Monday, March 25, 2013

Santa Monica Ward - Guayaquil Ecuador

Hello Family!!! How are you all doing? This week has been a pretty great week. I got my package and my drivers license along with some letters on tuesday because all the new missionaries had interviews with President Montalti at the office. Thanks so much for the package. Last Saturday we did not have any baptisms but this Saturday we will have one. Wilmer Erraez is our investigator. He is a funny guy but he has gone to church the past two sundays and has his baptismal interview this week so I should have my first baptism this Saturday. I am pretty excited. We eat at members houses for every lunch. The food is actually pretty good. It is chicken and rice almost everytime with verdes which are bannana slices that are smashed and fried like chips or french fries. They are actually pretty good. The only problem with the food is they give you so much of it. They start off with a bowl of soup which could be the whole meal but then they give you a huge plate of food. It is tough to eat it all but it is getting easier. How we do our laundry is there is a lady in the ward that we pay four dollars a week and she washes our clothes. It is actually pretty nice not having to wash it ourselves. It has been pretty darn hot here this week. I swear I am always soaking wet, it is kind of gross. It has not really rained much here this week either. It is crazy the snow that you guys got this past weekend. Dad, thank you so much for the pictures they are awesome. The bathroom looks awesome. I wish I could see it for real but I will later. One thing that is different here is the ward parties. This past week was ward conference and so that had activities every night. We went to the talent show because they had invited a lot of nonmembers. We did not get to see the talent show because it was supposed to start at 8 but did not start until nine so we had to go but there ward parties go until midnight or 1 or 2 in the morning. It is crazy. They also had hotdogs with this sauce on them. They were actually pretty good. Add them to the list, Chicago Dogs and Guayaquil Dogs. Anyways I hope you guys have had a wonderful week. I love you all and miss you all greatly. I wish sometimes you guys were here with me but I know that cannot be. All the challenges of the mission are definately worth it. The spiritual experiences make it all worth it. I love you all so much.

Love, Elder Benjamin Berg Duzett

 Here is a picture from the Peru MTC that Ben's teacher sent us.


Monday, March 18, 2013

First Email from Ecuador!

Santa Monica Ward, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Hello Family!!!! How are all of you. I made it to Ecuador. It has been a crazy experience already. The plane ride was actually great. It was great to get two hours to just sit and do nothing. When I got here we took a bus to a church nearby the airport. President Montalti talked about keeping our objective in our minds and we got our companions. My companion is Elder Hoskins. He is great. He is from Idaho so he can speak english, which is always helpful. Unfortunately, I have not received my package or my drivers liscense yet. For packages that you guys send you have to pay the import taxes and put the green sticker saying you did so or else the packages get stuck in the post office and it costs like fifty dollars to get it out. And you have to get permission which can take forever. So I don't know if I will get them. I am not sure. My first area is pretty close to the airport and it is called Santa Monica. It definately is a culture shock for sure. When first walking into our apartment I was like seriously I have to live here but then after seeing what people in the area were living in I love the apartment. The food here tastes pretty good. It is always pollo and rice. And they always start off with a bowl of soup which is crazy because it is 1 million degrees outside. It rains here everyday which gets pretty crazy. One night we were out and it started pouring and the rain filled up the streets. Water was up to our knees. It was crazy we just had to walk right through it. The people here are awesome. The people is what makes it all worth it. We don't have any baptisms this saturday but the next saturday we should have 3, hopefully!!! Yesterday we went with the ward on visits. I went with the ward mission leader, Hermano Rios. He is a way cool guy. We visited an inactive lady who had her mother living with her. Her mother is 99 yrs old. It was crazy. She asked us to give her a blessing so I anointed the oil, in Spanish, which was a little dificult. My spanish is coming along alright. It is difficult to understand when people talk super fast but I'm picking up more and more. Also my music player got soaked because of rain the first day I was here and no longer works. It is unfortunate. I am always wet here. It is so humid and always sweaty. Also, I am having a guy make leather cases for my scriptures and other things and also a missionary bag thing because backpacks make your back super sweaty so I am going to need to use money from my card from home. Anyways I love you all so much. I miss you guys all so much. That is definately the hardest part of the mission is missing you all greatly. I hope you have a great week. One scripture for this week is D&C 84 verse 88. It talks about how missionaries will be safe, which is great for me because I worry all the time. Anyways love you Tons!!!
Love, Elder Benjamin Duzett

(P.S. Sent to Dad)
Thanks for the pictures. I love to see pictures of you guys. We get 160 dollars a month. Its about five dollars a day. It is not bad. Anyways I love you so much.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13 - Off to Ecuador - The Adventure Begins!!

Yesterday was the big day!! Ben flew from Lima to Guayaquil, Ecuador.  He called us from the Lima airport with his leftover Peruvian coins.  We were able to talk to him for a few minutes. He was excited to head out to begin his missionary work.  He said it was hard to say goodbye to the other missionaries, especially his companion who got on another plane to head to a mission in Peru.  He was traveling with the one sister from his district.  She is also going to the Guayaquil South Mission.  Ben was proud that he made it through the CCM experience.  He was part of the first group of missionaries in a new program.  He also said he enjoyed proselyting while in the CCM.  We look forward to hopefully hearing from him next Monday on his P-day to find out who his companion is and where he is assigned to labor. Here are a few excerpts from the letters we have received from him while he was in the CCM:

"I play a lot of basketball with the Latinos, it is a lot harder, they do not know the definition of a foul.  It is hac-a-Shaq all the way up the court.  They also travel and double dribble every time, it 's hilarious. but gym time is a time I look forward to almost everyday."

"Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go proselyting for the first time.  It was amazing to see the circumstances that the people live in.  I am so glad to live in America.  I am so grateful for mom;s cooking, wow I would die for one of her meals right about now.  It was cool to finally be able to be an actual missionary.  It was pretty crazy.  They just dropped me and my companion for the day, Elder Bonilla in an area.  Then it was up to us.  I was able to place 2 Books of Mormon.  It was cool to knock doors. It was hard to know what was a house and what was an abandoned pile of cement.  I decided we should knock  on this one door.  He was actually an inactive member whose wife has been taking the missionary discussion before they moved to where they live now.  They said they had not seen the missionaries where they are living now."

"The Latin people are so kind and loving.  I don't know if I told you this already but Elder Casanova, who is now in the field, asked Elder Stanley and I to be the best men at his wedding.  The new group of Latins are awesome as well.  Last night they all gave me a piece of their money from their country and they all signed it.  It was awesome.  The new Latins are calling Elder Stanley and I Latinos."

"I went proselyting yesterday for the second time.  It was pretty crazy.  It was a pretty slow day.  nobody wanted to listen to us.  It seemed like nobody was home and when they were they just ignored us.  My companion and I  were able to teach 3 lessons.  One to a lady in the park whose sister was a member, she was a pretty good contact.  We also taught a lady who was outside he house, she was super interested but she would not give us her name or address because her husband would be mad that she was talking to us.  I bore my testimony to her in Spanish and taught a little about the Plan of Salvation in Spanish which was cool but then my companion testified to her about the gift of tongues because I was able  to speak Spanish to her.  It was really cool to have one of the Latins testify about me.  I already have stories about proselyting.  One little boy thought I was a monster because I was the tallest person he had ever seen and I was a gringo.  He walked up and punched me right in the stomach.  It was funny. He was a cute little guy."

 Here are some pictures, thanks to Elder Moore and the CCM staff!!

Some Elders in the CCM!!

One of the Branches in the CCM

Ben's CCM District

Another Branch in the CCM

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5 - Peru Week 5

Hello Family, Thank you so much for all of the love and support.This week has been pretty great. It has been really hard but it has still been great. The spiritual experiences and the thought of our family being together forever is what keeps me going during the hard times. I am going to be fine here. I do leave 1 week from today. I don't know when my flight leaves but I am pretty sure that I leave the C.C.M around six a.m. to go to the airport. Maybe I will be able to call you guys but it would be pretty early back there is Salt Lake. I am so excited to hear that Steve got his mission call. That is so awesome. He will be a great missionary. I am so excited to actually get out into the field in 1 week. It will be great to be able to actually do what I came out here to do and that is share the gospel with others. I don't know when I will be able to hear back from you guys but I just want all of you to know how much I love you guys. I miss you all so much. That is the hardest part about being here is being away from those that I love the most. Thank you so much for you prayers and for your continued love and support. A scripture section that you guys may want to study this week is Alma 7: 10 through 16. It is a great section that talks about the Atonement and how Christ suffered through all of our afflictions. Mom do not worry about how your lesson went. If you testified of the Atonement, I know that the spirit was there. I know you and I know that you invited the spirit. It was just whether the girls decided to listen to that spirit or not. Well I hope all of you are doing great. Although I may have tough times I know that this is the place I am supposed to be. Next time I talk with you guys hopefully I will be in Ecuador or at least in the airport in Peru. I'm not sure about calling from the airport so I would not expect me to but do not be scared if you get a call around 4 in the morning on tuesday. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week. I have been sending actual letters every week so hopefully you guys are getting them. I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Benjamin Berg Duzett