Monday, June 24, 2013
Wow, already another week down. The weeks have been going by faster and faster. I honestly can´t believe it. This week, I want to wish you, Mom and Dad, a HAPPY 26TH ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!! I´m not sure if you've all gotten my letters yet, but I hope they come soon! Who knows how reliable the Ecuatoriano mailing system is...not I. But please know I love you both and am so glad you married each other for time and all eternity 26 years ago in the Logan Temple. The senior missionary couple that live next door to us got married in the Logan Temple, too! I attached a picture of them so you can see our lovely missionary abuelitos.
Also, this Saturday, we had a baptism for Noemi! She is so wonderful! Her husband was baptized about a month ago, and she was still having doubts about getting baptized herself at the beginning of last week, but we taught her with poder y autoridad, and she gained a testimony and a witness of the Holy Ghost so powerful that she couldn´t deny it. Ever since she made the firm decision to get baptized, she has been so much happier. And at her baptism, she was radiating. I´m so happy to be part of this work, helping Heavenly Father´s children prepare themselves to return to his presence.
We've definitely had our share of tests and pruebas, though, that´s for sure. We had 3 more baptisms planned for Saturday: Elena, Yamilet, y Paulina. Elena is the abuela of Yamilet and Paulina, and last Sunday, she and her nietas were so excited to be baptized, but then when we passed by their house on Monday, Elena wouldn't let us in, nor wanted to talk to us. Her aunt told her that she already got baptized and that it´s a burla ante Dios to get baptized twice. She listens a lot to what other people say, so she obviously took this pretty hard. She definitely has a lot of trials in her life, too--no job, 3 girls to take care of without any help from their parents, health issues--but she still doesn't understand that being baptized will help her will all of these problems! We´re still trying to pray and receive the revelation we need to be able to know how to help them, but it´s all going pretty slowly. We´re going to try and send some members of the branch to visit her and help her realize the importance of the gospel of Jesucristo in her life. She´s definitely received an answer of its truthfulness, so now we need to help her to follow that prompting.
We had our last training with Presidente Montalti on Tuesday, because he´ll be leaving at the end of the month and our new president will be Presidente Torres. He´s a doctor from California. Presidente Montalti is great. He shared Mosiah 2:22-25, 41 about obedience. If we want blessings, we need to be obedient. That´s all that Heavenly Father requires. That´s it! It´s like John 14:15 says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Also, in a house down the street from the chapel where we had our capacitación was a lion! Someone owns a lion, and we could see it in the 4-inch space underneath the garage. I may or may not have touched its tail when I walked past...ok I did. I touched a lion.
Random compliment of the week: Someone told me I have a Greek profile and that my nose is beautiful. Thank you, Ecuador.
I love you all and hope you´re doing fantastically! Keep up the great member missionary work and help out the missionaries as much as you can! It´s key to have help from members! The church is true! Christ lives!
P.S. Thanks again, Sunkist, forrr the email! Glad to hearrr you´rrre alrrright!
Monday, June 17, 2013
FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS, PARKER ALAN AYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You´re the best ñaño who has 19 years that I´ve ever known! I hope you have such a wonderful day. Know that I love you and am thinking about you! Everyone says the best preparation for the mission is to read PMG, and it´s true...so just do it. I know you have, but do it more. haha
Also, HAPPY FATHER´S DAY yesterday!!! And this week, happy birthday to Brittany Howell and Megan Wernig! So many special occasions, and know that I love you all.
I haven´t read your email yet, so I don´t know if anyone gave a talk on Mother´s or Father´s Day, but I think I´m going to start a new tradition here on the mission...Stake Conference. On Mother´s Day in my last area, we had stake conference, and yesterday we had District Conference (ya mismo una estaca). Let me tell you, conferences are nuts here. We try to bring as many investigators as possible to the conferences, especially when Presidente Montalti is going to be there...and he´s been at both of these conferences. It was so nuts and we were really tired running around to all the people on our list, but today we finally get some rest.
Yesterday for Father´s Day, we ate lunch at Elder and Hermana Hansen´s house. They´re a senior missionary couple that live 2 houses down from us and are practically our grandparents here on the mission. Hermana Hansen always makes us cookies and takes good care of us. Yesterday after lunch, we still had a little time left, so we played spoons and........DON´T EAT PETE!!!!!!! It was a little different of a version, but I made sure we chanted and everything. It was so great, and definitely a tender mercy from the Lord.
This week, we almost lost 3 baptisms. One woman we are teaching came out of our house and told us she didn't want to come to church this Sunday, and was flustered with everything, making every excuse in the book. It was a miracle because her nephew came to her house by surprise, and he´s a member. He helped us out and the Spirit was so strong when I testified to her of the truthfulness of the church. I shared 3 Nephi 13: 32-33. I know the church is true, and this was definitely a test of my faith and trust in the Lord. I know He is watching over each and everyone of us and loves us. If we put our trust in Him, he will help us in every aspect of our lives.
This week we have 4 baptisms. Pray that everything goes well this week!
I love you all!!
P.S. I hope you´re having fun with Karen and Kirsten!
P.P.S. This week, another person asked if I was from Spain, and one asked if I was from Brazil. Nopety nope.
Monday, June 10, 2013
I can´t even tell you how much I love you. Christian, I can´t believe you´re a state champion! Way to go for your tennis team!!! That is so cool! As many sports as I did, we never won any state champion anything. I am so proud of you and your hard work. Way to go! Also, I can´t believe Kirsten and Karen are coming to visit! How fun! I hope all the preparations are made and everyone´s animado. And I wish I could join you for your trip to Nauvoo this summer. That´ll be so great to meet up with Brenda there, too. Aww full familia! Mamá, how did your singing go? Parker and Christian, what are you singing for Father´s Day? Also, is anyone giving a talk?? We don´t want to break tradition now! Keep up the good missionary work!
Well, guess what? I´M TRAINING!!!!!!!!! I have a daughter! Well, a daughter missionary. Her name is Hermana Arellano from Chile. She is so wonderful! She´s 19 and is so excited to work. She relies on me a lot, which is good for me because it makes me work harder. This week has been great. Opening up a sector. Getting to know the members of the branch (yes, I´m in a branch). Figuring out what we need to do to have éxito. All that good stuff. It´s been a great adventure and honestly I really like being senior companion. It´s been a tradition in my life to take a back seat when someone knows what´s going on more than I do, but then to step up to the plate when I´m the one in charge. It´s been good for me to finally step up to the plate. I realized how much of a back seat I was taking when I finally got more responsibility. I feel great, though. I like knowing what´s going on and I've definitely been relying on the Lord in all that I do. It´s been interesting, because this week, I've understood more than ever. The Gift of Tongues is REAL! Every cambio, I understand more and more, which has been a miracle...Moroni 7:33.
Also, found out today that our mission has the highest baptism record of any mission. My mission president will be ending beginning of July and has over 6,000 baptisms. And he´s so humble about it. Kinda cool.
This week, we worked hard to find new people to teach and to invite people to be baptized. We found a lot of great people, got a lot of references, but it´s been difficult because the majority of the people aren´t married...just living together. It´s hard to see, and the process of getting married is pretty difficult here, so most everyone just skips that step. I know marriage is ordained of God, and it´s essential for our happiness in this life and the life to come. I met a joven who we visited after he accepted a fecha, and he told me that his dad said he couldn't get baptized. I asked him, "But what do you want to do?" He said, "Yo quiero bautizarme." His testimony and desire to be baptized was so strong, and I just felt the love God has for all His children. Although his dad won´t let him be baptized right now, I know that in the future, he will get the opportunity. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return to His presence and have the felicidad that comes from Eternal Life. I know that Jesucristo makes all this possible, but only through Jesucristo. We need to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. That's it. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know He lives and He loves us. His arms of mercy are extended to all who come unto Him. I love the Gospel and I love serving here in Ecuador. :)
Les amo!!!!!!!!!! FELIZ DÍA DE PADRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Te amo, Papi :)
P.S. Everyone who promised to write me, remember I only require ONE letter.
P.P.S. But I´ll hold you to that one letter.
P.P.P.S. Wedding announcements count.
P.P.P.P.S. HAPPY FATHER´S DAY in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.P.P.P.P.S. PARKER´S BIRTHDAY IS IN ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I thought I´d share some pictures. A typical Ecuadorian dish. Me with Presidente Montalti. (Ignore the fact that, yes, I´m becoming a gordita.) Me and Hna. Arellano.
P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh motorcycle week. Good times. Every day in Ecuador is motorcycle week.
A typical Ecuadorian Dish
Sarah with President Montalti
Sarah and Hermana Arellano
Monday, June 3, 2013
I love you so much. I hope that you know that. :) You are all the best ever. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for being such excellent examples to me of faith and diligence in the Gospel. I love you. Also, Dad, did your message on the Howie Carr Show Chump Line get played? Maybe you already told me in your email, but I´m going to read that after I write. How have you all been? And will somebody PLEASE tell me how Sunkist is????!!! Thanks,
Here in Guayaquil, we have been working wicked hard to talk to EVERYONE! We have investigadors who are awesome, but then they don`t come to church, or they don´t read, etc. So we´ve been trying hard to find new people to teach. We have this one family who is great. The dad got baptized a loooooong time ago, and has been inactive ever since. The mom and daughter are wonderful and love having us come teach them, but weren't able to come to church this Sunday. We´re a little worried about what happened with her, because she seemed really distant when we visited her on Saturday, but with faith she´ll keep progressing and preparing herself for baptism. This work is crucial and life-changing. Also, the mom of this family taught me how to make corviches, so hopefully I can make them when I get home.
Also, I´m pretty sure I´m being transferred to Santa Rosa. This is the last cambio before the splitting of the missions, and I´m staying in Guayaquil South. Also, I´m pretty sure I´m going to be the senior companion, but we still have to see...BAH! I know that I´ll definitely need God´s help to lift me to the level I need to be at in order to have success, and I´ll definitely be seeking that help in all that I do.
This week, we had interviews with Presidente Montalti, and after, he gave Hna. Pérez permission to go to the temple to buy new garments. While we were there, we stepped inside the temple and I felt such peace come over me. I know the temple is the house of God. Without a doubt. I love that here on earth we can feel the spirit so strong. It is important that we always remain worthy to enter that holy house and always attend so we can receive that spirit siempre. The Spirit will never lead us astray. It will always testify of truths and help us make good decisions when we are worthy to have the Spirit. But remember that it`s in the little things that we stay strong: reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church. I can´t say it enough.
The other day, someone asked me if I was from Spain. My hair every day is getting blonder and blonder, and my skin is getting tanner and tanner. I´m not myself anymore. But don´t worry, my inward change is for the better.
I know the church is true without a doubt in my mind. I know Christ lives and loves us. Por medio de su Expiación, podemos ser limpios del pecado. I love the Gospel with all my heart and I love preaching it to God´s children.
Con oraciones de amor,
P.S. Picture of Piedad`s baptism!
P.P.S. Other picture of my zone!