Monday, April 25, 2016

Week Thirty-three - Spiritual rescue & aftershocks

Hola mi familia! 

So I've received a ton of questions about what I´m doing, if I´m doing work in Pedernales, if I´m still experiencing aftershocks, and much more. 

Well I am still here working in my sector. We haven't gone to do any projects to help the people in the coast. We had interviews with President this week and he told us that it will be a while before we go do any type of service due to all of the health risks that it would cause. It was hard at first to realized that I wouldn't be able to do anything right away because I feel helpless being a missionary so close to all that is happening without anything to do. 

Well that's what I thought at first. And then in my interview with President he explained to me something super profound that left me in thinking for a good while. He said that when we see on the television the tragic news of 300, 400, 500 deaths in the coast of Ecuador, of course our hearts are going to ache and we're going to want to do everything we can to help. We'll send water, food, clothes, everything! But how would we react if we saw rolling across the screen, "10,000 people died spiritually today". What would we do? Would we send water, food, and clothes? No, because those things can't revive and support the people who are under distress espiritually. What they need is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as missionaries, our calling is to preach the gospel. 

I left that interview with a whole new perspective on life and love for the gospel! 

I love this work! 

My companion and I are doing very well. Yes there have been strong aftershocks but in the past few days we haven't felt anything. What has helped us the most is praying. Every night that I have prayed to sleep the whole night through it has worked. I haven't felt a thing and I feel so rested in the morning, something that wasn't happening the first few days after the earthquake. Please keep praying for Armandina and her family, she got home Saturday night and came to church on Sunday! It was a miracle and a relief to see her again. She is doing okay considering all that is happening in her life and has a great desire to keep progressing towards baptism so that a year from now she can do the work for her sister. 

I love this work and I love being a missionary! 

Keep Ecuador in your prayers. 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Beutler
Mamita Sonja 

Mamita Sonja y plantains

Middle of the World (bus view)

My earthquake buddy

View of Quito

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Looking back . . . Mission photos October 2015 - March 2016

Sharing some mission president's photos from Hermana Beutler's arrival to Ecuador in October 2015 to March 2016 events.

Arriving at Ecuador airport
New missionaries and their trainers (Hna Pace)
New Ecuadorian missionaries
Mission home meal
Feliz Navidad Hermanas
President and Sister Christensen and I around Christmas time.
Hermanas' Christmas meal 
Meeting an apostle - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Recording words from President Christensen
Happy smiling Hermanas - Santo Domingo

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week Thirty-two: "Be Prepared - It's Worth It"

Hola mi querida familia,

      First and foremost, thank you all for your prayers in this time of destress and disaster in Ecuador. My companion and I are still worn out and recovering emotionally from our experiences that night but we are eternally grateful for the miracles and protection that we received during this terrible experience. It's a night that I'm trying to forget so to spare everyone and specifically you mom from stress I'll wait until I'm home to share the details.

     Please keep the people in Pedernales, Guayaquil, and Esmeraldas in your prayers. All of Ecuador was affected but these cities saw the most destruction. I was really worried for the five sisters that were in the MTC with me who are serving in Guayaquil but I just heard from one of them and they are all fine. Prayers are being answer but there is still a lot of rescuing taking place in Pedernales. The only thing we can do is continue praying.

     My companion and I were talking a lot that day about how it's really sad that for many people, it's necessary for them to humbled through bad experiences or tragedies to repent or even believe in God. When the earthquake hit, all of Ecuador began to pray. In that minute of absolute terror, people were either praying for safety, or praying for forgiveness from their sins, but why is it that way? Why? When we have a Savior who suffered, died, and was resurrected for each and every one of us, there is no reason to fear, there is no reason to wait to repent. Now is the time to be prepared, spiritually, and physically, for whatever comes our way.

     As I've thought about what happened, I've thought about all of the tiny miracles throughout the day that our Heavenly Father gave us to protect and prepare us for what happened. Our experience was very different from many of the other missionaries in Santo Domingo, but I know that Heavenly Father led us to exactly where He needed us so that we could help and protect an investigator as well as learn to listen and confide in the spirit.

     I am eternally grateful for my Heavenly Father who sent me an earthly father who taught me to always be prepared physically for any type of situation, and for both of my earthly parents who have always taught me how to be prepared spirtually through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

     This morning we got the electricity back again and we're really happy about that. Our street was one of the few that didn't get it back right away from some minor damage from the earthquake but now we´re okay. Living by candlelight was alright but having the electricity again makes us feel a lot safer and sleep a lot easier.

     Please keep my investigators in your prayers. Armandina (our investigator that was going to get married this week and baptized next week) lost her 18 year old sister in Pedernales due to the earthquake. It'll be a long process of grief and pain for her family but we know that for this reason she has received the Gospel in her life at this time in her life. 

     I am so very grateful for the plan that God has for us. I know He lives. I know He loves us. He answers our prayers. I am a witness of that. Miracles are real, and they can take place in our own lives as we do our part to prepare ourselves physically by heeding the council of our prophet to prepare for emergencies as well as spiritually as we apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and repent now instead of waiting for disaster to strike. I promise each and every one of you that it's worth it.

     I love you all so very much and again thank you all for your prayers. I have definitely felt them strengthening me in this time of great trial.

Con todo mi amor,
Hermana Beutler

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week Thirty-one - "I knew it, but did I believe it?" - Bonnie L. Oscarson

Hola mi familia!

It's been another great week here in Santo Domingo.

It's hard to fit all of the things I learn into a few short words that I can write in an email, but I learned SO much this week. Every day is a new learning experience.

Armandina and Alejandro are doing so well! The devotion of the people who become converted to Lord truly amazes me.This week we taught them about Tithing and Fast Offerings, and she had just finished telling us that she wasn't going to be able to go to church on Sunday. She didn't have enough money to pay for the taxi which costs about the same as a soda in the US to give you an idea. But then a miracle happened and her friend payed her back the money she had owed her from a long time ago and she was able to go to church on Sunday! So then we went on to teach her the lesson and she was so excited! She doesn't have a job because she stays at home with her five kids but she wants to pay tithing! When we talked about fasting she got even more excited! We talked about how we can fast with a purpose, starting and ending the fast with a prayer. She said that she was going to start thinking about her purpose so she could fast. She's the best!!!!!!!!!!! 

I love the Book of Mormon. It's the greatest thing in the world! This week we saw that you can really apply any story or chapter to your life and learn from it. Our investigator Carmen (who is the best) was really stressed out one day and passing through some trials and so she opened the Book of Mormon to a random page and started reading! (isn't she the best?!) But she didn't really understand anything or what was going on. So when we came she asked us and it turns out she read in Alma 53, when Captain Moroni built defenses around the city Bountiful. The spirit helped us so much in that lesson! We explained to her that just like Captain Moroni built up the defenses around the city to protect it from their enemies, that we need to protect our homes and our children from bad influences and things that can damage the spirit we can have in the home. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost really is the true teacher in missionary work. And the Book of Mormon gave us exactly what she needed in that moment!

I love the talk given by Bonnie L. Oscarson in this past conference. She talked about our testimonies, and the fact that at times maybe we know something, but do we really believe it? At first I didn't really understand her talk, because we've always heard that first we believe something, and then we know that it's true after having some kind of spiritual experience to testify of it. But then as I thought about one of the investigators that I have taught my entire time here in Santo Domingo, I realized that it is true, at times there are things we know but we lack the belief. This investigator has never gone to church, but has a knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that the church is true because she prayed and received an answer. She works every other Sunday and her husband doesn't want to listen to us so it's hard for her to take the leap of faith and go to church on Sundays. I realized from this talk that what she lacks is the belief that her knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel will bless her life if and only if she decides to act according to this knowledge. We were feeling like we hit a dead end with her but thanks to General Conference and the revelation of Bonnie L. Oscarson we have somewhat of an idea of how to help her. I am so grateful for the Restored Gospel and for living day Prophets, Apostles, and leaders in the church!

Santo Domingo is doing great! Rain is still a constant friend of ours and the rice is not! I'm actually getting really used to the weather here. I love the ward I'm in, the members are great! Things couldn't get any better! I never want to leave! 

I hope you are all doing fantastic! God loves you! I hope you know that! Keep reading the scriptures and going to church! There's nothing better! 

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Beutler

Mahonri turned 4!
He said something super funny so that´s why I'm half laughing in this one.
If only I could remember what he said
Face of guilt
Tatiana, Hermana Corado, myself, and an uninterested Mahonri. 
Hey I got a package! Thanks for sending the Easter goodies fambam!
Hey look it's a Beutler Family Reunion! Haha
I got some late Christmas cards this week! Thanks everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week Thirty - Clouds & Temples

Hola mi querida familia, 
I'm really sorry for last week's email. I really didn't have any time to collect my thoughts or write much. I hope my thoughts this week make up for it. 

This week we had a huge miracle! So we contacted a college student and her little sister the first day of the last transfer and we went to visit them but haven't been able to come to church because the college student just barely finished her final exams and graduated and her parents work the night shift on Saturdays. Well we've kept trying. We're always passing by to see how they're doing and to schedule an appointment. Well we passed by on Sunday to talk to them and they told us that they found out that their dad was baptized 20 years ago! We were so excited! It was such a huge miracle. 

We know that Heavenly Father helped us contact his daughter so we could not only help them come to know of the Gospel but also so that he could be found and come back to church! We are so excited for them and they don't even know it! Haha! Our dream is that we can get him active in church again so that he can baptize his entire family. We´re praying for miracles! 

We have a hammock in our back porch area where we do our laundry. But we never ever have time to use it, even on P Days. It's hard to find time to relax when we're always doing something. Well today after cleaning a mountain of clothes I realized I had about 5 minutes to spare. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and relax in the hammock. Now many of you are probably guessing that this story is going to end with a broken hammock. You might be thinking "oh man, she´s eating so much rice down there that the hammocks don´t even hold her up anymore!" And while yes, we get fed rice daily, it hasn´t gotten that bad yet, plus my companion and I run and exercise every morning. 

But anyways, this story isn´t quite that exciting. I layed down in the hammock and looked up towards a big gap we have between the roof and the neighbors wall. I'm not quite sure how to explain it but its like a big window where you can only see the sky. It took some time for my eyes to adjust to the brightness of the clouds but I began to watch as they flew by. 

When I was little, I loved looking up at the clouds to see how many animals or shaped I could find. That was back when I had more of an imagination. Now that my imagination isn't all that exciting like it was when I was five and there aren't any rabbits, dinosaurs, or rubber ducks, what really amazes me is the speed at which the clouds move. They're always changing and moving as the light of the sun shifts through, changing what they look like every second. Fund fact about South America, the clouds are always moving, and they're gigantic and glorious. The way the sun hits the clouds at sunset in the middle of a long and rough day makes everything feel worth it because they're SO beautiful. 

If you look up the picture of the temple in Guayaquil you'll see an amazing sunset in the backdrop. As I watched the clouds and thought about that picture I realized that the photographer didn't have to wait months or years to capture that moment. Sights like that happen everyday in all of our surroundings. And as I am sure you can imagine, one of those special moments happened this weekend as President Monson announced that we´ll have a temple in Quito! 

I will never in my life forget that moment, to hear the gasps of joy of every single person in the stake center as we heard those two special words, QUITO, ECUADOR! So many prayers answered, personally, and those of so many faithful members of the Lord's church. It was and is such an indescribable feeling. This conference for me was unlike any other.  I've received several emails regarding the news and I thank each and every one of you for your words and support! I love hearing from you all! And as many of you asked, no, I wasn't jumping on my bed until 11PM, my curfew is 10:30. :) Haha. But still, there is no greater feeling in the world than to have the restored Gospel in your life and be able to see the fruits of the labor of so many who have come and gone before me. With such little time in the mission I can't say that I've played any part in this grand blessing but I know without a doubt that I will work with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength to prepare the families that will go to the temple in Quito to seal their families for time and all eternity!

As I continued looking up in the clouds I remembered President Uchtdorf's talk. he spoke briefly yet directly to those who are unsure if our Heavenly Father really exists, if we really are children of God. I'd like to add my thoughts to this and speak to those of you who have had or have these doubts as well. 

When I saw the clouds today, there was no doubt in my mind that God is our loving Heavenly Father, that His Son Jesus Christ lives, that God loves us SO much that He has blessed us with the Restored Gospel.  As President Uchtdorf said "you can have the desire to believe." And all we have to do is look up at the clouds and see the beauty that is truly there. And if there aren't any clouds in the sky, don't worry! The trees are pretty too! :) What´s really important is that the answer is there. It´s everywhere! That God exists! He lives! He loves us! 

I invite you all to take some time to find or strengthen that answer. We live busy lives, always running from one thing to the next, and we forget that we have a hammock in the back waiting for us to sit down and relax! Well, maybe we don't always have that...BUT..we do need to take some time for our Heavenly Father. We need to allow ourselves to have the spiritual experiences that He is waiting to grant us. Whether it be 5 minutes or an hour this week, I invite you to take some time to look at the nature, spend more time with your family, or play your favorite hymns in the car instead of turning on the radio. And during this time take a minute to say a prayer in your heart and ask God if He is there. I promis you that He will answer. 

I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and received and answer to his prayers. I know he was later called as the Prophet of the Restoration of the true church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love the Gospel and I love that we can all find new ways everyday to come to love it more through the words of our living Prophet and the Apostles. I love being a missionary and even though it is really really really hard, and I mean really hard, it is so so worth it! 

Thanks for all sending me advice to remember my mosquito repelent! You're all the best! I hope you all have an amazing week! I love you all! 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Beutler 

P.S. I love the story of Alma and Amulek! My ponderizing scripture this week is in Alma 16:14-17! What´s yours?! :)

Santo Domingo Zone with cornflakes