Monday, June 23, 2014

Six month mark!

Wow it sounds like there has been a lot of things going on at home. I do miss the hectic stuff in Boise. The crazy stuff at home is not that crazy compared to here. Okay its a different type of crazy.

This last week we have been working a lot with our three baptismal feches (dates). This Hermana (sister) who is a little older, apart de eso tenemos 2 hermanas jovenes (apart from that we have two younger sisters). Two of them have some fear but we worked with them and all three of them are solid. They are going to get baptized this next sabado (Saturday). 

This one lesson we had with the two young women.  We had the Young Women's Presidente and some other Hermana (sisters) with us.  We had them share there conversion stories and we talked about how the church blesses families. Then the youngest of them said that she felt something weird. Something awesome. Something different. Something that she loves. Then we started teaching that the feeling that she has is the Spirit. I love the Spirit. 
So that scripture that I sent you guys last week to read is awesome (see previous post for links). It explains that God knows that we need food, we need water, we need all of those things. But first seek the kingdom of God. There are a lot of people who think that everything is first then God. But no. God is first. If we do everything possible to enter in the kingdom of God he will provide for us. Mom, remember that revelation that you had in the temple about what can you do more so that the store can have mas exito (more success)? (A few months back I was praying for help with our store and for some reason I thought about how I need to read my scriptures more regularly.  The thought came several times during that temple session.  Sometimes simple things can create big things).  First seek ye the kingdom of God and he will provide all. Its just like here. If I put my all into this work I know God will provide back home. Its the same for you guys. Do everything you can to seek the kingdom of God and the store and yours lives will be provided for from God. Then in the scripture after that he said fear not. God loves us all guys. I love it. 

Oh I finished my 6 month mark. We had pizza and I burned a tie like Elder Smith.

I love you
Until next week. God will provide for us.  He will provide for you.
Elder Luke

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God doesn't choose the Prepared, he prepares the chosen

Whats happening here is I had an inter cambio or exchanges with the zone leaders. I went to the sector of the zone leaders with Elder Hanks from Utah. He is super cool. We talked a lot about the future of the mission and how we have to be better because a lot of things are going to happen in the mission and we have to be prepared to be leaders. His sector is huge. We took a 15 minute bus ride to another part of his sector and its all dirt and hills. It was really fun. My Spanish has improved so much. I can role it off the tongue with the help of the gift of tongues. The other missionaries that i live with said that I was talking in my sleep and it was in Spanish. That means I am improving. The only thing is that I don't remember speaking Spanish in my dream. I am waiting for that.
The day after that inter cambio con Elder Hanks. My companion and I were having a good day. I got hungry and i wanted to buy something called salchipapas (a fast food dish that is a mixture of french fries and hot dogs or sausages) but the member and my companion wanted some too and that meant I was going to buy for them. We past by the place and the rode was blocked with a party so we returned and I decided that I wanted to buy food. We sat down and we start talking with the kid who owns this little family food thing in their house. Then his friend comes and we start talking to them both. Then he asks why we are called Mormons. Bueno (good) question. So we start with teaching about the Book of Mormon and what it is. Then he asked how we got it in this time period. Then we started with the message of the restoration. When we started talking about the grand apostasy.  His mom pipped in and just said nothing worth while to listen to. She literally said nothing. It was all gibberish and her son and the friend knew it too. We Then pipped in and started with the first vision and it was pure silence. The spirit was so strong. Then we taught that Jesus Christ restored his true church in the earth through Joseph Smith. Then ended with our testimonies. Every word I said in my testimony was so powerful, not because it was my words but because the Spirit was with me and I was speaking the truth. It was so powerful. It was pure silence from when we started the first vision hasta we finished. We left Libros de Mormones with them and the kid said that we didn't have to pay for the salchipapas. It was free. It was so awesome. That's really been it for this semana (week).
I am feeling the Spirit constantly but I can be better. I know the things I need to change to be the best I can be. Presidente said something awesome. He said that God doesn't choose the prepared, he prepares the chosen. That really helped me this week.

Okay I have some personal incite for this week. I don't have a lot of time because we were playing futbol to long and we have citas (appointments) that we have to go to. But read Luke 12, Click here for the link to Luke Chapter 12 then watch the video of the Biblia that is titled something like seek ye the kingdom of God. Click here for the link to the Bible Video Read it. Ponder on it and next week I want to share what I have come to understand through revelation of the spirit.
I am really sorry that I haven't written a lot in this letter but I hope you can understand that I am safe because I am with the spirit. The Spirit is one of the members of the God head and so I think that is more powerful than some loser who wants 25 cents.

 I love you so much. I think about you constantly. I think of my blessings that I receive, but not here in Ecuador but with you guys in estados unidos (United States). I love you so much, I hope you feel it, but I hope you guys feel the love of God. I pray for you guys every day. Just think about the phrase in Lucas 12 that says that God knows our needs, but seek ye the kingdom of God and everything will be provided for. Read, ponder, pray and next week i am going to share something awesome.

Have a wonderful, safe, spiritual week
I love you
Elder Luke

Monday, June 9, 2014

Every second I am here strengthening my testimony

One week down in the sector. It's a lot of walking. And its all hills, so my calves are going to get even bigger. We really have to plan well. Because we cant have a cita (appointment) on one side and then expect to go to the other side of the sector for another. I have heard that its not the biggest area. That its not even big. But I was born here in one of the smallest sector in the mission entonces (then)to me its big. We don't even live in our sector. We live in a nice neighborhood.  We also live on a hill. The top of the hill. Entonces cada dia (then each day) climbing mountain. You know that song "Somewhere there's a Mountain"? Well I found it. Everyday we leave and going en bus to our sector. Then when we need to go anywhere in the sector we go in tricimoto (three wheeled motorcycle). Bastion is full of those. They are like the bus or taxi for these people and for us. The roads are awful with pot holes and cracks everywhere but that's normal. 

Aqui (here) I have heard we get robbed a lot. But I haven't encountered that problem. Either God is protecting me because he knows how much I love my watch or I just jinxed myself and I am going to be robbed this week. No importa para (matter for me) me. In the scriptures it says to bless your enemies. I thought about how can I bless them. Yes with my message but if they want something I don't provide resistance. I don't know. I have never been robbed before. I feel that the spirit will guide me what to do in those situations. 

That's it about my sector. Now my companion. Se llama (he is called) Elder Cordova. El es de Ecuador (He is from Ecuador) . Su ciudad es norte de Quito (His city is north of Quito). El dijo que es 10 horas en bus (He said it is 10 hours by bus). That's crazy. He lives so close.  He could go home whenever he wants. Just hop on the bus. I could not do that. Like Elder Dean (who is in Las Vegas). I could not have served a mission close to home. Its easy to lose yourself in the work when you don't have that temptation of home. But he is awesome. He knows the doctrine. He knows how to have fun. He is obedient, but he is a tiny bit like a robot. That's where I can help with my strengths. We are a good companionship. Presisdente ayer dijo que vamos tener mucho exito juntos (President said that we will have a lot of success together). I know we will. We work hard together.

Bueno (Okay) this week. We have investigators. I don't really know where they live because I don't understand the map system of this city. But we have them. Grandpa Washburn would freak if he saw the land surveying here in Ecuador. Its awful. Tambien (Also) the mapping system. Bueno tenemos personas (But they have good people).
We have a family that we found. Its a mom, son y (and) brother of the mom. At first the hermano (brother) was receptive but the mom was not getting it. So we taught her over again the restoration pero (but) very direct and explained it all. Explained that the church of God has prophets and apostles. Si (if it) doesn't have that then is the true church. Explained that the church of Jesus Christ has to have la autoridad (authority). Sin eso (without it) its not the true church. Then we explained that the church of Jesus Christ has to be called the church of Jesus Christ. Una escritura (written) in the book of Mormon dice que (it says) "if the church is called after Moses then its the church of Moses, if its called after any man its the church of that man. But Jesus says and explains that his church will always be called the Church of Jesus Christ". So we explained that the name has to be The Church of Jesus Christ. Then we explained that if a church doesn't have all of that stuff then its not the true church. She said she has been looking for the church of God for a long time. I said "hermana (Sister) you don't have to look anymore. God has prepared you for this moment. You have found the church of Jesus Christ that has all of these things to be the true church". This Sunday was her first Sunday in church and she loved it. She is progressing to be baptized on 28 de junio (June 28th).

We have another investigator who is really cool and easy to talk with but nuca quiere asistir iglesia (never wants to attend church). But his sister did. Tambien (also) we have another familia that is a part member family. The guy is cool and knows that our church is true. He also was prepared for us.
What's really the bomb for this week was a conference with the three missions in Guayaquil. I got to see friends from the CCM tambien (also) friends from other zones in the mission. Como Elder Chas (I miss him so much) Elder Estrata, y Elder Barth ( he wants my ties). Tambien (also) I saw Elder Philips (who Brian went to school with in Boise). Well we were supposed to see and hear from Elder Dalen H Oaks. But he cancelled because he had something. So he called the 70 general se llama Elder Waldel. He stood up, even though he has seen us all before. But he stood up and started with saying that he had revelation. He received a question from the spirit. Why did the lord call this meeting if he knew that Elder Oaks was going to cancel his presence? Why were the three missions supposed to reunite? Then he explained the answer. He said that Guayaquil baptizes the most in this city compared to any city in the world. He said that we are an example for the world.  BUT, we don't have long lasting members. We don't have conversos (converts). He said that baptism is not the goal. Es esencial (it is essential) but without the temple, baptism is nothing. He said baptisms are not the goal. Eternal families are the goal. He explained that that's why we had that conference. Because we need to change. Rescue less actives and create conversos (converts) that will go to the temple and be an eternal family. The spirit was so strong. So PODEROSO (So powerful).  We left that conference and I felt so different. I felt like I needed to change the way I am teaching people. That the people are just progressing to be baptized but not to be in the temple. That they need to know that. Ever since then my attitude and the spirit has been mas fuerte (stronger) in me.  Before I wanted to baptize but now I want conversos (converts). I want to see long lasting members. 
Its was awesome. then before that talk his wife got up and cried a bunch because her son just returned home from his mission. I was very home sick for her talk. Especially when she said that my mother loves me. I balled a little. Okay a lot. (That's my boy!)

That's all for now folks. Guys every day I teach, every second I am here strengthening my testimony. Strengthens my will. I know you guys cant be here but through personal estudio (study) and sharing the gospel you can feel this strengthening that I am feeling. Just remember always that God loves every single one of you. Its true. And I know it.

Elder Luke

The Boise Boys!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Transfered to Bastion Popular

Hearing about home makes me sad because I miss you guys and estados unidos (the United States). But when I read (the emails), I cry.  I cry because I know God exists. In every email I see the blessings He gives me. Not just here, but back home with you guys. I don't even deserve what He gives me but He loves me so much. I don't get sad. I am always filled with gozo (enjoyment), because I receive an answer to my prayers every time I hear that God is taking care of my family. Keep keeping my informed. It boosts my spirit.
Well I have two muy bueno (very good) experiences this week. Its funny that you mentioned that about the luggage. (We are trying to replace his broken luggage or at least the wheel so I had asked about how often he uses it and if he could replace it down there.)  I am going to answer if I use my luggage a lot; I don't use it a lot but I just used it. Significa yo tuve cambios (I had transfers). Last night we received a call and the zone leaders said that I was leaving my sector. Every single companionship in the zone had a cambio (change). Well I packed all night and went to get a new companion. I am now en barrio Bastion Popular en la estaca Pascuales (Bastion Popular in the Easter stake). At this moment I don't remember my companion's name y (and) I don't want to look like an idiot and ask. I have a problem remembering espanol nombres (Spanish names). I just can't remember them. I had a hard time this morning because cambios son fast (changes are so fast) and I didn't have time to say good by to all those persons that mean a lot to me in my sector. But I will try and keep in touch. 
We live in a neighborhood, there are some house that look really nice but all are decent. We live on a hill. It's actually pretty cool. The house is small and simple but its not super hot. We don't live in our sector. We have to take a bus everyday to and from our sector. Its huge. Its like 10 times bigger than Portete 1. So that will be different.  My companion said that some parts are pelican or rich. But he told me that some parts are really bad with drugs and robbing. I will have to be cautious. 
That's the really big change in my life right now.
I just prayed last night and I knew that God was testing me with this cambio (transfer).  What I have learned is that I Have to turn and trust in God even more. I can feel in everything that happens the love and guidance of God. I feel him preparing me to be someone great.  The last few days I have been really feeling the love of god. My last companion Saturday skyped his family for 2 horas and so I was just watching the Bible videos and Mormon messages. 2 horus straight and I felt the spirit so strong. I  felt directly his love that he has for me. For a while I have been struggling with a question. How can I feel important in Gods eyes if I am just one tinny thing amongst all of his creations. Don't get me wrong, I would not deny that he loves me. But when I was in the cyber (assuming he's talking about the cyber cafĂ© his companion was using to Skype his family) I felt His love directly to me. And then I felt that love spread to everyone. I realized that God really does know us personally. "This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". But man is plural. It should say the immortality and eternal life of you. Of YOU. He loves me. And the thing is, I can feel it. I feel it so powerfully.  You guys need to understand that we are children of God.  We are his sons and daughters. That means that our potential is grand. Just like a king in the olden days would pass down his kingdom to his sons, it is lo mismo con nosotros (it is the same with us). He loves us.  He guides us so that we can be like him. 
Oh do I love the spirit.

Family, I miss you. Mom I miss you. I miss you all so much. But we all have such a great responsibility to bring others unto Christ. Know that keeps me going, plus the blessings. I saw a video. Its one of the Mormon Messages. Se llama daily bread pattern (It's called Daily Bread Pattern). Watch it and apply it to your lives. Its so amazing.  Link to the Daily Bread Pattern

God be with you till I write again. (This is where Brian's mom lost it.  The last time I heard this song it made me cry and now he's quoting it.  Oh Brian... we miss you too.)
I love you mom
I love you dad
I love you family
Elder Luke
In searching about the area Brian is currently serving in I found this video about a school in his sector.  He's not in Idaho anymore.  Bastion Guayaquil Ecuador