Monday, January 26, 2009

2008_11_26 Quevedo Sur Zone Meeting

These are photos of a Zone Meeting with the Quevedo Sur Zone on November 11, 2008. Elder Goode sent them home on a CD just before Christmas.

2009_01_26 Week 14 Balzar Questions from Mom

Mom wrote on Mon, 26 Jan 2009 00:43:14 -0700
Subject: Re: 2009_01_25 Questions

I know this list is long, but answer what you can for us please.

What is your companion's first name?

(Elder Christian Alcocer)

Where in Peru is he from?

Lima about 45 minutes from where Elder Bejar is from.

Has he been a member his whole life or is he a convert?

He joined the church when he was 9 years old with his dad. Now his whole family are members. His younger brother has finished his mission and is getting married in February. His parents were recently sealed in the temple.

Tell us about his family and his schooling.

He worked before the mission fixing things, irons, blenders, washing machines, microwaves and toasters. I don´t think he studied in a college.

Was he going to college to learn the electronics?

No, I don´t think so.

What have you found out about the rash?

That we are healthy and normal and that it is the heat and humidity that is causing the problem. They gave us a cream to use if it stings, but we are good, no problems.

How is the rain situation?

It is raining a lot. I think that today I am going to buy boots. There are places that sell them here. The problem is to find them in my size, but we will find them. Don´t worry.

Are your feet wet, cracked, dry or sore?

My feet are fine. They are a little dry, but they don´t hurt at all, so I am fine.

Are they better or worse than when you left home?

About the same. They don´t bug me so I don´t bug them.

What are you reading in the Book of Mormon? Are you reading from beginning to end or studying by topics?

I have been studying by topic a lot. I study the things that we are going to be teaching that day so that I will know what to teach in the lessons.

How is your Spanish coming? Can you understand more now?

My Spanish is great. I can understand just about everything that people are saying if I am paying attention. I can talk to the people, but I am still lacking a lot to become really good.

How is your Space Pen working? Did Elder Bejar like his pen?

My pen is great. It works great. Elder Bejar did like his pen a lot. He thought it was cool.

Is there anything you need or want?

Send me an American flag about the same size as the one I have of Ecuador and one smaller too. Jerky! Lots of jerky! They don´t have it here in Ecuador. I haven´t found a pocket knife yet so if you want to send me one that would be fine.

Did you ever check on Contact Solution? How much does it cost there? Do you need me to send you some?

Ya, I checked. It is 15 dollars for one bottle. It isn’t too bad, so I will buy it here if I need it.

Do you need Allergy Medicine? Vitamins?

No I can buy vitamins here and I haven´t been taking allergy medicine so I don´t need any right now.

Have you had any stomach problems? Diarrhea? Vomiting? Cramps?

Diarrhea, but that is normal and it is a one time thing and it is done, so don´t worry. It is a lot better now that I am not eating wheat bran in my cereal like we are supposed to.

Are you eating healthy and a variety of foods?

Yep! Everything that the mamita feeds me. I drink about two gallons of milk every week, lots of rice and vegetables and I drink juice every day, real juice made from fresh fruit. It is good.

Is there any food item you would like that you can’t find there?

More jerky!!!

What is your favorite Ecuadorian food?

Arroz con menestra y con pollo orno. This is rice with a type of beans that is good. It is similar to the beans that Shara makes but different and it is with chicken that has been cooked in the oven in Coca Cola. It is so good.

What is the most interesting food you have eaten there?

Chicken feet in a soup that was interesting and I think I have eaten cow udder twice now, too.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you so far?

(no answer)

What is the very best experience you have had so far?

(no answer)

Are you sleeping good?

Yeah I am sleeping just fine.

Have you lost weight?

I think so, but I don´t know how much. The mamita says that I have lost a lot of weight.

Are your clothes holding up okay?

Yeah, my clothes are fine. The mamita is a little hard on my garment bottoms, but now I am washing them in our house, so it is ok. No problems.

What kind of camera did you buy? How much did it cost? Where did you buy it at?

I bought my camera in Guayaquil the day we went for transfers. It is a Panasonic Lumix. It cost 200 dollars with a 2 gig memory card. It can take movies too. How is my other camera?

Please tell us the story of the Baptism of your camera. Details, please.

We took pictures of the baptism and then I put the camera in my pocket and we had the talks and then we went to the baptism font. Elder Bejar emptied his pockets and gave the contents to me. I went into another room with a table and put his stuff on the table and then emptied my pocket, but missed the camera. I only had my plaque and my pen in my shirt pocket and then Elder Bejar baptized Maria and I baptized Ricardo and then Carlos. After we changed and ended the baptism and then I wanted to look at the photos. This is the moment that I remembered that my camera was in my pocket. I hurried to where my pants were and removed my camera. We hurried to the house with our stuff and then we went to the house of a member that works with cell phones and had a small screwdriver. We borrowed the screwdriver and I took my camera apart so that we could get all of the water out. In the process of taking the camera apart, I got shocked four different times. The next day was Sunday. In the evening, when we were in the house, I tried to put the camera back together, but couldn´t so I packed it up Monday and sent it to you Wednesday.

Can you send us more photos and videos? Can you attach a photo of your companion to this email?

I will work on the photos today but I don´t have my camera here to send you a foto right now sorry.

Do you have any baptisms lined up? Who? When? Tell us about the people.

No we don´t have anyone to baptize right now. We have some possibilities, but no baptisms.

Who are your investigators? Are they coming to church?

(no answer)

How are the people doing that you have baptized since you have been there? Are they still coming out to church?

Antonia only comes to church about once a month. Allison moved to Palestina and hasn´t been coming to church. Carlos de Barco started classes again in Guayaquil so he hasn´t been coming to church and Ricardo and Maria are doing good. They are coming to church. Maria drank coffee again, but we taught her the repentance process and she is working on repenting now.

Are you eating at more mamitas houses now or still at the same two? Some of the missionaries are eating at a different home each day.

We are still with our mamitas. They haven´t changed this in Balzar, but maybe they will I don´t know.

Have you read any of that book I sent you? Did it help at all?

No I haven’t had a chance to read that book yet.

What advice do you have for your brothers?

Learn to cook with fresh vegetables and fruit because that is most of what is here and I am struggling to cook here with fresh things.

What can dad and I be doing better to help prepare them to serve a mission?

You are doing great. Just keep it up.

Do you ever go with your district or zone on Pday to go sight-seeing or do other things? Where? When?

No there isn´t much in our zone to see. In Guayaquil and in other places there are things to see, but here no.

What physical exercise are you doing besides the daily walking?

In the morning, I exercise for a half hour; pushups sit-ups, jump rope, stretches. We have a weight that we use, too.

Did your district and zone change a lot at the last transfers? Are there any more gringos in your area?

Our zone changed a lot. There are two new missionaries in our zone, too.

How come you don’t seem to have a lot of time to write your emails? Other missionaries are writing a lot longer letters than you are.

I have had some problems with our cyber dropping the internet part way through our session and not getting the internet back for a day or more this has happened three or
four times.

Do you like to answer the questions I send you or would you rather just write?

The questions are fine.

Love you lots,

P.S. I am attaching a photo I promised dad I would send to you. And I wanted to let you know that Sister King was at church today. She was in Relief Society for the first time in a very long time. Last week, she fell, but she didn't break anything, which was good. She seemed happy and full of life. It was so good to have her back out to church.

2009_01_26 Week 14 Balzar Rash & Boots

Dad wrote on Mon, 26 Jan 2009 08:15:20 -0700

Dear Curtis,

How is everything in Balzar? This has been a busy but great week. Michelle's and Jeff's wedding was great. Everything went good. I am tired and so is your mother. I’m sure she has told you about the wedding. I talked to a lot of people that came to the reception that I knew that I had not seen for years. It was a lot of fun.

Well I am back at school now. How are you feeling what was the rash all about? Did you find out what caused it? I’m sure it will go away. Mom has been reading other elders blogs and I’m sure she has told you about the boots the elders are talking about. They are buying them at fire station or fire supplies stores. The elders that have them say they are life savers. Their feet don’t get wet at all. See if you can find some if you have not already done so. The pigeons eggs are starting to hatch so I will have a lot here soon. I will keep checking back for an email from you. I Love You.



Things here in Balzar are good. The weather has been wet. About the boots I am planning on buying them today. There are several places that sell them in Balzar. The problem is finding them in my size. The rash is doing better. They found nothing when they examined my blood stool and urine. They say that the rash must be because of the humidity and the heat, but they gave me a cream to use if the rash stings. I love you lots.

Elder Goode

2009_01_19 Week 13 Balzar Dad Rash

Sorry I am so late posting this one. We had a wedding to worry about this past week. Curtis wrote only only this one short email last week.

Craig wrote on Mon, 19 Jan 2009 10:38:35 -0700

Dear Curtis,

How is everthing in Balzar? Clain and I went hunting Wednesday out at the sewer plant and did really well. We got 14; two spoones and the rest mallards. The season ended Saturday so we are done till next fall.

We are at grandmas tending Taylor while Shara is taking bridal pictures of Michelle. Mom is on her way up here as she does errands. Tell us about your new companion? I will be here at grandmas so I can email.

I Love You,

Love DAD.

Things are good. Today we had to go to Guayaquil. We had appointments at the Clinica Kennedy at 10 this morning. We met Hermana Gamboa there. The reason that we had to go to the Clinica is because my companion Elder Alcocer and I both have little bumps all over our bodies that sting and itch when we are in the heat which is pretty much all the time, so we had our appointments. They examined our skin, our backs and necks. The doctor thinks that we either have parasites or that we are both allergic to something that we came in contact with but we think that it is the weather that the heat and humidity is the cause, so the doctor prescribed us a cream to help with the stinging and itching and some pills too. He also took blood stool and urine samples.

After the clinic we had lunch at McDonalds, a real treat for us. It was good. After lunch, we went to the mall and had some pictures developed and then we went and bought pancake mix and syrup because we can’t find it in Balzar and took a bus back to Balzar. Now we are in the cyber writing emails.

We will receive the results of our tests tonight. Hermana Gamboa will receive them today in the afternoon and call us and tell us what they found out and what we need to do now.

Besides that everything is good. We are working hard. We don´t have any baptisms planned, but we are working on fixing that one day at a time.

I´m glad you got to go hunting one more time. I had a feeling that the sewer plant was going to be good this year. Send me photos of the ducks.


Elder Goode

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009_01_12 Baptism By Immersion

We got a box in the mail today and a letter. That was exciting. The letter had Curtis's testimony written in Spanish. I have posted it on the sidebar of his blog. I did my best to translate it into English using several online translation sites, but some of it still doesn't quite make sense. I am sure I am missing something. If anyone reading this blog can translate it better, please send the translation to me in an email. My email address is at the bottom of the left nav bar.

The package cost $12.30 for Curtis to send home to us. It contained his camera all apart in many pieces packed in the red and green packing that I had sent in one of his Christmas packages and a note written on the Lab Notes notepad that I sent him at Christmas. The pages have a picture of a black lab at the top, paw prints down the side of the page and three puppies at the bottom, one chocolate, one black and one yellow lab. Curtis loves dogs and left behind a black laborador hunting dog when he went on his mission. Her name is Nitro.

The note reads:

Hey! How is everybody? Things are great here in Ecuador. We baptized the family of Ricardo and Maria and my camera all in the same day. I'm buying a new one today. This one that I am sending you needs some work, but it works, posssibly a new display and reassembled because I took it apart to get the water out. Fix this camera and give it to Clain, maybe for his birthday. The papers and other things are in my stuff somewhere. I'm not sure where.

I love you.
Elder Goode

The baptism took place on December 27, 2008, so he probably mailed the camera on December 29th, his next P-day. That was two weeks ago, which is pretty fast delivery. I will scan the stamps and post here. They are pretty cool to look at. The letter with his testimony in was probably also mailed on December 29th, because that was when I asked him to send it again. That is the fastest any of his mail has arrived. The letter came through the return pouch and was postmarked in Salt Lake City on January 8, 2009.

I thought that I would take a photo of the camera all apart and post it on this blog with this letter, but didn't get the photo taken right away. When Clain got home from work, he ate and then got a screw driver and started assembling it back together. He worked on it for over an hour. When he was done, he only had one metal piece, 13 screws and an O ring leftover. He turned it on and a red light came on, but nothing else. I will have to find the warranty paperwork on the camera and take it back to Inkleys where we bought it. I seem to remember though that the warranty covered everything except water damage, so we will probably have to pay to have it repaired. I didn't want to hurt Clain's feelings, so I just took a photo of the camera after his re-assembly work.

2009_01_12 Week 12 Balzar Mom

I am in Balzar still. Elder Bejar got transferred. He is in Pasquales now. He is opening a sector that was closed and he is training a new missionary, too. My new companion is Elder Acoster of Peru. He was pouchero before I started my mission. This will be his last sector, because he finishes his mission in three cambios. We had to get up at 5 this morning and leave for Guayaquil at 6. We got to the bus terminal in Guayquil at 8:30 and met with tons of missionaries. And then the Assistants bought bus tickets and we left for Balzar and now we are in Balzar once again.

Yes, I have found many crickets in our house, the stinken' buggers. I don´t know where they are entering from, but they keep coming in. I also encountered a colony of ants behind our bulletin board in the house. That was fun to kill them all and clean up. I also encountered a grasshopper that is four inches long and stands about two or three inches tall. They are huge.

Things are going good. We don´t have any baptisms planned, but we are teaching lots of people trying to find people to baptize.

Okay. The bus to Guayaquil must have been a lot faster than your first trip out if you made it in only 2 1/2 hours. I was expecting a 4 hour ride again. Who are the new Assistants to the President? Tell us more about your new companion. What do you think of him so far?

Sorry about the bugs. I am glad you have not been complaining though.

Our first trip, the bus went slow, because it was prime hours for picking people up. My companion is good. He knows how to fix electronics very well. Maybe he can fix our two broken fans in the house? He seems like a good Elder. I have only heard good things about him. The new Assistants are Elder Rouson, he was put in the other transfer and now to replace Elder Bryan, Elder Fuentemavida. He trained Elder Walke.

That is awesome. Elder Walke has only had good stuff to say about Elder Fuentemavida. What is your companion's first name? Where in Peru is he from. Has he been a member his whole life or is he a convert? Tell us about his family and his schooling. Was he going to college to learn the electronics?

I don´t know much of that stuff yet, but I will ask and get back to you next week, but I do know that he knows how to fix things because he worked before the mission fixing things. Oh, he is twenty seven years old. Well I have to go. I love you lots. Bye.

Have a great week. I hope you can write more next week. We love you lots.

2009_01_12 Week 12 Balzar Shara

Email from Shara written on January 12, 2009.
Curtis replied that day.

Sorry I haven’t been good to write lately. I have been busy helping Michelle and Mom get ready for this wedding. I hope that you have been having fun the last three or four weeks since I talked to you last. Mom said that she thinks that you were doing transfers today and that is why you are just getting around to email for the week. Let me know what happened.

Taylor is getting big. She is working on mastering walking. She can walk some, 5-6 steps and then she will sit down, but she is getting it and it won’t be long and she will be running. She really loved Christmas and her new toys. She especially loves her monkey collection (She has seven of them now) and her barn and farm animals. She is learning all of the sounds that animals make. If you ask her what a cow says she will “Moo” and if you ask her what a duck says she will “quack” and if you ask her want a monkey says she will make all sorts of different monkey noises. It is really cute.

I hope to hear back from you today, if not it is fine. Just know that we love you and are proud of you.

Shara Gibbons

Hey! Ya, we had transfers today. Elder Bejar got transferred and now I am with Elder Acoster. Things are good. Mom has more details about the transfers and what all happened, but things are going good. I have had 6 baptisms now in my mission.

That is really neat. I hope that things continue to go good for you and you are able to baptize more people.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009_01_05 Week 11 Balzar Dad

Craig wrote to Curtis on Monday, January 05, 2009

Curtis replied that same day.

Dear Curtis,

How has your week been? Well we are back at school o joy. It has turned really cold last week. It was nice. Have you got any new people you are teaching? Drafting is almost over I will check back when I get over to my room. I Love You.

Love Dad

Things are going good here. We are having trouble finding new people to teach, but we are working on it. We don´t have many people that are progressing. How are things in the states? Have you gone hunting one more time like I asked you to?

2009_01_05 Week 11 Balzar Mom

Carol wrote to Curtis Monday, January 5, 2009
Curtis replied that same day.

Hi Curtis,

Please tell us more about your baptisms. Did you have another one this week? Who was it? Tell us more about the people you have baptized recently.

The last people we baptized was the Ricardo and Maria and their son Carlos. They are an awesome family. Now we are preparing Ricardo to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. We meet with them usually in the evening, our last appointment and every time even though we tell them not to they feed us. Usually cola and crackers with fresh cheese or sandwiches. It is good, but not necessary. They are the last family that we baptized. We also are preparing them to enter the temple, but that won´t be for a year, so they have time.

Have you performed the baptisms or confirmations?

I personally have performed 4 of the 6 baptisms so far in my mission; Antonia, Allison, Ricardo, and Carlos. Elder Bejar baptized Maria and a member, the husband of Hermana Alvarado, our mamita de comida for Wednesdays, baptized Carlos de Barco.

Do you have any more new investigators? Tell us about them.

Right now we are struggling to find new investigators but we are working on it.

How are the people you met last week in Relicario coming along?

They didn´t come to church this week and Thursday when we went to Relicario to visit they weren’t there, but the family that is members that we were going to meet in their home wasn´t there either, so it is ok. Sunday everybody came to Balzar for church, so it is ok that this new family didn´t come. We are going to visit in Relicario 2 days this week, Tuesday and Thursday so we will meet with them this week hopefully.

What is the best experience you have had these past few weeks?

Baptizing a family so they can be together forever, that is the best experience so far.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?

(no reply)

Tell us anything else you think we would like to know.

(no reply)

Tell us more about your companion.

He is interesting. The food he prepares is different; tomatoes and radishes with avocado with a little oil. Mix it together and put it on top of a pile of rice. He likes to joke and have fun with other people.

How big does the branch have to get before they will get a meeting house?

The thing that has to happen first is they need to have I think 6 or 8 people that hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and are active before they can form their own branch. Right now they are part of the Balzar Branch, but they meet separately because it is much closer for them this way.

When will they get a Branch President called who is not a missionary?

When they have enough priesthood holders to form their own branch.

What do you do with the tithes and offerings that are gathered in Relicario?

We collect them and take them to Balzar with us and they are taken care of the following Sunday, because before we leave for lunch after church Sunday we help President Ruiz to count the tithing and enter it in the computer and then transmit it to Quito to a regional headquarters then President Ruiz takes the money to the bank Monday morning.

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 take it to Balzar and enter it in the same with the other branch.

You said you live above the City Offices in Balzar. Do you live on the main street of Balzar then?

We live next to the city offices in Balzar. Our street is not the main street that is the one that runs through town and on to Empalme and Quevedo, but our street is the popular one for the people to party on at night during the weekend cars with loud music and people drinking everywhere, ya that is our street!

Why are there so many buildings that are half finished?

The people here work from paycheck to paycheck but it depends on what they do. Some get paid daily, others weekly or every other week, so when they have money they buy material and work on the building. When they don´t, they don´t work on the building, but I don´t know why the people start building and don´t finish. There are lots of houses that are only part way built all over Balzar.

Did you meet any new missionaries at the temple or zone conference? I have been emailing with mothers of some of the missionaries in your mission. There are nine that have kids in your mission. Have you met any of them?

Elder Blake Bartolomei - in Manta He was my companion in the MTC
Elder Michael Crismon No
Hermana Desiree' Draeger - She will arrive there this month
Elder Nate Elwood - in Babahoyo. Ya, I talked with him on the bus on the way back from the temple. He lives in Logan near the hospital. He was in my Chemistry class the first semester I had at Utah State. He likes to hunt and fish too.
Hermana Rachel Foote - just got home from her mission No
Elder Darren Haymond - No
Elder Dan Mitton - in Babahoyo No but if he is in Babahoyo he was on the bus with us to the temple.
Elder Robert Ogden - he has red hair No
Elder Tyler Walke - in Babahoyo, he flew to Ecuador with you. He was on the bus with us to the temple too.

I love you lots.

Hi Curtis,

Thanks for the answers. It is busy today, so it took me a bit to get to your email. What else has been happening there? Did you get to see the DVD we sent you?

Ya, I watched the DVD. It was cool to see photos of everybody in the ward.

So things in Balzar are good, no problems. This is probably the last week I will have with Elder Bejar, because next Monday is transfers, so I will probably get on the computer later in the day because we will have to get up at 5 and take a bus to Guayaquil and then take a bus back to Balzar with my new companion, so it may be later. I don´t know for sure I guess we will see.

Oh, Elder Bryan finishes his mission this transfer so you can talk to him about his mission. I don´t have his information but I am pretty sure that you have his moms email address.

I will try to contact that other elder you told me about and Elder Bryan after the wedding. Are you fairly sure that Elder Bejar will get transferred and you will stay in Balzar?

It was pretty cool when we were at the church watching the DVD. All of us had tears in our eyes. Did you like our family piece?

Hey my time is up. I gotta go. I love you all very much. Tell everybody Hi for me.

Elder Goode

I love you too. Sorry, we didn't get to chat much today. First day back after a holiday!
Love you lots. Have a great week.