I've caught you all unawares... How Odd that Elder McGinn is writing on a Saturday... I will NOT be sending Elder Ramos home, I got Changed! After 11 days I got changed (but I feel good cause we baptized 2 people and have prepared two more baptisms there by the end of the month).
Well I got changed! I am now in Guayaquil with Elder Hancey from Centerville, Utah (that means fun transfer) He has two transfers less than me in the mission. President Amaya called on Sunday night to ask how things were going in my new zone and then gave me a new assignment. The assignment to serve him as his AP. It was a huge surprise, but I am so happy to be here with Elder Hancey. I've been here since Monday, but our P Days are Saturdays and I'll warn you beforehand... we may not write each week in case of crazy trips or special assignments, but normally you will hear from me Saturdays. It is weird being in the office more and in the field less, but I love all we do.
My first assignment was to receive and train the new group of missionaries with their trainers. I love seeing the joy in their faces, their motivation to work, their love for their families, yet their stronger love to leave them for the Lord. We got to go through the temple with them, train them, eat with them. I will be involved in being with President, doing transfers, training Zone Leaders, New Missionaries with their Trainers, and special missions. We go to work from 4pm til 9pm normally, but for example... Monday we have a big trip out to Portoviejo, where I started the mission. I'm new, but I'm stoked and grateful for God's trust in me to serve here. Pray for me!
I loved being with Elder Ramos, we simply had a blast and got in 4 baptisms (2 I won't see) in our time together. We simply loved each other, loved the Lord, loved being obedient and making the other missionaries see the same way.
My spiritual experience will be what Mother wants the ward to hear on Faith...
I was assigned to be a District Leader in April and had fun learning my job and learning a new sector. My 2nd week in I did a baptismal interview for a lady named Lorena . She had gotten to know the missionaries and turned her life around 180 degrees, as you can imagine living on a pretty beach, a bunch of fishermen that don't pass time at home and a lot of alcohol. It was a very spiritual interview as Lorena shared her testimony and her fear... her husband had been at sea for 4 months and didn't know a thing about her baptism, yet she felt the strongest feeling that it was true. She passed the interview, yet didn't get baptized... her husband found out at sea, got a hold of her and told her to wait 2 more months til he'd be home. 2 weeks later I was changed, assigned to be a Zone Leader in the same Stake, just where Lorena lived. That week she had had the strongest impressions to go ahead and get baptized, and in spite of her husband's counsel, she did it! I interviewed her and got to see her baptism. She was so faithful and brought friends to listen to us also, yet living in fear of what her husband would say.
He came home months later, not upset, but not wanting anything to do with us. We tried so hard to teach him and it was difficult, Lorena was the key there. She was a constant example as she read the Book of Mormon daily in spite of her poor education, prayed daily and invited him to pray, went to church and invited him to church. Her husband normally is gone 6 months, home 1 month, and when it came time for him to go, the boat broke down and he was here. He started going to church, yet rejected baptism. Came to church hung over a time or two even, but he was there! During this time, Lorena never quit reading, praying, and going to church, even through changing houses, being robbed and a near divorce. Her two biggest dreams were a temple sealing and a missionary son. Finally, one Sunday, 5 months after interviewing Lorena to be baptized, we were in their house and invited him to be baptized. He stuttered, but finally said yes to the preparation. We were blown away! That night I was changed and so bummed. I had lost all contact with them! A month later we met as Zone Leaders and ran up to my last companion to see how they were doing. He looked at me with the happiest smile and we rejoiced in hearing that he had finally been baptized, the day before going out to sea for 6 months... but he went out to sea with the Book of Mormon in his hand and knowing how to pray.
That story is a very firm example of faith and in many aspects. Lorena had to change her life first, have faith in the Savior. Then she had to maintain her faith with hopes of getting her sailor husband baptized to be sealed. We had to maintain our faith in the same. Sebastian,the husband, had to exercise great faith to listen to us and prepare for his baptism with the nasty environment of being a sailor, the alcoholic influence, and the scorn that would be given. We all chose the Savior, though we all took our own time needed, and in the end the family of Lorena and Sebastian are one step closer to sealing their family.
Let us all be faithful like they were, to have hope in a wayward friend, to have hope in yourself, to have hope in God.
I love the mission, I love my God, I love my Savior and know it is Their Work! Love you all and will hear from you Saturday!