Well Well Well... if it isn't Monday again!
I am doing great! It sounds like you all are too. I hope you get a feel for the sector I'm in as you see the pictures I sent! Time is flying by, my companion Elder Hasvold has 15 days left here in Ecuador! Haha and Mase I think I'll be joining you with the bald head soon... I don't know how bad it really is cause the lady that does my hair buzzed it down real nasty short.
Anyway... We had an awesome baptism this week! We finally got baptized the father of a family that Elder Escalante baptized (my comp in Manta) almost a year ago! He is awesome, had read the Book of Mormon once through, lives better than many members, he's the man. Simply lacked a few final touches to feel completely good. That's the first baptism our sector has had in almost 3 months, we're about to be up and running again!
We are simply having a blast out here with Elder Hasvold, it is so much fun. We are putting into play Plan Sputnik... yes I did come up with that name... and it has to do with Interchanges. We are sending Elder Hasvold to every sector in our zone before he goes to do interchanges. He takes the good companion to counsel him, motivate him, and help him work while I run the 'Bad Guy' up and down the nasty hill here haha. It is an evil plan, but it is working quite well! We've got an awesome Zone. Plan Sputnik in Action.
We've seen a few miracles and blessings in simple Gospel Principles. One comes with the man who was baptized. Cesar Choez and his family. He had to fix some things before his baptism and all is well, yet it was rough on his wife. We had a sweet lesson on repentance and forgiveness and it was hard for both of them. We committed them to forgive each other from now for the rest of their lives and there was an awkward silence for awhile, they never answered. So we finished with a prayer and asked the wife to give it, she gave the sweetest and most sincere prayer. She prayed for the help to be able to forgive her husband cause she couldn't find the strength to. There was such a sweet peace that filled the room, we were blown away and it was amazing to snag a picture of Cesar getting baptized with his arm around his wife in true, to-be-eternal love.
Forgiveness is hard, so is Repentance. It's hard for both sides, yet it is possible. Sometimes we cannot do it alone, many times actually. Yet as we turn to the Lord with our HEARTS set on where we want to become, though if may be tough to change our actions, God seems to be able to change hearts. I learned the beauty of repentance, forgiveness, prayer and seeing a family that is on their journey to an eternal home.
The second story comes from a family Ordeñez Wong. The husband was baptized years ago, but is inactive. His wife is not a member. They are in their 30's. Gonzalo has a brain tumor and was supposed to die 2 years ago, yet miraculously is still living. He works half days, it is a struggle, but it keeps him out of the house and his mind on better things. He has been tough on us, yet accepted our visits as long as we don't talk about the Book of Mormon. The first visit we got them to pray as a family and we saw miracles as he is more happy and optimistic. The next we talked about sealings and they got so happy and hopeful. Tonight we are to head back and tell them WHY with the message of the Restoration. He doesn't know why he's alive, he doesn't want to be alive. The wife now has a glimpse of what he felt years ago on being baptized and is beginning to see the true unity that comes in living the Gospel and praying together. There is nothing they can do to stop the time on Gonzalo's clock, but they can live every moment until then. They are opening their eyes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The way by which we will assure a family forever... no matter WHAT happens here on earth... as long as WE are faithful!
I love this Gospel, I love this Work. It has been hard, but it always helps to stop and count your blessings as Elder Richardson (our stake baby!) and Mason shared with me. We need more people to teach, we are almost opening and cleaning a sector, yet we are having a blast running up and down this hill. There is no better work than that of the Master.
I love you all!