Family and Friends,
I always capitalize the ¨¨F¨¨ in Friends because you are all so important in case you were wondering. This week has been very good. Elder Magill and I were running all over Ecuador in buses to see various different houses to rent for the church because we have 38 new missionaries that will arrive in 3 weeks for a grand total of 220 missionaries (soon we will have 250!) in the North mission... (as Jessica would say) sooo pretty much we have a lot of work to do haha its a little tiring to say the least but with a good attitude its much better. Honestly I was feeling kind of down this week and felt like I didn't quite have the Spirit as strong as normally and I didn't get why if I was still saying my prayers and studying my scriptures daily and going to church, etc. then I realized that I was missing a vital part of the famous 5 Star Day that my cousin Kayla taught me... I was missing the service part. Normally when we're in companionship interchanges and out teaching I always feel great because we serve people spiritually and physically and that helps invite the Spirit and keep you close to the Lord doing what he always went about doing (serving others). But this week we couldn't go out teaching and it was just going from one city to another from house to house talking business and not talking gospel... plus in the buses they play worldly music or worldly movies and even when we don't watch them just being in that environment you can feel a difference in a lower presence of the Holy Ghost because He can't be in environments like that (therefore we have to be super careful about the types of music, movies, and conversations we participate in because we NEED His guidance) thus I was feeling down and a little out of it earlier this week but then the other day I started to serve in little ways like making a sandwich or protein shake for my companion or looking for specific compliments to give to the missionaries we saw and I started to feel much better. Then I studied a great talk by President Eyring called ¨Come Unto Me¨ from last Conference 2013 and it was solid. The thesis is that through serving others we come close to Christ and that if we serve our fellow man while in this life then the moment at Judgement Day when we stand face to face with the Lord we will rejoice and He will say ¨¨Well done thou good and faithful servant¨ WOW! What could be better than that?!? Anyways that really motivated me this week and I wanted to share it with you all. Be sure to always be having 1. sincere prayer 2. scripture study 3. smiling 4. self reflection and 5. SERVE others and you'll be happy :)
The baptismal pictures are from last week. The two that were baptize are the young bucks in blue and black named Daysi and Alexis. Both are great and really excited about the gospel and learning more. Daysi shared a really sweet testimony of how she had a dream a few weeks ago where she saw herself being baptized and knew that it was the right thing to do and how much it has changed her life :) in missionary world there are few better moments than hearing the testimonies of your converts. We share a sector with 2 other missionaries Elder Randall and Elder Silva (the two next to Elder Magill) and they cover for us while we're not there so that our investigators have daily contact. Its a little different because my companion and I don't have the privilege of really getting to know and work with the investigators but its for the best adn still very rewarding :) I love working with and getting to know better Elder Randall and Elder Silva they're both hilarious and Elder Randall goes to BYU so I'm sure we'll be great buds after the guy is legit.
The other picture is the celebration with the Babahoyo Zone congratulating them for being the zone that most baptized. President started that tradition in February with Portoviejo and he's decided to keep doing it. It's lots of fun and a good motivation. What is very neat for me is that the two zone leaders of Babahoyo Zone (Elder Garzon and Elder Peña) are very good friends of mine and we worked hard together in past zones. Elder Garzon was a district leader in Portoviejo and Elder Peña was a district leader in Quevedo Sur. They both are super smart, obedient, happy, positive, and hard working missionaries and we fought a lot of battles together in those zones and learned a lot from each other. The most rewarding part is to see that they are applying a lot of the same things that they learned in Portoviejo and Quevedo Sur and its bringing them great success. For example, they share with their zone the 8 Attributes and use them, they meet with their district leaders and plan like we did, they do little things to show genuine concern for their missionaries, and they apply many other things that they learned from me and they have thanked me for my friendship and example. That is something special that I treasure because it gives me great hope that what I'm doing will bless the lives of several investigators, converts, members, and missionaries who will then be able to pass it on to future generations just like Elder Linares and Elder Vielma did for me. That is a beautiful thing and its exciting to be a part of it. We had a great time celebrating with them all in Babahoyo and its exciting to see the growth of Elder Peña and Elder Garzon.
Well thats all folks :) I sure love you all very much! Enjoy Conference bye!