Monday, December 28, 2015

First Christmas in Ecuador

The best part of our Christmas!
He had a little trouble speaking English - and his Spanish sounded awesome!
Well, Christmas was great!! Best part was talking to my family back at home; shoutout to the fam! Love you guys so much. 

How did my Christmas go? Well, after talking to the fam, we ate Christmas dinner with two different families. (the members are so great here.) Not only did we eat dinner there, but lots of members gave us food for the night and stuff. I guess they just want to fill in the space that we left back at home with our own families and be ours in the mission (if that makes sense). After we ate and gathered all our supplies, we left to go stay the night with some other missionaries in our district. The whole time, we played card games and board games that the members let us borrow and watched a couple of Disney movies. (dont worry, we had permission from the President). We had to stay in all of Christmas day because people aparently just go nuts on the holidays. Still awesome though!

I hope you all had a great Christmas. I hope that we dont forget the importance of this special time of year. However, not only in this time of year, but for ever and always. Christ was born to be our Savior, but it is because of His life that we have reason to rejoice. What He taught us, what He did for us, cannot be bought with a price, but in reality is an infinite gift. I love my Savior!! And He loves me, just as He does with each and every one of God´s children. Love you all, and take care, and have an awesome New Year!!

One of these things is not like the others.....But he feels like he fits right in!
Jonny told us that when he goes to get his haircut, they all fight over who gets to cut that blonde hair!

We are so grateful for the families that help take care of our boy!
Jonny Skyped from this family's home on Christmas Eve.  He is a doctor in his area.  He looked over Jonny's shoulder and said, "Grande Familia!"

Jonny GQ photo bombing his companion.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry CHRISTmas

Hey guys! Uncle Steve and Aunt Katharina, if youre reading this, I got your package! I loved all the quotes from "What About Bob," "Rocky," and the prophets and apostles. I was super excited for all that, you guys are the best!

Holy smokes Christmas is almost here!! Down here, everyone is getting geared up for it - but they have their own way of doing it down here. I mean, sure they do all the gifts and presents and stuff, but the celebration, as I have heard, is something pretty wild. They take these Manigotes (or like giant piƱatas) and demolish them with firecrackers. They build these things, like I said, as big as buildings sometimes and destroy them (or so I have heard) with explosives. It´s like a pyromaniacs paradise! Too bad I wont be able to see much of it - I will be stuck inside the house after 6:00 on the 24, all Christmas day, and all of new years day as well. At least we have permission to use the board games and stuff of members in the ward:) 

Christmas is something I have always looked forward to. I admit, I had never thought a ton about its relation with the Savior´s birth and whatnot before, but now, especially in the mission, it is everything. Just think, if Christ never came to earth, we really wouldn´t have anything. Not presents for one, but much, much more. 

I have thought a lot about what it really means to say that Christ is our Savior. Sure, because of his Atoning Sacrifice, death, and Resurrection, we can all do the same. That is amazing and wonderful to me! But He is our Savior of so much more. He is our hope. He is our joy. He is the strength we can rely on in our daily struggles. 

No matter how many, no matter how big or small, no matter what kind of struggles we are having, He can SAVE us from them all. He suffered so that we wouldnt have to. He took all of our sins and pains and transgressions upon Himself, so that we could cast them off. He is not only our Savior from physical death, but from everything. And He is there. He will ALWAYS be there, and not just this Christmas season. Never forget Him, because whether you realize it or not, He has never forgotten you. Love you all, and have a Merry CHRISTmas! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Scriptures (The Word of God) Lead to the Love of God

LOGAN! Felicidades en tu llamamiento misional!! I am so excited for you man. Anyone else reading this: Logan is going to be the best missionary in the entire world-hands down. Georgia doesnt know what is coming for them! 

I got my Christmas package!! I tried to keep it safe until Christmas, but my latin companions opened it for me before I could tell them to wait. I have never been so excited to get ties for Christmas!! I was so excited for that, and everything else! Thanks so much mom!!

So, on the 24th I will be skyping home! It will be at 5:00 p.m. here - I do not know exactly what time that is back at home. I am so excited to see you fam!!! 

We have been working hard this past week with a partial member family. The mom is a less active member, and her three sons have been coming to church with her the past 2 weeks. They love the church and the kids want to be baptised (they are 9, 12, and 14), but the problem is that the dad is Catholic, and doesnt want them to be baptised until they "are old enough to make the decision for themselves." Well, I mean it is good at least that he lets them come to church and all, so I try not to complain to much. We have a lesson with the whole family tonight, and we will see if we can change his mind. 

Spiritual thought: I read 1 Nefi (Nephi) 11:25 and had a hit of personal inspiration. It talks about in Lehi's dream the Iron Rod leads to the Tree of Life and Living Waters. It talks about how the Iron Rod represents the word of God, and how the tree and waters represent the Love of God. The word of God, which are the scriptures, leads to the Love of God, so: if you want to feel more of His love in your life, all you gotta do is read the Scriptues, and they will lead you right to it. Love you guys and stay good!

Monday, December 7, 2015

What is it that you can give to Him this Christmas?

First off_ JACOB!!  whoot whoot man 8 Years old!!! Fetch youre so grown up man! How does it feel to be all "Accountable" and all that? I am so sad you know man. I can't believe i will be missing your baptism man! But I love ya bud. Youre making a big choice, and I know it is the right one bud. Keep up the good example!

Gosh I miss you guys so much! I got to help out a family set up their christmas decorations today, so at least that helped me feel a little bit not so far from home. Too bad they dont use real trees here - oh well. Nothing like Mountain Western Pines. 

Anyways, for Chirstmas we have been doing this thing as a companionship - you know that movie thing the church made of "a savior is born"? I think thats what its called in English, anyways. We have these little cards that say "ha nacido un Salvador," and we have been making contacts with them. Everyone down here believes in Christ, and so it has not been an issue starting the conversation there. We get into stuff like "what has Christ done for you?" or "what has Christ given you?"  and we get some good answers from the people. They love to talk about Him, and why He loves us and stuff. After a while, we put the question in front of them: "and what is it that you can give to Him this Christmas?" They never know quite how to answer that. We then share a brief message with them, give them the card, write down their information, and set an appointment with them for when we can talk with them next, and about the little message. It has been working great so far! We have found some good new investigators and brought them to church with us! 

I love the Christmas spirit - although it isnt quite the same down here as back home, it is something different and special. In a world like this, I, and others as well, are really starting to see that a message of Him can bring light to a troubled place, and hope where there seems to be none. Love you guys and hope you are all doing well!