Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Wine Press‏


Hey mom.  I got a package!  I got the new shoes (on my feet right now) and the candy and stickers.  Thank you so much.  Now I think I´m set with those things.  So thanks for everything.
 
Woooow Broncos.  Sigh.   Payton Manning has helped the team then.  Dang it.  But no use cutting off my nose to spite my face!!  ROCK ON BRONCOS!!  SUPEEEEERBOOOOWWWLL!!
 
That´s sad to hear about shooting.  They have to have better gun regulation or something.   But then I can just imagine everyone, "THEY´RE GONNA TAKE AWAY OUR GUNS!!"  Settle down,  human lives outweigh the pain of a few rules.
 
Well I gotta go, sorry mom.  Hope you´re doing alright, I´m fine.  I´m a little stressed with all the bina in the mission but things are getting better.  What´s life without stress?  It´s a race without competition or a timer.  So I´ll be doing great, I love you guys and thanks for all the support.  Be careful!  Adios.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Jail House Rock‏

Hey mom.  Hope papa gets betters soon.  Hope you get used to long distance communication because I am NEVER going back to below 10 degree weather and howling wind.   I´d rather eat bananas, rice, and chicken for the rest of my life.  But just because you live there I guess I`ll make exceptions when I visit.  Buh.

Um if the picture is of a tall  blond haired elder, it`s Elder Peterson.  If it`s a shorter, brown haired  elder, it´s my current companion, Elder Dearden.  They´re both awesome and they`ve been helping me alot in the diligence aspect of the work and they just like to have a good time.  

That´s cool that everybody is getting back now.  Has time flown or what?  It´s awesome.  Well....maybe not so much for XXXXX XXXXXXX......  he has to come back to find his married, pregnant, ex girlfriend.  Ooohohohoho just for this comment I´m probably gonna have the same thing happen to me haha.

So this week was good.  I´ve had people living in my house for the whole week!  Madness.  We had our zone leader conference, got to hear about the converts in Coca, and the mini zone conference and now some elders did something stupid over there in Esmereldas and Ambato and so they´re here with us until we find out if they stay or if they go.  And so I´ve had to be a baby sitter kinda.  Make sure they don´t go out, that they clean the house, that they get to the offices, that they write the family but don´t write anyone else, and so on and so forth.  Guuuuh.  But it`s fine.  It`s just been kinda of a rough week, I haven´t been able to work in my sector as much as I would have liked, and the baptism of a Familia  fell through.  Opposition in all things.  The husband hurt his leg and now hates the world.  And now the wife isn´t sure if she wants to get baptized.  So it`s gonna be a fight this week.  We`re gonna have people in our house all week too because of the Christmas dinners in the president´s house.  And there´re probably gonna be emergency changes.  Bring it on.

Well not much more than that really going on.  I´ve learned that I need to be an instrument and not try so much to make the work about me.  I`m excited to keep working this week.  Hopefully the Lord will bless us with some fruits.  Thanks for everything mom!  

I love you guys, adios!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I Learned from Cleaning a Blender‏


My blender had JJ fur mold growing on it this morning.  I thought it was pretty sick.  So I cleaned it and it was a mess.  But how`d it get there in the first place?  Well my companion or I had made smoothie the other day and probably just rinsed out the blender a little and called it good.  We didn`t clean it like it should have been cleaned.  And thus the JJ hair mold.  So what does that teach me?  DO IT RIGHT, DO IT LIGHT!  If ya do things like they should at the beginning, you won`t have to suffer fixing the damage later on.  Goes with cars, relationships, conversations, and straight up life.  Deep stuff while you wash your dishes in the morning :)

Well cool stuff, glad my new cousin was blessed.  I`m sad you live in a forsaken hole in the ground. But it`s our hole in the ground.

The devotional was good eh?  Give said the little stream (wait that`s not Christmas.....but it should be).  Also we have to receive well.  That's a thing I can work on.  Couldn't take a compliment to save my life!  But I`ll work on that.  How about you?

The week was good.  Jessica was baptized on Saturday.  I accidentally sat on the toy cars of our investigator's son and broke one of them.  Needless to say she didn`t come to church on Sunday :(

Um, I have zone leader`s council tomorrow.  That's always fun.  16 elders coming to sleep in my house all demanding to eat my food (BACK!)  and destroy my bathrooms.  Come on in boys the house is open to the public!!!

Oh and I also had three sons in this last week.  One from Quito (who already left to Mexico), one from Massachusetts (big fella), and one from Germany.  IT`s awesome!  The first German I`ve met that also speaks Spanish.  Cool guys.  Too bad the German reminds me of freshman prom.....hahaha.

Well that's all this week! I`ll talk to you later!  I love you guys, adios!

Mama Mia‏

Hey MOM!

 I´m sorry that I don´t have a lot of time to write.  Just wasted too much time during P-Day.  I was tired so I was kinda napping and walking in a daze.  We woke up at 5 yesterday to fill up the baptismal font for the baptism at 8 before the Sunday meetings.  It´s crazy how an hour and a half of sleep just messes up my missionary mind.

We had the baptism of Cristofer and Heidi Sunday because the lights went out in the city and so we couldn´t fill up the font.  OPPOSITION!!!  But we prevailed and I´m super grateful for it :)  Hopefully we have another baptism this weekend.  

I´m glad you had a good Thanksgiving, I had......HAMBURGERS!!  Yeah boy.  Only because we did divisions and I went to the rich sector. And it was real meat.  Good stuff.

Well I´m doing great.  Try to work hard and I´ll try my best this weekend.  Hope you have a great week and that you enjoy blue skies and cold winds!

I love you guys!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chicken Foot Soup for the Soul‏

Hola familia.  Okay so what the heck was I gonna say or comment on?  All I hear is the beeeeeep of a dead heart beat.  Daft.

So that`s exciting that Cambria got to leave on a luxurious trip to a tropical island while the rest of us stay stressed and cold.  I`m really happy for her.  

Change in career huh?  What else could you be?  You could be... a taco seller.  I love how people here sell whatever you need on the street.  You`re in heavy traffic and then somebody walks by selling toilet paper.  YES!  Just what I needed.  Or you´re sitting in your house and you hear some man holler EEESCCOOOBAAAS!!  (broom)  And people run out to their door.  They`re also the little old indigenous ladies always selling newspapers.  All is silent at 9:30 in the morning then you here COOOMMEEERCIIIIOOOO.  So that`s what you could do mom.  Walk the streets of Bountiful screaming whatever the heck you want till somebody buys from you.  If you`re stressed you feel like screaming anyway!  So why not have a job that´s it`s own stress relief?  I believe I`ve found the key to happiness. What started as mere rambling brought me to the threshold of discovery as Sherlock Holmes says.

I think while Cambria is gone would be the perfect time to start throwing cats out of the house.  

Okay anyway, the week in a nutshell.  Hmm..  It was good.  We left with a lot of members to go all over the place in divisions and start rescuing souls.  There was a family that was inactive for 9 years that suddenly showed up at church this week with a 16 year old daughter who wants to be baptized.  The bishop and I went over there and I did a few questions to see how much she new.  She blew us away because she talked about how she´s been reading the Book of Mormon and has prayed and has received an answer from God that it´s true.  The mother was so happy that her husband decided to finally go back to church that she was crying.  Then the bishop started crying because his story was really similar, he was inactive for 12 years before coming back and finally getting sealed to his family after being members for 30 years.  The husband shared a letter that his wife and written him (but never sent) about 17 years ago,  saying how she couldn´t wait to be an eternal family with him and their daughter.  Whew.  Some good stuff!!  So they want to come back and I said why not baptize the daughter this weekend?  So we´ll see how everything goes.  It just made us think how many more families are there out there, offended, angry, or otherwise, that are just waiting for something to bring them back.  I think this family went through some really hard times before they made the decision to come back.  We were just talking about that with the bishop at lunch yesterday. The way the Lord makes us closer to Him is through trials.  They´re meant to help us grow and learn if we don´t become bull headed and harden our hearts like Laman and Lemuel.  So I found all this very interesting.

We are teaching another family, and I feel really good about them.  Hopefully they´ll be baptized the 1 de Diciembre.  They´re getting testimonies and getting to know more members.  They´re a blessing as well.  I try to always remember that.  In this hard sector, everything is a blessing from the Lord.  I got here and there was nothing.  Then miracles started happening and they keep on happening.  I just try not to be stupid and get in the way of the Lord.  But its hard sometimes.  During the week it looks like everything will go to pots and that we have nothing again but then some how everything works out there in the end.  Every sector I´ve had has taught me something new and that´s what I love about the mission.  There´s so much to learn and do better.  I just reeeaaally don´t want to waste my mission.  It´s way too short. This month flew by.  And they´ll keep on flying so I gotta squeeze all I can out of these two years.  Whew.

Well I gotta go meet the district leader for an interview we´ll be doing tonight but I love you guys, I´m grateful for all you do, and I hope you always look on the bright side of life!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mormon: A person in, going to, coming from, or thinking about a meeting.‏

Hi!  Well I don`t know who these cats are and what they`re still doing in the house.  How strange.  One has a eating disorder.  Must be an American cat.  I`d say animals have an eating disorder here from all the diapers and garbage they eat.  It`s a whole new level of pets!

Um it`s the second time I`ve trained a zone leader actually.  It just means that it`s their first change as a zone leader so I have to show them all about verifications, capacitations, and the informes we do.  They already are great elders and know how to work, they just need to know how to help a zone and how to report everything.  It`s not too hard.  But it makes me a zone leader daddy!  So I have two zone leader sons and a grandson already!  Hoorah!!  In the normal mission, my son, Elder Recalde, is here in the zone and he was finishing the training of a new elder so that makes me a step grandfather.  My brother, the other son of Elder Andrade, is from Guayaquil and he`s also training so that makes me an uncle.  My half brother, Elder Bloxham (because we finished our training in a trio), is also doing well and I`m not sure if he`s trained or not.  Oh and my father`s dead.  So I have a great big messed up family here in the mission!

I know what you can give me for Christmas!  More shirts.  I just got sick of seeing these stained collars and stained arm pits so I threw a bunch away today.  I have 5 now.  The new ones you gave me and a few fairly stained ones but that I could at least wear a sweater with to hide the stains.  So SHIRTS would be nice.  Maybe a tie or two I dunno.  What does a missionary really need?  You could send me a few referrels?  A Book of Mormon coated in that drug they gave me back in the Villaflora?  I really don`t know!  Ya could send me gas from the rear of a cow and call it Christmas and I`d be satisfied.

Yeah so Obama is still president.  I don`t mind.  I didn`t vote so it`s all the same to me!

Cool that Dad got a new clinic.  That should be nice to work in.  

I find this funny.  Tara has enough time to go through about 20 boyfriends in 16 months then writes me saying she really had no time to write little ol Elder Jackson in a whole year?!?!  I see why!!  Geeweeez somebody help that girl set her priorities straight ;)

Hey you DO have referrals!!   Everybody has a referral, they`re just waiting for the missionary they can trust.

Well okay I guess I`ll tell ya a little about my week.  MEETINGS!!!  Gad zooks so many meetings.  Zone leader council, mini zone conference, leaders meeting, meeting with the stake president, ward council, and zone conference with an Area Seventy,  I had a meeting everyday almost!  I had to learn some stuff, then we had to train the zone, then try to train the new district leaders, then try to work with the members better (the mission struggles with that), but then we got the cool conference with Elder W. Christopher Waddell.  He`s a great, tall guy.  Inspired everybody to be more obedient and to love the mission.  He told how we`re usually not assigned to a mission for a specific reason, but to a mission president.  Interesting.  Then they called on 3 people to give 5 minute talks about one of the three asssigned topics.  Of course I got called.  My heart was beating harder than a bass drum.  I spoke last, but as the second speaker was well, speaking, the bass drum moved up to my throat.  The topic?  The role of the holy ghost in conversion.  Easy enough.  I looked at my notes as if I had some intelligent idea put together and then.  My turn!  I told a quick story of how I had to dance to the song of Men in Black in the Spring Fling when I was about 10.  We each got a glow stick and I put mine in my pants pocket and zipped up the zipper.  Then when it came time to do the dance, I went to take out my light but it wouldn`t come out because the zipper was stuck.  So I danced anyway!!  I thought nobody would notice the boy without the light but I was wrong.  They did notice.  

What the heck that had to do with the spirit and conversion I haven`t a clue.

 But I said the Lord has given us a light to help us magnify our callings, the Holy Ghost, and we shouldn`t lock it up in our pockets through disobedience and pride.  A few scriptures and quotes from PMG and it was good enough!  I timed it.  4 minutes and 55 seconds.  Yeah baby.  But it was a good experience anyway.

Other than that it was an okay week!  Just kinda rough with a few investigators who fell into drinking again.  But they want to be better and that`s our job as missionaries!  Help people have faith and REPENT.  Give them support and help them repent.  That`s why I`m gonna do all that I can to work with members cuz if we become their main support, they`ll fall after we leave.  That`s why Elder Waddell talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, prayer, church attendance, and members.  Without the Book of Mormon, there is no conversion.  And that`s the truth!  So we gotta stay on it and keep on working like a bald logger in the Alaskan tundra.  

Well I`ve written alot.  Hope you`ve had a great week!  Hope you have a greater one.  I`ll be here trying to do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the scout law.  I love you all mucho and espero que estén orando como familia y leyendo las escrituras!  Hasta luego!

Re: Hello November 11th‏

Hey mom I won´t be writing today due to the fact that I have been kidnapped by a Colombian drug cartel.  But I'll write tomorrow for sure!

Your forever lost son,
Brett  (written in my own blood)


joke I´ll tomorrow because we have a conference.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dum dum dum dadada dum. Dum dum dum dadada dum.‏

Whew, elections, stake activities, sickness, testimonies, and the works!  Busy week.  Hope you all survived in one piece. Pressure!

Hello Dad!  Did you get rid of the virus?  Hey, I have a question, why did you decide to be a PA?  What called your attention?  Another question!  How did your mission affect your life?  You feel like it changed your outlook on a few things?  Those are two questions I´ve been thinking about for ya.  And you´re working in the young mens now right?  What´s that like?  How are the young men doin?  You should show to them the Mormon Message of Jeffery R. Holland´s "Stay within the Lines" (We are all Enlisted).  It´´s powerful and hopefully would impact some of the young men now that the age limit has changed. But I´m glad you wrote!  It´s true what ya say.  All the hard things just help us man up a little. 


Speaking of men, I had a good conversation with the bishop about John Wayne and Bonanza, I told him how you loved watching all that when you were a kid too.  It´s funny, a kid can´t help bragging about his dad to people who might never even meet him.  But I do look up to ya dad, and I want you to know that I love you and that I try to be a good example to the people I meet.  They might never meet my parents, but they´ll get to know them through me at least.  So thanks for all you do!  Don´t get too frustrated!  Remember that you´re helping tons of people and everybody loves you for it.  The Lord will have to hug you at the last day just for the years of service you´ve offered.  So keep on trucking my father!!


Hello Mom!  The activity sounded great!  Question, Jasmine Gallegos is still attending and listening to the missionaries?  I hope so.  She´s an awesome person.  

Oi, testimonies are rough emotional ordeals.  I love Papa.  It must be really hard for him.  That's why Heavenly Father sent children and grandchildren to help lift him up on his low days!    

Funny, I made a fool of myself bawling in my own sacrament meeting.  I don´t know what came over me.  I just was just sitting there in sacrament meeting with some investigators and I just felt so grateful for the Atonement.  Cuz I know I´m imperfect and I mess up a lot but still, somehow, the Lord lets me work here!  He´s helped me change a little and is still patiently chipping away at my rock hard heart.  He´s blessed me with so much even though I´ve messed up even more.  So I was thinking all about that, then my companion goes up to share his testimony.  Dang it.  I have to go too.  He shares his (speaks of the Book of Mormon), then I go and just kinda cry into the microphone.  DANG IT!!!  But I shared my testimony and then macheted the members by telling them that "where there´s love, there´s no gossip".  Then sat down.  So I think the general opinion of the me in the ward is the mean cry baby.  But, nothin we can do about it now!  Might as well accept it and just put my words into action.

So changes came and Elder Peterson left with half the zone.  So I´m here training a new zone leader, Elder Dearden (he has 10 months like I had when I became zone leader!) and carrying on the work.  That´s why I´m kinda excited but stressed.  It´ll be a good change.

And we also had a baptism this last week!!  My first REAL family.  Husband and wife who can be sealed in the temple in a year.  YES!!!  It´s so great.  They have great testimonies as well.  They´re very kind and friendly.  We just need to keep working with ward to make sure they stay active.  We have family home evening with them tonight.  They´re names are Luis and Maria .  It´s a miracle because this sector hasn´t baptized for about 7 months.  So we feel really blessed.  And we have two more families that could be baptized in this month.  Hope everything goes well if I just stay humble and prayerful.

Well that´s all this week!  I love you guys, I miss you guys, and hope you have a great week.  I don´t need anything for Christmas the shoes work great thank you.  Adios!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Prone to Wander‏

Guess what?  The packages got here!!  Dry, intact, unopened, and on time.  HOOPLA!!!  Thanks for sending those.  The socks and shirts were sorely needed.  I haven´t lifted up my arms since I´ve arrived here in Quito for fear of seeing these nasty stains from where my backpack straps are.  The new shirts are so white!  If people don´t get baptized when they see this glorious whiteness I don´t know what´ll convince them.  And the new shoes and sock were sorely needed.  Thank you very much.  I needed the protein too.  Hermana Thomas was giving me advice in the mean time.  She´s become the sort of mother/grandmother here on the mission.  She asks how I´m feeling, how´s my diet, scolds me for not putting on sun screen, and for using what ever form of slang.  She´s on top of things!  

Well ward parties sound lovely.  Hope they´ve been great.  Cambria puking doesn´t sound so lovely.But good stuff!

Ah, it´s already the week of Dia de Difuntos.  Otherwise known as the day that kicked me in the rear and made me a missionary back there in Guaranda.  You remember the week of me being depressed until the spiritual uplift from Matthew and Jonas??  The three days in the belly of the whale?  Ah, I´m so grateful for this week.  That was a turning point in my mission and maybe in my life.  And it´s served me well!  The Lord put me in the furnace of affliction throughout Guaranda and the Villaflora and now looking back I´m just grateful for the struggles the Lord let me pass through.  (that one song, Blessings, by Laura Story kinda sums it up.)  This week changed my point of view.  Before, it was more "why me?  what did I do?  why would God let me suffer if he loves me? " and a bunch of anger and frustration.  Now it´s just a little frustration :).  But now I see that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and I will be absolutely worthless unless I go through the fire and purification process.  And my whole life will be like this until I become, "sumiso, manso, humilde, paciente, lleno de amor, y dispuesto a someterme a cuanto el Señor juzgue prudente imponer sobre mi, tal como un niño se somete a su padre."  So  I´m grateful for my new challenges here in Quito and for being able to see my weakness and being able to try to be better.  I have a long way to go but I know I´ll be able to become what the Lord wants me to become.  It just ain´t easy and it´s not always the funnest.  But it´s a journey, might as well enjoy it!  

I grateful for you mom (and you too Dad!  I know you must read these)  and for helping me get through the rough teenage years.  I´m still a little kid in a lot of ways but hopefully I´ll keep growing.  But please do your family prayers and keep reading the scriptures together.  I know you come home tired and stressed but just do it.  It will make the difference in the home life.  I´ve seen too many destroyed families here in Ecuador to have Satan sneak in and destroy my home and the people I love.  Daily prayer and scripture reading will give us a kinda bubble of protection to some degree.  So please do it.  Family home evening too.  It makes the difference.

Well I gotta go.  I have a lot of things to improve this week and a lot of people to help.  Hope it´ll be good!  Hope you have a great week and hope you take the time to enjoy life!  I love you all!  Choa!

Time Won`t Let Me Go!

Okay I`m super sorry buuuut I`m late.  Very late.  It`s already 6. DAFT!  So this will be a short one.  

Hope everything is going great!  Keep on working mom like a woman and enjoy life.

I`m good, this week we taught a pastor and his church.  PODEROOSOOO!  And we`re finding a lot of people.  My other two elders have flown away to their own sectors.  They get better so fast!

And that`s about it this week!  I love you all, hope you`re doing great, hope you don`t tan my hide for this letter aaaaand I`m sun burt.  It`s gonna be a rockin week!!

Adios!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Awake from the sleep of death, AND. BE. MEN.


Hello!  Well thank you for sending those packages!  New shoes are better than no shoes!  My card expires in February of next year.  YEah, here it tells me how much I have.  I was thinking of buying a watch since mine broke carrying yuka sacks.  I was also going to look for new suit cases.  And maybe I´ll be able to patch up a few of my shoes too.  That´d be good.  There´s a member who does it.  But I wonder how the packages will arrive... everytime I get them they look like they had to fight their way out of an elephants behind to just see the light of day.  They´re all wet and torn and stuff...  But they arrive just the same!  And nothing missing.  So rock on!
 
 Well I´m glad Grandma had a good birthday.  And they´re going to Hawaii?!  OOoooh fancy fancy.  I hope they send me a coconut bra.  It´d mix up my wardrobe of white shirts and black pants.
 
Ah poor ol Buddy.  I´m sure he´s having a ball in the spirit world though.
 
Hey does Blake look healthier now?  How´d the swimming work out for him?  Good stuff!
 
Well today was a cleaning day.  3 more missionaries are coming to stay with us today.  Whew.  Elder Jackson´s Home of Homeless Missionaries.  Hopefully we find some good companions to take them to a loving sector so that they can actually do something with their missions. :)
  
Ah, it´s terrible!  I simply don´t know what to write any more.  I´m doing good.  I´m loving life.  I feel that I have so much more to improve still but it´s like time is against me.  The beginning of the mission was like running up a muddy slope but now that I´m on the other end it´s just as slippery and I´m sliding down as I try to scramble for more time.  It´s madness!!
 But I love life!  Hope you have a great week!  I love you and thank you for all your help!!  Adios!!
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What´d Elder Jackson say to the Fungus? I didn´t like you at first, but now you´re growing on me!!‏

Hello!  Hey thanks for the shoes.  My last pair, the doc martins, now have holes as well and it´s been quite rainy here in Quito.  I´m sick of wet feet!!  So thank you very much.  And also the shirts!  I really need them!

I reaaaally need to write Papa a letter.  I love that guy.

Yeah conference was great!  They were already sending missionaries from Mexico at 18, as well as in Chile I believe.  It´s awesome that they´ll be doing that for everybody now.  And mom may I just say you are a visionary woman.  A BYU freshman class of just girls..... one Brett Jackson entering BYU as a freshman..... WOOOHOOO!!  It´s the revelation that just keeps on giving :)

Well this week was really good.  Dang it!  I just realized have little time.  I get too distracted with this one hour going and looking what´s goin on on lds.org and what not.  I gotta kick it into gear!

So um yes this week was good.  We had zone leaders council (16 missionaries in my poor house) and mini conferencia (my capacitacion wasn´t so awful this time, I´m improving!)  and general conference.  Sister Ghent made corn bread and chili.  OOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh that was delicious.  There´s actually 6 gringo families in our stake.  That was strange to see.  Um I did divisions with the assistants and yeah.  We´re trying to help some families get married and just try to get into a rhythm this week.  It´s been hard to find time to just spend time getting to know my investigators and members and we´re already almost half way through the change!!  But I´ll keep on trying to be better.

Well that´s all I have time for, thanks for everything mom.  Tell Dad I said hi.  Tell anybody I know that I said hi.  And I love you guys!  See ya later!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

And I´m Feelin Good

HEY MOM!!  I love you and everything you do for me! 

So because of this week I now have more faith that God has a purpose for me here in Quito and that He can guide me to fulfill those purposes.  A week of miracles!!

Um so I´m here in the Luz as I said.  Big zone.  Big ward.  Oh wow it´s like a real functional ward!!  Amazing.  And I was pretty bummed to leave my beloved Coca, tears were shed, and I was even more bummed having to come to Quito.  But Heavenly Father is merciful.

So here in the Luz we´re a hotel for other missionaries.  The missionaries come here to die, they come here to give birth (when they´re going to train new missionaries), and they come here when there´s a meeting in Quito.  We have more than 8 beds, we have 2 bathrooms, and a big ol white board.  We have chandeliers.  Ritzy ritzy.  The only bummer is that I have to clean the house.  Daft.  And then clean up after the missionaries.  But oh well.  And right now they´re two sick missionaries living with us.  Elder Putnam, from my group, and Elder Almachi. One has a damaged spine and the other is a mystery still and we´ve been going to the hospital to find out.  We've gone like 5 times this week to take tests, talk with the doctor, and pay for the whole thing.  But they´re great guys.  We´ve almost had no time to work in our sector this week because of the sickness and visits and what not but in spite of all that, we found 2 families and have helped 2 inactive families reinvigorize their testimony.  We have 3 people with baptismal date with 2 days of pure working.  And this is in a sector that hasn't baptized for 6 months!!  It was a miracle.  The Lord has blessed us with so much and I´m feeling awesome.  I don´t have time to tell you the stories right now but just to let ya now that I feel really hopeful for this next change.

Thanks mom for the shirts and socks.  I really need them!!!   Um I´ll see if I can do something about the shoes.  I love the fall pictures.  I guess cold weather does have it´s beauty.  Is there anything else I was supposed to do?  Hope you enjoyed your birthday!  Well thanks I love ya I gotta go chaooo!!

GAH

Hello!  Well there were changes today and they took me out of my jungle.  They dumped off here in Quito again.  In zona Quito.  Zona de President Ghent and the offices and pretty much the biggest zone of the mission.  OOO dear.....

But I`m alive.  I don´t have time to write much because i need to take another hour bus to get to my sector but I thought I`d just tell you that I`m alive and well!  Thanks!

Mom I`m 17.  or 17 and a half.  I`ll answer the other questions later, I don`t have time.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY THE 27th!!!  ENJOY IT!  EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY!!

Love ya all, see ya!  I``m off to die in the heart of the city!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where were they going without ever knowing the way?‏


Hello my mother!
 
Yeah about the birthday message.... I told her your birthday last year in September but I forgot to correct it....MY  BAD!!  haha  But don´t worry I´ll remember from here on out.  I´m just lost sometimes!
 
Oh I´ve never thought of oatmeal.  That´d explain why I got so fat in Quito... I could try that!  I do have milk here so if you do send protein powder I could just mix it with milk.  That´s easy.  Um I haven´t looked for shirts yet but I doubt they´d have them here.  If you could send some three or four that´d be nice.  I´ll buy suitcases here hopefully today.  Well according to everybody else it´s perfectly legal to send shoes here.  My companion received tennis shoes from Mexico and Elder Bloxham as well.  I bet if you put enough Virgen Maria stickers on the box it´d be fine.  But I haven´t heard anything about that rule.  I could start asking around.
 
And about garments I didn´t even know that you sent me garments!  I never got anything.  There must be some Guatamalan walking around in them in the street thinking he´s strutting the latest fashion. 
 
Um what else?  Socks!!  I bought socks here a couple of weeks ago and they already have holes.  What the blazes.  I´ll have to look for some new ones.  Cheap kleenex would have been better than those pieces of grumble mumber.esghslh.....
 
Other than that we`re alright I guess.  I´m suriving.  And I´m happy!  So I´m doing alright!  I sleep with my matress on the floor, my bathroom has 2 glass doors (a man can´t even shower or sit in the bathroom in peace!), but my neighbors gave me roasted banana last night so I´m happy!  It was so strange.  I got done with the verfication of the week (oor uh. weekly verification?) and then sat down with my glass of boiled water and a roasted banana and the song that came to my head was "and I think to myself, what a wonderful wooorld".  Coca is amazing to me.  I´m now used to the heat (or just used to sweating) and I like it a whole lot more than cold, dry wind!  I love the jungle!  I love the personality of the people!  I love not living in the city but being able to walk down dirt roads and being able to see the stars at night.  The zone is doing pretty well, Lago will have 3 baptisms this week and we´ll have 1.  The next week we´re hoping to have 6 baptisms.  That´d be 17 baptisms in the month of September with just 2 companionships!  I don´t know how it happened but I what I do know is that it´s a blessing from the Lord.  It´s nothing that my companion or I did, but really the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father.  The Holy Ghost touched the heart of everyone of these people and now they´re ready to be baptized.  I hope they let me stay here one more change so that I can keep seeing the miracles.  But I think I must be enjoying myself too much so it´s time for the Lord to take me to another corner and start stretching me and shaping me again.  I dunno.  We´ll see what happens this Sunday.  
 
But hope the week goes well, thanks for the help, I´ll try looking for the things that I need and I´ll tell you if I don´t find anything.  I love you guys and we´ll see each other next week! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Sister Jackson!‏





















Dear Sister Jackson,
 
Happy Birthday from the Quito Ecuador Mission!
We love Elder Jackson and we are grateful to serve with him in this great work.   Elder Jackson is a hard worker and respected by the other missionaries.  He is respectful and always wears that great smile of his.  Photos make a lovely birthday surprise.....even a few days late(whoops)!  Thank you to you and your family, we appreciate the support and sacrifice of the families of our missionaries.
Con carino,

Hermana Ghent

If you give Quito a hour...‏

Hola mi senorita mamita carinosita lupita coloradosanitario..... I forgot what I was gonna say.  I don`t it`s age mom.  It`s hereditary!

Okay!  Well the rule change to having an hour of internet again.  HOOPLA!  But now I`m used to saying practically nothing so I guess we`ll just keep it that way (buwhaha).  Well sounds like a good week.  Felicidades to Grandma Dola!

Is Cambria liking volleyball?  How`s high school?  Does she like it it?  How are those senor bums?  Tell Mrs. Muniz I`m still waiting for her to come party in Ecuador.

Well....the Broncos are dead to me.  I`ll be waiting in the REAL fan zone like the father to his prodigal son.  They`ll come back.  They always come back :)

Okay well this week was...bloohooodooo.  We left to Quito Monday.  We had our zone leaders conference Tuesday.  They made me stay.  Wednesday I had to renew my visa.  Saw my old companion Elder Bloxham!  Good guy.  Then I came back here to Coca Thursday early in the morning.  We worked from 10 to 4:30.  Then we found out we had to go to Puyo, also in the oriente but 6 hours to the south.  So we go running to the bus stop, and the bus was full.  So we talk to another bus man and he says there`re seats!  But the bus is going to leave at 5.  It was 4:55.  So we jump in a taxi, run up the flight of stairs, and throw everything into a bag, grab my suit jacket, and we`re out the door again.  We show up, the bus already left, so we run to the terminal.  The bus just barely left.  We run around the corner, THE BUS!  We take off running in the street after the bus ,people yelling GO GRINGO!  And we finally catch the bus.  Wheeeew.  I sweated like a fat man in a sauna.  Then I bought myself a chocolate.  So we arrive in Puyo at 11 at night and we sleep.  The next morning, leader`s meeting with the assistants and President Ghent and then we`re headed back home.  We get home at 8:30.  Saturday we had a baptism.  We hadn`t taught the poor lady the whole week!  It`s a miracle she was baptized.  But she`s awesome.  She`s called Patricia Chang.  So right now I have no food, no clean clothing, I can`t even remember where I`m at, yet I`m happy.  Oh then I got the call last night that they were going to close one of our sectors in Lago Agrio because there aren`t enough missionaries in the mission.  So my zone, once of 8 missionaries, is down to 4.  That`s what happens when Brett takes over!  We`re not a zone, we`re a district!  But hey it`s alright.  We`ll just keep on working like always :)

So that was my week.  A whole lot of bus rides.  They put on a video on the bus of just pure music videos in English.  America media is the chains of the devil.  It`s pure trash!  

Hey mom, I think I´m gonna be doing some shopping.  My shoes have almost as many holes as my socks.  My suitcases have lost their tires.  My shirts have a permanent black stain in the arm pits.  And I don`t have any money because of the trips so I think I might also be buying some food this week with the card.  So that`s the heads up!  Sorry that I have to spend so much.

But thanks mom for everything!  I love you!  Tell everybody hi!  Tell me if there`s something I need to do better.  Chao!

Monday, September 3, 2012

On The Road Again‏

Well hello!  First thing first, Hey Blake!!!  I remembered your birthday!! I celebrated it with a strawberry smoothie that you didn´t enjoy!  But rock on my brother!  I´ll look for something from the oriente you might like to send as a gift.  Pero feliz cumple años y suelta el FUUUAAA!! (look that up by the way)

Well sounds like things are picking up again in the San Luis Valley.  Cambria with school and sports.

Wow Laren is gonna be a daddy.  That´s insane!  He can´t go running around playing football or peg us with crab apples if he´s got a baby in is arms!!  Well I guess he´s dead now. Fatherhood is the tombstone of young adult adventures.  But send my congrats!  And just throwing this into the idea bowl, Brett is a preeeety good name for a child.  Or Thor. If you name your kid Brett Thor Helms he´s just destined for success and happiness.  But that´s just me.

Hey Dad looks pretty good!  Joven!  Tuco!  Libre!  Un león mirando su reino, que es todo lo que la luz toca.  Keep up the good work my Father!

Kyle is teaching a Portuguese Spaniard about the Gospel.  AMEN HALELUJAH MY BROTHER!!  If you want investigators that just rock your world, teach a latino.  I´m even excited for him and I´m over here in the sweaty underbelly of the world.  Woohooo!  Go Elder Bagwell!

But anywho this week was alright.  I have to go to Quito AGAIN!!!  I leave at one.  But such is the life.  No use cryin about it.  But this week was awesome.  We baptized 4 Saturday!  Familia Garcia!  They´re really special to me.  We found them doing divisions last change, when I was working with Elder Cornejo.  We prayed before contacting and then we came to their house and then the grandma came out and said "We don´t want anything!  We believe in the Virgen and you don´t and we don´t want to hear anything!"  Whoaaa... rough start.  So I thought well...this is worth a shot.....
"Of course we believe in the Virgen! She´s the mother of Jesus!  And we´ve come to share a message about Jesus Christ and how you can receive more blessings in your life!"
"Come on in"
So it was really awesome to watch them change and have the spirit help them.  We´re still working with 3 other members of the family.  Patricia will be baptized next week and Santiago the next and Jazmin... ya mismo.

BUT I gotta go so I love you all choa stay good I´ll talk later!  BYE!  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hewhoa


Hey I am ALIVE!!!
Ya know, sometimes you put the Apostles in such high regard that you think their very breath would peel your skin.  That's what I thought with Jeffery R. Holland.  I thought he was gonna come rolling in like volcanic thunder and then send 12 legions of heavenly angels screaming repentance with such intensity that I´d instantly burst into sparkling ash with nothing but a tie and an echo of "ooooo" as evidence that I ever existed.  But it didn't turn out that way! He's actually a pretty funny guy :)

President Ghent started the conference saying, "Well, this can be the last conferance for some of you.  You had time to repent, but now it's too late."  Geez.  Then Jeffery R. Holland came and he looked kinda cranky.  Oh dear.  Then we all shook his hand.  Buenos dias. Then they started, Elder Juan Uceda shared his testimony and it was awesome.  The general authorities have a way of making Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Restauration more than just words and ideas but you can actually see them as if in person.  It's amazing.  Then Sister Maines talked then Elder Maines talked about the Holy Ghost and todo eso.  Then Jeffery R. Holland started.  My underpants felt the chill of liquid nitrogen then burst into shards.  He told us that he loved us that we was glad he was here with us and then started talking about the importance of mission work.  He told jokes, he laughed, he tried to scare a sister missionary, he pretended to punch the assistants in the face.  Huh.... whuttya know.  He then talked about how we need to use the Book of Mormon and showed us some scriptures and shared his testimony.  

He talked more about our conversion than converting investigators.  He said we need to be more persistent and determined than Avon ladies.  Every time he walks out the door there's one there.  And they're only selling mascara!! So it was actually really good.  I loved it.  It taught me a lot about being a leader and how I should handle things.  If they need to get better, show them how, don't just tell them how terrible they are!

But last monday was uuuuuu a rough one.  We wrote the family then went off to work.  It was the hottest day of my life.  We were contacting and looking for families and I felt my hair crisp and turn into curly fries.  I sweated my body weight.  But we kept on fasting!  Then some investigators gave us Gatorade.  We hold on to that knowing it'd come in handy afterwards.  By the time we got to the house at the end of the day my lips were dying fishing gasping for water before giving up on life and shriveling up like raisins. 

We planned and then we decided to go to bed.  I showered and tried to wash the heat off my body but looks like it stained into my skin and in my throat.  So we slept.  Then I woke up at 12 dying of thirst and dying of heat.  Cuuuurssseesss.  I tried to sleep and I tried and I put my head under the sink and then tried to sleep again but it was terrible.  I opened the fridge and then the light shown on a glass bottle....Gatorade.....noooo. I closed the door and tried to sleep.  I heard voices.  "Siga ayundando y los lamanitas abrirán su corazon." "You'll need the self control, bigger things are ahead." I couldn't take it!!! I had to go get the Gatorade.  "Ya rompiste el ayuno en tu corazon." 

So I sat there with my Gatorade then asked my comp if it mattered when we fasted.  He told me it depended on my priorities. But somehow I went to sleep without a drink.  Whew.  It was the strangest night I ever had.  But I broke my fast on time!  Just felt like I failed to temptation.  But it was an interesting experience. Blessings must come with sacrifice.

Okay that's all I have time for.  I love you all!  Enjoy school!  Enjoy cruising in the car!  Enjoy life!  Take care!  I'm going crazy.  Love ya!



Friday, August 24, 2012

When the Turkey Crows Everybody Goes‏

Hello!  Okay well uh I´ve forgotten everything I wanted to write and say so let´s just go with it yeah?

So the new toy looks really cool!!  By the time I get back it´ll be nice and worn in and I can go roadtripping in it to visit the ocean.  Enjoy!!  

Channing´s mission sounds cool.  Computer mission and teaching people on line sounds way interesting.  Different but it´d be an adventure.  I hope she don´t run into a few JWs while contacting buhaha.

Kelvin and Ann are already back from their mission??  Wow!  That must have been great.  Sounds like they did awesome.  I have nightmares of Russia but they went over there and opened up new doors by just being themselves.  There´s a lesson for me.

Tell Kyle (or Elder Bagwell) I said hello chum or whatevah rubbish they say oveah there.  

Kyle (or Elder McDaniel) is grubbing on McDonalds and I{m here in the jungle eating rice, bananas, and pig intestine.  What gives?  Where´s the justice in that?  I think it just means my wife will be more beautiful.  muuuuhahahaha

Okay now being serious.  So yeah the changes came and now I'm with Elder Morás from Mexico.  Mexicano!!!  He´s cool and has 7 months on the mission and is dying of heat here in Coca like I was when I got here.  I´ve just gotten used to sweating all the time and zig zagging the street looking for shade to walk in.  But the zone is different now, from everybody being dead, to everybody being young.  Ah the energy of youth!  Elder Sanders is the new DL in Lago and he´s from my group and draws like a beast.  He was going to work for Pixar but went on the misison.  He´s a funny guy.  The other new Elder is Ecuadorian and only has 4 months on the mision.  So yeah it'll be cool.

Oh we don´t have P Day today because Jeffery R. Holland is coming this Saturday.  WOOO!!!  I´ve had 2 dreams of that apostle macheting me (first for having dirty garments and second for not working hard enough) and now I´ll be able to receive the machete in person.  I´m excited.  He´s my hero.  But they were going to only have the zones of Quito go to the conference and us (the zones in the podunk) wouldn´t get the chance.  But President Ghent prayed and now we don´t have P-day so we don´t lose time when we go to travel to Quito.  So it works!!  I don´t mind.  I just will have to find some new clothes and gnaw on some juice cartons.  But it´s gonna be great.

Um, how much does protein powder cost?  I ask because I´m getting really thin with all this Ecuadorian heat, walking long distances, and rice.  I try to do ejercicio in the morning but I´m dead and I don´t have any muscle to tone anyway.  So maybe I could see if it costs less here or in the states and start drinking me some stuff so I don´t  too thin.  But just right.  Heck fatter would be fine with me.  But thinner is just a shame.  

But hey everything is going well down here.  I´ve been stressed up to mi garganta thinking about what I´m going to do with the zone but I´ve found real peace and confidence in the simple act of praying.  Not so much to change my situation but more to change me to be able to deal with the situation.  I was having dreams of looking frantically looking for investigators and inviting them to baptism and waking up in the night frustrated but then I was even praying in my dreams and now I feel like....YEAH!  Let´s go to work gentlemen!  And everything will work out alright.  Love needs pressure, well pressure makes diamonds.

But yes I´m doing great, hope you´re all doing good, I love the support, the comments, the humor, and just having a good family and friends.  Live is sweet and God is loving.  So carry on my dear friends!  Adios!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mountains to Climb, People To Save‏

Hello!!  I am alive and well and all is fine but today were changes.  So I do not have any time to really talk but they closed a sector here in Coca and so my companion and I are the only ones working here and it´s just madness cuz now I have to cover the two sectors and it´s gonna be a crazy change I just tell ya what.  The Lord is always finding new ways to stretch me and make me better.  So we´ll see how this week goes.

Hope you´re all doing well and loving life and keep eating some beans!  Love you!  BYE!!!