Two baptisms!

August 25, 2009

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Buenas!

We had two baptisms this Saturday! It was awesome! Elder Willett baptised both of the daughters. We’re still waiting for the parents to complete their goals so they can get baptized, but they will be baptized. We just have to wait for a little while. They are such an amazing family! They’re going to be a big help to the branch. The baptism was way cool. It was good to finally see the fruits of our labors. I have pictures but I forgot the cable today. I’ll send them next week.

This week turned out pretty decent as well. José Luis is going to be baptized the 19th now, and he and his wife are going to Church regularly now without us having to pick them up so that’s really cool.

Erica lost her baptism date because she didn’t go to Church because she didn’t wake up. I don’t like having church at 8 in the morning just for this reason. If I could hardly get out of bed to go to church in the morning with an active family in the Gospel, how is a 19 year old girl supposed to get up and go. We’re going to work with her this week and teach her family and get them excited for Church and everything. But she really likes the Gospel and we’re hoping she’ll be baptized fairly soon.

We found some other pretty good investigators as well, but we need to find a lot this last week of the change. I want Elder Willett to have more than four baptisms his last change.

Ecuador is still awesome! I’m understanding the people much better. I still can’t understand anything that the black people say haha but other than that I’m understanding a lot. I’m also speaking pretty well I guess. We had interviews with President Johns this week, and Hermana Johns was quizing us on our scripture memorization. She asked me to recite a scripture from the change before I got here because she had thought I had been here for two changes because I was speaking well haha.

The interview with President was awesome. He’s way cool and knows everything about the Gospel. I wish I got to talk with him more often, because he is just incredible. Maybe I will someday haha a lot of the missionaires have told me that I’m going to be the next Secretary in the office. The Secretary is always a gringo because they have to know English to call the parents of those Gringos that are going home. And since I have computer skills everyone keeps saying that I’m going to be the next one. Either me or Elder Thayne, my friend from BYU.

Also, everyone says I’m going to the Galapagos Islands. They are opening a second sector in the Galapagos so there will be two companionships there, which is way cool. The work is moving forward!

Wow I can’t believe summer break is already over for all of you! I can’t believe I’ve been on the mission for three months either. Time flies here. Two years is not enough time to save souls.

We went bowling today, which was fun but I did terrible. The only time I got a strike or a spare was when Elder Willett was taking a picture of me. He only took two pictures. Haha. But it was fun. I heard so many cheezy 80s music and stuff like that today in the mall haha like “Take on Me” and a ton of other stuff. The people in Ecuador love that music for some crazy reason haha. Everyone is always playing music here. I don’t think I’ve had a single moment of silence while in Ecuador, except for when we were in the Temple. AH. The temple here is amazing. Especially for those who live in Ecuador, because it’s just incredible. I wish we got to go more often, but it’s okay because we’re called to serve and save the living!

I’m loving the mission, and everything is going great! The only thing I wish I had was more time. More time to study and more time preach. One hour of personal study a day is not nearly enough.

Hope everything is going great and that everyone enjoyed their summer!

Les amo,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer


One Month in Ecuador!?

August 18, 2009

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Can you believe I’ve been in Ecuador for one month already!?!? I’m going to be home before I know it. I was in the middle of writing a huge letter, and I was just about to save it just in case anything happened and then the browser shut down! I was a little upset because it was a good letter. But I’m just writing a fast version now for all to enjoy!

Here is the coolest experience I’ve had so far on the mission.

Elder Willett and I were walking last Wednesday, when all of the sudden he was hungry. Ususally we don’t eat dinner but we’re never hungry so it was a little weird. We go out to the main streen and start heading north towards a pizza stand, but then we felt like we should get salchipapas instead (hot dogs and french fries smothered in mayo and kechup). So we’re just walking down the street discussing the day when a 19 year old girl starts talking to us right behind the Church building. SHE contacted US. Sweet right? She said “I want to go to your Church.” So we were like “Yeah sweet! Let’s talk!” So we walk over near the building and start talking with her. Her name is Erica and her father just passed away three days before she contacted us. She said her father believed in God, but didn’t go to any church. She wanted to know what happened to her dad after this life so she went to a bunch of churches. The Evangelicos told her that her father went to hell. The Catholics said he was suffering in purgatory. But she said she always wanted to go to our church but has never been able to find it open, because we only have church on Sunday mornings, unlike the Evangelicos who have rock concerts every night. (Not really rock concerts though, they’re missing an electric guitar, which really makes me sad because it would sound SO much better, but they’re the wrong church either way so it doesn’t really matter does it? haha)

So we told her that her dad is in the Spirit World and explained a little bit about the Church and everything and set a cita for the next day. We taught her in the church building and showed her the movie “Juntos para siempre” I think it’s called Together Forever in English, I don’t know. We taught her where her dad was and that he was waiting for the gospel. She really liked the church building, the movie, our hyms, and the lesson.

We got to teach her again Saturday, which was a cool lesson. I taught it without Elder Willett because we went on exchanges with the members. It was only my second time doing exchanges and I had never had a lesson without Elder Willett before so I was really scared haha Especially because Erica speaks really softly so I don’t understand her much. But I was with Juan Carlos, my best friend in the ward. He’s my translator haha he translates Spanish into “Spanish Made Easy!” It’s actually really cool. I can understand him really well because he speaks slowly and clearly for me. He’s way awsome and is going on the mission soon. He’s 23 and knows Preach My Gospel forwards and backwards so he’s a real help.

Anyways, we taught Erica the first lesson and she had lots of questions and was really interested. At times I got lost on what we were talking about haha but we did in in the house of an exmisionera (returned missionary) and an awesome older member, Hermana Eva. They both helped me teach the lesson. They’re two of the strongest women in the branch so it was really helpful with them and Juan Carlos. I guess I didn’t understand super well though because aparantly she had been reading the Book of Mormon a little and felt really good about it all and I should have extened a baptism date. But it’s okay. We’re doing that Wednesday.

But it was an awesome lesson and she liked it. And she went to church the next day and really really enjoyed it. I really hope she gets baptised and that her mom and two younger brothers might listen to us too. We need to go teach them so they can have the comfort of the Gospel.

Ah, so much more happened this week, but I lost my letter. I’ll write a little bit more.

Haha I had to clean the bathroom today. That was fun. But we’re lucky because we have a nice bathroom. And the chapel has a nice bathroom too. I think our house and the church are the only nice bathrooms in all of Ecuador haha.

But I love Ecuador! I’m starting to get over my germaphobia. I can drink from the same glass as someone else now, so I’m really progressing! I still hate getting my hands dirty and not washing them as soon as possible though, so I’ll work on that next haha. I love the mission!

We’re having two baptisms Saturday and will probably have one more the next week, which is the last week of the change. We’ll end up getting 3, and our goal was 6. We would have reached our goal but some people refuse to get married. When someone isn’t married Elder Willett always asks people “How long have you been together?” and they say usually over 5 years or so. He then asks them if they love their spouse, and if they say yes he says something to the effect of “If you REALLY loved your spouse you would have been married 5 years ago.” SLAM.
But it’s our duty to call people to repentence, which is always cool, but people usually get offended because they don’t feel like accepting the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. AH. Why do people reject the TRUE CHURCH. That’s why we have to find the chosen and prepared.

I love being a missionary and testifying that we have the truth. It’s the best!

Hope everything is going well in the States! Everything is awesome in Ecuador and the work is going forward!

Les amo,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
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August 11, 2009

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¡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!

Te amo,
Elder Lane D. SawyerP1000180


August 4, 2009

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¡Buenas!

My week was pretty good! The language comes more and more each day, and we're finding some pretty good investigatores. I don't think we're going to reach our goal of 6 this change because two of our investigatores are most likely losing their baptismal date because her husband won't marry her because he doesn't want her to change religions. That's a loving husband, psh. It's really frustrating when people are stupid like that. Ah. But Celimo y Fransico and their two daughters will be baptized in the next few weeks, and we found a part member family and we're going to baptize the husband. It's pretty awesome. So I know we'll get AT LEAST 3 baptizms this change, which is pretty good. We just need to do a better job at finding.

The heat isn't bad at all, I just ignore it and it goes away, it's pretty cool. Oh, and I'm going to send lots of pictures today because I have a fast connection! You can put whatever ones you want on my blog.
Elder Willett said that the apartment we're in is the nicest one he's ever had in the mission. We didn't clean it for the pictures, and it's MUCH dirtier than it looks. It's dusty everywhere and yeah. I use the toldo (mosquito net) to keep me from dying from all the mosquito bites.

We had almost 80 show up for sacrament yesterday, which was way exciting. The branch is really working together a lot more and people are being more active and everything. Our branch president is pretty good at helping us out, and his wife is way good with working with us. There are only 5 or 6 people that have leadership positions in the branch, so we just work with them and then encourage other members to come when they can and whatnot.

We went and did service at the temple today! It was way cool. Elder Willett and I got to go inside and change a lightbulb kinda. We mostly just moved the lift around so the worker could fix it, but it was really cool to get to go inside the temple. We get to go do a sesson next week actually. The missionaries in Guayaquil get to go to the temple every other change, so you actually can go quite a lot if you are in Guayaquil!

Hope everyone is doing great! The mission is awesome. I'm so excited for the next few weeks.
Oh, and I think I'm actually gaining even more weight. The members stuff me full of rice every single day. I’m starting to look a little chubby in my pictures haha

Love,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
Lane's bed