Monday, January 25, 2016

Rain and Busy, Busy, Busy

Not minding the rain :)
Well, another week down. If I thought that this week would be any easier, well, it hasn't been haha! Actually, things are still going rough, and I could use all the prayers and the help that I can get!

So, if you didnt know, it has been just RAINING night and day. I would send a video if I could, but the clouds basically just bring in its own hurricane every few hours or so. The good thing is that I love the rain! It feels so refreshing compared to the scorch of the sun. The only bad part is that it feels super humid afterward, but I have gotten used to that.

This week, my companion and I have been focussing a lot on making contacts with people in the street and sharing the gospel with them. At first, it was a little bit difficult for my young son, but he has been getting a lot better! He is the friendliest person I know - he has genuine love for everybody, even me. I feel happy to have him with me, even though it is tough to try and do everything myself. He has started helping me more, but he still is shy and a little bit unconfident (english?) in the lessons, but he is getting better. He works hard and has really good intention, and he has come a long way, and he still has a ways to go haha! :)

Anyways, I have really come to really on the strength of the Spirit. I have never prayed as feverently and passionately as now, because I had never realized how much I need the strength from above in my life. Now, I have come to realize how much of a part the Lord plays in my life, and I (hopefully) in His, and His work. 

Well, that is about it for this week, but I will keep ya'll posted! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Training Elder Flores + Becoming District Leader = Joys and Burdens

With Elder Flores - a new missionary and a native of Ecuador
Hey fam!! Anyways, I have a latino son!!! He is from Ecuador, and his name is Elder Flores (which translates exactly into Elder Flowers)! you want to know how excited I was when they paired me up with Elder Flowers? I was so stoked! We have been super great buds, working hard and learning lots of stuff together! He was born in a family of members, and can read, which is super good because it means that he has already formed a great testimony and is ahead of the gang! It has been super great to be working with him.

I also did my very first baptismal interview yesterday. Holy cow, that was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had in all my life. Just to see and talk to someone who had made such an amzing change in their life, over a long period of time, and to listen to them testify of the change that the gospel has brought into their life strengthened my testimony immensely. She will be baptised the following week, which is super great!

This week has also been the most stressful I have had in all of my life. I would even put it up there past finals week, if you can believe that. What with having to control my own district now, with a new missionary, I am always super busy and super stressed. The zone leaders put tons of pressure on us, and specifically me, which has been hard, but also really good for me. I have learned more in just this week than I have in any other week, and maybe even month in my mission. It has been so difficult, I even came close to the point in which I thought about giving up. But, I found a strength. There is a scripture in Matthew 11 that talks about all of us that are heavy laden and burdened can come unto the Lord, and cast our troubles off at his feet. I have really come to rely on that strength, and although I feel stressed and burdened, I just seek for Him, and He is there to help me out! 

Baptism of Tatiana Vasquez

Well, that is all for this week, Love ya all and take care!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Becoming a Trainer!

Iguana Selfie! Yes, That's Real

Well, this week has been great! So sorry I havent told you guys, but we have another baptism this week (se llama Tatiana Vasquez, tiene 17 años) and we are super excited for that! We also are planning for another the following week (Miguel Cantos, 72) and so that is all for the excitement so far! It is such a great job to be able to work in the Lord's vineyard and see the fruits of our labors! We also have another man that we have set a baptismal date for the following week, and now all that we have to do is secure it. That would put us at 3 baptisms for the month of January!!

So, I have some sad news, and some really good news. The sad news is that my trainer (my companion since birth - in the mission) is finishing his mission today. He was such a great guy - taught me so much about the mission. He was only a little bit trunky before he went home (or to say, he was missing home and ready to go there.) I will never forget him. We had some awesome experiences, ones that I will never forget. But with him going home comes the good news - I will be training a new missionary!! They told me today that I have been assigned to train a brand new missionary in the field, and that he will be my new responsibility for the next while. There is also a rumor that I will be called to serve in my area as a District Leader, so we will see how that goes! I am super excited, but super nervous as well.

The good thing is that I know that I have the Lord's strength to help me out. In Ether 12:27, it talks about how the Lord will make weak things become strong if we come unto Him. Maybe my Spanish isn't perfect, and maybe I am still young in the mission, and maybe I feel incapable, He can strengthen me. I do not know how, but I know that if I do everything I am capable of, He will make up the difference! So, with that in mind, here I go, off in a brand new journey! Love you guys, and take good care of yourselves!


The "Mission Family"

Joseph Pagonis

The twin Sisters - First Baptism!


"I found this in our house..."

Mangoes - blown up on New Year's Eve

At the Guayaquil Temple

Making Friends with a Donkey :)

Morning Run

Mountain on Fire for New Year's Eve

Just Goofing Around

First Zone Leaders

Monday, January 4, 2016

When Bad Things Happen to Good People - New Year 2016

Apparently these are built and then burned in the streets - along with a whole bunch of others -
for New Year.  People pay 50 cents to have their picture taken with them.

Jacob!!!!! My little brother!! Congratulations on the baptism man. That is super great. You have just made one of the biggest decisions in your life - and you made it right. Love you lots little man! All grown up and a member of God´s kingdom here on the earth! I hope you never ever forget about that day. it is a super special one, one that I would have loved to have seen. Just remember to hold on to those covenants you made, and you´ll do great!!

Well, let me tell you a little bit about my New Year. It was actually super awesome. In the building we live in, we got permission from the lady that owns it (and the president of the mission) to go to the top balcony for New Years Eve. I told you about how they destroy these sort of piñata thingies in the street, but the people here know how to celebrate. We were on top of that building, and we could see all of Guayaquil city around us. In every direction, you could see fireworks going off, just like the ones on the 4th of July. And there were tons! Sometimes people would light them off right next to our building, and we were almost deafened by the sound! It was really one of the neatest New Years I have ever had. The best part was right as the countdown was going, the people beat apart their piñata thingies and lit them on fire with gasoline and roman candles. (fireworks). When it happened, almost literally the whole street went up in flames! It was nuts, and I was pretty glad I was four stories or so up in the air. (thats about as tall as the skyscrapers get around here) Also, someone lit a nearby mountain on fire. That was a little sketchy, at least until one of the members told me that happens every year haha! Then for the rest of the day we just stayed in the house and that was it.

So, a quick spiritual thought. Something that my companion and I joke about lately is the pregunta: why do bad things happen to good people? It all started when I asked him that when I accidently spilled my soda in KFC. Since then, we have been using the phrase a lot for different things. But I had to look at it in a spiritual way at some point. Why is it sometimes that we run into things that knock us down when we are doing everything to keep the commandments and live the way Heavenly Father wants us to? I have found a couple of reasons why. One, because sometimes its bad luck haha! But another is that there needs to be opposition in all things. How would we know the good times from the bad if we had never had either? How would we know what happiness is if we had never felt sad? 2 Nephi 2 talks about that in the scriptures. But another reason I have found is that it helps us recognize how much we need to rely on our Savior to help us out. In some circumstances, everything is out of our hands, and we physically are unable to better our circumstances. But even if we think that all is lost, it is not, if we are willing to search for and find comfort in the grace that Christ so willingly spares us. We have tough times and trials so that we can learn to rely on Him, and when we do so, He will be there. Just to think about, but I love you guys lots, and I´ll talk to yall next week!