I'd prefer to see you on Christmas than call you... why? To SMACK you all for your comments on MY Thanksgiving! Rub it in, rub it in. OUR lunch... well the members forgot. We got a bit of the left overs. Rice. Chicken, Beans. Fried Bananas. Grapes. An Apple. Water. Anyway, I tried to forget all that.
I walked by a tree and we got in a fight and it ripped my shirt sleeve almost completely off. Thanks to an investigator that gave me three paper clips, she gave me just what I needed to hold my shirt together till the day finished. (Paper clips to fix a shirt... I am SO in Ecuador! haha, but it worked). We have a rat in our house and one night we discovered it's home and tried to kill it, I have many great pictures and we about got it with my leatherman. The good thing is we are moving houses on Wednesday! Anyway, I guess I should share something spiritual and not so worthless haha. Show my family that I do more than hunt rats, rip shirts and lose myself on a mountain.
This week was AWESOME! And before I get to the real great part, I should get all the wiggles out of me and share one last story. My companion and I knocked out Rocky. Yes, Rocky Balboa. We went to visit a family and had a wonderful lesson, we asked Rubén, one of the sons, if he had prayed about the Book of Mormon and if he should get baptized and JUST as we were getting good, one of the neighbors was watching Rocky 4 and blasted the volume, it was during a fight. It's ON! Us vs. Rocky haha, but as we got talking to him, midst the distractions, it strengthened my testimony of a loving Father in Heaven who blesses us as we put forth sincere effort. It's never free. Rubén came to tell us that he finally conquered his fear and asked God and that he felt such a peace in his heart that he had never felt anywhere else. No one else in the family prayed and they all have doubts, yet Rubén courageously and full of determination said that he knows it is the true Church and that he will prepare to be baptized the 17th of December! God answers prayers, you shall know the truth of all things if you simply ask God and seek the solution in as many ways possible. Rubén helped strengthen my testimony of Moroni´s promise. That happened in 2 other occasions this week with Rafaella (a 13 year old skinny girl who reminds me of Sydney and will be baptized this week) and Miguel (a 17 year old boy who does NOT remind me of Cam haha and will be baptized the 17 of December). God answers prayers, people progress, I have learned that here in Ecuador we must not lose time. Seek those who are ready and who want the Gospel, they are great in number, simply hard to find. We got our baptism goal in November with 17 baptisms! 3 Months ago this Zone would get 6 per month, the tides have changed. December will be even better yet!
But the best part of my week came with Elder Uceda. I have no doubt that he is called of God. We had a conference with him with a few Zones on Wednesday and then a meeting with us Zone Leaders on Saturday. It was amazing the things he talked about. We talked about many things pertaining to missionary work, but two things I would like to share with you all briefly were one, how to search and ponder the scriptures, not simply read or study them; and two, how to truly pray. He opened up D&C 4 and we studied verse 2 for a half hour. Oh my gosh! Haha it was amazing. Do we use the Foot notes? Do we use a dictionary? Do we ask why this or why that? He opened my eyes and I want you all to try it (if you're already good, okay, but if not, learn to perfect your scripture study!)
Alma 53:20-21 impacted me this week and will leave you to read it with a few questions in mind... What is the difference between Youth and Men, because verse 20 talks of the same group of Stripling Warriors but refers to them as Men in the end... why? What is the difference? How does that apply to me? In Verse 21, what is the difference between Keep the Commandments and Walk uprightly before God? They seem the same... are they? Did God screw up and repeat it or do they mean different things? Write me back and tell me personally what you learned! There are many ways and many interpretations. Well, I have no time left haha, but he also said that we don't know how to pray. We repeat, we don't listen, we never write what we feel, we don't remember what is said or asked, BUT we can improve!
I will end with this, out of all the missionaries there, he called out 4 to have an interview with. He called my name. After the conference he called me in to interview me. I sat in the same room and was interviewed by one of the Seventy. It was one of the best experiences in my life. He assured me that God loves me, He knows me, He is happy with my work here and will always support me. That was an interview I will never forget. God lives, He calls men in these days to support us and keep us on the path back to Him. Let us ponder the scriptures, let us converse with God, let us be obedient and let us remember the WHY behind what we do.
I love you all and will hear from you soon!