Hey everyone! what's going on? This week was a good one. This week was full of different experiences, from barrachos, drunk guys contacting us in the street, to a golden contact, to summiting a mountain with grass over our head the whole the time- oh ya we forgot our machete. . . So a week or so ago this guy contacted us in the street and wanted us to come and visit him. We new he was kinda interesting, but we were not prepared for what he told us during the lesson. . . the lesson he gave us. He was evangelical beyond belief. In fact, he told us that there were two angels sitting by him and we couldn't see them because we didn't believe. Furthermore he told us he had been called by as a prophet of God. Me and Elder Nogales just kinda looked at each other like " what did we get ourselves into?" Needless to say we wont be passing by that house again. So Saturday night was a way interesting day as far as contacting. Walking through the street two guys that were hammered wanted to talk to us. One of them kept hitting shot after shot while we were talking to him. He was interesting. He read my nametag l like 15 times and that's no exaggeration. The other was a returned missionary but not like a complete two year mission. Idk exactly what it was but he told us about his name tag and his area, and how he needed serious help with this alcohol problem. I actually want to help him. The other just kept asking me what I would do if I got robbed; ya thats not weird at all. Then we had a lady come sprinting out of house to tell us her brother needed a visit, and that she had been talking a lot to him about the gospel and that he might be ready. Also a guy in a taxi asked us what we believe. We were able to teach him a lot right there, and we think that the missionaries in the other sector will have a solid reference with him. The story I'm most excited about is this. We were walking down a street and from the third story of an apartment building when a young kid, like 15 yrs old yelled at us to get our attention. He then proceeded to come down and tell us about his problem with drugs, and how he knew we could help him overcome this problem and that he wanted to be baptized. Well we were surprised and pretty excited, but to verify that he really wanted to change we gave him a pamphlet and told him that if he did his part we could help him overcome this. Well we returned and he had read the pamphlet, prayed about it, and felt that this is what he needed in his life. He has family that are members, but nonetheless he's the man. It was pretty cool how it all happened, so we hope to be able to help him overcome this problem. Today I had a cool experience. We went and climbed up the side of this mountain to a lightehouse. The only thing was the grass was taller than we were and we didn't have a machete. So we had the guy in the front just lay down and we created a path up. It was horrible, but the view was awesome. The problem was, we couldn't find the path we had created coming up so we had to find a new one going down. Well Elder Mazzerelli basically rolled down the whole hill. I found all the holes, no not intentionally, and the rest slid down the trail like a slide. It was actually really fun, but it could have been bad if someone got hurt haha. I carved my name into the inside of the lighthouse. It's like a missionary thing. There were lots of names. It was cool. The ocean and coast was sweet though. The only downside is that we all had enough grass cuts that I think between all of us we lost a pint of blood. We're all gonna be on the DL tomorow but that's alright. I have became the zone champion at Uno. I'm now the one to beat because I'm pretty much the best. We play it a different way here in the missiona and it's sweet. I'll have to teach you guys when I get home. We're already starting week four in this change which is nuts! SO fast, I have two months here in Esmeraldas. Time is going by quite a bit faster now. I'll tell you what though, I don't know what it takes to get somebody to attend church. All throughout the week they're excited to go and planning on it and always sure they're going, but on Sunday nobody is there. It's the most frustrating thing of all time. They have to come to church to progress. There are always Saturday night parties, so they tell us that 9 am is too early. There was a party right above and below our room this last Saturday, and I could have sworn the music was in our room. I got a whole lot of no sleep because the party lasted until 7 am in the morning. It sucked. This month was a really hard month for our whole zone. we didn't get a whole lot. You know I had thought before my mission that baptisms would come fairly easy in this mission, but man was I wrong, Just becasue our mission produces a lot doesnt mean anything. They are hard to get in this area for sure. Nobody wants to go to church. Por eso there are about 900 menos activos in our area too. I'm excited for General Conference, that's for sure. It's still hotter than heck here. The ocean is cool! I'll send pics. I love you guys, Hasta Luego.
"No hay agua, No hay Luz No hay nada en mi casa." That's Spanish for my house having serious issues and we don't know why. We haven't had power since Thursday night, so it's been pretty interesting without both water and power. I wont lie I don't prefer it over a house that does have these things. Showering to candle light is pretty rough I won't lie. So this week Elder Kimball told me a really funny story. Basically, there are golden contacts and investigators, and then there is what Elder Kimball and Montesino found in their sector. While having lunch at their Mamita's house Elder Kimball and Montisino asked her how long she has been in the church? She proceeded to tell them for years and that she was sealed in the temple and everything. She even showed them the sister missionaries that converted her to the gospel. They then asked who baptized her? To their surprise, she pointed to one of the sister missionaries. They said, " No who actually baptized you in the water?" She again pointed to one of the sister missionaries. So this Mamita that was sealed in the temple is actually not a member of the church. Elder Kimball and Montesino found a pre-sealed investigator, not bad right? When Elder Kimball told me this story, I just looked at him and said "Ya that's not good. I haven't found that in the Book of Mormon yet" haha. It gets better though. Elder Kimball proceeded to tell me about another one of their finds. He said he found an 18 yr old guy that was pretty interested; the only catch with this 18 yr old kid is he has a 7 yr old child. Ya you read it right. Now were still verifying that the 7 yr old is an actual child of the 18 yr old and not some cousin or nephew, but the 18 yr old said that it was his child. Still will get your attention, that's for sure. This week was pretty hard because my house is a gem and nobody was home this week. We had the worst trouble finding our investigators and less actives at home. We worked hard this week but man I want a baptism someday. Only the two in the first two weeks. I haven't had anymore since then. I'll tell you what, this mission isn't just people lined up for baptism, that's for sure! Oh I almost forgot, so on Wednesday, I returned to my house and there was a huge cockroach waiting to great me sitting right on my pillow. I had to get a little bucket, trap him against my pillow and flick him out the window with the edge of the bucket. It was crazy, but I won! Well ya, it was a pretty uneventful week because we had meetings and nobody was home, so this is about what happened this week in the life of Elder Nielson. I love all of you guys. Hope to hear from you next week. Hasta Luego.
Here are some questions Easton answered.
Easton What is your impression of growing up in America versus growing up in Ecuador?
Oh growing up here is rough. I'm in one of the most dangerous sectors in the mission, so it's a little harder in my sector, but it's rough everywhere. Most kids have pretty rough shoes until they enter school. Then they have dress shoes. It's dirty. The parenting style is different here. Some of what happens here for punishment is abuse in America. Others are more like America but some are crazy. But I will say this, kids here are accustomed to the way of life here. They make it. They ride buses and everything on their own. Also they are super smart with the crazy taxis. American kids would get hit their first 10 minutes on a neighborhood street here, but no kids ever get hit by the taxis that fly right by them.
Did you get the package we sent?
Ya I'm a starving marvin right now! I'm super glad I got your cereal, I literally ate the cereal right out of the box with a spoon. No milk or anything because that's all I had. I've already almost cleaned it all out. The power is still out as far as I know. The owner said they would look at it today, so I hope today it's fixed. As soon as that power comes on though, I'll be just fine. Ya I'm so grateful for the package, muchas gracias. It was awesome! I love it so much haha. Note: (Hint, Hint Family- He loves packages)
Three month mark! Love my new companion, spilled milk doesn't smell like Febreeze, and I hate the monster hill!!! But mostly I love the people here- the members are the best!!!
Hola everyone. ¿Que mas? This week was a good one. It was a really fast one which I definitely enjoyed. Elder Nogales and I worked super hard this week in every way we could. I love my new companion. He is a great missionary. I've already learned a lot from him. The only thing that worries me is I might only have five more weeks with him. He has four changes in this zone which is a ton for one zone, and whereas five week was a lot in my first change, if weeks pass by like this one, it will be nothing. We have a lot of meetings this week so this week will probably go by fairly quick. Then we will be looking forward to General Conference. I'm so excited for General Conference. That will be great. After General Conference were starting week four. Really quick. I'm gonna hit three months this week. That's cool. Anyway, this week we worked really hard. We had a lod of really good lessons, especially with less actives. We killed it with less actives this week. We were on fire. We have a lot of good things going right now. I'm going to be starting an English class pretty soon. I'm pretty excited for that, but I am not completely sure when it will start. I grew a lot this week for sure. Elder Nogales doesn't know this area so we had to rely on what I knew. It was a really good week and we didn't even get lost, but man it was tough to keep everything straight. I actually had to remember street names. I didn't even think about street names for 18 years in Monticello haha. It was good though. So this week my comp actually spilled my bag of millk so our house smelled like milk the whole week. Spilling milk in 95 degree weather doesn't create a febreeze like scent to say the least. It was pretty bad. So last night Barcelona and Emelec played. They're kind of like the two premier soccer teams of Ecuador, so basically everyone and their dog was glued to a TV. Contacting sucked, nobody wanted to here anything we wanted to say, appointments fell through, and we knew exactly who won and what the score was and we didnt watch a thing. Barcelona won 1-0. We know that becasue Barcelona score at about 6:50 last night and we heard tons of people in all sorts of houses yelling GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! and horns honking, poeple going nuts. It was crazy. Soccer did not benifit our work last night, that's for darn sure. Oh ya, so this week some of the new missionaries in our zone are new greenies. I'm not the youngest anymore. I felt like seasoned veteran when I saw them walk in the door haha. One of them grew up in Colorado Springs and knows part of the Ramsay family there. He's a cool kid. I don't really know the other one well. I just know Elder Bahr because I introduced him to Encebollado during the leader's meeting every Friday. I'll tell you what, I'm gonna have a hard time leaving my sector when I get transfered. I love the people so much here. Our members are the best. For some of them, they go to work at 5AM in the morning, return at around 6 PM in time to go and attend lessons with us. They sacrifice so much to work with us. It's hard for me to ask them to do things because they already do so much. It's crazy. Sorry to all my siblings, I'll do a better job of writing everyone individually. So we've been teaching this less active this last week; they live up the biggest hill ever. It's HUGE!! It wears me out to the max everytime we walk up it. They're doing good though. I haven't gone up that monster unsuccesfully yet, nor would I. If I go up that hill someones getting a lesson whether they like it or not. Well that's about what happened this week. I'll write everyone individually now and send pictures. Love you guys! Cant wait to write next week.
Zone Shake-up: New Companion- Elder Carlos Nagales from Santiago, Chile and no Diarrhea from the food! (Knock on Wood)
Hey everyone, what's going on back at the states. Heard the BYU football team is doing better than their former quarter back Max Hall. Life is super good here in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Yesterday was changes and to all of our surprise, my zone got a complete makeover. We lost a little more than half, including my companion, and we're gonna meet all the new missionaries in our zone Thursday. I was sad to see Elder Mamani go despite the trials we had. My new companion is Elder Carlos Nogales from Santiago, Chile. I'm super excited to work with him. He was in our zone this whole six weeks so I know him pretty well and we were really good friends during this last change. I'm full animado to work with him. I think that this will be good for the area too. There's a lot of opportunity for success, and maybe a change is what needed to happen. We will see. This week we traveled to Quito. The weather is so nice there. It's cold and I love it. We went to this place called Penicillo. It's where Spencer W. Kimball dedicated Ecuador for the gospel. It was a cool experience but the travels from Esmeraldas to Quito and back are super long. 8 hours there, 6 hours back. It's different becasue it's just a huge hill from Esmeraldas to Quito and coming back it's all down hill. I love Quito though. So I learned something more about the Book of Mormon this week. I was studying the Book of Mormon in PMG and it dawned on me every single person that ever goes inactive, allows questions about certain principles to overcome them, allows problems with other members to overcome them, has issues believing everything is true, or fails to accept the gospel really only has one challenge. They don't have a strong enough testimony of the Book of Mormon. Every single teaching, principle, and testimony of the gospel is centered ultimately around the Book of Mormon. Our purpose as missionaries is to bring people to Christ, but I trully believe that that is another way to say bring people to a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It is absolutley everything to our beliefs and testimonies. The Book of Mormon is fascinating. Anyway, yesterday there was a minor riot outside of our chapel. Nobody tell my mom. . . Anyway all of these people were trying to get into this house. The police were holding them back and I belive, not sure, but believe they were arresting someone that the people obviously didn't like. They were throwing things and yelling and flooding the house. It was crazy. The work is pretty hard right now. We're having a hard time connecting with and finding investigators. Maybe that's why we have the sudden change. IDK. We still are working with tons of less actives. I hope we can get some reactivations this month and maybe find some good solid investigators. I can't believe it's already the 8th of September. Time is starting to fly faster and faster all the time. So exciting! Another thing that's exciting is I'm about to hit three months and still no diarrea, not one time. Take that strange seafood from Ecuador. I'm having a really good time here. It's super hot but I met a couple of gringos that are visiting Ecuador, so it was nice to speak a little bit of English haha. The language is coming well though. I'm improving everyday. Hopefully someday I'll be able to understand everything said to me. So for some reason the pictures are being difficult, idk why but all of the sudden I'm having difficulties sending them home. I'm going to try agian today but idk. Dad I'm glad to hear the Red Sox and the Packers aren't playing great while I'm gone. Hmmm, well this is about what happened this week. I hope the pics work this week. I love you all so much. There is a cool video called Scripture Legacy that you should all go watch. It's awesome but it's 20 minutes so it's kind of long, but it's great. I love you all so much. I look forward to your letters in the future. Hasta Luego!
A great week, street contacting doesn't work, and a challenge for back home: find one contact for missionaries and read the B of M for five minutes a day!!!!!
Hola everyone. What's going back home? How's America. Is there still water coming out of your showers? Do your toilets still flush? I had a great week this week. Not so much with the work but as a whole it was a good, quick week. We had meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, so we didn't do a whole lot of work, but I enjoyed meeting with the president. I met Elder Caden Kerby. He's the one that I read about with the blogs a lot before my mission. He is the coolest kid ever! Seriously we see life through the same lens. He grew up a lot like I did, so were pretty good friends. I'd love to work with him in the future. Maybe in six weeks. I travel to Quito this week, so this week will go by quick as well. For the work, we had a great month for August, two baptisms and six reactivations, but it's rough right now. I learned this week why street contacting is the last method you use to find people and why the members are first. Every one of our street contacts I was hopeful has pretty much fizzled out, and were going to have start clean and go from there. Nothing here seems to work well unless it's through members, so we are planning to work with members a ton in the coming weeks. So, for all who read this family or friends following this, I challenge you to find a non- memeber friend anywhere in the world and TELL THE MISSIONARIES where to find them, a little about them and anything else that might help because street contacting, at least here in Ecuador is not a solid method. Especially you guys out of monticello, just find one person. I never understood before my mission what members can actually do, but now we try to work through the members so much it's crazy. So just one person. Do it. So this week I learned some cool things about the Book of Mormon and why it's so important for lasting conversion. I was reading the vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi. In 1 Nephi 8:30 it says" they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of Iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. So two questions, What EXACTLY does the "rod of Iron" and the "fruit of the tree" represent.
First, the "rod of Iron" in 1 Nephi 11:25, it says " and I beheld this rod of Iron. . . was the word of god which led to the tree of life or the "fruit of the tree". But more specifically what is the word of god? I'm going to go out on a limb and say the scruiptures. Now what is the "fruit of the tree of life?"
In 1 Nephi 8:12 dice " and I partook of the fruit therof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy. And in the back end of 1 Nephi 11:25 "I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God." So now we know that the iron rod is the scriptures and words of the prophets in our day, and the fruit of the tree of life is the love of god, which leads to to "exceedingly great joy." And like it says in 1 Nephi 25:11 the rod of iron leads to the tree of life. Essentially the Book of Mormon is the thing we have to "continually press forward" with or we cannot stay converted. Like it says in 1 Nephi 15:23-24, when nephi explains it to Laman and Lemuel, " What meaneth the rod of Iron that lead to the tree?" 24 "It is the word of God, and whoso would hearken unto the word of god, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish, neither could the temptation and fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them to destruction." Now I would hope that everyone reading this would take five minutes a day to read the Book of Mormon at the very least because without the Book of Mormon, we, as the Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints, are no more than another religion claiming to be the true church. Without the Book of Mormon, we have nothing. I honestly and trully know that the Book of Mormon is true because I've found out for myself. I also know that the hinge on our success as missionaries is largely on whether or not our investigator reads the Book of Mormon or not. We have to "cling" to the Book of Mormon in this life. And I say "cling" like in 1 Nephi 8:24 because the powers against us are great. This whole thing made me think of two Mormon messages. "Mountains to climb" and "The hope of God's light." I want you guys to go watch both because they are really powerful. The other thing about this all, is the Book of Mormon can bring us back onto the path if we ever lose it as well. I know that to be true. Anyway this week we had struggles with keeping track of our keys. Two days in a row we lost them and were stuck so that was pretty rough. We were fortunate both times to locate them fairly quickly but I' d prefer not to go through that again. Last night we were walking home around 8 pm and this guy started yelling at us and he had this glare on his face that just looked angry. Plus he was high on drugs, but we just ignored him and kept walking. My comp told me that they used to teach him and that he wanted to be baptized but during the interview they found out he had spent time in jail for. . .for what.. for murder. . . Murder! So I think I'm going to stear clear of that guy in the future. We haven't had water come through our house for awhile, so were about to enter crisis mode again which I'm not excited for. So we have been teaching a less active member but he hasn't made a bit of progress. His wife had a baby two weeks ago, so weve been hammering the plan of salvation and families like crazy! He never really wanted to say prayers or read scriptures and definitely not attend church. Well this last Sunday we walked into church and he was sitting in his shirt and tie with his family! I had to check my eyes for a second but he was there. And last night we went by to visit them, and he volunteered for the opening prayer. We watched a short video on temples and how he can be sealed to his family forever and everything, and he and is wife readily made the goal to attend the temple. They commited happily to read the Book of Mormon and pray everyday and attend the church every week. I really hope they keep going with this. There was definitely something very different about them last night though and my comp and I are pretty excited for him. I'll keep you updated on him. Well that's pretty much what's going on right in Esmeraldas! Remember to watch the Mormon messages and ALWAYS read the Book of Mormon! I love you guys. Hasta Luego
This blog is dedicated to Easton Nielson's mission to Ecuador Quito North Mission.