Monday, February 25, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

Family and Friends,

Here is the picture of Andres and Cesar's baptism from a few weeks ago :) These two kids are great! Cesar is seriously one of the happiest people I've met in my whole life. He always has a smile on his face and always makes us laugh. He's way humble and a joy to be around :) Here in Portoviejo, my companion and I are very happy with our accomplishments as a zone :) We had a monthly goal of 27 baptisms and we had 32 baptisms :) We worked way hard and the Lord really blessed us :) I'd say that some of the keys to our success were working in unity with our district leaders, communicating well with everyone, having lots of splits (or interchanges I can't remember the word in English haha) to teach the missionaries how to work better and help inspire confidence in them, and more than anything we loved our missionaries and loved the people :) We made sure that we always called them after they had a baptism to congratulate them or sent out text messages to everyone in the zone to motivate them :) Lots of little things that make a big difference Alma 37:6-7 lots of things that I was blessed to learn from Elder Linares and Elder Vielma. I get to see those guys tomorrow :) President Amaya was so pleased with the work we've been doing here that he and his wife are going to drive all the way out to Portoviejo (4 hour trip) to have a big dinner with us at a nice restaurant as a reward for our hard work :) I'm way excited it'll be a good time and I'll send pictures of it next week! I love you all lots and hope that you work hard in whatever you're doing to feel good and be happy. There's nothing like working hard towards a noble goal and then accomplishing it and celebrating woohooo!

Elder Remington

Monday, February 18, 2013

Exciting News! :)

Family and Friends,

Today I received some great news from my good buddy Elder Ayala. He sent me this great picture of Johnathon and his wife Maria Fernanda just before her baptism :) woohooo!!! I was way stoked to see that picture and I'm even more stoked to know that now they can go to the temple to be sealed forever as an eternal family :) Luckily for me I'll still be in Ecuador a year from now so I'll probably get to go see them be sealed in the temple... that would be AWESOME :) Johnathon is a way great guy and its so cool to see the great progress he's made and especially the 180 degree change his wife has made. Trust me when we first met her she was no where near close to being baptized. It was so bad that she wouldn't even say hi to us when we saw her, she got mad at her husband for letting us in, told him that we were bad people and worshipped Joseph Smith and a bunch of other lies, and was very upset with him when he got baptized.... and look at her now :) The Sunday before I left Albonor she went to church with her husband and liked it a lot :) She looked way different she was smiling and there was a light about her. She said she read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and felt that it was true :) I knew that I wasn't going to see it but I knew that she was going to be baptized and I told Elder Ayala he was going to have to send me the picture and tell me all about it :) He said it was a great experience and that they're doing very well and miss me. They sure are a great family and I'm way happy for them :)

We've had lots of sweet experiences this week that have really strengthened my testimony that it is absolutely vital to always involve the members in missionary work and gain their trust. A simple method that I have always used and now we're having everybody in the zone use is sharing a brief message with the families after they serve us meals. A basic example is reading 1 Nephi 8:11 together and then asking him how tasting this fruit of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed their lives. They then share several ways that the church has really changed their life and how grateful they are for all the ways it has helped their family and how different their life is now. Then we say wow that's awesome we can see that this has really blessed your life just like it did for Lehi now lets read and see what Lehi does after tasting this great fruit of joy like you guys have... 1 Nephi 8:12 so what does Lehi want to do after tasting this fruit?... share it with others! Exactly very good would you like to see your friends benefit from this fruit and receive blessings just like you have received these blessings? Yes of course. Perfect! :) Of all the people that you know (your relatives, neighbors, friends from school, friends from work, in-laws, friends of friends, enemies, haha anyone!) who is a family that we can visit and share this message with them? ..... I have never seen a family that doesn't give a referral when we ask in that way :) Its way way way more effective than just getting up to leave and saying last minute, ¨Hey do you have any referrals for us?" That's way inefficient and you miss out on a great opportunity. When you share a message at the end and then ask for a referral you hit like 5 birds with one stone because you're inspiring confidence in the members, showing them that you know how to teach and invite the Spirit, you're practicing your teaching skills and getting better, you're strengthening the conversion of the members, and you're going to get a lot of great referrals all at the same time. The other day in a interchange that we did with some Elders in the zone we shared a message at the end and it turned out that there was a kid living there who had gone to church several times and wanted to get baptized so when we asked them who we can teach they were just like oh yeah teach him he wants to get baptized :) Haha yeah no problem! Just think if we hadn't done that we would've missed a great opportunity! Trust me wherever you are in your mission use this tactic regularly and it will bring you great success :)

Love you all very much,
Elder Remington

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thanks for Your Examples

Dear family and friends,

Elder Remington didn't send a general letter this week, but he shared this short message of thanks and gratitude to a friend:
Tell Elder Ingold thanks again for sending me a letter wayback in the MTC and that I'm sorry I haven't written him back, but thathe really had a big impact on me. Especially now as a zone leader Ioften try to think of what Elder Ingold might've done and I rememberhis great example of happiness, excitement, and sincerity in the work.Also I remember how clean the house was when he lived there haha andtry to follow his example! I look forward to hanging out with himafter the mission he's a great guy! 
This reminded me of the the many people in his life, like many of you, who have been great examples to Jacoby. You never know who exactly you might be impressing with your words, actions, and examples. And thanks to you, his friends and family, he has become the young man he is today.  

Thank you for all you've done for Jacoby, we really appreciate it.

Darlyn & Ben

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Zone, New Companion, New Opportunities :)

Family and Friends,

My apologies for not writing you all in a while. Lots of changes have happened. Last week I was transferred to zone Portoviejo, Manabi with my new companion Elder Carrillo from Inca, Peru. It was hard to leave Albonor and Elder Ayala because I really grew to love that ward and made lots of lifelong friends but I feel happy with the work I did there. In Preach My Gospel we learn that a missionary should always leave an area stronger than how he found it and I can honestly say that I did just that. We had a great baptism my last weekend there for a young girl named Sophia Ubilla. She is way smart and way excited about life, she has a great light about her :) We found her by reviewing the list of members and look for part-member families :) Great way to find new investigators! Her mom was inactive for over ten years but when we found her she said she had been praying for guidance and help in how to raise her daughter because she's just starting to face the challenges of being a teenager. She told us when we got there that we were an answer to her prayers :) Let me tell you that there is no better feeling than knowing that you are doing exactly what the Lord needs you to do and that you are an instrument in His hands serving His children. Working with part-member families is legit because you're hitting two birds with one stone; you activate the less active members and you baptize the investigators :) And thats just what we did! They're a great family and it was hard saying goodbye to them...likewise it was hard saying goodbye to Roberto, Johnathon, Ricardo, and many many other converts and great members that I came to love there :) Haha I wrote like 15 letters the night of transfers for my companion to give to all of them. The great thing about technology is that now through Facebook I'll be able to communicate with them still after the mission... and yes for all you friends from BYU that are shocked to hear this... after the mission I am going to use facebook... its awful because I've seen so many people waste their life away on that thing but its a necessary evil to communicate with my loved ones from Ecuador haha. Another picture here is of Marcelo, Luis, and Jose three young bucks that we baptized that are all going to be great future missionaries :) They read the Book of Mormon together, play soccer together, and they love to go out and teach with us :) They're awesome! Some other great events in Albonor are that Roberto's wife Miriam and Johnathon's wife Maria are now going to church with their families and they're preparing to be baptized :) Yayyy!! I told Elder Ayala he has to send me the pictures of their baptisms because I love those guys to death and I'm stoked that now they'll get to be eternal families :) I know that I will visit them again someday with my family they're amazing :)

Oh also when I went to the bus terminal for transfers I got to see my good buddy Elder Lopez just before he left for the airport to go back to Guatemala! We got to chat a bit before he left and catch up it was great I sure love that guy he was my best companion! Super happy and way hard working all the time! I now have another great companion Elder Carrillo he is by far the most obedient companion I have ever had and he loves to work hard :) So we get along great! He and I both have the 5 keys to be a successful missionary and thus the Lord has blessed us tremendously :) For me there are 5 keys to being successful and happy as a missionary and the way I remember them is that you need to be a wise OWL from CAlifornia haha OWL CA:

Obedient- obedience brings peace of mind and assures that you have the Spirit with you to help guide you in every aspect of the mission, plus an obedient missionary inspires confidence and has a light about him that disobedient missionaries lack, people can tell the difference trust me

Work hard- there's nothing like coming home from a long day of just working hard :) You feel great inside and know that you're contributing to improving the lives and salvation of others :) President Benson sums it all up with this great quote ¨One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for [he will have] all [his] time and talents and interest … centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work¨

Love the people- you really have to develop charity the pure love of Christ to be a Christ like missionary. Don't do things for yourself seeking the glory or credit of being a leader or baptizing lots of people. Do things because you love the people and you desire their salvation. Do it because you love God and you love his Children and really want them to be happy :) When genuine love is your motivation then the investigators, members, and other missionaries will realize that your intentions are pure and sincere and they trust and love you.

Communicate- you have to be able to express yourself and communicate how you feel with everyone especially your companion. One of the biggest reasons for contention is a lack of communication. Likewise healthy and frequent communication keeps good trust and unity between you and your companion.

Attitude- in everything you do you have to be positive. It doesn't matter if you baptized a thousand people or had a thousand doors slammed in your face just stay positive and don't complain and you'll be happy and the Lord will bless you :) 1 Nephi 3:6 and others will want to be around you and will naturally follow you :)

Obviously there are lots of other keys to success but in my experience these are the essentials :) If you master these 5 things then you're golden. Here are some more pictures of the three baptisms we had this weekend in Portoviejo :) The first one is of Gema with her friend Carlos who baptized her and the second is of Paola and Danali with their friend Jose who baptized them :) They're all great! There was a great spirit in all of their baptisms! The Lord is really blessing us and trusting us with lots of His precious children to help them make covenants with him its a very exciting time in my mission! I'm way happy! Also here are some pictures of my good friends Elder Magill and Elder Vielma from the Leadership Conference we had last Friday. Elder Magill and I are buds from back in BYU and we still hope that one day will be companions. Elder Vielma was my zone leader and now he's assistant with Elder Linares :) Those two are legit and I feel way blessed to have had such stellar zone leaders that taught me so much back in El Empalme. We're applying lots of their same strategies here in Portoviejo and its bringing great results!

Love you all and wish you the best! Be happy and serve others because then you'll be even more happy!
Elder Remington