Monday, November 24, 2014

I am learning to love more people

Wow mom you got me on a emotional roller coaster with your email. Bad and good stuff going on. I am glad that everything is fine with your leg and especially dad's back. That scares me. But its not the first time with dad's back. Well I know we are so blessed. I really feel the blessing pore down over us. Am I worthy of such marvelous blessing?  No. I can always get better and be better and more consecrated but I am very grateful that God loves us enough to bless us. I am grateful that everything is awesome with the store and especially that everything is awesome with the family.

Well i know everyone is just dying to hear about my week so I will tell you.

My new companion is awesome. Elder Muñoz, el es muy humilde (he is very humble) and patient and fun. He has so much amor (love) for the people and I love it. Sometimes I feel like I go into lessons just guns whipped out killing people with the scriptures como (as) Amulek in Alma 10 when it says that when the people got upset with him he stretched forth his hands and screamed with more strength.
But Amulek stretched forth his hand, and cried the mightier unto them, saying: O ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?
Crazy but cool. Its a very stretched exaggeration because I am not like that. But with MY companion I am learning to love people more. I feel this is preparation me for something in my life that will happen. Something I was thinking about is how can the prophet and apostles meet with leaders of other churches and smile and talk and not have in their minds that they are so wrong and are leaders of the wrong church?  What I am learning from Elder Muñoz is that this is the truth, but we have to love everyone because we are all sons and daughters of God and that's what I feel that I need to learn in this time with my companion.

This week I was able to teach a teacher of children in the Catholic church. She is very sweet and fun. When we taught her it was very spiritual. We don't know if she will progress but we never know how this will change her life. It was really powerful when we prayed in the correct way because she felt the Spirit and I told her that God really heard her. But since then she hasn't read or prayed about the Book of Mormon. 

I feel like I am opening a sector because we have really no investigators and its been really tough. Really tough because we walk and talk and don't find anything. But what else can I say. That's how the life of a missionary is. But like my last sector with Elder Sanchez, we did the same and we had éxito (success). My companion has helped me keep going because its been hard. He is always talking about the fe (faith) and hope. He is a powerful missionary.

I now live with another greengo, he is from California, Elder Beck. He knows a lot of Spanish and is a surfer and snowboarder. He is cool. Its weird that I don't get to pass by my converts to have the spiritual experiences with them but what matters is that someone is passing by them and they are still progressing.  They aren't my converts son converts of the lord.

I love you. Ya know I have been thinking about what I will talk about in my home coming talk. Maybe a few stories. But when Joseph Smith gave his last testimony he say that his purpose is to testify of Christ. I think all I can say is that I know that He lives. I have come to find that out. He really lives. 

I love you
Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Elder Luke

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pictures from Zone Conferences

The Mission President and his wife have posted some pictures of zone conferences over the last few months.  I found our missionary in some of the pictures.  I don't know why the soda bottle is always in front of Elder Luke.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Elder Smith told me that I am where the Lord wants me to grow the most.

I am really happy. I really feel that my prayers are answered every time I read your letters. I worry about my family, but I just keep working and God provides for us. AWESOME: I am so happy. I love the photos of the snow in Boise.  It makes me miss snow. But its all good. Its cold enough here in Pedernaloes. (It has been in the 70s but probably with less humidity).

Boise snowman
About me, well I had transfers. I went super far from my sector. I was previously serving in Pedernales 1 and now I am so far away that I am in Pedernales 2. HAHA Elder Sanchez is in Guayaquil until jueves (Thursday) and will come back and train a new missionary. My new companion is Elder Muñoz, he is from Chile. Remember in the pictures the missionary grande (tall) and whiter than most Latinos. He is my new companion and its awesome because we have the same time in the mission. We came to the mission at the same time.  He is really fun. My new sector is super tiny but they just had two baptisms this last week so that means there really are people prepared and I really want to do well this transfer. The meta or goal is 8 baptisms in the month of Diciembre (December). It is a very high goal but we can find family's. FAMILY'S! 

This picture is from the day Brian and the rest of these missionaries
started their service in Ecuador.  Elder Munoz is on the top row center.
current zone or district group

Well this week what happened was something that really strengthened my testimony. We had a baptism. She also doesn't have much support from her family but she has such a strong testimony. During the baptism I felt the Spirit so strong and she did too. There weren't people talking and there wasn't much outside sound. It was very spiritual. I may are may not have cried ;D 
We were so happy that day that we bought pizza in the night to celebrate.

It was a testimony that this work and church is true. It was so simple the way the Spirit testified to me but it strengthened me so much. I saw her change her life and all I did was use words to help the Spirit enter into her life and now she is a member of the church and this next Sunday she will have a calling. I am so happy. I really wanted to hug her when we ended the baptism. Every time I looked at her I thought of you mom. She has the same age as you and dad. (I didn't edit this sentence because it made me laugh.  I guess he's translating Spanish into English to write this letter.) But I didn't hug her. But I might cry when I have to say good bye to her someday. But thankfully I will have more time here in Pedernales. 

Sunday we had a satellite broadcast from the area where they spoke very bluntly about consejo de barrio, ward council meetings. It was super cool to learn more and the rama was shocked because it brought to light the things they might be doing wrong. 

I have learned this transfer that I need to trust more in God. Elder Smith (from Boise) told me that I am where the lord wants me to grow the most. This means that I am here to learn and to do more. 

I love you, I really love you. I am so grateful mom that you guys made the first step to be members actives (active members of the church) so that I can be here. Maybe sometimes I forget the sacrifices that people have done for me to be here but the Spirit reminds me and I am driven always to be better. I am doing my best.

Elder Luke

(For Brian's birthday we sent him new shoes.  The place we purchased the shoes from was worried that the shoes he bought before he left were worn through already when they should last a lot longer than this.  I told the shop owner that Brian just likes shoes and generally wears through shoes faster than others.  Here is Brian's comment to my little joke.)
p.s. my shoes are getting a little worn. The heavy duty shoes that we bought are almost flat on the bottom, they still work and are one of my favorite shoes but they are worn a bit. But don't worry, I have plenty of shoes. Its true, I told my companion that ya know when you are a true missionary when you find joy in your shoes, and ties.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Mixed feelings about Birthday celebrations

This week was good. I had my birthday. First off, thank you for the present. I love the shoes, LOVE the ties, and the balloons and decorations we put all over the house. It was awesome. I really enjoyed the present.

The day of my birthday we had a lot of cake- A lot. I think in two day we had 5 cakes. I ate a lot of food that day. It didn't do well in my stomach. It was good but also bad. I learned more about being a more consecrated missionary. You said something the other week about how its my birthday but these two years are not about me. That really stuck with me. I really enjoyed the package from you guys. What I didn't enjoy was the mass amount of parties that the members put on. It was good to feel love from them. But every second I was there at my party, I was losing time in the work of the Lord. I actually felt bad all day. We only had one lesson and we didn't do anything. I learned that I wont be announcing my birthday the next year. I felt bad taking the attention from the work and putting it on me. I really learned that day that even on my birthday I have to be focused and dedicated in this work.
This week has been great because we have una hermana that is progressing for baptism this week. She really has had spiritual experiences. She is really progressing and is awesome. SO this next week I will have more pictures of another baptism. But this time she is really converted. She is awesome. Yesterday we had a noche de hogar (Home Evening) where we taught her with a lot of members about fasting and tithing. It was fun and she loved the videos that we showed and it was cool. She told us that she doesn't want us to leave. I might actually cry if I have transfers this next week because she is so awesome.
Now I have some bad news. The old man that I baptized about two weeks ago, told us that he will keep going to his old church and that he will not follow with the Church of Jesus Christ. It was sad. But we did everything possible. Its his own condemnation. Mathew 7: 14 says that straight is the path to righteousness but few are they who find it. I guess he just wont be one of them. God knows that not everyone will be eligible to live with him.
Well its a short letter this week because I have a lot of photos. I love it here. I love being a missionary. I love that I am 19 but that I am more focused in the mission. I love my Savior.

Have a wonderful week
I love you
Elder Luke

Birthday message balloons for his birthday present.

Good to know he still wears that hat even in Ecuador

nice new birthday tie

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caution** over use of AWESOME below

Sabe (Know that), when I was reading you messages I was happy. Super happy.  I just love the way life is going. Then I read the part that Nick and Cassandra are getting married. WHAT!!! That's awesome. They are so cool. Send them my congratulations. Are you going to go to the wedding? I want pictures.  That's awesome.

Well, that's awesome that D3 (marching band competition) went well for Brandon. That's awesome. First place! Who would have thought that Centennial High School would make such a change to get first place. That's awesome. That's awesome that Brandon is getting that experience. Wow the pictures are awesome. Brandon is tall. How tall is he? I think he already passed me. But Ii will always be stronger. 
MOM, that is an awesome that you got a new calling. Ward Missionary! That's awesome mom. Okay so tips. Read a lot predicar mi evangelio, preach my gospel. Read chapter 3 that is where the lessons are.  You need to know very well the principles of every lesson and know what  is taught in the principle. Nothing super deep. Really like teaching kids because they the people don't know the doctrine, so you start with the basics. The other thing is read chapter 10. That chapter talks about different things to apply in teaching and being a better teacher. So mom. You have a hard calling. The teaching is easy. Its the time that's the hard part. Mom, As a missionary, I would love if a member could come on visits with us every day all day. Its almost impossible. But if you find time, like 3 or 2 hours to go on visits that can be a huge blessing with the missionaries there. They will be so blessed. The other thing is that we have more time on Sundays. Its a good idea to dedicate a lot of Sundays to going with  the missionaries. The other thing is be always in contact with them. Mom I am so pumped for you, this will help you so much.  Mom i am so happy that you are ward missionary. I was talking to my companions about how you are going to have an awesome time preaching His gospel. Missionary work really requires a strong testimony and  better knowledge of the scriptures. Your testimony is strong mom but through your preparations and teaching, it will make your testimony even stronger.

Well, This week We had zone conferences. So we left on Tuesday in the afternoon and went 5 hours to Portoviejo. Then next day we went an hour to Manta and had interviews with Presidente where he helped me understand mas (more) on what I need to do to get better. The conference was awesome. Presidente and his wife talked and taught us of repentance and the importance that we repent and that our investigators understand and repent. It was very spiritual. I learned a lot. It really helped me resolve a little things about the past. Now I feel much better and I have learned so much. 

We left Manta for Pedernales. Its six hours. Six hours in a bus like what we used for band but not as nice. It is nice but not nice but it does have movies. The worst part is that I can't watch them. It is my weakness. We left and got dropped of in San Vicente which is three hours away from predernales. We were there at 7:30 and the next bus comes at 8:30. Which would mean that we would get home after 9:00 and that's breaking rules. So we waited for a bus. The same time I had a fever. That sucked. I think that I am skinnier because of eating less and the sickness. I feel I keep getting sick every other week. It sucks. Its the stress that causes it. First time that i have had this.

This week I learned how to be like Christ. Most of the time we have to be the opposite of Christ to realize how to be more like Christ. We had a little confrontation with a pastor about that new convert that was baptized. I was mad. I didn't yell. But I wasn't calm, neither was the pastor and so we were just fueling each other. SO, I testified but I didn't represent Christ. I know now what it means to be more like Christ. I have repented of my actions and that wont happen ever again. It's sad because Ramon Erazo that I baptized last week has been having more problems with his family and with the pastor. This week we are going to give him distance but help him.

But we are teaching this lady. She is awesome. She is progressing so fast and its awesome. She loves the church. She is improving and its awesome. Ya se cabo mi tiempo (Already done my time on the computer). I will tell you more about the spiritual experiences in the next week.

Mom I got the Belt. Its awesome. I got my birthday package. It wasn't as cool to see the customs sticker on the front that says what's inside the present but its all good. Thank you so much. I will take pictures. Have fun with the burgers (we will be celebrating Brian's birthday with some Red Robins burgers). I love you so much mom.

Elder Luke