Monday, March 16, 2009

2009_03_16 Week 21 Balzar Mom

Mom wrote on March 15, 2009

Hi Curtis,

Another week has gone by. It has been a pretty fun one.

I hope all is well with you. I think of you often throughout each day. I am so very proud of the work you are doing there. I hope you are working hard and enjoying more success this week. It is sad that your baptisms keep falling through, but I guess that is part of missionary work. Even those who don’t join are better off for having heard your message. Maybe the next time they are contacted by missionaries they will accept the gospel. I have heard that it takes most converts seven contacts with the church before they are willing to join the church. What you say and do may make a great difference to them down the road someday. They will probably remember a giant American Missionary who taught them with great power and authority. It is hard when you don’t see the fruits of your labor, but many missionaries find that to be the case. They don’t all baptize a lot, but they still make a difference. Keep trying and the Lord will bless you with more success.

Dad has an MRI scheduled tomorrow at 5:45. I have to take him because they gave him two valium pills to take to relax him. He won’t be able to drive after having taken those pills. I hope the MRI will show the doctor what needs to be done to help him. The doctor thought that it would be either degenerative disks or arthritis. The treatment for both is the same, to strengthen the back muscles through physical therapy. The doctor gave dad a prescription to go to a Physical Therapy place in Kaysville that has a special program for lumbar strengthening. So far, he hasn’t called to make an appointment. I know it is going to be hard for him because he wants to be home working with and training his pigeons and going to physical therapy is not going to fit into his schedule very well. With all the stuff going on at school this year, it would not be a good idea to go to therapy during school hours. He is going to have to fit it in after school and that conflicts with pigeons and with water aerobics. They are building a couple of buildings in West Point up by the city office building. One of those is going to be a physical therapy place and it is the same company that the doctor wanted him to go to. I think it is called Mountain West Physical Therapy. The problem is that it will probably be another six monthsbefore they are ready to open for business. He can’t wait that long to get this taken care of. He needs to go now. I will try to do more convincing, but I know it won’t be easy.

It will be another busy week, but we won’t get bored. There is a ward party on Tuesday night where they are going to show a movie about President Hinckley’s life. The boys have already seen it. I don’t know if dad and I will get there if we go to water aerobics. We will see. Braxton has four soccer practices again, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. There is a Stake Youth Fireside on Thursday night for the youth and their parents. That also will conflict with water aerobics class. It is hard to know what to do. Both are good choices. I think dad and I will probably go to aerobics and send the boys to the fireside alone.

My new laptop is coming along. I have installed most of the programs on it, but now I have to get all of my files transferred to it. I have spent all afternoon and evening copying them from my old laptop to my external hard drive. Tomorrow, I will try to copy them to the new laptop while I am imaging laptops at WPJH. I am typing on it now and it just doesn’t feel the same. I make a lot more mistakes typing on it than I did on my old laptop. I am sure I will get used to it eventually, but I am not sure I will ever like the keyboard as well as I did the old one. My old keys had a shiny surface and these new ones have a dull surface. They are just different. This new laptop should be faster and it has a larger hard drive, so that will be great. I am sure I will be glad to have it, but I feel sad giving up my old friend.

Church today was good. It was all about being peacemakers. It is interesting how the lessons all correlate that way this year and the Bishopric has been having the speakers speak on the same subjects, too. Today, Anita Rose, Kolten Kay and Brother Soule, our high councilman spoke. They all gave very good talks. I was very impressed with Kolten’s talk. He spoke for almost fifteen minutes which I thought was very amazing for a boy who has always been very shy. He is going to make a good missionary. He has about a year before he can go. He is a little older than Clain.

I get to speak in church next week on the blessings of having a missionary. I am only supposed to speak for five minutes. It sounded like they were going to have all of the mothers of missionaries speak. There are five right now. Jane Marquardt, Lisa Schneiter, Chris Jenkins, myself and Rita Greenwell. I am not for sure who is speaking though, that is just a guess from what Matt Taggart said. I jotted down lots of ideas while I was at church. I will have to do a little bit of research this week and pull something together. What would you say is the greatest blessing we have received because you are serving a mission? Give me several answers in your reply. How has serving a mission helped you? Also, could you write a paragraph for me to share with the ward while I am speaking.

I am sorry I haven’t been writing to you as much. I thought I would have more time after the wedding, but going to water aerobics is taking up a huge chunk of time, six hours a week, and soccer is back again. I have also been playing too much on Facebook. I have got to do better. However, we have been having some fun. I let Braxton and Clain both sign up for accounts on Facebook. They started playing some of the games that are on there. Two are farming programs, My Farm and FarmTown. You can send your friends animals and trees and you plant crops and harvest them. The problem is that it takes so much time to keep up with the planting and harvesting. I have been playing with them and it has been fun, but it is time to give it up. I harvested all of my crops on FarmTown and sold all of my trees and animals. I will just let my farm sit dormant. I told the boys it is going to be winter on my farm for quite a while. I have enough money that if I ever want to go back and replant, I could. On My Farm, I have earned enough money to buy a house, a barn, a chicken coop and a woodyard. It was fun, but I have got other things I ought to be doing, so I will give up the virtual farming. As soon as my crops are ready to harvest, I am going to be done with this program, too. I need to get back to scrapbooking and family history and writing letters to my favorite missionary. I need toget Clain working on studying for the ACT test online and Braxton has too much soccer stuff going on. He is going to have to give up at least one farm. It has been fun to just play with the boys a bit though. Shara also has had farms, but she hasn’t spent as much time on there. It reminds me of that summer when we all played Gameboys and had so much fun just playing together.

I have connected with some old friends on Facebook and some cousins. That is nice. I wish I could find some more of my old friends. I will have to keep trying. Maybe more will join over time. Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds every month. It is fun to see photos of friends and their families and the things they are doing. It is interesting how many people we meet in our lifetimes. Some stay friends forever and some for only a while. I hope when we get to heaven we will remember them all and the connections we had with them here.

I had a friend request this weekend from a guy named Tim Hunter. He was a friend of mine all through elementary school, junior high and high school. He lived in Wellsville and we had classes together. For a while, when I was in junior high, he was a boyfriend of one of my good friends. I remember going with them on Halloween one year. We went to the school carnival and then just sort of wandered around Wellsville trick or treating a bit and I think we soaped a couple of car windows.When we were Seniors in High School, Tim and I were put in charge of planning a Stake Youth Conference to Ricks College. He had always been shy and quiet, but I was so impressed with his leadership abilities as we planned for the Youth Conference. He had to conduct all of the events at the Youth Conference as well. I sat by his side through most of them. The one I remember the most was the Testimony Meeting on the last morning we were there. He bore a beautiful testimony with great love for our Savior. He was so humble and I remember feeling the spirit so strong as he spoke. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with him in this capacity. It was funny that I had not thought of those memories for years, until he asked me to be his friend on Facebook. I guess my memories are all still there, just hidden away till something calls them forth. We have been having a little conversation back and forth on Facebook. It is sort of fun to remember and to catch up with him. He is married and has four kids and one grandson. It looks like one boy is married and one is in the military, then he has two younger daughters.

I need to make some phone calls this week and talk to your grandparents. It has been too long since I called them and too long since we visited them. I thought maybe we would get up there today, but I couldn’t. I was asked to read a part in a Relief Society program we are doing next week and they were practicing this afternoon. I am a narrarator. It is not hard. I just have to read the part off a paper and I don’t have to dress up in anything special. The program is about the Ten Virgins. The sister missionaries were going to be the narrarators, but we don’t have sister missionaries anymore, so they had to find someone else to do their parts.

Clain said the two new Elder missionaries spoke to them in Missionary Prep this morning. Elder Shanner told his conversion story and the things that helped him the most with joining the church. Clain seemed very impressed with them. I was excited to get Elder Missionaries here again. That will give Clain more of a chance to go with them to teach. The Ward Missionaries are Brother and Sister Roskelley. They are supposed to be taking the Laurels and Priests with them to teaching appointments. So far, Clain hasn’t had a turn. They wanted to start with the older ones first. I imagine he will get some turns before he turns 19. I am going to try to have the missionaries come for dinner sometime. I told Lorilee Roskelley to let me know when they had their next dinner appointments to setup and we would try to feed them. Are you having much success with the members helping you with missionary work?

The members are helping some more than others but I guess it just goes to show how dedicated different people are to the gospel. Some help every day or every week when they have time and can, and others only help when we ask for their help and there are others that don´t help even when we ask. I guess it depends on the person.

Are you eating as well now that you are going to different members homes? I wondered if that was why you had been having stomach problems and diarrhea. Is it any better or worse? Do you think it is from bad water?

We are eating good here in Balzar, but President Ruiz says that he isn´t eating as good now as he used to. He says that his wife doesn´t worry about the cooking as much when it is just for the family. I think that part of the problem is that we are eating in different members houses every day and that not all of the members boil the water or use water in pomas that have been purified so I think that I am getting a few parasites or bacteria but nothing serious.

Please tell us some of your latest experiences with teaching. What is the best thing that has happened to you this week?

We had an interesting experience yesterday, Sunday. We had church in Balzar. We had lunch, then we went to Palestina in a bus. We changed where we meet in the other part of the branch so that it is easier for our investigators to come to church. So we invited our investigators tochurch and then we had church in the home of the Samaniego family and then we did a split. Elder Alcocer went with Tito Mora, a member and I went with Hno. Samaniego and we visited our investigators in Palestina. We met up about 7:20 in the city center where the busses pass forBalzar.

We met up and took a bus to Balzar. After about five minutes in the bus, two men left their seats and pulled kitchen knives and began to rob the people in the bus. The official in the bus that had all of the money that had been collected from the passengers jumped from the bus while it was moving so that they couldn´t rob him. They wanted cell phones, but we don´t have cells here in the mission. One robber asked me for my cell phone. I told him that I didn´t have one, so he hit me in the face knocking my glasses off into my lap. He went on to take the cell phones from us. I took the money from my pocket, less than three dollars and I took my watch off to give to them if they returned. One of them returned, but this time to Elder Alcocer and asked for his cell phone. He responded that he didn´t have one. The robber got mad and threatened to kill him. He took off his watch and took out three dollars and gave to the robber and then took his name tag off and offered it to the robber, too, but the robber didn´t take the name tag.

The robbers assaulted one man, because he wouldn´t give up his cell phone. He was ok, but he was cut up a little bit. The robbers left and all of us continued on our way. A bus behind us radioed that they had picked up the official of our bus and that he was ok. Then our bus stopped in Balzar and waited for the official to arrive to continue on its way. Elder Alcocer recovered one of the dollars that he had given to the thief because he was in a hurry and it fell out of his pocket. Don´t worry! We are fine. We lost two dollars and a ten dollar watch that wasn´t keeping time very well and the crystal was broken, too, so we didn´t lose much at all.

Did you get any packages?

No I didn´t receive the packages, but I will call today and talk to the pouch monkey to find out what is going on.

I haven’t had time to do anything about the music for Elder Alcocer yet. I am having a struggle with it because it isn’t legal for me to copy that music for him and I can’t to buy it all for him. I could probably buy a couple of the albums for him, but not all of them.Which albums are his most favorite ones? I am trying to be honest, but also charitable.

I forgot that it is illegal to copy music. Here in Ecuador copyright laws don´t exist. Well they do, but nobody follows them.

I bought some replacement blades for your razor on Ebay. I will send your package as soon as they arrive here. It should be in a day or two, so I should mail the package this week.

I love you lots. Be Goode and obedient.

Love always and forever,


Hi Curtis,

It is good to hear from you. Please write and tell me more about what you have been doing this week and give me any ideas you have for my talk. I am glad that no one was seriously hurt during the robbery. It is sad that people are like that all over the world. Some just don't understand the joy of working to earn what they deserve. They think that getting things the easy way will bring them happiness. They are so wrong.

You said you were wearing your glasses. Are you having problems with contacts or solution or are the glasses just easier?

I have been wearing my glasses because the air here is dirty by the end of the day when I wear my contacts my eyes are tired and I wake up the next day with my eyes red it is better with glasses.

Another Missionary Mom sent her son's blog address recently. He is in the Guayaquil South mission. I couldn't believe all the smog that was in the air in his photos. I imagine it is probably a lot that way all over. They burn their trash and probably don't have a lot of laws to protect the air and the environment yet. I am glad you have the glasses to use.

Is it a hardship for the families you eat with to feed you out of their budgets rather than you paying them for the food? I am sure they will get blessings for their sacrifices. Are you able to make ends meet easier now having the extra money you used to give to the mamitas?

Did you get a chance to mail me some photos?

I worry that the pocket knife package is not going to arrive. Tyler Walke sent a package home and he put two Ecuadorian pennies in the package for his little sister. His package had been opened and the pennies removed and the letter he wrote was also missing. They have to be x-raying the packages to have found the pennies, so if they would open his package to remove the pennies, I am quite certain if they x-ray your package and see the knife they will remove it or you will just not get the package. Tyler's package was taped back up crudely and sent on to his family.

I have been teaching the people here in Ecuador and helping them come unto Christ. The blessings that you have received that I am on a mission; Do you remember your experience when I had the rash? You felt the spirit in your life. You felt peace that all was well. You are becoming more sensitive to the spirit. I assume that you are doing ok with your finances and not having any problems. That is a blessing too.

Yes. All of those are great blessings. I feel the spirit much more often in my life. I know you are safe and protected and that brings me great peace each day.

Some of the other missionaries talked of the many scriptures you have been asked to memorize and the deadline that is approaching to have them memorized by. How are you doing on your memorization? Do you feel you will have them all learned in time? What are the consequences if you don't get them memorized? Who do you have to pass them all off to? I look at this as another great blessing in your life. When you get these all committed to memory you will have such a huge advantage and will be well on your way to becoming a scriptorian. I hope that your amazing memory is helping you with this task.

I am doing good there are nine different list that we have to memorize, so about one a week. I am pretty sure that I will have it all memorized in time. We have to pass off all of the lists to our Zone Leader. I think that if I pass all of the scriptures off, that when the deadline comes, I will be able to become Senior Companion. Right now, I am Junior Companion, but there are companionships that both are Senior Companion. There has to be a Senior Companion in the companionship at all times.

Well I have to go. I love you a lot. Bye.

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