Monday, December 29, 2014

My calling as a missionary is so grand.

A lot happened at home sounds that its pretty awesome. First awesome that is so cute that Nick and Casaundra got married, the photos are awesome. That's' so cute. I am so happy for Thomas Worley. Took him a long time to get to baptism but he got there that's what matters. Really its just awesome. You have to send me pictures of that. I am so proud of him.

Well skyping, I bet you couldn't hear it but I was choking up a lot. The first time I called on Mother's Day it was all cool and stuff. But this time, I don't know, I really miss you guys. But it doesn't mean that I don't work hard. Just in my heart I miss you a lot.  It was so nice to see everyone and to laugh as a family just like old times. 

Well this week was good and tiring. After I called you guys we went home and had an awesome Christmas Eve. A new member cooked for us and she was so kind. We sang to her and she cried, she also gave us presents. She is awesome.

On Christmas Eve I also built a Christmas tree in our house. You can see it in the pictures, its not as life like as others but its unique. We had dinner and we had a spiritual talk and it was nice. Its a tradition to wake up at 12 in the morning to hug each other and say Merry Christmas. So that's what we did. We even called my convert Magaly Barahona to wish her Merry Christmas. It was nice.

On Christmas morning I got up early and cooked pancakes for my companions. It was nice.  We ate a lot. We opened the presents too and I loved the presents from you guys. Thank you. I love the Temple pin. I have it on my suit. But the CTR light thing doesn't work. Don't know why. But oh well. We love the Nutela like peanut butter its awesome. The mashed potatoes I love but others don't. And the cookies we have yet to cook.  Thank you so much. 

It was a really good Christmas. I wasn't with you guys but it was better than my first Christmas in the mission.

Well we had a baptism. He is awesome. We had planned to have a baptism of 4. But a family backed out at the last second. But this man is called Manuel Caizedo. He is awesome. He lives far from the church but he understands the law of sacrifice. He walks a lot to the church. He cried and hugged us a lot. He was been in 4 other churches and he said that no other church teaching what we teach and the way we teach. He is a true convert.  The baptism was really spiritual.

On Sunday was his confirmation. It was nice, Magaly Barahona, my convert, she gave her first talk in church. She talked about enduring to the end. She is awesome. She got her wisdom teeth out and so her face hurt and was swollen, but she wanted to give her talk so bad.  So she prayed that the swelling and pain would go away. God blessed her and the swelling went down and she gave a powerful talk. In the end she bore her testimony. She cried and I started to cry. But she said that she had fallen away from God before but then we passed by and rescued her. She then said directly  to us that she will never ever apart from God again., Then she said that she knows this is the true church. Wow. I cried a lot and I had such a huge smile on my face. You don't understand what it feels like to hear that be said. She is a convert. Before we passed by for her, she didn't like the missionaries. But I have a testimony that people are prepared for us. Manuel and her were prepared for us, for me. My calling as a missionary is so grand.

This week will be the same as last week. We aren't going to work that much. Sucks but I am so tired and ready to sleep a lot of new years.

I absolutely love you mom and family. Have a wonderful week.

Elder Luke.

p.s. A LOT of FOTOS


Snowman in Ecuador
Christmas Morning Pancakes

Christmas present - Temple pin

An American Missionary's guilty pleasure
We're going to have to find out more information about this drawing

Mission Christmas Card

Dear Ecuador Guayaquil West Missionary Families,

Attached is a Christmas card with a picture of all the missionaries taken at our mission conference earlier this month. 
We hope you can find your son or daughter in the picture!  Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers.  We are so grateful for our missionaries!!  May the Lord bless your family.  Have a Merry Christmas!!!

With love,
President and Sister Dennis

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas mission reunion

You are right, while I was ready your emails and hearing about the chocolate store experience I was craving a lot food. But soon I will eat lunch. The same old same old. Soap and arroz (rice). But I am actually getting used to it. 

Well, mom, I am glad that you loved Portland. It will be fun to visit someday. Its funny that you mentioned that there are people dressed like I used to dress. Ya know I don't even know if I will dress the same. I have lost style. I don't know if I like the same thing. Because here it is white shirt and tie and when I am not proselyting I am in gym shorts and a t shirt. So we will have to see how it will be when I get back.

Thank you so much for the pictures, they are so funny and cute. Did Elder Smith have transfers? He really is my best friend. It would be awesome if he was there when I get off the airplane next year. But hey we don't need to focus on that because it still is a date super far away. I don't want to end being a missionary today.

Well I know you are just dying to know about the mission reunion. Well we left martes (Tuesday), 10 in the morning and got in Guayaquil at 7 in the night time and left the terminal at 9. We slept in a hotel that is next to the temple that is owned by the church.

On Wednesday we woke up early and went to the meeting. It was awesome to meet with everyone. I saw all of my old friends and Elder Phillips (From our stake in Boise) and Elder Borg  (Also from our stake in Boise who just came out to Ecuador a few weeks ago). It is funny I know Elder Borg from our stake. I don't know him know him but I knew who he was. But I was able to talk with him and he knows a lot of Spanish.

Christmas mission lunch
Well the conference was cool because we say the music video David Archuleta of the song symphony that was in the movie Meet the Mormons. We saw the video of El es la Dadiva (He is the Gift). But it was awesome because President de templo (temple president) and his wife spoke to us about the importance of service worthily. Also they talked about the importance of our calling.

Hermana Dennis taught us about the atonement and I learned a lot about the importance of the expiacion (atonement) in the whole plan de salvacion (Plan of Salvation). President Dennis also talked about the ley de consagracion (law of consecration). That really hit me and I have been thinking more and more about being consecrated to this work and el señor (the Lord).

It was so awesome to see all my friends.  Elder Cordova, one of my favorite companions. When I saw him he came to me and hugged me and we just started talking as if we never were separated. Really he is awesome. He was telling me about our converts when we were together. He received letters from them and he said that Leuteria, the old lady in bastion popular, she is active. She is in the book of alma. Alma 60. She is almost going to finish the Book of Mormon. She is doing family history and is going to the temple regularly. She said that her family doesn't support her but she is active. You guys don't understand the gozo, the joy, that made me feel to know that my work and efforts weren't lost.  Read Alma 29:9-10, it expresses my feelings.
Alma 29:9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
 10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.
Also the Lady I baptized with Elder Roman. She is active too and has conducted the music in church and is awesome. Read alma 26 that also explains my feelings.  Click here for a link to the Scripture that Brian talked about.

Well, when I got into the temple I just felt like I was home. It was weird, yes I was in Ecuador talking Spanish but I felt home. It was really cool because everyone in the session were missionaries. President Dennis was the obrero (temple worker) together with his wife. When I got into the Celestial room I was greeted by Hermana Dennis and wow I saw you mom. It was weird. She previously in the conference expressed that we are like her kids to her. I really felt her love and I feel that she is my second mom. Now not taking glory and my love away from you mom. But you can feel good knowing that some else is worried about me. (queue mom's tears.) I was able to feel the Spirit very strongly in the temple and received a few personal revelations so that I can be a better missionary. The next morning we returned home. Its such a good feeling to meet up with old friends. 

But other than that the Lord has been blessing us so much this week. We have people progressing and we are completing with the goals. Other than the success that we have received I have been going through a really big trial. Some personal things between me and my companion. Not good but I think it is needed because God needs me to be more humble.

Oh I almost forgot, the best part of my week was eating McDonalds. You don't understand the joy. I was able to eat real food and not arroz (rice) with pollo (chicken) and sopa (soup) all day. I might have eaten a lot to take advantage of the opportunity but what's done is done. Okay now I am even more hungry.

Have a wonderful week, you have my prayers and my thoughts.
I love you
Elder Luke

Click on the link to watch the video for Glorious from the movie Meet the Mormons

Click to link to watch the video El es la Dadiva

He is the Gift

This is the video Brian mentioned in his previous email.
The true meaning of Christmas and the first Gift.  #ShareTheGift

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just hearing whats going on at home and whats going on here, I just feel my saviors love.

Wow your letter and the letter from dad sounds really awesome. I feel really humble. Or what I mean to say is that God loves me so much and I really don't deserve it. Just hearing whats going on  at home and whats going on here, I just feel my saviors love. 

This week and this week that we are in is and will be weird. First lunes (Monday)11:30 in the night I received a messege that I will spend like all week with the lider de zona (zone leader) in his sector. I was there martes( Tuesday), meircoles (Wednesday), jueves ( Thursday) and I left viernes (Friday). It was weird because I started to love the investigators and worry about them and then I had to return to my sector. It was really good to be with the leader de zona because I learned so much. It was fun because we click really well together. His name is Elder Acsho. But I came back friday and got back to work. We have 4 people progressing to baptism. This one man who lives solo and he has some problems of cancer but his fe (Faith) is strong and accepts everything so fast. The other 3 is a mom and her two kids. The mom wants her two kids to be missionaries like us when they grow up. They have 8 y 11 años, but they want the white shirt and tie and want to pray and read the book of mormon. its awesome. 
This week will be intesresting becase we are going to guayaquil. Tomorrow i will leave in the morning and be in a bus all day until the night time. Get there them wednesday we have a conference of the mission and then i get to go to the temple, then come back to pedernales on thursday. Its goign to be cool to see all  my freinds in the conference, like elder phillips. 
Well i hope you guys have seen the new video from the church. El es la Dadiva, i think that the translation is He is the Gift. The video is awesome and powerful. We have little cards that we contact with and inviote others to discover the gist and accept the gift. 
I have been thinking a lot about christ with this new program. I have found more about how to accept christ more in my life. I have found the importance of this christmas. I Am truly grateful for christ.
He knows me and loves me and I represent him.

I love you so much, 


Monday, December 1, 2014

I am grateful for this sacred calling that God has trusted me with.

I am glad that you were able to have an awesome Thanksgiving week. Here wasn't anything. What a bummer.  It just felt like a normal day. It wasn't until yesterday that my companion asked me what I did for Thanksgiving to celebrate, when I realized that I forgot. Chuso. Si o no. But its all good.  The other greengo in the house didn't care enough to pump me up to celebrate. But esta bien (it's OK).

Well this week was a good week. I learned a lot.  I love learning. Its hard to learn but its worth it.  This week I found out the real way to have an effective planning session. We have weekly goals. So we first set daily goals based on our weekly goals. We set the goals so we are lined up to complete the weekly goals. After we set daily goals we makes plans to complete the daily goals and with that we can complete our goals and show to the Lord the desires of our hearts. I am so grateful to have found that out. This week was really good because we came closer to hitting our weekly goals. Its an  awesome feeling. The set back this week was that we didn't have people to teach and so we talked and walked and talked and walked some more. But the Lord blessed us with a huge mass of people that can progress. Its awesome. We have found a lot of people. Its good to have a lot of people because  it makes planning easier and it  makes the numbers  better. Its awesome to see the gospel start to change  the lives of people. This one guy we found  isn't married and we have to change that. But he received us with great love and listened to us. For the first time in a long time he prayed and read the scriptures and I can see how he just wants us to  come back . His wife isn't quite receptive but we are working on that. This man  is called Egre. He is talk and buys fish. He went to church. Something that I have seen is that he started wearing the cross. It wasn't there before but now he is wearing it.  He doesn't know that we don't wear the cross as a symbol though. He is just expressing more fe (faith). I really feel that  he will progress. The other day we had a lesson with a man who couldn't  read but felt and understood the power of our message. Another lady doesn't learn very well but went to church and is progressing to baptism.  We have to teach her super slow and basic, but we see the change the gospel makes in the lives of people. The gospel changes lives. I love seeing that.

This week was stake conference here in portoviejo. Pres. de area came. He was powerful. Spoke so beautifully. I want to be like the leaders of the church. So smart. Powerful, the way they talk is with the Spirit. He talked about the traditions correctos (correct) and incorrectos (incorrect). He talked about what traditions we leave behind. It has really made a huge impact in my life hearing that. It was so powerful. I was to be obedient like how he spoke. We obey because God asked it of us and we should be willing to obey. 

Thank you for your prayers. Have a wonderful week.
I am grateful for this sacred calling that God has trusted me with.

I love you
Elder Luke

Looks like the new missionary is making Oreo chocolate balls.  Yum