>So this Christmas was the first one I spent away from home, and it was pretty crazy. I have a few fun stories to tell haha.
I’m still here in the office, but I’m getting better and stronger every day. I’m going to be able to leave at the end of this transfer and go out and work so I’m really happy. This transfer ends January 3rd, so I’ll get to rest up and get better up until then. That gives me one more week of being bored and recovering in the office. Yay.
Here they start celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve and they just party until 5 in the morning on Christmas. So Christmas really isn’t even a big day. Just Christmas Eve. So Christmas Eve is when we had all the dinner appointments and stuff. We had two dinners, so that was cool. We ate turkey and ham. It was sooo nice to see those meats again. It’s been forever. They pretty much only eat chicken here haha. But yeah. I was with Elder Thayne, who is my buddy from BYU, and the Assistant to the President. So Elder Zuniga, the Assistant, calls President Johns to ask if we can stay out late haha but he let us stay out, and we got home at 10:30. So that was tight. We ate so much and we were all sick by the time we got home. So my Christmas Eve was pretty sweet. We went to bed way late, because yeah, we’re the office and we just do that hahaha it’s funny. But we always get up at 6:30 like we’re supposed to.
But we woke up late on Christmas because nobody heard the alarm haha everyone woke up around 7:30. But anyways, for Christmas we did a secret Santa game with all the Elders in the office. I got Elder Zuniga’s name, the Assistant to the President, and he got my name as well haha but we didn’t know until we did the gifts of course. But we each bought each other a Manchester United jersey, and we almost bought the exact same ones. I almost got him the one he gave me. So that was funny. He also bought me sandles, which I really needed because my others ones were falling apart, and he gave me some chocolate. I felt bad because I didn’t get to leave the office to shop as much as everyone else because they want me to stay in as much as possible, so I didn’t get to finish my shopping, so he got me way more than I got him. But then I was able to give him a ton of my american candy, which I love more than life itself, to him, because he had never had ANY of it. So that felt really good to give that to him and let him have the amazing experience of eating GOOD candy. Honestly, nothing compares to american candy. There is some good stuff down here, but there are no Mike and Ikes, Butterfingers, NADA. So that was cool. We all traded gifts and then got ready to go upstairs to the office and call our families!! Woohoo!
That was an ordeal. Everybody’s family wanted to call at the same time it seemed, and there are only 4 lines here in the office. So my family had a fun time trying to reach me haha but they finally got through. It was cool to talk to them after 5 months. I only have to wait 5 more months until the next phone call! Yay. So everyone called their families and we had fun doing that and laughing at the people who cried and we just chilled and ate candy and didn’t do much because everything was closed and the office Elders couldn’t do a lot of their work because it was Christmas.
This computer has a virus. It puts a virus onto your USB stick and onto your camera. So I was trying to send Christmas pictures, and I got a few sent off, but in the end I had to erase all the pictures on my camera. That was really terrible. But the cool thing is I made a backup CD of all my photos about 2 weeks ago. So I didn’t lose much. But it was scary. I almost lost everything. So yeah. I don’t like the people who make viruses. But I taped up the USB ports on this computer so nobody else can fall victum to it’s terrible virus. It’s a nasty virus too. I did a little research because I’m going to try to get it off of here, and it’s a really really nasty virus. It’s called the Recycler Virus, and it exploits the autoboot function of peripheral devices. So whenever you stick in a USB stick, camera, or anything it throws the virus on there and basically destroys your ability to access anything on there, unless you are on the computer that first gave you the virus. So it got on my pen drive and camera, but I just formated them on someone elses computer and it went away. And it’s really hard to get off of the computer. So I’m pretty sure that President Johns will give me this as my next task to complete. I’m not excited. Viruses are no fun. So yeah. I still got my pictures so it’s all good. Just a little frustrating. And of course it had to happen on Christmas haha.
But after that, we went to the sector. I went with the Elders who work in downtown Guayaquil. The city was DESERTED. It was crazy. There was nothing open, except the Chifa, which is chineese food and it was open because they don’t speak Spanish so nobody told them it was Christmas haha. Nah, so we ate there and then went tracting. We went into a large apartment complex with about 6 floors, and the elevator broke and kicked us out on the third floor so we had to walk the rest of the way, which was killer to my legs haha ah. It’s really frustrating sometimes to feel so weak, but whatever. I’m getting better. So we went up and the member wasn’t there, so we went back down. And when we got to the bottom we had a huge surprise! The door was locked and we were trapped in the building. I felt like I was in a zoo haha because people would walk by and see 3 missionaries sitting behind some bars just waiting. So we just sat there and talked and hoped someone would pass by. Finally after about 30 minutes someone came and unlocked the door! We were getting a little scared that nobody would come and that we’d be there for hours haha. So after that we just walked around Guayaquil trying to contact references. But nobody wanted anything because it’s Christmas. We were trying to get in the door just to sing a Christmas song, and they still wouldn’t even let us in. I hope they feel guilty for rejecting a little bit of Christmas spirit later haha the world really has turned Christmas into X-mas now hasn’t it. Unfortunatly, we can’t do that little trick in Spanish. But we, as Latter-day Saints should do just the oposite and remember that the Spirit of Christmas is really the Spirit of Christ, like President Monson said. But yeah, we just walked for 2 hours and I actually didn’t feel to terrible. So that was a good little test to let me know that my health is improving.
And that was my Christmas. Not very exciting, but yeah. It was sweet.
That’s basically all that’s going on. Not much happens here in the office. I see Elder Austin all the time, so that’s sweet. I sent a picture of me and him home, so that’ll be posted probably.
I’m just ready to leave the office and go have my own sector with my own companion. I can’t believe that the year is already over. Time goes by was too fast. Anyways, I’m going to go because I have no idea on what else to talk about.
Love you all, have a great New Years!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer</a
>So this Christmas was the first one I spent away from home, and it was pretty crazy. I have a few fun stories to tell haha.
Here is a blog from the mission. This has pictures of all the missionaries in their Zones from a few months ago. So I’m in Puerto Nuevo. Hope you enjoy the blog!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
So this week was pretty much like last week, except in some aspects worse haha. So fun. But I’m just here chilling in the office until I get better. I just went “home” to the Guasmo and packed up all my stuff and left. I’m not going back to Las Exclusas. So that was kinda sad. We drove through my sector on the way out, and I started crying haha. I didn’t realize how attached I was to that sector until I left. I loved working there. But now I’m here in the office. Here’s a little bit on what my life is like.
First, we wake up at 6:30 and then we usually fall back to sleep until 7 or so, because we were up late working in the office the night before. We get up and go sit down for another hour just dozing. Then we bathe and get ready, then sometimes we study or plan for the day, then we head up to the office. Once we get to the office we start working. I have the job of inputting all the data from all the missionaries into a new database that the Church just made, so that’s a whole lot of fun. But that’s my job. We have the Sectretary, who is my friend from BYU; there is the Financial Secretary, who was in my Book of Mormon class at BYU and we talked all the time, so that was weird finding out I knew him, and then we have the Historian who deals with all the inputting of information of baptisms into the Church data base and also writes the history of the mission, and then there is the person who does all the mail and provides things for houses and everything. We also have the two Assistants to the President, but now there is only one because a ton of people are going home 3 weeks early so that they can be home for Christmas, so one Assistant left and became a Zone leader. So we all live together in an awesome house with air conditioning. It’s sweet. I’m actually cold when I wake up in the morning. I love it.
So we all do our jobs all day. We go to the mall and eat, then come back and work some more. Then around 6 sometimes we get to leave to go preach. After preaching sometimes we come back and work some more in the office. I’m not excited for the last week of this change, because everyone is in the office all day and usually leaves around 1 or 2 at night because we have to get everything ready for the new missionaries and get the old ones sent home and everything. So yeah. I just chill here on my rolly chair rolling around to stay off my legs and try to rest. It’s pretty fun, but also frustrating because I don’t feel a ton like a missionary now because I haven’t been out in the streets much in what seems like forever.
So yeah. I’ve gotten to leave a couple times to preach. Which isn’t good for my health as I found out just two days ago. We left and got to the sector around 6 at night, and we walked and talked with people until 8, had a lesson, then headed home. At the end of about 2 hours of walking, I had a headache, felt like throwing up, and my body hurt, mostly my back, legs and knees. Two hours of walking. It shouldn’t be like that. So now they’re trying really hard to keep me in the office and out of the streets, which is what needs to happen even though I don’t like it. The thing is, I get fatigued just to walk up the 3 flights of stairs to the office. My muscles get sore in just that minute that it takes to go upstairs. Something’s wrong haha. So yeah.. I got to talk to President Johns, and they’re doing everything they can to figure this out. I had some extensive blood work done, so they’re going to review that really well. I had other exams done and they all came out clean. So right now we’re not sure what’s going on. But it’s all good. We’ll figure it out. I’m going to the doctor again on Monday, so we’ll see. But we have the Church offices in Bogota, Colombia working on this too. The area medical advisor for the Area South America Northwest is also reviewing my stuff, and they’re talking with Salt Lake to try to figure it out. I think they’re looking at the health of all the missionaries that had Swine Flu in the MTC to find any links to that. So that’s what the mission and the Church are doing for me. It’s pretty cool to know.
I’ve also been scared that I’ll have to come home if we don’t figure this out. But President Johns told me the process for sending missionaries home for medical reasons is really long and they haven’t even thought about even thinking about starting it. So that’s not even close to an option right now. So that helped my fears go away. The process to go home for a medical reason is insane. Here are the people who have to approve it. President Johns, his medical advisor, the area medical advisor, and finally a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. So it’s a pretty big thing. So pretty much for sure they are just going to try to treat me here and then I’ll get better. So no worries haha the only way I’m coming home for this is basically if I’m dying and they can’t figure out what’s wrong haha.
So basically I’m just a little extra helper that can accompany the missionaries anywhere they need to go, which helps everyone get their jobs done much faster and efficiently. So it’s not like I’m being completely useless. And it’s fun to get to know the staff of the office and especially the assistants to the President. It’s funny to see them all the time and realize they’re just like us regular missionaries, and not some kind of super missionaries that are insanely awesome. They’re just like us, but they just have responsibilities that the rest of us don’t. So that’s fun to live here in the office. We always are hungry though because we don’t have much money. You’d think the office would be loaded because they can just ask for more money from the financiero, but they can’t because it’s the Lord’s money so we can’t be living the high life and be loaded. We just have to be poor like every other missionary haha
So I got kicked off the computer because the nurses wanted to use their laptop haha, so I lost my train of thought. But yeah.. There isn’t much else going on here except people are all getting switched around midway through the change because so many people are leaving a few weeks early for Christmas, so that’s fun.
Also, remember to send green sticker packages when you send stuff. Don’t ask for it to get there faster, because that makes it get there slower. Haha it means I have to go pick it up in person and pay for it. So it’s cheaper and faster to use the cheaper and slower service. That makes no sense, but yeah. Just keep packages light and send them as slow as possible. Thanks!
Maybe I’ll write more later today. It’s the birthday of an Elder here in the office so we might be going to Chiles to eat, or some other sweet restaurant that I haven’t been to in forever because I’ve been in the Guasmo where there are shootings and death and no American food. Haha. Love the office, but I’m anxious to get healed and get back out into the sector!
Hope everyone is having a lovely December! It’ll be Christmas by the next time I write, so MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
I went to the office on Wednesday to recieve an IV. They gave me two bags over 24 hours. The pictures I sent were them taking the IV out, so I’ve been done with that for a while. They added a bunch of vitamins and stuff to it, and it was all to get me rehydrated. I think I’m doing a little better now. The thing is, I just feel really weak. It’s not that I don’t have energy, it’s just like that feeling that you have when your hand fell asleep and it doesn’t really hurt, but it just feels weird and you don’t have much strength when you try to close it. So I pretty much have that feeling all the time in my hands and arms, and my legs just start to get fatigued really easily. Like just 20 minutes ago we walked up three flights of stairs, which isn’t that much really, to get to the office. By the time I was up top, my legs were starting to ache. I hadn’t done hardly any walking before we went to the office, so yeah. I shouldn’t be feeling like this just from 3 flights of stairs. I was supposed to go back to the sector today, but President wants me in the office a little longer. They were out of town last week for Zone Conferences, so I didn’t get to see them or talk to them much, but they’re back and I’m going to get to talk to them today and we’ll see what we’re going to do. Also, my pain meds ran out yesterday, and I woke up with the pain I had in my back and shoulders that I had before the meds. So I still got that going on haha. I’m such a mess. But not really.. I’m just weak and have a little bit of pain. It’s not like I’m mopeing around all day or can’t do anything. I feel good emotionally and the pain isn’t that distracting (mostly because I have been with this pain for a good two months haha). So yeah. I’ve just been chillin here in the office, not walking much, but I have had to go out and preach a little bit at night, and that’s when I have to walk and when my legs start to fatigue. The past two nights my legs hurt like I had been running all day. So yeah..
Acerca de los.. About the tests, we did a blood, feces and urine test and everything came out normal. So I don’t have parasites or anything. I think my diarrhea is getting better too, so I’m not loosing so many liquids now. So we’ll see. I think I got sick because I was so stressed out, because stress weakens your immune system. So I got something, and we still don’t know what it is.. So yeah. Maybe I’ll be going back to the doctor today or something.
Also, I’m going broke here in the office haha they get like 50 more dollars every month because they have to take taxis and eat fast food every day. But I’m just a normal Elder, so I haven’t got the money to live the life of an office Elder. But it’s all good. The Elder that gives money to people is now my really good friend. He’s a Computer Science major at BYU, so we have just a few things in common haha. But the office is fun. I’ve been helping out Elder Thayne with his secretary duties. The made me input a ton of data in a new program that the Church released to keep track of all the transfers and leadership positions on the computer. Before it was all done with paper. So that’s been really boring. But yeah, I just chill here, sliding around on a chair with wheels to avoid walking. It’s so fun being couped up in the office all day.. not really. I want to go out and preach, but they don’t want to let me out, and I know my body isn’t ready either.
This week was terrible. Well, at least the weekend.
To be truthful, I have been sick in my stomach for the past 4 and half months, or exactly the amount of time I’ve been in Ecuador. It’s never stopped in pretty much this whole time. Some days have been better than others, but I’ve basically been in some kind of pain my whole mission. Fun right. It got even better this weekend.
Friday night I woke up 8 times to use the bathroom. I didn’t sleep at all.
We went to the Zone Conference, where I felt terrible. I left to use the bathroom then talked with Hermana Johns, who called the doctor who gave me even more meds. I went to him the monday before, and nothing he gave me helped. So I ended up using the bathroom 5 times in about 3 or 4 hours. It was terrible.
But I did get a blessing of health from President Johns, and then I got to talk for him a while and he gave me some words of comfort. The told me they are going to get me feeling better and that I’m not going to have to go home. I’ve been scared of going home due to medical issues practically since the beginning of my mission because I’ve been so sick. So they’re going to work hard to fix me up. So I just layed there until the conference was over, talked with President and Sister Johns for a little bit about what they’re going to do to help me, then we went home.
The bus ride home was terrible. I thought I was going to die haha. I almost threw up and went to the bathroom right there on the bus haha. Sorry for the detail, but it’s all part of the story. So we get home and I just go to bed. I was in bed ALL DAY. I had to use the bathroom countless times. I got a temperature, which spiked up to 101.7.. I thought I was going to die. I finally slept at night, and then I had to get up and go to church. I just sat there doing nothing and feeling like I was about to die for the three hours, then I went and rested at a members house, then he had to leave, so I had to walk a mile to the Branch Presidents house and then I stayed there until the night time when we had the Christmas devotional. My companion left with a member to preach all of Sunday. But I just stayed in the house of members wanting to die. We went to the devotional and watched that then finally went home and I slept. Woo hoo! My temperature left Sunday, so that was good.
Monday, or today, we went to the doctor, who checked me out again and said that all my exams came out clean, so he has no idea what’s going on basically, so he just threw more medicine at me, hoping that it will work. So right now I’m loaded up on medicine and still feel rather bad. My body is just weak and I have body pains all over. Never thought the mission would be like this.
So why to I tell you all this? Well, because nothing else interesting happened to me this week haha and also because I have learned a lot about the gospel and Christ through all of this. Christ has suffered EVERYTHING that we have suffered. Not just our sins, but our afflictions, our sicknesses, everything. I never really realized that before. But through this whole time, I have come to trust in him, and I have felt the love God has for me. He has felt all this pain that I have had, and I’ve felt the Spirit in times of my worst pain, which has alieviated the pain enough to make it berable. God isn’t going to totally take away my pain right now, but like the people of Alma, he’s going to lighten the burden. That is the power of the Atonement. I’ve learned to be more compassionate on those who are sick, and I want to help them more. I’ve learned how to feel the Spirit as the Comforter. I’ve learned that we can turn to Christ at any time, and he’s going to help us. So yeah, this experience has been hard, but I’ve learned a ton. And also, God will always pay us back for what we’ve suffered, even for more than what we suffered for. So I’m looking forward to the blessings in the future haha.
Anyways, keep me in your prayers. I need the help.
Love you all,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer
Wow another week already gone! And tomorrow is December. So crazy. This week was good. We set 3 baptismal dates for the 12th, and it looks like they are going to complete with the date too, so that’s sweet. We also have some sweet investigatores that we are finding. So the work is going well.
Ecuador is still really hot. I miss the snow haha; but it still hasn’t rained yet, so I haven’t had to buy boots. Apparently the water gets up to the middle of your shins when it rains. The rainboots I brought from home only cover my shoes hahaha.
Everyone has Christmas lights up and is playing Christmas music and everything. It’s really funny. I feel bad for everyone here, because they don’t get snow for Christmas! What kind of winter and Christmas doesn’t have snow!! For this, it doesn’t feel much like Christmas, so hopefully that means I won’t miss it very much.
Thanks for the example that everyone is for me! Keep on living the Gospel and recieveing the blessings from God that we get through our obedience. Sorry that I didn’t write much, but there isn’t much to write. All the weeks are blending into one day it seems haha so I can’t remember what happened during the week or anything.
Hope everyone has a wonderful beginning to their December!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer