I'll be serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months in the Ecuador Quito Mission. I'm leaving my family, friends, and familiar surroundings behind to teach the message I have to share to bring others closer to Christ and help families be together for eternity.
Well this was a crazy, but a really amazing week! Christmas came early for us! haha For those of you who don`t know, alot of people here in Ecuador do not get married, but live together and consider themselves married. A lot of people are scared to make the commitment, and then have to get divorced, because divorce costs a lot and no one wants to deal with that. And so that is one of the biggest things we have to deal with, with families is helping them get married, before they can be baptized. And so it always seems to take a long time for families to be baptized for that reason. But, this family, Flia Medina, had such big desires to be baptized and such strong faith that they overcome every obstacle that was thrown their way this last month and were finally married this last wednesday!!! And seriously the second that they were married you could just see a huge difference in them, because they now are completely with all the commandments of God. Then they were able to be baptized this weekend! And boy was that a special experience! It was the parents and their little boy who is 9. And after they were baptized they were able to share their testimonies. And the spirit was so strong and they were just saying how they knew that this was the true church, and that despite all the opposition they faced to be married they were able to overcome it all because it is the true gospel. And they were saying how that this gospel has given them a family more unified and they are so excited that in one year they get to be an eternal family! And this has strengthened my testimony of keeping the end in mind at all times. They are looking towards the eternities and for that they are so much stronger and so firm in their testimonies, because they want the eternal blessings of being able to go to the temple. I have learned alot about faith and the importance of obedience from this family and I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to teach and help them in this path to accepting the gospel.
Today we had a fun pday! We were able to go a little bit out of our mission to a mall called Quicentro, to go bowling! It is seriously the nicest mall I have ever seen. It is like glistening clean and beautiful christmas decorations and everything. Better than all the malls in Utah. That is one thing about Ecuador, its pretty worn down in places, but has really nice malls. Its kind of ironic. And bowling was a ton of fun! I got really lucky today and got 144!! I am pretty sure thats the best I have ever bowled in my life. The only problem is my arm is going to be really sore, because the only ball that my thumb fit into was the heaviest ball and i don`t have a lot of arm strength. But, it was a fun pday activity!
I have been focusing a lot on listening, and truly listening, in every lesson. And it has made such a difference. If I am focused on what I want to share rather than what they are saying I don`t ever say what the Spirit wants me to say. But with this new focus, I have truly noticed a huge difference in my teaching and that I am truly teaching by the spirit and saying what the people really need to hear, rather than saying what I want to say. And I have noticed big differences this week and felt the spirit a lot stronger in the lessons!
I hope everyone is having a jolly Christmas season and is remembering to serve and focus on the Saviour!
I love you all! ¡Feliz Navidad!
A picture with Flia Medina and their Wedding Certificate