Monday, April 29, 2013

Los Esteros


¿Cómo están todos? Les amo muchísimo. Espero que todos lo sepan. This week.................I was transferred! I am now in the large city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the barrio Los Esteros. My companion is Hermana Pérez de Guatemala, who also transferred from Milagro where I was before. She is WONDERFUL! She teaches simply y con sinceridad. She has helped me a lot in my ability to love the people and know how to teach them in a way that they will understand and accept the compromisos. It's great because I always understand her Spanish, and she's always happy and ready to work. The people here are very relaxed, so a lot of the time it's hard to have a lesson begin and end in a timely way, but she is great at keeping people focused on what´s going on and help them to feel the Spirit. It's great. We live with two other hermanas in the same apartment, which at first was a little rough, but now it's great. The two other hermanas are Hna. Martinez de Perú y Hna. Lujan de Argentina--cerca de Mendoza! They're in the same barrio as we are, but we don't work together much. They have their program and we have ours.

Hna. Pérez y yo are opening up this sector, and it's definitely been an adventure. We didn't know anyone, where we were, how to get anywhere...nothing. Hna. Pérez was in an area close to where we are now, and ate at a member's house one time in this area and luckily remembered how to get to their house. So we started with this house, and went from there. Met the obispo, líder misional, misioneros de barrio, etc. We found a member to come around with us, and learned more or less where things were. And it's been great ever since. They're going to be splitting the barrio soon, so we're not exactly sure where we'll be, so we're just playing things by ear right now. In La Bellavista, I was the ward pianist, and I complained that the piano was out of tune, but I should have counted my blessings, because in our new building we don't even have a piano. Oh wellzies.

Hoy día, Hna. Pérez and a few other senior companions had to go to a capacitación, so 3 other hermanas y yo got to sit and talk and study our scriptures for 7 hours. Let me tell you, it was a long time. Buuut, I met an hermana who was in the MTC with Logan! Her name is Hna. Bytheway and she's from Sandy. She's been in Ecuador for a week, and when she saw me, she said, "Ah! You're Elder Bennet's cousin!" And we found out that she dated a guy from my freshman ward, and I'm pretty sure he introduced me to her once on campus. And then we talked about how much we loved Arthur. It was a great day even though I didn't do much.

Mom, sorry I don't have any recipes to send. I told people in my last ward that I wanted recipes for certain dishes, but forgot to follow up and now I'm gone. I would look on the internet for these foods, though: Seco de Pollo, Arroz con Menestra, Arroz con Pollo, Madura Frita, Patacones. So good!!! The food here really is great. I can count on one hand the number of days I haven`t eaten rice or had coca-cola, though. I have definitely tripled the amount of soda I've had in my whole life in the past 6 weeks. My teeth are going to suffer, I think. Also, we always eat soup, too, even though it's dang hot. Caldos and cremas. Yum.

Also, bonuses for being here in Guayaquil: I've gotten only 2 mosquito bites since I've been here, and I've had to use my sheets! Usually I'm dying of heat stroke during the night, but here, it's fresco. I love it.

The members are great and the people we are teaching don't want to commit to come to church, but they're great, too. We're working hard to bring people to Stake Conference this Sunday and I hope we can find some golden investigators. The work is hard, but it's wonderful! The church is true. Without a doubt. I love this Gospel, and I love being a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Ayer

P.S. Did I mention I love you?

Monday, April 22, 2013

First Transfer


Cómo están todos??  Thank you for the emails and love and laughs and todo.  You are all wonderful and I miss you!  Christian, where have you been??  I need to hear from you!  How´s school?  How´s tennis?  How´s everything?  Mom, to answer the rest of your questions from last week, (1) my body has more or less adjusted to the heat here.  I still sweat like a banshee, but I´m used to it now.  I also am less tired in the middle of the day, which is a blessing and a half.  I still have some days where I accidentally close my eyes for who knows how long during a pre-lunch visit, but that´s about once a week now.  (2) In my mission, the rule is still that only family can email me and I still only get 30 minutes.  Who knows if it will change with the mission president, but for now things are still the same-old.  (3) No picture with the Mission President when I arrived.  There were a few groups of missionaries who arrived at different times that same day and things were kind of nuts.  Plus, I looked pretty frightening, so it´s a blessing in disguise.  I´m glad to hear McKay made it safely to Hungary!  How cool for him!  (4) Scary about the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  I hope none of you wer down there in that great state of Massachusetts during that time.  It´s weird having people ask me about current events in the world and not knowing what´s going on.  But I´m getting used to being out of the worldly loop.  It´s pretty nice, actually.  Also, I´m not really sure what time of year it is, because I think there´s only winter and summer, but yeah, that doesn´t matter.

I am so excited that the whole family will be home when I call for Mother´s Day!!!  What day does Parker fly home?  And will William be driving?  That is going to be so great.  I can´t wait to attempt to talk to you all in English and hear how you all are doing--especially Christian with his new voice. ;)

This weekend we had another baptism!  For Ricardo Pinela.  He is neighbors/cousins to Victor y Kevin who were recently baptized.  Ricardo is so great and will hopefully be teaching with us sometime this week!  His grandfather was a member of the church, and always tried to get his family to join the church as well, but never did.  Now his grandson is following in his footsteps, and we´re working on figuring out the desafíos of the other members of his family so we can help them enjoy the blessings of the Gospel, as well.  This Saturday will be the baptism of another member of the Pinela family--Michael.  Younger brother of Victor and Kevin.  And then the next weekend, two more of their siblings are getting baptized!  This family is so wonderful and definitely prepared for the gospel--they just learn and accept compromisos at different rates.

Also, I´m pretty sure I´m getting transferred today.  We were talking with an hermana and she heard that I´m getting moved to Guayaquil.  I´ll find out exactly where tonight, but my new companion is going to be Hermana Pérez.  She is currently in another ward here in Milagro, which means that we will both be new to this area.  I´m really sad to be leaving Hermana Olson (yes, Sandy).  She is so wonderful and has taught me a lot--how to share the Gospel simply, how to love the people, how to serve others, how to be obedient with exactness, etc.  She has one more transfer left in the mission, and I know she´s going to give it her all till the end.  I´m really going to miss all the people here in Bellavista también.  This ward has been so welcoming and loving, and the members are always will and able to help with the obra misional.  Christian, a 15-year-old comes and teaches with us at least once a week.  You should try and help out the missionaries more often, too, if you can.  It´s a little harder there, I understand, because here we walk everywhere.  But that would be great preparation for your mission, and a big help to the missionaries in the ward.

I love being a missionary!  It has been such a blessing in my life.  The promises I received in my setting apart are becoming evident as I enjoy more and more days in the field.  It´s definitely not easy.  Everyone who told me that is right.  But it´s been so wonderful.  Obviously I´ve only been out for about 3 months, but these 3 months have been wonderful.  I know the church is true, and everyone who doesn´t have this testimony for themselves, please find it soon!  It will bless you in every aspect of your life.

I love you all and am praying for your well-being, and that you can feel my love all the way from the equator.

Hermana Ayer

P.S.  CONGRATULATIONS TO ASHLEY ON THE ENGAGEMENT!!!  Also, Camille, thanks for sending me letters :)

P.P.S. Yes, I did get Olivia´s DearElder, and thanks for the picture!  I hope all is well for you!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Hola, Familia!!!!!!!!

I want to apologize for my inability to write in English.  Honestly, I can´t talk super great in Spanish, and the other day, I had to help out the chico in my ward who is going to the Fresno Mission talk to the woman in the mission office to get some questions answered, and I couldn´t talk in English either, so now I´m mediocre in two languages and fluent in none.  It´s fun.  I hope my emails make sense, and if you get anything out of them, know that I love you and the Lord and Ecuador and the Gospel.

This week has been a roller coaster!  Earlier this week, we could not find one of our investigators for forever!  We talked to his mom, family, neighbors, etc. and could not get in contact with him.  Finally after much prayer, we ran into him at his house on Wednesday.  He had been reading false information online about the church and started doubting his testimony.  Also, he has always had the desire to teach jóvenes, and decided to join a group of people who teach youth in preparation for their first communion in the Catholic church.  However, he told us that he wanted to teach them like we teach him--with the Book of Mormon.  haha Sorry, pal, that´s not possible.  We were able to answer most of his doubts, and we had a lesson that was so powerful.  The Spirit was incredibly strong testifying of the truthfulness of this Gospel, and he told us later that he felt like God was in his house.  That is the power of the Spirit and the power of faith.  I love this Gospel and I KNOW that this is the church of Jesus Christ.  The next day, he had his baptismal interview and still had some doubts/preguntas, but the elder giving the interview answered them all.  Now he is even more psyched than before for his baptism, which will be this Saturday!  I´m so excited.  Ricardo is great, and he´s going to be a great missionary someday.

This last Saturday, the 13th, we had a baptism for Kevin Pinela!  The younger brother (15 years) of Victor, who was baptized 3 weeks ago.  The best part of all was that Victor baptized Kevin!  Seeing an investigator pre-baptism to after with the Priesthood helping his family receive the Gospel is incredible.  It was a great baptism and his brother is just as animated about the gospel as Victor is.  Now we have to work with the rest of the family.  There are 8 kids total.  One girl is the oldest and then 7 boys.  The parents are Evangelicos, so they don´t want to come to church at all, but we´re working on building confianza so we can help them feel comfortable and have the desire to come to church.

Our last convert, Marcos, has been having some trials in his life, but he is such an inspiration, because through it all, he has remained strong and patient and knows that with God´s help he can do everything.  He stole my hair elastic off my wrist a few weeks ago and now wears it everywhere.

Random thoughts:  I was told twice last week that people thought I was 17.  Weird.  We walk everywhere and sometimes take the bus and sometimes taxis.  But usually walk.  They have moto taxis which is basically someone driving a motorcycle and someone can hop on back.  Looks kinda fun. haha  Everyone here drives motorcycles!  The best part is, you can fit a family of 5 on a motorcycle.  Who knew, huh?  Also, laws I took for granted: Don´t change lanes in the intersection and don´t burn trash.  Two things Ecuador can improve on.

I love you all and thank you so much for the package.  I finally got it this week!  I still need more pictures.  Today, Hna. Olson and I are going to learn how to make kites with the niños on the street of the familia of Victor and Kevin.  They´re always outside with their cometas and finally we´re going to learn how to be pros like the Ecuatorianos!  I can´t wait!

Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference


I just want to let you all know how much I love you.  Watching General Conference this weekend made me think of home and my family.  Families are so important in the plan God has for us, and I´m so grateful I have such a fantastic family!  One of the things I love that Elder Falabella said is "Un niño que canta es un niño feliz."  This is so true!  The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me (D&C 25:12).  I´m so grateful our family is a singing family.  Probably the reason my life has been a happy one.  Thank you, mom and dad, for helping me to appreciate singing and to love singing.  I miss you all and singing with you all!

I love President Monson´s talk on obedience, too.  It is so crucial that we obey in this life.  While he was speaking, I received such a strong witness that he is the prophet of God on the earth today.  Last week, Hermana Olson and I testified of prophets every day and their importance, and while President Monson was talking, I received another confirmation of His calling.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today.  I know that through Joseph Smith the gospel was restored again to the earth.  This gospel is true and it´s necessary for everyone who lives on the earth!  I´m grateful for the opportunity I have to preach this gospel to God´s children in Ecuador.  In the CCM, we watched a devotional that David A. Bednar gave in the Provo MTC, and he talked about how he studies the Conference talks, and I really like it.  He looks for 1) the doctrine  2) the invitation and  3) the promises given.  Each general authority gives us an invitation to change, to improve, and to follow Christ.  If we follow their counsel, we receive blessings.  I know this to be true!

Sorry that this email is short, but I want you all to know of my love for you.  I enjoy getting your emails and your encouraging words.  I am working on my ability to teach, and luckily things have gotten easier since the beginning of th emission.  Each day is better.  Keep me posted on the Billins and their necks, fingers, and college apps.  Don´t get too crazy with Insanity.  Mom, I´m glad you got to see Brandon and Stephanie in Virginia!  We had a bat in our shower last week.  So many people try to speak English here and I love it.

Well, that´s it for random facts.  I´m out of time.  I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Ayer

P.S.  I´ll try to send pictures next week.

Monday, April 1, 2013



Rabbit rabbit, Happy April Fools` Day, Happy Easter yesterday, and I think there was one more holiday in there, but I guess it`s not that important............................................................................
APRIL FOOLS!            ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS, PAPÁ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The big, ol` 52.  This is so wonderful and I thought about you all day on Saturday!  I hope you know that.  :)  I sent something in the mail last week, but I have no idea how long mail takes to get from here to there, so we`ll see.  Please know that I have been thinking about you a lot and wish you the best in todo.  As a little birthday gift, here are some things I did to celebrate your cumpleaños:

1.  I found out a guy in the ward here named Diego is going to Fresno on his mission!  He was originally assigned to somewhere in Mexico, but couldn`t get his Visa, so he got reassigned to the second best mission in the world.  (Ecuador Guayaquil Sur is the first best, obviously.)  I told him what I could remember of your mission, but told him that the best person ever served there (you)!

2.  We had a BAPTISM!!!!!!!  Our investigator and dear friend Marcos was baptized.  He is so wonderful!  He is 63 years old and such a character.  But let me tell you, like the Joseph Smith movie says, When there`s the greatest good, there`s also the greatest opposition.  The week before his baptism, his dueño told him he had to move out of his house in 2 weeks.  Also, his son-in-law came over to stay and they don`t get along super great, and his leg has been hurting him.  And then, the night of his entrevista bautismal, it was raining more than ever, and the elders never showed up to give the interview.  It was a little crazy all at once, but Marcos is an inspiration to me, because he recognizes that all his blessings truly come from God and he has been blessed with so much.  He`s great.  Right before his baptism, though, we get to the church and the font was completely empty because our ward mission leader forgot to fill it.  Yeah, that just added one more thing to the list, but we successfully joined another baptism at another church building close by and all went as planned.  He really is such a good friend, and I`ve learned a lot from him.  The gospel is so simple in his eyes.  He has a ¿Por què no? attitude that I love!  The Gospel doesn`t have to be difficult.  We just need to love God and if we have that love, everything else is easy.

This week has been a little hard, too, because we had 4 baptismal dates fall through.  We have been teaching two different families, but they did not want to attend church.  This is so hard because church is so important.  This is where we learn from others and can partake the Sacrament which is the most important thing about church!  When we partake of the Santa Cena, we are remembering Jesus Christ and His atonement for each one of us, which is the one thing that makes it possible to receive forgiveness and have happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  It is so easy to take a few hours out of our day to remember Him.  I have really come to love these families, too, which is why it was so hard to see them make this decision.  I`m trying to be more loving and patient with others and their agency.

Also, I`ve come to see that when people have questions, the answer is the Book of Mormon.  Last night, we began teaching this family, and I saw a transformation from the beginning to the end when I testified of the Book of Mormon.  If the Book of Mormon is true, so is everything else...and the Book of Mormon is true!!

I`m so excited for Conference this weekend, and we are doing our best to invite everyone and get the word out.  Our ward goal is to have everyone bring at least one person to the Conference.  I hope it works and people bring their friend to listen to the voice of the prophet!

Dad, to answer your questions, the food is great!  We have 6 people who cook for us the same days every week, and usually we eat soup, rice, a side dish (ish), and meat.  I know that is really vague, but it's really good.  And of course Christian did great in the play.  I wish I could have been there to see it!  Also, how are the Sisters??  If you have a Sister Bickel, she`s my friend!

There is one road where all these kids play every day and they are the cutest ever!  Every day they are outside with their cometas (kites) and if someone gets it to go high, they all yell, Sì tuvo exito!  It`s the cutest!  I just wish I could play with them.  There`s a drunk guy that lives on that street, though, too, and yesterday he was laying on the ground and yelled, ¡Càsense todos conmigo!  It was hilarious.

The church is true and I love having the opportunity to share this Gospel with the people of Ecuador.  The people here are so humble and so loving.  Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He loves us so incredibly much.  I love being able to be a representative of Him.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!  And I already wrote Parker, but congrats on the mission call!  Love you!

Hermana Ayer

P.S. Don`t worry, on St. Patrick`s Day, I wore green. ;)