Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First Week in Ecuador!

Hello family and friends :)

Elder Remington & Elder Alvarez
Wow where do I even begin... so much has happened in the past week its crazy! So first of all I finally brought my camera with me for email writing time so I have some pictures of the mtc and Ecuador. The first two are my two companions in the mtc (the white Elder was in my intermediate class and obviously Elder Jarquin was in the advanced class) they're both great and I was super close with both of them. Then the picture of Elder Alvarez and I was taken outside of our house. That's the only picture of Ecuador that I have so far cause I haven't had much time to take any but don't worry mom I will take more and send more next week :) Elder Alvarez is a great trainer, obedient, hardworking, and funny but he doesn't speak any English! This has made communicating and working together effectively very difficult at times but luckily my Spanish has been improving tremendously and whenever there's a word I don't understand he's really good at either acting out the word or describing it in a way that I can understand :) we make it work! His patience, his ability to teach me well, the fact that I'm surrounded by people who only speak Spanish, and above all blessings and strength from the Lord have all helped my mastering of Spanish accelerate at a phenomenal rate! Elder Alvarez says that I speak fluent and my accent is solid I just need to improve my ability to understand everything that I hear because when they get going super fast I only understand about 50% haha but luckily I can almost always say what I want to say. I was talking with the Bishop's wife when we had lunch at their house and she said that I speak the language as well as some American missionaries do when they've been out a year in the field so that made me feel pretty good :) I know that it truly isn't me though all credit goes to the Lord. When we put our trust in him and do our part by being obedient and working hard then the Lord blesses us. I've learned this week that the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation are real and they really can bless our lives if we put our faith in the Lord and are in tune to the Spirit :)

Oh also before I forget I want to apologize for some of my comments in the last email. After having written that I realized that it's not my place to judge, people aren't perfect, and I need to focus on seeing the good in people not harping on the negative things. Those missionaries that goof around during study time are human and they have a lot to learn but I shouldn't have been so hard on them. And I'm no where near perfect either. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go so I wanted to say that yes there are missionaries who mess around during study time and they shouldn't do that but I need to focus on the positive things. The truth is the majority of the missionaries in the mtc and the field have burning testimonies of Christ that they want to share with the world and they're doing a good job :)

Anyway, I also wanted to say that it was great chatting with you mom and dad at the airport and congrats to Jessica and Eliza on their graduations :) exciting times and lots of changes for all of us! Thanks for keeping me posted on how the family's doing and what's new in America haha. Oh also in answer to your question I found out that anyone can send me emails but I unfortunately cannot write emails to anyone except for family. So if you could tell Tyler Lythgoe, Russell, Arianna, and Aunt Tami that I can't write them back but that I really appreciated there emails and it was great hearing from them :) oh and Russell or I guess Elder Fischer was asking for my address so if you could let him and anyone else know that it's this below that'd be great thanks :) love to hear from anyone who wants to email or write a letter.

Mission Ecuador Guayaquil Norte
Edificio Mallorca 4 Piso
Casilla 16160
Guayquil- Ecuador

An amazing quote that I heard was "Obedience brings blessings and exact obedience brings forth miracles" BAM! Is that powerful or what? I love that quote and here in the field I've been doing my best to apply it everyday :) also in the field I have found scripture mastery to be incredibly useful in multiple teaching situations. I am sad that I didn't take scripture mastery very seriously with Old Testament as a freshman but I am extremely grateful that I worked hard and focused on knowing my Book of Mormon scripture mastery inside and out because that has paid off big time! Scripture mastery is very very useful not only as a missionary but in our daily lives whenever we have a trial or a question. So Eliza and anyone else that is in seminary take scripture mastery seriously and work hard because I promise it will be well worth.

I'm sorry I don't have as much time as I wanted to describe Ecuador but let me give you a brief overview and I'll go into more detail next week. Ecuador is incredible! I love it here! It truly is a completely different world here. Words cannot adequately describe the poverty we see here everyday and yet these people are so happy. I know its cliche and cheesy and utterly unoriginal but its so true that I have to say it... money does not bring happiness. The most important things in this life are the gospel and our families and when those are the first priorities in our life then we'll have peace, joy, and happiness in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come :) it has been a wonderful experience already to be immersed in a new culture and share precious truths with the people of Empalme, Ecuador (Empalme is the name of my first area) Empalme is a small town and one of the poorest areas in the mission but one of the highest baptizing areas in the mission :) cha ching! I love it here! I am literally the only white person in the entire town and I am at least a foot taller than everyone here so needless to say I stick out big time! It's pretty funny to see the look on people's faces when they see a giant gringo in a shirt and tie walking up to their house hah a especially the little kids because some of truly have never seen an American before in their entire lives! Anyway it's great here I love learning more about Ecuador and the people love to hear stories about the United States and my family :) its amazing!

This is the true church of Jesus Christ established on the earth and we are all so blessed to have it in our lives to bless and protect us everyday. Never forget it!
I love you all very much :)
Elder Remington