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!