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!!