Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Small and Simple Things‏

So I´m really thankful for Dad´s letter.  If my letter arrived to Papa just when he needed it, Dad´s letter arrived just when I needed it.  I think sometimes we need that advice from someone who´s already walked these steps, a glimpse of what lies ahead from someone who´s been there.  So thanks Dad.  I love you.

So thanks for delivering the letters mom.  Hopefully they like it.  Since I´m terrible at writing letters I don't know if I´ll be able to write and send anymore off before June.  Like you saw, you´re barely getting the letters from August, September, and December!  Ay.  But the good news is that the rules for internet have changed.  I can now write, friends, priesthood leaders, and converts.  WOO!! And I also have two hours to write now.  So pass my correo along and tell the world that I wanna catch up.  But there´s still one more person that I need to write a letter to...

I´m jealous that you get to go the temple.  I know I was freaked out of my mind when I first went and I wasn´t really anxious to go back any time soon but now.... I just want to go.  I think my freaking out was a lack of my personal preparation.  If you remember, I said I didn´t want to go because I wanted to keep swimming with my friends out by the river.  Aiiiiii  I was a lost soul haha.  But after two years, it´s the one of the first things I want to do!  But anyway, enjoy the temple.

What else?  So this week we had a service project that as you say in Spanish, me sac├│ el aire!  What we did was remove a wall of dirt and line the wall of the house with plastic so water wouldn´t keep seeping in.  It's been raining like a mad man down here this week. I wake up every morning freezing only to look out the window and see pure clouds.  But then it usually warms up in the morning then starts pouring in the afternoon.  And this poor family of members, Familia Roman, has had their house flooded with a couple inches of water.  Their house is next to a cliff of sorts and a lot of water is leaking out of the wall of earth that´s next to their house.  So we took picks, shovels, hoes, and bars to hack away at the dirt.  Some of the zone was up on the roof, as you can see in the first picture, while I was down on the ground, shoveling away the dirt that fell and then hacking away at the cliff to make some space for us to enter behind the wall.  It took most of the day but we got it done.  We still need to go back to clean up the pile of dirt next to their house though.  My hands, arms, and back are still sore but I feel like a man at least! It was also a good activity to get to know the zone a little more and also build some unity.  Sometimes work helps us grow closer than just playing games together.

  I went to a baptism in Vista Hermosa, a ward a little higher than ours, of a man named Alex Villareal.  It was cool because I´ve seen the name of this man for about 6 months now.  When I first arrived in Quito I saw his name on a list of references from the offices and we tried to find him.  He didn´t live in Quito, so we sent the reference to the sector Tumbaco.  He didn´t live in Tumbaco so I sent the reference to Los Chillos.  Then I got changed to Los Chillos.  Then the sisters in Sangolqui said he didn´t live there but by the Marin, in the zone Santa Ana.  So I sent it there.  But then somehow the missionaries found him way up on the hillside. Two weeks later he was baptized!  Wooo!  I told him how I knew him and he said that nobody knew how to get to where he lived so that´s where the confusion came from.  So I was happy to see him at least.  While we waited for them to changed after the ordinance we sang hymns.  The conductor didn´t know the tune of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" but decided to sing it anyway.  I forgot the tune myself, as did everyone else in the service, so we kinda just mumbled for 6 minutes.  I couldn´t stop laughing because we sounded so terrible.  If I would have walked in to that baptism and saw a bunch of people whispering/muttering about a poor sad man I would have left more depressed than when I arrived!  Who sings that at a baptism anyway?!  But the hymn has a good message in see.  Just sung very poorly.

Well other than that... I got nothin else!  Hopefully we have a baptism this week and we can help a few other sectors out.  I´m gonna go to Vista Hermosa to meet with an old family I was teaching, Familia Guadalupe, to pump em up and help them get baptized in April. I´ll do my best to work hard this week, find some new people, and have some fun too.  I´m doin good here in Los Chillos and we´re gonna see some miracles these next few weeks!

I love you guys, hope you have a great week, thanks for the support, adios!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Marching On‏

Hey Mom how`s it goin?  DANG!  You almost found the treasure without even looking for it.  And I didn`t understand a word from the old guy`s riddle.  So we`re out of luck.  

Tanner Coombs is goin to Honduras??  He`ll do great there!  Awesome.  Hondure├▒os are crazy.  There´s some guys there who fight each other with machetes.  Well...that happens here too but, still.  It will be cool.  Good for Ty goin off to California.  Makes me want to sing the Eagles. 

I liked the story of the first missionaries.  Part of it made me glad for serving in modern times...and on the equator.  Because wedging through 300 miles of snow is a tough mission.  But they were chosen souls for a reason.

So this week went well, Ariel, Aida, and Maria Luisa were baptized.  In the  picture, the bishop is the other one baptizing.  They`re all family of the recent converts, Familia Cuatin and Familia Abad.  So I`m happy.  We had a family home evening with the two families and the ward mission leader, Hermano Calderon.  It was great seeing all of them together having a good time and making friends in the church.  They`re like my.... church children.  haha I still feel responsible for them and helping them grow up... spiritually that is.

Sadly, Hermana Rosa doesn`t want to investigate anymore and doesn`t want to keep listening.  She said she loved us though.  We said we loved her too.  But it was sad.  We know how much the gospel blesses people but when they don`t want to accept it... it`s painful.

So this week we`ll hopefully have the baptism of Genesis, Cecibel, Carlos, and Erik, four young... people, who`re from the coast.  They`re afraid to be baptized because of what they`re parents will say.   So we`ll see if they can get an answer and have the faith to be baptized.  I hoping for a miracle this week.  Prayer!!

Other than that... it`s been a little cold, raining a lot.  But I`m doing good.  Still working and looking for new people to teach.  The members are good to us here.  I`m tired a lot but work helps with that.  I`m happy at least.

Well that`s all I really have time for today!  I love you mom, hope you have a good week, hope the family is doing well.  Tell everyone I said hi!  Choa.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Here Comes the Sun, Little Darlin‏

Hey my mother, the family is all together again eh?  When`s spring break?  Or is it goin on already.  With 4 inches of snow that doesn`t sound too...springy but it`s cool.

I`m super pumped for Ty`s calling.  I`m gonna paint my face and crack open a Coca Cola for that guy on Thursday.  Tell him he`s gonna be in Guayaquil Norte or he`s goin to the eastern United States.  I don`t know why but hey it`s worth a guess.  

So... a ver..... what do I have to say today?  Hmmm.... this week I did a lot of divisions, had zone leader council, meeting with the stake president and high councilman, aaannddd ran like a mad man to all my appointments. Gad zooks I felt fat sweating like a turkey in oil.  

So we`re hopefully going to have four baptisms this weekend.  A grandmother of a family we baptized, another sweet older lady who´s a widow who`s been trying to find help since her husband died 4 months ago, and another couple.  We visited on Saturday and she said she didn`t want to get baptized. 

"Why?" we asked.  "No reason in particular." she said.  Uuuuhuuuuh.....

So we taught about what happens after we die and about the kingdoms of glory and everything was good.  Then we asked our recent convert (who pretty much said the same thing the day before her baptism) to share her testimony.  Turns out she had prayed the night before the baptism and had received and answer.  Then her son explained how they could be an eternal family.  Then we told her to pray and ask Heavenly Father what she should do.  So she did.  And yesterday she told us that she definitely wants to be baptized.  So WOO!!  

Turns out that they were receiving a lot of ridicule from their other children and their husbands who live just down the street.  Saying how they`re now "hermanitos" and when they walk by they always say "Hallelujah!" or some other weird comment.  They told her that they weren`t gonna visit her anymore, how they feel like they don`t belong anymore, that they don`t have to change religon to stop drinking and so on and so forth.  And that`s painful for a sweet grandma to hear from her children!! So we talked to her about opposition and I told her how crabs always try to bring the rising crab back down. But she`s going to be brave.  I hope we can continue helping her.  I´m thinking it might be good to go visit those other children though...maybe if they knew a little more they wouldn`t be so hateful about everything.

But other than that... I don`t know what else happened!  Just a lot of meetings and trying to help the other sectors that looked like they weren`t going to baptize this month.  Luckily the Lord`s blessed us with people in each sector in the zone.  So we`re gonna see the Miracle of March!!  Woooo!  

And now I`m just working on love.  Working on getting better.  It`s funny how I have so much time on the mission now but I still feel so slow and ignorant.  I guess that`s life though.  The closer we come to God, the more he shows us our weaknesses.  So it`s a good sign I think.

Well mom, take care, say hi to the family, and thanks for helping me with the letters.  I love you alot!  Choa.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mental Frames in the Hallway of My Life That Lead to the Door of Revelation (haha sounds like a Ghandi/hippie campaign)‏

Hello my mother!  I`m doin alright.  Lots of thinkin this week.  My brain needs a break.  Eh.

Well March sounds like it`s off to a good start.  Basketball, broken noses, and baptisms.  Sounds good to me!  I`m glad Papa is doing well.  I sent a letter for him.  Tell me when you get that big ol envelope by the way.

Anywho, my new companion is Elder Sotomayor de Guayaquil.  He has the same time as me, in fact, I met him when he was in Riobamba and I was in Guaranda.  So that`s cool.  He`s a happy guy who likes to cook (you might have guessed it) rice and chicken intestines.  Yeaaaah man.  Que rico.  I, on the other hand, am eating a different of variety of cereal every morning and night with a bit of Tampico orange juice.  We balance each other out pretty well.

The week went well.  I realized I hardly know the members of the ward because we just worked with our investigators last change.  So my companion asks me who`s who and I just say, "You know as well as I do."  So we got to know some members, contacted a lot of Evangelists (I prefer teaching Catholics), and we have two nice ladies with baptismal date for the 16th.  Rosa, who`s a widow and a reference from the offices, and Maria , the grandma of a Familia.  We also found 4 teenagers from the coast who also accepted baptism for the 23rd, their uncles are members.  

The zone is going through a rough patch.  We had to change the house of the missionaries with the house of the sisters.  There was a dolly (young girl in love with the missionaries) on the second floor of their apartment and I just didn´t feel good about it.  So I was helping them move and then get to know their sector.

AH!  I got to mow a lawn this week!!  Not with a machete, not with scissors, not with a goat, but with a lawn mower!!!  Woooo baby that brought back memories of cutting our lawn and Grandma`s lawn.  But this was a big lawn.  With hills and holes.  So it was interesting.  But man I felt like I was in summer.  The weather, the sun, the lawn mower, tomate de arbol juice, and just feelin good.  When we finished, we all went inside to eat some....(dun dun duh da!) rice and chicken.  Can`t get much better than that.

Speaking of which, did you know that Chinese food is different in every country??  Panda express my rear.  Here it`s....RICE!  With different seasoning and chicken and beef mixed in there.  You put ketchup on it.  It`s pretty sweet.

So to end this nice rambling session up, I love sacrament meeting.  I never really understood it before the mission I don`t think.  It`s a chance to receive inspiration and direction in your lives, it`s a chance to know what we need to improve and how we can follow Christ more honestly, it`s time to really focus on the life of Christ.  Yet sometimes we focus too much on what the other person is wearing today, what the kid in front of us is eating, who`s baby is crying, and or if we like this flavor of bread that they used for the sacrament.  That`s not how it should be.

I thought during the sacrament, "what do I lack?"  What can I do better?  After the sacrament, the thoughts started ringing into my ears, "By this shall men know, if ye are my disciples, if ye have love, one to another."  

I thought of John 13, 34-35, I thought how I`ve failed to really love my companions, my investigators, the missionaries in my zone.  I thought about how I`ve turned into a robot and why I`ve become so lifeless and dull.  It`s because I`m lacking love.  Success isn`t me baptizing tons of people, success isn`t being able to know all the scriptures of Preach My Gospel, success is becoming like Christ and loving Him and my fellow man.  And I haven`t had success yet.  At least not entirely.  Not like the Lord wants.

So I have four months left and I`m determined to save what I can of my mission.  I`m gonna open up this clam of a heart and hopefully have REAL success in the mission.  So that`s what made me just be impacted there in sacrament meeting.  

I love you mom, I`m thankful for all you do, be careful, stay strong, and keep on rockin on.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hoorah For Israel‏

Hey mom how`s it goin?  I`m doing good.  A great family was baptized this last Saturday.  They almost weren`t but thanks to miracles and prayer they did!

On Friday night we were talking with the husband, and he said that he was excited and felt good.  I asked him how his wife was, he said she, on the other hand, had doubts and doesn`t want to get baptized.  I thought.  Uh oh.  So the wife got there and we talked to her all tranquilo and we asked her what was up.  That`s when all these excuses started flying out her mouth, "I`m catholic, I just barely did the first communion (is that what it`s called in English?), I can`t just suddenly change from one religion to another, my sister in law said that if I don`t pay tithing you`re going to steal our house, what happens if I go inactive after my baptism, I need to learn more, I`m not prepared yet, etc." 

Whoa.  So my companion started talking and saying a lot of stuff how that`s normal to be scared and nervous but how the church is true and how she should look at the changes that`ve taken place her life and her family since they`ve began to come to church. 

I asked her what she wanted to learn or what she lacked to be prepared.  She didn`t really know.  So I asked if we could go inside the church and talk.  I asked her if she had prayed, she said yes but that she hadn´t received an answer.  So I explained how we recognize answers through prayer.  My companion did as well.  Then I asked if she was reading the Book of Mormon.  She said that she wasn`t.  So we explained the importance of that.  Then we ended with this, "Okay let`s do this.  We`re going to leave you a part of the Book of Mormon tonight, you can read it, and then talk with Heavenly Father.  Ask him if it`s really true, and ask him what you should do.  Talk to him about all your doubts and fears and just ask Him what to do."  We left Alma 7:9-16 and left it with that.  After the lesson some members asked if she was going to get baptized and she said probably not.  The husband said "darn right!"  

So we went by the next day, at 8:45 am (the baptism was going to be at 10 am) to see how it went.  We brought our ward missionary leader just in case we needed back up.  But when we got there, everyone was getting ready for the baptism.  She was up stairs getting ready, so we talked to her husband.  We asked how it went last night, and he said, "Everything turned out positively."  

Oh, okay.  

So I didn`t ask her what happened but I ended up baptizing her and her husband later that day.  I was just shocked.  The Lord must have answered her prayers, the scripture must have touched her heart, and she must have felt something.   So I am just super grateful for the Book of Mormon and the power of prayer.  They`re the keys for testimony.  They make the difference.  So I`m thankful for all these blessings.

And just tell Jerrica and Cameron that I said "WOOO!!!"  Rock on.  

This week will be good.  I have a good feeling.  I had a dream with someone telling me "Tienes que trabajar durisimo!!!"  Alright, I guess that`s what I`ll do.  New companion, new change, let`s go a rocking!

Thanks for everything mom, thanks for your help and prayers, tell everyone I love them.