Hopefully Dylan got you the news, but just in case he forgot, I won’t be coming home tomorrow.. Most likely Thursday or Friday now. My passport got sent to Quito, which is Church Headquarters in Ecuador, and they are all on Holiday tomorrow, so the passport won’t even get there until Wednesday and then they’ll send it back Thursday. So I might leave Thursday or Friday. Sorry to make you all wait.. I’m not too happy about this either haha.
I can’t believe that I’m going home. I was such a wreck when I found out haha I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to come home at all. The Area is sending me home. President didn’t give me a choice.. It was really hard to accept it. But yeah I’ve accepted it now and I’ll be home on Wednesday.
There really isn’t much to say.. I just want to see everybody haha so tell everyone to come visit Boise so we can hang out and catch up. Just post this whole letter.
Hey tell the people in Provo that I’ll be spending Tuesday night in Orem. Depending on what time my flight leaves on Wednesday morning they can come visit me.
Love you all.. See you in a few days.
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
This week was pretty interesting. It looks like they are going to close our sector and send us somewhere else. I think we’ll be going to a ward that has been closed for over a year because the members really really want missionaries. So if we go there we’ll actually have members working with us. We’ve tried everything to get them to help us out, but they just won’t do anything here.. It’s kind of sad but it looks like we’ll be leaving this sector next week. We found another batch of investigatores just from knocking doors and looking for old investigatores, and nobody wanted to come to church or progress or anything. I beg all of you to WORK WITH YOUR MISSIONARIES or you’ll lose them. The work doesn’t move forward without the members. I never realized that before now hahaha. But yeah. We’re going to work dang hard this week and see what happens.
On to my health. My medicines ran out this week, and the next day I was hit with a ton of pain haha it was surprising to see how effective those meds were. But we started me on some physical therapy, which looks like it might help a little. We got me hooked up to some electric thingies to stimiluate my muscles and get rid of the pain and I got a massage haha I never thought I’d get a massage in the mission. But it really helped and they got a ton of knots out of my muscles. So we’re going to do that for a few weeks and see how it goes. I just want to get healthy haha I’m so tired of working with pain. It’s been almost 9 months in the mission and in total, maybe I’ve had 1 month without some kind of medical issue. It’s fun haha but I’m almost finished with my mission so I can press on until the end!! (Hahaha I only lack like 15 months.. that’s so far hahaha)
So yeah. I’m just trying to get healthy and work hard. It seems like all the GOOD investigatores that we find end up moving. We’ve lost 6 people that could have gotten baptized because they moved away. But we’re getting them in contact with other missionaries, and so far 1 of them has gotten baptized and the rest are still investigating!! So we’re seeing the fruits of our labor, just with other missionaries haha it’s a little disappointing, but a baptism is a baptism, doesn’t matter the missionary that does it. So we’re seeing results, just not here in our sector and not in our numbers.
Haha I’m really sorry if my letters sound depressing or hopeless or anything. They really aren’t supposed to be like that. We’re working hard and doing our part. We just have to be patient and wait for the Lord’s blessings. It looks like if we get transfered then we’ll have a ton of success, because this ward that is right next to ours is itching to have missionaries, and the Assistants have called us to ask us what the ward is like hahaha. It looks like we’re leaving. But we’re going to try as hard as possible to stay here. Because there are really strong members and a ton of great people. So we’ll just wait and see haha.
Oh, one fun thing that happened this last week was that Elder Rob Austin did an interchange with the other missionaries that live in our house, so Rob and I got to catch up hahaha just like old times… The only thing is we didn’t have Halo or Super Smash Brothers to play all night. So that was fun. We were up until like 1:30 AM talking hahaha he’s a good kid. He’s district leader, so that’s way cool. We’re going to go hang out today and go to the Bahia and maybe buy a ton of computer games that we can play when we get home. The games here are only 1 dollar! It’s so cool. I’m going to buy all the sweet PC games that I can, because they will work on PCs in the states. The Nintendo games and stuff won’t work though, because the video game consols don’t read illegal disks, but the PC will! YAA hahahaha I love Ecuador. Also, we’re going to buy some socks, because my companion has only 4 or 5 pairs of socks and they aren’t even socks anymore because there are so many holes hahaha he’s so lazy and I finally persuaded him to buy more socks.
Hope everything is going great back in the States! I heard the Colts and Saints are playing in the Super Bowl. Sweetness. Go Saints! (The Colts win too much haha).
Thanks for everyone’s prayers and everything!
Until next week!!
This week was interesting. We dropped all of our investigatores and are going to start from scratch this week. Our members haven’t been helping us, the ward mission leader doesn’t even show up to church, and after a month here, I don’t even know the ward missionaries. So none of our investigatores have progressed because they don’t have the fellowshipping that they need because our ward doesn’t care about missionary work. So we tossed everyone, including a few that had baptismal dates. They just don’t want to progress. One didn’t come to church because her dog was sick and she was scared it was going to throw up on the couch. That’s a pathetically lame excuse. Just tie the dog to something that’s not the couch and go to church, and when you get back nothing would have happened to your couch! Haha ugh. I’ve heard so many excuses from people why they can’t come to church that I’m just sick of it. It’s not hard to give 3 hours of your week to the Lord. There are 168 hours in a week, and we’re awake for about 100 of those hours. That’s only 3% of our time where we have to go to Church to worship the Lord. There is time to get everything done so they can go to church but they just don’t want to haha. Ugh. So we dropped her, even though she’s a way way awsome person. She’ll be ready for the missionaries in another year, and she has the potential to be an awesome member. But we did our part. We planted the seeds.
The other progressing investigator that we left was the son of a less active returned missionary. We left him because the dad doesn’t want us to “influence” his son by extending commentments (asking them to pray and read and obey the commandments) and then verifying to see if they did them. He called this a “game” and that we’re to play by his “rules” hahaha this guy. He’s asking us to not preach the way the prophet wants us to preach. He always talks about his mission and how the leaders of his mission weren’t any good and that he should have been the leader. He’s not even active in the church, yet talks this way. He didn’t teach his kids the Gospel so that they could accept it for themselves when they were older. He’s just messed up and prideful. So we’re not going to change our way of teaching to please him, so we just dropped them. It’s sad but yeah, we’re not going to help his son be converted if we can’t do what we’re supposed to do.
So that’s why we dropped everyone hahaha so yeah. This week we’re starting anew. We made some awesome plans to start getting the ward to actually work with us and we’re going to try it out and see how it goes. If this doesn’t work, I’m scared they are going to close the sector. Yesterday after we did our numbers I thought that they might close the sector, and then when my companion was talking to the Zone Leaders they said they might end up closing our sector haha.. But that’s what happens when the wards don’t use their missionaries. We’re trying to work with them, but nobody will come to visits with us, nobody sits with the investigatores, and nobody wants to help. Chuzo haha sorry if I sound like I’m complaining. I’m just telling it how it is. Honestly, it’s a really good ward. It’s strong and has good members, but they’re just too rich haha. They don’t believe that their rich neighbors will want to accept the Gospel. So they just don’t try and they leave us without help. But yeah. We’ll see what happens. We won’t have any baptisms this change, but we’re going to pass our goal as a district. And it’s been good because Elder Delgado and I have played a part in 2 or 3 of those baptisms. So we’re seeing sucesses, just not in our ward haha But these next two weeks is when we’re going to work our tails off to keep this sector open, because we don’t want it to be closed.
That was basically my week. My health is doing really well so don’t worry about me. Right now we’re just trying to find new people on our own. And we’re finding. We found 13 last week, it’s just that generally, references from members are the people who get baptized. Every single baptism that I’ve had here in the mission is a reference from a member. So remember that. Give your missionaries references! We love references. Or referrals I think that’s what they’re actually called in English. Prepare your neighbors for the Gospel and you’ll see miracles! This work is so hard, but it’s so worth it!
Anyways. I hope my letters don’t sound too critical or cynical. I just tell it how it is. Thanks for reading, and send me letters! DearElder.com!! It’s so easy and it makes me oh so happy!
Sorry for the brutal letter last week haha I was just upset because people don’t want the truth. I always think about the scriptures that talk about the truth cutting to the very center of the hearts of the wicked. They don’t like the truth because the truth hurts, and it actually requires effort on our part haha.
I just completed 8 months in the mission this last week. Crazy huh. I’ll be home before I know it!
This week we didn’t do much. I got sick again and we did some more blood work, and something finally showed up. He noticed a difference in the white blood cells that I have. So we finally know what’s going on. My body is still recovering from the Swine Flu. So that helps me feel a lot better to know that it’s just me taking a really long time to recover from the Flu. That helps me out a ton mentally. I kinda had a mental break down for a few days when I started getting sick again, because I didn’t want to go back to the state I was in a few months ago. So I talked to President, went to the doctor, and got a lot of stuff figured out. President is just happy that I had two good weeks and then one bad one. The next month he wants just three good weeks and a bad one. I’m going to try to do better than that, but we’ll see. But today I’m doing much better. I still hurt a little, but we’re thinking about getting me some physical therapy and they put me on some drugs again. So that will all help. And my mental state is much better, especially now that I know why my body is so weak and also that I know that my numbers in my blood are better now than they were in December. So it’s all good. I just need to have patience and it will all work out.
Also, we went on a interchange and I went to a different sector and a few members there told me that I speak better spanish than my zone leader, who’s been here for more than a year haha so that made me happy. My spanish is coming along pretty well, so that’s something that makes me feel happy on the days where everything hurts and I feel lke dying haha.
Other than that, nothing much happened this week because I was in the house a lot sleeping and just trying to feel better. I was so tired. I’d sleep 3 or 4 hours a day, and then I’d go right to sleep at night and sleep all the way until the morning, and then sleep some more, and then take a nap again. It was a lot of sleep haha. But yeah. I’m doing well today and this week will be good. So I’m excited.
Thanks for everyone’s prayers and everything! Hope everyone has a great week!
Wow, another week has already gone by. We’re more than halfway through January now! Chuso. I’m going to be home before I know it. I hate thinking that I’ll have to come home some day. The mission is awesome, even though it’s really hard.
My health is doing really well. I’m feeling good, and I just have an occasional day during the week where I’m completely exausted and have to sleep for a few hours haha. The worst part of my sickness is definately over.
In total, I was really sick and feeling bad for one-forth of my mission haha I just realized that the other day. That’s rough. But I’m doing well now.
This week was really good. We had Zone Conference and President Johns talked about the importance of the Great Apostasy. Because without a worldwide apostasy, there would be no need for a restoration of the truth. So that was really cool and Elder Delgado and I have been working on improving the clarity and power of how we teach the Great Apostasy during the first lesson.
We had a really awesome week up until Sunday haha. Nobody came to Church, even though we had talked with everyone and they said they were coming and everything. We should’ve had 7 at Church, and only one came. But the one that came looks like he can progress and get baptized. He’s a 12 year old son of a less active returned missionary that got married to a Catholic. Chuso. I pray that I’ll never go inactive and that I’ll be able to raise my kids in the Gospel. His kids got a Catholic baptizm when they were a baby. What apostasy no? He KNOWS the truth, and he has the power to give a proper baptism. It’s crazy to think that he has fallen so far.. We found out he knew Sister Johns because they were in the mission together. So we might bring her to say hi to him and get him active again. It’s sad, because we go to teach his kids so they can get baptized and so he can get activated, and they don’t even know how to pray, and you can just see the embarrasment and pain on his face because he knows he didn’t do his part. Anyways, the point of that story is that we’re probably going to baptize his two kids, even though I hate baptizing kids because they don’t stay active. We’re going to get him active, baptize his kids, and then work with the wife to get her to stop being so thick headed and give the true Gospel a chance. Sorry if there are any Catholics reading this hahaha I don’t mean to offend. It’s just that you don’t have the truth, plain and simple 🙂 So yeah.
The history of the missonaries in this ward is not very pretty. Of the last 20 or 30 baptisms, all but 4 or 5 were kids under the age of 15, and only about 2 of this kids are active. That’s why I don’t like baptising kids. Any missionary can go and baptise 3 or 4 kids every month if they want. But the point is to find families. Future priesthood holders. Future leaders of the Church. That’s what this work is about. It’s about RETENTION. Because if they don’t stay, what’s the good of a baptism? Enduring to the End is the most important stage of our life, and unfortunately, it’s where the most people fail. I was thinking about the parable of the 10 Virgins. This is a parable about the Church. Not about the world, not about ALL the christian churches, but a parable about the one true church. Half of the members of The Church are not going to make it. It’s sad isn’t it? We need to do all we can to keep ourselves on the path, and then to help other people stay there too.
As Elder Holland always says, “Salvation is not a cheap experience.” It’s hard. And that’s why so many people fail, because the natural man is lazy and pathetic and don’t like to do hard things. So we have to help everyone towards salvation. But we have to remember that everyone has to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Salvation is a personal responsability.
I don’t know why I went off on that little tangant haha but it’s just what I was thinking. It’s so hard to see all these inactive members that we try to visit and try to help and we try to complete their families through baptism so that they can go through the temple together and be an eternal family.. and it’s so hard when they don’t want it.
That’s what makes the mission hard. We’re working to help people find salvation, and they just don’t want it, due to the teachings of malicious priests who preach anti-mormon doctrine instead of the doctrine of Christ.
There are a lot of Jehovas Witnesses here, and there is this one lady who always answers the door of a family that we’re trying to find and she always says “They’re not here” and then we go call them and they are there. Such hypocracy. I love how people don’t live like Christ, but call themselves Christians. I’m not saying that the Saints are perfect either. But at least we try.
Chuso haha I’m just going off on rants today aren’t I. I really hope I don’t offend anyone or sound like I hate any of these people or groups. I just get frustrated because people are so blinded by lies.
But that’s why we find by the Spirit, so those who aren’t so blinded can find the truth.
I should probably stop writing haha.
I love this work, and that is why I am getting so emotional about it haha. Anyways. I hope you all find yourselves well and are living the Gospel and recieveing the blessings that God wants to give you. Love you all and hope you all have an awesome week!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
This week flew by. I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through January already haha.
So Elder Delgado and I are doing awesome. I’m getting to know the sector and some of the members and it’s going really well. We’ve also found some really good investigatores and a good family. We should have 4 baptisms this change, so I’m way way excited! We found a family that just moved here from Peru, and Elder Delgado is from Peru, and then we took them to the house of a family in the ward that is from Peru.
So everyone is just having a blast being Peruvian haha but what’s important is that the family now has a social base with the Church members and they came to church without anyone passing by or anything. So that was cool. The dad is a less active, who got baptized when he was 12 and then never went back to church. So we’re going to try to baptize his wife and his 8 year old son and then activate him. The ward says this is the first family of investigadors that they’ve had in 3 years.
Unfortunatley, practically all of the baptisms that this ward has had for a long time have been kids, and they’re pretty much all inactive now. So the ward doesn’t trust the missionaries. The missionaries that were here before Elder Petersen (my companion in the MTC), Elder Delgado and I were all really disobedient, so the ward pretty much doesn’t trust in us at all. We have a few good friends, but the rest don’t want anything to do with us. We even have the Stake President in our sector and he doesn’t want to talk with us.
So now I know why I’m here. I learned a lot from Elder Willett, my trainer, about building trust with the members. So I’m going to put that knowledge to work and get the trust of ALL the members. If we do that, the work will go so much better. So I just pray that I’ll be staying here for 6 months so I can get to work. I don’t know if they’re just thinking of keeping me here for 1 change or what, but I hope I don’t leave. It’s going to be really challenging to get the trust of the ward, and I know that it still won’t all be fixed by the time I leave if I am here for 6 months, but I just want to get it started. So I’m excited haha because I know why I got put here in this sector.
If any returned missionaries have any good sugestions for gaining the trust of members, let me know.
And my health is doing well. I’m working every day now and I feel good. Sometimes I get really tired, but I take a quick nap and I’m good to go. So I’m really happy to be out working and feeling good. I’m way excited for this change and for this area. It will be way fun and hard haha but that’s the way I like it.
Elder Delgado has an awesome way to get people to listen to our message. If we do a contact and find out that they’re really catholic and active, we talk about Family History. Sometimes they invite us in for a lesson and we talk about the family history center and how they can research their ancestors completely free and print everything off for free and everything. There is a part of Preach My Gospel that talks about using family history to find new people and I never really read it much haha but our building here in the sector is a family history center, so we use it a lot and help people find their ancestors, and then we come in with the purpose of family history work and the Restauration of the Gospel. It’s way tight because it gets you in the door of people who otherwise would just slam it in your face. So we’re finding a bunch of new investigatores that way and it gives them a chance to feel the Spirit that is with us and makes them more receptive to the Gospel. So that’s really fun to do. I love working with Elder Delgado and I’m learning a bunch of Spanish, because he is fluent in English and knows the words when I ask him. It’s a huge sector that has a lot of potential. So I’m excited to be here and to work hard and have success.
It’s started to rain a ton now. Luckly, I’m in a rich and developed part of Guayaquil so the streets don’t flood. In my first sector, they’re walking around with water up to their knees because there is no drainage system. But it rains pretty much every day now, and it rains HARD. It’s pretty cool. Elder Delgado has holes in his shoes though. But luckly I have some rubber shoe covers that he can use to keep the water out. But the thing is that they are HUGE and he looks like a clown haha. Because latins don’t have big feet. And I do. So it’s funny to see him walking around with huge feet. He’s way cool. He went to BYU-Provo, but now has to go to BYU-Hawaii when he gets home, but then he’s going to transfer back to Provo. So I’ll see him when I get home! He’s going to go home in Elder Austin’s group, and they leave this July. Crazy that Elder Austin is almost going home. We’re in the same Zone so we see each other a few times a week, which is way cool. He’s District Leader haha so that’s really cool. He’s doing well and it’s really fun to talk to him in Spanish. It will be even more fun to have Spanish-only parties once everyone gets home from their mission hahaha.
Anyways, I don’t really have anything else to write.
Hope everyone is doing awesome and are enjoying the year 2010!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer