Sunday, April 28, 2013

Feliz de la vida‏

Hey mom how´s it goin?  I just barely got back from a zone activity three hours away in a tourist hotspot called Baños.  Baño actually means bathroom and I haven´t quiet figured out why it´s called that.... maybe because of all the waterfalls.... if I had a full bladder and was next to a rushing waterfall a bathroom would be one of the first things I´d want too I guess.... those crazy Spaniards and their names!
But it was fun, my card doesn´t seem to work on this computer so next week I´ll show you what it was like.  The last time I went was my first couple of months in the mission field so it was cool to go back as an old man missionary.  I know most of the missionaries in the zone from the time I was in La Luz so it was cool to talk to them and see how they´re doing.
Okay so I´ve been thinking about future careers and such (this can´t be good) but I think I would like to first start off studying biology.  I´ve realized I really like nature, animals, and science stuff so maybe I could start off studying that.  And if not, I can always go in to medicine and still not have wasted my time studying something entirely unrelated.  So thinking of that.... if I would like to go to medical school I don´t see BYU as the best pick, but maybe The University of Utah.  I know it has a great medical program, probably impossible to get into this late into the applying game, but I could study biology in the mean time and maybe later get into medicine if I try my best.  But as I study biology, and I really feel that I have a future in nature/animal, Discovery Channel, National Geographic stuff I´ll go with that.  So I see the University of Utah as the university with the most open doors for me at the moment and would prefer to go there I think.  If it´s too expensive, if it´s not possible, I can go to BYU.  But I´ll work after getting home and I´ll start a savings fund to be able to get into the UofU.  So that´s my plan.  I got accepted but I think I forgot to defer..... or I forgot my password I believe.  If you could help me with that I´ll definitely have more time next week to try and help you out.  But could you try to see what you could do to help me get in and have at least some general classes?  If not, help me know where to go and I´ll do it next week.  Yeah?  So that´s the decision...for now.  The Utes.
Okey well the whole Boston thing sounds like a series finale of 24.  Geez.  That´s crazy. 
You work like a mad woman in a sweat shop.  Hopefully you can take a break!
So this weekend we had two baptisms.  They´re 13 and 10 years old respectively and are the children of a lady (who was baptized in March) and her husband (who´s not a member....yet).  Their other daughter, was baptized with her mother, and the youngest daughter is only seven years old.  It was a good baptism, seeing that the church is on the second floor of some building, we do the baptisms in a river.  I´ll send the photo next week.  It was good and I was happy for them.  So what was interesting is that on Sunday night we got a call from the dad.  They were just getting done with a meeting with the branch president,  because they were having marriage problems (affairs, physical abuse, and then separation.... all the things that tick me off about the world...) and the dad just said that he wanted to talk to us.  I felt, "Baptism."  We met up with him at his house and he said, "Elders, I want to be baptized this weekend."  We stared at him.  
"But I want brother Vicente Cajilema to baptize me."
We smiled and said "Well...alright!  Cool!"

This hermano is an interesting person.  He always told us how he can´t change, how he´s always been Catholic, he likes to drink, how he needs to fix a lot of things before baptism, but that he likes the church.  He always has questions, he always has doubts, he´ll argue till you´re blue in the face, but then at the end he accepts it.  Like we taught him about the Word of Wisdom last week and he argued with us about how we can´t interpret "hot drinks" for tea and coffee for about 20 minutes but then at the end of the lesson he said, I like this commandment, I think I need to stop smoking.  "Aight. Cool!"  So we gave him a priesthood blessing and then we talked with him yesterday and said he hasn´t smoked all week.  He said, "Your little prayer thing worked!"  Faith and the power of God work miracles my friends.
Soooo anyway we´re gonna be working like mad men to help him be prepared for baptism this weekend.  Whew.  I love the mission because the Spirit will suddenly touch the heart of someone and then it´s like a Pop Tart jumping out of the toaster unexpectedly. Ya gotta get it while it´s still hot!
I miss Pop Tarts.
Other than that, we´ve been visiting less active members  finding new people, doing service (we went to a dump the other day.  One word : APESTA!) and living life.  My companion´s mom is doing fine, doing very well, his knee needs help but we´re on our way.  The Lord is blessing us, we´re excited to work, I´m happy to be in my own isolated town where nobody makes me trunky, and we´re gonna darle duro these coming weeks.  I´m sorry that I don´t have time to write any one else this week but I just want ya to know that I love you guys, thanks for the support and the help and stay strong!  Carry on! Remember that the sun is shining!  Adios!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Si te sientes muy feliz....‏

Hey mom!  Naw the card is good and everything is fine.  We´re alive!  

So Wednesday we received our companions and right now I`m with Elder Briñez, from Cali Colombia.  He´s been a member all his life, was inactive for about three years, but decided to reactivate himself and go on the mission.  He´s 21.... come to think of it, I think all my companions have been older than me. Even two that I´ve trained!  Dang.  Anyway he´s a good missionary and he wants to learn.  I think the first week has been hard for him, it was for me, and what made things worse is that just barely he got an email from his family saying that his mom had a heart attack a couple of days ago.  She´s alive but in the hospital.  Oh it´s hard..... but that´s why the Lord´s given us the Atonement and companions to help us through.  Trials.

Well alright so I called the branch president and his wife before leaving Quito on Wednesday and the wife met us in the bus terminal at 9:30 at night.  She then took us to find our apartment.  Turns out that the original apartment´s street is under construccion (like the rest of Tena) and is under danger of fallin in the giant hole in the street.  So, the government has moved us to a storage unit.  So we arrived to our storage unit and walked in, it´s one room and a bathroom.  It´s not too bad, it´s big enough at least and has a bathroom, which is a plus, could be worse.  We walk in and I step into a big puddle.... the whole floor is covered in water.... so I walk into the bathroom to find a toilet destroyed out of it´s potty mouth. (Photo included)  Whew!  So we start cleaning up.  We didn´t have a plunger so we went to use the bathroom of the neighbor (HEY neighboor!  We´re new here! Nice to meet you - where`s your bathroom?), ate a little bit of dinner that the branch president´s wife (Veronica) brought us, moved the beds out of the water, prayed and slept.  When we woke up we finished cleaning everything up for a couple of hours and then we could study a little.  Hermana Veronica then helped us get to know the sector and start to know where a few of the old investigators lived.  And thus it began!!  

This week was good, we´ve been able to find most of the investigators (they were four in total so that wasn´t too hard actually) and get to know some of the members.  The branch president is really helpful and it´s cool.  I really like Tena, it´s not as hot as Coca but it´s still jungle and it has mountains.  JUNGLE MOUNTAINS!!  What else could a man want?  The church has been here about 15 years and we have an attendance of around 40 people every Sunday.  The chapel is on the second floor of building that nobody seems to find...but it´s great!  The members told me that the missionaries get discouraged here because there are a lot of natives here that don´t have principles, and the people that do have principles are evangelists and Jehovah's witnesses, and that everybody likes to drink more than anything else.  We met a man who shouted ¨Elders¨ and we asked him how he knew the Elders and he said he once was one.... wow.  But I won´t get down, I was thinking about the example of my buddy Ammon.  Now the Lamanites were a people without principles!!  He had to fast and pray for several days and had to suffer a lot trails but the ending result was that thousands of souls were saved.  Now I just have to deal with the apostate great grandchildren haha. I´m sure the Lord will give us success and we´ll be able to help the branch as well, if I´m obedient, have faith, follow spiritual impressions, kick myself in the rear and look at myself with a Clint Eastwood face every morning.  

Being second councilor is good, my companion and I were able to help with the tithing and get to know the system of the Church.  It´s interesting how organized the church is.  I wish my suitcase would be the same.  Next week my companion and I are going to give talks in the sacrament meeting... I have to talk about the importance of fulfilling callings.  Should be fun.  We also are helping the branch choir.... a whopping total of 7 people including us.  Which is good!  It´s a start haha.  

We found another returned missionary when we were wandering the streets trying to figure out where we were.  We were walking and then all of a sudden the thought came to me ¨Hey!  Why don´t we buy some food in the market while we wander¨ So I stopped right in front of a small cell phone shop.  I was going to tell my companion my idea when all of a sudden a man from the store yelled ¨Hello missionaries!¨ I asked him how he knew the missionaries and he said because he was one.  Heh?  So we sat down and taught him and turns out that he served in Quito as a missionary but now was living with his girlfriend (not married) and they have a kid and he´s looking for work repairing cell phones and he didn´t even know the church existed in Tena.  So we told him that we´re here to bring him back!  Hopefully.  He couldn´t go to church this Sunday but hopefully the next.  Get the man married!  But what impacted me is that JUST in that moment when I was JUST going past that store, the thought to stop and go buy food hit me.  Some might say, ¨Brett you always think about food don´t kid yourself¨ but I think the Lord works through mysterious ways to get through my thick head!!  He knew that I would stop to think that, so he made the thought go through my head.  At least that´s what I believe!  I´m stickin to it!

But I´m good, training is good for me, helps me refocus and remember my purpose.  I´ll be learning alot and start working like the white water buffalo that I am.  I´m excited and I´m happy and I´m frankly enjoying life.  How could you not be when just looking around makes you want to sing ¨IIIIIINN THE JUNGLE THE MIGHTY JUNGLE THE LION SLEEPS TOOONIIIIIIGGGHHTTT AAAAWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!¨ well you get the picture.  But the gospel is the same no matter where you are.  I´ll focus more on the people.  

Hope you have a great week mom, good luck with all that computer stuff, yeah sign me up to whereever you want, I´ll make it work.  I mostly wanted BYU (at first for the wife but now...) for the chance to keep studying in a spiritual place.  I wanna be able to hear the apostoles and prophets and keep studying the scriptures.  If I can do that in other places let it rock.  I´ll decide when I get home.  I tried praying once about it and all I felt was ¨You´re on your mission.  Focus.¨ So we´ll see what happens.  

Tell everyone I said hi, thanks for the support, and enjoy the blistering wind!  Buh!  Adios! I love you guys.

Monday, April 8, 2013

They Can Take The Boy Out of the Jungle... but not for long!!‏

Hello my mother!

And again, Happy Birthday to Dad.

Well General Conference was a blast wasn´t it?  Good talks!  I have to go back over my notes.  haha I was just telling my companion how Grandma Jackson always called President Uchtdorf her boyfriend.  But a lot of the talks focused on standing strong, staying faithful through trails, and having hope.

Well I tried getting my ID and password all set up.  Talking in the zone leader conference everyone told me how they were already signing up for classes so it was madness!  I thought, "I better get on that or I´ll be selling bananas on the BBQ by the Wal Mart parking lot..."  so I tried. And it works.  Now what?  Hey.,... If I´m going into this whole medical gig maybe University of Utah would be good??  We could try at least..

So it´s weird to me that I have a blog.... and people read it.  What the heck does the thing even say?!  What´s goin on here?  How much of my dirty underpants am I showing to the world?  It´s like I´m walking around with a "kick me" note and I don´t know it.  But not in such a bad way.

Um so I got changes!  I´m going back to my dear jungle home of the Oriente!!  To a city called Tena.  My companion and I will be the only ones there, our zone leaders will live in Ambato, 5 hours away, but our district leader will live 2 hours away at least.  I´ll be opening up the sector because the other missionaries were taken out.  And I´ll be training!  Wooo!!  And I´ll be the first counciler in the branch presidency.  That´s intense.  My companion´s going to be the secretary.  haha it´s gonna be great!  It´ll help me learn more about leadership and how to help in a ward and branch.  ANY ADVICE?!?!  But I´m a missionary first and foremost and doesn´t make me exempt of the missionary rules.  Um, I´m excited.  I prayed this past week for the Lord to give me mountains to climb, if he wanted me to train I´d do it, if not I´ll do my best where He wants me to be, but just please help me learn and become the person He wants me to be.  So I got this change.  So it´ll help me grow and I´ll be able to help the branch grow and find people to teach and to baptize.  I have faith.  I´ll work like a mad man!!  No time to slack baby!

But I´m sending pictures of Cotopaxi, of our zone service in a nursing home, and the fanesca, the typical food of Easter that has 12 grains, eggs, and fish.  Wheeeewweeee it´s a heavy plate! 

But I hope you have a great week, hope you have good experiences, and I just want you to pray for me!!  I need all the help I can get :)

Thanks for everything mom, I love you!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Climb Every Mountain

HEY!  I´m soooo sorry for having time to write this week mom.  Sorry!  I messed up.  The thing is I went and climbed a 15,000 foot mountain today.  It´s called Cotopaxi.  Look it up if don´t believe me.  The thing is that we got back later than planned so.... I messed up.  But it was the first activity we had since January so we made it big.  But I just wanna tell you that I´m doing well. I´m whole and safe.  I´ll write you double next week.  I love you!  Take care!  Say hi to the family!