Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mission Tour and Much More

Family and Friends,

I am quite happy here in Ecuador and I love hearing from all of you through dear.elder and emails. Thank you for your support and the fun updates. Elder Magill and I have been observing a great weakness for many zone leaders, it is that they weren't giving daily follow up with their investigators. Two weeks ago we had a leadership conference in which we gave a training seminar on the importance of having a daily follow up with investigators and how to work better with members. Firstly, we verified how they were doing with the three keys to working well with members (image, communication, and attitude) and it was great to hear several experiences they had in which applying those principles brought great success and made a huge difference. Its always a good ideas to go over what you taught before, hear how it worked for them, and remind them to keep applying it. Basically it serves to help them not forget and it motivates them to pay more attention to the new principles you are a better to teach them because they hear tons of success stories of how well the things you taught before worked and they realize, ¨Hey these guys know what they're talking about.¨
We used a few object lessons and examples that really grabbed their attention and stuck with them. I brought a toothbrush and toothpaste and pulled them out and told everyone that I hadn't brushed my teeth in over three days (ewww!) but that they don't need to worry because I can just put three times the toothpaste and brush them right now and it'll be the same right? Oh its because we eat food and get bacteria on our teeth everyday so to keep them super clean we need to brush them daily right. Oh yeah that's a good point and all of us take good care of our teeth so we brush them daily but why don't we take that good of care of our investigators? (long pause) Don't they have temptations, discouragement, and trials every day? Aren't they more important than our teeth? Then why are we forgetting to have daily follow up with them? We have seen time and time again that the zone leaders who don't reach their goals and their baptismal dates fall through almost always say that they didn't give daily follow up! Likewise the zone leaders that baptize wherever they goal and reach their goal time and time again share that daily follow up was a key to their success. Elders! We have to do it! PME p. 217 clearly explains ¨As you visit people often, you will strengthen the spiritual feelings they felt as you taught them the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This sustaining influence of the Spirit is vital.¨ We must teach them or at least stop by or call them everyday to make sure they are reading the Book of Mormon, praying, ready to go to church, and excited for their baptism if not they start to develop spiritual cavities. Let's apply this and we will see great results Elders. 

It was a really cool moment because we saw a huge light bulb go on in all their heads and I don't think they will forget that lesson. 

Last week we also had a wonderful mission tour with an Area Seventy named Elder Mestre. He is super happy, positive, spiritual, has a ton of scriptures memorized word for word, and is very loving. Here he is in the picture below. It was wonderful being with him and having the privilege of learning from him and hearing him teach three days in a row as we visited all the different zones in the mission. We had to go from city to city getting everything all ready for him and making sure everything was set up right but then when we finished on they way back to Guayaquil we got to ride in the car with him, President, and Sister Amaya. I loved learning from him and we've really been putting into practice what he's taught us and its been great. I am out of time but next week I will share in greater detail all the great stuff he taught us.  

Love you all,
Remember that the more obedient we are the happier we will be (Mosiah 2:41). Also that hard work brings peace of mind. 

Elder Remington 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Missed Me, Missed Me, Now You Gotta... Pray for Me!

Family and Friends,

I'm back! My apologies for not having written you all in some time but here I am once again writing to you all to catch you up on all the great events that have happened here in Ecuador. Before I do that I would first off like to say thank you to everyone who wrote me such kind, happy, and some super funny cards for my birthday! I love you all and I'm grateful for your friendship, support, and love. The package with all the cards and gifts arrived a month and a half early so I had to practice the heavenly virtue of patience but it was well worth it and I loved being able to finally open it up. Thank you!! 

The first picture is of a crab party we had on p-day with a family of converts that are super fun and happy. They made a ton of delicious crab and other great food and we had a blast eating, chatting, and hanging out together nothing like good people and good food.

Crab Party
The second group of pictures are at the Mora family's house eating lunch and having a little birthday cake for the three birthday boys and girls (Sister Mora, Brother Mora, and yours truly). We all have our birthdays on the same weekend and they sang to us all and we had a good time with them they are hilarious and super fun. You might remember them from other pictures I sent about a year ago in Albonor. They used to be in Albonor ward and we got to be great friends but then they moved in January to this ward. It was great to see them again when I first got to this ward and hang out with them. They crack me up.

Third group of pictures, we went to the wonderful zone of Quevedo Sur to celebrate with them for passing their goal. President gave a great training session/seminar (not sure what the word in English would be haha) for all the missionaries about the Work of Salvation and how to really work together with the members and everyone learned a lot. We had a good time eating and chatting with them there's a lot of great missionaries there with lots of contagious enthusiasm. We hope to see more and more completed goals and lots and lots of baptisms in Quevedo Sur.

Lastly, the great Elder Muñoz finished his mission this week and this picture was taken at the dinner with President right before he left. A great companion, great friend, and great missionary that will truly be missed. I wish him the best and I'm sure we'll be lifelong friends. 

I have learned many wonderful lessons from my Mission President. Some of the most important lessons he has taught me have been that I need to always act and  use my agency and reasoning powers to make wise decisions and never hesitate or wait for others to validate me or confirm that its ok to do something. I should trust in the Lord and show confidence in all that I do. Also, he has helped me learn the need to adapt and adjust to each situation in order to have the best result. Before being assistant to President Amaya, I felt uncomfortable with silence in the middle of a conversation, car ride, or meal. To me, silence for more than 7 seconds was an awkward torture and I constantly felt the need to talk about whatever came to mind or somehow bring up some random, even already repeated or unimportant subject just to keep the conversation going and avoid silence at all costs. President Amaya and Elder Magill, however, are not like that. They both feel perfectly comfortable with silence in a conversation, car ride, or meal and understand that it is normal and natural. To them, there is nothing awkward about keeping silent when you don't have anything important, meaningful, relevant, or interesting to say and the constant attempt to force a conversation along by any means is unnecessary and uncomfortable. As you can imagine, these two different ways of thinking about conversations, car rides, and meals often lead to.... well lets say a great learning experience for me! The first few weeks of my time in the office were often filled with me saying things that had already been said or that were unimportant and then President just staring at me and smiling... I was so confused at first! I didn't get it and it frustrated me and it kept happening over and over and over again hahaha that's not to say that we didn't all work well together, have lots of great conversations, and have lots of success because we did do all those things. It just means that many times I bothered them because I would talk so much and I then would feel uncomfortable and confused because they often wouldn't respond. Fortunately, I have a great companion who gave me lots of good advice and feedback and helped me realize slowly but surely how I could improve and a few weeks ago I finally ¨got it.¨ I still have a lot to learn and improve with it but now we have had several weeks of conversations, car rides, and meals without any uncomfortable moments. Yes there is silence at times and yes its okay. I now understand that it is naive and foolish to think that we ¨have¨ to always talk and talk and talk. What I started to do a few weeks ago and still do is I have my scriptures, liahona, and PMG with me in the car and whenever there is something important, relevant, or interesting to be said or being said I actively listen and participate. Then if several minutes pass by without anything important, relevant, or interesting to be said or being said then I calmly pull out something to read and enjoy reading and learning until someone starts speaking or something important comes to mind and then I speak. It makes for a much more enjoyable and productive car trip. Also Elder Magill has taught me to listen more and talk less in meals and conversations I've been doing it and it makes a big difference.

Now President Amaya trusts much more in us and has given us several compliments and let us do things that other assistants have never done before. For example, he liked are seminar on working with members so much that he asked for an encore and we got to teach it again with the group of new missionaries. I felt really great teaching solid principles with my companion Elder Magill. Life is good.

I know this work is true and it is so satisfying to be actively involved in it and see it grow. 


Elder Remington