Monday, March 25, 2013

Lots of Blessings :)

Family and Friends,

This was a very intense and busy week for my companion and I but very rewarding too. We had a ton of investigators with baptismal dates this week so we had to run all over the place in interchanges helping out the Elders making sure everyone got baptized and doing the baptismal interviews and what not. I really like doing interchanges its a great way to build unity in the zone and help out your missionaries :) Its fun to see their growth! Baptismal interviews are also very great experiences :) The Spirit is always very strong and I always leave the room feeling more uplifted and more converted than when I entered. This week I had a particularly special interview with a sister from Bahia... obviously I won't go into detail in the slightest because whats said in a baptismal interview is completely confidential only between she and I and God but I'll just say that it was a very uplifting experience because that poor sister has gone through some very very tough trials and walked into the room with huge burdens and deep scars from years of physical and emotional pain... after a very long interview with many tears, confessions, and many testimonies of the redeeming power and love of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ, she left that room feeling completely relieved and invigorated :) The most special part of it all was when I felt prompted to share with her a little metaphor and example. She had explained that she felt like after all the heartache and pain that she had passed through her life would never be the same again because the scars and memories would always remain... I then felt prompted to share a little example and bear my testimony. I pulled out a little post it and shared that sometimes we are like this post it and when tough times and trials come its as if those trials and pain just wrinkle us up (I then wrinkled up the post it big time). Many people think that after so many trials and pain that theres nothing we can do to change it and that we will never be the same, we can fix it up a little bit (straightening out the post it but it still had a bunch of wrinkles) but we'll never go back to how we used to be the scars and memories will always remain... but dear sister that is a false idea. God teaches us and I testify to you that through the Atonement of Christ and through baptism we can wash our sins away and become new people. When we are baptized and enter the water, the old person of sin and pain dies (holding up the wrinkled post it and then throwing it away) and then we come out of the water a completely new person is born (pulled out a new, clean, flawless post it) and all of our sins, pains, and heartaches are washed away as if they had never happened and the Lord will no longer remember them... we have the great blessing of starting over with a clean slate and a new life.. pure and clean of all our sins :) I then testified of the redeeming power of the Atonement and that the next day she would be making the best decision of her life :) It was a very uplifting experience and she told me at the end that she had never felt comfortable to share with anyone what she had shared with me and that it was the first time she had told anyone... she thanked me sincerely for being a good listener and helping her and being there for her :) I love being a missionary and love all the wonderful opportunities that we have on a daily basis to be the instruments in God's hands to serve and build up His children and see the blessings and changes that the gospel Christ always brings into their lives :) A truly special experience that I'll never forget.

We also had a great baptism this Saturday for Jean Carlos and Kenia. Jean Carlos is a great kid with lots of good friends in the church who always invited him to activities and to go to church and through their example he decided to get baptized. Kenia was also a referral from the a great family in the ward :) She is the older sister of a few members in our ward who had gone to church a few times before and liked it but never got baptized and stopped going to church because she has very severe back problems and was scared of having to lean back into the water cause it could hurt her back and she felt like she didn't have any friends in the ward so she stopped going. When we visited her we gained her confidence quick and helped her make lots of friends and feel comfortable in church. We also made plans with her for the way we could baptize her without hurting her back. My companion said the baptismal prayer and then he carried her legs and I carried her back and we both gently and slowly lowered her below the water together :) It was a very unique and special experience she is an elect of God for sure :) Her sister tells us that she's seen a ton of changes in Kenia since we started teaching her in that she's more patient and happy now :) more pleasant to be around :) The gospel always brings blessings thats a fact! I invite all of you to involve yourselves more actively in the missionary work in your ward. All of the baptisms we've had here in Andres de Vera have been through ward referrals :) trust me its the way to go but it only works if the members do their part! So everybody do your part and help!

Love you all very much,
Elder Remington

Monday, March 18, 2013

Exciting Changes :)

Family and Friends,

I'm sorry that I haven't written you all in a while and that this letter will be short. The new rule that we can email more people has been a huge blessing because I get to hear from lots of good friends but sadly has limited my time to write you all haha sorry! Anyway I'll get right to the good stuff. We had transfers last week and my new companion is Elder Tibanlombo from Quito, Ecuador. I'll miss Elder Carrillo because he was a great companion but I'm way happy to be with Elder Tibanlombo. It's funny because he was my zone leader in Orquideas and back then honestly we didn't get along very well...haha thus when I found out he was my companion I was a little bit nervous that this would be a tough experience but boy was I wrong. The first thing I did when we got to the house was have a companionship inventory and we both apologized for things that had happened back in Orquideas and communicated very well that now we were excited to have lots of success together here in Portoviejo and that we were both willing and ready to learn from the other and improve together. Since that day we have had the slightest of arguments or problems between each other, just the opposite in fact! We both get along GREAT! He is hilarious, super smart, hard working, happy, and very humble with a strong desire to learn and grow. It is truly a joy to work side by side with him and he has already taught me a lot about how to be a better missionary and how to be a better person. He has a lot more experience than I do and he only has a few months left before he goes home but he's not trunky at all and he's teaching me a ton its great :) Here are three pictures showing just a few of our adventures together.

The first one is a picture with Carlos Lopez. He's a great friend that always does teaching visits with us and is great at helping investigators feel comfortable in church and just being there friend. He has a natural ability to gain people's confidence and share his testimony :) He'll be a great missionary. This is when we visited him the day before he left for the MTC. He'll be serving in Bolivia and wow it was tough to say goodbye to him because we've become way good buds in my short time here and I'll really miss him but I know I'll see him after the mission and we'll always be good friends. Not to be gay about it haha but there's always a special bond between missionaries and teenagers that are just about to leave for the missions because you're in the same boat and you both help each other out in better serving the people and better preparing the future missionary. That reminds me of all the good times I had with the great missionaries in our ward good stuff.

The second picture is my companion and I celebrating after our successful mousehunt haha We didn't have time to buy a mouse trap so we got creative and through team work and great skills we were able to destroy the pesky rodent with a broom and a long stick. It was hilarious and a good team bonding experience haha!

The third picture is the baptism of Sandy and Mario Marcillo. They're two neighbors of the Ibarra family, a great family that was less active but now they're doing great! It was a good experience because we hit two birds with one stone of activating the Ibarra family and baptizing Sandy and Mario :) I've learned that a lot of times having success in the mission is just a matter of opening your mouth without hesitating. We were sitting there teaching the Ibarra family and trying to motivate them to go to church and then a girl walked in a asked if she could play with their little baby for a while. Sometimes missionaries might think uhhh how annoying we're trying to teach here and she's interrupting us what the heck. But if you've got the right attitude and you're always taking advantage of every finding opportunity you see then you'll just smile and say hey what's your name? Nice to meet you I'm Elder Remington and we're teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it helps us be more happy would you like to join us? :) Little things like that are what bring success and bring eternal salvation to God's precious children. Remember to always listen to the little whisperings of the Spirit and if you're not having those impressions of the Spirit, ask yourself what you're doing to lose the Spirit, change that, and then enjoy being guided by the Holy Ghost everyday because its a great blessing that we all need :) I love you all more than words can describe!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Times with President Amaya

Family and Friends,

First of all I want to apologize to all for being prideful the other week and mentioning specific numbers about the missionary work here. The Spirit chastened me this week that I need to be more humble and not share that kind of sacred information of God's children. Even though I was just trying to share how excited I was about our accomplishments as a zone it was wrong to say the numbers and I hope that any future missionaries out there reading this remember to always share spiritual experiences and fun events that have happened in the mission with your family in the emails but that its better not to mention numbers and always be careful of pride.

Anyway, we had a very good time with President Amaya Tuesday night when he came up to Portoviejo and we went to Ben's Burger Joint together :) Good stuff. When we got there they told us that there is a burger eating contest in which you get a free burger if you can eat it in less than 20 minutes. My good buddy Elder Rios and I were brave enough to accept the challenge. It was pretty intense and lots of fun everyone there was rooting us on and having a good time about it. We both finished just in time literally seconds before the 20 minutes was up and everybody cheered and went crazy. Hahaha I'm sure everyone there was thinking how crazy these Mormons are haha but it was a great experience and definitely something I'll remember all my life most of all because I saw a side of President Amaya that I had never seen before and it was good to get to know him on that level. Also he shared with us all while we were there eating some really cool experiences he has had as a Mission President and it really strengthened my testimony that this work is all directed by God :) It's the most important work in the whole world and I'm so blessed and so happy to be a part of it! Love you all very much and I promise you that if you involve yourselves more actively in this work you too will be more happy and more blessed for it! The little things make a big difference.

Elder Remington