Best gym ever!
Written by Elder Nykamp on November 24, 2014
Picture: Hyrum’s bench press on his porch.
Picture: Hyrum’s bench press on his porch.
First off, Thanksgiving isn't a thing here because it is a US holiday!! I had actually completely forgotten about it!!
We are going to have to start over on investigators here soon because most we have right now aren't going to church so we can’t really start to do anything until they start going to church!! It’s difficult to get them to commit to 3 hours on Sunday. It’s also hard to get people to church because they are always working. We didn't really find anyone new because we had a large number of investigators we were working with but that will change this next week. Although things have been difficult I’m still mostly happy! I have made a lot of progress with the language but I still have a lot of work to do!!
It’s weird to hear that there is snow there because the temperature here hasn't changed at all since I've been here!! It’s pretty weird to think that it is time for skiing and stuff back at home!!
This week something really funny happened!! I think it was Thursday or so when my companion and I were walking down the street. Out of nowhere a bottle flew by my head!! It wasn't glass or anything but I thought it was hilarious because it was my first experience of getting something thrown at me!! This is a pretty hard area and I have heard that it is pretty common to have new missionaries here. It’s much easier in the other areas so they send the newbies here to teach them how to work hard and deal with little success so they can be much more productive in other areas!!
Today for p-day we played basketball soccer with the missionaries. I sweat sooooooo much when I play sports here!! It is incredible how much the humidity destroys me! Later we ate with a member who is a chef. He made us a really, really good lunch which was awesome!!
Picture: Our delicious lunch!
This week I had my eyes opened to just how blessed I really am having lived in Utah!! One of the girls in this ward who is a really good member shared how frustrated she is that her mom won’t listen to her about the church. The girl and her two younger siblings are all members but her parents aren't. When she shared that with me I realized just how blessed I have been to have been born into the gospel!! I looked some scriptures last night and a couple conference talks to try and help lift her spirits!! I can only imagine how hard that would be. She asked me if I had been born into the covenant which I answered immediately yes and even thought it was a little weird for her to ask. The more I thought about it the more I realized just how rare it really is to be born into the covenant down here and how lucky I really have been to born and raised in the circumstances I have!!
I can only imagine how cold I am going to be when I get back because it is always going to be hot here haha!! It shouldn't take too long to get used to it because I did live in it for 17 years!! It’s pretty hot down here but it is a really weird kind of hot!! Because I just sweat!! I don’t feel like I am really that hot but I am basically always sweating!! So that is pretty funny!! I played some basketball today and my entire shirt was wet!! It is incredible how much I sweat down here. It is actually pretty funny!!
We don’t have a lot of investigators right now but we are going to try all we can to try and help everyone!! We don’t have a lot of people we are working with for reactivation right now. We have one girl who just doesn't really want to listen which is kind of frustrating but we are trying hard with her!! We haven’t had a whole lot of success this week we started the week with 4 or 5 new investigators and we are going to stop visiting almost all of them!! This area is one of the hardest in the mission!! A lot of the people here are members of another church. They have churches all of the place and sometime they just set up a speaker in the middle of the street and play their music and preach!! It all makes it really hard because they don’t want to listen at all!! It is also really hard to get people to go to church!! This has been one of the hardest things we have been trying to accomplish!! But we keep trying our best!!
The language is coming along. I understand almost everything but speaking is still hard because I want to say so much more stuff than I can. It’s all good! I know that if I keep working hard I will be able to learn it pretty fast!! I have not been too frustrated.
Our schedule goes something like this. Wake up at 6:30 every day and have 30 min. of exercise then prepare, eat shower, etc. Next, study personal for an hour and then companion for an hour and then language for an hour. Then study first 12 weeks for an hour and then we either go out and teach for an hour or update our papers for our investigators. Lunch at 1 and then work until 9 when we need to be in the house. Plan for the next day and then go to bed at 10:30 (dinner depends on the day, sometimes we eat in the members’ house and others we get it to go and eat in the house)
I have been listening to Christmas music almost nonstop in the house for the last 2 weeks haha!! Getting excited for the season!! But it is weird to think it is so close when it is the same temperature. In fact, it is going to get hotter pretty soon here!! Thanks again for all the love!!
It’s getting cold here. How is it there?
That is weird to hear that it is getting colder there because here it is getting hotter!! Today we played some soccer for p-day and I have never been soooo sweaty after playing a game it was incredible!!
What is Halloween like?
People here don’t trick or treat so not many people dress up but it is a holiday here. I think it is just a day that people party.
We heard there are a lot of dogs and fleas.
Haha ya there are dogs walking around all over the place but I haven’t had any problems with them yet! Don’t have fleas I don’t think it is really a problem in this area!!
How many American Elders and in your area? What do people say when they see you?
There is one other kid in my area from Utah and then in the zone there is another one, so there are 3 of us. All the crazy people in the area come up to me and try to talk to me about stuff. One guy wants me to help him get a passport because he has a friend in the US by the name of Ronald Reagan and also John Kennedy! Pretty funny!!
Do you have someone that does laundry/cleaning?
We have a lady that does our laundry and she is really good! She got a really bad pen stain out of one of my pants which was awesome!! We clean our own house!!
Where do you go to use the computer?
One of the guys in our ward owns a computer shop thing. It’s a little under a dollar for an hour!!
What do you do on p-day?
Depends on the p-day but I feel like a lot of p-days we are just going to chill. It’s kind of hard to get permission do go sightseeing and stuff!! But there is some really cool stuff to go see in the area!!
Who are you teaching and how is it going?
We have a kid that is 17 years old with a baptism date for the 6th of December. He is going to have a cast on his knee for a month and I think he is going to follow through but we are going to have to work a lot with him!! This mission used to have A LOT of baptisms but they had to change the rules because the mission was baptizing a lot of little kids and people who were not truly converted. We were looking at a list of people baptized during the last 2 years and only 6 go to church. That’s incredible to me!! There has been a rule change for missionaries. We need to help people become truly converted instead of just baptizing!! We do a lot of contacting and at times we get a couple of good investigators and others we get nothing haha.... We contacted this one guy named Benjamin and he seemed to really like our message. So that is exciting!! A huge problem we have right now is that people only want to listen because they like to hear and talk about God so they solely want to listen to our messages. They don’t want to go to church or anything... We keep on working hard!! Right now we don’t really have a lot of people to teach so we are going to be contacting a lot right now!! That can be kind of a downer but it is all good!!
This week Hyrum answered questions:
How far away from the mission home do you live?
I live about 30 minutes away from the Temple more or less!! I think I am like 50 min more or less from the mission home but we left for my house from the mission office which is by the temple which took about 30 min. We use taxi`s to travel from my house to there!!
What can I send you?
Just send candy haha!! The Ecuadorian candy is good but nothing beats some good old American Candy!!
How is the language?
I understand a lot but sometimes it is just me kind of understanding the gist of what is going on so when people ask me questions I have to either think about it for a second or ask my companion to simplify it for me haha!! Sometimes they ask me a question with words I don’t know so my companion has to help me!! But the speaking is kind of hard!! But it is coming along!! I know that it is probably going to take about 6 months to be able to talk fluently but I can’t wait for the 2 month mark or so because that is when people say that they start to understand everything!!
How is your companion?
My companion is really great, he really helps me understand everything and really pushes me so I advance faster!!
Tell us about the city:
The area I am in is really poor and so their drainage system is basically non excitant. There is just standing water in the gutters that smells really, really bad!! I feel bad because they have a little bit of a drainage system here but it is nowhere even close to sufficient!! Also people just throw garbage all over the place which I can’t understand why!! But its whatever
How are you?
I am really trying my best to stay completely focused on the work while I am out here!! I am trying to think of other stuff as little as possible and it really helps me focus on what I can do to help others!! I am really trying my best to help out with the lessons and help with the investigators. As of late it has been kind of rough!! We do have a couple of investigators we hope to help get baptized and become faithful members!! Especially since there has been so much stress lately that we don’t want people to walk in the front door and right out the back!! We really work with investigators just as much after they are baptized as we do before!!
Do they celebrate Halloween?
Yes they do Halloween here and I think we might have to stay inside during that night!! I know for a fact that there are 4-6 days a year we have to stay in our house because it can get dangerous!! It is 2 days for Christmas 2 days for New Years and then 2 days for one other holiday that they have here!! I wonder how those days will be!! I feel like it would be hard to stay inside for 2 days straight but I will figure that out when the time comes!!
Another week down!! Even these first 2-3 weeks feel like they have gone by fast!! I think it is because I have no time to think about it all. I am constantly working so that makes the time go by faster!!
picture: The Gringos!
I have really liked my companion a lot! We have gotten along really well; the only problem is that everyone is late to everything here!! It drives me insane!! It is your fault (mom) because you taught me to be on time!! Otherwise everything has been great!! My apartment is actually pretty nice for the area especially! I think that it is actually better than most of my investigators houses!! Sorry I forgot to take pictures haha next week!! There are other missionaries in my exact area so we eat with them often and see them at church and stuff like that!! We meet with the zone every Tuesday and Friday!! Church is good but I have a hard time understanding what is going on so I am not able to say anything ever but it is good!! My shoes have been great so far only one or two small blisters. I put the stuff over them and they went away!! I have been great health wise. I also haven’t had a single problem with the food yet which has been good!! Every day we eat lunch with a member and we have a soup and then rice and some kind of meat and I have actually liked everything so far! I am doing great; I feed myself breakfast and some dinners. The people in the ward take great care of me!!
It actually doesn't rain a whole lot and when it does it is in the morning I haven’t been rained on once yet but it is not rain season yet so I am sure that will change!! !! Every day at about 1 I am dripping sweat!! But it is good! Yesterday was one of the hottest days so far I was just completely wet from sweat!!
This week was a really long week because we spent a lot of time contacting with little success!! This zone of the mission has fewer baptisms than the rest of the mission!! But we work hard!! At times it is kind of difficult because we want more success but it is all good!! We have 2 investigators that we are going to try to get a baptism date from. We also have 1 girl who has a loose baptism date but has to get married first. They are a young couple (girl 17 guy 18) and have a child and have the smallest house I have ever seen! Marriage is expensive and so most people don’t get married here. It is one of the biggest problems down here so we are working with her to get here married and baptized!! We also officially rescued (reactivated) one man and his wife this Sunday. A person is rescued when they attend church 5 times or so and receives all the lessons. After they are rescued we teach the lessons again!! We are also working with him to try and get him and his wife married. Same situation, they live in a small house with little extra money and so we are starting to raise money for their marriage as well!! We are hoping for a more successful week with lessons taught because last week we didn't teach too many lessons!! Sometimes I don’t know how much of an effect I have on investigators because I can only do so much. At some point they have to want to change which is frustrating at times!! I am excited to keep on working!! I am excited for all the hard times and all the good times!!
Today for P-day we went to a place called the bahia it’s a massive market where you can buy basically anything!! It was pretty sweet!! It was really cool everything was really cheap!!
Picture: Ecuador Guayaquil Temple-Elder Nykamp & Elder Terceros
My companion Elder Terceros is from Bolivia. He is 20 years old and started his mission at age 19. He has been out for 8 months!! He is really cool but it is kind of hard at times to communicate with him because he knows no English so I have had to talk with him in only Spanish!! I feel like even in these last 4-5 days I have been able to understand the language better but it has been a struggle at times haha!! I don`t participate a whole lot in the lessons as you would imagine. I just say a couple sentences here and there since I don’t know very much Spanish haha!! I live in an apartment that is actually nicer than 90% of my investigators houses I would say!! It is amazing to see some of the conditions people live in!! There is a family that I am teaching and their apartment is smaller than a small part of our basement at home. The conditions are awful!! The wife is 17 the husband is 18 and they have 1 little baby!!
My health has been great so far!! I have absolutely loved this week other than the fact that I am basically always sweating haha!! It hasn’t been a problem just more of an annoyance!! I haven’t had to take my shoes of to enter a house yet haha pretty funny!! I have actually taught a lot of lessons so far!! And I have surprised myself with how much I understand!! There are still times that I get frustrated but I always try not to get too overwhelmed because I know that this is just my first 5 days!! The thing I have the hardest time understanding is just small talk because most of what I know in Spanish is gospel topics. When people start asking me other stuff, I don’t understand which can be a little awkward but it is something I just laugh off for now!!
I eat every lunch with families and most dinners with families and the feed us some kind of soup with rice and some kind of meat on the side!! I have really liked every meal so far. The only thing I have not liked is they have this one drink that is some weird chocolate thing that I have to just chug down really fast so I can just be done with it haha!!
Elder Nykamp & Elder Terceros
I am in Ecuador!!! I get to write today but I think that my p-day is Monday so it might be a little bit before I write again!! Next email I send will be on my p-day so look out for that!! Ecuador is gorgous!! It is the coolest place I have ever been too and I can´t wait to start in my first area!! I think I am going to be in the actual city of Guayaquil for my first area which is really exciting!! I have not yet got my first companion but I know that it is going to be an adventure because he is most likely going to be native!! I will talk to you later because I have to keep it short!! Love you guys!!
p.s. if my spelling is especially bad it is because the computer is in spanish mode and so every word has the red squigly under it haha!!
Elder Nykamp or Napoleon Dynamite!!! Happy October!