Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 20

Bueno, I don`t even know where to begin.

   This last week was pretty cool! We went to the Zone Leaders' apartment and all 12 of the Elders from our zone were there for Christmas. We weren`t allowed to leave. I think it has something to do with the people and their partying and stuff. Anyway, we spent that day just laying around, watching Disney movies, and eating all of the food that members brought us all day. We also had pizza! I was super excited.

We were allowed to Skype our families for an hour, and go out to eat dinner for an hour. But apart from that, were inside all day. I wish we would have been able to work, but I must admit that it was nice to relax for a bit. I made another audio log, but I forgot to bring it with me to the Cyber.

I spent a lot of time reading on Christmas. I read Jesus The Christ. Super good book, I highly recommend it. I have been trying to learn more and more about Jesus this holiday season since I`ve been spending the last 20 weeks trying to get people to come closer to him :)

They have some interesting traditions here for Christmas and New Year`s. On Christmas day, They stick these bamboo sticks about 25 feet high, into the ground. They had previously been sanded down really nice, and buttered up. Then they put prizes at the top of them, and people try and climb them in whatever way they can, and if they can do it, they get whatever`s at the top. It reminded me of Mulan, haha. And for New Year`s they make these things kind of like piñatas, called manigotes. Some are small, and some are 50 feet high, and on New year`s they set them on fire!!

Anyway, I promise I`ll write more next week, I had quite a few emails to respond to this week, and If I didn`t respond to you yet, know that I will, and that I`m grateful for your letters! I hope you all had a great Christmas. And I hope that you all spent some time remembering our savior this holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 18- New Companion

We had our Christmas activity in Guayaquil this Wednesday. Elder Moore and I went down on Tuesday. Only, Elder Moore didn`t come back. We had an emergency transfer, and I returned from the activity with Elder Criddle, from Highland, Utah (I don`t know why all of my companions are white)!
Elder Criddle has been out in the field exactly as long as I have. He speaks Spanish pretty well, and we`re working together in amazing unity. We have been contacting like crazy, and working hard every day to the point where we are exhausted upon our return home.
I leared a lot from our visit to Guayaquil and our visit to the temple. And I am learning a lot day by day.
Love you all. My companion has a nifty recording machine, so here`s an audio recording from the both of us (But mostly him) Merry almost Christmas!

Elder Najera

Check out the Audio Here:  Eric Starts talking at the 4:15 mark.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 17 All is Well In Manta

All is well in Manta.

Lucy´s baptismal date fell, for like, the 3rd time. But it´s fine. She´ll get baptized when she is ready. She´s learning super quick, and hasn´t had any challenges with anything, so maybe church assistance(attendance) is it.

This week we told a couple that the missionaries have been seeing for five months that if they didn´t turn in a certain paper that they need to get married by this week, we would stop passing by. A church member said he would pick them up and take them to the city hall but when the day came, the member never passed by his house. So we are going to see this couple again and give them another opportunity. I really hope we don´t have to drop them, but Elder Moore says that we´ve been seeing them for too long, and that they´ve let us down a ton :( We´ll see how it goes.

This week I had exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Rostaing from Peru. I learned a lot. And he made me recognize some of my strengths :)

This week we´re supposed to be going to Guayaquil. Should be fun!

Elder Najera

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 16- Rescued Christmas Tree

This week Elder Moore and I went on Exchanges with Elder Humphries and Elder Blanco. This is the third time that Elder Blanco and I have worked together in our area! He´s pretty much the third companion of Abdon Calderon.

We have been working with a new way of contacting called "He is the Gift". We have been handing out cards with the scripture John 3:16 on it, and we talk about Jesus Christ and how he is the ultimate gift from our Heavenly Father. There is also a cool video that we´ve been trying to watch with as many people as we can.

There´s not much to report this week. Everything´s going well, but it´s just sad that we haven´t been able to visit Carlos and Gaby, or Lucy this week. And Lucy didn´t come to church. But we´re going to have a pretty dang awesome Family Home Evening with her and another family tonight :)

We found a Christmas Tree thrown away and we carried upstairs, and Elder Moore spent half an hour brushing pidgeon poop and feathers off of it while I worked out some issues in the bathroom from some funny meat that a member feed us. I was too sick to even plan that night, and I retired to bed at about nine. But we have a Christmas tree in our apartment, and I am super excited :)

On Sunday, for the third hour, instead of everyone splitting up, we were all in the same class. A class taught by the branch mission leader, Elder Moore, and I. We showed them how having a member present helps investigators. We asked for a volunteer to come up and bear their testimony after Elder Moore and I did a practice lesson on one of the members. No one raised their hand to volunteer to be our member present. After an eternity of silence, CARLOS. OUR INVESTIGATOR stood up!! He bore his testimony with us. It was super cool. I hope I´m here in Manta when he gets baptized.

Today, Elder Moore, Elder Blanco, Elder Humphries, and I went with the Chalacan family to the beach. It was super fun! I´ll send photos next week :)

P.s. They couldn´t repair my camera :( It still takes photos, but I can´t see how they´re going to turn out before I take them. I´ll send some next week hopefully.

Elder Najera

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 15- This Sunday was great.

We went to Iliana´s baptism this week in Montecristi. The whole time we were singing or that someone was bearing their testimony, the bishop and one of the counselors was talking. Loudly. The person who was chosen to speak about baptism came to the front, read for less than a minute something taken from Gospel Principles about baptism, slapped on "In The Name of Jesus Christ. Amen", and sat down. The water was dirty, so many things were wrong. But despite all of that, there was no denying the fact that Iliana was the most perfect person in that room the second she got out of the water.

This entire week we went with a couple who are in their late 60s. The man, Cides, hasn´t been to church in over a decade. His wife usually asists, and she is the one who is making lunch for us on Wednesdays this month. Cides was sitting down with us eating, and we got talking. We´ve gone and seen him and his wife every other day for the past two weeks. This week we saw the fruit of our labors. I can honestly say that the happiest moment of my life was this Sunday seeing his wife sitting side by side with her husband. Seeing him take the sacrament, and start the process for forming an eternal family. It all started from the moment we arrived at the church building this Sunday and saw a kid sitting outside. He ran up to us and said "My grandpa came to church"! We couldn´t believe it. We walked inside to greet all of the people waiting for Sacrament meeting to start, and we couldn´t believe that Cides and Teresa were there together. I know that Teresa felt what we felt that sacrament meeting when their grandson stood on the podium during the primary program and shared a gospel principle. I know that they both felt it when their grandson would stand up and sing the primary hymns. And I know that everyone else there felt it, too.

Kids are so perfect. So innocent. So Christlike. I looked and I reminisced. I couldn´t believe that I had started out as one of them, and that I had grown up to be a missionary. This Sunday was great.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 14- Transfers have come and gone!

Transfers have come and gone! Elder Moore and I will be spending another 6 weeks at least together. I´m glad, because we are finally getting in the rhythm of things, and are working together in unity. I know that we´ll be an instrument in bringing to pass great things here in these six weeks.

Last P-Day we had a Family Home Evening with a member family, the Ward Mission Leader and his Wife, and a couple that we are teaching. We acted out the story of Nefi going to retrieve the Brass Plates. It was sick.

 Our investigators loved it, and they are making real progress. I don´t remember if I´ve already talked about them, but his name is Carlos, and he has been going to church every Sunday since we started teaching him. He already knows that things we teach are true. He´s felt a real answer from heavenly father, and he wants to be baptized. His girlfriend´s name is Genesis. She was baptized when she was 8, and hasn´t gone to church since the beggining of time. We are working to reactivate her, to baptize him, to get them married, to get them sealed with their daughter for time and all eternity, and to help them endure to the end. It took me a while, but I know that his is not a baptizing mission. This is a mission where we help families get to the Temple so they can make everlasting covenants with God.

This week we had exchanges again. AGAIN Elder Blanco came here, and Elder Moore went to work in Eloy Alfaro. I´m really happy that Elder Humphries and Elder Blanco are still in my zone and that we meet as a zone every week.

I´m so thankful that I will have hot water to shower in for another transfer. Elder Moore said that we have the only hot water in the zone. We went to Monecristi on Sunday so that Elder Moore could interview one of the sisters´ investigators for baptism. She is having surgery this week, and we gave her a blessing of health.

Oh, and something really funny happened this week. Elder Moore and I were walking down the street, when we passed some police vehicles in the middle of the road. As we kept walking, we noticed more a crowd of people standing on both sides of us. We continued walking, and the number of people on each side increased. After about 5 minutes of walking, we were worried about how we were going to get out of the street. We looked at the sea of people on either side of us when suddenly, we heard a drum line. We looked ahead, and beheld countless of young cheerleaders dancing heading straight toward us. We panicked! "Oh no, we can´t see this!" "Oh no, there are people here that are going to wonder what two Elders are doing watching this parade!" We both did a 180 turn, and beheld an old woman standing in the sea of people. She beckoned to us, saying, "Come this way!" We hurried to her, and a gap opened up between all of the people. We were free. A few minutes later we had dinner, and I tried salchipapas for the first time. They were too good.

Elder Naranja

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 13 - Another week, another destiny!

Another week, another destiny! This week we ended up having exchanges with the Elders from Eloy Alfaro. I was put with Elder Blanco, from Bolivia. He was really cool, and it was a good learning experience for me :) And I only got us lost like 3 times! But we got to all of our appointments, and got along swimmingly.

Elder Caicedo is with us right now in a temporary trioship while his companion is in Guayaquil. Apparently, he knows Dallin from the MTC. Small world.

Last Monday, we had a Family Home Evening at an Investigators house. We watched The Restoration and snacked on some Cheesecake Oreo Balls that we made for them. They were TOO good. At the end of the night, we asked one of the investigators to do the prayer, and he almost started to cry as he prayed. On Sunday he shared this experience with us and told us he finally knew what the Holy Ghost felt like.

Also, I´m not sick anymore! All in all, it´s been a pretty great week. Elder Moore and I have started planning differently every day, and it´s working out a lot better for us. We had to drop Arnaldo :( It was sad, but we´re planning on visiting him again in a few weeks.

This week, we found a woman named Narcissa. She was visiting her parents here in Manta from Quito. Apparently, the Mission Offices or Mission Home in Quito are right above her home! Super weird! She said they always invite her to church, but she´s never gone. We´ve taught her like 3 different lessons and she LOVES our messages! We got her info and are referring her to the missionaries in Quito :)

Our singing doesn´t sound quite as well with Elder Caicedo with us, but it´s all good as long as they can feel the Spirit.

Elder Najera and Elder Blanco

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 12 Simple Pleasures: Zone Conference, Carls Jr., Despicable Me and finding Israel.

Let me just start off by saying that being sick while on the mission is not my cup of tea. I`ve been having "Tummy Problems". And I`ve finally learned what it`s like to use another person`s bathroom in a third world country.  Not pleasant.  Anyway! This week was exciting. We had a Multi Zone Conference and got to hear our mission president talk. He was powerful. I realized just what a blessing it is to speak Spanish and English fluently.

I also realized how weird it is for two white guys to be together. Elder Moore and I were the only ones. There was ANOTHER Elder Najera. Though not so white. I got a picture with him :)

This Monday we stopped buy Carl`s Jr. to get some food and got to eat it while watching Despicable Me with the whole zone :) I was super happy.

I`ve been told that we`re supposed to be "Looking for Israel" Well... We found him! This week we found a guy named Israel, and we've been teaching him and his girlfriend Gabriela. We also talked about marriage with them and they have been the first couple I`ve seen actually have the desire tobe married! Most couples here are together for a long time and have kids but never bother to get married. That's been our biggest struggle this week with all of the people we`ve taught. Keep praying for us!

Multi Zone Conference


Elder Najera and Elder Najera
Simple pleasures of Carls Jr.

And Despicable Me