Saturday, December 9, 2017

Week 68 - Light the World

This was a festive week. We had the mission Christmas party, which was so special. We spent all day talking about Christ and lots of emotional, spiritual things during the morning. After that we had a break and started in on the gift exchange and games! I got that weird looking blue doll thing. I don’t know what it is or what it does and, to be honest, I think it ended up going home with someone else at the end of the day.
We played an awesome game on charades (sp?) and that was fun. I drew lots of interesting things like Spiderman and Otavalo during my turns but it was all funny and tons of fun. Elder Morton and I had a really good guessing connection going on.
Other photos have to do with the “Ilumina el mundo” campaign we are focusing on right now. We baked and frosted a bunch of cookies and then went to a bus station to pass them out and spread Christmas love. We had some really interesting conversations with all different kinds of people. While we were there, a bus rolled up at the red stoplight and we asked to board and share our cookies and a message with everyone. The bus driver said yes after taking a cookie for himself - it was all around awesome.
The new faces in my photos are Elder Aquino – a super cool guy from Paraguy – and Elder Welch from Tulcan who is back with me here now in the office! It is awesome. The girls and other two dudes are the rest of our district. The burgers were from the Chilean neighbor who lives above us. They were so good, oh my!
Today’s p-day activity was epic. We went to the Teleferico and hiked and explored all around the mountain. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and was a wonderful experience. For reference, Cayambe is taller which should give a pretty good reference about how tall it really is the day we went up there. We now want to go climb to the top of that mountain (Pichincha). After hiking we went to SUSHI!!! It was so good! I was really in denial about how much I had been longing for those flavors. I’ll be going to Japan within a few years if anyone wants to tag along. 
I love every day I’m having out here and I can’t express enough about how everything I’m doing has helped and purified me. I also love you all of course and hope that you’re all well. 
Much love,

Elder Ericksen

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Week 67 - The Value of Good Influences

Great news! Elder Castagno (pictured right of Adam above) is my new companion!!!!!! It has been amazing, like living with my best friend. We have a big Christmas planned out and are trying to buy a Christmas tree. We have been eating the Christmas cookies and loving life. I’ll send photos next week.

This past week was crazy week a.k.a. transfers week. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t get way stressed out, because I did for a little bit. We went to the airport like 3 times dropping people off and getting everything all situated and sleep hasn’t been a thing this week. People were in our house all week, which was fun! I had to ship off a really good friend, Elder Vela, and that was super sad, but I know he’s doing well and is happy to be continuing his life back in Texas. 

Its Quitofestival right now and its been crazy in the streets. Not normal crazy, Latin America crazy. People ride around on these big open bus rigs and sing, dance and drink. It’s really lively. Today we saw a little parade. It’s also mango season. I promise there is nothing like the flavor of a ripe’s indescribable. We can get 4 for $1 US dollar haha.

This week I just want to share that I love the gospel. One reason Elder Castagno is such a good friend is because he’s such a good influence on me. Every day has been a lesson about how we always need to do the right thing, and that it needs to come from within us to mean something. It so remarkable how our natures can change, I see myself wanting to do good and wanting to be better everyday about things that really didn’t call my attention in the past. I feel so happy about that.

We are doing lots of stuff with the light the world campaign and it feels so good! There is a woman who always sits outside the office, working for a parking company and she always looks so sad. Yesterday I went up to her and said "I always pass by you and we’ve never met...what is your name?" We talked for a moment and gave her a pass along card and I said that I hoped she had a good day. It was so genuine, I don’t know, I just felt so happy and good afterward. Christ lives and he fills us with light as we try to be disciples of Him.

I love you and hope you have an excellent week. Merry Christmas. Let’s all love Christ and His church.

- EE

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week 66 - Ecuadorian Thanksgiving!

Well I started a letter but wasn’t able to finish. We’ve had lots of elders in our house this week for some meetings and we have been super busy getting things ready for transfers next week (a.k.a. crazy week). Oh and we’ve also been super busy preparing for Thanksgiving!
So happy thanksgiving everyone! We are just finishing our lunch and let me just say it was amazing. I hope you can tell from the photos…lots of food and lots of fun with the best of friends. Today we woke up at 6 am to go play our Turkey Bowl at this park called Parque Bicentenario. Look it up, it used to be the old Quito airport but now they’ve converted it into a big park with lots of bike riding space. Super epic.
After the park we came back and started cooking. I was in charge of the cheese potatoes and I made a banana cream pie. I succeeded wildy haha. It was perfect. We bought all the stuff last week and it just all came together amazingly. It’s been a great p-day!
Other big highlights...the ward talent show last night. Oh goodness how can I even describe. We put on three acts as the missionaries, including the singing of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” with modified mission lyrics. LEGENDARY.
I am really happy. I feel great all around. Elder Moon is leaving so I’ll have a new companion starting Monday. It will be great whoever it is.
So how are all you guys? How was thanksgiving? The food looked great!
I love you all, have an amazing week.

- Elder Ericksen

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Week 65 - Busy, Busy...

Hey family,

It's been in interesting day. I feel like I'm doing and experiencing more now more than ever but I'm communicating less of it. There just isn't much time to write.

We had a great P-day today. We went to a little watercolor museum and looked at the pictures intensely. I wish I was more artsy haha. I will try harder when I get back. After that we went to a members house where they gave us some very delicious lasagna, actually. I was surprised. After that we went to a park by our house and played frisbee. After writing we are going to buy food to make a Thanksgiving dinner and stuff. All in all, a great day. That's what I needed.

So Elder Moon will be leaving next week with transfers and I'll be all alone. I'm kind of nervous but I'm confident that I'll be receiving lots of help when I need it from above. All good.

I don't know... I'm doing well. I'm stressed about college and feel bad that I haven't been able to write more. There is no free time. I'm always up to the brim on things to do. This week I'm making a video for the Elders that are going home and get everything all organized for that. This last week elder moon and I made the mission christmas card. I'll send a copy. It's pretty cool.

I love you.
- Elder Ericksen

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Week 64 A Little Reflection

Dearest Friends and Family,
I’ve pondered quite a bit about what I want to share with you when talking about my 20th birthday.  And well, I have decided to just make a list of a few highlights and then after that I want to share some feelings.  It’s interesting that a week has now gone by and I am sitting with the perspective of looking back on the week.  I think it should help me get my point across to all of you.
Birthday highlights
  1. Elder Castagno:  This guy is awesome seriously.  When I woke up at 6:30 am like always, we got a text that he and Elder Cruz were outside.  We opened the door to find them standing there with hot Almohabanas (those buttery Colombian biscuits that I love.  Who knows how Elder Castagno figured out how to make them)   I was happy eating well.  Later we got dressed and went to work on our duties in the office.  I was sitting there on the computer looking at a financial report about mission credit cards, when all of a sudden, I  hear exciting chanting and laughter rolling out of the elevator as Elders Morton, Chevariaga, Cruz and Castagno come skipping and posing with cinnamon rolls.  We all loved it.
  2. President and Hermana Murphy: The excited moment calmed dow briefly and President and Hermana Murphy arrived and brightened up the moment more.
  3. Saca La Resaca:  Walking in they wished me a happy birthday and President announce that it’s not often that the office celebrates a birthday and that eh wanted to take us all out to lunch to a crowd favorite Saca L Resaca.  It is a coastal food restaurant and the name makes a reverence to getting rid of a hangover.  I am not sure what it means, but we all loved the food.  I am realizing that everything I have to say is about food.  I am sorry.
  4. Before ending my discussion of events I need to tell you about the amazing cake and song I had this year thanks to  Hermana Murphy.  It was very different than last year if you recall the photo of me sitting on that little bench with my set purchased cake.
Anyway, my feelings.  All in all this year was much less humble/simple than years past.  I really didn’t feel so out of the norm and I loved it!  I was so surprised and full of joy all day long and I will certainly never forget it.  All that being said, when I got home I was feeling different.  I felt relieved and really loved, but in the same instance I felt like the  kid who gets and A on a group project for just being part of the group even though he didn’t really do anything for it.  I felt like some sort of memory wanderer.  Stuck between to objectives.  I felt like I don’t matter or at least I shouldn’t matter.  Right now in these 2 years, I am not here for me.  It is the other for right now.  Another example:  Technically, I supposed to be writing essays for college and that is so well off and not part of of my brain.  It feels so against the grant be thinking of that far off time. At this point I would rather just going on living day by day here in Ecuador.  But life goes on.  I love guys.  This weeks let’s get everything done that we to, but also really focus on what is important.  Talk soon
Elder Ericksen

Other news
Today was another fun pday we went back to the woods and made a fire and cooked hotdogs with avocado and played more of that mountain cricket game. Ive been really enjoying it! We also had a baptism today which it always fun. it was a 9 year old girl. we got the mom to start going to church again and then she wanted us to teach her daughter and so we baptizes her. All good stuff.

If you look closely you can see the Grandpa Phil’s patented paper airplane being used even in Ecuador.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 63 - Well Don't Get Excited...

This has been the busiest week of the mission and I didn't get a chance to write. Here's a quick summary for my favorite people:

We had a visiting Area Authority 70, Elder Falabella, come to the mission and I was responsible for arranging so many things - mainly meals and catering and, wow, so much stuff. Our preparations paid off  and I was glad when it was over. His wife also accompanied him and it was all so awesome.

Today was P-day but it was consumed by our monthly leadership council meeting with the leaders of the mission. We secretaries and assistants went to the mission home early and prepared a big pancake breakfast for everyone before joining the meeting. It was a fun event. We finished around 2 and spent the remainder of our p-day bowling (in our suits) at the Quicentro. It was a BLAST. I will never stop repeating how much I love being with the best mission friends here in Quito.

In other news, I'm 20 now. I'll capture some of my thoughts on my birthday in my letter next week...just know that it was an awesome day! Hermana Murphy made it so special -- she baked me a cake!!!  I was so, so surprised and super happy when I saw it! She really is the best. In our council meeting today, a sister missionary who is going home next change expressed her appreciation for the love of Sister Murphy. I feel the exact same...she loves us all so much and its so apparent in all that she does for us.

So I need to go buy some groceries. I love and miss you all so much!!! Have a great week!