Monday, March 31, 2014


Family and Friends,

Today in my personal study I felt a wonderful calm and distinct impression that God is pleased with my labors here :) trust me, there are few feelings better than that. In fact I believe that having that feeling is the only thing that truly gives peace of mind and lasting happiness... the knowledge God is pleased with you and that you are living in harmony with His laws is priceless. 

The other day I was in finishing an interchange with a great missionary in our zone and during the companionship study he shared with me some of his struggles, stresses, and feelings of inadequacy. He's a wonderful missionary with a pure heart, deep love and passion for the Lord's work, very obedient, hard working, happy, service oriented, and righteous. He's just has a hard time being organized and remembering all the things he has to do such as appointments, copies of the progress report, give daily follow up, send the goals, etc. etc. and whenever he forgets something or doesn't do something just right he gets a little down on himself. He was very frustrated that morning and shared with me that he feels like he's letting the Lord down and failing when he forgets something or something goes wrong. I kindly listened and felt a prompting to read pages 10-11 in PME [Preach My Gospel] together about what makes a successful missionary. We each read different parts and analyzed it together and I helped him see how much of an awesome missionary he was citing specific examples of things he does great. Then there was a very special moment when we read the following part of PME 11, "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." Tears started to stream gently down his cheeks as he read those words. He finished reading. I waited a few seconds and then quietly asked him, "Elder have you felt the Spirit working through you?" He looked up and with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face said confidently, "Yes." The Spirit filled the room. I told him how much I loved him and how grateful I was for his great service and how I happy I was to work side by side with him.

These are the moments that one remembers and treasures from the mission. This missionary and his companion are both very new and very inexperienced and one of them is just starting the mission and hardly speaks Spanish.... yet they were the sector with the most baptisms and investigators in the church each week. They baptized 10 in the month and week after week after week they brought 15, 12, 14 investigators to Church. Stunned, my companion and I asked ourselves how is this happening? We had thought they were going to struggle and couldn't believe nor understand how they were having such great results when they barely knew how to use the daily planner, area book, etc, and barely knew the language!!! The following Scriptures came to mind. 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27
    27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
  • Doctrine and Covenants 133:59
    59 And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit.
Now don't misunderstand here. I'm not wanting to offend those missionaries saying they are foolish or weak, just that the principle really applies here that many times it isn't the smartest, strongest, or the fastest that wins the race its the one who is most persistent, full of love, full of faith, and trusts in the Lord. Those two missionaries are a living example of that to me and their example of love, passion, and dedication to the work inspire me :) 

With the call of the Prophet asking us to go to the rescue, we as missionaries have been focusing much more on reactivating less actives as well as baptizing. The prophetic promise is that the more we rescue the more we'll baptize and its really true because the less actives always have more friends who aren't members and thus better referrals and thus two birds with one stone and a fuller chapel, happy Bishop, happy missionaries, and happy everyone. In this process of rescuing less actives I have realized that there are many members who don't how to treat and help the less actives as they return. Many members will make a joke when the less actives come back like, "Ooohh wow long time no see" "What happened to you?" "Did you forget how to get here?" or lots of other foolish comments that generally aren't intended to be hurtful but truly make the poor less active member feel very uncomfortable. Others will just coldly walk by and won't reach out to say hi, shake their hand give them a hug, and help them feel welcome. 

Being a good member missionary includes doing visits with the missionaries, giving referrals, sharing the gospel with your friends, etc. but it also means helping the less actives come back. Remember that the worth of ALL souls is great in the eyes of God and we as members can do a much better job in helping come back, feel our love, and STAY back. I have witnessed and sadly been a part of less actives coming back but then being offended and leaving sad. We need to do better. Don't say wow how long time no see or anything of the sort to make them feel bad just give them a big sincere smile and tell them welcome, its great to see you :) show them your love. That is really all they need. The majority of the less actives still have their testimony they've just forgotten who they are or have been distracted or forgotten what they're priorities are. Let us do our part to help them remember how important they are and follow the Prophet's invitation to go to the rescue :) 

I lovingly encourage all to study and apply the Prophet's talk "Our Responsibility to Rescue" from October 2013.

May the Lord bless us all in this effort.


Elder Remington 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Interviews, Burgers, and Baptisms OH MY!

Family and Friends,

President Amaya visited us this week to have interviews and reward us for being the zone that most passed the goal last week. We ate Carl's Junior together and had a great time with him and the Assistants. Elder Galvan and I had a wonderful interview with President Amaya. He said he had sent us here to raise the bar and put the zone on another level and that we had done just that. He congratulated us on the great unity, diligence, obedience, and enthusiasm that he could see and feel were very present in our zone and he said it was all consequence of the example of their leaders. It was actually pretty funny because he said that there's lots of missionaries that came from other less obedient and less focused zones and that when they got here to our zone it was like BOOM a wake up call and shocker. They can feel that its serious business here and then they get with the program and get their act together. He started cracking himself up haha but its really true and thats been one of the most rewarding experiences here for me is seeing the huge change and improvement that all of the missionaries here have had. Sadly, some zone leaders make the mistake of just worrying about and concentrating on REACHING THE GOAL and having results even if they have to intimidate, walk over, or boss around the missionaries to do it. That NEVER works. If you focus on the missionaries as people and children of God with a divine potential as Elder Eyring advises:
"Help others recognize the spiritual gifts with which they were born. Every person is different and has a different contribution to make.  No one is destined to fail.  As you seek revelation to see gifts God sees in those you lead in the priesthood, you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform.  With your guidance, those you lead will be able to see, want, and believe they can achieve their full potential for service in God's kingdom" ("Help Them Aim High").
and focus on their needs and their progress then they're happier, you're happier, and the goal almost takes care of itself. Yes you still need to give follow-up on the goal and focus on results but the people need to come first. President congratulated us on doing that well and said we're putting an example for the rest of the mission. 

We had 4 baptisms last week but it was so crazy and busy that we didn't have time to take pictures...sorry! But it was a great experience and one of the investigators Didier taught me a lesson that I'll never forget. Didier is nine years old and his mom and older brothers are less actives that we are reactivating while baptizing Didier (the good ole hit two birds with one stone!). Didier is very very very shy and gets scared easily. When I went to baptize him the first time he got scared when he entered the water and he shot his hand up out of the water so we had to do it again. On the second time he got even more scared and traumatized by the water and shot his hand up and came out of the water whimpering and crying. I took him out of the water to help him calm down and tried talking with him to motivate to go back and try it again. The sad part is that lots of members (who had good intentions but insensitive and foolish actions) started to swarm around him and say to him or to each other ¨Are you crying? He's crying. Hey don't be scared of the water you're fine. Just do it. Hey are you alright already?¨ This obviously just made it worst and he literally curled up in a ball against the wall crying and refusing to respond to anyone. Luckily his mom and another member we're smart and he told him in a loving way that he could do it. After about 10 minutes of confusion and crying we finally took him away from everyone and went in to a room just the missionaries and him and one of the members that was a good family friend. We said a prayer together to help him calm down. We waited for several minutes very patiently not pressuring him and then I got down on his level on my knees and said, ¨Hey bud how bout we just try one more time and if it doesn't work we can go home and everything will be fine okay?¨ He agreed and we went to the fount but we closed the door and waited for everyone to leave until it was just me, Elder Galvan, and the member family friend (priesthood holder). As we entered the water he started crying again but we just waited patiently sat down and prayed and then the member made him laugh with quite a few jokes and motivated him and then he decided to do it. I took him in my arms, said the prayer, and we entered in the water together. It worked! He left the water beaming and happy having conquered his fear. 

That taught me a lot about just being patient and not judging or laughing at people and being sensitive and gently persistent. Also the power of humor is very important as well. I've seriously changed since before the mission because before I would've thought what a baby and probably laughed at him a bit... I feel like I've changed quite a bit now that I think about it. 

Love you all so much!

Elder Remington 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do Our Best and Leave the Lord the Rest

Message from Elder Remington's mother:
We received Jacoby's release date and flight plans....he will be returning home on May 20th at 11:25 am at the San Francisco airport! 

These last few month of the mission are hard....because although you want to go home and see friends and also don't want to leave the people you have grown to love so much in this new country!  Jacoby doesn't talk about coming home at all, he avoids the topic completely, which is alright with me.  I'm glad he is staying focused on the work at hand.  In fact, he is not the one who let us know of his release date, rather it was the mission office that sent us an email and informed us.  He doesn't want to think about it or get distracted....he wants to finish strong and remain focused on his mission.  So if he writes you and doesn't mention excitement about coming home, it's not that he doesn't miss us or doesn't want to come's that he doesn't want to leave the people of Ecuador or the joy that he feels from being a missionary.   

Thanks for all your love and support that you have shown Jacoby throughout his mission!!
Family and Friends,

My buddy Elder Magill was assigned as zone leader in Babahoyo and another great friend Elder Curriden took his place with Elder Rounds. They are both wonderful missionaries and will do a great job. We're leaving the mission in good hands :) and just as President promised us, Elder Magill and I will get to die with our boots on out in the field! What a blessing it is for us honestly it was hard at first to get used to the field again but now its so great and I'm so thankful that President Amaya is so inspired in all that he does and I'm happy for Elder Magill because he really wanted to be out in the field and he deserves it :)This last week we had a leadership conference and I was able to sit next to Elder Magill as a fellow zone leader just like we did for the first time as zone leaders exactly a year ago! Just like old times we said to each other haha but the crazy thing is all the other people who were in last year's leadership conference other than President Amaya and Sister Amaya are long gone in their houses and all the people in the leaderhship conference this time weren't even thought of a year ago in the mission world or were just barely getting started. We are old! 

These past few days I have been a little let down a few times by people's poor use of their agency. On several occasions, missionaries, members, less actives, converts, and investigators have failed to keep their commitments when we don't give them a ton of follow up every single day. Its a little frustrating at times but then you've just got to remember to do your best and leave the rest to the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6) some will endure to the end and others won't but we've just got to do our best part to help them and never get discouraged. I think of how poor Mormon and Moroni must have felt as they saw their beloved people rot in their own sins and be destroyed for their pride... we can't control others we can just do our part and love them and help them.

Be happy :) 

Elder Remington 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wonderful Converts

Family and Friends, 

Once again my heart is full of gratitude and love :) what a wonderful week we had. There were some trials and disappointments but as I've kept filling my heart daily with positive things and remembering all my blessings I've stayed happy and upbeat its great! I know many have said and heard about counting your blessings and remembering what you're grateful for and if you're like me you've kind of just shrugged it off sometimes and thought yeah yeah I've heard that before haha. I know its cliche and everyone says it but I'm telling its true! Do it! Decide to be happy and be positive and when things start to not go as planned just smile, laugh it off, and think of five things your grateful for. As we focus on our blessings and all the things that are good, just, and right in this world and we don't worry or complain about the things that are out of our control (other people's agency, the weather, culture, etc.) we find true and sustainable happiness. 

I love Alma 7:23 it has many important facets of living a balanced, positive, happy, and successful life. 
And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
Apply it and you will see the results! 

This week Vanessa Loor and Cristina Romero were baptized together. They are wonderful and will be lifelong converts. Vanesa is the older sister of three recent converts. She's a twenty year old, single, pregnant, college student that is very smart. She had listened to the missionaries before but never wanted to be baptized and we had never really seen much of a chance in her progressing. But then one day we went to visit her younger sisters to teach and strengthen them as new converts and while we were teaching a very distinct impression came to my mind to invite Vanessa to join us as well and I did and we put a baptismal date and the rest is history. 

Cristina Romero is Carlos Romero's wife. If you remember, Carlos is the brother of our first counselor and was baptized last month. He received the Priesthood and baptized his wife with power. It was so special to see them enter the waters of baptism together and I know they'll be sealed as an eternal family in a year and I plan to be there to see it :) they are wonderful friends and they study the scriptures daily and mark them up with highlighters and are really converted to the Lord. What a joy and a blessing to know them and see them progress. We came to know them just by sharing a simple message and asking for referrals after lunch in our first week here and look where that got us. Alma 37:6-7 share messages and ask for referrals after every meal :) 

I love you all and know with all my heart that this gospel is true and changes lives 

Elder Remington

Monday, March 3, 2014

Good Times

Family and Friends,

I am very happy and have my heart full of gratitude these days. I am so happy and thankful for all that my Heavenly Father has given me. He's blessed me with a wonderful companion that is such a positive and humble hard worker, a zone full of good happy and hardworking missionaries, a powerful and inspired Mission President, two greart leaders and friends as APs who always give great advice and guidance, members that support us and love us, chosen investigators that are so wonderful, and powerful converts that share the gospel and have powerful testimonies. Alexandra (a convert from last month) is already in Alma in the Book of Mormon and she sits right next to our investigators that we bring to church and in the lessons with them she straight up motivates them and tells them not be scared, to trust in the Lord, and to be BAPTIZED. She shares how much her baptism and this church have blessed and changed her life for the better. Today I was singing all afternoon in the house very happy and I hope to share this happiness with everyone!

There are quite a few pictures so just to explain a few of them we had 3 great baptisms of Joselyn, Joshua, and Adrian. Joselyn is a single mom who has great neighbors that are members and really welcomed her in to the church and we're already teaching a few of her friends and they have baptismal dates :) Joshua is the nephew of some members that we're less active but we rescued them and baptized him :) two birds with one stone and now they all go to church together and they're quite happy! Adrian is the younger brother of a recent convert named Andres and he is super solid and is one of the few kids here who likes basketball more than soccer wow! It was great to see his big brother baptize him.

The picture of two crazy guys hugging each other is of Elder Rallison and I just before Elder Rallison left to Guayaquil for transfers. He is an AWESOME missionary and great friend and it truly was a joy to have him in the zone and work side by side with him. He will be missed but we know that he's doing great things where he is and it's the Lord' will so its whats best :) also the Lord blessed us greatly as a zone and we were able to pass the goal and we will be celebrating with President Amaya and the APs soon :) good times! 

We worked our tails off as a zone and it paid off :) There were several keys to our success this month and many are found in the 8 Attributes but here are a few that stand out in particular. We followed all the instructions and guidance of President and the APs especially about being submerged in the Work of Salvation with lots and lots of lessons with members, referrals, and rescuing less actives. We were like pilots looking at the gauges and levels of the planes making sure the planes flies smoothly and successfully. We did the same every week and every day with the Key Indicators. Every Sunday night we counted the totals and compared with past weeks and were attentive to tendencies or weak points or progress to help keep improving every week. We focused on the spiritual growth and progress of every individual in our zone, especially with the district leaders in making sure that they became strong lions of leaders confident and capable in what they were doing so that they could then take good care of the missionaries in their district. There are many more but I'll have to share next week! 

Something that I felt would be important to share... many members and missionaries think that it is just plain evil and wrong to talk about numbers and goals and that you should just focus on people. It is natural to think that at first but its important to remember that when used in the right way numbers and goals are a powerful instrument in bringing about eternal salvation to more people. Of course we need to be focused on people and make sure that we don't get to carried away with only wanting to have impressive statistics. But when used with a proper balance and an understanding that like PME teaches each number represents a son or daughter of God, then numbers and goals are necessary and valuable. As President Monson taught, When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.  And he is a living example of that as the Prophet of God. What was the first thing President Monson announced at General Conference? Numbers! He said that there are currently over 15 million members and over 80 thousand missionaries serving. The Lord has said that He has His sheep counted and it is important to count for Him so we need to follow His example. (3 Nephi 18:31). 

Remeber to be humble and make changes when the Spirit gives you whispers of correction. 


Elder Remington