Monday, February 24, 2014

One pair of shoes down.

Hey mom. I don't know about you but I cry a lot from reading these messages. Its not a bad thing, its more of a happy cry. Mom I love you. I am so grateful for the work you do for our family. Its a lot and you sacrifice a lot. I know you will be blessed so much from your work. I pray that the burden may be lifted but you do it so well.
Well this week for you guys sounds fun. The temple with Zoe is cool. I am glad you get to do that. That's actually what I miss a lot here, the temple, there is only one in the country. Its about an hour away, But i am only aloud to go 2 vas in either a year or in two years, not sure on that. But teaching about the temple makes me miss it.

This week has been good and sort of suckish. A lot of zeros in our reports. Not a lot of people being receptive to our message. But I think this week was good because we have made some big progress with some key people. This menos activo kid about 14 is lost. He messed up and is just lost. Doesn't read and doesn't pray. But he got an interview with the bishop yesterday to fix his problems and he came to church. But he is a strong kid. He is the only member in his family. He was baptized about 6 months ago. But I am seeing a change of heart in his. Just some other lessons that we had that went well but not major. But this week was good because we could evaluate what we are doing here. We need to work with the members more. The wards are different but we still need to work with them. So I am evaluating and trying to change and reorganize to be more effective. I can see a little progress in our area. We just need to build it up.
Personally I am good. I started drawing something very cool. But you don't get to see it until I am done. Its super cool. (So glad I convinced him to take his drawing stuff).  I am getting my brown shoes fixed because I already blew threw those. They were like cheese graters last time I walked on them. (Brian wanted to take a pair of brown shoes but the missionary supply place didn't have brown.  So we bought a pair from the department store.  We knew they wouldn't last as long as the others, but we thought they would last longer than a month.  Brian has always been notorious for wearing out shoes quickly.  Hopefully the nice shoes last longer.) 

I miss the cold but I think I will always miss that.   Most of all I miss you and dad and the entire family.

I apologize that my letters are big and I cant send one to everyone porque I only have an hour. Sucks so bad but that's the rules. Its cheap to send letters here so I might send a whole bunch soon.

I got to go. Good luck this week and have fun
I love you mom
I love you dad
I love you family
Elder Luke

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Email from the Mission President - a few weeks late

Yesterday we received a letter from the mission president and his wife informing us that our son made it safely to Ecuador.  (Oh I am so glad.) It is a very nice gesture to connect with the missionary's family, its just kind of funny that we got it three weeks after he arrived there.  (oh the letter came through email and not snail mail.)
Dear Family of Elder Luke,               
We are so happy to have your son, Elder Luke, in the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission.  Please know that he arrived safely and is now with his trainer in his assigned area. We are so grateful that your son was chosen to serve with us in this mission at this time.  We know he will be a great asset to the work of the Lord in this part of His vineyard.  
Thank you for the sacrifice, hard work, teaching and training that you have provided to your son throughout his life that makes it possible for him to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church with the marvelous people of Ecuador.  Please continue to encourage him, and remember that positive and uplifting messages from home reassure all missionaries that the Lord is blessing those they left behind.  Missionaries always look forward to news from home, including messages of faith, uplifting experiences, and positive thoughts, which strengthen and encourage them.  Such messages help them successfully confront the challenges of each day and enable them to keep focused on their missionary work and not worry about their families.  Your son will be able to e-mail you each Monday and we know he will look forward to weekly e-mails from home.
You may see pictures and read bits of information about what is happening in our mission at  Please be patient with us.  Beginning a new mission is very time-consuming and so for a time it might take awhile to get the blog up to date.  To send letters and packages the address is: Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission; Casilla de Correo 09-04-206; Guayaquil, Guayas; Ecuador.  Be sure any packages you send weigh less than four pounds and use the green mailing sticker (instead of the white one) to avoid customs charges here. 
We also are putting in place a Facebook group where you will be able to see pictures of the mission, although only our returned missionaries can join the group. The purpose of the blog is for our returned missionaries to be able to stay in contact with and strengthen each other after their missions. The link is on the right-hand side of our blog.  
We pray the richest blessings of the Lord will be with you, your family, and your son as he serves diligently here with us.  Thank you for all the love and support you will give your son as he serves this mission. We know the Lord will bless you greatly for that and for the service your son will render to His children here in Ecuador. We are very grateful for the privilege of serving the Lord with him.
Pres. Jorge Dennis
Sis. Anette Dennis
Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission
(The Best Mission on Earth!)
Can you spot Elder Luke?  Is he standing on his tip toes?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lots of Rain

Hey mom,

I am good. I have some nasty blisters and have been using that blister kit you gave me. I am super hot, temperature wise. I sweat constantly here. Yesterday since we wore are suits all day my white shirt was soaked,visibly soaked.

My companion is good. He is very intelligent  and smart but I find that he lacks in certain areas where I could fill in but the problem is the language. It has gotten better though. I am somewhat understanding people but its expressing my thoughts that is the problem. There have only been a few times where Elder White and I disagree or that he bugs me but other than that we are good. He speaks Spanish very well and only speaks to me in Spanish. 24-7 It sucks but its good for learning. (Good for Elder White to keep to only Spanish.  I'm sure its hard, but it will be more beneficial later for Brian.)

On P day we wake up, one hour personal study then companion study then we clean the casa. Email, shop, then play soccer. We are only aloud to leave our sector not our zone and there isn't anything in our zone that is a wow factor. Except for this giant metal Christmas tree that I found on the way to the zone leaders house. 

The wards are weird here. Its not like back home. Wards are way smaller. Members are good, they are super nice to us and feed us everyday. But it's weird.  Our relationships with the members aren't like it was with missionaries serving in our ward and nothing like our family's relationship with Elder Smith. Yea we have a few people that we love to pass by because they are fun but its not the same. ya know. The problem here in this mission is menos activos, less active members.

Soggy Missionary
Oh the weather. Its hot. Like I said I sweat a lot. But vienes it started to rain and then rain some more and then all of a sudden it flooded. I got to use my jackets (a nice waterproof jacket from SCORE) but i was still soaked. (We'll have to check the guarantee on that jacket.) I thought it was super fun. Just massive water to the point that we had to stop and go clean up and wait for the rain to stop.
The food is pretty good. Its always sopa con rice and some meat. But yesterday I had my companions favorite meal. I ate it and then he told me what I ate. COW STOMACH. It tasted good but its just nasty. Never again am I eating that.
That's awesome to hear about Ben and his friends from church. I was telling my companion about how blessed we are in that ward. Its awesome. It is literally the best ward. I think we made a right choice to move way back then. Idaho is where we belong. Well for me its Ecuador for now.
Well here everyone knows who Christ is so its easier than some places. Its just that here everyone breaks the law of chastity because its so common.  Its just the normal.  So we step in and say "yo you need to get married". That's the hard part. 
Well I have some awesome news. I had my first baptism. It was an 8 year old girl but yet a baptism. I got to baptize her. I was so nervous because I had to memorize the baptism speech in Spanish.   I practiced all day and killed it. Aye a baptism is still a baptism.  Elder White said that she will probably be my strongest convert.
 We might be getting a new casa in the next few weeks because ours is crap. There is only one window and so it is always super hot in the casa. I need to work harder this next week though. I feel like we need to have more investors and right now its a bunch of walking and no teaching. So that's my goal this next week. Work harder, just hope my feet can hold it.

It warms my heart to hear how much fun and whats going on back home. I do dream of the day I return. I know I have only been here for a short time but it helps me keep me going.  I pray for you guys. I hope the blessing are coming. I will be praying for you mom and the store. Oh and for snow for you guys. hahah, I know this church is true.  I know that Jose Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I have been studying 2 Nephi and man there are a lot of prophesies about today and a lot of little things that I have found. Its crazy how great of a prophet Nephi was. Reading it over again I was shocked that I had missed all that stuff before.

I know angels are watching over me.
I miss you guys
I love you mom
I love you dad

Your son
Elder Luke

Monday, February 10, 2014

Its hard but I have seen Miracles already.

Its so funny how cold it is there (in Boise) compared to here. I sweat constantly. por ejemplo just in the morning study I sweat more than I would in two days back home right now. I am constantly sweating. I carry around one of those white rags and wipe the sweat and its not white anymore. I was just talking to my companion that when I get home I am going to need all the warm cloths I can get. Its gonna be a shock going from super hot to super cold. but I also hope that its like negatives because I miss the cold. we will see. 

The fans must be very necessary.
The city I am serving in is Guayaquil and the ward is Portete ward.  (We were trying to find a town called Portete.)  We walk a lot.  My feet are already tired.   
My stomach has done pretty well, normally its two dishes for lunch, a sopa con some meat and then another plate with rice meat and then some side thing. Most of the time we have coca cola with that. That's every single lunch here. The members feed us that and then we really only have a snack in the morning and evening. Which was weird to get used to here. Mornings I usually have cereal and then in the evening we buy bread from a bakery from Columbia. Its awesome. My favorite is pan de queso. Bread with cheese. Its awesome. That's about it for food. not much of a variety.
I have been praying so hard for the store and to help you guys.  I hope its a blessing. One of my teachers in the CCM said that if I work hard here then everything will be provided for back home. Well I have been working hard, that's for sure at least that's what my body is saying.
It warms me to know that so many people are praying for me. Its hard but I have seen miracles already.
Okay story time. One of our investigators has been meeting with missionaries forever, it seems.  He just doesn't get it and is afraid to get it. He wants the desire but has so much fear. The two times I have been there to teach him it has been awesome. We wanted to commit him to Baptism. So we visited him and I asked him if he had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and he paused and didnt say a thing. I said that if he prayed tonight with the Book of Mormon in hand, poured out his heart to God and asked if it was true he would receive an answer.  Then the next morning at the same time I would ask him to be baptized. The next day we went there after praying so much for him. We started with a prayer and then asked him if he prayed. Instantly the Spirit was there. He did pray and he received an answer and he would not deny that the Libro de Mormon is the word of God.  After a while of talking and feeling the spirit he said he would get baptized. It was awesome. I feel like we finally got to him and he knows this is the true church. Later I found out that he is the only non-member in his family so it warmed my heart to know that now they can be an eternal family and eventually have the Priesthood in their home. Its so awesome. I am so excited. We have been having really good days lately. A few suckish but we have PROGRESSING investigators that makes me happy. 
Elder Luke and Elder White
Other than that its just been a lot of walking and trying to learn Spanish. I am poco por poco getting there. Still sucks. Pero i am happy. 
I love this gospel, I love it with all my heart and my investigators remind me that everyday. All I want them to do is just get it and follow the spirit. 
I miss you all
Elder Luke

Guayaquil Ecuador Temple
Brian mentioned that he isn't taking a lot of pictures of his area because he is afraid that his camera could get stolen.  (not something his mother likes to hear.  I will get by with a few less pictures then I would really like.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's SO HOT here

Hey mom, its me your son. I really miss you guys. Serious its really hard being away. I thought it would be easier than it is but it is so hard. Pero.
My companion here is Elder White. He is awesome and he is actually white. He is somewhat of a ginger. He has been here for a year and a half. Even with my few days herein Ecuador I am tanner than him. He is very obedient and has a strong knowledge and testimony of the gospel. We really mix well. Pero He speaks Spanish all the time and I never understand him. That is the hardest part here.
Our casa is nice and nasty. There is mold on the wall in the bathroom and they never cleaned the spare fridge so that thing is just nastiness. We found a mouse this morning. Not happy about that. But Its nice, just dirty. The showers are freezing and its just like you said, a shower head attached to a pipe with wires attached to that. Its funny. I have a whole room for a closet which is nice, way better than the CCM. I actually like our casa other than the dirtiness. 
Everything is concrete here. People here don't have the nicest houses yet have smart phones and Ipads and nice TVs with huge stereo system. Its is muy weird. Trash is everywhere here which sucks but you get use to it. People here use what they have to the best of their ability because its all they have. pero in Mexico people had nice things and treat it like crap.
It is freaking HOT here. So hot. I don't need that big blanket and I don't need any of my jackets or sweaters. (You mean those sweaters we just spent two weeks and $60 to send to you?  Oh those sweaters, I see.) I have so much extra stuff than what I need. It is so hot, I sweat so much here. Serious it is so hot.  (He's not in Boise Idaho anymore.)
I am doing good. I broke down yesterday because I can't speak Spanish. I have such a powerful testimony but I feel like it has been bottled up since day one in the CCM. I am just trying to work hard. It distracts me from how much I miss you. I am serious. I miss you. Its so hard. I have never been this far and this long away from home. I have had a few anxiety attacks. But I work hard to forget. Or to just remember why I am here. ya know. I am good though.
I have already seen the power of prayer and faith work in our work. For example the first experience was when we were planning our day.  We didn't know what to do at a certain time of the day.  I said we should look for a service opportunity for that time. Elder White reminded me of the odds that there would be an opportunity at that specific time. Yes it was slim but I told him I had faith that there would be an opportunity for us to serve someone. I prayed about it and when it came to that time we immediately found a member who was shoveling dirt in his backyard. My companion looked at me and said "Elder I admire you. You have strong faith." That boosted my spirit and it felt nice to do manual labor. I may not be able to teach in Spanish but I can work physically hard.

The second experience dealt with a lady who we had tried to contact since I got here.  She had already said yes to baptism the week before, but we could not meet with her. We tried to meet with her and teach her but she was never home. I had a feeling that if we went to talk to her that this time she will be there so we can set up an appointment with her. We prayed about it.   The next day we went at the time that we planned on visiting her and found her and set up an appointment to teach her next week.

The third experience was right before lunch yesterday.  Elder White looked at me and asked me where we should go and I thought for a second and said we should visit the mechanic. He is an awesome guy. So we went there and he had a referral for us. So he drove us there and we talked to his friend. Then another friend came in and so we taught the first lesson to both of them. Both of them were super interested and the spirit was so strong. We set up a follow up to teach them about the priesthood and the libro de Mormon. It was awesome. It boosted my spirits to feel the spirit so strong. While Elder White recited the first vision, I remembered something I read from a book before I left.  The author says that he imagines that Satan trembles with fear when a missionary prepares to teach the first vision let alone actually teaches it. It was so true. The spirit took over and it didn't matter how loud everything was we were communicating through the spirit. It was awesome.

That's awesome about the guys getting there Eagles.  It is just so awesome how strong our youth group is. Here the wards are so different. Pero

Good luck in tax season I will be praying for you. You will be amazing and it will be easy. Today I started to count a lot of my blessings and its just amazing.

Well mom I don't super love it here but I love what the gospel can do here. I Love this gospel with all my heart and soul. I miss you mom
I love you
Your son
Elder Luke