Monday, May 26, 2014

God knows our needs

Man do I miss home. So much awesome stuff is going on. But awesome stuff that's going on here that I wish you guys were here for. I miss you guys so much.  I remember when Chad Hansen came home from his mission. I thought that it was going to be so weird seeing his brother Kyle because he changed so much. Its the same for me. Its going to be crazy. I can see the difference in the fotos but its not the same. I bet  ya that Brandon will be taller than me when I return. That will be weird to physically look up to Brandon. But I will always beat him in everything.

Well here in Ecuador Guayaquil we are talking with everyone. That's something the mission is wanting to know; "How many people do you talk with cada dia (each day)". Contacting is not effective, but if we find opportunities to talk with people when we are waiting on the bus and doing our normal routine we can find a lot more people that way. So we have been talking with EVERYONE.  Its very good and effective. The meta (goal) is to talk with 10 personas cada dia. The leaders de zona said that the sectors that actually tried and did it had the most exito (success) this week. Means that's the way we can find and teach. Para me the motto is Buscamos, predicamos, encontramos, ensenamos, bautizamos, asistamos el templo, y repetimos (for me the motto is look,  preach, find, teach, baptize, attend the temple and repeat) . What we were lacking is finding the people. How can we have success without investigators. So that's what Presidente Dennis is focusing on. So are we. Finding people to teach. Yes most of the people that we talk with don't care what we have to say but every once in a while we find lost investigators de oro o in ingles (English) the golden investigators.
We had a lesson with this investigator in the capilla (chapel) and taught dia de reposo or keeping the Sabbath day holy. The spirit was so strong and I felt he understood the importance of not working on Sunday and going to church. That was on Saturday, so we passed the next day and his store was closed so we passed by his house and he was sleeping and was just about to get ready for church. It was just awesome how people can receive this stuff and then put it in action in their lives. I prayed that night that everyone that we talked to who felt a need to go to church will be touched by the spirit to very strongly go to church. My prayers were answered. We had 5 investigators in iglesia (church). Last week was cero (zero). Cero to cinco is pretty good. Now its our turn to work hard and teach them. 
That's what's been going on this week. I am getting along with my companion. Yes we disagree but God put him here so that I can grow.  But my Spanish has been getting better and progressing so fast.  We ran into a Gringo. He is a return missionary who is visiting. He comforted me about Spanish and it was awesome to see the joy he has. But I was in a lesson and my converso reciente (recent convert) was muy triste (very sad) because she couldn't read because of her eyes and we comforted her. I told her that I felt the same way when I was first here because I wouldn't speak Spanish. But God knows our needs.  He knows the way to fix and help us, but its almost never in the way that we want it to be. God knows all. He knows us and He knows the way. Our part is to trust in Him. With all our heart. When I shared that with esa hermana (that Sister) I felt the spirit so strong. Because its true. I told her that it doesn't matter if she cant read. That's why God sent us missionaries to teach her so that she can learn, that's why she has her daughter there to read to her, and because she has the Book of Mormon in audio. God blesses us but we just need to open our eyes and count our blessing. Recognize them. That's what I have learned this week.
Bueno. I know its not much. But know I am working hard and changing lives. Have fun with the busy week.
Elder Luke

p.s. attached is a pic of the luggage, I don't have to explain what's wrong, the foto speaks for itself.
good thing we bought the luggage with a two year warranty

Monday, May 19, 2014

God loves us so much even when we lack in love for Him

Oh my goodness, I needed your letter. I have been feeling down lately. Because I have missed opportunities to act on the spirit. Its really played a toll on me to think that I missed out. This last week I have been really evaluating and striving to be more obedient. I feel so blessed and I feel like I can do better with the things that I have been blessed with. I am so blessed, its not even funny. I thank God every day for how much I receive. Man, God loves us so much even when we lack in love for him. Its just amazing.
Okay this last week some stuff went on. Crazy stuff. Well this week I have been with the zone leaders. I haven't been in my sector very much this week. Because I was separated from my companion, but I am back with him now. We worked together for the first time in a long time yesterday. But the time that I was with the zone leaders was awesome. I had so much fun. They are such cool guys. Elder Estrata y Elder Chas. They are so goofy but know when to be serious. I didn't have a lot of lessons this week or anything that was remarkable except that my Spanish has improved so much. The spirit has been seriously working with me since I have been alone teaching. Almost like He was my companion. Elder Espiritu. Even though he doesn't have a name tag, its true. The Holy Spirit has been my companion. He has always been my companion ever since I was baptized and received the holy ghost. I just love it. Always be in tuned to the spirit. Don't miss those opportunities to just act when the spirit says what to do. Other thing, always be worthy to have the spirit. Have you guys seen Ephraim's rescue. Its so awesome. Every time he gives a priesthood blessing he washes his hands. Someone asked "why do you do that". He said something like we are calling on god for help. We are performing a sacred thing. We should try and be clean inside and out, the best we can.
We had a reunion con presidente and he said that we need to focus on and explain very well that we are children of God. He said if we understand that then our investigators will too. That's when they will feel and accept our teachings in their lives. I love teaching with that tool. Because everything we teach here is because we are children of God and He loves us. For example, just like a father would search for his lost child and return him to the family, God does that too. When we are spiritually lost he restores us to the truth. He has a restoration. The reason why we have the plan of salvation is because God loves us and wants us to become like Him. He gives us the evangelio de jesucristo to guide us so that we can make the covenants essential to enter into the kingdom of God and return to Him. He gives us commandments to keep us in line. To keep us on the right track and to receive blessing. It's just awesome to have that connection. God really does love us and we need to understand as best as we can that love. Because our lives are so much better when we feel His love. 
Now on a bad note, we sent a missionary home from our zone. It was actually sad because he didn't understand what this (the mission) was all about. He didn't get it and now he pays the consequences and now his family that is sealed together is paying also. It's sad but it strengthened me. It gave me a motive to be that much better because I never want to be close to going home. Unless two years are over then its fine.
Mom I am so blessed. You guys are so blessed. I am going to work harder. I know if I do my best here God with give me even more back home. I testify that He provides. I pray for you guys. Have an amazing week.

I love you
Elder Luke

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not a lot has happened other than the Baptism

Man it feels like its been so long since I last talked to you (We got to talk with Brian through Skype just two days before). That picture with my on the big screen is awesome. I loved talking to you guys. Turns out I could have talked longer to you guys, but then again I didn't want to be out of Ecuador for to long. Leading up to the phone call I was super nervous because I have been in Ecuador for so long now that to have my mind be back home scared me.  I don't mean I didn't have a desire to talk to you. I was just really trunky. As in ready to go home. Not literally but missing home.  I hope that makes sense. 
It was just so awesome to talk to you guys. I really miss you. It will just make my return that much sweeter.
(A few days before this email Brian's dad rode in the Idaho state road riding championships.  He didn't do as well as he would have liked, but he is always harder on himself than he should be.)  That's awesome about state championships for dad. I know how he is but that just means that next year he will push himself harder and do better. After that he is racing nationals and then tour de France. Never know. But that's awesome that he gets to do all these bike races.
Well, my companion is doing better. He still has to wait a week but weeks fly down here. But this time has really progressed my Spanish because I basically teach everything. The members here can't teach. That sucks but it's all a growing experience. Oh I watched a movie that's so awesome. Se llama Ephraim's Rescue. You guys should watch it. Its powerful. 
I had a baptism on Saturday of the family that got married. They are just amazing. I baptized the mom and then Elder Chas my zone leader baptized the dad. I helped with the dunking of the dad. It was crazy because I squatted and we had so many problems that I was almost completely in the water. But that was awesome. Then their confirmation was Sunday. Then we met with them lunes (Sunday night). They said that they felt so amazing. They said that they couldn't describe how they were feeling. It was so awesome that they could feel the Holy Ghost so fast and so strong. Such an awesome experience.  
Last night all the guys in the house just had a huge shaving cream fight. It got messy.
Because Brian's companion has Chicken Pox and Brian has never had them, he has to stay with the zone leaders.  It sounds like he spends his days with Ward members as companions and sleeps at the Zone leaders house.  They have a much nicer Casa. It sounds like he is having fun with the zone leaders though.
Don't forget skinny ties and sweet baby rays. 
When we talked to Brian on Mother's day he instructed us that we needed to send him two things in his next package.  He even wanted us to write it down.  Wool skinny ties and Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce.  Still trying to be trendy and missing a little bit of home.  (we eat a lot of Sweet Baby Rays at our house).  Funny the things they want. 
Sorry my letter is short, not a lot has happened other than the baptism. 
I love you guys so much. I am so blessed. 

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The great gozo (Joy) I have

Yes mom, I am doing good. I have interesting things going on but I am fine. Yea I had some problems con (with) my head but that went away and I haven't had problems since. But my companion had a head ache and had a hard time working.  On Saturday he looked into the mirror and had things on his face that looked like achne. The next day it got worse and so he went to the clinical and found out he has chicken pox. Since I have never had it I can't be his companion. He can't leave the house for 21 days. Which sucks because we have a baptism this Saturday. Looks like I get to do the baptism. I am fine with that. I get with other elders in the zone.  Well that's the extent of that. Mom don't worry I am completely fine.
Okay well this week was sort of dull but had some good things going on. Had some problems with my companion but we worked somethings out.  But the excitement started viernes (Friday). When la familia Jara got married, we got to be there for that. I baptized the daughter, remember. All of the hijos son miembros (children are members). So they got married and it was so cute to see such an older couple get married.  They are just so sweet and happy. The esposo (husband) always refer to his wife as his wife. " yes esposa".  But the thing that makes me so happy is that this Saturday they will be baptized and confirmed into the church of jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).   That's awesome but that's not even what is causing this great gozo (joy) that I have. The real thing is that I get to see that entire family in one year enter into the temple and be an eternal family. My patriarchal blessing says that my work here will bare fruit. This family that I have found is such a blessing to my life. You said one time in your letter awhile ago that the definition of a missionary is someone who leaves his family for a short while so that other families can be together forever. It's so true. This is hard but that joy and happiness that I receive knowing that warms my heart and keeps me going. The family Jara in one year will be an eternal family. That's what this is all about.
Apart de eso (from that), we tenemos un (have an) investigator that is also going to be baptized this Saturday. We found her off of a pure direction de dios (of God). She has problems but she has a desire to be baptized and live the word of God. She reads the Book of Mormon all the time.
Other than the fiasco con mi (with my) companion and the wedding, not much has been going on. I am completely fine. I am awesome. I just love this gospel. The only way people could feel the way I feel about this church is going to church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. I think I have said that before but its so true, all are such powerful tools. Si una persona (If a person) did those things they can feel the same way I do. I just wish more people would come, and partake of the blessing He has in store for them.
Tambien (Also) I love the Book of 3 Nephi. So awesome. I love all the things that Christ says when he is here in the Americas.
Mom remember when we had that joke before I left about the weapons for missionaries. The Preach my Gospel on the wall with the pamflits and Scriptures. Its so ture. They have so much iunsight. Its just beautiful. (Before Brian left we watched the missionary videos and noticed that they didn't have any pictures on the walls in the mission apartments.  The pictues they did have looked like they were Chuch magazines or the Preach my Gospel cover art.  We joked that they would just use their scriptures and materials as decorations and pull them off the wall when they needed to fight the battles of the day.  Fun that he is using that memory.  Oh and I did send him with some of my photographs of Idaho and temples to hang on their walls too.)
Apart de eso i will see you guys domingo (Sunday - Mothers Day). I love this gospel guys. Its awesome. Its AWESOME.

I love you mom
I love you dad
I love you family.
Elder Brian Luke