I got my travel plans yesterday!! I leave the MTC at 3:00 AM on Monday July 20th to catch a flight out of Salt Lake at 6:00. We fly to Dallas, getting there at 9:30, then fly out of Dallas at 11:00 to Miami, where we will arrive at 3:00. Then at 5:15 we leave for Guayaquil! We will arrive at 8:30 Ecuador time. So it will be a long and exciting day! Only 10 more days!
One bit of sad news… Elder Petersen’s knee has been acting up, and they found out that bone is rubbing against bone. He has to stay in the MTC for an extra two weeks, so he’ll be leaving August 3rd. It’s dumb. Now there are only six of us traveling together to Ecuador. But he’ll only be two weeks behind, which will actually give him lots of time to practice his Spanish more! He’s not too upset about it, so he’ll use the extra time well and be fine!
So yesterday we committed to go español ALL the time. I had been speaking mostly Spanish up until now, but now I’m quitting English. The only English words I now say are when I’m asking how to say it in Spanish. The first day I did that was WAY hard. I LEARNED TO ROLL MY R’S!!! I still can’t really put the rolled r’s in my words, but my tongue flutters now! I’m so excited haha I worked on it so hard yesterday, which made my mouth exausted. I could hardly speak any more Spanish by the end of last night. Also, yesterday way the first day that my mind was mentally exausted, which was cool. It’s because I did all my studying, all my speaking, and all my thinking in Spanish. It’s sooo hard but so worth it. I’m already improving faster than normal. I should’ve quit English completely three weeks ago. I’d be a native by now haha.
Oh and on Wednesday, our district got to help welcome the new missionaries. The new process is way different. They pull up, get out of the car and hug and take a picture and then the family is gone. It takes about 3 minutes total. Then the older missionaries take the newbies and show them their room and help them get to a certain building. It was pretty fun. I stood in the sun the whole time though so I got a little sunburnt. But it’s okay because I need to get used to the sun. I’m glad I got to go to the “crying room” or whatever they called it back then instead of this new process.
It’s really cool because we’re the oldest district now. Elder Johnson and Elder Thayne are the zone leaders, so it’s pretty sweet. There are some Elders that are two weeks older than us that are still here because they didn’t get their visas to Mexico, and we’ll probably leave before they do, which is not fun for them.
I’m still 12 pounds heavier than when I entered the MTC. I’ve been trying to work it off, but it just seems to stay! I ride a stationary bike at least 3 times a week and play soccer 3 times a week, but I can get rid of my fat haha. But underneath my 12 pounds of fat I am developing an awesome six pack haha I do at least 250 to 300 situps a day. As soon as I wake up, during gym, and before I go to sleep. It’s pretty sweet. I’m going to try to stay in shape my whole mission so I can come home and not be fat. Also so I can serve the Lord more effectively in Ecuador by keeping myself in top shape.
Wow, 15 more minutes to write. I ran out of things to say on my list. We talked to two natives of Guayaquil this week! It was awesome. The Guayaquil accent is pretty hard to understand though. And also, the Guayaquil South mission is the poor side of the city. They said that we’re likely to get 40 to 50 each during our 2 years. I’m shooting for 100. It’s a lofty goal, but I know that if I stay exactly obedient and stretch myself, the Lord will bless me and guide me to the people who are ready to hear the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to waste a single second on my mission. Every day that I slack off is going to cause me to lose opportunities to bring souls to Christ. I want to always keep my “greenie fire” and stay animated for the work. They said the peopel in Guayaquil are extremely humble and ready to hear the Gospel, so I’m way excited to get there!
This next week is the last week to send me letters at the MTC. If you don’t get them sent by Wednesday, send them to my mission instead since I’ll be leaving on Monday. My address for my mission should be on the same blog as this email is posted.
This week was really awesome. Studying the Gospel only in Spanish is really difficult, but I get a lot out of it since I go slower than normal. I’m working on marking up my Spanish scriptures and finding great scriptures that talk about every kind of subject. The scriptures are so awesome, especially the Book of Mormon. But right now, my favorite chapter is John 14. I think I have half of the scriptures in that chapter marked. I think I could teach the first 3 lessons only from that chapter. It’s so awesome.
Study Preach My Gospel as a family! It’s the best. I would encourage everyone to study with it every day, especially the Lessons. There are so many awesome scriptures and teachings. I’ve found that about half of Preach My Gospel was taken from the Bible Dictionary, and the other half was written by Brother Bott haha. Brother Bott is the best. I don’t think there has been one day where I haven’t thought about what he said, or when I haven’t seen something he taught us in Preach My Gospel. It’s an inspired book. They actually call it a “workbook” because they expect it to be marked up and full of notes. Use it every day. It helps EVERYONE become a better missionary, even if you haven’t been on a mission or you’re too old to go. Look at the parts that talk about how to work with members. It has great ideas that can help you fellowship others and bring them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well, I best be going. My time is almost out. Thanks for the letters and packages from everyone!
This Gospel is true, Jesus is the Christ, and we can live together as families forever. The Gospel brings more happiness than anything in the world. I would know; when I ignored this Gospel for a time, my life wasn’t nearly as happy or as good as when I’ve been living the true Gospel of Christ. Just decide to live it, and it’s easy to live. This Gospel brings true, lasting happiness. I know it’s true. I’ve felt the Holy Ghost testify of the truth. Joseph Smith is a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. And this is the only Church on the face of the earth that has the authority to act in God’s name and to perform the ordinances necessary to salvation. It’s so amazing. This is all true.
Elder Lane D. Sawyer