Monday, September 28, 2009

Elder Machuca and the Amazing Technicolor Suit!

Week 26 Valencia

Hey! How is it going? Sorry I don´t have much time to write today because I was showing my companion everything that he has to do on the computer so I only have a couple minutes to write you. My new companion is from Lima, Peru. His name is Elder Machuca (it is said mu-chew-ka). He is really doing good. He is learning fast. I am trying to have a lot of patience so that I don´t get upset. It sure is frustrating sometimes to explain the simple things that we do every day three times, but he is getting the hang of things.

We don´t have any baptisms planned for the next week, but let’s see what happens. I am excited for the General Conference that is coming. Well, I gotta go. Sorry that my letter is so short.

Elder Goode

Here is a picture of me in my new suit. I hope you like it.

Wow! Curtis. That is an amazing suit. I wondered what you meant by all the bells and whistles in your earlier letter. Now I know. It is totally cool!!! The other missionaries will be so jealous. :)

I am glad things are going great with Elder Machuca. I wonder if there is some message in this for you about Lima, Peru. Maybe you are meant to visit that place at some later time in your life. You will most certainly have a bunch of good friends there to visit. Maybe someday you will serve as a Mission President there. Wow!!! Four companions from Lima, Peru.

I understand about the short letter. Just make sure you write a longer one next week and give us all the juicy details. We love you and can't wait to hear more about your wonderful experiences.

I love you, son!!!
Love, always and forever,

Monday, September 21, 2009

"I am in the Clouds!"

Week 25 Valencia

Hey how are things going? Guess where I am right now! I am in Duran with Elder Williams from the MTC. We are here in his sector because we have to wait until Wednesday so that we can pick up our new companions and take them to our sectors. I am training in Valencia. I stayed another change and Elder Hernandez is now in the office. He is in charge of all of the money now. I am so excited. I also am District Leader now! Elder Bartolomei went to Babahoyo and now is companion to Elder Arillano, the Zone Leader. Elder Verastagui went home today. He had to go one change early so that he could get back in time to study. Our new Zone Leader is going to be, you guessed it, Elder Bejar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so excited to see him. I will stay here in the sector with Elder Williams today and tomorrow and then Wednesday we go to the office to pick up our kids. Things are going really good. I am in the clouds! I hope you get this fast, so that you can write me back.

That is AWESOME NEWS!!!!!!! I am so happy for you. I was hoping so much you would get to be a trainer this time and that is a big bonus to be a District Leader, too and to have Elder Bejar as your Zone Leader. Plus you get to stay in Valencia and baptize the rest of the investigators you have been preparing. WOW!!! How lucky are you!!! I guess the Lord is really blessing you. He knows you and He loves you and is aware of your needs and desires. Make sure you offer a prayer or two of gratitude for these special opportunities.

WOW!!! I bet Elder Bejar is excited to be a grandpa now. Maybe he already is with the other elders he has trained, but there is no better thing than being a grand-parent. It is an awesome experience. I will forward your letter to dad. He will be so proud of you also. Wow!!! My heart is pounding in my chest. I am so excited for you. Congratulations son. You are so awesome!!!

Tell us about Elder Williams. What has he been up to? I haven't heard much about him since you got to Ecuador. Is your new son a gringo? I heard they were getting a big group of gringos this week. Is that true? Please take awesome photos when you get to Guayaquil to pick him up. I can't wait till next week to hear all about it.

Did you have any baptisms this week?

We didn´t have any baptisms this week, but I don´t know if I am going to be training a gringo or not, but I do know that there are going to be four gringos coming this change, so there is a chance that I could have my first gringo companion. Things with Elder Williams are going good. He was in his first sector in Quevedo South for five changes and then he came here to Duran North and he killed his first companion here and then he trained an elder from Peru and now he is training again. So for him things are going good this change. He also became District Leader, so we have to prepare the class that we are going to teach Thursday together so that we will be ready when it comes time to teach because I will get to Valencia Wednesday night and then Thursday we have to go to Quevedo for the district meeting. Elder Williams is doing good. He is living in the same house as Elder Ogden. I am sure you have heard about him. So today I get to hang out with Elder williams and Elder Ogden and his companion. Things are great here. I love you lots and hope that all is going well!

It sounds like you will have a great week then. Elder Ogden seems like a fun elder from his letters. He takes funny photos all the time. Take a few while you are there this week.

Are there other changes in your district? Which elders are you going to be over? Who is the other district leader in Quevedo North? Is Elder Bartolomei still a district leader this change? Who is Elder Bejar's companion?

Elder Bartolomei is still District Leader. It is just that now he is companion to a Zone Leader. I don´t know who will be the other District Leader in my zone and I don´t know who will be in my district yet. Elder Vargas left, so there will be a new elder that is District Leader in Buena Fe, so I don´t know what will happen. It could be that I am going to have the Republic (where Elder Bartolomei was) and the Zone Leader in my district. I think that is the most likely, but we will have to see what happens. I am excited to see.

That will be cool. So you will do training each week at the District meeting on Wednesday. What other responsibilities does a District Leader have?

Elder Bejar is going to be companion to Elder Cacuanga. He is from Otavalo. He has like four changes in the mission.

Cool. Send photos of your district and zone as soon as you can. Have you sent my photo DVD yet? Please send it soon. I miss seeing your wonderful face!

I haven´t had time to send it, but I will try and get it sent ok. I will try really hard to remember that I have to send it. I made two disks that I am going to send to you.

Awesome. I can't wait. Did you get any of our postcards in the pony? You haven't mentioned them.

I have to help my district. If there are problems, I have to help them find solutions. I have to do the baptism interviews. I have to teach and help the elders in my district and I have to do interchanges to see how the elders are doing, how they are progressing. I am now a little bit like the eyes of President Gamboa here in the field. I have to let him know what is going on and how the elders are doing. If someone is a little bit down or not excited, I have to let president know and I have to try to help them get excited about the work. It will be cool. That is for sure.

Awesome. Do you communicate the problems to President Gamboa by phone or email or to the Zone Leader first? Do you have meetings in Quevedo to attend?

I hope you don't have anything big to deal with. One of the elders in the Quevedo South mission ran away a couple of weeks back. I think they are still looking for him. Rumor is that he ran off with one of his female investigators or converts. He locked his companion in their apartment and took off one morning while his companion was in the shower.

I know you will do a great job at being a district leader. You have awesome leadership abilities. This will be a wonderful challenge for you and it will get you even more excited about the missionary work. I can't wait to hear how it goes. I am so very proud of you. I love you so very much!!!

What happens is that after District Meeting, we have a meeting, the Zone Leader with the District Leaders and they talk about what is going on, I assume. I have never been in one. And when we have an interchange, we have to report to President Gamboa in our letters each week that we send.

That will be cool. Make sure you write really great letters to the Mission President from now on. Make it a point to not just tell him about the problems. Tell him something really great about your district in each letter and give compliments to the missionaries in your district often. That will help him to know that you really do care about each and every one of the elders in your charge.

Be a really great example to each of the missionaries. Make sure you are following all of the rules and being the very best example you can be. You aren't carrying that pocket knife hanging out of your pocket every day are you? I don't think that is a great idea. Tuck it down inside the pocket if you have to carry it or put it in your bag. Please don't let it hang out there to attract attention from other elders or from criminals who would beat you up.

Tell us about the burn on your finger, please.

Oh, ya, my finger. I was in the house of a member and the husband was the only one there and he was going to cook our lunch, but he asked us to help. So I was helping him cook. I was frying the ripe platano in oil to eat and the hot oil spit really badly while I was putting the platano in the pan and it burnt my ring finger of my left hand from the knuckle above the nail to the knuckle above that knuckle. It has healed up really pretty good. Right now, it is just a different color of red than the rest of me, but I think with time it will go away.

Okay. I thought it must be not too bad because you hadn't mentioned it to us, only to President Gamboa. We could see the bandages in some of the photos, but it looked like you were having a great time painting and not in too much pain, so we haven't worried about it too much, although that is my job, to worry, isn't it?

How is your new suit? Have you had a chance to wear it anywhere yet? Does it fit good? Please take a photo and post to the email as soon as you can. I am dying to see you in it.

Are Elder Frye and Elder Shain Smith still in Quevedo North?

I will see what I can do to take a picture of me in my suit, but right now I am three hours from my house and my suit. Elder Fry is still in Buena Fe and Elder Smith hasn´t been in Quevedo North. I think you must be confusing him with someone else.

Yeah! I figured you didn't have all your stuff with you, just a few things. Take one when you can. Do you like the suit? Does it fit good? Why aren't you wearing one of your other good pair of shoes? Don't let your feet hurt in a worn out pair. Pull out a good pair and be comfortable!!! It is not like you. The poverty down there must be making you a bit more aware of just how blessed you are. Normally when something breaks or wears out, you just get a new one. You don't worry about getting it fixed to make it last longer. I guess that is a good thing. Dad and I have talked about this a couple of times since your last letter. I guess a mission does all kinds of good for young men.

You are right. I guess Elder Smith was in the Quevedo South Zone with you, not the Quevedo North. I have just been wondering about him. His parents aren't posting his emails for some reason. I have been wondering what is up with him.

Have you ever heard what happened with Elder Fewkes? Is he still serving a mission in Idaho?

Hey, I took these pictures right now with a web cam that was here with the computer. They aren´t great, but it is better than nothing.

Well I gotta go. My time is up. I will definitely tell you about this week that is going to be way awesome next week. I love you all! Bye.

I love you son. We are so very proud of you! We will pray for your success as always. Congratulations and have a marvelous week!!! Love, Mom

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Worry, ok?

Week 24 Valencia

Hey! How are things going? I am doing good. Today we are in Quevedo. Today we got permission to play soccer as a zone, so we played today on an astroturf field. It was really cool and fun. After we played, we went to a restaurant that is called Quality, where we can buy American food, hamburgers, hotdogs and tacos. And now we are in a cyber here in Quevedo writing before we go back to Valencia to get ready for the day.

This week we don´t have any baptisms planned, but we still have hope that we could have one this week. We had a lot of investigators in the church this week, so now we have five investigators that have been to the church at least two times, so any one of them could progress to baptism. We have plans to put a lot of baptism dates this week, but let’s see what happens. If I don´t baptise them then the next elder is going to have about ten baptisms when he gets here, but let’s see how it goes.

I am doing good, getting ready to leave Valencia. I hope I don´t have to go, but if I go, Ya, I won´t be too sad. Well I hope everything is going good. Tell Dad Happy Birthday for me. Tell him we celebrated it here with a dinner called Cerviche de Camaron or Shrimp Cerviche. It is one of my favorites and I am learning how to make it, so everything is going good. I love you all. Bye!

Hey! I forgot to put it in the other email, but I have gotten all of the packages that you have sent me. I received my glasses and the contact solution and I also got the oil vials, so I think that is all of them. If you haven’t sent the next package, can you send me a small bottle of lemon pepper? I am thinking about having a barbeque, but I can´t do it without lemon pepper. Thank you for the packages. They were great!

About the shoes, I have three pair of Rockport shoes. I have been using just one pair for a year and they are still going! In the MTC and before, I was using another different pair of Rockports and I put them away, but they are still good. I just need insoles. Other than that, my shoes are doing good and holding up great. The pair that I am using, about two months ago, I took them to a place and had them fixed. I had walked a hole in the sole, but they don´t have soles here in Quevedo big enough for my shoes, so they added rubber and then put another piece of special rubber and fixed them up and they are doing good now. I am pretty sure that they will last another six or seven months before I will have to fix them up again, so don´t worry about the shoes.

The rest of my clothes are doing good. My favorite pair of pants ripped in the crotch, so I had to send them to get fixed, but they are back and doing good. I think they will last the two years, but let’s see what happens. All is going well with my clothes, so don´t worry, ok? Thanks Again!

Elder Goode

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baptisms, Birthdays and Life Skills

Week 23 Valencia

Hey, here is the photo of Dexy’s baptism. I´ll send more in a minute and I will send a report of what I have done these past two weeks.

Hi, Curtis. Neat photo! Have you grown taller? She is really cute. She looks nice. Can't wait to hear more from you.

Here is a picture of Shirley.

Shirley is very pretty, but not very tall. She looks like she is a sweet girl.

Here is a photo of the baptism of Isabel she is in the white and the other two are her daughters and her grandson.

Awesome!!! Congratulations!!! How are her two daughters coming as far as baptism? Who is the other lady in the photo?

Here is a picture of my birthday this is what we ate for lunch we had lazania with a salad of broccoli and corn and rice (It isn´t food here in Ecuador if there isn´t rice.) And we had the cakes, too. If you look good, the candles are in the cake, too. The cake was really good. It is a three milk cake with peaches on top. It was delicious.

It looks very festive with all of the bright colors. You and rice are going to be lifelong friends!!! There are seven plates. Who attended the party?

OK, to answer your questions. In the photo of the baptism of Isabel, the other lady is the sister Paula Pinarera. She is the one that lives in front of Isabel and loves to cook for us. I think because of her I have stopped losing weight. In my party, there was me, of course, my companion, the mamita, her husband, and their two kids, Cesar and Aura and a friend of Cesar and Hector Ramirez. He is a friend of Cesar. He is my convert, if you don't remember. There are only seven plates, because Elder Castaneda wasn't feeling very good that day, so he didn't eat, but the mamita gave us two plates more and we put them in the fridge to eat later, so it was really cool.

Thanks for the pictures. It is awesome to see you looking all happy and well and great to hear from you. I do not like it when you miss a week, so don't do it again, please!
This picture is for Braxton. I heard that you recently earned your painting merit badge. Congratulations and congratulations on earning your Eagle, too. But you know what Braxton, you never know when the things that you are learning right now are going to come in handy. Look at the picture. I too, earned my painting merit badge with dad. We painted a lot of things in a lot of different ways and look, I got to use what I had learned to help a friend here in Ecuador. Really you never know when you are going to be able to use the things that you have learned to help others, so keep on learning and keep your chin up. Ya, I love you Buddy and I am looking forward to next year when we can go hunting together just the two of us, ok? I love you lots! Bye, Buddy.

Hey! It is Braxton. Thanks for the picture. It was very cool to get something from you and I really enjoy getting things from you.

Hey, Braxton! What is up with that? I sent you a whole paragraph and you sent me one line. I went to all of the effort to write and send you a cool picture and I get a line....................................................................... Now, I know how you feel! I will definitely have to try harder, Buddy. I´m sorry that I haven´t been writing very much. I will try harder, ok? I love you, Buddy!

This picture is for Clain. Clain here I am using my machete in one of the ways they use it here in Ecuador. When they say that they are exorting someone to do something they say that they are macheteing. It is one of many uses. In this photo, we were having a little bit of fun in the house, but I have learned many things about machetes here in Ecuador. I learned that all that you need to build a house here in Ecuador is a machete, a hammer and nails and you can build a house of wood and cane. I am pretty sure that you are going to learn how to build a house using many different tools and different techniques. Learn them well, because they will serve in the future a lot. You have always liked to work with tools and with materials, so I know that you will do great in your Construction class. Keep working hard Buddy and tell everyone Hi for me, ok? Thanks, Buddy. I love you lots! Elder Goode

What scripture are you reading? What are you exorting him to do?

Hi Curtis
How are you doing? I am doing good? Thanks for the email. I love you. Clain

Hi! How are you doing? We just got done putting a loft in a shed for Shara and Rob. The guys at work all say Hi. We have been back to school for a couple of weeks. What are you doing in the picture of you with the machete? I love the classes I have this year.
Love, Clain

Hey! Sorry that I didn´t write last week. The internet was down in all of Valencia, so we couldn´t write at all, but today there is internet, so here I am writing you. So, since I last wrote you we baptised Isabel and now we are working on preparing about six people for the next week. We have a family of four women that we are preparing and we have two friends of Dexy that we are teaching that want to get baptized, too. And we have a family that investigated the Iglesia about two years ago and then moved to Quito, so they didn´t get baptized. Now they are back here in Valencia and they want to get baptized, so we just have to see who will be ready for next week and baptise them. That is all. I hope that we can baptise them before changes, so let’s see what happens. If not, I will leave more for the next missionary to reap when he gets here. But let’s see what happens. We are working hard and having lots of success now. I don´t know what changed when Elder CastaƱeda left and Elder Hernandez came, but now we are having lots of success.

I bought my new suit. I had to go to Buena Fe today to try it on, so he could see how it fit and he is going to finish it and Elder Frye will bring it to Quevedo on Wednesday. My suit ended up costing a little more than I thought it would. It cost 160 dollars, but I had him make me a vest, too and put on all of the bells and whistles, too. But for the suit and the vest it took five and a half yards of material to make. He said that usually it only takes three. So this is the biggest suit that he has ever made. I will try to be better about my spending and let’s see what happens. Well, I love you lots and I hope everything is going good.


Elder Goode

Hey, do you remember the Elder Feldman that sent you a letter for the family that he wanted me to look up? I found them and gave them his email address and they said that they have written him, but he hasn´t written back. Can you send him an email and see what is up? The thing that is kinda cool is that I found them without really trying. There is a member of my ward that is engaged to the daughter of Julia Romero, so I found them by chance. If you could write, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.


Elder Goode

Okay. I will try to contact him again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No Email This Week

Week 22 Valencia

Curtis didn't email this week. Hopefully it is just a problem with internet being down again. I feel that he is okay, so will not panic. This photo was taken at the Zone Conference that was held this last week and posted on Elder Mitton's blog. I am imagining that Curtis is behind the camera taking the photo and hoping that means he is well and happy.
Curtis's companion is Elder Hernandez, who is the second from the left in the photo. Elder Mitton, who is in the middle of the photo was the trainer for Elder Hernandez, so that is his "dad" in mission lingo. The missionary second from the right is Elder Elwood from Logan, Utah and the one on the far right is Elder Frye from California. I am not sure of the last elder who is on the far left.