Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 2 In Ecuador

Hello Everyone!

Much better last week. Its quite a ride to not know any spanish and be the grande gringo here. I got over the sickness and found out that we arent supposed to eat any street food so that could be the reason that I got sick cause when we got here we didnt have any money so we had to just role with what we had and that was what we had. Dad I hope you dont mind I used my card a little today for somethings because its a 5 week month so we only get 100$ for 3 weeks so that was a surprise so I needed to use my card a little! 

Spanish is getting better and Im getting more used to things. Its still a crazy country and to think that this is home for the next 22 months is a werid thought. We have still been trying to find members to get refferals. The members here are amazing and Im loving them. There is one family that feeds us every night. You have to understand that we always get lunch from a member, but dinner is most of the time snacks or we are tooo busy too stop and get anything, so we dont eat alot of times but for the past week when this memeber found out we dont eat dinner very much she started to make us dinner and she has been doing that since, and Im so greatful for that. 

We taught a lesson the other day to a 60ish year old women and her daughter and greanddaughter. They liked and accepted our invitations to be baptized on oct 4th so that is coming up and we are working with them to get them prpepared. The next day when we went back to teach them again, she had a friend over and we taught her and I invited her to baptized on the 4th aswell and she said yes! So we have 4 baps for the 4th! Crazy how strong the spirit works and Ive learned that its not a problem that my spanish is bad because the spirit is the real teacher and that all you have to do is open your mouth and the words will fill your mouth. In two lessons this week, we taught families that have babies and the moms have just started breast feeding in front of us uncovered.... so that has been a little differnent to say the least..haha Everything is differnet around here. 

Sorry that I was such a basket case last week in my email, I just needded to vent and no one else could understand me so I needed to somewehere. Things are much better and Ii want everyone to never forget howl blessed we are as a country and that we are so beyond blessed to have what we have. I will never forget that and have gained such an appreciation for all the small things that everyone single one of us takes for granted on a daily basis. Theres those that live on 150$ a month here so remember how blessed you are. 

My companion is proving to be a bit more of a challenge than I thought. Im not sure how to handle him and im obviously with him so that I can learn how to be patrient cause that is something that I am really lacking! Im trying but 10 more weeks might either kill me or him.. ha just kidding, but it is a struggle right now.

We got a dooor so that is good and everything is getting a lot better so no need to worry. Dont get me wrong is still differnent a hard in someways but it is getting better and I happy so thats all that matters! The spanish is picking up and the lesson are nerve racking because I dont feel super confindent in my spanish right now but it will come with time. 

Thank you all for the support and the Emails, You have no Idea how much they help. Please keep them coming and I hope to hear from you soon!

Love you alll! 

Much Love, 

Elder Strang 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

We hear from Kolby & his Mission President in Ecuador;

Guayaquil, 13 September 2013 

Dear Strang Family,

After his experience in the MTC we had the wonderful opportunity to receive Elder Strang at the airport along with other missionaries in his group, we shared together a welcome lunch, and special moments starting his mission. He received instruction on the rules of the mission and the correct manner to work, he met his first companion, Elder Correa from Peru and was trained in the "Plan of First Twelve Weeks, "according to the direction we received from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. With great pleasure I am pleased to report that the development of the Plan of Twelve Weeks has been so far a great experience with excellent results.
Every Monday in his preparation day he has the opportunity to write to family, we hope you will encourage and support him. 

Your son is doing very well, we care for him and he is progressing, he is an excellent missionary and has performed admirably, we express our gratitude for having prepared him to serve the Lord and supported him. For Sister Amaya and I it is a great privilege to have him in the mission and have the opportunity to help and guide him in this sacred process of developing his potential so he can serve the Lord the best he can. You have done very well, Congratulations. The Lord will strengthen him, help him and guide him through the Spirit, of whom Elder Strang will have to depend on as never before in his life.

Sincerely yours, and May the Lord bless you.
President and Sister Amaya

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission 

First companion in Ecuador Elder Correa from Peru

Friday, September 13, 2013

  Kolby left the MTC in Mexico City on Monday September 9th.  We were fortunate to get a  call from him at around 11p.m.  I was expecting some tears and trepidation on both our parts, but was comforted to hear his up beat spirit and commitment to the work he is doing.  He was extremely positive about his experience in the MTC, and would even do it all over again because, his words were that he loved every minute of it.  He was traveling with twelve other missionaries and had a lay over in Columbia before reaching Ecuador.  There were only five phones available at the airport for all twelve of them to share, so they had to shuffle.  It truly was a blessing and comfort to hear how well he is adjusting.  As the phone service can be in foreign countries, we kept having the call cut off and he would have to call back, after about the fourth time of this happening he wasn't able to call back and so we haven't heard from him since.  We are hoping that he is okay and that he has reached his final destination safely.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sept. 5th 2013  Last week in MTC


Its been another good week in the MTC and I finally get to get out in the field! They have been gettting all of our passport information and we find out this weekend when we leave. The real teaching begins and its seemed like an eternity here but the days do go by so fast and Im really excited to get out and teach. We started to think that we knew spanish but when you try to talk with the natives your idea of speaking becomes nothing. They speak so fast. Just got your package and Im sipping on a root beer eating a cookie right now! Thank you its so good!

Went to the temple this morning and that could be the last time that I get to go in two years. It was alot easier this time because I have learned so much spanish the past 6 weeks, but in retrospec I knoe absolutely nothing. The hardest part about spanish is these irregular verbs. There are the normal base verbs which are easy to remember but when you get into past, future, present and subjetive.... thats when it gets hard. Each section has ireegulars and those are the ones that you have to memorize. Super hard. Go look it up on the internet and you can see what im talking about. Other than that its coming along quite well and I feel that I can hold my own its conversions. We are still teaching our teachers which got old about 2 weeks ago. We got one to commit to baptism and the other is getting asked on saturday. After you commit them to baptism, we just teach them more about the gospel and the things that they questions about.

I am speaking on Sunday in our little sacrement meeting about The Atonement which will be fun becasue Its all in spanish! But it shouldnt bee too hard and I think that I Know enough. I have become incredbily close with Elder Mangum and Elder Dudley. We all gave each other our information and numbers for after the mission and we all agree that its going to be life long friendships. My didtrict is all very athletic and we dominate all other districts in... everything. No on can touch us in sport and its funny to see there reactions when they find out that most of us have never played before. We still somehow have our own rooms in the hosue which is a miracle because there so many other missionaries here. I didnt think that bribing a worker with candy would work but it did. We call it a rightous exchange instead of a bribe. Every week we do service and this past week week we cleaned the main building and the lady that oversees our sevice was so impressed that she was going to get a surprise for us. We were all excited that it was coca cola or something but it was york peppermint patties, but I was greatful becasue they so little so im sure that it was a big thing for her to do. We have gained so many freindships and relations.

The Latinos that we were playin soccer with and the ones that brought us the coca cola came over the few nights before they left and hung out for a couple hours. They would tell us stories of thier home towns and the thigns that went on there. A couple of them were from near the border and thats where the cartel is at its strongest. They would tell of mountains of bodys and people dead or hung in the streets and that after 6 at night you could never go out becuse it was dangerous. We asked about here in Mexico city and they said its very safe on that end because the cartel doesnt have an interest with any thing down here. That night was the last night berfore they left and they brought us ties. They didnt want to take of ours but they just wanted to give us one that they had signed. We all exchanged contact info and said goodbye. These are the friendships that Im going to miss and hopefully some time in the future we will see them!

These are their steps to happiness:
1. El Evanhelio (The Gospel)
2. Futbol (Soccer)
3. Coca Cola
4. Fritas (Crazy Girls)

We had a great time gettin to know them and It showed how much I will love the people in my mission. One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is that we cannot judge someone by their looks. I think all to often we do that and I feel so bad that I did before because after meeting them my whole picture was changed because they were some of the best people that I have ever met.

I started writing a ton more in my journal cause I realized that when I get back that is something that I will want to read with many people, so Ive been wrting more legibly and a lot more. Im filling it up and so Elder Mangum gave me another one to keep me going for a while. I have plenty of stories to share when I get back and I dont think I should share them now.. If that tells you anything! Most people would always say that the MTC is not a good expirence, but I have absolutely loved every minute and even in the hard times I just had to remember that attitude is everything. In those moments when I feel tired and dont want to do anything is where I have found the most growth in myself and learned the most.

I had a long talk with out teacher Hermano Ralphs and he finally spoke English with me. We talked for about an hour and what I thought of him was not who he was at all. Another example of why I shouldnt jundge someone without getting to know them. We talked all about his mission and the things he left and what helped him the most. He a great guy and Ive learned a ton from him. Our other teacher is Hermano Petersen and we call him Rico Suaeve becasue all the ladies want him. Ive learned a lot from him and his personality is a lot like mine so we got along really well from the beggining.

Last night it rained for hours and so hard that the grass started flodding. Me and Elder Dudley and a couple others went out and played soccer in the rain and got completely soaked. We have been playing a ton of soccer and Im playing better than I ever did at home. Im strarting to think that I will play at home. With enough play over the next two years it is a definite possilblilty. My vans are shredded from playing by the way and are being held together by super glue and string!

We have devos every week and we had a live one given by the local area 70. He gave a great talk about memebr work and how important it is to have members involved with the work. I feel like an idiot now because at home I never even cared about it and being here I realize that it is such a huge thing for us. The little things are the ones that we dont notice but those are the things that really change peoples lives. Remeber that as you are in your day. Those little hellos or talking to someone can and will cahnge their hearts.

I know that this church is true, the lords work is hastening, be apart of it and help out everything is good on my end and I am super stoked to get into the field, I love you all and cant wait to hear from you!

Elder Strang
Aug 29 th

Wow what a week..

Sorry last week that I wasnt able to get on. Weve been playing a ton of Soccer and my companion took an elbow to the head and had to get 2 stitches so that took about 2 hours! They didnt have any of the stuff they needed and luckily the Americn doctor hadnt left yet! Its crazy down here and gettting injured really isnt a good option! But such is Mexico. Its hard to come up with a lot of things to say because here in the MTC everything just seems to melt togethter and out agenda is the same almost everyday, so I thought I would give you a break down of a typical day:

6:30 am
Wake up shower, get readt, what ever you need to do.

7:00 am
Be in the class for an hour doing personal study

8 am

830 am
Back to the class with your 1st teacher and you have one hour of langauge, one hour of a fundamental which is basically the things in preach my gospel, one hour of progressing investigator.
Progressing investigator: The teacher puts on a role from their mission and you and your companion teach them acording to their needs. This was good at first but we need to get some new people!

1140 am
GYM TIME. gym is gold of the day. We have been playing a ton of soccer on a hard court and we have been balling up the native latinos. No one in my district has played before, but they are all pretty athletic so its been way fun and im gettting way good! Gym is what we look forward too because we are in the class for so long everyday!

1 pm

145pm Tall. Tall stands form technology assisted language learning. It helps a lot and they gave us these red books with all the language things in them so we use those and do the activities afterwards and you learn concepts pretty fast.

245pm additional study time. More class time to study what you want either with your partner or on your own.

330 Our next teacher! Same thing as before he just teaches and does progressing investigator and language and a fundamental.

630 pm

715 pm
More langague study

815 pm
Addtional study time. Same as before.

930 pm
Go home and get ready for bed

Bed although we never seem to get to bed before 1130!

I finally got over being sick. The results came back and there was all signs toward parasites but they didnt find any so the doctor gave me these pills that kill any parasite in your stomach so I just finished taking those yesterday and I am no loger sick! It was rough there for the first 4 days because I didbnt want to eat anything and make it worse so I didnt end up eating those days but now I am back to normal. The days just seem to fly by now and I dont really focuus on time I just focus on what Im working on. Its so hard to stay focused for 16 hours a day in a class.. The langauge finally came to me and I can speak quite well now and Im holding conversions with the latinos that speak all spanish. They are such good people and they come from so little that they have such humble hearts and are such a sweet people.

Yesterday we taught them indiviually without our companions which was hard but taught how to teach without a crutch. They speak so fast and I find myself saying "mas despacio" and "Como" which mean slow down and what did you say. Mom its like trying to understand some of those thick Irish peeps but in Spanish! I feel cofident in what I know and I can keep a converstion going and hold my own!

Im still having a hard time with all rules and being 100% obeident to everything they say. Some of the stuff is riduculous but I just have to remind myself that Im not here to question the rules, only to follow them. When I got here I had doubts on how much that I could learn In 6 week period but it is so amazing what you learn with the spirit revaealing the truths to you. Im sorry that my english is so bad, my brain is like a blender and its full of spanish, englsih and gospel so everything is just tossed in and Im trying to pull the things out that I need! My english is getting a lot worse but spanish is getting better!

Im really excited to get into the field and start changing other peoples lives. I get so pumped even teaching our teachers that I just wanna go do work! I cant believe that I onlly have a week and a half left.. The guy that does flights called our house last night and got some of our passport numbers and said that they are buying our tickers soon so hopefully I will know about when I leave.

Everything is going good and know that I miss you all and miss home and cant wait to see you agian and know that you are in my prayers.
Love you all

Elder Strang