Update: I'm in Guayaquil! Big surprise we all knew i wouldn't die in peace :) BUT I'm very excited for my new sector called Guabo! Hermanas got put in about 4 months ago and we are having a lot of success. It was really sad to leave Galapagos but i know that God needs me to be here with this new assignment.
in Galapagos we were going to have a baptism this week of a girl named Kerly, she is so awesome and has been going to church on her own. She is the one that wants to go on a mission! We have been working with the whole family especially her mom, Lorena. She is the one that dropped from 36 cigarettes to 1 a day in a week. Well, her problem was that she works on Sundays so she couldn't go to church very much. We've been praying and fasting that she can find a different job and today when we were in the airport we found her (she works there, hence why she can't come on Sundays) and she said "they called me this morning with a job where i only have to work Monday through Friday!" She was so excited! But she was also really sad that i wasn't going to be able to be there when she gets to progress and be baptized. It was so awesome she said "Gracias por todo lo que ha hecho por mi, nunca voy a olvidarle, ha cambiado mi vida!" Those are the best words that you can hear from a person! But really! I know it was all God, he was helping her out every step of the way, I just got to be the instrument in his hands.
Now i have a new assignment and i know that there are many a soul to save in Guabo.
I hope you all have a great week, full of opportunities to share your testimonies, and invite people to feel of the love of God!
I love you all!
I'm in the banana capital of the banana capital of the banana capital of the world! February 9, 2015
SOOOO I'd like to start out with a very Cliche statement that I'm sure you've all heard before. This has been the BEST 18 MONTHS EVER! Other cliche statement "it went by soooo darn fast!" I need to have a 'back to the future' moment and take the time machine back to August 27 2013 when i was doing some last minute packing ... and unpacking and my dear kind mother was falling asleep on the bed. I really feel like it's all been a dream and tomorrow i wake up to head off to the airport with another pair of American shoes and some more P.B. That would be soo great, so that i could just KNOW! But knowledge doesn't come without trial and tribulation, so i know it turned out the way it should have. But really looking back on this whole mission thing, I've grown and learned, seen and experienced sooo many things that never could have happened in the real world. Don't get me wrong, it was not all fun and games, there were definitely hard times, rough patches, moments when i didn't think i would survive, BUT the funny thing is ... I don't remember them.. I know they happened, but the details are all fuzzy. However, the great moments, the baptisms, the conversations, the changes in peoples lives, I can remember as clear as this morning.
There are so many things that i have learned here in the greatest mission in the world but the things that stick out to me most of all are:
Number 1: God loves us and is watching out for us, not as a group of people, but individually. He knows exactly what we need and at what time. He answers our prayers how and exactly when they need to be answered. He has a perfect plan for each and every one of his children and all we have to do to get all of the benefits of this plan is be OBEDIENTE.
Number 2: Jesus Christ is MY savior. He came to earth because he loves me, he wanted me to know the right path to take. Jesus Christ is your savior and he died because he loves you and wants you to be clean from sin! Jesus Christ is his Savior, he was resurrected because he loves him and wants him to live in the presence of god a perfect and glorified being. He came for each of us individually.
Number 3: I am soooo blessed. I am so blessed to have been born where i was born, into the family i was born into, that i was born into the church and i never had to go through the confusion of finding the right path. Before, i took that for granted, and now i realize how grateful i need to be. And how much i can never repay God for all of the blessings i have received in my life!
Number 4: The mission is THE GREATEST THING YOU CAN DO!!!! It is the most worth while thing you can do with your time between the ages of 18 and 25. There is NOTHING more important!
And now to just top off the cheesiness of this letter, Imma write my testimony in Spanish! Woo!
YO SÉ que esta es la iglesia de Jesucristo. Que El to dirige. Yo sé que José Smith vio cara a cara a Dios y a Jesucristo, que por medio de el, Jesucristo restauró su iglesia aqui en la tierra. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es un hombre llamado por Dios y que si nosotros escuchamos a sus palabras vamos a estar en el camino donde Dios nos quiere. Sé que Dios nos ama con un amor que no podemos entender, y que El tiene un plan perfecto para cada uno de nosotros. Sé que Jesucristo bajo de los cielos para salvarnos de nuestros pecados, para guiarnos y enseñarnos. Sé que por medio de la expiación de El, podemos cambiar nuestas vidas y podemos ver un cambio en la vida de otras personas tambien. Yo sé que a veces la vida es dificil, pero tambien sé que todas las pruebas y dificultades que tenemos son para ayudarnos crecer y aprender y para preparar. La mision ha cambiado mi vida y no cambiaría nada. Amó la mision y amó a mi Dios, estoy agradecida por mi Dios y su plan que tiene para mi y por todo lo que he aprendido aqui en la mision. Les quiero mucho cada uno de Ustedes!
So, this week has been great and my title speaks the truth. Guabo is literally the capital of all bananas! My banana sticker collection has grown A LOT I'm up to 300 plus stickers. (don't worry, i am focusing on my mission :) ) Also, it is soooooo hot here! Oh my word... i never thought i could feel heat like this... but apparently i can! i think I've heard "wow! estas quemada" (wow. you are really burned) more times this week then i have in my whole mission! But I'm not even burned... just really tan! muahaha
Anywho, this week has been great. We had a baptism and the only bump was that it started a little late, but that's normal for Ecuador and Mormons so we were right on time! However, earlier in the week, we had to "save it". Which means he was supposed to get baptized last week but he didn't because he felt rushed. Well, we went to visit him on my first day here and i had the most awesome moment were i thought to ask him if he was reading the Book of Mormon. Guess what?? He wasn't! Ding ding ding! That's the problem! He needed to have a testimony of the good book first! So i promised him right there that if he read the Book of Mormon everyday until Saturday he would feel more then ready to be baptized. So everyday he read and everyday he got more and more excited to get to the font! I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON! I also love the spirit and for the opportunity to be a missionary, so that i can promise things like that and have them completed. It's soooo awesome!
I love training again.. even though I'm not very good at it. Hermana Hanson is my 4th gringa "step daughter". And she is so great. She reminds me so much of me! But training makes me realized how much i don't know and how much i still have to learn! AH which freaks me out because i have no time left! i have 3 weeks to learn everything i need to learn still! aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I've decided that one of the things i love most about mission work is hearing people's conversion stories. Because it's soo different from the missionary side. We really are like angels coming out of nowhere for them. When we are just contacting and feel the need to talk to this random person or we are being obedient and contacting a reference, for them it's a miracle that we show up when we do to share the message of the restored gospel. It just reminds me how great the plan of God is and how much he loves us. AND how important it is to be obedient and listen to the spirit as a missionary, because if you don't, someone will lose their opportunity to have eternal salvation!
Something cool that i learned yesterday from Presidente Torres, who showed up randomly at church, was how great the example of Adam was for all couples. That Adam didn't have to leave paradise and having everything provided for him, but he did to be with his woman. He went out into the world to suffer because his love for Eve was greater then the comforts of Paradise!
Well, that's all for now folks! I really do love this work and i never want my mission to end, and i know it won't! The mission is just the MTC for life!
Carnaval! February 16, 2015
Hola Querida Familia Mia,Sorry this week i don't have much time to write but i did want to let you all know how much i love you and how much I'm looking forward to seeing you but also how much i am loving this work and how sad i am that it is coming to an end. I need your prayers for Carlos Siguenza that is getting baptized this week! And that we can see a miracle for his son that he can be there in his baptism too. I'm sorry i really don't have much time today but I'm going to write a big ol sappy long letter next week. No se preocupen! Les Quiero mucho!
This is it Folks! February 23, 2015
Hola Querida Familia Mia,Well, This is it. The last letter, it's finally come. Are you ready for this super long, super sappy letter? Well i don't actually know how long it will be but i'll definitely try to make it as sappy and cliche as possible.
See you on the flip side!Hermana Whitmore