I know you love seeing me, I like to see myself too (I spend my personal study time in front of the mirror) so I'll send some more pictures! One is of our Zone in Manta...18 Missionaries, the biggest in the mission. One is with Elder Bushnell (for Bart and Renae and Orem Pride). The other is a picture of the primary, we had a last minute baptism of a little 8 year old who always comes to church with her aunt and uncle and wanted to be baptized! Kind of like a present from the Lord for working everywhere but our sector this change, haha.
I just got back from Guayaquil! I love the 4 hour trips, haha, I've got a new companion, he is from Bolivia, he has 20 months in the mission, he is not like Mason, but I still enjoy him. I knew him in Portoviejo cause he was my old Zone Leader! He is Elder Franco! I'm excited for the new change, almost half the zone has been changed AND we have 5 new missionaries. There are 18 missionaries in our Zone, the biggest in the mission.
I am so happy out here, we simply need to keep working cause we have built a zone that has become immortal! In 2 changes we have baptized weekly as a Zone, or 12 baptisms in 12 weeks at least. We baptize, as a zone, about 20 monthly. BUT, learn this lesson good you future missionaries, the numbers don't mean a thing. Yes, we have baptisms, but we could have more. Yes baptisms mean converts, but you don't want to baptize inactives. The retention is hard, but the work is simply flying out here. At times I get down, thinking 'What more can I do?' and though I lack the world, we are hanging in there just fine. But who wants to simply 'hang in there' in life when you can take the extra effort to sit in first class comfortably? Haha, but it's true!
Elder Escalante took off, it was tough to see him go, but in seeing him go and feeling the sadness, it made me realize the reality of the mission and boy am I going to give all I can this next year I have! Can you believe a year has passed by almost?
All of our investigators have come to church more than twice, they keep their commitments, they simply lack baptism haha... yet they all resist it for personal and individual reasons. Nevertheless, we don't lose patience with them. Yes, they do need to act, but we shall always extend the hand of help, just as the Lord did, does and always will do for us. That helps me a lot in the mission, think of ALL the Lord has done for me, my many great blessings, and to show that type of love towards my investigators.
The Lord has blessed us with 2 families that know the missionaries already, they were taught a few years ago. I think I already told you about them last week, the family Cedeño Cajas. We have so many people to teach, yet so many more to be taught! The Lord is blessing us with families, the work is much more effective with families, and that isn't simply irony... EVERYTHING IS BETTER AS A FAMILY. The missionary work, the baptisms, the temple sealings, and everything else as we endure to the end. If it's key for the investigators, of course it's key for us. Live the gospel, live it as family, read the scriptures, say your prayers, go to the temple, even to walk around outside, give service, you bless the lives of others while SECURING THE ETERNITY OF YOUR OWN.
I love the mission. We have people to teach, we have a good zone, we are so blessed out here. All we need to do is work! I love the work, it flies and it is perfect. I could never complain about the mission, during or after, why? Because I strive to keep the Spirit with me! Yes it is hard and at times I lack confidence, but if you strive for the Spirit... the Lord does His work! I have learned to quit trying to play the masterpiece, better yet I must let the Master play it through me. I am His instrument. I don't need to play, He will play me and we will succeed. It is the same in your daily lives. I love you all and I love the work. I'm here with Elder Franco and we're going to get up and at'm.
Elder Griffin McGinn
La Mera Mera, Toz con Flema (that means it's the real deal, the good stuff)