Family and friends,
In Spanish the nickname for a big baptism is ¨noche blanca¨ which works a lot better than ¨white night¨ haha but I can't remember what the correct nickname in English is so that'll have to do for now :) Anyway as you can see from the pictures the Lord really blessed us this week with lots of exciting events but most of all there are three things of significance that happened.
First, President Amaya, Sister Amaya, their son Andres, and the assistants all visited us Tuesday to congratulate us on our achievements join our zone meeting, teach us, and share a nice lunch with us in the chapel. I'm not going to lie the last visit from President was a lot more funny and upbeat but this visit was great too. We got to know Sister Amaya and her son a lot better and we saw a side of President we had never seen before when he was joking with his son about beating him in ping-pong. Haha I know it sounds weird but here in the mission we all admire and look up to President so much and we usually only see him in a suit at zone conferences or interviews or leadership conferences that it shocks us to see that he's a normal Dad. Haha but it was great and he shared some really good advice with us. Most of all what I remember is that he said that one month in the mission is worth 5 years in college, work, or anything else that we could be doing instead of serving a mission... that really hit me hard and I realized that he's totally right because there is no other place on earth that you can experience the spiritual growth, learning, and development that takes place in a full-time mission. :) He said we should make the most of every second because of future children will be cursed or blessed depending on how we serve our missions. :) He is a very inspired man of God and I am very grateful to serve with him in this part of the Lord's vineyard.
Second, the most exciting news of all is that nine children of God were baptized this week in our sector. :) We feel very blessed to be the Lord's instruments in this sector where so many members help us and support the missionary work. :) We can't do it without them and we most definitely can't do it without the Spirit and blessings of God. In order from left to right in the picture we have Elder Tibanlombo, Steven, Nayeli, Liliana (three in front), (after that from the back) Edith, Genesis, Melina, Laila, Bryan, funny looking guy, and Bishop Salas who also baptized some people. :) They all are part member families that we found through referrals or through the list of action of interviews (its an excellent resource that I recommend to all missionaries for finding people) and the wonderful thing is that in every single case we were able to hit two birds with one stone by both activating the less actives in the family and baptizing the non-members in the family. :) With everyone in these 5 families now regularly attending church the church attendance in our ward has skyrocketed so much to the point that we have to bring extra chairs in every week and the Stake President said they are going to build a second floor to the chapel so that everyone can fit! Bishop Salas and the whole ward are all very happy and grateful for the work we are doing... but most importantly of all my companion and I feel and know that the Lord is pleased with the work we are doing here in Portoviejo with our sector and with our zone... that is one of the best feelings in the whole world to know that God is happy with your work. :) Nothing beats it trust me!
Third, we had transfers this week and we lost a few great Elders from the zone but we received two great Elders in their place and we know that it is all according to God's will and His plan and we trust in Him because He knows a lot better than we do! I am very happy because I get to stay here with my buddy Elder Tibanlombo for another six weeks and its way fun being his companion! Seriously he has become my best companion that has most taught me how to be a good missionary, good friend, and good disciple of Christ. One of the most important lessons he has taught me that I feel prompted to share with you alll is that humor is the key to avoid contention. I repeat humor is the key to avoid contention. Simple but essential. Honestly with every other companion I've had we always a little bit of a disagreement at least one time. We would always work it out in the end and everything was great and trust me I've been very blessed with lots of other great companions but with Elder Tibanlombo we literally never argue because whenever there's potential contention he just says a joke that totally cuts all the tension and then we work it out with a smile. By no means am I saying that you don't have to be serious and focused at times because trust me there are moments when we are very focused and have serious talks and plans about what we're going to do in the zone... I am saying that humor is a great instrument when used correctly in the right moment to avoid contention and be happy :)