Front Row: Elder Eduardo Gavarret, First Counselor in the South America Northwest Area Presidency, Sister Gavarret, Hermana Gamboa, President J. Wilson Gamboa
Missionaries from Left to Right: 1- Elder Cruz , 2- Elder Garcia (Companions with Elder Goode), 3-Elder Ramirez, 4-Elder Parkinson (Lives in the same apartment with Elder Goode), 5- Elder Baez, 6- Elder Merrill, 7- Elder Fonseca, 8- Elder Piedra, 9- Elder Goode, 10- Elder Lopez, 11- Elder Avila (Lives in the same apartment with Elder Goode), 12-Elder Romero , 13- Elder Mitchell, 14- Elder Guix, 15-Elder Perez, 16- Elder Walke
Did you have any baptisms this week?
Hey, we didn´t have a baptism this week, but we are really confident that this Saturday we might be able to baptize Luis and then we can work on his two friends for the next week.
Tell us about Luis and his two friends. Any progress towards baptism?
With Luis, we are working and trying really hard and we have lots of hope. Last week, we had problems finding his dad with Carnival and it being a holiday, so he spent the majority of the time drunk. But now that Carnival is over, things are back to normal. We have lots of hope and we are going to try even harder this week, so that we can have a baptism for the Branch Conference which is next Sunday.
Tell us about each of your other investigators.
We have Nely. She is the one that got mad at the neighbor. We finally found her again and we are planning on taking her to church for the conference so that she can see what the church is like. She has never been before so we are going to work extra hard to get her there.
Tell us more about the ward you cover in Portoviejo.
My ward is actually a branch, but it should be a ward here soon. We are having a Branch Conference to see how the ward is doing and if everything is going good then we will become a ward. So we are all really, really excited for this. It will be a big step forward for us. The ward is pretty big in size or the amount of land that we have, but it is really pretty small in people. There are lots of families that are inactive, but that is the majority of Ecuador right now. But we are trying to help more people become active because that is what President Monson wants us to do. Usually, there are about one hundred or a hundred and twenty that assist the church every week, but the goal for the conference is to have two hundred there. That would be really cool! I have to admit.
Tell us about the seafood you bought and ate. How was it?
The seafood was really, really good!!! We had shrimp a few times and I got to tell you, I love shrimp! I could eat hundreds of the little guys! The thing that sucks is that you have to clean the little guys and that is the hard part. You have to peel the shell off and then you have to cut the vein out and that takes time. The octopus was really good. We are actually going to eat some more today. When we bought the seafood, we cleaned it and then put it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer and then we could eat it when we wanted to. So today we are going to eat the last of the seafood. We took it to a sister today and she is going to prepare it for us for lunch. We are going to eat shrimp and octopus and fish. It is going to be so good! Don´t worry. I will take pictures, so that you can see it. I will have to prepare all of these delicious meals that I am learning when I get home. But I want to tell you about another drink that I found a long time ago, but I forgot to tell you about. You boil cinnamon sticks in water and then put sugar to taste and drink it. I was really surprised when I first tried it, but I have to say it is really good. Have you tried the cerviche again?
Tell us more about your companion.
My companion, Elder Garcia, will turn 21 in April. In June, he will have a year in the mission. I am his second companion. He has a girl waiting for him. She is from Italy. His mom is from Colombia. She is black (don´t worry that isn´t an offense in Spanish.) His real dad is from Spain and he hasn´t had much contact with him. His step-dad is also from Spain. His step-dad married his mom when she was a month pregnant with him, so his step-dad raised him as his own son. His step-dad served his mission in the Central America Mission a long time ago when the mission was five different countries. His real dad is not a member of the church. His step-dad taught and baptized his mom, while he was in the mission.
Tell us about your zone and district.
In my zone, we have a few new missionaries that weren´t here last change, like Elder Aracayo. He was the companion of Elder Carlos last change and Elder Frye is the companion of Elder Carlos this change. Elder Perez, he is from the same group as Elder Machuca and is senior comp (Elder Machuca is senior comp, too. He had a change and is now in the Orquidias Zone.) Elder Cruz, I knew him from Quevedo North and he is in Chone now and is district leader. Elder Walke, he is a zone leader. Elder Parkinson, but I have told you about him. In my district there are four companionships, mine, Elder Avila and Elder Parkinson, Elder Perez and Elder Mitchell, and Elder Baez and Elder Merrill. So looking at things time wise, I am the only elder in my district that has more than a year in the mission, so my district is really young in the mission.
Which elders are you supervising in your district?
In my district, there is Elder Garcia and I and Elder Avila and Elder Parkinson and Elder Baez and Elder Merrill and Elder Mitchell and Elder Perez.
What have you been teaching in your district meetings?
We have been working on chapter six of Preach My Gospel which is Christ like attributes, so that is what I have been teaching. This next week, I have to teach how the missionaries can help their investigators come to church.
Where do you get your hair cut?
I go to a member that has a barber shop and he cuts our hair at a discounted price, a dollar fifty.
I usually cut my hair every three or four weeks.
Have you sent me some more photos yet?
Have you received your Valentine Package yet? I am trying to get another one in the mail this week.
Do you need anything?
More deer jerky would be nice. Send me some post cards of Utah, different places in Utah. Elder Garcia wants to know Utah a little better. He also wants candy canes. I told him they don´t sell them this time of the year, but he told me to ask anyways.
How are your contacts and contact solution doing?
I am not using them, so they are doing just fine. But I figured something out talking to Elder Piedra. He said that the problem I am having with my contacts is because my eye isn´t breathing like it should, so I need a contact that has hydro clear or something like that. I don´t remember for sure, but he said he was having the same problem and that changing to a contact with hydra clear solved his problem.
How is your clothing doing?
My clothes are doing ok. They will make it another six months easily, don´t worry.
Are you getting lots of rain down there? Do you ever wear the boots you bought?
We were getting lots of rain, but it has calmed down now and it isn´t raining much anymore. I left my boots in Valencia because they were a little small, but I don´t think I will need to buy another pair because it isn´t raining much here.
Have you spent any time at the Ocean? Did you take any photos at the ocean?
We went to Crucita once and I did take some cool pics, so I will try to get them in the mail soon ok? Sorry.
Are you healthy and happy?
Yes. I think I am now losing a little weight. We decided to cut down on our expenses, to walk more and take less taxis and busses, so I am walking the long distances now instead of using taxis : )