Monday, May 4, 2009

2009_05_04 Week 5 Valencia

May 3, 2009

Dear Curtis,

Hi! I hope you have had a really great week. Mine has been pretty good.

First off, we need to figure out how we are going to do your phone call home on Mother’s Day which is next Sunday, May 10th. Do you have a phone that you can call from?

Can you call me and then I can call you back on that phone?

I need to know the whole phone number with the country code. I have a calling card that I can use from this end. I could just call you if I knew the number and what time to call you.

We have church from 11:00 till 2:00. Clain is giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting, so we have to go. His topic is gospel principles taught to you by your mother. He is supposed to speak for five to seven minutes.

We would like to go to Cache Valley to visit Grandma Goode and Grandma Parkinson after church. I don’t think Michelle and Shara are coming down here. I have been trying to talk to Michelle all day to find out what she is planning, but she won’t answer my calls or texts. I am not sure what is up with her. I haven’t talked to her much this week. It was her last week of school, so she should be all done for a while.

Shara was called to be the Second Counselor in the Primary Presidency. She has to sing with the Primary Kids in her ward on Mother’s Day. Her church is at 9:00, but I still doubt she will come down after because she will have two mothers and four grandmothers to go visit that day and all but me are up there in Cache Valley.

Email back and let me know what will work best for you as far as time and how you are going to call. Do you have a calling card you can use?

Can you buy one if you don’t have one?

It might be good to get one with enough minutes in case I can’t call you back for some reason like last time. How long can you talk this time?

I put your tax refund in your bank account. I transferred $500 of it to your savings account because you get a little bit better interest rate on that account than on the checking account, but not by much. The rest is in your checking account. You have been using a lot of money again. Are you having to travel a lot in your new area? Did it cost you money to go to the Volcano and the Waterfalls?

Answer these questions first and hopefully we can email back and forth a couple of times today.

I love you so much and I am very proud of you.

Love always, Mom

Hey how are things? As far as the phone call we have a cellular in the house that we are going to use to call. What we are planning to do is buy a card that will put money in our account in the cell phone and then we can call. I am going to buy thirty minutes of time I think that will be enough, but I will check and find out more before I buy, so I buy enough. I think that this will be better and more sure than you trying to call me. I can only call on Sunday, but just about whenever you want me to during the day. What time will be best for you and what phone do you want me to call?

Okay. That will be great. I think it is probably best to call my cell phone then you will get me no matter where I am at. The number is 801-725-****. You could call at 3:00 or anytime after that. What time do you have church and what else do you have planned for that day?

We have church from 9 to 12, lunch at one and a meeting at two, so three thirty should work fine. Do you think it is possible that you could be with Skyler so I could talk to him, too? If not, that is ok. Tell him I am still waiting for a picture of him and his fiance. Do you want me to call three thirty my time or your time? There is an hour difference right now.

We can try to get Skyler to come down, but with Mother's day he may be busy. 2:30 or 3:00 our time would be better so we could go up to Cache Valley after, but will that give you enough time to finish your meeting? If not, what time works for you?

I will talk to Skyler about the picture. He was supposed to email it to me so I could email it to you. I guess he forgot. Being in love can make you do things like that.

How has your week been? Tell us about your area, your companion, your investigators and your site seeing trips please.

Three or three thirty my time which is two or two thirty your time will work for me.

Okay. Make it 2:30 my time so we will have time to get home from church. Clain might be really long-winded and make the meeting go over. Ha Ha!

Ok that will work. I will call two thirty your time. I will get back on later today to answer your questions.

Okay. I love you lots. Take care.

Later . . .

I got a really cool photo of you today from Elder Bartolomei's mom. It has Elder Felt, Elder Williams, Elder Bartolomei and you just outside a chapel door. It is an awesome photo. Where was it taken? When?

She sent me another one last week that had Elder Neyra, you, Elder Bartolomei and another guy all hanging on to trees and branches as you climbed down a muddy hill. I am guessing it was when you went to see the waterfalls. I don't think the other guy in the yellow shirt is Elder Bartolomei's companion because she sent another photo of Elder Bartolomei with his companion in front of the same waterfall you sent me. In that photo, his companion is wearing a different shirt. Who is the other guy in the yellow shirt? Who went with you to the waterfalls? Tell us more about it.
Do you have more photos? Tell us about it.

Tell us about the baptisms you have had in Valencia. Names? Dates?

Tell us about the investigators you are teaching now.

Tell us more about your companion. What is he like? Do you get along? What are his favorite things to do? What do you really like about him? Did he know any of your other companions? How long has he been a member? Tell us about his family.

Tell us about your apartment.

I mailed two packages to you on Tuesday, April 28th. They have paper copies of the Conference Talks in English. The Spanish versions weren't out yet. I will send you an Ensign and Liahona as soon as they release them in a couple more weeks, I think. The package has a USB jump drive. On the drive there are a bunch of photos that we have taken since you have been gone. I thought you might want to look at them. I will try to print a few of them and mail to you with the next package. You can delete the photos to make room to store backups of the photos you take. There are also mp3 and mp4 files of the conference. I hope you are able to load them onto your ipod so you can listen to them and watch the videos if that is allowed. If not, just delete the video ones. I also put the music on there. You may have to dump some of the music that is on there or the old conference talks to make room for the new ones. Some may be the same. I think there are talks from three conferences there.

I told you earlier that I would put in an 8 GB SD card. I didn't put it in. It was acting weird and I was afraid you would use it and then not be able to pull up the photos after you took them. I put in 4 new 1 GB SD cards for you.

Let me know if there is anything else you need. I will be sending another package in a couple of weeks with the Ensign and Liahona.

Braxton has been running track. He ran the 1600 meter (mile) race the first week in 6:19:8 He was 34th out of 54 runners. The second week he ran the 1600 in 6:12:60, so he got faster. He was 15th out of 38 runners. He has another track meet this week on Friday. He is going to get even faster. I think he is doing great for a 7th grader running against 8th and 9th graders.

I love you so much and I am so proud of you. You look really great in that photo. You look so happy and healthy. The fruit and rice must be agreeing with you.


Hey how are things going? I’m back on to answer your questions. First about my sight-seeing trips. We went first with Elder Bartolomei and his companion Elder Gabino to the waterfalls. We also brought along our ward mission leader Claudio. He is the one in some of the photos you have seen. Claudio had been to the waterfalls before so he knew the way, so it was much easier for us.

Elder Goode at the Waterfalls near La Mana

My sector is big. Here in Valencia it starts at a place called the Esperansa or the Hope in English and ends in the Mana. We also have a place called the Berhel and a place called 6 de Agosto or the 6th of August. We are working mainly in the Mana to help start the church there. We had one baptism. His name is Hector. He just turned 18 and he is doing great. We are planning another baptism for this Saturday. His name is Oscar. He is 16 years old. His mom and dad are members, but his dad died about two and a half months ago.

That is great! If you have more time, tell us more. Has it been raining a lot on you the last two weeks? I have a weather site on the internet I have found and it says you should have had 6 inches of rain two weeks ago and about 4 inches last week. Is that right or is this site giving me the wrong information?

No, the sight is correct. We are getting rain here mostly in the night, but it is raining a lot when it does here. We are getting lightning and thunder, too.

The picture that Elder Bartolomei’s mom sent you was taken last Tuesday in the Zone Conference. We are only missing Elder Smith to have all of our district together in the same place, but Elder Smith is in Duran still, in his first sector. I talked to him during the transfers in Guayaquil. He’s doing good and loving the mission.

Here in Valencia we are working with a lot of references. We are contacting about ten to fifteen a week and right now we have more than twenty that we have received that we need to contact. For the most part, the references are in the Mana that is where we are working the most, because the Bishop wants to form a branch there to make it easier for the members, so they don’t have to travel a half an hour to church every Sunday. So this is what we have been doing, contacting lots of people to find five families in the Mana that are members and are paying their tithing. That is the most important, that they have priesthood in the families and that they are paying tithing.

That is awesome. I am glad you are making a difference. Five families doesn't seem like a lot, but it will be enough to give them a good start. Keep working hard at it. I am sure you will find them or help them to get the priesthood and start paying their tithing.

How is your memorizing coming along? Your deadline is coming soon.

When you can, send more photos.

Have you heard any more about Elder Fewkes? Whenever you can, take photos with all the other missionaries you know. Try to do a photo with all of your companions so far if you are ever all together in one place.

Elder Fewkes had some health problems here in the mission, so he went home, got it all figured out and right now he is serving in Idaho Spanish speaking. But when our transfer comes, he might get the chance to come back to Ecuador to serve. That is what we are hoping, but let’s see what happens.

I think that it will be a little hard to get all of my companions together because Elder Alcocer is going to leave here for his house on the 8th of this month, so I think that is Friday, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of time left in the mission. I did get a photo with him the other day in the Zone Conference though. I talked to Elder Bejar in the terminal in Quayaquil for a little bit. He is now district leader in Pasquales doing good. He has six months left before he goes back to Peru, too. Elder Neyra is in the same group of missionaries as Elder Bejar. He came to Ecuador with Elder Bejar and he will leave with him in October.

I was afraid you wouldn't be able to get them all together before he left. I guess that is okay. You will always remember them anyway. Gather the ones you can whenever you get a chance.

I do hope Elder Fewkes gets to come back to Ecuador, but I guess it won't matter as long as he is serving the Lord. I am glad Elder Bejar is doing great. That is neat that he is a District Leader now.

Tell me more about Elder Neyra and about your scripture memorization. And make sure to say goodbye before you get off today.

Elder Neyra is from the center of Lima, Peru. His family consists of his mom and dad and eleven kids. He has 8 brothers and 2 sisters. He is the youngest of all of them. Elder Neyra likes to play guitar and sing. He loves my Ipod and he is trying really hard to take advantage of the fact that he has a gringo for a companion to learn English, so I am talking a lot of English with him in the house, so he can learn it. Elder Neyra likes to be in style and in fashion. Some of his brothers live in the states in New York, so he has a bit of an American style, but he still has his Latin style, too. Elder Neyra likes to joke around. All of his brothers are bigger than him, so he has a little bit of the attitude like I do that we are big and bad and that no one can hurt us. You know what I mean.

He sounds like fun. I am glad you are enjoying your time together. Just be really careful, even though you are big and bad. There are still things like guns and knives that can hurt you. Always be obedient so you will be protected. Maybe you will get to see Elder Neyra after your mission. He may decide to come to the states, too.

Send us more photos when you can. I love to see you. Send us a good photo of Elder Neyra. I have the one you did with the multiple exposures and the one on the muddy trail, but I want a good close up shot of him.

How is your memorizing coming?

What did you learn at your Zone Conference?

Ya! I know that there are still things that can hurt us. My memorization is coming along slow, but sure. The Zone Conference was about obedience to the rules of the mission. It was good.

Well I gotta go. I love you lots. I’ll talk to you Sunday at two thirty your time, three thirty my time. Bye.

I love you, too. I am so excited to hear your voice on Sunday. Be careful and remember who you are.

Love always and forever,


  1. I bet you are excited to talk to Curtis on the phone on Sunday. I am looking forward to hearing how it went. We always had trouble getting through to Jon down in Ecuador, but they didn't have cell phones, they had to use phones at the member's houses. Although, when we did get through we got to talk for HOURS! I am looking forward to Mother's Day so I can hear my children sing to me at church. Definitely the best part of the day. Happy Mother's Day to you this week!--Love Sherri

  2. Thanks Sherri. We are really excited to hear his voice again. It was so good to talk to him at Christmas and I know this time will be even better. I am so grateful he is serving the Lord and he is where he is supposed to be, but I still miss him so much. It is amazing how often I think of him each day. Mother's Day was always really special when I had kids in Primary. I have missed that. Now my favorite moment is when the Young Men sing at a Missionary Farewell talk. They sing, "Armies of Helaman" or "Called to Serve". Both are totally awesome. I can't wait to see you and your darling children this summer at the Parkinson Reunion. I am so happy you get to come.

  3. Curtis,
    Great to keep up with what is happening. You may have heard that Kenny got his call to Ukraine speaking Russian. He goes to the MTC on July 15. He finished his finals and has moved back home. He will likely be working at Weber High again this summer until he leaves. He went through the temple on Saturday. Good to see your Mom there with us. Tiff is working at the pool now that she is back home too, the house is full and grocery trips are more frequent. Nate and Charity have school until the end of May. Dave had a birthday and I am just keeping up with everyone. Hope to hear more from the blog about Mother's day. Keep up the great work. You are a fine example.

  4. Thanks Sherylyn,
    Curtis doesn't get much chance to read his blog but I have shared with him about Kenny's call and when he leaves. He was excited for him. I will forward your comments to him in an email next week. Thanks so much. I can't wait to read about Kenny's adventures in Ukraine. It was great to be at the temple with your family Saturday. Thanks for lunch.