Well, before telling you whether I'm on the beach as a lazy cat or if I've been ventured off to some other part of Ecuador... Mother, I DID enjoy that frosting! I ate the whole container in one sitting Sunday night waiting for transfers! Mmm... Doggy!
In our mission we baptize about 150-200 each month and that covers 13 stakes, the work is crazy yet can improve a ton! That is what I love about working out here, the Gospel is growing yet has so much room to keep getting better. Well, I'm glad you're all well, I know you don't want to hear me talk about you, I know you want to know if I'm in Manta still, so I guess I'll fill you in and quit dragging out my precious time. Haha BUT before starting, cause Dad got me thinking with his comment on my comment... The other missionaries have NOT been able to make contact with Marco Polo yet hahaha.
Well, this week was simply awesome and I can tell you that I couldn't have FINISHED my ONE YEAR on the beach any way better. After a year of fish, shrimp, squid, octopus, clam, shark and STING RAY I guess I do need to get changed, right? I am now writing you from Guayaquil! And boy will I be in great shape after my time in this sector, my ward is called 26 of February and has a nasty mountain called Mapasingue (Ma-pa-sing-ee). It is this huge mountain that stretches up forever, not of trees and dirt roads... of houses! You will get pictures soon and all have told me that the little gut I've gained in living on the beach will go really quickly.
I'm in the Zone with Elder Bushnell again; that'll be fun. My companion is from Guatamala. His name is Elder Flores, he lacks 2 changes in the mission. I knew him before, all my companion Zone Leaders have been my leaders sometime before. Elder Escalante (ZL) Elder Franco (ZL) Elder Flores (DL) haha, but we will have a great time here in Guayaquil.
As for my week, it was awesome! I feel very happy in saying that I left Manta better than when I found it. It is getting much better than it was and that zone should baptize quite a bit these next few months. Oh! And EVERYONE CHECK OUT THE LIAHONA from September. Why? There is a little story from Ecuador about the ship 'Comfort' that came from the US and gave free health exams and surgeries. THAT is the boat I worked on and there is a picture of a few of the set apart missionaries that stayed on their 5 month tour. That was cool to see.
I am bummed to leave Manta for the baptisms we'll have the next two weeks, they are simply awesome! We have seen miracles and I would like to touch a bit on what Ashley sent me on Planting Seeds. 4 ish months ago with Elder Escalante, we passed by the mother of a recent convert. She had cancer and was very very ill. She didn't want anything to do with us either, simply thanked us for passing by and showed us the door. She wasn't supposed to live. I passed by once more with Elder Escalante and she wasn't any better. One month ago I passed by again with Elder Franco cause a prompting had been on my mind for weeks to go back and see her. Finally I heeded that prompting. She let us in and was 100% better! In place of her bald head and cap with a frail body and shaky voice, she greeted us with a warm smile, a head of gray hair, and a lot of strength in that body of hers! In listening to us, she told us 'thanks, but no thanks, I'm catholic.' I wondered why we had passed by to see her that day, yet we still happily invited her to church that Sunday. She surprised us in showing up with her son! She had to leave early but left as happy as ever! In visiting her the next day she had read a part of the Book of Mormon and surprised us by saying 'Yes Elders, I will be baptized the 24th of September! The church is true and I feel something inside me that simply says Do it, Do it, Do it Fanny.' Not only had missionaries tried earlier with the baptism of her son almost a year ago, BUT we found out that her father listened to the missionaries years ago and she enjoyed listening, yet never saw them again. She is an awesome investigator, she ponders the scriptures, rereads until she understands, with very little teaching on our part she has received personal revelation and will be baptized! I am grateful for those who planted seeds in Fanny Palma and it made me see the work I do daily from a different perspective.
Another case is crazy too! When I was called District Leader 6 months ago, I interviewed a lady Lorena Garcia and she was baptized; and in fact, with transfers I got to see her baptism too! Her husband is a fisherman and told her to wait on her baptism till he returned but she had the strongest testimony and did it anyway! He doesn't know she ever got baptized. He came a month ago to Stake Conference... hung over, we visited him the next day and said the church was so boring yet Lorena dragged him to church the next week too! He has come 3 times in a row and what a change he has made! He doesn't say his prayers, but he does get on his knees beside his wife as she prays and in 3 simple weeks he has lost the urge to get drunk. We visited him Saturday night and we didn't go with intentions of setting a baptismal date with him, yet I had the strongest impression to do so near the end of our visit. (lesson to all... follow your impressions!) I went for it and he surprised me by yelling WHAT?! 'Ah nuts... what have I done?' I got thinking ah crap. Yet I went again with the invitation and he accepted the goal IF we visit him more. Haha how easy! Of course we will! That surprised his wife and they are happily working towards a baptism the 24th of September and a temple sealing. We left them a copy of the Liahona and they both happened to read the same story, yet apart, and both shared desires of a temple sealing.
This whole week has been a week of miracles, those have been simply two of the many miracles I saw during the week and during my time with Elder Franco. Miracles happen, God wants us to be a part of them! T HAT is why He prompts us with the Holy Ghost, to do something for someone that they cannot do for themselves, yet is just what they need. The work is so simply, yet tough. It is demanding, yet the key is the spirit. That is a key for life, that is the key for a future missionary, that is my struggle each day - do all you can to deserve and then follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I love you all and am excited for the new adventure in Guayaquil!
TTFN, Ta Ta for Now