Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 78 - Pululahua


Lots has happened this week and it feels great. I am looking forward to a fresh change and week 1.
Carnaval was pretty boring this year compared to last year. We caught wind that it was crazy in other nearby sectors but in La Luz no pasó nada. In Comite del Pueblo the people were out and there was talk that some army guys were out trying to keep control on everything. But that sounds way different than anything I saw! I did hear a funny phone call that some sister missionaries got blasted with water on the coast. Maybe leave that out for the blog haha.
P-day was epic!!!!! We’ve had some pretty elaborate P-days lately. We went to this place called Pululahua and it turned out being one of the most photogenic places of all planet Earth. Essentially, it is this huge, inactive volcano that is now completely vegetated with thick  shrubbery and inhabited by people that form a small village in the valley. Super, super cool! Google this place. When Elder George and I arrived, there was this dude with a real live donkey all packed down looking. We thought wow that is an awesome picture prop, but then they started their journey going down the hill to go back to their homes because they’re habitants of the volcano pueblo. Super culture.
After the volcano adventure, we got pizza and we all ate too much food. I love Ecuador. I think that is going to be the topic of my next email, I love Ecuador. I love the mission.
I love you all lots. Know that I continue thinking and praying for your benefit. I hope we can all have an amazing week. Mine will be crazy with little sleep as we say goodbye to missionaries leaving and welcome the new ones coming in.

PS - Adam is still without a camera. Here's to hoping the replacement we shipped him arrives this week. :)


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Week 77 - A Mellow P-Day

Good afternoon family. How is everyone? How have we passed this week?
I’m doing super well. I’m staying super happy and more than anything making the most of every day.
Elder Aquino and I have been arising in the morning, telling each other that our days are going to be excellent, and doing lots and lots of exercises. Don’t be suprised or scared if I start to look really buff and attractive in the next few weeks J. If anyone has ideas of body weight workouts, send me an email.
Mom how are my finances? I have been spending a lot lately, ugh, which has me feeling bad because I try to live how the people live here. But Elder Castagno is leaving the office in a week and he has wanted to eat better than average lunches since he may no longer be in Quito. Let me know.
Today was a calm p-day. Elder Castagno wanted to go to Otavalo to buy some art things, so he took off early with Elder Millett. Elders George, Welch, Aquino and I went to the chapel to play basketball. We played for a while, and then I called President Murphy to invite him to come down the hill and play. He said "that’s perfect because I just put on my Saturday exercise clothes to work out...I’ll be right there." We played for a good 2 hours more with him, which was super fun. It’s good to have a calm-ish p-day every once in a while. After basketball President got us ice cream from Cyrano, the best ice cream store of Ecuador. Maybe it’ll come up on google.
So it’s Carnaval this coming week! People already have sprayed me with the foam from last year hahaha. It is going to be a boring couple of days since we aren’t leaving the house starting tomorrow until Tuesday. It’s a little sad because so much crazy and fun goes on all around the city. We’ll come back, I Know. Does anyone have ideas about what to do in the house?
Happy birthday, dad! I love you so much and am forever thankful for your letters and advice that have carried me through my mission. I am thankful for every sacrifice you make for our family. P.S. when I get back if the opportunity arises, I want to go to a seminary with you.
I love you all. And thanks for the photos of the Sombreros Mexican food.

Elder Ericksen
  • For those wondering (Hma Murphy), Adam reports that President Murphy "plays ball so well! He's taller than everyone."
  • Adam's camera has stopped working so no personal photos this week. We've shipped a new one through MissionontheFly which arrives next week. Fingers crossed for new photos soon. In the meantime, I boosted these from the mission facebook page. The top one is my favorite. - Scott


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Week 76- Don't Hesitate to Help

Dear friends and family,
It was a productive day and a productive week. In my studies, I have been pondering a lot about how we develop good character traits and how I can become a better person. I have always been under the impression that good character traits like humility, hope, charity, etc. we’re all interrelated in a kind of closed system. In other words, if I can be more humble I will by default be more loving and service-oriented. I still believe this is the case. However, the big break-through for me this week is how these traits are developed one moment at a time, taking on individual decisions, as they come, one by one.
On Wednesday night we met in the chapel with the youth in our ward to talk about how to not be afraid to share with others the happiness they have in their lives as a result of following Christ. Leaving the church building, we saw three little kids attempting to carry a large, heavy sack up a fairly steep hill. The sack eventually proved too heavy for them and fell, rolling end-over-end a couple of times before stopping as I watched. And in this simple moment I saw what I just mentioned about momentary decisions in action. Without thinking twice about it, my companion, Elder Aquino, ran over to help them and we ended up carrying the sack all the way up the hill to their house. (For those who are curious, it turned out to be a sack of animal feed…I don’t know what kind of animal.)
When a situation arises that presents a decision to be made like this, there are almost always a flurry of thoughts, a series of pros and cons that flood our conscience. In this situation, the cons sounded a little like: “oh, a sack of animal feed? That’s not very glamorous”…“what if the kids think that we’re creepy?”…“it’s late and we’re already pushing it to get home on time”...and…”uh oh, white shirts and ties, don’t talk to these guys.” The pros in my mind were: “oh they need our help, this is a weirdly dark street”…”oh, they need our help, they can’t lift that alone”…and…”we are missionaries and are supposed to be helping.” It all happened so fast. And this is exactly what I’m getting at. I am so incredibly thankful for Elder Aquino…he let all of the indecisiveness go and just acted immediately to do the right thing. And I felt so full of joy afterwards.
We have been teaching this super faithful 18-year-old man named Michael. He came to Church with a friend one Sunday a while back and we started teaching him. He wants to be baptized so badly after praying and reading the Book of Mormon. But his parents don’t want him to join the Church. This of course led to a discussion: “So Michael, what’s your plan to move forward?” I loved his reply: “Well I’m going to tell my dad that I want to be baptized because I know God will be with me and will help me.” No hesitation. No second-guessing. No over-thinking. He just acted on what he feels is right.
Let’s be like Elder Aquino. Let’s be like Michael Let’s all be defenders of what we know is true and right. And let’s help others without over-thinking or second-guessing. Without a doubt, it’s better this way. I love you all!

Elder Ericksen (adam.ericksen@myldsmail.net)
PS:
P-day was awesome. I just wanted to throw a little note in about this awesome place we went today. It is a little town called Cotacachi outside of Otavalo and the final destination was this amazing lagoon called Cuicocha. Seriously impressive, it is this huge blue water lake that has formed inside an old, inactive volcano. Nature is awesome. The town Cotacachi is also pretty famous because of their handmade leatherworking. There were tons of Americans! I love you all! I’m doing splendidly. That’s all I can say!




Saturday, January 27, 2018

Week 75 - Adios January

Well, I’m pretty sunbaked right now. We didn’t do much this p-day because we have a baptism at 5pm (a.k.a. we’re running out the door of the cyber right now to get there). We went early in the morning to play soccer with the office elders from the other (Quito South) mission. We won without a doubt. It was impressive J
The person is named Esperanza who will be baptized. What can I tell you about her? She has pinkish hair and before she was sort of evangelical. She is from Colombia – my favorite people. She prays very sincerely. She said that she prayed and knew the Church was true from the very first lesson we taught her. Ever since it’s been a race to finish all the lessons and plan her baptism. I love miracle investigators like that. I have baptized in every sector with every one of my companions and need to keep that up. 
I have really started to like my new area, La Luz. I feel like there are a lot of people to talk to here and we are never bored. I am also really happy to be with Elder Aquino! He is a great match for my humor and work ethic. We support each other through all of the weird things that can happen in the mission. There is this one dude in our ward who has this odd ire for the missionaries…for some reason he seems to think were all are vagos (lazy bums). Who knows, but Elder Aquino and I aren’t letting it get us down in the least.
I uploaded some photos today that represent well La Luz here in Quito. In other fun news (don’t freak out his mom), some street kid spray painted "Elder George" on a wall in front of a high school this week. I honestly think its so cool, haha, I want my name in spray paint.
Hello to my dad's seminary class. I'm happy that you’re able to hear a little about my mission and see some of my photos each week. If I could make a special comment to you, it would be that most people in the US are extremely, grossly unaware of how much sad things like child abuse, neglect, lack of respect for life, and poverty exist out here and how wonderful any life in the states is by comparison. Here the poor kids are thrown out into the streets to work as vendedores (sellers). The saddest part is they come up to you, really dirty, and beg that you buy whatever they have and you can’t possibly buy from everyone. And, even more sad, buying from them doesn't solve the problem, in fact it possibly hurts them more because their parents see the profit and make them work the streets even more. It kills me. Be happy. And thank your parents every day because, believe it or not, your lives are amazing. I’m always happy to receive emails if you have questions.
Happy Birthday, mom! I love you so much. You are perfect and all I have needed in my life and still very much so to this day. Know that I have nothing but the upmost respect and appreciation for you and for every Christ-like act of service you perform for all of the people around you every day. Every week, I see a little more of the millions of blessings and reasons to be happy that I have in my life. I love the mission. I love Ecuador. I love the people here. I love God. I love Jesus Christ. I love you family. Have an excellent week!
- Elder Ericksen