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