So crazy, I can't believe I'm already finishing my first transfer here in Ecuador. It's exciting what we are trying to do here in this ward. This truly is the work of the Lord.
To answer some questions from dad's letter:
1. I eat a lot of rice and chicken and potatoes, really nothing I'm not used to from eating with mom and that side of the family. I like pretty much everything. Haven't dealt with fish yet. Some of the mission rules are saving me. We aren't allowed to eat pig or shell fish or fish. Thanks to the white guys who got sick from that :)
2. We don't have a maid, just sisters that we go to every day except Monday for lunch. Also a sister who does the laundry, hand washed for $3. Really nice job with my slacks.
3. Also all the mamitas say I eat like a bird, or a baby cat. But I'm fine with that and they don't give me the "normal" amount of food. I'm eating just fine.
Dad thank you for your letter and thoughts, and good luck Christian!
Happy Birthday to Spencer! I felt so bad I forgot to say anything last week but I thought about him on Wednesday a lot. There's a kid here who had his birthday the same day and turned 16. I love you Spencer! Also forgot to mention what I thought about Jenna in her 3rd grade class without many of her old friends. I remember in 3rd grade I didn't have all my friends in my class, but you learn how to make new friends! Jenna is going to be the princess of her school with the most friends, haha. And Jonathan can help her with that, he's got the power of words unto the convincing of children, haha. And Jenna, you are going to be a math genius! You've got the same brain as all your brothers, I know you can do it and I'll pray for you. Oh and I was gonna say you should get the subscription of the Liahona in Spanish for these next two years, they are so great.
Scripture for Spencer: 2 Nephi 9:21 for your birthday. :) Christ truly suffered and felt everything for us. He didn't just suffer our emotional pains, justice didn't require that. He could have known how to comfort us by means of revelation, but that wasn't the route he chose. He truly felt everything we have felt from first hand experience, so that he might know how to succor his people.
So this is my companion's last week, kind of sad. He's a really great guy with a lot of experience and has taught me a lot. He was baptized only 3 years ago! He says he never thought or imagined he would ever have done what he is about to complete but his testimony is that strong. I "kill" my first companion, my "father" as they say in mission language. It's funny becuase now I'll have a "stepfather" and they say they are always mean and without love just like in real life. Hahaha, I'm sure he'll be great. The Lord knows I need someone to work hard here, there is a lot to do when the previous missionaries didn't work as much. I'm happy to be here in my ward. There really is a lot of potential.
I sang yesterday during sacrament meeting, a solo acapella. The whole room was silent so that was nice. I sang "How Great Thou Art" in Spanish of course. I felt like I was praying. That's what hymns should be. Really expressing our feelings in song towards our Lord. Haha, I definitely get plenty of opportunities to use my voice here.
So the thing that I've been preparing for and what we are doing here is a little capacitación con los miembros. Like a fireside, but during the second hour of church before anyone leaves early. I feel like Jacob in the Book of Mormon. I didn't write the scriptures down so go read Jacob 1 and 2. There are so many clues there for what needs to happen to improve a ward. I have been overjoyed to have special experiences receiving revelation and inspiration for what to do to improve things here. The crazy part is that my companion won't be here to help me in this meeting we will have. It will be the new companion who doesn't know anyone yet. So the weight of it falls on me. For that I'm grateful. I have had and am having so many opportunities to grow and use what the Lord has given me and improve my gifts.
If our desire is to do the will of the Lord, we will be blessed. Desires lead to thoughts which lead to actions. What is your innermost desire? In 3 Nefi 11 we read and hear the Father´s voice declare how pleased he is of His son Jesus Christ. I want my Heavenly Father to be well pleased with me too. How do we attain that? Do what he asks. It is a commandment to read and to SEARCH the scriptures. In them are answers to our most personal questions. I have really enjoyed asking a question, opening the scriptures to a random page, and finding the answer in the first verse I see. IT HAPPENS! Joy in this life comes when we know we are doing what our Heavenly Father wants. When we remember Christ, always. Pain and sorrow come when we choose our own will over God's. Doing the will of the Lord does not mean having a boring life! I feel like that is how a lot of people feel, here in Ecuador and in the USA. A Christ centered life will not lead us to do nothing, fast, pray and listen to people preach. That's not the purpose of this life. He wants us to have joy, have fun. I have a strong testimony that if we strive to do the will of Christ, the will of the Father, be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit and follow it, we will have a happy, fun life. Filled with real Joy, Gozo. I know this because I have joy. The times in my life where I decided to do my own will are the times that have brought me the most pain and regret. Search the scriptures with prayer and real intent and you will find the will of God for you. Personally. This isn't a hoax, I promise. But you have to read daily, and think about what you are reading. There are more squares in one verse of the Book of Mormon than you see on the surface. I like what Elder Uceda said that The Book of Mormon is a sealed book that can only be opened with the Spirit. There really is a lot more than meets the eye. I know it and am grateful to have learned that early in my life. Just so you know that is my innermost desire. To do the will of the Lord. Ether 12:27 I have been shown my weaknesses and they are many. But my trust is in the Lord. I'm learning a lot about patience, which goes back to trusting in the Lord. Everything goes back to that! If we would just trust more in the Lord and not in the arm of flesh we will all be so much better off. I was humbled by Alma 29 in feeling the way he did at first. This is His work, my job is to listen to his Spirit and act. A lot of times we know what to do but doubt. Doubting opposes faith.
Pray for me and the members here. Trust in the Lord and he shall direct thy paths. Be safe and pray for my Spanish! I can't tell you how grateful I am to have my family. To have you, mom, and you, dad, as my parents. You are the best parents in the world. President Morgan told me I would realize what I had on my mission and I am realizing. Sorry for the times I tried to put my will over your's and the Lord's.
I love you,