Monday, January 25, 2016

Week Twenty - "Same height advantage"

Hola familia!

I don´t have a ton of time to write but I will try my best to type fast! So I forgot to mention last week that it turns out Hermana Morán and I met before the mission! We realized it one of the first nights when we were getting ready for bed. We kept feeling like we had seen each other before. Turns out we went to EFY together back in 2011! Haha! We weren't in the same group or anything but we sang together in the choir! What a small world we live in! My companion is awesome! I attached some pictures so you can all finally see what she looks like but we´re the same height so that´s fun. All the people here like to stare but that´s alright it makes contacting a lot easier :) 

It rains everyday here and the bugs are up and moving always! It´s a lot more tropical here but I have yet to see any cool birds or rare animals. Unless you count the frog on my door the other night. 

The work this week was a bit different. It´s hard to summarize in an email my week and my thoughts are a bit scattered but I hope what I have to share will make sense to all of you. 

I´m not really sure where the time went but we experienced a lot and learned a lot of new things. The mission truly is a conversion process, and I have learned during my short time here what a blessing it is to have the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I can´t imagine my life being any different and I am so grateful to have had the blessings that the Gospel brings in my family my entire life. 

Prayer is real. God answers us when we speak with Him. I have never felt that more strongly in my life than I do now. 

The calling to be a missionary is so special. I have learned more about my calling as a missionary this week. As we work to bring others unto Christ, we too come unto Him. As we strive every day to be better and be more like Him, we will see miracles. I know that is true with all of my heart. There are guardian angels watching over and protecting us as  missionaries. I love this work. I love the change I see in the eyes of my investigators as the Spirit testifies to them that what we are teaching is true. It is truly the best feeling in the world to be a missionary! We should all decide to be missionaries every day of our lives! Everyone needs the love of our Savior Jesus Christ in their lives. Don´t forget to share this love with the people around you! I put a quote in the back of my planner to remind me during the day to talk to the people. "They are your brothers and sisters, TALK TO THEM" This has helped me so much and I have seen miracles! I invite you all to remember this in your day to day lives and talk to your brothers and sisters this week about the blessings you've seen in your lives from the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Hermana Morán y yo

Bomboli una montaña en Santo Domingo en la mitad de nuestro barrio
(pero que bueno que no es de nuestro sector jaja)

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Hermana B

P.S. Scripture this week is D&C 14:8

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week Nineteen - "You know you're in Ecuador when . . . "

Hola Familia!

You know you´re in Ecuador when the snails are as big as your fist!

Sorry this email is a bit of a long one but it has been a such a great
first week here in Santo Domingo! Yes I have seen some huge snails and
a few cockroaches but besides that everything is normal here on the
coast! I think I've lost the rice weight from Ambato just from one
week of sweating here in Santo Domingo. But the real challenge will be
working off the Santo Domingo rice. The food is REALLY good here. And
they feed you a lot more. But the members are pretty good about giving
us smaller portions. Running is helping a lot though. The first
morning we went running here I felt like I could run a marathon! The
elevation change was super weird for me. I didn't really notice it
when I went running in Ambato, I just thought I was pretty out of
shape. But when I got here I realized that my lungs were just being
suffocated up there in the mountains.

The people are super nice here. Members are great. I am in a ward
again which is awesome. We live in the house below the Bishop and his
family and his wife cooks our lunch everyday so its really easy to get
in contact with him and get the work we need to done with the ward. We
have three ladies that cook food for us. Thankfully its not all at the
same time but they´re all great. Funny Ecuadorian ladies.

My companion is AMAZING! I love her so much! After only a week we are
already great friends! Hermana Moran is from Orange County,
California. She was studying at BYU-I before the mission but
transferred to BYU Provo which is so exciting! She has three months
more than I do. She goes home in December. We´re having a blast here
in Santo Domingo. Life is great. Despite the ants and cockroaches we
make it through with a smile on our faces and a funny story to keep us
laughing even in the pouring rain.

Speaking of rain. It rains a lot here. Everyday. We run in the rain.
We teach lessons in the rain (not a joke). Everything is in the rain.
But it´s great because it´s never cold so we love it when it rains.
And because of the humidity my shoes aren´t drying out very quickly
but it´s okay we always find a way to make things work.

I am so excited for the lesson we have tonight! We contacted this lady
who was doing her laundry outside of her house and when we walked up
so many people left the house. They just kept coming! I think it was
because they saw gringas coming and wanted to see if we could speak
Spanish or not. Haha. But we set up an appointment for tonight and
then last night we were walking in the street when one of the people
from that same house contacted us to remind us of the visit! Haha
usually its the other way around. But I have a great feeling about
this family. My companion and I are so excited!

The work here is very different, and I am learning so much everyday.
Contacting is a lot more effective here than it was in Ambato so I´m
getting used to contacting a lot more again. We also work with A LOT
of less-actives. There are SO many here. That´s why it´s so important
to have baptisms of people who are truly truly converted. So many
people in South America just get baptized because they like having the
missionaries over. It´s part of the culture that we´re working hard to

 ¨The first convert on the mission is yourself¨ is so true! If we as
missionaries don´t become converted on the mission it doesn't matter
how many baptisms we have. You experience a lot during the mission and
it´s hard not to experience this conversion automatically but if you
aren´t open and willing to change it won´t take an affect on you. I
believe its the same before and after the mission as well. If we
aren´t open to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our daily lives
He will still be there for us, we just won´t get to enjoy the
blessings He is reaching out to give us. The only thing we have to do
is open up our hearts to Him and do our part to reach out and take
hold of what He has waiting for us. The Atonement and Gospel of Jesus
Christ is such a blessing!

I feel so very lucky to be a missionary. It is so very hard at times,
well, most of the time. But when I am reminded, whether it be by my
companion, leaders, or the Book of Mormon, we are here as missionaries
to help the people come unto Christ, in all parts of their conversion,
not just through baptism. Maybe we go to teach a family the first
lesson, and we are only able to teach about prayer because they have
never learned how to pray before, and maybe we aren´t going to be able
to see this family progress in three weeks because they need more time
to truly be converted. But if we think about what we were just able to
do it´s absolutely beautiful. We were able to teach someone how to
talk with God, their Heavenly Father. It´s like helping a child learn
to speak. How happy would that parent be to hear their child speak
with them for the first time after years and years of silence! Imagine
how happy our Heavenly Father is when one of His children speaks with
Him for the first time! No effort is wasted in the work of the Lord
and no prayer goes unheard. I am always so deeply humbled when I am
able to recognize answers from prayers because I am just one of
billions and billions of Heavenly Father´s children. It´s amazing to
think He has time for us all but it´s true, He does. He is listening.
He wants you to know that He is there.

I am so excited for this next week I have in Santo Domingo. I have
absolutely fallen in love with this city. It is so beautiful and so
green. It is definitely a privilege to be a missionary in Ecuador and
breathe the fresh air and walk drenched through the rain. I love this
work and I love being a missionary!

I hope you are all doing well and I hope you all have a wonderful
week! God loves you so very much! Don´t forget to pray and speak with
Him! He is your loving Heavenly Father!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana B

P.S. My companion and I are meditizando...I don´t remember how to say
that in English...Mosiah 18:26

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week Eighteen - Transfers!

Hola familia!
This week a less active of 11 years showed up to church yesterday after two months of visits! It was a miracle! I am so grateful for miracles!

Wow. This week was a hot one in Ambato. The sun is super strong here. But we endured it. I'm convinced it was to help me adjust to hot weather because GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!! I'm in SANTO DOMINGO!!!

WOOOHOOO! I am so pumped. I didn't think Id get to come to the coast! Theres only one zone in the mission on the coast. There aren't any beaches or anything but it doesn't matter anyways cause I can't swim as a missionary. Haha.

Don't get me wrong. It was so hard leaving Pradera. It definitely is my home here in the mission. And I cried saying bye to Pamela and Nancy and her family last night, but new adventures and experiences await.

The bus ride here was four and a half hours long from Ambato, and it was GORGEOUS! I felt like I was in the Jungle Book! We were driving through the jungle/forest for about three hours on this windy road through the mountains and I felt pretty carsick but luckily I made it all the way without getting sick. It was so awesome, there were waterfalls around every corner! And the trees were so beautiful.  I knew immediately when we had made it into the coastal region. It was like a big wall of hot mist hit my face. It is SO humid here. It's like standing in a bowl of soup. But I love it! It was really dry in Ambato, the weather was perfect, but really really dry. It's going to be interesting adjusting the the weather but I'm looking forward to it!

My new companion is Hermana Moran. She's from California and has one transfer more than I do. She is super nice and I am so excited to work with her! The computer is being really slow today so I'll send pictures next week.

I'm really excited to learn new things and get to know another sector in the mission. I'm going to miss out on one of my baptisms back in Pradera (Paty our eternal investigator is finally getting baptized this Sunday!) but I know that Heavenly Father needs me here and I need to be here to learn. My bishop in Pradera also asked me to give a talk this Sunday which I'm actually really sad I won't get to give. I have yet to give a talk in my ward and it would be really nerve racking but also a really great learning experience to overcome my fears with the language.

So many new experiences await and I am really nervous but really excited too! I can't wait to tell you all about Santo Domingo and about the amazing people that I am sure are here :)

The best part of my week this past week was to see Pamela give her first talk in church yesterday. Being able to see the people you love progress in the gospel is hands down the best thing in the world.

I was reflecting about our work as missionaries and how the members often like to say that the missionaries are angels. It's something that makes most missionaries pretty uncomfortable, myself included. This is the work of our Savior, as missionaries we are merely instruments. If we are talking about musical instruments, we know that without someone to play the instrument the instrument is capable of nothing besides sitting on the shelve. We don't praise the instrument as much as we praise the music that comes from the instrument. It should be the same with missionary work. The work is impossible without the Savior Jesus Christ. The music of the gospel is the changes we can see in the lives of the people we interact with or in ourselves and its the most beautiful music in the world. As we learn to make the gospel central in our lives the music will become even more familiar and with time and the spiritual experiences we have, even more beautiful.

I am so grateful for gospel in my life and for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and instrument for the Lord. I have a lot of work to do to fix, refine, shine, and polish the instrument that I am but thanks to the love our Heavenly Father has for His children, He still allows music to flow through broken instruments like me who are striving to be better. We all can be instruments in the Lord's hands to help others hear the music of the gospel in their lives. I invite you all to do something in this next week to learn more about, or apply more specifically the gospel in your life or in the lives of your friends and family around you.

I love you all so much and pray that all is well. Your Heavenly Father loves you!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana B

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week Seventeen - Feliz Año Nuevo!

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great New Year´s! My New Year´s Eve was spent all day in the house and it was really hard. We were itching to leave but we got a lot of stuff done so it was great. I made french toast in the morning and later we had spaghetti...sort of...and then I made rice pudding! It was great. We were finally able to organize our kitchen and catch up on some things that just don´t get done during the week. It was like an extended P-Day. It was very strange. Haha. 

We had a bit of a rough week this week. Our investigators aren´t doing so well and we didn´t have a lot of teaching opportunities, but we´ve learned from it and we´ve decided to make this last week of the transfer the best one yet! Speaking of transfers...I´m really nervous for transfers. It´s the first time that I don´t know what´s going to happen, and I really don´t like that. I LOVE my area and the people here are my family. I can´t imagine leaving, but I know that wherever and whatever the Lord has planned for me is what I need to keep learning and becoming better each and every day. But I´ll definitely be praying to stay here in Ambato with Hermana Chipana. 

I´ve been studying lately about the missionaries in the Book of Mormon. I LOVE the example of Ammon. I invite you all to go read about his experiences in Alma 17 until 20 I believe. We can learn SO much from him. Everything he did and all of his desires were to help and teach the people. He did everything to gain their trust and confidence. And then when he taught he taught with power! When King Lamoni asked him a simple question if he had been sent by God, he not only was able to answer his question but also teach so much about the Plan of Salvation and so much more. He was a consecrated missionary. I want to be like him. It´s hard when we have so many discouraging moments throughout each and everyday, but if we remember to follow the example of Ammon and do everything we possibly can for the work of our Savior we will see miracles and will rejoice, just as Ammon did. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I receive so much strength from reading it everyday. There are promised blessings just waiting for us if we decide to start reading more and applying the principles in our lives. I´ve seen blessings and miracles from this sacred book, and I can´t imagine what my life would be like without it. 

Hopefully next week I´ll be writing to tell you all that I´m still in Ambato, but if not all is well. I´ll try not to be too sad leaving my Ecuadorian home. :)

I love the mission and I love being a missionary!

I hope all is well in your families and I wish you the best of luck with your goals this year. Anything is possible through the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ!

I love you all!

Hermana B

Baptism of Nancy, the grand daughter of my companion's convert from the start of her mission
​A rooster and a chicken in a normal field in the campo.
It looks like a ¨chicken with it´s head cut off¨",
but I just had good timing haha.
The dog of Pamela. I fed him Ritz crackers before I knew he was her dog, about two months ago, and now he follows us a ton when we´re in her neighborhood. He really needed a bath this day.
​Firefighters burning their doll, one of the traditions here in Ecuador.
They burn life sized dolls at midnight
 to burn away the bad things of the past year.
We finally made tostadas New Year´s Eve. I´m quite sure I´m addicted.
They´re so good but I don´t know why.
It´s just toasted corn. But it´s the best.
Typical Ambato sky