Monday, June 4, 2012

Another Amazing Week in Ecuador!

Family and friends,

Jorge and his wife getting married
Empalme, Ecuador is such a blessed place and I'm so very grateful to be serving here. The first picture is of Jorge and his wife getting married so that Jorge can be baptized. And of course the next picture is Jorge (the one wearing white next to my companion haha) with his family before the baptism. Exciting stuff! Jorge is a very humble and kind man. He sales juice on the street as his job and has very little temporal things but since his baptism he has so much spiritually. It's been such a privilege to see that change that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into his life. He has more peace in his home, his relationship with his wife has greatly improved, and he has the light of Christ in his eyes :) he's happy and his family can see the difference. They were all there at the baptism as well as lots of his friends and they were all truly touched! I have great hopes for them all especially his wife and daughter, they will be baptized this month if everything goes according to plan! Missionary work is so exciting because it keeps building on itself. One baptism is a great finding opportunity which leads to more baptisms and those lead to more and more and the cycle continues. But its important to remember that we're not just here to increase the number of members in the church. We're here to serve the people of Ecuador both physically and spiritually and bring them peace, happiness, and joy into their lives by coming unto Christ and accepting the Restored Gospel. I'm so thankful to be a part of this work, bringing about the salvation of souls :)

Something fun that happened the other day; we were at a member's house running late for our next appointment and one of the members offered to give us a ride and of course we accepted but then we found out that all he had was a rather small motorcycle but we didn't want to offend him and we didn't want to be late so we both hoped on the back and held on for dear life! It was pretty crowded but it was lots of fun :) I was surprised that it wasn't against the rules but my companion said in our mission there are some sectors where the members only have motorcycles so we can use them. The drivers and motorcyclists here are crazy! Not quite as crazy as they were in Thailand but crazy nonetheless!

Jorge with his family before the baptism
We're teaching a 21 year old young man named Jofre (pronouced Yofree – haha I know dad would butcher his name if I didn't do that) and he is very ready for the Gospel. He's excited to learn more every time we teach him and his baptismal date is June, 23rd he's a great young man. In our last lesson he had a question that I have asked myself several times before and I´m sure all of us have wondered this at times. He basically said, "I know that it's important to have faith in Christ, but how do I gain faith in Christ? And how do I increase my faith in Jesus Christ?" When he asked this the Spirit burned within me and I shared my testimony with him of how we can build our faith in Christ everyday by doing the little things. We opened to Alma 37:6-7 (scripture mastery and one of my favorites) and I shared with him that in my life I have truly seen that the little things like praying sincerely everyday, studying my scripture especially the Book of Mormon everyday, and serving others have helped my faith to grow everyday and have solidified my conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ little by little everyday. I want to share with all you that truly by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. We can't just pray for faith and then the Lord will snap his fingers and BAM our faith increases. We have to demonstrate our commitment to Christ by our works everyday. Faith without works is dead and good works allow us to preserve a living and burning faith in Jesus Christ. Always remember, that everyday of our lives we are either getting worse or better. There isn't a single day that we just stay at the same level of spirituality. Everyday, based on our works, we are spiritually progressing or spiritually digressing. Or better said, everyday our hearts are drawing closer to God or pulling farther away from God. We have our agency, we get to decide which it will be and we get to make this decision everyday. The way we spiritually grow, develop, become more Christlike, and have our hearts nearer to God everyday is by doing the little things. I encourage every one of you reading this email to decide everyday to give quality time to the Lord by praying fervently, studying the word of God, and doing good works for God's children. I promise you all that as you give quality time and quality works to the Lord, the Lord will give you quality blessings and will increase the overall quality of every aspect of your life.

Wow its weird to be writing in English, I've gotten really used to speaking, hearing, and even thinking in Spanish its pretty crazy. Oh and speaking of English, I'm going to be teaching an English class once a week every Saturday :) my companion and I were trying to think of other ways we can find people to teach and we prayed about this and we know this will be a great opportunity. The Bishop announced the class in Sacrament meeting and we're going to tell all our street contacts and investigators about it and all the youth in the ward are excited to attend and bring their friends along too!! Oh and dad you are totally right about working with the members it works way better :) we've had a lot of solid references from the members especially the new converts because they're way fired up about the gospel! I'm excited to use English as a means to find more of God's children to teach them the gospel and bless their lives :) I'm hoping that the English classes are fun, spiritual, and educational. Most importantly, I hope it leads us to find and teach the elect of God.

Everything here is great. It's a lot of work and at times it's sad to see people you love and care for that use their agency to make poor choices but the good times are well worth the bad times!! I'm having the time of my life here! It truly is quite the adventure to be here and everyday see sights that I had only previously seen in movies! I'm adjusting to the culture and to the weather haha you pretty much just accept that fact that you're going to be very sweaty all the time! I have truly the happiest that I've ever been in my life!

I love you very much :)
Elder Remington