Monday, April 28, 2014

Success in our area. Lots of Spanish.

Sounds like the business is doing awesome, getting a lot of stuff in and having fun. You are right, the business is a way that the family can be together. It's not what I miss the most but I  do miss working there. How is Robbie doing on the website? How are sales? En general what is the next step for the business? Just keep me informed because that business is my baby, nuestra (our) baby. What did dad have this week that he was gone so much? Biking? That's awesome that he gets to do all this biking this year. I really miss biking. But walking is healthy, just slow.
So my companion is Elder Carvajal, he is from Chile. He is the youngest of his family, his brothers are menos activo (less active) and his padres (parents) are active (active in church). El tiene 5 meses aqui in Ecuador. (He's been in Ecuador 5 months).  He loves futbol and movies. He talks a lot which means I don't get to talk. (That's a hard thing for a Luke.) That's mainly the part that I don't like. Pero tenemos exito en nuestro sector. (But we are having success in our area). This last week we had the confirmation de Julia Jara. It was so awesome. Tambien had an investigator qien tiene 2 asistencias y fecha bautizmal for 10 de mayo. (We also had an investigator who has been to church twice and has a baptism date for the 10th of May.)  All of our investigators necesitan 3 asistencias in iglesia. (All our investigators have to attend church three times for baptism).  So she is on her way to entering into the Celestial Kingdom. Tambien tuvimos an old couple in iglesia. (We also had an older couple attend church.) They were a referencia (referral) that we contacted the day before. So that was awesome. Then this week we are going to pay for the papers so that the padres (parents) of the familia Jara can be married and ser bautizado manana (and be baptized later). 
So back to our exito (success). Then otra hermana nesacita casarse tambien, our meta con ella is for 24 de mayo. (Then another sister has to get married also, our goal with her is the 24th of May.)We also have a feche for 24 de mayo (date for the 24th of May) with an investigators who is gay. It is very interesting. If he has the desire to change his life we can help him do that. We know the manera que el puede hacer eso. (We know the way to do that.)  If we can get all of our investigators  to baptism, we could get mas de (more than) 6 baptisms this next month. But our meta (goal) is to hit 6 baptisms. Other than that nothing has been happening. (Sounds like a lot of activity for "nothing happening.") 
I have been reading the Book of Mormon and its awesome. Read it. It has so much that we can learn from it. I am in 3 Nephi when Christ is teaching. He teaches in chapter 14 verses15-20 that in our days there will be false prophets, but that we can know the real prophet from his fruits. Its awesome to compartir eso (share this) because el libro de Mormon (the Book of Mormon) is the fruto de jose smith (fruit of Joseph Smith). That is why the Book of Mormon is the clave or key stone de esta iglesia (of the church). Tambien me gusta eso (I also like this) scripture because we can know that Thomas S Monson is un profeta por medio de sus (a prophet through his) teaching or frutas. It's awesome. Julia had a problem with that before her baptism. She didn't have a testimony of Thomas S Monson. She knew he was a good dude but not a profeta (prophet). It wasn't until we explained that if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, means that Jose Smith (Joseph Smith) was a profeta(prophet), which means Thomas S Monson is also a profeta (prophet). Tambien she read a lot and listened to conferencia (General Conference) and she gained that testimony. It's awesome to see that scripture in actions, and that we can apply it in our lives. Read the Book of Mormon. Its so awesome and the stories and everything. Even if we weren't Mormon it would be a sick book. The war stories and teachings are awesome. I love it. When I finish it I am going to read it again in Spanish and then read d y c(Doctrine and Covenants) in English.
Did you know that people think that Jehovah is God? This other man said that God doesn't have a body. Its just so weird. They say here that God is Jehovah because it says that Jehovah created the world. But I found a scripture. Hebrews 1:1-2 that shows that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. It's just interesting. The guy that said that God doesn't have a body didn't even know the bible. When I questioned where he found all of it out he just said the Bible and couldn't show us. But Christ says that he follows the example of the father. Then that means that Christ has a body. It's just crazy what people think of.
Its been very hot, wait its always hot. I am always sweating, and I got sun burnt.
I love you mom
I love you dad
I love you family.
Elder Luke

(I think the Luke family is going to have to learn some Spanish just to be able to read Brian's emails soon.  More and more Spanish mingled with misspelled English.  Hopefully I've cleaned it up a little for you to read.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tourist type pictures

When Brian left I told him to take lots of pictures.  He's the photographers son so he knew what that meant.  But when he got down there it wasn't very easy to take pictures in the area he was at.  Last week he was able to go to one of the tourist sights and take pictures.  He was also told to take pictures of himself and not just his companions.  He listened. 

Brian and some other Elders went to the area in Guayaquil called Malecon 2000.  This is the same area he took the pictures of the Iguana's a few weeks ago.  This area has had some serious renovations to make it a tourist destination.  There are parks, a boardwalk, live bands, and a hike to an old church and lighthouse.  It looks like you have to walk up 444 steps to get to the lighthouse.  No wonder he is so sweaty in the pictures.  Glad to see them having some fun too.
Colorful shopping market

Step #001
Here we go!
At the top!

Step #444

New companion. No English.

Hey mom
Man I miss you. Sorry I am writing later than later. We were to receive a call on domingo (Sunday)about cambios o transfers but then they called and said that it was going to be today and not lunes (Monday). So yesterday was just a normal day of proselyting, y today is my p day. Elder White transferred to a different area, I am still here in Portete 1 With my new companion, se llama (called) Elder Carvejal. He is Latino and doesn't know any English. Its tough. Como I can communicate but I feel like I am just saying nothing and he doesn't understand. I feel like I am starting all over. Como Elder White could answer my questions and knew what I needed to say, this Elder doesn't. Its tough. I have only been his companion for a short time period and its already hard. He is an awesome Elder but  its so hard to communicate. I can talk to the investigator through the spirit but it doesn't work like that for companions. Just pray for me because I am going to be praying a lot this week. It will all be fine. Apart de eso everything is going awesome here in Ecuador.
Mom you don't need to worry I haven't gotten robbed yet but its really not that dangerous. People get sick here but not anyone that I have known. That's really weird though that you mentioned being sick in your email.  I have been feeling sick lately.  I hit my head on the wall one evening and ever since then every time I move my head fast or lay down fast or just odd situations I get light headed and the world spins. I have blacked out a few times this week, not passing out but close. I drink a lot of water but I think I just rocked my head on the wall really bad. Its been freaking me out solo because I don't like to feel that way. But I know I will be fine.
Now that is the bad part of this week.  Other than that we found a nuevo (new) investigator, ella (it) is really weird. We found her this week and committed her to baptism and she said yes.  Her words said yes but her expressions said no. She is like that in all things.  She will change her mind really fast but her face says something different. But this week we have been teacher her and she assisted iglesia (attended church), so regardless of what her face says we have her asistencia (assistance) and her feche (date) for baptism.
Julia Jara Baptism
Apart de eso we had the baptism of Julia Jara. It was just so awesome and amazing. She gets confirmed this Sunday as part of the church of God, because this last week was stake conference.   I don't understand why Julia doesn't smile in the pictures, mucho Latinos don't smile in pictures but are super smiley in general.
Tambien (also) this week this investigator was considering separating from his novia (wife) and hija (daughter). We taught him to pray and think about it. He did and he said he wants to stay with his family, so we brought the novia (wife) in and taught them how they can be an eternal familia, It was awesome and they are now reading the book of Mormon together. That was an awesome experience.
En conference we had a lot of people there, 7 investigators y 6 menos activos. For this zone that's a lot. It just feels good to have success. I got to hear Elder Holland speak a little bit of Spanish  from a transmission to the country of Ecuador.
I can do this mom.  I am afraid. I haven't always been afraid in my life but this mission is really showing me how much I need to rely on Christ.
That's it for here in Ecuador, I miss you so much mom, but its freaking weird to think that I have 4 meses in the mission and it feels like 1.  The days just blend together, that's why I need to get better in writing in my journal.

I love you mom
Elder Luke.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Already figured out what is most important

I am glad that you are done with tax season, mom. That will be a huge relief for you to actually have time in your days. Con el tiempo (with time) you wont have to work, pero (but) its really awesome that you do. Literally its awesome how the Lord provides for our family. 
Well this week for me was slow and not much happened. Our numbers this week aren't very good and that was because we were running around doing things for other missionaries. Un dia (one day)we had a two hora invasion  (basically when everyone contacts in someone's area in the zone) in another sector. Got back then we had lessons cancel and had to be at the capilla for three horas to fill a baptismal font for another ward, and then a two hora entre vista (two hour interview) for our investigator Julia Jara who is getting baptized this week. It was a long entre vista because she has done a lot of stuff in her life but wants to change and so it was a lot of counseling and helping her with that. We didn't do the interview it was the zone leader but we had to wait the entire time for that. But all is well because she is listo (ready) for baptism. She is just absolutely perfect, she has been prepared for this church. For Christ.
Tambien (also) this week since my companion is district leader we did exchanges with some disobedient elders.  One of the other elders was sick so I stayed in the casa with him and Elder White went to a visit with the other Elder. Hopefully that makes sense. Basically it was supposed to be an hour and it was 2 hours and thirty minutes. That is a lot of time lost in the mission field. So those were our days this week, just bad. But we had mucho lessons con la familia Jara. They are so amazing, we are still waiting for the padres (parents) to get married. Just a lot of paper work, but they will get baptized for sure. So this week we have our baptism for Julia Jara, She will be baptized this Friday so I will have pics next week.
Tambien (also) this is the last week until transfers and its very likely that Elder White will get transferred. So for our last P day we are going all out. We are going to Malicone.  It's a tourist sight. Its where I took all the photos of the iguanas and stuff. This time we are going to hike to the top of this hill and see a light house and look out over Guayaquil. This time I will get pictures of me. I promise.
I am sorry that this letter isn't very long. That's just because not a lot has happened.  But I had a pretty cool experience with this family. The mom and kids are active but the oldest son and dad aren't. So we sat down and we taught them, menos (without) the dad but I just shared a simple truth that I have found in my short time here on a mission. Eso what really matters in life. They are a sealed family. I explained that they were going to be together forever. Then I shared the simple truth. I told them that I miss my family. It was bad because I started to cry which made the mom cry.  I told them I miss them so much. I explained or at least tried to explain that we do a lot of stuff together as a family. Then I explained that in my day to day things here in Ecuador I don't think about biking with dad or hiking or doing crazy stuff with the family. What I miss most is going to church as a family, reading scriptures as a family and praying as a family. What I have realized is that that is what is most important. The spirit was there and showed a spark of the spirit in the oldest son. We are going to work on that family. But its just interesting, I know what's most important now. Other menos activos (less active) this week I would machete (slang we think for reprimand) them on why they settle for the worst and don't strive for the best. But its just so simple and people don't get it. Read the scriptures, Pray to our father in heaven, and asistir iglesia (attend church). That's what is most important and that's what brings the best happiness in our day to day lives. 
Well that's my insight for this week. Hope it made sense. When you use Spanish all the time its really hard to type in English. Don't know why. Its probably that I just suck at typing.
I promise this next week I will have photos, and I will have better stories.
All I am saying is feeling the spirit is something so amazing. SO AMAZING. I love it
I love you Mom
I love you dad
I love you family.
Elder Luke
p.s. my ipod broke, and my big suit case wheel broke, and all of my pants keep coming un-hemmed. Whats going on with my stuff?  (Not surprising.  Brian has always had a hard time with keeping his stuff from not braking.  Luckily we got the suitcases with a warranty.)
It really is amazing to read these letters and to see in only four months how focused these young boys can become and how in tune they are to the Spirit.  When Brian focuses on something that he is passionate about there really is no stopping him.  I think that is why the language is coming together and the emails are getting harder to read.  But to hear that he has already figured out what is most important in life is amazing.  He's only 18 years old.  It hasn't even been a year since he graduated from high school.  He use to focus on what he wanted and how soon he could get it.  Now, in only four months, he has realized that he misses the simple moments and the spiritual strength of our family.  This is the best experience for him and those he is serving.  I am truly grateful for the Church and the opportunity that Brian has to bring others unto Christ.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference was Amazing

Conference was amazing. Unfortunately I had to watch the two Saturday sessions in Spanish, the priesthood session in English and then domingo (Sunday) in English. When its in Spanish the music is always in English. they don't dub that over. But conference was amazing.  I got so much out of it.  I took so many notes and really felt the spirit speaking directly to me during it. It was really awesome. Bednar's talk was amazing domingo (on Sunday), Uchtdorf's talk was awesome in priesthood. Well priesthood was just amazing, they macheted mucho but with the spirit.

Elder Packer bore an awesome testimony of the God head.  We don't think he is going to make it to the next session of conference. The prophets words in the morning of domingo was awesome sobre charity and being more Christ like, that is something I need to work on. One guy who I cant remember his name was awesome when he only talked about Joseph Smith and the restoration.

Uchtdorf said something that was amazing in priesthood session.  He quoted Martin Luther King Jr " are you sleeping through the revolution." He then changed it to " Are you sleeping through the restoration".  That is so true for so many people in this world. Especially here in Ecuador.  Its time to act.

I really enjoyed conference.  I don't think I will ever be able to watch conference in comfy pants in the house again. It's a lot more spiritual in the stake center in church clothes. I got a lot more out of it. It was also so specially because I testify every day that the church has been restored and that we have a prophet who is our direct link to God and to actually hear his voice. Going to the stake center I know would fix the sleeping problem at home, well maybe not for dad. 

Ecuador is awesome.  Elder White has 4.5 months left. He is getting trunky, just a little. He talks a lot about it and then keeps me in check by reminding me that I just started. But time has been flying here. Our next transfer is in dos semanas. Literally crazy to think that I have almost 4 months on a mission. It feels like yesterday i received an email with all caps saying ONE MONTH MARK. Now I am pushing four. Crazy.

I am doing amazing though. I feel that my Spanish is improving and I can take the lead in everything. I understand and communicate, its awesome. We found this family, la familia Jara.  Its an older couple and the daughter who has 40 anos. Ella dijo que she wants me to baptize her. I am so honored because she is amazing and has so much Fe (faith). She has been prepared for this gospel. She has some problems in life but its awesome because I can relate and testify that by the atonement she can change and be made clean. We taught her about the holy ghost, so yesterday she said that she wants to get baptized 19 de abril so that she can have the espiritu santo. Its just awesome. Other than them, we found another family, la familia Mesa Gomez. They really need this gospel to help them. She can feel the spirit all the time we are there and she is super receptive to the mensaje. She didn't come to conference but she said she would watch it on her own because she wants to feel that paz from listening to it. I don't know if you feel this way but when I saw the mas amount of people in conference, it made me feel so amazing to know that we are members of something so grand and beautiful.

Well that's it for this week.  I love you so much.  This work is everything.  I feel that I will be on a mission for my entire life. Just always thinking about that amazing feeling when I get to hug you, mom, for the first time in two years.

I love you mom
I love you dad
I love you family.

Elder Luke