Called To Serve

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission. August 2014 ~ August 2016

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I don't have much to report this week since we pretty much lost two days worth of time because we were in Guayaquil on Tuesday & Wednesday for a capatacion from the president. 

 We thought we were going to stay at a hotel right across from the temple and have nice hot showers for the first time in 3 months, but instead we were at the house of the assistants and they don't have hot water either, so that was sad. We did have a lunch without rice for the first time in a long time. That was interesting.

We went to the temple Wednesday morning and I understood a lot more of what was going on than I did the first time I went. That's good since the first time I went was on my second day in Ecuador. Then we had our meeting from president. Then we got right back onto the bus to Quevedo. We were in a bus for 8+ hours in the span of 24 hours.That was fun.

We did a service project here this week. We helped one of the families that give us lunch a lot move stuff from their old restaurant to their new one. 

Oh yeah, and we're getting ready to do a little Christmas concert with all the missionaries from Quevedo. We had our first practice Sunday and the song we're singing is an arrangement that David Archuleta did, so I started the rumor that David Archuleta was going to come sing with us, and so many people actually believed me... it was super funny.

So my camera is actually living, sort of, it's really messed up though. It doesn't have flash, and the screen to see what you're taking a picture of doesn't work, so I still need a new one, but I did get a few pictures. 

This is Mateo. We call all the hermanas that make us food and do our laundry our mamitas, but Mateo is our papito! This guy is super cool. He used to be the Ward Mission Leader, but now hes a big shot, he's the Stake Mission Leader. He always makes sure we're taken care of. We have lunch with him every other Sunday, and this Sunday he gave us big ol' hamburgers and it was awesome. It was his birthday this week so we planned a little surprise party and it was super fun.

Elder Arnell and I were playing tic-tac-toe on the window with socks. This is his face when he realized that he lost. Elder Arnell was on cambios with Elder Maggy.

So we found this tree in the apartment. I'm pretty excited. I was going to have to buy one, but luckily we already have one. 
Merry Christmas!


Monday, November 17, 2014


First answers to some questions…

There’s 6 missionaries in my district right now, 4 Elders and 2 Hermanas. Well, really there’s 8, but 2 are zone leaders so they aren’t involved in district meetings. They’re usually preparing for zone meetings. There’s 16 missionaries in my zone, 10 Elders and 6 Hermanas, 8 are gringos. In the mission there’s something like 250-ish missionaries. It's fairly difficult to keep track of people. There’s a lot more rumors about transfers than anything. Like oh yeah, I heard this Elder is here or there, but nothing is really for sure. My companions from the MTC are just outside of Guayaquil los dos. I only know that because they emailed me. The other two Elders from my MTC district are fairly close. One is just a zone over from me so we see each other at the mall sometimes, and the other is about an hour away from me. He’s in the middle of nowhere, but I've still seen him 3 times.

It is super hot right now, but from what I've heard I’m in one of the most mild areas in the entire mission and I arrived during the coolest part of the year, so pretty much I think I have 2 straight years of sweating ahead of me. We live in a flat in an apartment building. We have 4 rooms and 4 missionaries, but we use one room for sleeping, another for studying, one for storage, and the last one is a little relaxing room. We walk pretty much everywhere, or when its a long walk take a taxi. Taxis are super cheap here. I’ve only paid more than $1 like twice. The church buildings are pretty much the same except they don’t have carpet. Nothing has carpet here. That’s one strange thing I miss. The only place I’ve been with carpet is the temple.

Pretty much I hear nothing of the news down here. The only thing I know is that the new Hunger Games movie is about to or already has come out, and that’s because I saw an ad on a bus. So yeah... that’s the answers to your questions. 

On to my letter from this week, but I have no pictures to send you… broken camera. :(

This week we made some French Toast! I was super excited, but then I was super disappointed because the syrup here is really not good. Pretty much it’s flavored water. So that was kind of disappointing.

We also started teaching about Christmas this week. That was super strange. No Thanksgiving here, so we pretty much got right into Christmas after Halloween. We have a cool lesson with a story about a little ceramic nativity scene and a two year old who rearranges it to put Jesus in the middle. Its pretty cute. In truth this week was pretty slow though.

 The ward had an activity this Saturday. There was a little thing where each class made a plate of food typical from Ecuador. There was a lot of rice! But the missionaries also made food. Elder Ulloque made empanadas, Elder Magallones made some sort of salad stuff with a super delicious dressing, and I made Rice Krispie Treats. Elder Badham didn’t have anything to make so we split the R.K.T. I was glad I remembered something I didn’t need a recipe for. So yeah. That was a really fun thing.

There was also a Talent Show after the food. It was interesting. Pretty much all the talents were dancing to a song. There were some interesting choices that I’m not quite sure were Church appropriate... There was one kid who showed some real talent. He sang a song and he was super good. The Young Single Adults did something pretty funny. They did a skit that was like a Dr. Phil type thing. Not exactly Dr. Phil. Its was like one of the shows that have the couples who come out and then just fight about something. I currently cant remember the name of one. I’m having a really hard time remembering names of any shows and I’m pretty much sheltered from all that kind of stuff. Anyway, it was funny. We performed a song about missionary work. It was really fun and pretty much one of the best acts of the night if I may say so myself.

So last night we were absolutely stuffed with food. We had three different dinners. We had a Noche de Hogar with one family and they gave us food, then we went to our usual dinner appointment, then we were given dinner by a menos activo family we’ve been working with. So yeah 3 dinners. That would always be awful, but what made it worse was we were running late so we had to eat super fast! Yeah.... That’s my week.


Editorial Note: Tanner sent this letter last week like he was supposed to, I just forgot to post it. 
Oops, sorry!

Starting off... my companion got called as District Leader. He’s super young to be District Leader so its pretty cool. He has his first baptism interview tomorrow. In our zone we got 5 new missionaries. 3 Elders: Elder Alguerra, Elder McMinn, and Elder Badham. Elder Alguerra is the new Zone Leader, McMinn and Badham are babies straight from the MTC, and then there are two new hermanas. Pretty fun stuff. The new guy in my apartment is Elder Badham. He’s from Utah, so yeah, another Gringo. He got here Wednesday really late at night and we have had a pretty busy week this week, so in honesty I haven’t had much time to get to know him yet, but he seems nice and all. 

This Thursday there was a baptism for a kid in the ward who turned 8. Elder Magallones, Badham, Ulloque and I went to it and it was funny because they asked us to sing a special musical number. We sang himno 181 in the Spanish Himnario but to the music of Come Thou Font and if I may say so myself it was quite good. There was also cake there which was super nice :) 

On Saturday we went to the temple with our ward and it was super fun. We had to get up at 3 in the morning to meet at the Bishops house at 4 and leave Quevedo by 4:30. So interesting story, Elder Badham and I realized we forgot our temple recommends, so we had a mad dash back to the apartment then back to bishops house to the bus, except the bus wasn’t there anymore! We called the other Elders and found out the bus was like half way across our sector and we had to run all the way over there to catch the bus. Yikes! Pretty much everybody slept on the bus, but for some reason I couldn’t so I just looked out the window, and I swear we drove for like 30 minutes with nothing but banana trees. Insane. The temple was pretty relaxed. We did a session then helped a member from our ward who doesn’t have legs get around. It was nice to have a relaxing day. We also saw Elder Gray there. He is like 6 minutes from the temple now so he came to see a family that he worked with who came with us. Yeah.

For P Day today we did something super cool. We went to Siete Cascadas (Seven Waterfalls) as a zone. It was crazy cool! The "bus" we took was super sketchy and the road was super bumpy but it was still super fun! We were way back in the jungle and we only saw like 3 or 4 other people all day. It was so green there it was crazy. We didn’t get to see all 7 waterfalls because that’s a really long hike and we didn’t have time, but we saw 3 of the big ones and a couple more small ones. We trekked up to one of the waterfalls and took some pictures, ate some food and had a little testimony meeting. When we went back down the mountain we went a super insane way and a ton of people fell a lot so that was a little scary. I fell in one of the little pools at the base of a waterfall. I was totally fine, just a little wet, but my camera was in my pocket. Luckily the memory card and battery are fine but the camera is dead. So yeah. Whoops. I want to send a lot more pictures but I’m out of time. We need to find a better way to send pictures because I was really afraid I had lost all of them today when my camera got wet.

This is transfer day and we went to the bus station with Elder Gray. There were about 30 Missionaries there. Craziness!

Picture from Temple trip 

Siete Cascadas

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 Happy Halloween! So Halloween wasnt much of a holiday for me this year, really just another day. When we got back to the apartment we could hear a ton of people going to parties, and we have a bar right across the way, so that was pretty loud. The big holiday here is the two days after Halloween though. Its called Dia de los Muertos. Pretty much its two days that everybody goes to the cemetery to visit and to remember their relatives that have died. We have a cemetery in our area so we walked by and it was absolutely insane, there were so many people! But it was a slow week for us. We had very few lessons because many people left town. Also, we had like no one at church on Sunday cause they were all at the cemetery.

We did bring one person to church. He is less active and his name is Angel. He has some major physical disabilities and has a hard time getting there, so my companion and I helped him. We practically had to carry him up the steps from his house to the main road. He was really excited to come, so were going to try to set up a member to go pick him up on Sunday Mornings.

To answer a few questions...  Im not really in the jungle at all. Thats why I was so excited to find some forest and had to take that picture. Im in a big city. My area is in the middle of the city, mostly apartment buildings and buisneses, and then a little bit of the middle of nowhere. The people dress pretty normal, its a lot of shorts and tank tops cause its so dang hot.

Elder Gray got transferred today. he was a good friend and I was sad to see him go. He was packing and found an Australian and American flag that he had forgotten about. So yeah, we took pictures. Its exciting though because his companion Elder Magallones is going to train a new missionary. They should arrive here Wednesday night. Yeah thats about all the news this week.

Oh yeah. We got facials :)