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 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 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 EmpalmeƱo 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