Monday, March 25, 2013
Well, here I am. Another week down in the mission field and things are looking up. My trial on the mission hasn´t been the food or the people or the culture or even the mosquitoes...it´s been the fact that I am DEAD tired EVERY day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. My body literally just shuts down and I have to work SO hard to stay awake and have a smile on my face. I never thought that would be a problem, but when I´m tired, I´m tired. It´s been a little rough, but I´ve been working on pushing through it and just relying on the Lord to help me out with everything. I love my companion. She is so wonderful! I forgot to tell you last week that I am in Milagro right now. My ward is Bellavista. There are two elders in the ward along with us. The people here are wonderful, thought it´s hard sometimes because we ask them to commit to something, and in the moment, they´ll say they want to go to church, or they want us to come and teach them the next day, but then the time comes and they bail on us. I wish there was a nice way to tell someone to just be honest from the start instead of leading us on. That´s been the hardest--feeling like our time is wasted because the people don´t actually want to listen to us, and are afraid to say it. We´ve been trying really hard to find people, though, who are prepared and ready for the Gospel in our lives. The analogy our mission president uses is Mango Bajo y Mango Alto. A lot of people are Mango Altos (i.e. people who aren´t married, people who have killed someone, people who don´t follow through with commitments, etc.), but a lot are also Mango Bajos (people who are ready and willing to accept the gospel and be baptized and fulfill the commitments). Our purpose here is to find the Mango Bajos. Find the people who are chosen and ready. That has been a little hard for me because we´ve already had to drop a couple of our investigators because they don´t follow through with commitments, but we need to find the mango bajos who really are ready. It´s been a great experience.
In response to your questions/statements from the last email: my teacher in the CCM married someone with the last name Gaoyzueta! Probably related to your companion, dad!
Sorry to hear about Grandpa French. Send the Searles/Stephensons my love and concern.
It is so hot and humid here. I miss snow and cold and not sweating. I never thought I´d say I miss cold, but I wish it could be just a tad more fresco here.
I never use my jacket even in rain, because it´s just so hot!
Sad that the Wilkey´s will be done in June. My mission president is out then, too, and they´ll be splitting our mission to accomodate the new Guayaquil West mission. We´ll see what happens there!
Well, my time is short, which is really hard because there´s so much more I want to write, but I just want to let you know the Gospel is true. I love it. It´s so simple, but so powerful, and it truly changes lives. We have a baptism this Saturday for a 64 year old man who is just so great. He accepts all the commitments and is excited to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know that baptism is necessary for our salvation. It brings so many blessings in this life and in the world to come. Thanks for all your prayers and love!
P.S. This is picture of me and Hna. Olson outside the Guayaquil Temple after I arrived.
P.P.S. Banana here is gineo.
P.P.P.S. We taught a family filled with Evangelicos, Catolicos, y Testigos de Jehova and survived! And committed two of them to baptism.
P.P.P.P.S. Apparently I have ojos gatos. It´s nice because that reminds me of Sunkist, but also not nice because the cats down here are ugly. I love you!
Monday, March 18, 2013
Hola hola hola familia!!
And greetings from the very hot and humid country of Ecuador. It has been a great experience being out in the field as a full-fledged missionary. My trainer is Hermana Olson from Arizona, and she is incredible. Her mom is from Mexico, but she learned Spanish in the MTC so it´s been good being with her in case I don´t know how to say something...which is pretty often. This first week, I get the opportunities to invite people to be baptized, and in the MTC I didn't really see the good in inviting people to be baptized within the first visit, but now I can testify that it´s incredible. You get to see where people´s doubts are and then work toward helping them gain stronger testimonies in those areas. We didn't have much success last week because the people were being very duro, but we fasted yesterday and are going to work even harder to have more success this week to help people come unto Christ and be baptized! This is the only way we can receive salvation and it´s wonderful to have the opportunity to share this with everyone!
Ps I haven´t had time to read your emails, but I´m going to print them out and read them later, so if there´s anything in particular I need to respond to, that´ll come in next week´s email...sorry! Also, this keyboard is TERRIBLE, so sorryfor the typos.
I have a couple things I wanted to write about from my last week at the CCM and that is...I SCORED A GOAL! My team had a penalty kick, and they were trying to figure out who should take the kick, and my team had me do it since I play defense the whole time, and I made it. It was so awesome. Also, one of the guys who worked in the cafeteria lived in NH for a couple years. How small is the world?? And how many tender mercies has Heavenly Father given me?? SO MANY! I just love that Heavenly Father has His eye on me and always reminds me that He is there. So great. Also, last Sunday, two Hnas and I sang Lead Kindly Light during Sacrament Meeting and it was fantastic. Hopefully I can send you the video soon.
Since I've been in Ecuador, I've learned how to wash clothes by hand, use a taxi, understand Ecuadorians, bathe in bug spray so as to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes, go without eating dinner, eat more than my stomach can hold of lunch, and invite people to be baptized in the first visit. It has been a great experience here. Our apartment is nice and there´s a cool, huge, light-up pineapple right behind where we live as a nice little touch. I always think that it would be a good place to film an episode of Psych or something.
Also, we had a baptism on Saturday! Victor is 19 years old and he was just baptized. His joy and excitement for the Gospel is incredible, and I hope that he can share that light and excitement with his family. He´s going to start coming out teaching with us this week. The ward is wonderful, too!
Thank you for the birthday wishes. THis definitely has been the most unusual birthday ever, but I love Ecuador and I love preaching the Gospel. I have learned so much and have so much more to learn still. I need to have less fear to just start speaking, and more faith that Heavenly Father will fill my mouth with what I should say. When we keep the commandments we are blessed in every way (Mosiah 2:41) and my commandment on the mission is to preach the Gospel by the Spirit. I know this church is the church of Jesus Christ. I KNOW IT!
I love you all!!!
P.S. sorryfor the typos and sorryif this email is jumbled in thoughts. The most important thing is that you know I love the Lord and I love you all. :)
P.P.S. I´ll try to send pictures next week!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
It is so good to be back here hearing about your life and being able to tell you a little bit more about mine, although nothing really changes around here, so I don`t know why I do. First of all, I want to start out by mentioning all the important days/holidays I missed in my last email:
February 20th: MOM`S HALFY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! I can`t believe I forgot to write that in my last email! It was written down in my planner but never made it to the screen. I am so sorry, Mom. I hope you know I was thinking about you!
February 28th/March 1st: WILLIAM`S HALFY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you had a very exciting milisecond of half birthday-ness to celebrate and know I was thinking about you, too!
March 1st: RABBIT RABBIT
March 2nd: Dr. Seuss`s birthday, and all those 22-year-olds who share his special day
March 4th: The Most Progressive Day of the Year! I didn`t fail to inform everyone of this very well-known and important holiday, though it was a little hard to explain to the Latinos
It`s pretty loco to think that I will only be here for one more week! Exactly one week from today, I will be on my way to Ecuador. Actually, by this time of day, I`ll probably already be in Ecuador! Kinda nuts, but I`m ready to leave. This place makes you go crazy after so long. I feel like I just arrived here, while at other times I feel like I`ve been here for my whole life, and other other times I can`t believe that I`ve been here for 5 whole weeks, and other other other times 5 weeks seems like nothing...it`s just a weird phenomenon that can`t be successfully explained over an email. It really hit me how long I`ve been here when I had my second Rabbit Rabbit out of the States. So nuts. But the next time I write you will be when I`m in a different South American country!
Dad, I`m glad the doctor said you should eat more Frosty`s and bacon. I need a little bit more of those in my life down here. Actually, what I`m craving the most is your homemade popcorn. I really need some popcorn. Can you send that to me? I`m sure it would still taste delicious. Maybe just at least send me a picture of you eating it, then I can eat it vicariously through you all. That`d be great. :) Mom, how`s your class going?? I`m glad you and Christian were able to play some fun Wii games together. When I played Harry Potter with Christian, I would usually just jump on him or Parker and/or shoot water at them. Glad we have the same brain. Christian, how`s the breathing going?? I can`t wait until Mother`s Day when I can hear your new breathable voice!!
Nothing too exciting has been going on here, except when we were at the temple last week, all the lights went completely out for a minute. That was quite the adventure. We got 8 new N. Americans, and 2 elders from Provo. They love it here at the CCM more than the Provo MTC, but here are the two things we get ripped off by being here (1) we don`t get our own personalized Spanish scriptures and (2) we don`t get devotionals from general authorities. Other than that, Peru is the bomba. Last week during soccer, I got kicked in the face by the ball and my jaw hurt for a little while, but then healed pretty quickly. I honestly can tell that my soccer skills have improved. One of my teachers watched us play for a little while and he was surprised I was playing because apparently not many girls play soccer down here. It`s seriously what I look forward to every day! Also, since I don`t have a companion, the missionaries always call me "Forever Alone." I guess I`m just the running joke of the CCM. Forever Alone and Hermana Yesterday. Oh! Other fun fact, I met an elder named Elder Salazar, and all I could think of is Salazar Slytherin. He`s from Ecuador, too, so hopefully I run into more Harry Potter characters while I`m over there.
Sorry I don`t have more exciting news and sorry this email is kind of jumbled. I have an investigator named Cristhian, which makes me so happy because I think of you, Christian. I`ve been trying to work on receiving revelation for my investigators so I know how to help them, too, and it`s cool to see how even though these investigators are just my teachers, I can feel God`s love for them as I teach. Got loves all His children so much, and we have a responsibility to take care of them. We watched a devotional of Jeffrey R. Holland on Sunday, and one of the things he talked about was when the Savior went back and "recruited" His apostles the second time to "feed His sheep" and asked Peter if he loved Him 3 times. (Sorry, I`m in a hurry, so this is a very bad summary...) And one of the things Elder Holland mentioned was that when we are called to feed Heavenly Father`s sheep, we are called for a lifetime, not just for a moment. I have been called to serve as a missionary at this time to bring Christ`s gospel to the people of Ecuador, but I am not just called for a year and a half. I need to make sure I am working to feed His sheep every day of my life. And you can all do that, too. Remember God`s love for you and for the rest of His children, and how important it is that each of them make it back to Him someday.
I love you all and know that this Gospel is true. It is only through the Gospel that we can receive happiness in this life and in the life to come.
I`M PRAYING FOR YOU!!!!!!!
P.S. This first picture is of my morning teacher who just got married last Friday, which means he`s no longer my teacher. He does basically everything. And he choked a whale. So don`t even think about trying to one-up him. The second picture is just a bus shot. We were going over a speed bump there.
P.S.S. The only things I can think of for you to send me for my birthday are love, handwritten notes from everyone in the family, notes from anyone else who would like to write me, a few pictures, and some love. Nothing big. Just love. Thanks! Love you!