Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't Cry Because Its Over, Smile Because It Happened

Dear Family and Friends, 

As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives.

-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Those 9 wise words above and the great quote by Elder Holland have helped quite a bit in these past two weeks. For those of you who don't know, I had transfers two weeks ago and I'm now in the Promised Land of Zone Quevedo Sur 2 in sector San Camilo 2 with my great companion Elder Galvan from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This transfer came as a great surprise but has been and I know will continue to be a great blessing. To be honest at first it was really hard. I was with Elder Magill and all the great Elders from the office for 6 months and I really grew to love them and love being with them. As I was saying goodbye to them all one of the Elders (who is usually the tough guy and the one always making a joke of the group and rarely shows emotion) broke down in tears and said ¨Thanks so much for everything. I really love you.¨ Then Elder Magill said, ¨Don't you cry, cause then if you start crying, then I'm gonna start crying...¨ haha no one else really cried but we all felt a little strange and it was a very emotional day to say the least. Although it was very hard saying goodbye to Elder Magill and I still miss him a lot, I feel very grateful for all that we learned from each other and all that we accomplished. We really were like big caring loving brothers for all the missionaries here, they loved and respected us, with lots of hard work, prayers, fasting as a mission, and the help of the Lord we broke the record for most baptisms in a month as a mission in December with 331, we became more Christlike together, we had incredible learning experiences and conversations with President Amaya that I will forever treasure, I learned how to be a peacemaker something will truly bless me and my future family forever, we gave several great training sessions together one of which President asked for an unheard of encore and it was so great that even 4 months later President still quotes it and reminds missionaries of those principles that we taught, we both became stronger, better, and more Christlike leaders together, and many more things we were able to achieve that can't fully be explained. I know that it was no coincidence that we met before the mission and we're companions for 6 months and I know that we will be lifelong friends. 

I started my mission in El Empalme ward, right before going to the office I was in Quevedo ward, and now I am in San Camilo ward. This is my third time being in the Quevedo Sur stake haha but I am so very grateful for the blessing and privilege because this is an incredible stake. Its great because I already have a good relationship and confidence with so many people here that its a huge advantage in working with them because they already trust me and I already know the most effective way of working with them and how things go here in Quevedo. 

This is the first time in my mission that I have a companion with less time in the mission than I do... weird right! So this is a new and wonderful experience for me here with Elder Galvan. Its his first time being a zone leader so he was very nervous at the beginning as all of us are but its amazing how fast he's getting the hang of things and how much confidence he has in himself. He has a HUGE desire and faith that he is here to find and baptize FAMILIES. And he has done just that in every sector where he's been so far and now we are already starting to do that here with quite a few wonderful families that we are teaching. As always working with the members is key and we've had quite a few sweet referrals and we're teaching them with their friends and its going great. 

Never underestimate the power of your example and know that you will have a great influence on several people as you truly dedicate yourself to this work. There have been several moments in these weeks where I realize how much of a difference and impact one can have :) be patient with trials and little setbacks always remembering to smile and see the eternal in things and be grateful for all the blessings that the Lord gives you. Missionaries out there, know that transfers truly are inspired and there are people who need the gospel from YOU in your sector so find them and baptize them :) 

I love you all very much and hope that you put Christ as your center and you will be happy as you do so!

Elder Remington

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas and New Years

Family and Friends, 

Christmas Eve was lovely at the Amaya home. They invited all of us from the office over and we enjoyed delicious food, a spiritual message, Christmas hymns, happy conversation, and lots of laughter. President Amaya has always taught and always teaches the missionaries that the three keys to having a successful missionary are 

1. Concentrate your mind on the mission 
2. Submerge yourself in Preach My Gospel 
3. Have your Missionary Purpose between your eyebrows at all times. 

Thus we decided to have a little fun and made him this Christmas card of the three pillars and gave it to them. It was a hit. He and his family died laughing and absolutely loved it. He said he was going to scan it and send it to the missionaries so that they never forget those three principles. Also, we had bought President some Chex Mix a few months ago and he LOVED them and kept saying how wonderful and tasty they were. They only sale two flavors here so I asked a favor of my family and they sent us a ton of different flavors of Chex Mix (thanks again :) very much) and we wrapped them all up with the card and gave it to them on Christmas Eve. He opened a bag up right there and couldn't stop talking about how tasty those things are haha he said that it was the great pride of the gringos haha good stuff.  

Every Christmas Eve that I can remember has had a manger scene acted out while reading the Bible and I convinced the office that it just wouldn't be right that 2013 be any different and so we had a good time acting out the nativity scene when we got back from President's house (maybe he'll join us next time) and it was lots of fun and we finished it by singing Silent Night. Great experience. 

I would like to finish with two things that come to mind. First, never give up on anyone. No matter how many times they let you down or fail, never lose faith in people. Keep following the prophetic counsel at all times to see people not as they are but as they can become. I have had many experiences in this week that have helped me remember this important principle. One of the companionships here was having a lot of problems and although we had talked with them and committed them to improve, communicate, be positive, serve each other, etc. They weren't going any where and in fact they had only gotten worse and it finally got to the point that I lost hope in them and felt that we needed to tell President that this just wasn't going to work.... but then that very same day just a few hours before I would've called President, one of the missionaries of that companionship told me that he needed help and humbly asked me for advice on how to improve. My heart melted. I was truly touched and felt an overwhelming Spirit of love and kindness and a desire to help him and a real hope that he was going to change. We went into another room and I listened to him and listened to the Spirit and we reached some important conclusions and reviewed important principles. And he HAS IMPROVED! WOOHOO! HALLELUJAH! 

Lastly please never hold grudges. It simply isn't worth it. Too many people are plagued by the justification that ¨oh but its just that for me its hard to forgive that quickly¨ ¨Oh but this is something special, my case is different.¨ Its not hard. It is much easier and less painful than holding a grudge. Don't carry that heavy weight, give it up. Let go and choose the easier way (Matthew 11:28-30). The Lord is very clear that we need to forgive easily, quickly, and always and we'll be happier (D&C 64:9-12)


Elder Remington