¡Bienvenidos de Ecuador!
The campout sounded fun haha it seems like it rains every single year. The toldo that I have doesn’t do the best job because I’m tall, so my feet touch the sides of the toldo at night so I keep getting bit on my ankles hahaha
That’s cool that you’re going to start working a lot Mom. I’m sure you can keep the house together. Just make everyone keep their stuff clean. If everyone takes care of their own mess, it’s much easier to keep stuff clean. That’s something I wish the other Elders in my house would learn haha.
The temple trip sounds fun! And it only took 2 of us to change a lightbulb, but they never got it fixed so basically we did nothing.
And don’t worry about the bars and stuff on the buildings. It’s just what everything has in Ecuador. There are no doornobs because the doors are always locked and everything. We have a big fence around our house, then bars, and then a sturdy door haha. But the cane houses don’t really have much protection. We have a few converts that live over the river in cane shacks. You have to walk on a skinny bridge over the water to the house. It’s so poor here. Every day I’m thankful to have a home in the United States. If someone is able to make over $300 dollars a month then they are rich. They use the US dollar but everything is a little bit cheaper here.
One thing I love about Ecuador is the soda. They have this awesome soda called Manzana that is an apple flavored bebida gaseosa. And we drink sooo much Coke. I love it haha. The food is pretty good too. I’m learning to just eat everything. I bought the cheap corn flakes last week in the store and they were disgusting, so I’m just going to start buying american cereal even though it costs a little bit more. We are given 170 dollars a month. We don’t pay rent or utilities or anything, so it’s just for food, transportation, to pay our mamasita for laundry, and other minor expenses.
We got to go to the temple today with our rama! It was sweet. Elder Willett and I did conformations for 2 hours. I got to do them in Spanish and I also got to mark the little papers they have for the temple names hahaha. Also, I confirmed Joseph Smith!! haha It was cool. The name Joseph Smith came up and I almost started laughing in the middle of it. We had an old temple worker there with us who totally butchared the English names. We had about 20 names in a row that were from England, and he could not say them at all. I bet everyone from the States sounds the same way to Latinos haha. I love the temple here. It’s so nice, especially after living and working in the Guasmo. See if you can look up El Guasmo on google or something and read about where I live haha.
Did I tell you about the Mosquito? It’s an area in my sector that was home to all the assassins that lived in Ecuador about 5 or 10 years ago. But they’ve cleaned it up now so it’s only drug dealers and drunks. We have a few converts there that we visit and the drunks always yell “Hey you mister!” because that’s the only English they know. Ah. Ecuador is so awesome. The people are great and they just give and give even though they have nothing. Every day we get so much food that I feel sick and ready to puke. We get a big soup and then a huge plate of rice and chicken.
If you want to know what it’s like to be a missionary (on a day where all our visits fall through) do the following:
Wake up at 6:30 and take a COLD shower. Absolutely no heat at all. Then eat some cereal for breakfast, change and get ready for the day, then study the Scriptures for 2 hours. Then go outside and walk around in the sun all day. For lunch you have a huge bowl of soup made of chicken, potatoes, and all the vegitables you can think of. Then get a plate and make rice. Fill the whole plate with rice and make a huge mountain. Then boil some chicken and put it on top. Then pour yourself a big glass of Coke and eat. Then walk around in the sun for the rest of the day, without dinner. Go home at 9:30, plan the next day, get ready for bed and go to sleep. That’s about it! It’s pretty intense haha but I love it. It’s even better when you have 4 or 5 visits in one day!
A few of our investigatores have run into problems. Martin is doing much better and has stoped drinking since we last checked. He just needs to go to church and he’ll be good. But yesterday was his birthday so his parents came so he might have ended up drinking. We’ll see. And José Luis ran into a little problem too, which hopefully he’ll resolve. Neither of them went to church, so we’re really focusing on getting them to church next week.
We had a way awesome contact yesterday! We went to teach someone we talked to on the street, but he wasn’t there. His older brother, who is studying engineering in the university, answered the door and looked eager to get rid of us because he had to study. But we gave a little message and we testified that we have a living prophet on the earth today. When we said that he said “You have a prophet!?” and then he was really curious. He asked us why two gringos were in Ecuador preaching, and we told him that we were sent here by a prophet of the Lord through inspiration. So it was really awesome and he wanted us to come back next Saturday. I’m really excited to teach him, so we’ll see how that goes.
We get to go to the temple tomorrow and do a session with the Zone. I’m a little scared because I don’t completely understand Spanish yet haha but it’s okay. Every day I understand more and more and speak a little bit better. I’m really trying to improve my accent, and when I talk to people they don’t really seem to notice that I’m really scared to screw up haha. Spanish is awesome. Although the Hymns are much better in English. They don’t really even say the same things in Spanish! But it’s fun to sing with Elder Willett when we start lessons. We always try to sing before a lesson because a song brings the Spirit way fast. I’m learning how to sing the alto part pretty well now, but I think I forgot how to sing bass haha.
The Jehovas Witnesses and Evangelicos are really funny to talk to here. They don’t like letting us talk. Everyone here is scared of us, because deep down I think they know that we have the truth. I was reading 1st Nephi 13 (amazing chapter with SWEET prophecies) and it was talking about the Bible losing plain and precious truths, and how people would be blinded and in the power of the devil because they are clinging to the not-complete bible. I don’t remember the verse, but it’s the first verse on the left page when you turn the page in the chapter. It’s a cool prophesy, but also a sad one too. People close their hearts because they don’t believe in new scripture. They spend so much time reading about the people who rejected the prophets and they can’t even see that they are doing the exact same thing! It makes me sad because they’d be so much happier with the gospel.
Prepare neighbors and friends for the Gospel and then give the missionaries a referral. Our best investigatores always come from referrals. If you have missionaries in your ward USE THEM.
Oh we ran into someone from Utah serving a temple mission. He has a son in Meridian, on Ustick and Black Cat, so he might be in Jennica’s ward. His last name is Rigby and he has a dentist practice in Boise. Elder Willett ran into the family of the first person he trained in the mission while we were in the temple. The family lives in Northern Guayaquil and their son went to the Guayaquil South mission haha. He says he always meets someone he knows or someone that knows someone he knows in the temple. It’s pretty cool.
I think I’ve only worn sunscreen once since I’ve been here. And I’ve only been burned once. It’s pretty cool haha but I probably should start wearing sunscreen and all that.
I don’t really know what else to write. The mission is awesome. I wish I would have studied the scriptures and Preach My Gospel more before my mission though. Make sure to use it every family home evening so Tanner and Dylan and Zach can be much better missionaries than me! Also, a cool thing that I started is that I’m reading the Book of Mormon in English, and studying one chapter a day. Like REALLY studying it. Mi Libro de Mormón is so marked up now haha it’s awesome. You find so much cool stuff that you didn’t really know was there. My goal is to know where to find every major story and point of doctrine once I finish el Libro de Mormón. It’s a really cool study, and only takes about 8 months to finish. Once I finish that I’m going to move on and do it for the New Testament. The Libro de Mormón and the New Testament are what we use most in teaching.
I love the mission, and I can’t believe I’m already in my 4th week of the change! I had a dream that I was coming home and it was really sad. I couldn’t remember any of my mission and I kept saying “I didn’t finish! I don’t remember it!” and everyone said I did. I couldn’t really speak Spanish either so I knew that I must have come home early or something. I was sad, because I don’t want to come home early. They don’t do extensions though because of visas and stuff, so that made me a little sad to find out. I also had a dream that I was fighting pirates though, so my dreams are a little sporatic and weird.
Be thankful that you have the Gospel in your life and that you live in a huge house that isn’t full of dust, bugs, and heat. Ecuador is awesome, but none of you really know how lucky you have it to live in the States. Share the Gospel with everyone! This Gospel is the best. You can see something different in the members that live the gospel and those people you see on the street that don’t have the Gospel. It really changes people’s lives and brings happiness and joy.
Well, I think I’m done writing this novel.
I don’t really miss any of you, but I love you all!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer