Monday, June 22, 2009
I hope you have had a really great week. Were you able to baptize Shirley and Esther? Please tell us about the baptisms.
We didn’t have the baptisms because we couldn’t get Shirley’s mom to sign the form so that she could be baptized. But we are going to try really hard to get the permission this week so that we can baptise her this week.
Did the family Cuella attend church this week? Are they progressing towards baptism?
The familia Cuello, they really aren’t progressing. It is kinda sad, but I think we are going to have to stop visiting them because they aren’t progressing, but we are going to see what happens this week.
Are you teaching anyone else that is progressing well?
We received the reference for the familia Zambrano. The mom is a member, but the father and the six girls aren’t members. There are three girls that are old enough to be baptized, so we have four baptism dates with this family now for July 11th. They really want to learn and to bebaptized, so I think that this family is going to get baptized. I really hope so.
How is Oscar doing? In the photo there is a woman next to Elder Castañeda. Is that Oscar’s mom?
I think you said she is a member.
Is she active now?
Yes, but sometimes she doesn’t come to church, because she sells vegetables for a living in the marcet and she sells Sundays, too. But she has hired another lady to sell for her on Sundays,but sometimes the lady doesn’t show up so she has to stay to sell instead.
How is Elder Castañeda doing? Are you helping him to want to work harder?
Yeah, we are working a lot harder now than when we first started. Part of it is that we had Zone Conference and that really motivated us to work harder.
Did you teach any really great lessons this week? Tell us about your teaching.
I taught the first lesson that Clain received to the Zambrano family and they could really understand that they need to pray to find out if the church is true or not.
Did Hermana Gamboa come and inspect your apartment? Some of the other missionaries mentioned it in their emails.
Yeah she came and she inspected. Our apartment is really pretty clean. I wasn’t a custodian for a year for nothing!
Were you able to pass the written test for the Maestro?
I didn’t take the test. I still need to do more activities in “Preach My Gospel” before I can take the test.
How did your interview with President Gamboa go?
It was good.
How long are the interviews?
They are ten minutes or shorter. They aren’t long at all.
Does he teach you anything while you are meeting together?
No. We just talk about what has been happening in the sector, if I have any questions, how our investigators are doing.
What did the Assistants to the President teach you at the Zone Conference?
That we need to invite everyone to be baptized. It was really cool.
Did they take photos of the Zone? Can you send me a photo of your zone?
No, because the Assistants haven’t sent me the one that they took, but when I have it I will send it.
We still have not received your package. I hope it comes this week. I thought for sure it would come last week while Clain was at EFY, and it would be addressed to him so we would have to wait a whole week till he got home, but it didn’t come at all. I mailed three more packages to you on June 8th. They are for your birthday. I imagine they will arrive early, but I would rather you had them early than late. Is there anything you need or want in the next package?
Can you send me three more pair of garments? They are the Drilux and they are large talls in the shirt and the boxer oh and send the ones that have the high neck, not the low neck like dads.
Transfers will be next week again, but I imagine you will probably stay where you are for a while. Did the mission president say anything to make you think otherwise?
I don’t think that I will go anywhere this change, but the Zone Leader, Elder Verastagui keeps saying that he thinks that I am going to be District Leader, so I don’t know what will happen.
Are the garment bottoms Drilux, too? What size are the bottoms? Don't they usually come in a number waist size? I thought you could order them through the mission. It is no problem to send them, though.
I am glad you had a good week, but sad about your baptisms not working out. What happened with Esther?
The bottoms are Drilux, too. They are size 36-38 or large and they need to be tall too. I am pretty sure that the Drilux only comes in boxer bottoms, but double check, because I don’t like the briefs. We can order them through the mission or we could until the President of Ecuador closed the country to imports from Colombia, so the garments aren’t coming into Ecuador. So we can’t order what isn’t here.
Esther went to Guayaquil because her daughter was sick with dengue and was in really bad shape. So we couldn’t baptise her, but we will keep trying to arrange for her baptism.
It is exciting that you might become a District Leader. You will be a great one, I am sure. We are very proud of you. You have had a lot of leadership opportunities, so I know you will be ready for the challenge.
We will keep praying for your investigators by name and hope that it will make a difference. Have you tried fasting for help with your investigators? Sometimes that helps. Lots of prayer and a little fasting will go a long way to helping them progress. We will try to help you from this end. You are always in our prayers. Hard work also goes a long ways, so work till you are dead dog tired at the end of each day. And be completely obedient. When you are following every rule exactly, the Lord will bless you for your faithfulness.
I love you so much. I have to go now and drive to Cache Valley to tend Taylor. I should have left an hour ago. Oh well. I just finally got the chart sent to the printer. It will be awesome. I know Grandma and Grandpa are going to love it. It is not perfect, but it is a labor of love and they will appreciate that.
Have a really great week. I love you so very much and I am so very proud of you and the work you are doing. Take care.
Love always and forever,
Monday, June 15, 2009
I have a few that we are teaching. There is Shirley. She is 17 and she is ready to be baptised this Saturday. We are teaching a single mom. She has two kids. Her name is Esther. We are planning on baptising her this Saturday, but we lost contact with her a little bit so we are trying to contact her so that we can plan for her baptism. So we will see what happens. We are teaching another family, the family Cuello or neck in English. There is the mom, her daughter and husband, another daughter and the neighbor girl that we are teaching. They had a baptism date for this Saturday, but they didn’t come to church this Sunday so we can’t baptise them, so we are going to visit them tomorrow and put another baptism date for a later date like the first or second Saturday in July.
How are things coming along with your companion?
Things are coming good. We had Zone Conference this week and now we are being more obedient and trying to follow the rules, so it is going really good.
Did you have any investigators to church today? Do you teach them in a Gospel Essentials class?
We had investigators in the church, but we didn’t teach them because this Sunday was the Sunday to vote, so we only had the Sacrament Meeting.
How did Zone Conference go?
Zone conference was really good. We learned that we need to commit all people to be baptised as soon as possible when we meet them. So now we need to put it into practice so we can see how well it works. I think that it will work really good because the more people that we are inviting to be baptized, the more people that will accept and the more people that will be baptised.
You said you were going to send some videos.
I haven’t sent them yet, but I’ll work on it. Ok?
Are your packages all arriving okay?
Yeah my packages are getting here fine. They haven’t been opened at all lately, so that is a good thing and everything gets here just fine.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I am asking lots of questions this week. I want lots of answers please. You have been in your new area for nine weeks now and I still don’t know much about it.
Where is your apartment in Valencia? You said it was about ten blocks from the police station. Is it in the middle of town, nice section, poor section, or what?
My house is four blocks from the main road that goes from Quevedo to the Mana. We live in the same street as the park that is in the middle of Valencia. The house is two floors. We live up stairs in half and another family, other members (the mom is one of our mamitas), lives next to us in the other half. Below in the first floor is the owners of the house. They aren´t members, but part of their family is members. The mom and sister of the wife are members. The mom is also one of our mamitas.
Describe your apartment. Main floor, upper floor?
We live in the upper floor.
How many rooms are there? What rooms?
We have three rooms or four. It depends how you count it. You will understand when I send the video of the apartment home. We have our bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, but the kitchen has a counter that separates it and the main room where we study, so three rooms, I guess.
Do you have a microwave? Toaster?
Yeah, we have a microwave, a toaster and a waffle iron, too.
Is it clean? Are you keeping it sanitary? Are you cleaning regularly?
Yeah, the house is very clean. We clean every pday. In the morning we get up the same time on pdays, but we have time in the morning, before ten, when we can leave to clean, so we clean everything every week.
What is Valencia like? How big? Compare to local cities near us.
Valencia is a little bit like West Yellowstone. If you remember, it has like one main road and then the rest is just houses. It is really quiet and peaceful here.
You said there are lots of fruit farms. Are they in town or all out of town?
All of the fruit farms are out of town. The people still have their banana tree in their house, but they all have their property in other places where they harvest all of their crops.
That news article said that there were 18 police officers hurt. Do all of those officers work in Valencia or were some from other areas?
I think that there are 8 police officers that work here in Valencia and then there were others from Quevedo and others from the Mana that came here to help out.
Has there been any more trouble in your sector because of the lynching?
No, there hasn´t been any more trouble. It has been really quiet and there haven’t been any more thieves or robberies either. I think the thieves are scared. I guess that is a good thing.
Do you still eat lots of chicken and rice or has your diet changed?
I am still eating a lot of chicken, but I am eating more beef now. The other day we ate lazania (lasagna) here. It was so cool. We are planning on Thursday to eat guine pig, so I will let you know next week how that goes. Elder Bartolomei was talking about eating iguana in his sector so I will ask him how that tastes, too.
Valencia seems to be much wetter than Balzar was. Are the streets always muddy? Do the storms come mostly at night?
Yeah, it rains mostly at night and we can only tell because the road is a little bit wet in the morning, but when the sun comes out it dries up quickly and you can’t tell that it rained.
Are your shoes and clothes holding up okay? Do you wear your boots now?
I haven’t had to wear my boots for quite a while now. Here in Valencia, the streets are just about all paved or they put little cement blocks together to make the roads a little bit like modern cobble stone roads, but they are just about level. My shoes and clothes are doing fine. I need to sew a few shirts and pants where the seams are coming undone, but nothing major.
Are there mosquitos and bugs?
Yeah, there are a few mosquitos and bugs, but they don’t bug me much, my companion they bug, but me, no.
Tell us more about your companion. You said he comes from a large family. Is he youngest, oldest, middle?
He is from Otavalo. He has a pony tail.
How many of his family still live in Otovalo? What do they do for a living?
They sell clothes that they make. That is why they travel, because they sell the clothes better in other parts than in Otavalo.
Why do they wear their hair in a pony tail? What is the significance?
It is their tradition. It is how they show respect to their parents. It is a disgrace to their parents if they cut their hair. It is like if I wanted to be rebellious and I grew my hair out and dyed it pink. I am showing that I am being rebellious. If they want to be rebellious, they cut their hair.
Why do they dress differently at Zone Conferences, all in white with slippers for shoes?
That is the customary fancy dress of the Otavalanios, so they are allowed to wear it here in the mission.
Who did he live with when he was in the United States?
I don´t know for sure.
How old is he?
He is 21.
What is his full name?
Francisco (I don´t know the other name and he won´t tell me either) Castañeda Arias
Are you getting along well? Are you working hard together?
For the most part, yes, we are getting along great, but he isn´t very excited to work, so I have been fighting the dilemma. Do I push him to work or do we work a little bit slower. I am worried that if I push him too much he will want to go back to his house again and not come back.
Tell us about the people you are teaching. How many? How are they progressing? Are any of them ready for baptism? Did you have any baptisms this week?
We are planning all of our baptisms this month for the twentieth of June. We have six people, but I think that the family of four that we are teaching won´t be ready. So we may have to postpone them for later, but we will see how it turns out this week and the next.
How are you coming on your goal to have five families who hold the priesthood and pay their tithing in La Mana?
Yeah, things aren´t going so good, but it takes time to find people that want to learn and want to go to church so we are working on it.
Have you contacted all of the people from your Day as a Missionary Activity?
Yeah, we are planning on doing it again July 11th to get more references.
Are you enjoying being a Senior Companion? Are you up to the challenge?
Yeah I think I am ready and the Lord knows that I am ready because if I wasn´t ready I would still be junior companion.
How are you coming on the Maestro?
I am working on it. I am going to take the written part this week during the interviews, so we will see how that goes.
Tell us about the members that help you the most with missionary work.
What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
What is the worst thing that happened to you this week?
What is the funniest thing that happened to you this week?
Have you had a Zone Conference lately? What did you learn?
Zone Conference is this Friday and interviews are on Thursday, so yeah I will tell you next week.
Did you get all three of the packages we sent? Was everything in good condition?
I received four packages last Wednesday and everything was in good shape. Thank you so much.
Is your testimony growing?
I am pretty sure that it is!
Are you happy and healthy?
Yeah. I now weigh 220 pounds. I am doing great!
Have you been to the bat cave yet? Tell us about it.
No. We haven’t been. Today we went to the seven waterfalls again.
Have you see anything else that is interesting?
Well it is late again. Have a really great day. I hope to get a chance to talk to you, but that will probably only work later in the day. I love you forever.
Thanks for the answers. It is nice to hear more from you. Did your companion leave once and go back to Otavalo? What other problems has he had? What are you doing to try to motivate him to work? Are you writing compliments about him to your mission president? That might help. If you tell the mission president that he is doing well, then hopefully the mission president will mention something to him in his emails that will make a difference. I am sure you were chosen for this challenge because the mission president thought you were up to it. He has given you a great compliment to believe that you have the power to turn this missionary around and help him to be successful. Keep trying and pray for inspiration to know what you should do to help him.
Are the mamitas that live near you the ones that feed you or the ones that do your laundry? It would be nice not to have to carry your laundry a mile across town.
Let us know how the guinea pig are. I would not be brave enough to eat them that way, but you have never been afraid of anything, so go for it and enjoy!!!
When Elder Castañeda started his mission, he started in Quevedo, but after three weeks he wanted to go home, so he told President Ridd that he wanted to go and President Ridd tried to talk him out of it, but he still wanted to go home. So he went. He was in his house for a month or more. I´m not for sure exactly how much time, but Elder Castañeda said it was more than a month. He wasn’t doing much in his house, sitting there watching TV and eating. After a while, I don´t know how much time, he wanted to come back to the mission. So he called President Ridd and asked him if he could come back and President Ridd told him to come. So President Ridd sent him back to the same sector with the same elder and he finished the second change in his mission and then he went to another sector for four changes with two different elders. And then to another sector for five changes with two different elders and then came here with me. So yeah, he isn´t very excited to serve. So I am trying to help him, but not push him.
The mamitas are for food. We changed our laundry mamita and now it is three blocks to the mamita, so not a lot to take our laundry.
Keep praying. When you pray together, pray for the incentive to work hard. If he hears you pray for him out loud, he will know you care about him and that he is not doing this alone. Be a good example for him. Push a little harder each day and a little harder each week. When you are back in the apartment, make sure you are still focusing on missionary minded things and not just idle chit chat or messing around. Let him know that you have a strong testimony of the gospel. We love you lots. We will pray for you both each time we pray. Maybe you could fast together for him to have a desire to work harder.
I am writing this Sunday night. That’s a first. I will be at school tomorrow fixing the motor mount on Michelle and Jeff’s Honda. It is broken. Mr. Schirner is going to help me.
We got Clain’s Scooter back. It works now. The stater was the problem, so he is going to go get his permit renewed tomorrow so he can drive it. He is working 4, 10 hour days this summer.
We did not have a pigeon race Saturday because of bad weather it rained all weekend in Idaho. The other combine in Salt Lake let their birds out 500 miles and they still don't have birds. It was a good thing we did not fly so our 500 is next week. I have got to start training the young birds next week and get them going.
Grandpa Parkinson wants me to take your motorcycle to him. He wants to work on it. What do you think? Well I have got to go to bed so I can get up in the morning. I will check my email tomorrow at school. I Love You!
Hey, how are things going? I am doing good. Today we went to the seven waterfalls again with Elder Bartolomei and his companion Elder Essleman.
Things are going good. We have six people that have baptism dates for the twentieth of June, so we are pretty excited.
If grandpa wants my motorcycle, ask him how much he wants to pay and accept the offer and let him have it. Thank you so much.
I don't think he wants to buy it. He just wants to work on it and fix it, then we can sell it.
If he wants to work on it, yeah. I know he loves to work with machines. But ask him if he wants the bike and if he does let him buy it or take it right now. It is not doing any good sitting there. Let him work on it and have it if he wants.
Okay I will talk to him. Clain is at the DMV getting his motorcycle permit renewed. Clain just called and he has his permit now. I have got to call and put the insurance back on the scooter. I Love You and will talk to you later.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Love, Elder Goode
Curtis sent this email to all of us today. It is nice to know he appreciates the love and support! Thanks to all of you who pray for him and write to him. I know it helps! We love you all!
How is everything going? This is our last Monday of school for the year. The birds have been doing good. I won the 400 last week and this week I had the first 13 from ID Falls. We ship on Thursday for the 500 Saturday. I have got the garden almost all planted. Everything is in except the second planting of corn. I will do that this week. I have waited 3 weeks, so it won’t be ready all at the same time.
Braiden reported his mission yesterday. It was really good.
Jordan Oliver got his mission call. He is going to Houston Texas South English speaking. I have gotten rid of the horses. Star really went downhill this winter. Blaine McDermott took her and a lady in Hooper took Lightning. She is going to ride her with the Back Country Horsemen, the group Don Bradshaw rides with. So she will be close. I still have the horse trailer and the tack. I don't need to haul hay. That is a good thing. I will be waiting to hear from you. I will check back later. I Love You!
Hey! How are things going? I am doing good. Hey, I am glad that you were able to get rid of the horses. Now you need to sell the tack and the horse trailer. Have you gotten the chance to put my motorcycle on KSL to sell it? Things are going good. I found out that last week when we had our baptism we baptised one of five in all of the mission. I got a letter from the President today that says thanks for the hard work and that the mission really needed the baptism. I think that that is really cool. Well I hope everything is going well.
Feliz Cumpliaños Clain
Happy Birthday! How are you doing, buddy? I sent a package last week so you should be getting it sometime next week. It has a gift for you in there for your Eagle Scout Award and for your Birthday. There are also a few other things including my wedding presents for Skyler and Stefanie, so yeah, I hope everything is going good for you buddy. I heard you caught some fish the other day. I bet that was a lot of fun. Keep on top of Skyler for me. Don’t let him get into too much trouble before his wedding or after his wedding either. Hey! I am really proud of you for all that you are doing. Keep working hard and keep putting money in the bank so you can pay for your mission. Ok? I love you lots!