How old are Allison and Christopher?

no we didn?t christopher is ten and allison is 12

Did your investigators come to church this week?

yes we had ten investigators at church this week

Tell us more about your investigators that are progressing and scheduled for baptism, please.

Carlos de Barco he is scheduled to be baptised this next sunday he has had much time with the missionaries but he studies in guayaquil which makes it hard to schedule time to meet with him but we have been working hard to schedule this and it is pretty sure that he will get baptised

The Family of Ricardo and Maria they are great investigators they need to get married but we are working on that we need to get mariah a papel de votacion to prove that she voted so that we can get the papers they need to be married they also have two kids that can get baptised too so on the 27th they are getting baptised if they are married by that date. they love the missionaries and we have lots of fun with them lots of good jokes

Tell us more about the four times you have hit your head. Did you get hurt badly? Did you laugh or cry?

the first time I hit my head it hurt we were leaving the barber shop and they have a metal door that is similar to a garage door that you can pull down this is what I hit my head on. The second time was in a bus the celing in the busses are short so I have to bend over a little bit to enter since I was bent over I didn?t see the hand rail that is monunted to the roof of the bussed and I hit my head on this this one hurt but not that bad I didn?t realise it untill later when I was scrathing my head and found a scab that this one had caused me to bleed. the third was the door to the house where allison and christopher live and it didn?t hurt but every one laughed at me and I laughed too. the fourth was a tin roof and it was more of a bump than a solid hit so it didn?t hurt at all.

How are your clothes holding up? Is the hand washing hard on them?

my clothes are fine no problems so far just the nametags on the socks are coming off that is all

Are you dreaming in Spanish yet?

no I haven?t really been dreaming in my sleep or if I have I don?t remember it

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

(no answer)

Have you done anything Christmasy, like Caroling or baking cookies for your investigators? Do you have an oven?

no we haven?t done anything christmasy and no we don?t have an oven

Are you happy and healthy? Has the cold gotten better or worse?

yeah I am happy and healthy my cold is doing much better I have been using zicam that I bought in the mtc and it is helping a lot

Do you need anything?

no but in the next package you send send me a couple more tide pens they are life savers.

I love you lots.Mom

Hi Curtis,

Shara and Rob can't come down on Christmas Eve like normal because Rob's brother, Jason, is a fireman and that was the only day he had off. They are having the Gibbons party that night. I just emailed Shara to see when they could come down. It will have to be Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Unless we do it on Christmas day and do it from Lewiston.

Michelle and Jeff are coming down for Christmas Eve and morning, then they are driving up to Island Park for the weekend with his family at a cabin. We could possibly all go up to Lewiston on Christmas day before Michelle and Jeff head north and call from there.

I read that you are going to the temple this week on Wednesday. Tell us more about that. What time to do leave on the bus to go? Are you sleeping the night? What other activities are planned besides going to the temple?

Are you still there? I feel really bad about the packages. They should have been there by now. Please try to do some checking to see if you can locate them. They left the airport in Miami on November 24th, so they are in Ecuador somewhere. I can't track them any farther than that. I tried, but I can't find the right place to look. I will see if Gary Jenkins can help me with the tracking. Please check on your end.

Curtis, Could you do Sunday night, the 21st? We could go to Smithfield and you could call there? We could go up after church, so anytime in the afternoon or evening would work that day.

We could do Monday or Tuesday if that doesn't work. We would have to drive to Smithfield and have you call there. Michelle gets off work at 6:00, so you could call at 6:30 and everyone would be there by then.

Choose the day and time that works best for you. The phone number in Smithfield is 435-563-5709.

(No answer to any of these. He must have been out of time. We will have to setup a phone call by email next Monday.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008_12_08 Week 7 Balzar Mom

Mom Emailed Curtis on Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:08:16 -0700
Curtis Emailed on 8 December 2008

Dear Curtis,

Some questions for you to answer. Like I told you in my other letter, I will be shopping with the girls today. I will have my phone with me so I can get your emails. Hopefully I will have a signal and be able to email with you a bit.

Are you happy and healthy? Have you had any sickness?

right now I have a bit of a cold but it is nothing serious don t worry

Have you gotten your packages yet? If not, do you think you could contact the Mission Office and ask about them?

No I haven t recieved my packages yet yes I can call and ask about them but my companion said that the office elders will pay for them and take the money from my giro so don t worry

Have you gotten any more letters?

no no more letters yet

I got an email from a guy this week. He had gone to your page on the mission website. His message reads, "I to served in that area, it is lots of work to do thier. tell eulogio i said hi to him and his family. enjoy your mish. con amor years served 02-04. frank ika." Do you know anyone named eulogio? I think he means they are in Balzar.

Eulogio is the name of Presidente Ruiz the president of the rama in balzar his wife is my mamita de comida so it isn t a problem to tell them hi for hno ika

How did your baptisms go? Please tell us all about them.

they were good they didn t get to the church untill 8 30 and the baptism was supposed to start at 8 because church is at 9 but it was good first was the son of a member that lives in palestina then I baptised Allison and then the son of another member that lives in relicario christopher did not want to get baptised but next week he might get baptised we will see. in sacrament meeting they confirmed all three members of the church so it was good.

Do you have any new investigators that are promising or any more that are committed to baptism?

Yes we have six people with baptism dates Julio España, Carlos de barco, Florentino, Christopher, and a family Ricardo and Maria they have two kids that can get baptised but the kids don t have dates for baptism right now but we are working on it first we have to get them married this friday is the day we have set for their marrage. They love the missionaries every time we visit them usually every other day in the evening they feed us galletas a sweet cracker with cola or crackers and fresh cheese or galletas with jam every time.

What is the best thing that has happened to you this week?

we taught the ten commandments with presidente Ruiz and his wife to the family of Ricardo and Maria presidente is so good he taught the comandment don t commit audultery he taught the whole law of chastity and commited them to be married this friday it was soo cool and then this sunday I was talking to presidente in his office and elder Bejar was outside talking to other members and Ricardo and Maria came in to talk to presidente about the things they would need for marrage the papers and all that and we commited them to be baptised on the 27 of december during this time it was amazing.

What is the most spiritual thing you have had happen to you so far?

(No answer)

Tell us about Christmas preparations in Balzar. What do the people there do to get ready for Christmas? Are there lights in the city or programs, or ward parties or caroling? Do they have advertising in the stores?

There is advertising in the stores yeah almost the whole time I have been here people put up lights and trees too but I don t know about caroling or ward parties the cyber I am in right now has lights up and decorations

Do you have any invitations to eat lunch with anyone on Christmas day?

We have invitations but we can t only with our mamita

What will your Christmas day be like there?

A normal day in the mission but we will share a message about Christ and watch joy to the world with the people we visit then in the evening we will visit our mamita and she is planning on preparing us dinner

Did you get to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional?

no we could only watch it if we had investigators and we would have had to go to quevedo too to watch it

Tell us about something funny that has happened to you or that you have seen.

so far I have managed to hit my head four different times here once on a metal doorway when we were leaving the barber shop the second in a bus the third in relicario a wooden doorway and the fourth a tin roof of a patio

How is your Spanish coming?

it is coming along ok I am understanding the people much better now

Have you seen any ducks, geese or swans in your area?

just the ducks that people have they are a form of domesticated muscovy duck there is also a type of whistling duck here too they are also called tree ducks

Have you seen any other animals, like deer, antelope, elk, moose or bear?

Cows pigs goats gecos birds

Do they have any kind of hunting in Ecuador?

not really that I have heard of or seen but don t worry I will keep searching

Please tell us anything else that you would like to or that you think we would like to hear about.

I sent you two disks of pictures last Wednesday in our district meeting. What day would be best for you to call me? I know a phone that I can use to call you that you can call back but you need to tell me when to call you I want to call when All of the family is there so figure out when the family will be together and then email me this time remember there is a time difference too If you want to buy me a Christmas present you could buy me The Money Maker it is a goose call made by Zink and just put it in the gun cabinet for when I get back you don t need to send it to me.

I love you so much.

Hi Curtis. Thanks for the answers. I sent another package this morning. It has letters for your mamitas. There are also Christmas cards with our family photo on. Give one to each mamita.

Sorry to hear about you hitting your head. There are some disadvantages to being a giant.

Your experiences are awesome. I am so happy you are having wonderful experiences like that. I know your testimony must be growing. Tell us more about your great experiences. I am driving to Cache Valley. I pulled over to type this. Type long paragraphs about your experiences please.

what experiences do you want to know about?

Anything. Good, bad, funny, spiritual

(No reply, so sad)

I love you. Have a terrific week. You are a magnificent missionary.

2008_12_08 Week 7 Balzar Shara

hey how is it going? how are things in cache valley? Things in ecuador are good but hot but I can´t change that how is my niece? tell her I love her

She is good. She has gotten a few more teeth. She is getting big. She is getting really closes to being able to walk. I'm going to be in the car for about 15 minutes to email me back and I'll respond when I get to Grandmas. Mom, Michelle, Taylor and I are going to go shopping today to get stuff for Michelle's wedding. We are hoping to find her wedding dress.

cool have fun shopping with the girls

We will. It is really cold here now it snowed a little bit last night. Have you done any more baptisms?

2008_12_08 Week 7 Balzar Michelle

Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 09:24:54 -0700

Hey Curtis!

The wedding plans are coming along. I have finals this week and a talk on sunday,so as soon as that is all over I can actually get going on the wedding plans and stress over only that. I have three finals this week and one project that still isn't finished, but things are good and I'll get it all done. I love you and miss you so much! How are things going over there? Are you liking it? Is it fun?

Love always, Michelle

Things are going good mom has an email from me with a bunch of stuff in it but things are good and I am loving it.

2008_12_08 Week 7 Balzar Dad

Dear Curtis

I hope you week has been good. Mine has been ok. Wednesday Kavin is going to go duck hunting with Todd and me. I think we are going to go to Bear River. It is snowing today I hope we get a lot today. I have not been hunting since Braxton got his swan so I am ready. The other night we cleaned all the shot guns. We did yours. We will do the 3006 a night this week. Skyler called me this morning. He is going out duck hunting in the snow. He got laid off from work so he has go alot of free time on his hands.

How are the people doing that you are teaching? I think Mom told you she took the day off and went to Logan to look for Michelle a wedding dress. Shara is going with them.

Have you seen any different birds there? What are they and what do they look like? Let me know when you are on and I will keep looking for an email.

I Love You, Love Dad

There aren´t a lot of wild ducks that I have seen but they have a typeof domesticated muscovy duck here and also domesticated whistling duckor tree duck. the teaching is going good The baptism yesterday was good too well I gotta go I love you

Curtis, are you done for the day?

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008_12_01 Week 6 Balzar Dad

Dad emailed Curtis on Mon, 01 Dec 2008 08:55:00 -0700
Curtis emailed Dad that same day

Dear Curtis

How was your Week? How did the baptism go?

I was going to go duck hunting Wednesday but I woke up at 3:00 am sick with the Flu so I sent clain out with Kavin, Stew, kavin's Principal and V. Principal. They did not get any they got some shots but not ducks. I spent most of the day in bed.

Thanksgiving we went over to Curtis and Camie Cox to work on the house Josh, Kavin Clain and me put 5 new windows in. I think they are going to go back on the13th to do some more work. They have not done much work in the past two years. Then we went over to Georgiann to eat dinner.

Skyler came down yesterday to get your address. I had him help me give Mom a blessing Clain slammed her head in the truck door Saturday night i think she has a concushion she is doing a lot better now.

Sorry about last week I got busy and did not get back to check my email. have you been teaching a lot of lessons? How was your sunday? I will check back later I Love You,

Love Dad

my week was good the baptism with Jesus didnt happen she doenst want to get baptised right now so we will have to work with her some more and then maybe we have two baptisms this Sunday. Allison and Christopher. Allison asked me to perform the baptism.

That sucks that clain and kavin and the group didnt get any birds maybe next time Im glad that you helped out curtis and kami I wish i could have been there to help out too.

A note from Mom

We got home late on Saturday night after going to the Forgotten Carols in Logan as a family. Clain had been asleep all the way home. He got out and I got out. I was gathering stuff up to take in the house and reached down to pick up a bottle from the floor in the back seat of the truck when Clain slammed the back door shut so he could go past to go in the house. My head got caught between the door and the hard part of the passenger seat where the seat belt hooks in. I immediately had a very bad headache. It doubled me over on the front seat and I laid there and cried for a few minutes. It hurt so bad that I cried for a half hour or more. I have not hurt that bad since Braxton was born.

I went inside and took some pain medicine, washed my face and put ice on my head. After a bit it eased up so I could stand it. I went to bed and was able to sleep. When I woke up Sunday, I still had a really good headache, but I was very grateful for the rest. I considered staying home from church, but determined that Satan was not going to win this day and I would go no matter what. I took more pain medicine and got ready for church. I endured church and tried hard to concentrate on the meetings, which were really good that day. I had to take more pain medicine while at church, but I stuck it out. I asked Craig if he would give me a blessing after church. He said he would and he would call our home teacher and see if he could come help.

After lunch I laid down for a bit. Then Skyler Gailey came down. When I heard Skyler's voice, I thought that Skyler could help Craig give me a blessing, so I got up and asked. Skyler was very willing to help. Immediately after the blessing, the pain started to ease up. I had a good afternoon and evening and I have felt pretty good ever since. The pain was very intense prior to the blessing, but I have had very little pain since the blessing, just an occasional twinge or two. I count this as a small miracle in my life. I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord as He tenderly watches over me and my family. I am grateful for Curtis's desire to serve a mission. I know our family is being blessed because of his service.

Monday, December 1, 2008

2008_12_01 Week 6 Balzar

Mom wrote to Curtis on Mon, 01 Dec 2008 00:11:53 -0700
Curtis replied back on Monday at 9:01 am

Hi Curtis,
Just a few questions today, then please tell us about the past week. Have you gotten the packages I sent? If yes, what condition were they in?


Have you gotten any letters or Dear Elders? Who are they from? What dates are they from?

Yes both from you the one I read today was about the wheat and dry ice

Who is your District Leader? What elders are in your district? Who are their companions?

in my district there are 16 elders
me and my companion
Elder Williams and Sanches Gringos
Elder Norgran and Anderson Gringos
Elder Janampa and Jargerui Elder Janampa in my district leader
Elder Fuentalba and Estrada
Elder Arana and Ricconi Elder Arana in our Zone leader and Elder Ricconi is the other district leader
Elder Moran and Verastegui
Elder Chiza and Faundes
Elders Chiza and Moran are otavalanios natives of Ecuador they are allowed to keep their hair long while they serve their missions

Who are your Zone Leaders?

Elder Arana is my zone leader

In the photos you sent last week, can you identify the elders for us? At least your District Leader and Your Zone Leaders.

Elder arana is the elder on the far right and there are two elders between elder janampa and elder arana and Elder Ricconi is directly above elder janampa

Why does the elder on the front row on the left have on white pants, a vest, no tie and white slippers?

I am not for sure why he is dressed that way but he is one of the otavalanios elder Chiza and elder Moran is on the top row on the left

Did you get a photo of the six people on the motorcycle? That had to be funny! It is funny just to imagine it.

No but I see all the time motorcycles with four and five people on them

Thanks Curtis.

This saturday we had scheduled 3 baptisms but one Carlos De Barco he will be in Guayaquil at school so we will re schedule the other two are Allison and her brother Christopher the baptism will be moved to sunday morning because with allison and christopher two members are getting baptised and one of the two wont turn 8 untill sunday so we changed all of the baptisms to sunday so that they didnt have to come to balzar twice Allison asked me if I would baptise her so I will have another baptism this sunday. this last wednesday I had an inter cambio where elder arana took my place in balzar for 24 hours and I took his place in Quevedo with his companion Elder Ricconi it was neat to be able to work in a different place and with different people. Today is the cambio but No one in our zone got changed everybody is staying where they are at.

Thanks Curtis. Tell us more about what you are doing. I have to run upstairs and check on some switches that don't appear to be working. I will hurry, but while I am gone, please just write more about what you are doing. Why did they do the inter cambio? Does cambio = transfer?

Cambio is change or transfer yes. They do the inter cambio so that the leader of the zone gets a chance to check on our area and the people we are teaching and it is a chance to learn new things from other people. There is an elder that is leaving today for utah that is done with his mission he is the one that trained elder bejar his name is elder Jeremy Ruppe he lives in orem 208 East 2000 North Orem, utah 84057 his phone number is 1-801-221-7955 and his email address is the_gleameye at Hotmail.com talk with him about the mission he should be able to tell you lots about the mission. Check out the web page www.megn.org select my name and the password is ******* this site is the one I can order things on

Okay. I will get hold of Elder Ruppe. It will be fun to talk to someone who has been down there and really knows what is going on. I will also check out the web page you sent. Did you get to talk to Elder Ruppe much at all?

How come you are on the email earlier today? Do you have plans to do something different today?

No I didnt talk to him at all but he trained Elder bejar so he would know a lot about elder bejar too you could also check out the web site www.pepsi.com.ec or ecu I cant remember which but this is the site that was on a bottle of kola galleto so I think it will have all of the pepsi products in Ecuador

Cool. I am looking at the www.megn.org site right now. I will have to translate to understand much. One entry looks like your passage to go get your sense, one is something about light and one is focus for the house of the fourth. What is that? The home page has a message that I think is from the old mission president. What kinds of things do you use this site to order?

that is refunds one is for my passage to get my senso the other is a lightbulb for the house a foco and the other is the electicity for two months

Sorry, I was wrong. The home page has a message from Elder Arana. Maybe he is replacing someone else that was serving in the office. It also has a message from the Nurses about requesting medicines. What medicines do they send out to you?

what ever you need my companion recieved lamacil for atheletes foot from the enfermeras

Cool. It looks like they have a place for you to put in referrals that you get to other areas of the mission. And it looks like there is a place to track how well the members you baptize are being retained or kept active in the gospel. There is a place to place orders and a place for reimbursements. What does Giro mean? The translator doesn't have that one.

Giro is the money we recieve every two weeks it is called a giro. well I gotta go I love you lots Bye

I love you, too. I hope to hear more from you next week. Write more of your experiences when you can. Have a great week.

Okay. It is good to know that you can get the stuff you need to help you with your health. Do you have to have shots for anything or wormer medicine while you are there?

I dont think so but before I leave the mission they will give me a strong pesticide that will kill anything that I have gotten during the mission aparently it is so strong that they cant get it in the states well I gotta go by mom I love you Remember Who You Are

Thanks Curtis. I always try to remember I am a daughter of God. You are His son and He is proud of you!