Eight Months

January 26, 2010

Hey everybody!

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.

Anyways.

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!

Love,
Elder Sawyer


Another Week and a Letter Full of Macheties!

January 18, 2010

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!

Love,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer


January 13, 2010

Hello everybody!

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!

Love,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer


My New Sector

January 5, 2010

Hey everybody!

I don’t remember if I said that I got my sector changed the other day before we had changes. I got the change Saturday, so I probably said so. But if not then yeah, President changed my sector after a day of thinking about some things. Anyways…

I’m back to having P-Day on Monday since I’m finally out of the office and in my own sector! I’m in Centenario, which is the richest sector that we have here in Guayaquil, and it really is way rich. We have the governer of Guayaquil in our sector and some professional sports players. It’s pretty cool.

And Elder Delgado is sweet as well. He’s from Peru, but went to BYU-Provo so he knows English. We still only are going to speak in Spanish though. He’s a good worker and knows the sector. We have some good investigatores too that are progressing so we’ll have some baptisms coming up here in a few weeks.

Right now I feel pretty well. Just my legs hurt from doing about 4 hours of preach Sunday night. So I’m really going to have to take it easy for the next while until I start feeling 100%, which is a little frustrating for me. I just want to go out and preach all day, but it just kills my legs to do that. So we’ll see how it goes. That’s pretty much my goal for this change, to get feeling 100% so that I can be an effective missionary. Luckly, we have some members that live close to the house, as well as some investigatores, and our house is in our sector, so that’s nice as well. The sector is pretty big though, but there are a bunch of buses that run through the middle and there is the Metrovia as well, so we can go around with bus if we need to.

The house is pretty cool. It’s pretty small, but it’s not too run down. I sleep on the mattress on the floor, because there isn’t a bed frame for me haha. I have yet to sleep there though, so I don’t know how the heat or mosquitos are yet. I do have a closet though. That is way nice, because I had to live completely out of my suitcase these first 6 months here in Ecuador. So I can actually get everything hung up and that makes me happy. I still only have like 3 hours here in the sector though, so I don’t know any of the members or anything. I got a haircut today though, so I know the old lady who cuts our hair for $1.50, which is 50 cents more than I wanted to pay. Everything is cheaper in the Guasmo. Here everyone is rich so they jack the prices up like crazy. Like here in this cyber I have to pay 70 cents just to use the internet for an hour. It was only like 40 or 45 back in my old sector. I’m sure the bread will be way expensive too. Haha I’ve become soooo cheap here in Ecuador.

But anyways, I don’t have much to write today since I know absolutely nothing about my new sector. It will be nice to be in a ward now. There are about 100 people that come to church, so that’s nice. Much better than the 50 I had back in my first sector. It’s so weird that I’m moving on to a new sector. In just two weeks or so I’m going to have 8 months here in the mission. Crazy huh. Time flies.

Anyways.. I don’t have anything else to say.

Hope everyone is doing well and that you’re all having an awesome 2010. I will be in Ecuador for the entirety of this year. That’s crazy. I’m excited haha.

Love,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer


From Rags to Riches

January 2, 2010


Happy New Years!!

Wow. So basically the people of Ecuador are INSANE when it comes to New Years haha it’s so awesome, except I was up north in the stupid office house so I didn’t get to see the craziest part. I’ve heard the craziest stuff happens in the Guasmo, so I was really sad that I wasn’t there, because I used to be there haha. But anyways, here in Ecuador, they make these paper mache dolls and then they burn them. I will try to find some pictures of them and send them, but I don’t have any personally because I was stuck here in the office all the time and didn’t really get any chance to leave and take pictures. It’s insane. They build some that are 3 stories high. There is an AWESOME Iron Man and Optimus Prime. I’ll try to send those pictures because they are wicked sweet.

So they burn the dolls and light fireworks. I was soo sad that I wasn’t in the Guasmo. Because where we were, which is right behind a hospital where basically nobody lives, it sounded like a war zone. It was insane. At midnight there were just explosions going off and it was crazy. We couldn’t see anything from our house because we’re in a really dumb position where the community is nice and safe and nobody does the stupid, yet awesome, burnings. So it was a little lame, but really cool because I felt like we were in a war. I took one or two videos of a small doll being burned in front of our house, so we’ll see if I can get that sent.

So that was basically all I did for new years. Just watch and listen to all of Guayaquil burning and blowing stuff up. I’m really really hoping that I’ll be in Guayaquil for next year, but there is a good chance that I won’t be, because I haven’t gotten out of Guayaquil yet and they won’t be sending me out for another 6 months or so.

Also, last night a drunk came up to me and all of sudden stuck his arm out and smeared blood on me haha. He was bleeding and was going around smearing blood on everyone apparently. He got one of my companions too. So here is a picture of my shirt stained with the blood of a drunk. That was really interesting. Drunks are so sad.. Alcohol ruins lives. Good thing we have the Word of Wisdom and are so blessed to avoid all of the drugs and alcohol and smoking that’s out there. But yeah, that was something new. Luckly, I got the blood out haha.

And now lets roll the drums…………………………………………….

I’m leaving the office!! Woohoo!!!! I just found out my change a few days ago. And I actually just got changed yesterday too haha but yeah. They’re done moving me around. I will be going to Centenario, which is the richest sector in all of Guayaquil. So I’m basically going from the poorest part to the richest part. From rags to riches. There are professional tennis and soccer players that live in my sector, a ton of government officals and it’s just insanely rich. The crazy part is that is where Elder Petersen is right now, my companion from the MTC. But I’m taking his place, and he gets to go work in Cuenca, which I don’t know if I’ve talked about yet. Cuenca is hardcore catholic, but it’s soo pretty and it’s COLD! Kind of. You need a small blanket to sleep at night. So not that cold. But yeah, he’s lucky because he gets to go out there. And Cuenca is really clean. You can drink straight from the tap! It’s incredible!! Haha here in Guayaquil the tap water is so dirty. There are all these parasites and stuff floating around in it. But anyways. I will be with Elder Delgado, who I already know. He had tuberculosis for 2 months while in the mission and was forced to stay in the house for a long time. So he knows what it’s like to be sick, and that’s one reason why they put me with him, so I could have someone really supportive and helpful. Elder Delgado went to BYU, so he knows English but Elder Petersen told me that he’s lost a lot of it. He’s from Peru and he’s a good companion. Elder Petersen really loved his sector and Elder Delgado, so I’m really excited to pick up where he left off and get to work. So this Monday I’m leaving. It’s funny because I know all the changes of everybody since I’m here in the office. Nobody else will know until Monday when we’re all in the terminal getting our new assignment. But that’s where I’m going. To the richest part of the mission. I’m excited!

Other than New Years and finding out my change 3 days early, nothing very exciting happened. I just hung out here at the office doing odd jobs for people and resting. I’m feeling much stronger and there is a whole lot less pain in my body so I’m actually able to go out and preach and not feel like dying haha.

It’s really boring here in the office. I’m glad I don’t have to stay here for 8 months like some of them do. I’m so ready to get out.

Also, I only have 4 more changes with President Johns, and then he goes home!! I’m sad. I’ll have a little over a year with him, and the rest of the time with our new president. So it’s not THAT bad. It’ll just be interesting to see all the changes that happen in the mission.

Hope everyone is having an amazing 2010 and has set a ton of awesome goals that you are (hopefully) going to complete! I can’t believe we’re already to 2010. So weird. I’m so old. I was born in the 80’s! (even though it was just 3 months before the 90’s, but what does that matter?) That means I’ve lived in 4 decades and I’m 20 years old. Haha cool.

Anyways, I’m just kind of rambling now. I’m going to send pictures and videos that hopefully can be posted on my blog. Happy New Year everyone! (And a good goal for all of you is to send letters to me at least once a month haha and packages at least twice a year. Nah haha just playin’).

Love you all!
Elder Lane D. Sawyer