Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas :)

Family and Friends,
Jose, Elder Ayala, Johnathan, Luis, Elder Remington

We had a very special baptism this weekend :) Here we are in the picture (in order from left to right) Jose Andres, Elder Ayala, Johnathan, Luis Angel, and the funny lookin tall guy there. The spirit was so strong when Jonathan shared his simple but powerful testimony after the baptism. He said he felt great joy inside, that he knew God had now forgiven him for all his sins, and that he will stay strong in this church for the rest of his life :) I am very thankful that my Heavenly Father blessed me to be there and be able to baptize and support my three great friends; Johnathan, Luis Angel, and Jose Andres. Last weekend was the weekend of transfers where it is very possible that you'll be called to serve in another area. I had already been in this area Albonor for three transfers and usually President Amaya moves you after 2-3 transfers... therefore last Sunday night I was very nervous and thought for sure that I was going to get transferred so I said good-byes to everyone but everyone (especially Roberto and Johnathan's family) said no we don't want you to leave don't worry we're going to pray that you stay. Haha. I tried to explain that it doesn't work like that and that the Lord knows best where we need to go and that this is all part of the mission life but they said no no just have faith Elder you've gotta stay here haha. Especially Jonathan he was joking around and said Sunday night, ¨Hey man are you kidding me you can't leave me we gotta finish this race together you're going be the one to baptize me we're going to finish what we started.¨ This made me laugh but honestly it made me even more nervous cause I was thinking shoot man if they're all having faith and praying that I don't leave but then I get called to leave anyways I don't want them to lose faith or be sad... oh man I hope I stay here just one more transfer... and sure enough our prayers were answered and I stayed :) I was completely willing to do what the Lord wanted me to do and submit to His will but I'm very glad that what the Lord wanted corresponded with what I wanted :)

I sure love this area its great! I've really made a lot of good friends here with nearly all the members and luckily we have really gained the trust of the members. I remember before leaving on the mission my uncle Matt Hawkins gave me some great advice that a key to having success is being able to inspire confidence in the members. It's very true! I have seen some missionaries who have a light about them, their smile just says ¨You can trust me¨, they are confident in themselves but not prideful, they look people in the eye, they say hi to everyone, they are happy, they're someone people want to be around, and people naturally follow them. At the beginning of my mission I set the goal to always and to have an attitude of ¨how can I serve¨ and fortunately it has worked well. The little things really do make a big difference. The way you give reports in ward council, the way you welcome everyone in the chapel on Sunday, and the way you are friendly and respectful when the members serve you food, and more than anything else how many converts you have all help gain the confidence of the members. Hard work, obedience, and sincere love for the people luckily have brought us lots of success and the members recognize that. After the baptism various members said wow congratulations Elders, good job, or wow you two are doing good work here. We just smile say thanks and say that its not us its the Lord we're just the instruments in his hands. When we said that one of the Bishop's counselors said, ¨Well I sure hope the Lord keeps using you two as His instruments in our ward¨ likewise tons of members in these past few weeks have invited us over for dinner on Christmas and Christmas eve also many have given us various gifts and said ¨Here you go you two have earned it¨ :) It's good to know that the ward is pleased with our labors but more importantly its good to know that the Lord is pleased with our labors and I really have felt that a lot recently and honestly I think that its one of the best feelings in the world. To me personally, the knowledge that the Lord is pleased with what you are doing is true happiness. So let's all be obedient and make good choices so that we can all be truly happy :)

Merry Christmas to all :) Enjoy being together with family and remember that we will have a better CHRISTmas if we focus our thoughts on Christ.

I'm happy to be a representative of Jesus the Christ in this happy time of celebrating His birth :)

Elder Remington

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scripture Study = Solid Conversion

Family and Friends,

This morning I got to open a package full of sweet Christmas cards from lots of family members and friends :) Thank you to everyone who wrote me the Christmas cards and to all who have sent me cards or written me through DearElder.com :) I truly do enjoy reading them and hearing how everyone is doing and what you're all up to :) They always put a smile on my face. Please forgive me for being super busy (you never have enough time to do everything you want as a missionary) and being awful at writing back but I'm trying.

I wanted to tell you all about a great investigator we have that is going to be baptized with his two nephews this Saturday. His name is Johnathon and he is a wonderful man and great friend. I remember the first day we met him we had been knocking on doors for a couple of hours because all of our appointments cancelled on us or weren't there (for those of you unfamiliar with missionary work door to door contacting for multiple hours on a hot day in Ecuador is usually not that fun, its better when you have appointments and are teaching people indoors) and almost everyone we had talked to was busy or weren't interested at all. I was feeling a little down but then we were walking down a street and my companion and I both felt that we needed to stop and visit a house on the corner. We quickly responded to that prompting and visited the house and Johnathon answered and happily received us. Usually we talk for a few minutes in the doorway and schedule a time that we can come by another day to teach them but Johnathon invited us to sit down and teach him in that very same day. He had a lot of great questions, was very interested, and was very receptive to the message we shared. We gave him a Book of Mormon and since that first visit he has read the Book of Mormon everyday without fail. Every time we visit him he shares with us what he read and what parts stood out to him that he liked or asks us some questions about what he read :) He told us that all of his life he has been looking for something to quench this thirst he had and has gone to various churches but in all of the churches he still felt empty inside. But now he says that when he reads the Book of Mormon and goes to church with us he finally feels that his spiritual thirst has been satisfied and he feels that he's finally found what he's been looking for... let me tell you those are the types of comments that you live for as a missionary :) We love that guy so much and we're way grateful that we've had the privilege to find and teach him and be his friend :)

I've been realizing lately that the key to having a firm testimony and unbreakable conversion to Christ is having daily scripture study. In 2 Nephi 31:20 we learn that we must feast upon the word of Christ in order to endure to the end. When I was a kid up until high school I would read my scriptures from time to time but it was never a regular daily habit and I would never really feast upon the word of Christ. I’d usually just kind of nibble a bit or snack on the word of Christ. I’d open up my scriptures and read a chapter or two but I wouldn’t really get into it and often my thoughts would wander and I’d be thinking about what I was going to do tomorrow or about basketball or something else not really immersing myself in the words of the Prophets. Then in high school when seminary started and especially when I went to BYU for a year, I really started the daily practice of feasting upon the words of Christ. I read everyday without fail for at least 30 minutes, I always started and ended with a prayer to invite the Spirit, I would take notes and write down spiritual impressions that came to mind, and I would truly apply the things I was learning. When you do that hearts change, miracles happen, and strong conversions to Christ occur. I’ve seen that my strongest investigators, strongest converts, and strongest companions that are truly truly converted to Christ they always have the daily habit of studying and applying the scriptures. I invite all of you to study the scriptures every single day without fail and apply what you learn. You will find peace of mind, solutions to life’s daily problems, and a growing desire to choose the right.

I love you all very much and hope you're all healthy and happy :) Enjoy life
Elder Remington

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Conference :) Good Times

Family and Friends,

This week we had a Christmas Conference with President Amaya and 3 other zones at the Guayaquil temple :) I love going to the temple and as missionaries we only get to go during Christmas time so it was a very special day. I always feel such a quiet peace inside at the temple and its a great place to ponder and receive personal revelation of some things you can change and improve on. I felt there that I really need to focus on improving my Spanish even more so that I can better communicate and relate to the people and that I the Lord needs me to be an example for other missionaries. I've been studying Spanish much more diligently and trying to always be a good leader in obedience and having a positive attitude among the other missionaries because people observe you more than you think and a positive influence can make a big difference in the lives of others.

Elder Linares and Elder Remington
I would know that because one of my best Zone Leaders, Elder Linares, really made a big impact on me with his example of diligence and strong leadership. He was my first Zone Leader and whenever we did a split for the day and I was working with him he really impressed me with how hard he worked and we got along great cause we were both walking super fast, analyzing how we could've improved in the lesson, talking about what we did well, and just working super hard. He's the type of person that inspires confidence in others and makes you want to follow him because you respect him. He is now the Assistant to the President and he was there at the conference the first picture is with him. He taught me that we should motivate and inspire people and help them want to do better instead of trying to intimidate them or lecture them. He's a great friend and I continue to learn a lot from him anytime I see him at leadership conferences. Also he knows how to work hard and have fun. He, Elder Lopez, and I were always joking and having a good time together and we still joke about a lot of the good times we had in Empalme back in the day.

Elder Remington and Elder Magill
The other picture is with my good buddy Elder Magill. He and I were good buddies in BYU and had a lot of the same classes and would study and hang out together a lot. Then when we both got our mission calls and found out we were going to the same place at the same time we became even better friends and always joked about being companions together one day. I could tell just from talking with him for a bit at the conference that he is doing great and working hard. You truly can see in the eyes and countenance of someone what type of person they are and the light of Christ and his enthusiasm for the work were very evident in his eyes. It was great chatting with him and it was cool that when we said goodbye we both said at the same time ¨keep working hard¨ haha great minds think alike.

The last picture is of Roberto and his two sons Jordy and Junior :) Great family and definitely my strongest converts that I've baptized in my mission. I love these guys. Roberto gave an excellent talk a while back and lots of missionaries who meet him are way shocked to hear that he's a convert of only three months because he has such a great knowledge of the gospel and seems like his been in the church for years. Junior loves going to seminary and Jordy loves primary and singing hymns :) They're both going to be great missionaries and I look forward to hearing about their missions and writing to them. I know that we will be lifelong friends :) One of the greatest blessings of being a missionary is seeing the fruits of your labor and knowing that you're making a difference for generations to come and that your mission will have echoes in the eternities.
Elder Remington with Roberto and his sons

Well the church is true and life is good :) Remember that despite all the hardships, challenges, disappointments, and frustrating trials that we deal with everyday... the purpose of this life is to have joy and learn how to one day return to live with our Heavenly Father. Let's enjoy life and be happy :) Remember that happiness truly is a choice.

Elder Remington

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Week

Family and Friends,

After suffering through my longest period of time without baptisms in the mission, we had a great baptism this Saturday. Two girls that we've been teaching for a while named Allison and Amelia were both baptized together and at the end they both shared their testimonies. There was a lot of members there supporting them, lots of investigators there feeling the spirit :), and they both looked very happy and you could see a bright light in their eyes as they shared their simple sweet yet powerful testimonies of how the gospel has blessed their lives. It was a great moment for me and I was very happy that all our hard work payed off and the great thing is that we have a great program going here in Albonor with lots of progressing investigators, great support from the ward, and an awesome companionship that makes the work enjoyable, satisfying, and much more effective. Elder Ayala and I get along wonderfully :) He is super happy, always positive, has lots of experience and is teaching me a ton, knows how to give compliments and constructive advice in how I can improve, has a great sense of humor and we're always enjoying the day. He is very humble and knows how to receive suggestions or advice and apply that advice without getting offended, and he truly serves the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He's a great example to me and we are really learning and growing together and enjoying it too :) Very similar to the companionship that Elder Lopez and I had :) wooohooo! I truly believe that every single companionship is inspired of God and that you can always do your part to make a companionship work and you can enjoy being with every companion and learn something from every single companion.... that being said there are some people who make enjoying the mission and having success a whole lot easier than others :) and luckily Elder Ayala is one of them.

Everyone says that the mission helps you prepare for marriage because you learn how to live with someone and make relationships work through compromise and all that jazz. Very true. I also think that it is a great opportunity to find out what type of people you enjoy being around so that you can have a better idea of what qualities to look for in a future spouse when you are dating after the mission. I know that sounds a tad weird and I'm not meaning it in a gay way at all just give me chance here to  explain haha. For example, due to my experiences with my companions I have come to the conclusion that I want to marry someone who is humble yet confident and knows how to receive both compliments and advice well. One of the biggest reasons that there is contention in companionships or relationships is that often we as human beings get offended and protective when someone tries to correct us or give us advice in how we can improve. The majority of my companions (especially Elder Lopez) have been humble yet confident, and thus I almost never fought with my companions because we both knew how to receive advice without getting offended and arguing. People who lack this trait are hard to live with... trust me. So as a missionary when you get back you can remember some of the qualities that were most important to you and then look for those qualities in a future spouse and you can remember certain qualities or characteristics that really bothered you and if you see that in a potential future spouse that can be a red flag for you.

Oh and I recently got this picture from Elder Lopez of the baptism of three girls that we taught together named Caterine, Angelina, and Marisela :) They were super sweet and very smart and fun to teach! I got transferred right before they were baptized but now I have the picture and I still get to write to them to give them encouragement. Also the guy in front of them sitting down in the polo shirt is named Johnathon and he got baptized the week after too but I still don't have the picture. But I wanted to share a neat experience we had with him when he was taking the discussions. After the first lesson we taught him how to pray and invited him to give the last prayer. He's way shy and he was really nervous and didn't want to do it. But then I said how about I say a prayer first for you and give an example and then you give one after me. He agreed to that so we got on our knees and then after my prayer he began to pray. Normally in their first prayer the investigator doesn't know what to say and feels uncomfortable so they just say some generic things and finish which is okay because its a good start but not Johnathon. This young man said one of the most sincere heartfelt prayers that I've ever heard. It was short and sweet but powerful and you could really feel that he wasn't just saying words but that he was truly communicating with his Heavenly Father. In one part he said simply, ¨God, thanks for sending these missionaries here to help me change my life¨ and the spirit filled the room :) The power of a simple heartfelt prayer is incredible :) Elder Lopez tells me he is active and doing great :)

I love you all and encourage you all to do your part to participate more in the Lord's work. Share the gospel with your friends and give the missionaries lots of referrals :) Don't be afraid its not awkward! It's the Lord's work and its true and this work progresses much better when the members support and help the missionaries :) Love you all!

Elder Remington

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lessons Learned

Family and Friends,

Elder Ayala and Elder Remington
Today we had transfers. I said goodbye to Elder Dzul and said hello to my new companion Elder Ayala. I can't lie and say that I will miss Elder Dzul but I can honestly say that we have both grown, learned together, and improved together. Through my experiences with Elder Dzul I learned how to be relaxed yet focused, I learned how to be patient and positive, I learned how to be more calm when the investigators aren't progressing, I learned how to not try and force your companion to be obedient, I learned how to positively be an example and gently encourage/motivate/invite your companion to be obedient while still understanding that he has his agency (that works much better trust me always remember to be a light not a judge), I learned how to make some delicious burritos and other great Mexican food, and I learned many other valuable lessons from him. It doesn't matter who your companion is you can always learn something from them and find the good in them. Most of all he taught me how to have balance in how we react to things. Many times in the mission I'm like a roller coaster because when the investigators are progressing and things are going well I'm floating on cloud nine and super stoked about life but then if some investigators out of nowhere don't want us to visit them anymore, don't go to church, or suddenly say they won't get baptized then I get way sad and frustrated because I want to help them so bad and we've been working so hard but they have their agency and there's nothing I can do about it. Elder Dzul was a good example of just working hard with his head up and a smile one his face regardless of what happened. That's definitely something I'm trying to do as well and I'm grateful for all the great things I learned from Elder Dzul. I know that the Elder Remington who dropped him off at the bus terminal is a better man than the Elder Remington who picked him up at the terminal.

My new companion Elder Ayala is very happy and from what I can tell very humble and willing to work hard so we should get along GREAT :)

Be happy, be calm, and remember you can learn something from everyone you meet :)
Elder Remington

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Confident and Humble

Family and Friends,

Recently I've been having a lot of personal revelations and realizations. Based on many recent experiences in the mission and personal reflection of other life experiences, I've drawn some conclusions about what one must do to lead a happy, peaceful, productive, and successful life. It is my strong belief that the ability to have a balance between being both confident and humble is the key to being happy and living a good life :) I'd like to share my thoughts with you all. 

The word confidence in Spanish is confianza. But in Spanish the word confianza means both confidence (as in self-esteem or self-worth) and trust ( as in belief and hope) depending on the context. In nearly all languages the words confidence and trust have a close relationship. In English as well sometimes to express that someone shared a secret with someone that he trusted we say that what he told him was said "in confidence." Pondering this analysis of words lead me to have an interesting revelation while reading Alma 36:3. It says that "whosoever shall put their trust (or confidence) in God shall be supported in their trials, and troubles, and shall be lifted up at the last day." On the surface level we see that the God wants us to trust in Him and then if we trust in God we will be blessed, protected, and saved :) okay basic but important. Now lets go a little deeper to a more profound level of analysis of this scripture (PS if anyone reading this thinks that I'm teaching false doctrine please correct me and let me know in what part I am in the wrong :) I am completely open to suggestions or corrections or comments) 

On a more profound level, God wants us to put our trust in Him and we also need to put our confidence in Him in the sense that our self-esteem, self-worth, and self assurance should be completely based in the Lord. Meaning that our opinion of ourselves is based upon God's love for us and not based upon anything else. True reliable self-esteem only comes from building your foundation on Christ (Heleman 5:12). Everyone has a foundation of self-worth. It's what motivates us, its what drives us, and its what we wake up for in the morning. I'm convinced that the only way to be truly happy is by putting God as your foundation of your self-worth, by putting your confidence in Him and thus being truly confident. The knowledge that you are a child of God with the sense that our self-esteem, self-worth, and divine talents, divine worth, and divine potential is essential to being confident. When you have that sure conviction and confidence in God then you always are validated by His love for you and you know without a doubt that you are important and valuable to God and therefore you don't feel the need to be validated by other people and you don't have to depend upon and rely upon other people making you feel important because you already know that you are important and nothing that any imperfect mortal thinks, says, or does can alter your sure knowledge and confidence in God. That is true confidence and that brings true happiness.

Unfortunately, we see far too many people that greatly lack that confidence and assurance of self and truly deeply crave, long for, and need to be validated by others in order to feel important and feel valuable. They need to feel wanted and they need others to tell them their important because they don’t have that solid foundation of confidence in God. Many people put the fact that they’re talented at sports, get good grades, have good looks, or have a good looking boyfriend/girlfriend the foundation of their confidence or center of their lives where they base their self-worth. That’s why some people are absolutely devastated if they get a bad grade or their boyfriend/ girlfriend breaks up with them. It’s because they put their boyfriend or girlfriend as the source of their self worth, thus its no surprise that when the boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with them… they feel worthless. These types of things are what lead to depression and suicide if we aren’t careful about what we put as the source of our self-worth. In a world with so many changes and uncertainty the only reliable source of self-worth is our Savior Jesus Christ. His love and power are unending and unchangeable. Simply, Christ will never fail and thus if He is the center of our lives we will never fail. True confidence comes from Him.

Therefore, anytime someone gets offended it is due to a lack of confidence because if we are truly confident we won’t let what others do, say, or think effect us in the slightest. For me a great example of this type of confidence is my dad. I can honestly say that I can’t remember ever seeing my dad get offended. Never. My dad knows he’s a smart, good, successful, and righteous man thus he doesn’t let anything bother him and he never gets offended. He keeps the commandments and trusts in the Lord J thanks for the example dad.

Now overconfidence or namely pride is just as severe if not worse than a lack of confidence so lets look at what it takes to keep that balance in being confident and humble. Humility is a willingness to submit to the Lord and to give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. A great example for missionaries is the classic found in Alma 26:12 and that really epitomizes the essences of humility that we acknowledge our need and dependence upon the Lord. It is the recognition of our weaknesses and the desire and willingness to learn and improve. Only through being humble can we repent, purify, and perfect ourselves through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

A practical example in the mission is that every day after teaching a lesson my companion and I will give each other feedback on how we did in teaching; what we did well and how we can improve. When receiving suggestions on how to improve if I lack confidence I will get offended and argue and cause contention. But likewise if I lack humility then I will disagree with whatever he tells me and I will argue and cause contention. Either way there is contention and discord instead of learning and improvement. Therefore it is essential that I be both confident enough to know that I’m a good missionary so that I don’t get offended and at the same time I must be humble enough to accept the suggestion and apply it rather than rejecting it because I’m prideful.

There are hundreds of examples I could use to illustrate the point that a lack of confidence (insecurity) or lack of humility (pride) will always cause cause contention, problems, and misery while confidence and humility will always bring peace, solutions, and happiness. WWI was a huge bloodbath in which millions of lives were lost for very trivial reasons and the result of WWI was a foolish treaty that set up horrid conditions in Germany which eventually lead to WWII. What were some of the causes of WWI? Lack of confidence and lack of humility. Tsar Nicolas II had recently lost a war to Japan and this caused extreme embarrassment for Russia because in this time period Asian nations were looked down upon. Thus Tsar Nicolas was seriously lacking self-esteem and although it didn’t benefit his country and wasn’t worth the losses he entered Russia into the war to try and save face and prove that Russia wasn’t weak. On the other hand, the leader of Germany Kaiser Wilhelm was extremely arrogant and did all sorts of foolish things in an effort to prove German’s strength as a nation. Also every single argument that I’ve had in my life with family members or companions has been due to a lack of confidence or lack of humility. Take a good look at any argument or disagreement that you see and you will find that the source of the problem is low self-esteem or pride. Or anytime in your life that you have failed or been sad you will find that the source is the same. Likewise you will find that whenever you have succeeded greatly or been truly happy it is likely due to a proper balance of confidence and humility. Whether it be sports, school, family relationships, companionships, work, or any other aspect of life; confidence and humility bring success.

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of being both confident and humble. He was very confident and sure of who He was and what his purpose was as the son of God. He didn’t hesitate in testifying that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). When others mocked and ridiculed him, he never doubted or feared because he was confident in what he was doing and he did his duty perfectly. Yet at the same time he never forgot where his strength came from and he always gave the glory to the Father. In his greatest moment of trial in Gethsemane while suffering for our sins, he humbly submitted to the will of God the Father (Luke 22:42). He was and is the perfect example of confidence and humility.

Wow okay I wrote a lot more than I had planned but this has been on my mind for a while now and I wanted to share it with you all. I invite all of you to put God as the center of your lives and submit to His will giving all the glory to Him. I promise that if we all are confident and humble that we will be happy and successful in life.

I hope this knowledge helps all of you as much as it has helped me :)
Elder Remington 

Monday, November 5, 2012

1 Crazy and 2 Cakes

Elder Remington's Zone

Family and Friends,

Last Thursday was definitely the most unique birthday I've ever had. I'll start with the weird and finish with the good. We had a great investigator named Ricardo who was going to church regularly, reading the Book of Mormon regularly, really progressing spiritually, and was going to be baptized this week. We were way excited for him and he was really making some great changes in his life and he was happy. Sadly, he suffers from a mental condition similar to schizophrenia but less severe (can't remember what the exact name is) in which if he takes his medicines he is completely normal and a great guy... but if he doesn't take his medicines he is susceptible to mental breakdowns where he starts having hallucinations and becomes extremely paranoid. On Thursday, November 1st (my birthday) he had a HUGE attack and his mom had to call us in the middle of a lesson asking for help because Ricardo's grandmother who lives with him was scared because he can get aggressive and was yelling at her.... we ran as fast as we could to his house to help. Normally, as Jake Remington, going to a house with a big crazy guy with aggressive tendencies would be scary to me. But honestly as Elder Remington I wasn't scared at all because I knew that the Lord would protect us :) one of the great blessings of being on the Lord's errand. Anyway long story short, we got there and calmed him down and stayed with him for about 3 hours until the police finally arrived to take him to the mental institution... it was a very sad situation. 

On the bright side we were able to help him and now that he's receiving treatment and taking his medication he has greatly improved :) When he gets out of treatment we will do everything we can to help him recognize the problem and always take his medicine. 

And the happy news is that we have a great ward here and I've really grown close to a lot of the members and made some great friends (it'll be hard leaving Albonor but I'm really enjoying it while I'm here) the Saldaña family always gives us lunch on Thursdays and then at the end of the meal they surprised me with a cake and they all sang to me :) The cake was delicious! Then the Medina family invited us over for dinner to make burritos (my companion is Mexican and knows how to cook great food!) and they surprised me with a cake too haha :) After singing to me they all started chanting that I had to take a bite first but I knew that my companion was going to shove my face in the cake so I pushed him away and then hurried and took a bite before he could touch me but out then out of no where grandma Medina comes from behind and she pushes my face in the cake! I couldn't believe that an old lady could do such a thing but it was pretty hilarious!! All and all it was a good birthday :) definitely one that I won't forget.

Love you all and hope you are all enjoying life and making everyday the best day of your life :) 
Elder Remington

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Be Humble

Dear family and friends,

A simple revelation came to me this morning that I wanted to share; Humility brings the Spirit. Simple but profound because when we show God that we are humble and willing to do His will and not our own then He will bless us with spiritual promptings so that we can go forth and do His will in His way and in His timetable :) Thus becoming very effective instruments in His hands to build the Kingdom of God.

I've found in the mission that whenever I act in a prideful way the Spirit departs but whenever I am humble and submissive and really strive to do what the Lord wants me to do :) I have the Spirit with me very strongly and the Holy Ghost guides me and helps me know what to do. 

Also the other day my companion was sick and the doctor said he had to rest for a day :( Wow it sure stinks having to stay at home in the mission because you want to be out working, serving, helping people, and getting things done. Honestly that was one of my least favorite days of the mission because I felt useless just sitting around in the house. This caused me to reflect and I realized that some of the absolute worst days of my life have been days that I get up late, just sit around, stay in the house, and don't do anything productive. Some of my absolute best days of my life where I'm super happy and just feel wonderful are days that I get up early, work out, go outside, work hard, study hard, accomplish many great things, help people, communicate with people, and contribute to society. As human beings we all want to be and feel important. We want to feel that the world is a better place because we're in it and thus we're much happier when we get out and do productive things. 

That's why being a missionary is such a blessing because we're always serving, having a positive influence on others, lightening the loads of others, and contributing to making the world a better place to live in. If you want to be happy, have the inner peace of knowing the Lord is pleased with you, and look forward to waking up every morning... go on a mission! That goes for all the young men, young women, and the older people who can serve couple missions too :) There is nothing in the world more important than missionary works for it brings forth the salvation of souls :) 

Love you all and wish you the best :)
Elder Remington 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun Week :)

Family and Friends,

This has been a very eventful and exciting week :) We had a great baptism! His name is Aureliano and he's from Cuba (with white hair in the picture) very very smart and lots of money yet very very humble and receptive :) A rare and wonderful combination. His best friend Marcos Mora helped us teach him and baptized him. It was a very special day and those are the converts that you know for sure are going to stay active and strong in the gospel because they have that support. 

Today earlier this afternoon we went all over different parts of Guayaquil with Brother Mora and some of his friends :) It was a great time because I love learning about the history and culture of the city and we took lots of sweet pictures especially in the Iguana park. This iguana here escaped so we hurried and took some pictures before it ran back behind the fence haha after we had taken one picture it tried to leave but my companion grabbed it by the tail and held it there so we could take more pictures and as soon as he did that like 5 other iguanas started hissing and came towards my companion hahaha it was the first time I've seen him scared but it was hilarious and the iguanas didn't do anything they were just letting him know not to mess with their buddy. 

Also one day while we were walking to an appointment there was an old lady trying to pull down some guava from her her tree but she wasn't tall enough so we helped her out and then she gave us lots of guava and agreed to let us teach her :) Woohoo two birds with one stone cause we were super hungry! 

Elder Dzul and I have really come a long way its great :) For all you future missionaries out there (and I hope that there's a lot more young women who are included in that category now) remember that no matter who your companion is if you do your part you can always have a good relationship with them and you can always learn something from each and every one of them :)

Remember to always do the three basics of praying everyday, studying the scriptures everyday, and going to church every week without fail. As one of my converts wisely said, when we do those three things its like forming a protective shield around us so that temptation won't be able to hurt us :) We'll be safe, at peace, and happy :) So let's all do those three things always! 

Con amor, (totally copying Elder Burnham there)
Elder Remington

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good Stuff

Family and Friends,

Elder Dzul's Birthday
Here are some fun pictures from the week. It was Elder Dzul's birthday so I made some plans with some of the members and we all surprised him with cake and sang to him after Ward council. I could tell he was happy and that made me feel good :) We've come a long way in our companionship. I won't go into detail but lets just say that we're very different and both had to make some adjustments to make this companionship work but we now have much more love, trust, and good feelings between us. Haha that sounds a little weird I know, but hey its true! I have learned to be more humble and patient and he has learned to be more obedient and diligent :) Little acts of service for you companion like ironing his shirt, sharing goodies from home (thanks so much for the package family), or shining his shoes goes a long way. 

Elder Dzul and Elder Remington must be hungry!

The other picture is from the baptism of Yolanda (the one with the sunglasses) she doesn't look too thrilled in that particular picture haha but she's a very sweet and humble lady. She was a gift from Heaven because she had already attended church several times and one day her daughter just came up to us and said that her mom wanted to get baptized. So we went and taught her and then baptized her in that same week because she was already way prepared :) It's pretty great when the Lord puts the elect of God in your path and you get to help them be baptized. 

Before my mission my mom, dad, uncle Matt, and several other wise people gave me some very good advice; don't get discouraged. Never let hard times or disappointing things get you down. Although we had a baptism, this week was very tough because Miriam and several other investigadores told us that they don't want us to visit them anymore... it was really tough to take because many of them had been making so much progress and then almost out of nowhere BAM!! When you've been working so hard with these people for so long and you really love them, it hurts to see them turning away from something that you KNOW will bless them and completely change their lives for the better.... but despite any trials or challenges as a missionary you need to always stay positive, always stay smiling, and always have great faith and hope for the future. It's easy to be excited and work hard when things are going great but it takes a real top-notch missionary that is completely dedicated to the Lord to stay smiling, positive, and working hard even when faced with lots of disappointments. That is the key to success really. My parents and uncle Matt couldn't have given me better advice and I repeat their advice to anyone preparing for a mission... never get discouraged. Always stay positive. Always smile. Always be obedient. Always work hard. And always learn from challenging situations. If you do that then you will always enjoy your mission :) The work will be satisfying and fulfilling :)

Oh also quick update, our mission president has now limited our email time significantly because of some disobedient elders :/ Therefore I don't have time to write emails to other family members for right now sorry!! But hopefully he will put the time back to normal soon, if everyone is obedient :) Obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings consequences. 

I absolutely LOVED conference :) Although I watched it in another language I had the most amazing experience this conference that I've ever had in my life. There are 3 reasons I'd like to share that this conference was so great for me. These are great ways to really get the most out of conference.
  1. Get plenty of sleep. As a teenager especially we often stay up late Friday and Saturday night and then although we want to be alert and pay attention its no wonder that we sometimes struggle to stay awake during all the talks. This conference I was alert and learned something important and received revelation personal from every single talk.
  2. Have personal questions before conference. Write down 3-5 questions or problems that you're having (for example one of mine was how to encourage your companion to be obedient without causing contention) something specific and then during conference be thinking of that and you will receive personal revelation of what you need to do. The Holy Ghost will communicate to your heart and mind the specific solution that you need for that specific problem.
  3. Don't write down word for word what they say. Write down the spiritual impressions that you receive while listening with your heart, and having a prayer in your heart to receive inspiration and revelation.
These worked great for me and I encourage all of you to put them into practice for future conferences. 

Holy smokes great news about lowering the age for missionaries! Wow I'm already out of time sorry for the mistakes in this email I was speed writing!

Love you all very much! :) Support your missionaries in your ward :) -  Elder Remington

Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning and Growing :)

Family and friends,  

Here are the pictures from the baptism two weeks ago :) I forgot to send them but here they are better late than never... this was a truly special baptismal service because we got to see Roberto (who just barely was baptized and received the Priesthood) baptize his son Roberto Junior :) they are a wonderful family and they are so excited about living the gospel its inspiring every time that we visit them to see that they've been studying the scriptures together, praying together, learning new hymns together in the car and often times when we walk by their house we can hear them playing church music and we can hear their little son Jordy singing at the top of his lungs very off key but with great enthusiasm, much like the way my father sings :) love ya dad!  

Roberto's wife Miriam is great and we've really made great progress with her and gained her trust but she is one tough cookie. She's a psychologist, has lots of doubts, and says that she won't believe something if she can't see it... that makes developing her faith in Christ a bit tricky as I'm sure you can imagine. We've been applying Alma 32 and trying to help her understand that she has to give the gospel a chance. She has to go to church, read the scriptures, and pray sincerely (nourish the seed) so that she can gain a testimony of this gospel (the seed will grow and bring forth fruit). It's not going to be easy but I know as we keep working hard and having patience and having faith that she will be converted and baptized. To be honest this was a tough week with lots of frustrating challenges and investigators that aren't progressing but I'm learning and growing from these trials :) my good friend Jamie Smith wrote me a letter a while back and she shared a great quote that I still remember and think about often. She shared with me a trial that she had been having and shared these powerful words, ¨I've experienced a completely different side of the Atonement, and I appreciate my life and having the gospel in it so much more. I know that the Refiner's fire will always burn brightly, and it is the way we handle our trials that allow it to create or consume us.¨ Wow! I especially love that last part because it is so true! All of us will have tough times and we get to decide whether we will turn toward Christ or turn away from him, whether we will redouble our efforts and work harder or get overwhelmed and slack off, whether we will endure or give up :) we get to decide if the trial will create or consume us. I know that when we maintain an eternal perspective in confronting our trials that we will be able to overcome our trials and learn from them. Part of enduring to the end is never getting discouraged and always facing adversity positively with a determined smile :) Thanks Jamie for your words of encouragement and thanks to everyone who has written me and supports me :)  

Keep enduring joyfully to the end! Have patience and have hope. Life is good. Remember that God wants us to have joy :) 

Elder Remington

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Companion :) New Experiences Awaiting

Family and Friends,

Elder Dzul and Elder Remington
Today we had transfers and my new companion is Elder Dzul from Yucatan, Mexico :) he's very happy and upbeat and I have a feeling we're going to get along just great! I'll miss Elder Garcia because I really enjoyed my time with him and learned a lot from him but such is the life of a missionary constant changes and new experiences :) Something that Elder Garcia always told me and already in the first day Elder Dzul has told me is .. ¨relax¨ haha several of my companions  have said that I work really hard and am always thinking about ways to improve which is great but that I sometimes am a little too intense and need to slow down a bit... they're right. I care so much about my investigators and want to be the best missionary I can be so much and I want so badly to serve the Lord 100% with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength... that often times I let myself get worked up and need to just take it easy. I'm sure many of you who know me well have seen that tendency to go overboard with things haha its a weakness of mine but I'm getting much better at being moderate in all things.I think that its definitely better to be too focused on your mission then not focused enough, but there is balance in all things and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn to relax sometimes :) I think Elder Dzul and I are going to be great helping each other find a good balance.

In our companionship we always strived to be obedient with exactness and it paid off big time. When I arrived here, Albonor hadn't had a single baptism in over 2 months and now in just a month we've had four baptisms with lots more on the way :) also before there wasn't very much support from the members. We never lectured or harassed the members but we just served them, sincerely thanked them for the help they did give, and loved them. Genuine kindness really works miracles. We became their friends and we've had a  LOT of support and love from them now. Many of the members have made comments like wow these missionaries are great we're really blessed to now have missionaries that are working hard and are doing a good job here. This area has had a drastic transformation for the better and it isn't thanks to me.. all the credit goes to the Lord (Alma 26:12). We're just the instruments in the Lord's hands. We were just obedient and worked as hard as we could and then it was Him that blessed us with success :) in D&C 130:20-21 and D&C 82:10 we learn that when we're obedient we have the promise that the Lord will always bless us :) be obedient and you will be happy.

There's no such thing as a little thing when it comes to obedience :)

Elder Remington 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5-Star Day

Family and friends, 

On Saturday the entire mission met in Guayaquil to hear a talk from an Apostle of the Lord Elder Christofferson :) We all got to take a turn shaking his hand and I also got to see all my old buddies from the MTC and old companions Elder Alvarez and Elder Lopez :) it was a great experience! His talk was very basic and simple but very powerful :) he's a great example of someone who teaches clearly and with the Holy Ghost very strongly but of course that's not surprising he's an Apostle hello! Three things in particular stood out to me. First, we as missionaries should always have the image our investigators dressed in white going to the temple at the forefront of our minds because that is the end goal. Second, as we really love those that we serve we'll serve them better and as we really serve those that we love we'll love them better :) serve those you love and love those you serve. That goes for both companions and investigators and members and everybody. Little things like ironing your companion's shirt really goes a long way :) Third, we need to learn to really trust in the Lord and strive to always do His will not ours. Often times that will mean doing things that we don't want to do but that we need to do :)

He really focused a lot on the basics like service, scripture study, and prayer and that reminded me of some great advice that my cousin Kayla gave me a while ago. Kayla came up with 5 basic things to do everyday in order to make everyday a 5-Star Day haha yes I know its cheesy but I'm telling you these bad boys really do work. Try it if you don't believe me and I promise you'll be happier and your life will be more fulfilling and have greater purpose. 

This is my slightly altered version of what we do everyday.

1. Smile.There's nothing like a warm smile to make someone's day. 
2. Serve. Find someone who needs help and help them. The simple acts of kindness go a long way.
3. Scripture Study. Don't just read them but diligently study them and apply them.  
4. Sincere Prayer. Emphasis on the sincere part. Don't just go through the motions but really have a conversation with our Heavenly Father
5. Self Reflection. Take just 5 minutes of silence and analyze if you're a better person you were a week ago. Think of what you need to change to improve even more :) 

The work is moving forward here in Ecuador and I'm grateful to be a part of this marvelous work and a wonder! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and its the only place where we can find complete peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. 

Elder Remington

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wonderful Week :)

Family and friends,

This weekend was very rewarding. We've had lots of challenges but we've been working very hard and its all been so worth it. In this picture is (left to right) Marcello, Roberto's son Jordy, and Roberto. I know for sure that the Lord answers our prayers and that if we listen and do our part He will always bless us. Roberto was hesitant about being baptized and kept saying that he wasn't sure. It wasn't until the day before his baptism that he finally got his answer. He read Alma 7:15 and prayed to know if this was the right decision and he said he felt a peaceful feeling that he didn't need to be afraid and that he should be baptized tomorrow. Woohoo!! We love him so much and he's such a great man so we were THRILLED when he told us of that experience Friday night. Then on Saturday night after being baptized Marcello and Roberto shared their testimonies with everyone there. Holy smokes talk about powerful. Marcello is one of the shyest people I know but he told us that he wanted to give his testimony and he did a great job. Then Roberto shared his testimony of how God answers our prayers and that we just have to do our part to listen. Words can't fully describe the joy Elder Garcia and I felt. We had huge smiles on our faces the whole time :)

Remember that no matter what kind of challenges we're facing that if we put Jesus Christ as the center of our lives and build on that strong foundation (Helaman 5:12) we will always be protected and we will be happy :)

Remember to always study (not just read) study the scriptures and repent anytime that you make a mistake :) listen to positive and clean music as well

Elder Remington

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Times :)

Family and friends,

This week has been a very tough week with lots of rejection. But I'm here to tell you that the tough times are more than worth the good times and when you look back the happy memories are what stick out to you. This area hasn't had a baptism in over two months but now this week we have three baptisms planned that are solid. The first is called Marcello and he has 13 years and lives with a part member family. He is young but he is very bright and he accomplishes every commitment we give him. We invited him to read the first chapter of Nephi and the next day he had already read four chapters and he had marked several verses and had lots of questions :) it might sound kind of silly to the normal people in the real world right now but let me tell this is the kind of stuff that missionaries get fired up about! He is very humble and really a sweet kid. We've got a great friendship with him and we're always laughing and learning together.

One day he asked us about the verse in the Book of Mormon when Nephi cuts off the head of Laban and my companion said ¨"Oh yeah I have a picture of that one second" and started searching his backpack (the picture isn't violent it just shows Nephi praying with a sword in hand) but the look on Marcello's face was priceless! His eyes got very wide and he said no, no its ok you don't have to show me! It was pretty hilarious but man am I excited for the kid he's great :)

Then we have the Sanchez family. Holy smokes they are amazing as well. The father, Roberto, has read every assignment we give him as well and he always has great points to make about the verses that he liked. He LOVES the Book of Mormon and reads it every single day. He is very intelligent so the lessons with him are very interactive and enriching :) he's still not 100% sure if he's ready for baptism or not but we've been praying and working really hard and I know he's going to do it. In one of our first lessons with him he said a prayer at the end that was so powerful, heartfelt, and sincere. It really touched me and I had a strong feeling of comfort that everything was going to alright. That day had been one of my hardest days of the mission and the Adversary was really working on me with negative thoughts of discouragement and nobody was home so I was feeling pretty down that day but then during Roberto's prayer I distinctly felt that "I'm exactly where I need to be, doing what I need to do, and this people need me... the Lord is pleased with me and I'm happy" it was very powerful and really motivated me. Whenever any of you are feeling down or having a bad day just get on your knees and pray very sincerely. Count every single one of your blessings and thank the Lord for all of them and then get up and do something positive, serve someone and make their day better and I promise your day will be better after that service :) he that loses himself in the service of others, truly does find himself.

My companion is pretty goofy but in a good way and in a lot of ways we're very similar and on the same page which is great :) we both teach very well and walk very fast because we want to be efficient with the Lord's time :) I'm grateful for a great companion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Its not just a nice organization that shares positive messages and helps people. It is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth and the only place where we can find salvation for our souls. Through living the gospel of Jesus Christ we can have peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come :) I testify that these things are true. For all of you who have a testimony of these truths already, be grateful for that knowledge and do everything in your power to share that knowledge with others. For those of you who don't have a testimony of these truths or are unsure, pray to our Father in Heaven and ask him. I promise you that He will answer you prayers and you can know these things for yourselves :)

Elder Remington

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lots of Changes :)

Family and friends,

This week we had transfers in the mission and I've been transferred to a new area with a new companion. I am now serving in Albonor (a sector in Guayaquil) with Elder Garcia. I don't have much time today because we had to travel and unpack and all the jazz but I'll be sure to send photos of Elder Garcia and Albonor next week. To be completely honest... I'm definitely going to miss Empalme. We had tons of investigators that we're progressing, the ward was very supportive and we had great relations with the members, I made lots of great friends there, and most of all I'm going to miss Elder Lopez. That guy is amazing and we really worked well together. However, I am happy and I am excited to serve in a new area with a new companion :) this area is kind of struggling right now and hasn't had a baptism in over two months but I see that as an opportunity and I'm excited to get to work and really turn things around here :) I know that my Mission President is inspired of God and I know that this is exactly where the Lord needs me to be right now. I trust in the Lord completely and look forward to learning and growing from new experience here. 

Whenever there's big changes like this in my life I like to remember the quote, ¨Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened.¨ Rather than being sad that I'm leaving Empalme, I am very grateful for the incredible experiences I had there and I'm looking forward to having great experiences here in Albonor. I know that there are things the Lord needs to teach me here and I look forward to learning and growing. 

Also thank you very much to everyone who has written me :) its great to hear from friends and family back at home and read about what you're all up to. I definitely recommend using DearElder.com because then I'll get your letters in about a week as opposed to about a month. I love hearing from you all and hope you are all doing well and are grateful for everything you have. Pray as if everything depends on the Lord and then work as if everything depends on you. 

Elder Remington

P.S. In my last email I said that the weather is only hot but that's not true lately there's been a lot of days with overcast and a nice breeze. And when it rains its very refreshing :) the weather is pretty nice right now. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Best Week of the Mission

Family and friends,

I haven't sent any pictures in a while so here you go. The first picture is the baptism of a great man named Luis Ramirez. He is honestly one of the most humble people I've ever met. He has had so many trials in his life (divorce, drugs, alcohol, depression, tough tough stuff) and yet he has never doubted or lacked faith in the Lord. He made some incredible changes in his life and now he truly is a completely different person. The Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms lives and literally saves people. I distinctly remember that in his baptism when he came out of the water he paused for a second... had an indescribable look of satisfaction and joy and then gave me a big hug. Wow! It truly is a privilege to serve these people and watch every single aspect of their lives improve. The second picture is two goofballs trying to cook lunch together. Elder Lopez is hilarious man. I really love the guy. He's always got a smile, he's positive, he truly loves the people, and he's a powerful teacher. We really feed off each other and have a great chemistry working hard together we're almost always on the same wavelength and both communicate together really well and that's crucial in a companionship (marriage and any other relationship too).

Elder Remington and Elder Lopez
I realized the other day that I haven't shared much about what its like to live in Ecuador... so here I go :)

Food- Ecuatorianos eat a ton of rice with every single meal, a mean a ton of rice every day and every meal. If you're in Ecuador serving food and you're not serving rice...you got problem! haha but its great because I'm always hungry and eat a lot and there's always plenty of rice :) they eat lot of sopa de pollo (chicken soup technically but its much better than your average can of Campbells trust me) and they eat bananas in every single way, shape, size, and form that you could possibly imagine. Haha and they have like 5 different names for every type of banana depending on how you prepare which was very confusing for me at first but I got it down now. Lots of vegetables and lots of fresh fruit :) its great! 

Culture- Extremely friendly, down to earth, and humble people. Empalme is a little tiny town and so some of this might be more Empalmeño than it is Ecuatoriano. Yes its cliche but its still true, the people here have almost nothing but they give you everything. They are givers and they just want you to feel welcome and they want to know how you like their country. The majority of people have lived in the same place their whole life and their family for generations and generations has lived there as well so they know their town very well. Also there's lots of people that when they see me immediately want to try to speak English with me, ask me questions, tell me about their family or friends that live in the US, or just stare at me with a fixed gaze (gasp) gringo! I've heard that in big cities like Guayaquil there are more Americans so its not quite as intense but here in little Emplame its pretty funny just walking down the street and getting lots of shouts of "Hey you my friend!" 

Fun Facts- The doors, buses, and lots of other things are not built for tall people...thus there have been several times when I'm not paying attention and then...¨Whack!" I hit my head on something haha but no worries its much more funny than it is painful. There's a lot more to tell for sure and I'll be sure to include more fun facts or stories about Ecuador in future emails.

This week has been the best week of my mission. We had lots of lessons with members, tons of referrals, lots of investigators that attended church, and we surpassed nearly all of our goals for the week. We're happy working hard, being obedient, and enjoying our mission. 

Remember to do the little things every day (study the scriptures, pray sincerely, and serve others) its constant diligence in doing the little things everyday that allows us to continue growing, progressing, and improving and eventually become who God wants us to be.

Upward only :) 
Con amor,

Elder Remington

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poniendo Nuestra Confianza en Dios :)

Familia y Amigos,

Ahora solo voy a escribir en español. Entonces les aconsejo que ustedes aprendan y puedan entender español si queiren leer mis correos electronicos :) van a ser bendicidos por su esfuerzos de entender un otra idioma de los hijos de Dios. ¡Jaja bromeo no se preocupen! 

{Loosely translated:
From now on, I will only write to you in Spanish. Then I counsel you to learn and understand Spanish so you may read my emails :) You will be blessed for your efforts to understand another language of God's children.  Don't worry, I'm just teasing!}

No don't worry I won't do that to you. But I realized the other day that I now officially think and have dreams in all Spanish! At first it took a lot of effort to force myself to try and think in Spanish because I knew it would help me learn faster but now it comes naturally and its strange to think and speak English. The weirdest thing is that if I remember something that happened back home, I remember what happened and what was said but translated to Spanish. It's really strange and I'm not sure if that's something that normally happens with foreign missionaries but it's pretty intense. 

Anyway this week we had a conference for all the new missionaries with President Amaya that was incredible. I learned a ton and have been putting into practice a lot of the insights I had there. Something that really hit me was that we need to focus on teaching the doctrine. One of the Assistants Elder Hansey taught that the doctrine=why, the principle=what, and the application= how. Often times we focus on the principle but we don't help them understand the doctrine of why that principle is so important. For example, in Ecuador its very for couples to live together, have kids, and live like a normal family but they never get married and therefore we often have investigators who want to get baptized and have testimonies but they have to get married first. Many times as missionaries we just focus on the principle or the ¨what¨ they need to do... Get Married!! We just keep telling them that marriage is important and they need to get married to be baptized and we try to commit them to do it. Much more effective than that is teaching and helping them understand why marriage is important and why they need to be married and promise specific blessings of how it will bless them. We need to teach them the fundamental doctrine that the power to create life is a sacred gift given to us lovingly by our Heavenly Father and that this gift is so sacred and special that it should only be used in the bonds of marriage or we are misusing this power that God has entrusted us with. We need to teach the doctrine that they will be blessed with more peace, self-confidence, and inner-respect by keeping this sacred commandment and being married. If we teach them and promise them that they will have more love in their home, be better examples to their children, and be blessed with greater capacity to raise their children in righteousness by being married then we won't have to try and convince them to get married. If we teach true doctrine and they understand the true doctrine, they will have a sincere desire within themselves to make this change in their life and keep this commandment of God. As President Packer said, ¨True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.¨ Helping people understand the doctrine is key. 

For all the future missionaries out there remember that and apply it in your missions because it will help you be much more effective and it will bless your investigators. And really this can be applied to any situation. Future missionaries, Sunday school teachers, parents, and anyone else who wants to teach effectively. Teach the doctrine. If you have a child who won't share his toys with his brothers rather than just trying to correct the behavior by telling him ¨what¨ to do... ¨Share with your brother!¨ instead focus on the doctrine of ¨why¨ he needs to share with his brother and how it will bless his life. Teach him the doctrine that when he serves his brother by sharing he is serving God (Matthew 25:40 and Mosiah 2:17). If the child comes to understand this fundamental doctrine you won't have to force him to share... he will want to share with his brother and he will want to be better. 

In our ward we our having some problems with a lot of people gossiping and saying negative things about leaders. Remember that leaders are called of God and that we need to support them and love them. Also remember that we should never gossip AND we shouldn't listen to gossip. I know that its natural to want to know what happened because we're curious but we need to not gossip ourselves and we need to not encourage gossip but not listening. It's hard but its important. 

Something else a leader said is that there is never a good reason to raise your voice and raising your voice never makes things better it always makes things worse. No matter how upset we are it is much better to pause, take a walk, take some time to think, get a better perspective of things and then communicate calmly with love. I think that if we put this principle in practice it will greatly help us in all of our relationships. 

I´m learning a lot from these humble, happy, friendly people in Ecuador. I can feel the Lord shaping me and molding me into the person that I need to be. For any of you out there considering going on a mission I have three simple words... just do it. It has blessed my life in so many ways and already in just three months I have made incredible changes and overcome major weaknesses like my impatience, inability to remember directions, and my pride just to name a few. On top of that I have been able to strengthen my talents even more and use them to bless the lives of others. I promise that the decision to go on a mission is one you will never regret :) 

Elder Remington 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Messages from Elder Remington

Dear Friends & Family,

The past two weeks Jacoby hasn't written a general email message to everyone. And since many of you actually wait for his Monday letters to arrive, and want to know how he is doing, I decided to put together an email that has messages that he wrote to his sisters these past two weeks.  I asked Jessica and Eliza if they were ok with me sharing this advice that Jacoby gave to them, with everyone, and they said yes it was ok.  So just remember as you are reading the messages below, they were written to Jessica and Eliza, but I think it's good advice for all of us.  Enjoy:

"Keep being a good example to others and keep learning and growing every single day. Improve everday. Remember that the Lord wants you to be better next year than you were this year."

"Make scripture study a daily habit that you keep with you for the rest of your life. It will get you through any hard times you have and will make your high school years much more happy and secure :) I love you lots little sister!" 

"Reading the Bible is a great idea and if you want to do it...do it! But make sure that you always read the Book of Mormon along with reading the Bible, as they are both testaments of Jesus Christ and work hand in hand.  Remember that the Old Testament of the Bible was written for the children of Israel and the New Testament was written for the saints following the time of Jesus when the Apostles were ministering in different parts along the Mediterranean Sea. The Book of Mormon was written specifically for us. It was written for our time in these the latter-days :) President Ezra Taft Benson has several great talks that emphasize specifically the importance of the Book of Mormon (I highly recommend looking them up and reading them on lds.org) in one of them that I'll never forget he points out something I hadn't thought of before that made me really appreciate the Book of Mormon even more. In restoring the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to the earth one of the first things the Lord did was reveal the gold plates to Joseph Smith so that he could begin translating and eventually publish the Book of Mormon. Before the Aaronic Priesthood was restored, before the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored, and before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized with its first meeting, the Lord began the translation of the Book of Mormon because it is the convincing evidence of the truthfulness of the Restoration. As the last paragraph of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon clearly explains that by gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon we can know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom once again established on the earth. Essentially, reading the Book of Mormon everyday fortifies our testimony of the Book of Mormon and thus our testimony of this gospel. And on top of that it brings the Spirit of God more abundantly into our lives to lead and guide us, helps us feel inner peace, and when we apply it to our lives it provides answers to our everyday problems and trials."

"A mission is a lot of hard work, has lots of ups and downs, is extremely spiritual, an experience in which you can feel the Lord molding you into the person that He needs you to become, an incredible adventure, the best two years of and for my life, and an experience that I want my future wife to have because I don't care who you are you can't tell me that 1.5 years of service dedicated 100% to the Lord isn't going to make you a better person (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc) than you were before your mission. Yep. That just about sums it up :) "

From, Elder Remington

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Companion!

Family and friends,

Elder Lopez and Elder Remington
This week we had changes and I got a new companion :) His name is Elder Lopez from Reu, Guatemala and he is incredible. He's hilarious, positive, upbeat, works hard, loves the people, teaches clearly and with the Spirit, knows his scriptures like the back of his hand, and he is obedient. I love the guy and we get along great! He also knows quite a bit of English too which is fun because we can have little discussions sometimes if necessary and no one has any idea what we're saying. We are very similar in that we know how to work hard and enjoy ourselves at the same time. He has a good sense of balance with that and a great sense of humor. I never realized how important having a good sense of humor was to me but it seriously makes a huge difference in a companionship. It's especially helpful during tough days when there's a lot of rejection or investigators that aren't progressing. It helps you stay positive and keep going with a smile :) I'm very grateful to the Lord for blessing me with Elder Lopez as a companion. The best thing about him is that he is completely focused on his purpose as a missionary. He is here to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them received the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, BAPTISM :), receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. He's a great example to me, I'm learning everyday from him, and I'm enjoying it. 

I don't have a lot of time to write this week unfortunately but one thing I wanted to share with everyone is that I've been learning to not worry about what other people think of me and just focus on what God wants me to be. A big weakness of mine is that I often worry way to much what others will think or say about me. I'm improving on that and I sincerely want to make that weakness a strength of mine because the truth is that it doesn't matter what others think. I encourage everyone to really sit and ponder and ask yourself if you're doing things for other people or for God. Focus on God. When we put Heavenly Father as the first priority in our life then every other aspect of our life will improve. It's that simple. 

I love you all and wish you the best :) Remember to be grateful for everything that you have and smile :)
Elder Remington

Monday, July 2, 2012

Upward Only

Family and friends :)

I'd like to share one of my favorite quotes from the book Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard that describes the blessings a missionary receives through his experiences as he continues to learn, "Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs, and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord- another fruit of gospel living." Wow that quote really hit me! It is such an accurate description. And it doesn't just apply to missionaries it can apply to all of us in our everyday lives. Everyday we can learn from our mistakes and become better and more like the person God wants us to be. Heavenly Father truly wants us to be better this year than we were last year. He wants us to learn and progress every single day. This quote reminded me of something my great friends Drew and Ashton Hosford shared with me. Their phrase is "upward only" and what it basically encapsulates what Elder Ballard was saying that as long as we're always repenting and learning from our mistakes and trying to do better than our lives will be like a steady incline going upwards only. Eternally progressing and becoming more like Jesus Christ. Through the Atonement and our desire to change, literally being perfected and molded by the Lord into the person that we need to be. Upward only. There's power in that phrase and power in living with a mindset like that.

I sincerely recommend that everyone read Our Search for Happiness. It's brief, clear, spiritual, and powerful just like we try to be as missionaries. It teaches the doctrine of Christ plainly and it isn't just for members of the church. For those of you reading this email who are not members of the church that have wondered what it is that we believe and would like to know more about our beliefs I'd recommend that book its perfect for you. Also while I'm recommending books I realized the other day how much a certain book has helped me here in the mission, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Now I realize that as a missionary it isn't the most common book to recommend but seriously it is incredible. I read it my senior year of high school and I use principles from that book every single day. It teaches fundamental principles like the importance of smiling and how much of a difference it can make, expressing sincere appreciation to everyone, and precious pearls of wisdom like the importance of remembering people's names. Remember that to everyone the sound of their own name is the sweetest sound in the English (or Spanish) language. Little things but they make a huge difference trust me :) as missionaries we meet tons of new people everyday and there is such a huge difference between the Elders who always say "Oh sorry remind me your name again" and the Elders who testify of gospel truths and apply them personally to the investigator while using the name of the investigator (while having a big smile on their face). These are all small things but remember Alma 37:6-7 ;) 

But of course of all the books that I can recommend by far the most important book that anyone can read is the Book of Mormon. Read it everyday. And don't just read it. Study, ponder, pray, feast upon the word, and really submerge yourself in the Book of Mormon and apply personally to your life and problems that you're having or questions that you need helped with (1 Nephi 19:23). While at BYU the year before I left for the mission I had the privilege and opportunity to read the Book of Mormon everyday for thirty minutes. What a blessing! That strengthened me so much in my life, helped me overcome great struggles, and prepared me substantially for my mission. Remember that reading the Book of Mormon is like brushing your teeth. I used to have the attitude of "Oh well if I don't read it today I can read extra tomorrow or extra on Sunday its no big deal." Wrong! That's like saying oh I'm not gonna brush my teeth this week because I'll just use seven times the toothpaste on Sunday and it'll be the same I'm still brushing my teeth its all good. No way! That would be disgusting and your teeth would rot and your breath would stink horribly. The same principle applies with reading the Book of Mormon. Our teeth have plaque that builds up everyday and so we brush our teeth everyday. We sin and make mistakes and have temptations every single day and so we need to read the scriptures and pray everyday. It strengthens us and keeps us protected from the onslaught of temptation we have to face everyday. When you don't brush your teeth you have dirty teeth. When you don't read your scriptures and pray its like having a dirty soul. Which is more important to you?     

Study the Book of Mormon every single day and it will bring great blessings of protection, spiritual strength, peace, comfort, happiness, and joy in your life. 

I love you all and hope you're happy and learning and growing everyday :)
Upward Only!
Elder Remington