Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another Step in the Right Direction

Hello mom!  I don`t understand this whole sending photos thing anymore.  I guess I`ll just have to write beneath the giant balanced egg.  Maybe I`ll explain why it`s there in the first place.

On the equator you can balance an egg on a nail any time of the year.  The gravity is a little different and the forces don`t act on it in the same way it would a little more to the north or to the south.  I`ve been to the Mitad del Mundo three times now, counting today, and I could never balance the stinking egg!!  I thought it would be a waste of life if I`ve been in Ecaudor for two years and never could balance an egg on a nail so.... I did it today!!  HOOPLA!!  I can now die in peace :)

Well alright I guess that`s the plan, Denver at 9:30 in the morning.  I leave here at 11:20.  Not too bad.  Just have a piece of paper saying "Bald old orangatane (how do you spell it?!)"  and I`ll find you don`t worry.  

Well Ty sounds happier than a squirrel in a peanut factory.  He just loves everything!!  haha That`s good,  the mission needs new missionaries with a lot of enthusiasm.  He`ll do good.

Anyway, this week went well.  Did you guys see that missionary training broadcast?  Poderoso!!!  It was way good.  It made me officially feel old school, last generation, boot to the rear, get-out-of-my-house-and-move-on-with-your-life old!  The new missionaries are gonna say, hey do you remember when missionaries used to knock on doors, as they teach a lesson on Facebook.  Good grief.  So I was a little depressed but then I thought about it a little more.  The great theme was that members need to help missionaries.....and I`m going to be a member in a week!  Hey!  Whattya know I can still help in missionary work.  I`m gonna go to town while I can in Colorado because  I doubt that in Provo there will be much time.  I hope you`re helping the missionaries as much as you can as well, the family needs the blessings.  There`s never been a better time to be a returned missionary!

Another thing, they never really tell you to stop sharing the gospel.  As Jeffery R. Holland`s talk goes, "When I called you to be a missionary I called you forever!"  So I don`t have to stop being a missionary.  I think the problem with a lot of the returned missionaries is that they stop doing the things that make them happy, they stop studying, they stop serving, they stop doing the simple things, so like you said mom, I gotta maintain, not just adapt.  So for me, ending the mission is just like any other transfer, new challenges, new opportunities, new people, new friends, and new sector.  It`s not really the end, it`s just another step in life.  Another step in the right direction in my opinion. 

I ran out of time with all of these papers about interviews to fill and trying to send the photos for the slideshow, sorry.  But now I gotta go and work my plaque off this week.  I`m thankful that the Lord has given me the chance to be a missionary and I`m ready to go out fighting the good fight.  

I`ll see you all next week!  I love you all!  Adios y hasta ver!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Flushed Toilet Syndrome

Hey mom how`s it going?  Thanks for the prayers, my companion is doing much better and he`s been doing great.  He`s a good missionary.

Soooo sorry about the confusion.  My mission is dividing on the July 1 so it`s been madness in the offices.  I didn`t get to find out anything.  I just told Elder Dearden, the assistant, that the mothers are worried and want to know travel plans and that he should talk to secretaries about it.  So we`ll see what happens.  He might have taken it as a joke and forgotten about it.... we`ll find out!  But don`t worry, it`ll all work out.  But plan on me getting home on the 2nd.  It`s what it normally would be, I was confused because the trunky paper said the 28th, and Sister Platts explained that it was a mistake.  Just one sister missionary is going home on that date.  The rest of us will be there on the 2nd.  In the morning, I imagine, if I`m leaving late July 1.  That`s what`s gonna happen.  Sorry for the hassle but everything will work out okay. :D

Ah yeah Elder first MTC Provo companion.  Goooood times.

Oh and I`m ashamed that I forgot to mention this last Monday but, 
HAPPY (LATE) FATHER`S DAY DAD!!  You`re great and a great example to me.  Thanks for all you do for me and I hope you`re happy!  
Anyway, I took $60 out of the account to buy some souvenirs.  You should see how we have to bargain with those little indiginas ladies.  They`re tough cookies to crack!

Okay so my week was okay.  As soon as he came Elder Dos Santos left!  So we`re just Elder Granda and me here in the sector again.  We`re doing well and trying to work as hard as we can.  We recently discovered that there is a lot of hurt feelings in the ward so we`ve been trying to help the bishop with the members.  I had to talk yesterday too, except my father`s day message was about forgiveness.  Have you ever noticed that when you really pour your heart into the message and you pray all week that it`ll be what the Lord wants you to say and everything seems great, you end up only having five minutes to speak.  haha it`s madness!  So I just put my whole talk to the side and talked about the Atonement and forgiveness.  But it must be for a reason right?  I think I learned more that the members!

Other than that I`ve been doing okay.  It`s been a good week and I`ve been doing okay.  Last night it really hit me how much time I have left.  I started screaming.  Drastic life changes have that effect on me. Then today while I was by the offices I met some members from my old sector La Luz, I talked with them and they wrote down my email and we said our goodbyes.  Crazy.  Then I said goodbye to some of the elders who had emergency changes that I won`t see again.  Dang.  So all this has made me feel like everything is just spinning around and going out of sight, like I`m being flushed down the toilet!  Madness.... but Mondays are always trunky so hopefully everything will be better during the week.

Other than that....I have nothing else to think about. 

Hey some elders have asked for my MP3 player....should I leave it to one of them or should I take it back home and send it to Ty?  Help me know what I should do. 

Um... I also..... need to.... know.....anything else?  I can`t think of anything.  I think it`s okay if I leave most of my clothing right?  How many shirts and pants should I bring back?  I already gave one pair of my shoes away to Elder Dos Santos.  What else?  I dunno.  Hopefully all these travel plans get figured out.  
But have a great week, tell everyone hi, thanks for the birthday wishes, I know I`m old.  But it`ll be a party!  Thanks for everything, I love ya guys, adios!


Um yes I´ll be arriving the 2nd of July.  They messed up on the paper.  They haven´t given me any travel plans but last time I was talking with Sister Platts, the secretary, she said I´d be on the plane the night of July 1st and then I´d be home the 2nd.  I don´t which airport I´m going to yet either.... haha but it´ll be midweek.  That´s how it normally is.  Change ends on Sunday, interviews and dinner on Monday, and off we go.  If it´s all the same I can just arrive, take a taxi, show up to the house in the middle of the night, crawl into my old room, and we´ll all see each other the next morning.  HOOOPLA!!!  But I´ll go ask right now if they know anything. I´ll tell them the missionary mothers are going mad and rioting and that if I don´t tell them something fast we´ll have a real problem. I´ll write later in the day and tell you what´s up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Through Thick and Thin‏

Hello my mother.  Whew well it`s been a craaazy week.  Where do I begin.  First off, YEAH!  Kyle`s back.  You`ll have to tell me how he`s doing.  He must have extended right?  Have you heard anything about Ben getting back?  

Wow Ty`s leaving.  Two weeks in the MTC and then he`s off to California.  Man, I wish I remembered what the letter I sent Ty says.  I remember telling him what really matters but more than that... well it was for him and I`m glad it`s helped him.  If you see him before he goes tell him I love him and tell his parents that everything will be great and not to worry, he`s in the Lord`s hands.

And happy mother`s day to Nicole!  Sheesh when I left nobody was married or had babies and now I`ll be coming back to find Grandma and Grandpa great grandparents and my teenage cousins all grown up.  Good grief two years makes all the difference.

Ah, speaking of difference, thanks for the package!  I got it all!  I had forgotten that I said that I missed pop tarts, and then I find them in the box! Sweet!  Thanks a lot.  I believe in the law of consecration though and had to give my two companions some, they had never even seen pop tarts before! I told you all that I`m with Elder Dos Santos again now right?  No?  Well I am.  We`re in a trio.  Who`d have thought I`d be back with this crazy brazilian again?  Asi es la vida.

Okay as for what we`ve done, I went to the mountain Cayambe last Monday, thus you can see the photo.  I love Ecuador, I can be 16,000 feet up in the snow and wind, and four hours later I can be in the hot humid Amazon rain forest or a beach by the pacific ocean.  Can`t get much better than that!!

So one thing that`s really struck me this week was when the zone leaders showed up at our door Saturday morning saying that President Ghent wanted to talk with us.  uuuuuh ooohhh.....  So they call him and I talk to President first, he informs me that my companion, Elder Granda´s, dad had died.  He told me not to tell him yet but that we needed to go to the offices where Elder Granda`s bishop would be waiting for us because President was in a stake conference in Esmeraldas.  I said okay and said we would help Elder Granda as much as possible.  I then told my companions that we had to go to the offices to talk with Elder Kaneen, the finances elder.  On the bus ride I couldn`t help praying for poor Elder Granda who just seemed so happy right there and then.  I tried to talking to him, tried to prepare him, talking about his study of the Atonement and one of his favorite scriptures, D&C 122:7, but there`s no way to prepare someone for a thing like that.  Finally we arrived at the empty offices, all empty except for Elder Kaneen (a senior missionary) and the bishop from Machala.  There Elder Granda heard the news and called his family.  

Now I`ve learned several things from this last couple of days, first and foremost I`ve come to understand another face of the Atonement.  While in the bus I prayed asking Heavenly Father to put some of the pain and sorrow of Elder Granda on me, that he wouldn`t have to take this on by himself, that I would be able to feel what he was feeling and help make his burden more light.  That`s when the thoughts came to my head saying, you don`t have to, He already did.  Christ already took upon himself our sorrows and heart ache.  He already knows how we feel so He can succor us according to our "sicknesses" or trials that we pass through.  Elder Granda`s faith shouldn`t be on me, but on the Savior because He`s the one who`s drank from the bitter cup.  So that helped me know where I should direct people`s vision when they`re suffering.  I can always help and try to provide comfort but never as well as Jesus can.

Now my companion has gone through this trial remarkably well.  He`s been doing great and has been able to continue working and has stayed focused.  Of course he misses his father but things are different here on the mission. What goes on at home doesn`t feel real.  Or sometimes the Spirit has more opportunity to comfort us.  So he`s been doing great.  This has taught me that I have absolutely nothing to brag about.  These last few months I`ve been with companions that have lost loved ones, that have gone through terrible pain and injury, that are the only members in their entire family and thus receive no support from family members whatsoever, yet they`re here serving the Lord.  They`re here giving the best of themselves.  Maybe they understand something that elders such as I (the type with great family support, years in the church, good health, and that have made little sacrifice) haven`t fully understood yet, that the mission isn`t about us, it`s about the people we serve.  It`s about our brothers and sisters who haven`t had the chance yet to know the gospel.  It`s about the lives and generations that we can change.  So people ask, why can these young men and women make such sacrifices and leave so much behind?  BECAUSE IT`S THE TRUTH!!  There`s absolutley no other reason.  I`ve personally seen the sacrifice, prayers, and tears of these companions and I know that there could be nothing save the very work of salvation that would make them give up so much for nothing in return.  This the work of God and I`m so grateful I`ve been able to a part of it.  I`m also grateful that Christ`s sacrifice is very real, and His Atonement really does give us strength in times of trial.  What else can I say?

Other than that we`re doing well.  We`ll be working harder this week.  We`ll be doing our best.  Thankfully, I have no time to be trunky with a companion to help and train as well as a ward to help and people to teach.  So pray for us please!  Thanks for all your help and all you`ve done for me.  I`m very grateful for all the support I have from home and for the things I learned there.  Stay strong, have a great week, and do what`s right!  I love ya guys! Adios!

Re: Hello June 2‏

Hello Mom I`m sorry, we had another zone activity hiking to a mountain and so I don`t have time.  Forgive me!  I`ll write next week. I`m feeling better and am doing better.  The Cortes family was married and baptized this weekend so I`m happy.  It`ll be a good week.  Good work in Washington DC, have a great week I love you guys!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Trunky Papersssss.‏

Well the things finally got here!  But I have a few questions about what it wants to know and I`ll ask you.

What airport am I going to?  Do I go all the way to Alamosa or do I go to Denver?

It also asks me if I`ll need transport from the airport to my house.  Do I?

And that`s about it!  OH, what`s our direction?  411150 County Road T right?  Just to be safe :)

HELP ME!  and thanks for doing so.  I love you!

Forward, Pushing Forwa

Hello my long lost family!  So I am jealous that you`re in Washington DC.  All those museums sound like nirvana to me.  Some day I`ll go!  But hope you`re enjoying it.

Okay so I have a lot of catching up to do.  Let`s start from Monday or Tuesday of last week.

So I got my results back and I have amoebae.... I asked the nurse what the heck that was and she said they`re like little fish, so I said I have fish inside me?! and she said no but she likes to think of it that way.  They live in my colon.  Great.  I also went to the doctor Tuesday morning and I also had a sinus infection and so they gave me a shot for that and some 20 pills to take over the next few days.  (haha getting a shot from an Ecuadorian nurse.
Brett - sooo how long have you worked here?
Nurse- Two years.
Brett - ah yeah?  Great.
Nurse - Pull your pants down and lay on the table.
Brett - Eh? Oh yeah okay.  How big is the needle?....CHUTA! Have mercy!
Nurse - Ready?  Relax
Brett -  Oh they always tell me to relax right before jabbing a needle in my rear.  Hey, aren`t you supposed to rub alcohol or something?
Nurse - Of course!  We`re just as trained as Americans! (aaaand then injects me)  
And I limped out of the clinic with the dignity of a sheared lamb.)
Then I had to take some urine tests, get some blood drawn, and then the people in the lab rejected my urine ("It`s because I`m white isn`t it?!")  and I had no problems with my blood.  Which is good I was kinda nervous to see if Ecuador has given me HIV or something... all clear.  So I started taking some pills for the parasites and I started feeling better.  The thing is I still feel a little sick and not 100% rocking so I called the nurse again and turns out I was taking the medicine wrong.  I should have been taking 2 pills once a day but I thought it was one pill once a day.  Sigh.  So she said I have to....what a surprise.... poop in a cup again.  NOOOO!!!  "sister just give me the pills again and we`ll go from there!" "No elder I want to test you again so I can be sure."  Dang it.  Soo.... I`m opening a new sector, again, and I don`t know where any good labs are!  So here we go again.  Ah the new sector, so that brings me into the next topic.

So Sunday night we were leaving an appointment when the zone leaders called me and told me that I was going to be changed.  "Nooooohohoho I just got here." I thought.  So I got the change to come back to Quito, zona Ofelia ( just to the north of zona Quito) sector Carcelen Bajo, to open a sector while training a new missionary.  
Here it goes here it goes here it goes again, I should have known should have known....
So I packed my bags and said goodbye to my sweet jungle home for the last time.  It was raining and I just sat looking out the window the five hours on the bus going to Ambato trying to get my last glimpse of the Amazon.  It`s sad to think that I might not get the chance to go back.  But life moves on and I`m happy I was able to help at least a few people there in Tena.  Hopefully the returned missionary we found by accident that day gets married and his wife gets baptized.  As well as the doctor who was helping us get better, she had a baptismal date!  But I love the little branch.  

So now I`m here in Carcelen Bajo with my new companion Elder Granda, he`s Ecuadorian from Machala and he`s waiting for his visa to go to his mission in Mexico, Tampico.  He`s really prepared and actually knows what to expect on the mission.  So that makes everything easier.  And he`s been strong in the gospel as well.  He`s gonna do good.  The ward here is struggling, this Sunday there were only about 40 people in the sacrament meeting, and the bishop and none of his councilors could be there.  The high priest group leader was conducting the meeting.  And he didn`t give much hope in his talk either, what he pretty much said was, "Well they combined two wards in the stake today, they had been divided for 17 years but now they need to combine to be stronger.  I hope the same doesn`t happen with us, but they haven`t told us anything yet, so I guess we`ll have to wait and see."  Oh dear.  And so there is a LOT of work to do here in this sector.  And not too much time to do either.  So the good part is that I don`t have time to be trunky!  I have a son to train and a sector to save and I have to try my best.  And that`s probably what will inspire me to poop in a cup again because I can`t do it being all low energy  being sickly.

The cool part is that the Tena Branch president`s sister lives in this ward, and we`ve been teaching her husband, Jose Luis and he`s hopefully getting baptized this weekend if they get married this Friday.  Wooo!!  Hopefully it all turns out all right.  Other than them we`re teaching some contacts, a mother and a daughter, who are really receptive and went to church this Sunday.  I have high hopes for them and hopefully they`ll be baptized the 8th.  Other than that, we gotta work like lumberjacks and talk to the people we meet!  We found a family of Columbians, really friendly, but they`re not married and I imagine it`ll be super hard because I think they`re illegal immigrants here in Ecuador.  And the Ecuador marriage system is a pain in the neck.  But we`ll see what happens.

Oh and the other good part is that nobody knows how much time I have here in ward.  They all ask me and I tell them "more than a year" and they seem satisfied with that.  I told my companion the same thing and he seems okay with it.  So we`re avoiding all trunky comments what so ever.  

And that`s my story,  here I am, and hopefully here I will be till the end.  Speaking of which, it says I`ll be traveling June 28th....which is a Friday.....I don`t get it?  I`ll have to go to the offices and find out what`s going on.  My zone leader son, Elder Dearden is assistant now so I got connections!  haha

Well hope you have a great time in the capital, take some pictures, I love you guys!