Monday, September 21, 2015

Safe and Sound (along with the Rats) in Ecuador

After not getting a letter last week, and waiting all day today, we FINALLY heard from Jonny!  He references his letter from last week a couple of times - so I'm not sure what happened there, but it made getting a letter this week that much sweeter!  Well, there's nothing sweet about the rats.....

I believe this is Jonny's first companion and trainer. I bet Jonny is liking feeling tall :)

My address is:

Élder Kofoed (make it big)
Casilla 09-04-206
Guayas, Guayaquil

so: stuff i left out last time: my Mission president is the bomb. He
is super spiritual, super smart, and super chill. He is an old guy,
but he thinks he's still living the teenage dream. He likes to race
his minivan around wearing his ray bans blasting mo-tab at top volume.
As for my mission interview, before i walked in, i was a little
nervous, like this was my make it or break it point. But when i walked
in, the first thing he asked me is what part of Idaho I was from, and
if i had a milk cow. The rest of the interview was about how much he
loved fresh milk from cows, how great the cream was for cheese (and
particularly Mexican cheese), and then somehow we got into how flour
tacos are far superior to your regular corn-flower or whatever tacos.
I walked out of that interview a new man, i tell you what. But nothing
can compare to the way he was able to invite the spirit in the first
day. I am sad he will be leaving halfway through my mission. He's a
cool guy.
With President and Sister Dennis and the other new missionaries

Thats about all that i really left out, other than what has happened this week.
So, I think the best way to sum up how this week went is with what
happened on the last day of it- when a pigeon decided to drop its load
on my head. Pretty great story, actually. We were contacting a
die-hard catholic guy, and while we were talking about the
Restoration, a pigeon somehow miraculously decided to do it's business
right above me. Lovely. My companion got a kick out of it, as well as
the catholic guy, who was saying something about baptism. While they
were laughing, I was just imagining how much I would have loved to
have been able to pack away my 12 gauge and clean this city of these
pestilences. (the birds, i mean) Speaking of pestilences, there are
some of the biggest rats i have ever seen in my life around here. I
have seen many, one of them in the house of a member. Theyre like as
big as my calve, or Buster maybe. (sorry for the image mom). At night,
instead of hearing the crickets chirp like back at home, you hear the
rats, and their squeeking. Its kind of like a ghetto rendition of the
Nutcracker, if you will.

Every day is very similar. We get up, we study up until noon, and we
go to work. Like i may have said, its definitely the hardest thing I
have ever done in my life, but I am loving every minute of it. Up
until yesterday, we havent had much success, but I think that the Lord
has been testing my patience. We had only set one baptismal date so
far, but yesterday, we managed to commit three! One of them, Jan
Carlos, (M), is a golden investigator. We got to the end of the
restoration, and we asked him how he felt. He said great! We asked him
what he thought about it all, and he said he felt and knew that it was
right. I couldnt believe what I was hearing! This was the very first
lesson, and he already has a testimony abut what we have taught him. I
couldnt help but think he must have been one of those Moroni referred
to in chapter 10, who was blessed with the gift of great faith to
believe the truth of the gospel. We talked to him about baptism, and
asked if he would prepare himself for the 17 of october to be
baptised. Of course he replied! I still am a little bit in shock about
it all. The other two were twins, who had been going to church for a
while, but hadnt been baptised because of their dad, who isnt a
member. That, and up until now they hadent really known the importance
of baptism, how it is our first Covenant with God, and therefore the
first step in our journey to return to His precense. They said they
would do everything they could to make it happen, and our goal is to
make it happen by the 25 of October.

I am feeling very grateful at this time. Up until now it has been very
difficult, and sometimes I have felt I am at my wits end, what with
the spanish language and difficult investigators and less active
members and everything else. I prayed with everything I had on
Saturday night, after a particularly difficult day and week, and
begged him for the strength and hope that I needed, and his guidance
to someone who would accept this great message, rather than all the
people we have been talking to before. The next day, yesterday, was by
far the greatest I have had in the field. I know it isnt me; if what I
was preaching wasnt true, and I didnt have the strength of the spirit
watching my back, nobody would listen, let alone accept, what there is
to offer in this gospel. But thanks be to God, people do listen, and
they do feel the spirit, and now, are acting on it. If you couldnt
understand my testimony in the last e-mail, go back and translate it,
because I mean it, every word, and it still stands strong. I love this
gospel, and right now, i am really living it.

Elder Jonathan Lane Kofoed
Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission

At the Mission Home

Heading to his first area

A good looking group!

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