Monday, August 29, 2016
Today for our zone activity we went to Parque de la familia, the park on the top of the mountain here in Ambato, and it is still my sector! :) Haha even though it is like a 35 minute ride in bus up the mountain. It is a pretty park, and we had fun playing the olympics with our zone. Rio has nothing on us :) haha
We had verification this week for Hna Bench, since she is a new missionary, and it was fun! I really learned alot and I was reminded of a lot of basic principals that seem to get forgotten over time. Being with a newbie helps to remember how to love the work and just to keep it really simple. I love meetings with President Christensen, because it always reminds me of things that I can improve on and how I can become a better missionary. We also had zone conference this week, and that was great, I also learned a ton there as well. More than anything the importance of focusing on and commiting the people to read, pray, and go to church, and the importance of these three things. Hopefully I can improve on that.
We didn´t get to work alot this week for the many meetings and spontaneous trip to Quito monday, that I feel we didn´t do much this week, but reflecting we were able to get a lot done. One cool thing was saturday night, when we finally were working in our sector after having been with the stake for a blood drive, contacting and bringing people to the blood drive, it was fun and we got a lot of contacts, but we were happy to be back in our sector. Once we started working all of our appointments fell through, so I started praying asking the Lord to guide us, because there was no one that we could go to, so when we rounded the corner there was a mom with her kid going into her house. We started talking to her and she started mentioning a lot of questions about religion that she has had for awhile and as we were talking we were able to invite her to let us in to share more and she accepted and we got to share something with her. It helped me to remember that the Lord is always watching over us and wants us to find His kids that are willing to listen to our message. It was a good lesson and we are going to be returning next week to talk to her more and help her to know for herself if these things are true.
We were not able to find Mauricio like at all this week, but yesterday we had a very powerful lesson about the importance of baptism and that it opens the door to our salvation, between the wonderful testimony of my companion and the testimony of the members that were with us and my own testimony of the importance of baptism the spirit was really present and we could see in Mauricio the greater desire he had to find out if he needs to be baptized on the 10th. We are excited for him to be taking this step and I am praying that he finds comfort in this decision and that he can be strong with his family and can be an example to them.
We had a really powerful lesson with Jessica yesterday about the atonement, and how she can really feel peace about herself and with God, once the atonement has been completed, and that process included forgiving yourself and letting yourself be forgiven as well. We testified a ton, and I seriously love the testimony of Hna Bench, everytime she testifies the spirit just comes pouring in, I love it. Jessica really felt the spirit, and broke down when we shared with her the experience of Alma the younger with the Atonement in Alma 38, we asked her if she felt like him, and as she was crying and said yes, we could see in her the desire to know how to change, and we testified to her that it is through our little actions everyday and our desire to follow God and our obedience to the commandments. The coolest part of this lesson though, for me, was the overwhelming feeling of love I felt for Jessica. A love so strong that I know through God I was able to feel that love for her. She is making big steps and I know that she will be able to come closer to God.
Not only for Jessica, but for all these people here in my sector, I just love them. I love them and desire that all of them know and love the gospel for themselves. Ecuador seriously has stolen my heart and I will forever love these people and the wonderful love that they have so graciously shown me.
I also reflected this week on the scriptures alot and focusing on strengthening my testimony of them. I know that through the scriptures we can find answers to our questions. I know that the Book of Mormon does exactly what Joseph Smith testified that whoever reads this book will come closer to God than by any other book, because I have felt that change over my mission. I love the strength I can find from this book and all the other books of the gospel. I know that it shows how much God loves us, that we have these scriptures. And I know this because I have felt the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. I invite all those who don´t know and can´t say these things with an assurity to read and pray to know for themselves, and I know that if you do it with a sincere heart, you will know for yourself. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Monday, August 22, 2016
|At the verification meeting, 2nd day as companions! |
Woohoo, emergency changes :)
The work is moving along here in El Recreo, we are working with some amazing people with such big desire to know the truth. Mauricio keeps moving forward and what I love about the lessons with him, is that he always has a ton of questions, and a true desire to really know the truth. When someone has questions it is because they really want to learn, and it is really evident in Mauricio. Yesterday we taught him the plan of salvation, and something that was really new for him and hard for him to grasp was the fact that we lived with our Heavenly Father before this life and we were only spirits, that surprised him. And we testified to him, but it still kept with him a doubt, so we invited him to pray and ask Heavenly Father if he lived with Him before this life, and he was so excited to be able to do that and recieve an answer. He is learning for himself that God really does hear and answers our prayers.
A new investigator we found this week, was a reference from her twin brother who is a recent convert in Riobamba, Veronica. She is really looking to change her life around and to come closer to God and is really searching for the truth. In the second lesson with her, we verified if she had prayed, and she did! And she said she felt good and that she took it as an answer. She was willing to accept everything afterwards, and when we asked her to pray specifically about the Book of Mormon, she told us, that it doesn´t matter if it is true or not because she is going to go forward with blind faith. It was an interesting comment, because it is true, faith we can´t see we are blind to the things, but because God loves us so much he gives us a way to know if these things are true. It starts with interest and a sincere desire to know, then as we act and pray for an answer God blesses us with knowledge, line upon line. Like it says in Alma, it will keep growing, but it will keep growing until we no longer have faith, but perfect knowledge. We explained that concept to her and then she commited to praying and asking God if the Book of Mormon is true, so that she could keep increasing her faith.
Along the same principle of faith, we met with Jessica, a less active, and the discussion was led to faith and how she can have her testimony again. She knows that before she knew the church was true, but over these last couple of years when she has stopped doing the things she knows she should be doing, she has come to really forget her testimony, in the sense she know doesn´t feel anything. That is the interesting thing about a testimony, we can know that we knew, but no longer know if we stop doing the things and we now no longer have the spirit with us. We were able to have a very spirit filled lesson with lots of testimonies of the importance of doing the little things, to make sure to have the spirit with you to nuture your testimony, like reading, praying, and going to church. I had testified to her that it can change her life to start doing these things, because it has changed my life, and she then asked me how it had changed my life. It stopped me and gave me a minute to reflect, on really how it has changed my life, and more than anything, it has put my life with God´s will. I have realized that a continual reading of the scriptures, sincere prayers, and going to church with the intent to learn, we put ourselves where the Lord can work on us and truly guide us. I realized in that moment that, that is what has happened over this last year that the Lord has been able to shape me even more, because I am continually doing the little things that put me in line with His will. I am grateful for the mission for that, because it is scheduled into our day studies so that we study the scriptures everyday, we create the habit to pray at many times during the day, and we are constantly thinking and talking about the gospel, and it really aligns us with His will. She commited to start doing those things, but a commitment that really showed a desire to change and have those blessings.
I love the mission, I love this work. I know that this is the true church and I know that the Lord guides this work. I am so happy to be here in Ambato, in this ward, and with these wonderful people. This beautiful country will forever have my heart.
Monday, August 15, 2016
|Me and Hna Morán|
We had divisions this week, it was great :) I got to be with Hna Morán, she is gringa, but her dad is mexican so she looks latina. We had a great time in there sector, and we visited a family that I had visited with the Hna Leader about 3 months ago, and they remembered me :) There are 3 cute little girls that are super sweet, one wanted to brush my really snarly hair (Thanks to the wind and dust and walking everywhere :) ) haha It was fun to see them again, and I was able to learn alot, it was great.
Well three weeks ago our mission leader informed us that someone was at church that wasn´t a member and that he had been going for a long time, but he didn´t get any of his information and he informed us after church. So we had to wait a week until we got to church again, and we were grateful that he came again :) And this week we finally were able to visit with him, he is great! His family goes to the Jehovah Witness, but his mom is the only one baptized there. He has gone there his whole life, so he has studied a ton and knows alot, which means a lot of questions, but he really listens to our answers and has a lot of faith and is really open to knowing for himself. When we taught him about the restoration and invited him to pray about our message, he responded quickly saying yes. Since he has been coming to church for awhile, I then thought to ask him if he had ever prayed about it, he then responded with a no, because he didn´t know that you could pray and actually recieve an answer. I just love the knowledge we have of God and prayer, knowing that if we pray He listens and He answers us. I know that is true, because I have recieved answers from Him, in many different moments in many different ways. We testified to him and he left with a lot of desire to find out for himself and he accepted a baptism date for the! We are excited to be working with him and to guide him along this path, I just love how humble and open he his and we can see that he has a true desire to follow God.
Dayana opened up with us this week and let us know what she is truly going through, and the obstacles she will have to overcome so that she will be able to be baptized.we had commited her to be baptized for the and she had accepted and we were going to fast with her to help her to recieve an answer from God, but we weren´t able to find her when we were supposed to start with her. And then she also didn´t come to church. When her grandparents got to church, we asked about her, and they responded saying she now doesn´t want anything and doesn´t want to be baptized... My heart dropped, I almost started crying right there in church hearing that, but I convinced myself that they were mistaken and that there was just a miscommunication and she just didn´t feel good to come to church. After church we went and passed by for her to talk to her to see what was up. As she was telling us why she had decided to not be baptized and stuff I felt my heart break, knowing that the decision she was making would prevent her from recieving all the blessings the Lord has for her. While listening to her I felt an overwhelming sense of love for her and a desire to help her. A love I know that God blessed me with to help her, and we began testifying and explaining to her the consequences of not being baptized. We testified a lot and she opened up to the idea again of really seeking an answer from God and doing a fast with us this week. I am praying for her and I want the absolute best for her. I know as a missionary the Lord has blessed me with a love for these people that would be impossible to create in such a short amount of time knowing a person. I love Dayana so much and I know how happy she can be coming closer to this gospel and I hope and pray that she makes the right decision so that she can have this happiness. But, it also helped me to realize how Christ feels when we make bad decisions, when we move away from Him. His heart breaks, He wants nothing more than to bless us, and we are choosing another path. But, for that He suffered and died for us, so that we could come back to Him, and that brings Him the greatest joy imaginable when we have come back into His. The joy we feel as missionaries when people make that step (come to church, read, pray, are baptized, etc..) is a small part of what Christ must feel, and that joy is something very difficult to describe, it really is true joy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be working with Dayana and that she really is seeking to know for herself and to come closer to Christ.
This week went well, and we got some good work in. I have been stressing a bit, feeling like I can´t do all that I need to do, and not wanting to finish the mission, because I am not ready, but I just keep changing my mindset and focus on what I am doing, and focusing on always seeking the help of God in every situation. I just have to keep reminding myself to do that, and then I am good. :) I love the mission and I love the help that I recieve from God in every moment.
I know this is the true church, I know that we pass through trials so that we can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and for that reason I proudly put my nametag on everyday and boldly claim that I am a representative of His true church. I don´t doubt it, I never have. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I love you all and thank you for your prayers!! :)
|Me and my companion|
|My companion, Deyni (a less active that always goes to appointments with us), and me|
|Me and my companion with a rainbow|
|Lunch at the mall with Hna Morán and Hna Loayza|
|Caldo de Pata aka cow foot soup again. This time I tried the cow foot. It was really, really chewy....|
Monday, August 8, 2016
Well like everyone says in their missionary emails, I can´t believe it is another monday again. Time sure does fly when you are enjoying the work :)
This week was great, we have been able to find a lot of new people that are interested in our message and that are willing to do the things we leave with them. I just know we got to make sure they feel the spirit while we are there and that is the most important part. We finally got to visit Flia Salazar again. They were a family that Hna Guevara and I found about a month ago and we only were able to have one appointment with them, and then all the following appointments kept falling through. But, this last monday we finally were able to meet with them, and they are great. The wife is really interested and doesn´t have many doubts, but the husband has a lot of doubts and is scared to change religions. We testified a lot and tried to focus the lessons on them. The second lesson with them this week was cool, because they invited his brother and his wife. The wife happens to be a member, just hasn´t been going for 3 years, basically since she moved to this ward. But, she seems really interested in having her husband listen to us and become a member, we just need to focus alot on her, because if he sees her doing the things, he will want to do it as well. We are excited to see where it goes with them, they are in my prayers and I hope to always teach with the spirit in the lessons to know how to teach them.
Some members introduced us to a neighbor, the best way to do missionary work! This neighbor is going through a lot right now and could really use the gospel, I am so grateful for these members that willingly shared the gospel and helped their neighbor have a way to find comfort.
We are working with a less active, Deyni. She is awesome, and from the Galapagos. She loves the church, but doesn´t have a lot of knowledge, because she was baptized little over a year ago. And her testimony was weakening, but we can see it starting to blossom again. She is always super willing to go out to visits with us, and we love her help! Yesterday she came with us, and she was in a very thoughtful mood all night, I think it is because we taught a lot of different things and she was learning a ton. I know her coming out with us will really help her to increase her testimony and really be able to become a strong active member in the church. We put a date with her to be an active member by the. She seems really excited about this date, and started reading after we put this date, which was great!
Jessica, another less active, started reading this week! She was sending us subjects and we sent her scriptures related to that subject, she is finding a lot of answers and is excited. Yesterday when we visited with her, she had a doubt about marriage, and why we have to get married. I love the reason, it is so that we can become gods. Once we started explaining about exaltation and read with her DyC 132:19-20, she really understood and walked away with a lot to think about and an understanding of why we need to get married, or better put why we need to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. I love this gospel and I love the opportunity I have to be learning with the people we are teaching, they teach me so much every week.
This week I started feeling really overwhelmed with the amount of work we have to do in this sector and feeling very inadequate and incable of really doing what needs to be done. Really being able to help these people or not. Reading the emails of my friends on their missions, gave me an answer I needed. Forget myself, trust in the Lord, and get to work. I know if I just put my focus on Him and what He would do, I will do my best and the stuff that needs to get done in this area. And that is my goal this week, to completely forget myself.
Thank you for your prayers I feel and love your support! I love you all and I hope you all have a fantastic week!!
P.S. Oh I completely forgot! This week I ate Yaugarlocro (Blood Potato Soup). And the hermana that gave it to us, put the blood in a different bowl, and the soup apart. And we didn´t know that you were supposed to put the blood in the soup and that it is better that way. But, we finished the soup and then ate the blood, I only ate a spoonful, because the Hermana was super great and wasn´t offended for not eating it. But, here is the photo of the blood.. I don´t recommend it. It is literally fried blood.
Monday, August 1, 2016
|Bye Hna Guevara :(|
Once again it is changes, I swear the changes go by way to quickly, it feels like 2 weeks ago that me and Hna Guevara got here to El Recreo, but now it is the next change. Hna Guevara left after only one change here, and now I am with Hna Tapia, who also has the exact same amount of time as me, interesting, but I am excited to see where this change leads me. She is from Argentina and seems really nice.
We worked hard this last week. Miguel, who I talked about last week who was progressing, moved to Esmeraldas.. I am sending off the reference for him today and he is also commited to find the church there and go. We were able to learn a lot from him and his desire to learn more, and I am very grateful for the chance we had to plant the seed and I know we were placed in his path to start him on this journey and I am happy that he now knows this church. Dayana, our other investigator, came to church this week and really enjoyed it! Yesterday after church we really focused on getting to know her and gaining more of her confidence, because we felt her being a teenage girl we needed to just talk with her to get her to open up to us more and really be honest about her desires and her fears. It worked! We really were able to help her to open up and to be honest with us why she was hesistant about baptism. It was a big milestone and now we really have her confidence and we are going to be able to focus the lessons more for her and what she needs and how she can overcome this fear that she has. We are working with other investigators and we hope to find more investigators this week that can really progress and are ready to hear this message of the gospel. We also were able to visit with a less active, Jessica. For awhile now she has been having a hard time reading the scriptures and she was honest and said that she really doesn´t have any desire to read. So we suggested her giving us subjects that she would like to know more about and we are giving her where to read to find her answer. Once we suggested that she started spurting out a bunch of questions that she has and that she would like answers, she seemed a lot more excited to be reading in the Book of Mormon knowing that it will give her more answers to her questions. We had a hard time finding everyone this week, but we are excited for this week and we are hoping to find everyone so that they can keep progressing in this wonderful path of the gospel.
Yesterday we had a appointment with our mission leader. As we were talking, a lot was mentioned about the ward and how members fall in temptation and how usually it is a surprise. It got me thinking about how we never know when our "moment" is. Meaning that Satan is waiting for just the right moment to catch us when we are off guard to really tempt us. No member is immune to his wrath, he doesn´t want anyone to be happy. Nobody is safe, and the only protecction we have is really LIVING the gospel of Jesus Christ. And by living it we need to really give our whole efforts. We need to be obedient to the commandments. We need to really read and pray everyday, but with our heart. And we need to go to church every sunday and worthily partake of the sacrament and really be in the classes to let the Holy Ghost teach us. If we are doing this and when our "moment" comes we will be prepared and we will stay on the right path, but that is if we do the right thing always. We need to be strengthening ourselves everyday. It was a moment of reflection for me and I realized a lot of ways of how I can improve this and really put my heart and effort into the little daily tasks of being a member. I love being able to visit with active members and have gospel conversations that everyone leaves with goals of how to do better, it is awesome.
Something cool, today I was buying some food in the grocery store and the people behind me in line were 2 gringos. They saw my nametag and asked me where I worked. So I started talking to them and presented myself. 1. It is so weird presenting myself as a missionary in english, it doesn´t come out naturally. 2. They didn´t understand me when I said I was from Utah.. so I take that as a compliment meaning I am saying things in the spanish way not the english way. (I am going to have a problem when I get back to the states..) 3. They were really nice.
I love this gospel and I am love being His representative. I know that this is the true church, of such I have NO doubt. I know that we need to continually strengthen ourselves to make sure we stay worthy to get to the Celestial Kingdom and I know that is possible through the nutrition of the word of God and really knowing our Heavenly Father and renewing our covenants. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I hope you all have a fabulous week and remember that this is the way to true happiness!!
|A recent convert made us shoes and gave them to us as a gift. Seriously he is so great!|
|Flia Bravo, the father made us our shoes :) It was his birthday so we bought him and little cake and it made his day. I am so grateful that we thought to do that for him.|