Monday, September 14, 2015

Email 09/14/2015 The LAST One

Well this is my LAST week. This is my LAST email. In my LAST area. With my LAST companion.
    The time here in Ecuador has been really great and I would'nt change these experiences for the world. But lets talk about this last week that we just had.
   So this last week was like this: Walk, Teach, Eat, Repeat......I think that I have gained more weight in this last week than I have in all my mission combined. But I just love the people here. They are all sad that I am leaving and I am sad to be leaving them. I love the ecuadorean people.....Well some anyway hahahahha. 
  Oh and if you didn't know thevolcano hasn't blown up yet but it looks like its getting worse. I hope I'm in the plane watching as it blows up, that would be cool.
  Ha yeah so anyways all is good here and now I don't have much more to say. I'm excited to see everyone again and I can't wait, but I am also gonna miss thisa lot
Love Ya ALL 

Elder Rodriguez

Volcano Cotopaxi heaten things up. 

Just me! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Email 09/07/2015 2 More Weeks

Well this week will be short as to writing but a lot has happened and I feel spiritually drained.
     My companion and I have been working really hard and it seems like all the members are giving us references and want us to teach them even when they live outside of our sector.
   This last week many people have been asking me how I feel, thinking I might be really home sick, but I'm really not. Infact I'm a bit sad that I don't have more time to help all the péople here. But most of all I feel GRATITUDE. I am so thankful for all the blessing that I have recieved and am continuing to recieve thanks to this mission and thanks to my God. I know what I am doing is His work. And I know that those who listen to our message will never regret it.

I love ya all PEACE!

Elder Rodriguez 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Email 08/31/2015 Awaking Mother Earth

   Well the volcano hasn't exploded yet but it caused 3 other volcanos to become active also..............I think Mother Earth has something against Ecuador hahahaha. Just hope it erupts before or after I go home. 
   Anyway this week has been a bit uninteresting. This week we did get to meet 2 Elders from the quorum of the 70. Elder Soarez (from Brasil and is member of the presidency of the 70) and Elder Uceda (President of the area 70) and that was really cool. Oh If your not a member of the church those guys are a big deal.  So in that meeting our whole mission was there and most of the other mission came as well. That means that my 3 sons were there. We all took a family picture together. 
   So that's really the most exciting thing that has happened this week. I promise there are pictures to come! 


Elder Rodriguez

P.S. Send money🎅

The Volcano.

My 3 sons, Elder Flores, Elder Valentine & Elder Zapana.
(Oldest Valentine, Middle Flores & Baby Zapana)

We bought some Ties.

Goofing off.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Email 08/24/2015 My Last Time in the Water, His First

Well this week was really great. Elder Zapana and I have been working like crazy to help as many people as we can in this sector and we got the fruits of our labors. This Saturday we had the sacred privilege to baptize 2 investigators that we have been working with for about 2 months now. I baptized the mother of the family, Sister Laura Orozco and my companion baptized her 12 year old son, Kevin Palacios. They are an amazing family and have had a crazy amount of challenges preparing for their baptism. Oh and they have really really strong testimonies of the gospel. Sister Laura said that when she prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true she dreamed that she was in a dark place, and while she was walking in the darkness she fell over a small book. That book was the Book of Mormon, and upon opening the book in her dream it open up to the most brilliant light she had ever seen.....She prayed to know if what we were teaching was real 3 times.......She had that same dream 3 times as well.
    Kevin also had an amazing response when he prayed to know if the message we taught was true. In the dreams of the night he found himself in the Catholic church in which he was a helper of the priest before we met him. That same priest in the dream threw him out of the church and said he did not belong there. After, in the dream he went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was welcomed with open arms. 
   It was an amazing experience teaching them all this time.
Oh and that same Saturday of their baptism we as missionaries hosted a talent show. The other missionaries and I did a whole bunch of small skits between acts but it was great. 280 people showed up to watch and participate in the show. Oh and as missionaries we did a rap to the song "I hope they call me on a mission"....I did my breakdancing stuff and now all the members keep asking me to dance again.......Yeah so those are the highlights of this week.
Oh and today we went bowling and I beat everyone.....
Okay love ya all!

Elder Rodriguez

Goofing off before lunch.

Volcano Cotopaxi. It's spewing out smoke and threatening to erupt.


Preparing for the talent show.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Email 08/17/2015 Giving Light

Well like I said the last week.....I'm training again. So I got my new companion (last companion) Elder Zapana. He's from Peru and he's a real cool guy. Its weird because he is like my last companion in the fact that I was in the mission when he was baptized.
    So far we have been getting along great and we are always laughing so I think my last six week in the mission are gonna be great. He is super sharp and ready to learn, I just need to teach him the doctorine still hahaha.
     So besides my new companion everything else has been going really great. We already have 2 baptisms lined up. Yeah so we are going to be baptizing a Sister Laura Palacio and her 12 year old son Kevin. And Kevin already asked Elder Zapana if he would baptize him, so that was super awesome. 
    With Elder Zapana, he and I have been working really hard in our sector and it is alot easier with him than it was with my last companion.  
    But everything is going really well for me here. And all the members are really sad that I will be going soon. I have no idea how they found out that I have such little time left hahahaha. 
    Well thats all folks! 

Love ya all
and can't wait to see everybody. 

Elder Rodriguez

My 3rd son. Elder Zapana

The newbies and almost dead.

Elder Kirby (Arizona) and Elder Gallardo (Argentina) messing with my camera.

My last Agenda in the mission. Made by Elder Mott.

Gifts given to me for my Birthdat. 
The watch was bought by the Cauran Family (members).

The socks were made by the Palacio Family (investigators).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Email 08/10/2015 Dying in Calderon

Well hello everybody!!!!! So this week we had changes.(my last one) but I'll tell you guys what happened in the end. 
   Let's start from the beginning of this week. 
 So Monday a couples elders and i went to Quito to the offices to eat. We ended up eating Subway and it was great. Everyone ate a turkey sandwich but I decided to eat a Meatball sub....Bad idea.
  Tuesday, my birthday, I spent it inside our apartment puking my guts out. FOOD POISINING. Its was terrible because the nurse said I had to go on a 24 hour liquid diet....for those of you that don't know me so well I actually really like eating, especially on my birthday. So that's how I spent my birthday; in bed, puking, and only drinking gatorade. Fun stuff right?
    Fortunately the family that gives us lunch on Tuesday brought our food to the house. She cook some fried chicken for us and I was so excited to eat it for breakfast the next day. So on Wednesday I wake up with my empty stomach and I'm running to the fridge super excited like a kid on Christmas morning. I open the fridge's not there? So I go to my companion and ask what in the world has happened........He ate my birthday lunch........I was crushed. Feeling like someone had died I ask "why would you do that," to which he cold replied,"it was going to go bad." I have to be honest with all of you at this point in my mission....That was the closest I have ever been to crying over food and the closest I have ever been to punching a companion straight in the face. 
   Fortunately Wednesday got a little bit better. So I bought some anti-nausea pills so that I was able to eat and we headed out for lunch. The Benecazar family (maybe the most charitable and richest family in Ecuador) bought me Papa John´s pizza and a cookie cake. It was so kind and I got to share it with another companionship too which was also great. 
   Now in Latin America they have a birthday tradition here in which the birthday boy takes the first bite of cake, and when they go in for the bite, another person slams the birthday boy´s face into the cake. Elder Castro (he's from Ecuador) is very aggresive with this tradition. He slammed my face down so hard my teeth went straight to the bottom and I ate more table than cake. After that we went to do a service activity inwhich I went to hard and got sick again. 
  Then Thursday came and the zone had another cake for me. In Which Elder Castro also slammed my face into....I had cake in my eyes hahahahaha.
   But my birthday was great and one family bought my a really nice watch and another family custom made me some crazy socks.
   Okay, now for changes, the Last changes. I finished the training of Elder Flores and now he's off the Ibarra (the mountains). I'm still here in Calderon, which makes Calderon my barial spot. AAAAAAnd now I'm going to train AGAIN NOOOOOONONONOOONONONONOOOOO. I'm not really happy about that but a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do brotha........ 
I'll send pics next week sorry, 

Love ya ALL

Elder Rodriguez

Monday, August 3, 2015

Email 08/03/2015 Night of Affliction

Hey everybody!!!!!!!!!
I'm almost 21...ALMOST 21....I'm old hahahahah
   Anyway this last week started of really bad. REALLY BAD. So, Monday night I started to feel really sick in a lesson so we went to the house rather early. That night I did not sleep for even a second. The whole night I fell into a terrible fever, the chills, severe pain in my stomach and head. That was the first time in my life that I ever prayed to God that I could just survive the night. The next day I only left the house to call my leaders to come and give me a blessing. So that was fun. 
  Ha so the rest of the week got better. I slowly was receiving my strength but I was able to work. So we found a new family. And now we are working with them. My companion is getting a bit better, I mean there is somewhat some progress, but he's still fighten. 
  Oh and then on Sunday the most irreverent thing happened at church. So this sunday was fast sunday and as you all know it is a special time to share your testimony with everyone. So I was up sitting next to the Bishop waiting for my turn to share my testimony when one member goes up and says, ¨Well, everyone, I have a secret,¨ then with a big pause he follows up with, ¨I'm IRONMAN.¨ All the missionaries where like WHATTT?! The worst part about it is......He's our ward mission leader.
  So thats all that happened this week.


Elder Rodriguez

Monday, July 27, 2015

Email 07/27/2015 Eternal Tiredness

Well like the title suggest, I'm really tired. At this point in the mission I no longer feel physically tired its more of a spiritual tiredness....Its hard to explain....
  Anyways this week was a bit tough. At this moment in my teaching and as a missionary I feel that I'm on the top of my game but we are having the hardest time finding people. Like at this very moment we only have that family that I mentioned last week and nobody else. But I'm working my butt off out here.
   So besides that nothing much has been going on. We did host an activity for the ward in which we just played a series of games.......Only 8 people showed up, not including the missionaries. So that was a huge success. 
  Oh and the funniest thing happened this week. So one of the less active member families in our ward just moved to the other ward...Well they moved across the street. So as the good missionary I am I showed the other missionaries where they live so they can visit them and help them to be firm in the church. Turns out these missionaries don't like to work, cuz they don't even visit the family. So I decided that my companion and I will, and we will tell them to attend the ward to which they should. Then my zone leaders yelled at me for it. They said I can recieve revelation for people out of my sector,(which is true because no missionary recieves revelation for others....only theirselves, but my ZLs don't know that cuz they don't study), so I said okay I won't visit them anymore if it bugs the other missionaries that I'm helping children of God. So I was really honest when I said I won't visit them anymore......This sunday the whole family came to our ward, and said they want to move cuz the other missionaries aren't visiting them. 
  I guess I'm a champ then. Hahahaha.
 Anyways its the final countdown till I come home.
Hope everyone is ready!

Love ya ALL

Elder Rodriguez

I'm the KING! 

I was baptizing my baby boy (my companion). 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Email 07/20/2015 Apostasy!!!!

Well hello everyone. Well everything here in Ecuador is going great, especially since we had changes. So now I'm in the same sector, with the same companion but I'm no longer the District Leader. I'm soooo happy that I can just focus on my own sector now. But I do have to train the new District Leader to do his job right. So thats the most recent thing that happened.
    Anyway so this last Thursday we had our little zone conference and let me tell ya it was good. So they came out with a new rule for the mission that we can only write for an hour and a half instead of the 2 straight hours. But with the other half an hour we are to do family history, which is great.....for some. So in the meeting they talked about this new rule and asked us how we felt. And everything was good until the people who literally can't do Family History in the mission for the lack of resources. So it turns out during that time they are to just look at the computer of their companion and wait for a half an hour. Now I shared my opinion by saying it was a great idea to work on family history but that itwasn't  thought out well in its entirety. Like just imagine just sitting there looking like a doof for half an hour. I imagine that it would be more productive if they could just read talks or watch videos on the church´s website, but no. So my leaders said that in that moment i apostated from my leaders............I was furious because they said that infront of everybody, but then everybody stood up for me saying itwasn't  apostasy to say it wasn't thought out well. So it was an interesting meeting.
   Anyway my companion and I are working hard and at the moment we have 3 people with a baptismal date. 
 Oh and today we had an activity were we went to the real middle of the world...Pics to come.

Elder Rodriguez

A family made me a late 4th of July meal.....IT WAS SO GOOD!

The design of the T-shirt I'm making for the Zone.

A real shrunken head....a They do that here in the jungles.

Some nice paintings showing how they prepare the heads.

The snake was feeding me.

Totem pole.

Chilling with my homie.

Chicken form Llama's.

Being Trashy.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Email 07/13/2015 Nothing New

 Well sad to say that this week wasn't that exciting. I'm okay here in Calderon still with my small companion still. We are still working hard but it really seems that with such little time I have left, the work is getting harder. At the moment we are working with a family that is super awesome, they are reading the scriptures daily they are always praying, but just one problem. WE CANNOT GET THEM TO CHURCH!!!! Ugh I'm frustrated because for the past 3 weeks thay have said that they with go but everytime something comes up. Oh well I think I just need to pray a bit more for the guidance. We will see what happenes this Sunday.
  Anyway so today we had an activity as a zone, it was alright. We played volley ball with towels and waterballoons then we played indoor soccer and dodgeball. Man I love dodgeball. It was pretty much only my district and a couple of other gringos playing it but we had a blast. 
   So then after that I went to the mall. So about 3 weeks ago the wire to charge my camera broke so I went to radioshack last week to see if they had the wire. They told me that it would come in on thursday. So that was the reason that I went this week. ANNNNNNDDDD the guy tells me that they have never sold that type of wire...I felt like ragiing but I don't think Jesus Christ rages too much.

So thats all FOLKS.

love ya all

Elder Rodriguez

P.S. No pics this week

Monday, July 6, 2015

Email 07/06/2015 Independence Day

 Well I hope everyone had a great 4th of July, I know I didn't hahahahahahaha. No but in reality it was alright, as was this week.
  So at the beginning of this week I was honestly feeling a bit bummed because my companion wasn't   progressing much and it felt like a real wieght on my shoulders. 
 Luckly God answers our prayers and only desires our happiness. So after much suffering and much praying, my companion magically progressed alot within one day. Now thankfully he is striving alot more to teach and learn. <--------------------------------------------------------------(Testimony right there)
 So lets continue with the week. So Elder Flores 2.O and I have been working super hard to find new people so we have been trying to get creative. We even went to a city that has never seen missionaries, called Oyocoto, and it turns out that there are more dogs than people over there and the people that are there are super Catholic. So that ended only with a mean looking dog bit to my leg...... I'm okay, no rabis 
  Then it turns out the Pope came to Ecuador...................................SO NOBODY HAS BEEN HOME....
  But honestly I have felt the love of God this week. It has been really hard to see it but its always there. In the midst of a zone of 25 missionaries I'm leading the best district and they have already become like a family for me, the members are great and my companion is getting better. So I really can't complain.
 Oh and today I got an email from one of my old companions who finished his mission about a month ago... He send me a picture of him and his wife in the temple. So with 10 more weeks I think I'm going to work alot harder to have a super hot wife real fast. Honestly that companion was really ugly but he did well.
Okay Love ya all


Elder Rodriguez

Underwater pic with Elder Urquieta (from Bolivia). He recently ended his mission and was my first District Leader.

My old District.

My companion bought a sheep ones you and sleeps in it. He doesn't think it's weird.

This sign says if they catch a robber they will lynch him. It's not a joke here! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Email 06/29/2015 Patience is a Godly Virtue

Well this week has been a trial. I honestly feel the urge sometimes to just leave my companion alone at a bus stop or something just to get rid of him. Now I know that's not nice and I'm surely not going to do it but, sometimes I like to think about it.
    Anyway, this week has been a bit difficult for us and  especially me. I have now entered into my last 12 weeks in the mission. I want to work hard and yet my situation doesn't permit me to do that. This week we only had one lesson everyday because everysingle day we had a meeting...And my companion has become my echo...He literally repeats everything I say now. 
   Oh and this week there were a couple of deaths in the mission (not literally). When a missionary goes home it is known as his or her death. One of my buddies Elder Urquieta (he's from Bolivia) and Sister Fernilius (she's from Las Vegas) finished their missions this week. They were both in my district. And the funny thing is that when I started my mission Elder Urquieta was my District leader, and now he died as I was his district leader. 
   So in 12 more weeks that will be me (I'm so tronkie right now). Oh and we had changes. I didn't have any changes and neither did my companion but they did reunite the 2 zones together, so now we are huge!!
  Aaaaand thats about it. I think in the middle of this change I'm going to ask if I could ge changed to the Jungles so I can see how that is. 

PEACE and LOVE to all
Choi Choi

Elder Rodriguez

PS: Well I wanted to send pictures this week cuz I have a bunch.....But he dumb computer won't let me...So until next time. Stay tuned in.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Email 06/22/2015 Hot Water

Well HELLO from Ecuador!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   So this week I had a real desire to get down to the needy greedy in the Work of the Lord, and now we are seeing some of the fruits of our labors here in Calderon. 
      Anyway I should probably start from the beginning of the week. Lets start with my companion. So up untill this point my companion has had a really really slow progress in his teaching, so as you can imagine I was a bit stressed. So as a missionary not knowing what exactly to do I took the matter to the Lord in a prayer. And I have to tell ya all I had the weirdest feeling afterward. Right after the prayer I had a distinct impression that I should no longer give my companion the opportunity to teach in the lessons......AND IT WORKED!!! Now in the lessons he is fighting to participate and teach rather than only wait for me to tell him when like before. So we have had a real breakthrough with that. 
     Now with my companion progressing I am stressing alot less and we are working alot more effectively. Infact this week we were teaching a family that we have had for a while now and they finally accepted a baptismal date. The family of 4 should be baptized on the 17 of July. If everything goes according to plan. 
     Well besides that, I had divisions this week with one of my zone leaders Elder Gallardo (he's from Argentina) and his other companion Elder Keyes (he's from Utah). The divisions went great but the best thing about it was that under there apartment a member opened a small restaurant. And that member just happens to be one of my favorite members from my old sector. So it was super awesome to talk to her and hear about the old ward and all her family. The only sad part  was that when she saw me she began to cry and she kept asking me why they took missionaries out of that sector. But it was great to see here and also her husband. 
    Then this week there was a baptism. The sister missionaries have been working hard with a family of less active members and were able to baptize one of the sons too. His name is Ronnie Reyes, he's a cool little 9 year old. It was great because I was able to interview him this last week and he asked me if I would baptize him. I said of course and he was stoked. Well finally there is hot water for the baptisms but this time as we entered into the water, it was burning hot. He just kept saying it burns it burns hahah. But the second that he went under and came back up all he said was,¨ I thought it was too hot, but it was perfect.¨ MIRACLE!!! haha. So that's all with this week. After the next week I will be entering my last 12 weeks in the mission field.

Tha-tha-thats all Folks
LOVE ya all 
Elder Rodriguez

Sorry my companion doesn't know how to work a camera, and we don't know how to look at one.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Email 06/15/2015 One Long Week

Well like the title says, this week has been a long one. This week has been filled with alot of travelling, meetings and spending money which I don't have.
    So I have realized that in my sector we need some new investigators, cuz the ones we have right now don't really want to progress. So in my prayers I have been asking alot for more desire to get out and contact more. This week I finally have gained the desire to contact.....Problem is that we didn't have anytime to do it. This week I had to go to Quito for my companion to get his visa, then there was a baptism in the district (yaaaay) and also there were some emergency changes. I'm still in the same area with my same companion but we were with another missionary for a day in his sector. 
      I'm frustrated.............................................................................................
   But the good news is that today we all went to the Middle of the World again as a district. We had a blast hanging out there and messing with the statues that we weren't supposed to be touching.
 Whelp thats it. 
3 maises mas

Elder Rodriguez

In the dark planetarium with the homies

The nails aren't even touching the ball!!!!!!

Sometimes I think he's a child (my companion). 

Round 2 in the Middle of the World.

View from the top.

Oh don't fall.

He was teaching me how to dance.

She didn't want anything to do with the gospel.

She's gonna get baptized! I just know it.

I don't know why he was so mad.

Ghost man. 

Chill time round 2

He punched me right in the, you know where.

I got hungry then I got stuck.

Just the district attacking Elder Mott.

After almost 2 years in Ecuador I finally saw a flippen Llama.

The sign says that I should'nt touch....I don't care.