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!