Can you believe how fast time has gone?? I sure can´t! Just to keep the awe of time tradition going, I thought I´d start my email así.
First, I would love to wish you all a very happy St. Patrick´s Day! O Día de San Patricio. I am wearing the same green shirt I wore last year on St. Patrick´s Day, which was my first Sunday here in Ecuador. Now I´ve lost track of the number of Sundays. Time flies. Today, I´m going to make patacones, which are made out of green plantain, and which they juts call "verde." Since there´s no food dye here, it´s really the only green thing readily available.
Second, I would love to thank you all for the birthday wishes! I cannot believe I´m turning 23 tomorrow. What a milestone--23. Now I can do so many more things. 23. Wow. I´m just happy that I´m twenty free and ya mismo my dad´s fifty free. Time flies when you´re having fun. Dad, your reccolection of my birth almost made me cry. Thinking of William with pollen all over his face just makes me laugh, and I really miss those wonderful times when we were young, all those home movies. I´m so grateful we´ve always had the Gospel in our lives, and I want to thank you, Mom and Dad, for raising me these 23 years of my life, and teaching me how to love God first. Really, when we put Him first, we always will be happy. We´ll always have success. We´ll always be blessed. We´ll always be filled. We´ll always have joy. We´ll always how to know how to resist temptation and overcome the challenges of this life. Always. God is our loving Heavenly Father. And I´m so grateful to Him that He's given me loving earthly parents. And loving earthly brothers. I love you all!!
A couple comments: (1) I love that you always comment on the RS/Priesthood lessons from this year. We´re on the same lesson here, and I¨ve felt that the manuals of the church just keep getting better and better. I love how simple yet powerful the Gospel is!! (2) I showed a menos activo a picture of our family, and Mom, he said you were guapísima. I´d have to agree. (3) A bird pooped on me this week. The first time that´s happened to me in my whole life. Check that off my bucket list. Actually, put it on my bucket list, then check it off, because it´s not there. (4) There was apparently a temblor this week. 5.1. I didn´t feel it. I never feel them!
As you can tell from the pictures I sent, we had a baptism! Giovanna se bautizó! She´s the miracle who came to church alone and said she wanted to get baptized. She´s so awesome. So believing and so
This week, my companion and I struggled to find new people. We had quite a few people committed to go to church, but when we passed for them on Sunday, they were all either leaving to visit family, or drunk, or asleep, or cooking, or waiting for a visit, or.................a number of things. I hate that things of this world often get in the way of the spiritual things. We always need to put God first and do His will, and then He´ll help us in every aspect of our life! It´s so vital that we go to church so that we can feel the spirit, be truly converted, and renew the covenants we made at baptism by taking the Santa Cena. It's so important!! God´s way is perfect. We won´t always understand it, but that´s why we need to be obedient. When we obey first, we show our faith, and then receive the testimony. Ether 12:6.
Also, a Chilean hermana just got tranferred here after serving in Rincagua, Chile for a little while as she patiently waited her visa (sound familiar, Parker?), and guess who was her zone leader?? DAVID ARCHULETA!!!! WHAAT? Pretty cool. Apparently he´ll be finishing his mission the end of this month.
I hope you all know how much I love you! As Maid Marian says, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." I didn´t think I could ever love you more than when I was home, but now I have felt more love for you than ever as I´ve been serving the Lord. Stay strong in your commitments, coventants, and callings. The Lord will bless you as you faithfully serve His children! Moroni 9:25-26
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. This week, I got a Franklin Pierce dollar and a NH coin! Tender mercies from God.