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.
Today was a great Pday! We went as a zone to Baños! It is a cool tourist place here in Ecuador, and I haven`t had the chance before to get to know it, so it was cool to be able to finally go! We went to a waterfall called El Pailon del Diablo (The Devil`s bowl) and it was so cool!!! When we got there it was raining, so we knew the waterfall was going to be huge, but it was a lot bigger than we expected. When we got to the waterfall there is stairs to go down to get down to the bottom of the waterfall and we started walking down and within 2 seconds a huge wave came crashing down and we were drenched!! And there was a way to go up behind the waterfall and it was so cool!! Seriously so pretty and a cool experience, and we were drenched from head to foot. Also as we were taking our district photo all of a sudden a giant wave crashed in a soaked us again, we were very surprised! And the problem was, was I was wearing a sweater (Because they didn`t tell us what we were going to do in Baños, and it wasn`t raining in Ambato) and it got super stretched out and now I am going to have to wash it by hand.. Lets see how that works out for me :) But, everyone was laughing really hard and screaming about how cold the water was and because we did not expect to get soaked.. haha just a cool experience! Ecuador is such a pretty country!!
We had a really cool experience yesterday with a less active, Miquel. Our appointments that we had planned yesterday afternoon fell through, so we decided to call the Flia Baus (some members) to visit them and to get to know them better. When we got there, Miquel was there as well. He is the brother of the Hno Baus, and he is a member as well, but hasn`t gone to church in over 39 years (he was baptized 40 years ago). We were talking and then we ended up starting our lesson and we had asked him if there was a reason why he wasn`t going to church, he said that it is because he never felt the spirit and that he was expecting to feel differently, so he left, because he never felt the spirit. Then he told us a story of how he had gone to a christian church service and just had a really overwhelming feeling of happiness and he was like that was the Spirit, I know that is what I felt and it is what I didn`t feel in your church! I then shared how growing up in the church I always had the doubt that I never felt that I had felt the spirit, because everyone always explained it as a burning in your chest, but I never felt that, so I was convinced it was just because the spirit wasn`t talking to me. But, over time I began to recognize the way it talked to me and how he testified of the truth of the gospel to me. We then explained how everyone feels the Holy Ghost differently and it is different for everyone. Then the granddaughter of Hno Baus was able to share her experience as well, and she explained how she had the same experience as Miquel. She felt great in another church and she was convinced that she had never felt the spirit in our church, and she was confused. But, as she kept explaining her story the spirit just filled the room and we were all developed with the spirit, honestly the strongest I have felt the spirit in a lesson, and we all were crying. And she was saying how she began to look back at her life in the church and realized the many moments that she had felt the spirit and didn`t put much importance in it, and she had just forgotten. She explained how there were many moments that the Lord had completely lifted off her burdens when she was weighed down and she had just forgotten. It was a really powerful experience and you could feel the spirit literally confirming what she was saying was completely true. Then we were able to testify to Miquel that what he felt why she was talking was the Holy Ghost confirming that it was true. He then started crying and saying that he has always been looking for Christ and has just wanted to follow Christ. He said that what she had said really got to him and touched his heart and he felt really good. When we testified again that that was the Holy Ghost, he was like Really?? That is the Holy Ghost?? And he really changed, his whole demeanor and his outlook changed. We commited him to keep listening to the missionary discussions and to come to church this sunday. He doesn`t actually live in our ward boundaries, he lives in a different ward. But, I am so grateful for the experience to have felt the strength of the spirit and the importance of having the spirit testify in a lesson, because we can talk all we want, but if they don`t feel the spirit than it won`t change them.
We were guided to three new people and were able to visit them this week! One is Monica, who doesn`t believe alot in religions, but God is the most important thing for her. Hopefully we can keep helping her to enjoy and love even more God and realize that His was is an organized way. Also we met with Ruth on tuesday and she was really receptive and had lots of questions, then on friday when she came to our second appointment she brought her son as well!! He seems really receptive as well and wants to know the truth of all things. Hopefully we can help them to keep growing in faith and to feel the spirit.
We contacted a lot this week, but really I enjoy contacting and I just remind byself that whether we visit them or not we are planting seeds for when missionaries come around again they will be more receptive. I love this work and I know that this is the Lord`s work so I need to make sure to give it my all and to trust in Him and give myself over to Him. I just need to forget myself and get to work!!