Monday, December 5, 2016

Chapter 64 - Light the World

Manta Zone
I hope everyone is doing well! So I don't know if you have heard about the new Christmas video the church put out but it's called Light the World. It's really good and I encourage all of you to go watch it if you haven't yet or share it with friends and family if you've already seen it! There's also a paper that has 25 ways, 25 days. Every day in December there are things we can do to bring the spirit of Christmas, and more than anthing, the spirit of Christ, into our lives this month. It's really good, download it and print it off! We are doing it as missionaries and it's awesome!

So this week was really good. We extended 4 baptismal dates this week which was amazing and the people accepted and there are even more people that are prepared, this place seriously blows me away. I love it here, the people are amazing and have so much love...tierra prometida, en serio (promised land, seriously). We have worked a lot with the members this week as well and gone on splits and we are seeing the fruits. People also went to church that don't have baptismal dates and very soon we will be extending dates for them because they are so good. So good. Just so you're informed, the people who have baptismal dates (for the 24th of December by the way...can you say best Christmas gift ever? Eternal Salvation, yeah) anyway, their names are Yandry, Leli, Marjorie, and Daniel. and some other really great people you can pray for that went to church are Rocio, Ramon, and Michelle. Pray for them, they are such good people and they just need the gospel!

Sometimes we think life is hard but really we are the ones who make our own problems sometimes. Sometimes we just complicate life and create our own problems but really just need to take a step back, breath, look at things with reasoning, be humble, and it will all turn out okay. There is a phrase that Presidente Dennis would say that is Si no hay pruebas, no hay progreso (If there are no trials, there is no progress) and I truly believe that. We don't go anywhere if we haven't had to work for it.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week. Remember that God loves each one of you and He wants to hear your prayers. Remember that He answers through the scriptures, read them. Remember Him. Love you all.
Missionary Pictionary?

Lunch at Zone Conference

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chapter 63 - The Power of the Fast

Hey Everyone!

So hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. They obviously don't celebrate that here, but it did cross my mind. I am so thankful for so many things and I don't have time to write them all! Well I just wanted to share an experience that we had this week. This week was so good. We are in a trio and so we did a lot of splits this week...yeah, divide and conquer. Anyway, this week we had a small problem..the family that got baptized last week, the Yagual Figeroa Family, well the mom needed to sign the paper that you need to sign when you get baptized, for herself and her kids and you're supposed to sign it right after the baptismal interview but there was confusion I guess and she didn't sign it. Anyway, so she got baptized (it wasn't till afterwards that we noticed that it wasn't signed) and we had to go get it signed and she was like so cold and was like I don't know why you need my signature and she did not want to sign the paper....ok huge problem... and the thing is is that her husband isn't a member and he was the one that was like, why do they need all this information and signatures (they have had bad experiences in the past with signing papers and stuff so that was not helping us) and anyway long story short, she did not want the paper but the elders form the office were calling us like crazy because they needed it fast and we were like, oh no, what do we do, she does not want to sign this paper. So what did we do? We fasted. and Wow. We fasted that she would open her heart and her husband's as well and also we fasted that the members would help us. Well, all I have to say is ask and ye shall receive because right after we started our fast, we went to the church and we found an hermana and she said she would go talk to her. She went and I don't know what she said, because we didn't go, but she signed the was like wow, immediate answer. We also saw a lot of other blessings and miracles afterwards and I am so thankful for this experience because it strengthend my testimony about fasting. I always knew why we fasted and why it's important and I knew God would help us and answer our prayers but it has never been so evident in my whole life. I am so grateful to be serving a mission and I'm grateful that the Lord strengthens our testimonies! Anyway I want to testify that fasting really does work. It is like an extra plea to God and if we do it with a sincere heart, He will answer us. It is a sacrifice but it is worth it. I love you all and hope you have the best week!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chapter 62 - Adjusting to Jaramijo

We literally live on the beach!
I hope you all had a great week! This week was really good. It was kind of crazy, how transfers usually are but it was good. I'm getting to know my sector a little more and things are going well. It's kinda hard to be in a trio sometimes because like the revelation comes in like three ways sometimes haha but it's all good. We are getting the hang of it. Anyway, a little more about Jaramijo. It's a small branch, which is something really new for me but it's good. Also, we literally live on the so close. And it's soooo beautiful. FYI it's also been kind of cold these days. (yes, I will die when I get back to Utah if I think it's cold in Ecaudor...haha but really...I sleep with socks on....) Also it's such a small fishermans town. Let me prove it. So this week we contacted this guy and we asked him how long he'd been married for and he told us and then we asked what the secret was, ya know to having a long lasting mairrage..and ususally the people tell us love or patience or understanding or something but know what he tells us... el pescado...the fish..haha the fish is the secret to mairrage..haha so funny. Also, I've never heard the parable of Jesus making his disciples into fishermen of men used so many times...haha it's so good. Also, the fish thing is going okay. I am surviving. Thanks for the prayers. 
Baptism of the Yagual Figeroa Family

Also we had a baptism this week of 4 people! It was so amazing. The family Yagual Figeroa. A mom and her 3 kids. It was so great. This sector is a sector of miracles...but we definitely need to work. I was just sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday and it just hit me that I feel like I've seen these people they all loook so familiar. I feel at home here, I'm not sure why. but I am ready to work! Hope you have a great week!
The Trio Hermana Reyes, Me, Hermana Tantavilca

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Chapter 61 - Transfers and Trios

So as you can all see from the subject line, I had transfers...and I'm in a trio. I got transfered to Jaramijo which is in Manabi. It's this little fishing town and wow this is going to be quite an experience. Hermana Roylance's stomach doesn't like fish too much so there will be many prayers said at meal times...haha but really I'm so excited to be here. I am with Hermana Reyes who is from Mexico. She is also a mission nurse so we are here holding down the fort as the nurses in Manabi. I'm also with Hermana Tantavilca who is from Peru. They are both so sweet and I am so excited to start working with them! We are in a branch here, it's not a ward, but I know we will be able to help this branch grow and basically become a ward...we're going out looking for some good priesthood holders! Families! We are looking for families!

Anyways, I had like mixed feelings. I kind of felt these transfers coming but it was still a surprize to come here. It was sad leaving the Florida because Boris is getting baptized this week and I really wanted to be there but I know he is in good hands. Hermana Hawkes is there with him and I know she will help him a lot. Also it was sad to leave hermana Flor. She is so good and has progressed so much. At the beginning, we went to teach her son who is less active and she wouldn't even come out to the living room to listen. When she finally did come out after a few times of going, she sat there with her eyes closed. And, well, it all went up from there. She is so good and I know she will get baptized with the help of the missionaries there. Everyone in her family (kids, siblings, and mom) are members except her. One day her sister invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon and I can just say that that is what made the difference. She starting reading the Book of Mormon and it opened her heart. While we were reading with her the other day she was like wow, when we were reading that I just felt so good and I just knew it was true. Ah, she is so goood! I know the Book of Mormon is true and it works miracles in the lives of everyone who reads it with an open heart! If you've stopped reading the Book of Mormon, or have never read it, I challenge you to do so now. You will not regret it. Let the blessings begin. Seriously.

Another fun fact, this week on Saturday we were able to go to the temple with one of our converts Hermana Rocio. She isn't married but lives with her sister and mom and anyway she went to get her endowments and it was so great. How great of an experience it is to be in the temple with one of your converts (and when I say convert, I mean like I wasn't there for her baptism but I was there shortly after, like a year ago when I started out in that sector so she basically counts as my convert too) Anyway, it was so special and an experience I will never forget!

I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Hermana Roylance

P.S. On wednesday we got to be part of a service project and it was so awesome. I don't know if you've heard about The Love Project but they came and guess where most of them are from...BOUNTIFUL. Yes. I felt at hom. No I did not know any of them., but it was so good. They collect food and clothes all year and then come here to Ecuador and give it away. It was way cool because we were there helping and for them it was like hey this is fun and awesome and I feel really good because I am serving but for me it was like hey, you're giving these clothes to my less active, who I know doesn't have anything and who really needs this...and it just meant so much more. It was such a neat experience! Anyway, it was really cool!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chapter 60 - A G E N C Y

So I have some news....Boris, that I talked about last week, wasn't baptized. What happened is that...he drank again this weekend. Ah, it was so sad...and we didn't know until literally Saturday in the morning. It was really hard to hear because one starts thinking well if I had only taught this better or prayed more or called him more to check up on him then maybe this would not have happened. But then we have to remember that people have their agency. It's hard because you're like, but he received blessings or strength and we prayed and we were always there for him, how could this happen? But people have A G E N C Y. And sometimes that's hard to deal with and understand sometimes but I know God has a plan for Boris. He has truly progressed a lot and we aren't giving up on him. We were talking to his mom, who is a member, and she was telling us that lots of missionaries have passed by him but none of them were able to get to where we have. That made me feel really good, like I really do have a purpose here. It just reminded me of how there really are people here for us, people that the Lord is preparing specifically for us. They need our characters and our way of beings and they need to hear the gospel from us! Of this I am sure!

Another random thought. All you youth out there...GO TO SEMINARY AND INSTITUTE! I was talking with our convert Dana the other day, she's 14 and she was talking about how she's in seminary and she loves it because she is learning so much. And then her mom was like, man, I wish I would have had the opportunity to go to seminary when I was younger but I didn't. and I wanted to like offer her some class or something but there's nothing...just like going to church...and then it just hit me...the importance of going to seminary and institute when you're young so that when you're older and have your own family, you will be able to lead and guide then according to the principles of the gospel. Anyway, that was my little shoutout for seminary and institute! Love you all!
Florida Zone - October 2016 - Elder Montoya visit

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Chapter 59 - Representatives of Jesus Christ

First of all, Happy Halloween to all! They don't really celebrate Halloween here, like a little bit they do, but not that much. Like safe to say they pretty much don't. haha but it's all good.

So we had the conference this week with Elder Hugo Montoya and it WAS AMAZING. Wow. I think it was one of the best conferences I've ever been to on my whole mission. SOO GOOD. He talked about a lot of things but what really hit me was about how we are truly representatives of Jesus Christ and we have the power and authority to do this work. We can make promises to these people and have faith in these promises because God will justify our words and if we see that He isn't completing these promises, we can pray to our Heavenly Father so that He can "justify the words of His servant." It was so powerful. We are literally servants of Jesus Christ, here to act how He would act and to say what He would say. And I am trying to humble myself and aquire the attributes that He would have me aquire. It's not easy but I know that He can help us with all things and more than anything, can make our weaknesses into strengths.

I also wanted to say that Boris is getting baptized next week! He is sooo good! Ah, he used the atonement in his life and I can really see the change that he has made in thes past few weeks and it's incredible. It's incredible to see the light of Christ come into someone's eyes. It's an experience you don't easily forget.
P.S. it was also Boris' birthday this week and we took him a cake!

Chapter 58 - When it just hits you...


So today I just want to share something that hit me this week in our weekly planning session. So the assistants came and gave us a little training and they talked about how it's really important to work with members but we need to put in our own iniciative too. We have been really focused on working with our ward members but we can't forget to go out and contact too....It that moment it all kind of hit me. Like we know that references from the members are super awesome and we always try to get references because they usually end up being really good and awesome and prepared people but these people alone will not fill up our teaching pool. We have to find a balance because if we contact too much, we don't get to our lessons but if we only go see the members and they don't give us references? What are we supposed to do then? The example came to me of you know when you're playing mario kart and there are those little boxes  that have the surprizes in them that like help you go faster and win and stuff? Well that's like working with the members-that's like getting the mystery boxes with really great prizes in them but when you're playing, if you get a ton of those prizes and never use them, or don't even use your own iniciative to get going, the prizes don't help you at all...did that make sense? Like we need to work and contact so that as we go along, we can receive these prize references from the Lord and we will truly start advancing. Anyway, that was something that came to my mind this week.

Also we have an investigator named Boris, he's super great but he has some challenges that we are helping him get over. He had some word of wisdom issues but a few weeks ago we had made a plan with him to help him quit drinking and last week, everything went well but this weekend we called him...and guess what...he had drank...our hearts sunk...there went his baptismal date for the 29th of October...but I know God has a plan for everyone. I could really see the change in him this week as we went literally every day. He's making progres but he needs more help. So, please pray for him! He's a good guy who just needs some prayers! Muchas Gracias!

Chapter 57 - So Many Good Things


There are always just so many good things to write about and there is never enough time to write them all.... But well to start out, we had a baptism this weekend. Bianca, she's 9 and just so cute! She loves all the kids in the church and likes reading the Book of Mormon. haha whenever we would ask her if she read she would say yes and then we would ask her what she read and she would be like "things about God" haha so cute. She may not understand completely but at least she's trying. haha. There was a really special moment at her baptism that I want to share. So before her baptism, when we would ask her if she was excited she would always be like yes and no. The no was because she had a fear of drowning. We assured her that she would not drown and that we were baptized at her age and we were still living and therefore knew everything would be okay. Anyway, she wanted her uncle to baptize her and her uncle is our rescue and I don't know if he's ever baptized anyone or if he has, it's been a long time but we helped him and explained to him how to do it but I guess we forgot one important detail. That detail would be how fast to put her under the water and come back up....he put her under way fast and I don't even know if she had time to plug her nose, poor thing and so she came up out of the water like gasping for air with a face of pure terror. I was like great, everything she didn't want to happen, happened....ahh but anyway she came out and we were right there helping her out and I just told her to come over and I just gave her the biggest hug. It didn't matter that she was soaking wet, I just wanted to comfort her. I told her everything was going to be okay and that we were right there to help her. That moment is a moment I will never forget. It was even more special because the day before in our weekly planning session that we had in the church, our zone leaders had everyone bring a picture of their families and they put them up on the white board and then asked us "who are these people to you?" we talked about how they were the most important people in our lives and that we would give everything for them. They then told us that that's how we should feel about our investigators...they are like our family members and we sould see them that way. We should be willing to give everything for them and love them with all our hearts and give them all our time and all our hearts. In that moment with Bianca, I just felt like she was one of my family members, like one of my cousins or something and I could truly feel the love of the Savior in that moment. 

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and try always to have charity towards one another!

Chapter 56 - Do You Believe in Miracles? Because I do!

How was everyone's week? I hope it went well. Today I want to share a really neat experience we had on Saturday night. It was funny because that day I was thinking "what am I going to write to my family? I don't feel like anything too big has happened....." and then boom.....miracle. So, on Saturday night we were just walking and trying to find some old contacts we had made, really just trying to find everyone because like all our appointments had fallen through. Anyway, so we are walking down this street when we hear "Hermanas!" We turn around and see these two guys. One of them looked like they had a Book of Mormon in their hands and I actully thought it was this guy from our ward but was confused because the guy didn't live anywhere close to where we were but regardless we went over and talked to them. The man explained that he was a member from The Orchidias ward and that his daughter had recently moved and lived in our sector. He told us that she was a member but that her husband wasn't and that he was receiving the missionaries where they used to live and that he was actually prepared to be baptized.....I just kind of stood there like wow....I couldn't believe it. God was giving a golden opportunity-He was giving us a miracle. Anyway, he gave us their numbers and showed us where there house was and later that night we went and talked with them! Wow! They are so great. Their names are Michelle and Kevin and they are so so so good. They aren't married so we're gonna have to work with that but I know there's nothing impossible for the Lord. He gave us the perfect job but he left it unfinished so that we could come in and help this wonderful son of God make a covenant with his Father in Heaven. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and I feel so full of joy. I know that God's timing is perfect. His plan is perfect. I know all of our appointments fell through exactly so that we would be in that place at that time. God does not make mistakes, He also doesn't send us on wild goose chases..there's always a purpose. We are always where we need to be when we need to be there. Anyway, I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us and that He wants for us to be happy and to share this message of happiness with those around us. Share the gospel with everyone and I know you will find the same eternal joy! Have the best week!
P.S. We got our hair cut our investigator....haha her name is Flor Maria Rivas and she is so cute. Here's a  picture. Here's part of the process (me with my head flipped over) and also her daughter, who is a member wanted to straighten my hair. haha I'll have you know it only stayed like that for like 2 hours because it's really hot and I put it up in a ponytail haha

Chapter 55 - Conference!

A weird, but really good fruit called Granadia

I hope you all LOVED conference because it was seriously sooo good! so much revelation! There are so many things I learned and I just want to share a little bit of what I got out of it all:

1. Verdadera intencion (real intent). Something that hit me so hard was how a lot of people talked about how when we pray we need to have real intent. As it says in Moroni 10:3-5, we need to read, meditate, and pray in order to get an answer but when we pray we need to have a sincere heart and real intent. This means that we truly are going to act according to the answer we receive. I really liked what someone said, they said are we praying with real intent? are we really going to act according to the answer God gives us or are we just saying that we will while in our hearts we still want to do our own will? I loved that. We need to do God's will. It's not easy but it's what's best.

2. Stop comparing ourselves to others. If we need to compare, compare who you were before to who you are now.
3. Do we believe what we know? We have a lot of stuff we've learned over the years through going to church but do we really belive everything we know? There's a big difference.
4. We can come to not only learn ABOUT Christ but we can truly come to KNOW Him. We always hear people preaching about Christ and we hear a lot about Him but our journey here on earth is to come to know Him. Because not all who say Lord, Lord, will enter into the Kingdom of God...
5.In order to come to know Him we must come to know His word. We must study the scriptures if we want to get to truly know our Savior. We must also serve Him, for how can we know someone we have never served?
6. We can't say "I'm not good at this calling etc" when a calling is extended to us because there is something God is trying to teach us or someone He is trying to mold us into. Remember, He prepares who He calls.
These are just a few of the many many things I learned from conference. I hope you all watched it and were able to receive your own answers and be strengthed by the word of God spoken through His chosen servants. Just so you know, Daniel (picture attached) went to conference and so did this little girl Bianca who is going to get baptized. I was seriously so happy. Daniel doesn't have a really big testimony of a living prophet so I hope being able to hear him speak helped him! He is soo good he just needs a little more of an answer. Pray for him. He's going to be a great missionary some day, I just know it!
Anyway, I just wanted to leave you all with a challenge. I challenge you all to have a family home evening tonight and talk about the things you learned from conference. There is power in sharing your testimony with your family members. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!
My first convert Dana, and her mom Ginger

Chapter 54 - Women with a Sound Understanding

Sorry this is going to be short but who watched the Women's conference? Was it not super awesome. For all you men out there, when it comes out, it would be worth a read. Especially the talk by President Uchtdorf. SO good! 

Something that really struck me from this conference was something that was said twice, like word for word, by two Sisters. They said "we need women with a sound understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ" How true that is. This world is getting ever more crazy and we NEED women with a sound understanding of the doctrine and teachings of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to be here on a mission because this is one of the best places to learn and truly come to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this church is true and I am so grateful for leaders that give us guidance and inspiration. 

I hope all of you prepare for conference this week by thinking of questions you have and then listening and trying to understand and find the answers! I love you all and I hope you hear from you all next week and hear what you liked and what you learned!

Chapter 53 - It's Like He was saying "Let's see what you're made of"

(Go Nurse Ashley!!!)

Wow it's been a crazy week. I didn't teach hardly at all because of all these things that were happening with nursing...This week was a really big trial for me and I really do feel like God was just saying "ok Hermana Roylance, let's see what you're made of." Something different happened every day but the two most stressful days were Thursday and Friday. On Thursday we (as in Hermana Hawkes and I) had to go to this clinic with an Elder because he needed an eye exam but it was a new clinic that we'd never been to before because it was a special exam he needed...anyway we were there but while we were there there was another Elder that had to go to the clinic because he had a lot of pain....but he was late and so he missed his then they made an appointment in another clinic and they went there but a little while later they called me and said they needed a blood exam but at that clinic they didn't have a laboratory to do it so that had to go to another place to get it done...and take note that every time they have to get an exam or something, I have to call the Area Doctor and ask him what he thinks and get it approved and also I had to call the insurance when they changed clinics oh and remember that I'm doing all this while I'm at a different clinic with a different Elder...ahhh but then we finally get home from the eye clinic and the elder that was in the other clinic calls and says that on a scale from 1-10 his pain is 9 and I'm like oh no....what do we do? In the morning we were debating on whether to send him to the hospital but the area doctor said no that we could just send him to the clinic so that's what we did but now he was calling me telling me his pain was worse..I was like What do we do? We can't just be sending Elders to the hospital whenever we want, it's I was like ahhh what to do. I went into my room and just kneeled down and prayed because I literally had no idea what to do. I prayed that I might know exactly what was best to do for this elder. Anyway, we went to the cyber (computer cafe thing) to send some documents and I call the Area doctor again and ask him what he thinks and he's like He's fine just give him some Ibuprofen but as we was talking, I was receiving incoming calls from the 5 of them...and so I knew something was wrong. Anyway, as I was talking with the area doctor, I just knew, with assurity that this elder needed to go to the emergency room. When I got off the phone, his companion called and was like hermana, he says his pain is 10/10, he's crying, and yelling and I was like yep, you guys are going to the hospital and you're going right now. I didn't call anyone and ask because I knew he needed to go and I knew he needed to go in that moment. So they went and to make a long story short he had appendicitis and he had to have surgery. SOO many things happened during those two days and I felt like I was pushed to my limits. I broke down a little bit but Hermana Hawkes helped me a lot. That's why we have companions (oh and to make everything worse, she's not even my companion, it's just basically like our companions are on exchanges all the time because they're not nurses and we're always together) 

But apart from all the stress, I could really truly feel the Lord taking the weight of my burden and putting it upon his shoulders. Yes I did have a small break down but not like I probably should have had. I don't know how, but I was able to bear all these things and keep my head on straight. There's really no way to explain what I felt than simply that the Lord was my strength and eased my burden. This week taught me that I can do a lot more than I think I can and that with the Lord's help, I, as well as each one of us, can do all things!

We also had an awesome Sister's Conference this week!

Chapter 52 - Cumple Ano(s)

So much to write about this week! Wow. So on Friday I completed one whole year on my mission. It's crazy to think I've been out this long...the time seriously flies by! The title says Cumple Año(s) because on Friday I was completing one year (in Spanish, cumpliendo un año) and Hermana Hawkes was having a birthday (cupliendo año(S)) haha so it was like a double celebration! We ate lots of cake, ice cream, and pizza haha it was a good day!

So the other day I was reading this little book we have called Adjusting to Missionary Life and something in there really hit me. "Sometimes a mission feels like a wonderful spiritual adventure-or at least one you can handle. You calmly move forward with faith, realizing that much of the nervousness or worry you experience is temporary. You take courage in knowing you will adjust with time, grow spiritually, and develop many new skills. Experiences you once feared become more manageable. You even come to cherish aspects of missionary life that once felt overwhelming. You rely on the Spirit, grow in confidence, and find joy in your service." When I read that it was like wow...this is so true. I remember at the  beginning of my mission, there were so many things that were overwhelming and stressful but now, like it says, are more manageable and I've even come to love these certain aspects of missionary life. For example, at the beginning of my mission, I did not like at I dreaded it. BUT now I love it. I just talk with everyone and it's so fun because it's like going on a treasure hunt for golden investigators and it's just so great! Yeah sometimes people just reject us and don't want to listen, but the rejection doesn't really bother me. I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to and giving everyone a chance to accept the message. If they don't want to listen, that's their choice. I really have grown in confidence and my testimony is so much stronger. I know that this church is true and that the Lord loves us. He has a plan for us and I am here because I want everyone to know of this plan. We also watched a video clip the other day of a football player and he was in practice and they were doing this really hard exercise and they blindfolded him and then he had someone on his back and he had to crawl across the football field. The player didn't think he could even go 30 yards before he started, but he put on the blindfold and started going. His coach was right there beside him..supporting him and encouraging him not to quit. As he was going, and things were starting to get hard, he wanted to quit, he wanted to rest and take a break but his coach wouldn't let him. He just kept encouraging him and telling him he could do it. He made it to the end, thinking he surely had only gone to the 50 yard mark but it turns out he went the full 100 yards. There are SOO many lessons to be learned here. I like almost cried when we watched this clip. It just made me think about how sometimes we don't think we can do it but we have to remember that the Lord is right there by our side. He is cheering us on because this is His work. Sometimes as missionaries we want to quit or rest or take a break but we can't. This work doesn't rest. We can't just be here and waste time and rest and not look for new people, no. We have to always be working and it's hard. It's hard to constantly be looking and searching and be rejected and do everything possible. But I know we can do it. I know the Lord is my strength "for as to my strength, I am nothing" I only have 6 months left and I'm going to give it my all. I want to do everything I can to find these lost sheep and bring them back to the fold. It's not easy but it is ever so worth it! I want to thank you all for all your support and helping me keep going for this whole year. I could never have done it without you!

Chapter 51 - When in the Service of Your Fellow Beings

I hope you all had a super great week this week. This week for me was pretty good but I know we still have a lot of work to do. We are looking for new people and searching out the chosen ones. Please pray for Daniel. He's struggling with his testimony but I JUST KNOW that he knows this is true...he just is doubting a little. But we just need to help him. Also I don't know if I told you about Mariana. She's not a member but her husband is. They aren't married so we are trying to get them married so that she can get baptized but it's complicated because she has to do this one thing in order to get custody of her kids and everything and it's just taking a long time but she is sooo good and she has a good testimony but please pray for her. I love her so much. They are so sweet!

Anyway, as to the title. We all know the scripture in Mosiah 2:17 that says that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. This is so true. The other day we were visiting this lady, her name is Valeria, and at the end of the lesson we ask if there's anything we can help her with. We always ask people this but they usually just say no but when we asked her, she just kind of looked at us and didn't say anything, and we were like, just say it and she was like, "no, me da vergüenza" (It makes me embarassed) and we were like, no it's fine...Anyway, she's like well I have this bucket of my baby's clothes that I haven't washed yet and maybe you guys could wash them? We were like yes, of course. (oh my, this baby had a lot of clothes....but that's besides the point. service. service is the point) and we were actually really excited to do it because like I said, we always ask if there's anything we can do and they always so no...but not this time! haha She was going to have us just put them in her washing machine (yes, they do have those here, but no they are not like US washers...) but it was honestly just faster to do it by hand so we washed like 30 baby clothes by hand haha it was so good. I loved it because like the scriptures says, we are really serving God and we could definitely feel his love in that moment. I don't know if she will progress, but if she doesn't, I hope she always remembers the service the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did for her that day. We leave an impact on people and they need our help.

I challenge you all you do an act of service this week. I invited, more than anything, to feel of His love as you do so. I know the Lord has prepared people this week. Look for them. They are all around you.

Chapter 50 - Las Cosas Dificiles


So last week our mission president sent us an excerpt of a talk by Russell M Nelson called How to Become a True Generation of the Millenium and I just want to share a little bit about it with you.

So it talks about how we hope to achieve the impossible but then we have to prepare to do so. It talks about how the Lord has always asked his covenant children to do las cosas difíciles (the hard things). We are the Lord's covenant people and he askes us to do some seemingly impossible things sometimes but He knows we can do them. As missionaries sometimes we feel like we are asked to do really hard things but we have to remember that we have been called by God through a Prophet to go out and preach to these people and that with His help, we can do anything. We have the privilege of seeing miracles every day but it's not until after we have dedicated all our time, labor, ireas, boldest efforts, and most fervent prayers. We can and should accept these seemingly impossible tasks and assignments because as we do, we will be made into instruments in His hands. I know this is true. We don't grow until we have passed through something that has tested our faith and we have had to put our trust completely in Him. At the end of the talk is asks: How do we achieve the impossible? The answer is doing everything possible to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and increase our comprehension of the doctrinve of the restored church and looking for the truth without resting. I know that as we increase our faith that we will be able to do anything the Lord asks us to do. This transfer was kind of a surprise and it was looking like something that was going to be really hard and so when I read this talk las monday, it really hit home. I'm so grateful for inspired leaders. I know we can do hard things! Keep you head up! Keep working hard and obeying Him and He will bless you in ways you can't even imagine!

Chapter 49 - Transfers!

So I didn't have transfers....but my companion did! Chao Hermana Rojas! Ah, so sad, but she's training a new missionary and she will be great! I am still in Florida and I'm with Hermana Gonzalez. (haha always with an Hermnana Gonzalez of some sort) She's from Chicago and she's really great! 

So this saturday we had Dana's baptism! You guys, it was sooo good! It was honestly one of the best baptisms yet! When she came out of the water, her mom was there and she just gave her the biggest hug! Her mom is a rescue and this is what she really wanted for her daughter. So she was crying and Dana was crying and then Hermana Rojas and I started tearing the spirit was so strong. It was so good to see her progression. It was one of the best feelings ever because not everything is just going to be an easy conversion. Everyone is going to have challenges and we have to help them get through them. That's how they grow. We are literally writing their conversion story. I loved seeing her grow and gain a true testimony and I can't wait to help her do some family history so that she can enter in the temple!

Also, this week Daniel came to church! He is so goood!! We were kinda worried the other day because we visited him and his mom and we were like are you guys coming to church and the mom was like, um, maybe, it just depends on my husbands work and Daniel had previously said that he didn't want to go unless his family went and so we were like....uh, oh no.... BUT we went on Sunday morning and turns out that his mom went somewhere with her husband and it was just him there BUT he was like, can you guys call Marcos (someone in our ward that he knows) and ask if he can come get me for church??  Um, yes, we can definitely do that...and that's what happened. He went with Marcos and it was so great! He really is such a good kid. He even looks like a missionary! Keep praying for him please!

Chapter 48 - Faith and Mercy

So all I have for this week is two and mercy. As nurses, we normally have a little more responsibility than other missionaries having to call and schedule appointments and everything but literally this week was CRAZY. Like, when it rains it There were two missionaries that hurt their ankles pretty bad and two that had to go to the hospital and it was crazy (everyone is fine now by the way...) and we literally had NO TIME to work and somehow we ended up with some pretty good results. Which is literally a miracle because we had no time to go visit the people...Like, let the Lord's will be done. 

Also. Faith. Faith moves mountains. So we've been working with Dana Gomez, she's 14 and we extended a baptismal date to her a few weeks ago but then she was always kind of indecisive and was like yes but then no and we were just trying to help her gain a testimony and there were times where we just wanted to let her go and be like, she's not going to progress but we pushed through. On Friday, during our weekly planning, when we were setting goals, we decided to put a goal of 1 baptism and 1 confirmation. This in and of itself was an act of faith because Dana was the only possible person we had for that date and last we knew, she didn't have the strongest testimony but we still decided to put that there and see where the Lord took us. Anyway, on Saturday, the other hermanas had a baptism and Dana went. She was really impacted by it and then afterwards had a lesson with our zone leaders, not us, just they taught her and we get a call that night from the elders and they're like DANA'S GETTING BAPTIZED! Oh my, it was just a huge blessing. Like, I know this is because of our faith and simply because the Lord loves us and someties is just really really merciful. I was honestly so happy when I heard that. Probably the happiest I've every been to hear that someone was getting baptized! She is soooo good! But keep praying for her because we still need to help her this week. Anway, I know the Lord is in control and I know without a doubt that he loves us. He loves us so much. More than we can even imagine. He will bless us if we have the faith. Never lose faith. Faith moves mountains.

Chapter 47 - A Birthday for the Books!

So, cool things happened last week. President sent us like a bunch of letters to read and parts of them were exerpts from letters from missionaries in our mission (like parts of their letters to the president) and we're just reading them last week and my companion is like.....hey, I think this is our story. and IT WAS. oh my. And it was my my spanish grammar was sooo bad but hey it was okay. But kinda a cool thing to have president like your letter and send part of it out to the whole mission....I felt pretty happy.

ALSO, thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes! It was honestly one of the best birthday ever! I was woken up by all my companions at like 6 30 am. They threw balloons on me and sand happy birthday and brought me a cake haha it was so cute. Nothing like taking a video at 6 30 am right after you wake up....haha Dont worry, even though I don't have a camera, there's like 3 recordings of the days events on my companions cameras so one day I'll eventually receive them. Anyway, that day in our ward we had an activity called One day like a missionary. All the youth and adult members were invited to go and they had like a little MTC in the morning and then we went out and contacted in the afternoon. It was so cool because in the morning when they were in their little classes we got to help teach (all the RMs from the ward were the teachers) and we got to help too and it was was really fun to get to teach them how to teach and be missionaries. It also made me realize that we really do learn so much here on our missions. Like, we were doing practices with them and to us it's so easy to know what to say because we've been teaching for a long time but for them it's like, they know this stuff, but it's different when you have to teach it to someone who's never heard it before. So that was pretty cool. There was one point during this activity right before lunch when everyone was gathered together and they were like Hey, someone here has a birthday.....and so I went up.....and THEY ALL SANG ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY......yes, like 50 Ecuadorians sang me happy birthday. In Spanish and in English might I in Latin America, I don't know why but they all know happy birtthday in English too but they still have their accent so it was funny. haha it was the best. I just felt so loved. This was one of the best birthdays I've ever had and I don't think I'll be forgetting it any time soon ahah thank you again for all your love and support! have a great week!

Chapter 46 - Movin Up and Movin Out ... Literally!

Ok so this week was so crazy and I have so many things to say but like there is not enough time...but I'll try! Ok so first GOODBYE YELLOW CAVE! Se we moved out of our other house which was literally like a litlle cave that had no windows and no light (like one time the power went out at 9 am and we had to use flashlights because we literally couldn't see anything) and the walls were painted yellow and it was just crazy being in there with 6 of us and we just needed somewhere new. Anyway, we now live in a wonderfully big apartment that has lots of windows and natural light and it's so great! We can really feel the spirit there and it is just a really good change. We moved on Saturday with the help of the Elders and some members and so we have a good 2 solid days in this new house. AND guess what......there are two working bathrooms WITH HOT SHOWERS.....yep you read that right. One of the only houses in the mission with hot showers....we used to be the house that no one wanted to stay in if they had to come to Guayaquil and we suddenly turned into the most wanted. So let's just say I'm pretty content! Things are good. The house is so pretty. It really feels like a home and kinda reminds me of the United's nice. One day when I get a new camera, I'll send you pics. Also, think my companion is sending some pictures.

This week went really well. We had 4 people in sacrament meeting and we were soo happy! I realized I haven't told you guys much about who we are teaching but I'll try to change that. So, I'll start today. So there was this lady from another ward that gave us a reference a while ago of her friends that live in our area and we went and taught them a few times but they didn't really progress so we kinda stopped visiting them for a little bit and then one Sunday we were out doing visits with the ward and I was with some members and wasn't with my companion and we literally visited everyone in that area that I knew and I was like oh my, what do we do, where do we go? And I was just like praying and asking what we should do and this thought came into my mind to go to this family. We wanted to meet the dad because we had never met him and we were told that he could usually be found of the weekends so I was like should we go? And I was kinda doubting it but then I remembered something that Elder Rasband told us that we just need to follow our first impressions from the spirit so.....we went. The husband was there and we set up an appointment. I was super happy and we went to the appointment that week but he wasn't there.....and I was like why??? BUT the Lord has a plan. The son, Daniel, who's 20 was there and HE IS SO RECEPTIVE. Like we were just sitting there teaching him and he was just taking it all in, like so amazed. He even looks like an Elder. Like, I really really want him to progress because he needs to go on a mission. I can see his potential! Ah he and all his family went to church this week and it literally made me so happy! Pray for them because they are honestly so good! Also this other lady who we taught named Leonella came to church as well. We only taught her once but I love her. She is someone we contacted on the bus but she is prepared. Pray for her too! So needless to say things are good here and we just gotta keep working! I hope you all have a super great week! Love you guys!

Chapter 45 - You Never Know

I hope you all had a good week and all you people from Utah I hope you all had a good pioneer day! This week was really good and really fast. Literally I feel like a broken record saying this every week but it's so true. Wow.

So this week we had a really cool experience with asking for referrals. So we went to go teach this rescue that we have (someone that we helped come back and be active in the church) and we asked if she or her sister knew anyone we could go teach and they were both kind of quiet and were like no like I don't think so. But then one of the sisters was like "well there is Marisol" who is their aunt but then her sister was like no like I don't think she will accept them, no like she's not very receptive, no, like we know she won't accept you guys, like better just not go. And we were like, no it's fine, like we want to go. Don't worry abuot how they will receive us it's fine. Anyway long story short, we went and I was like preparing myself to get yelled at or something but we go up to her door and we start talking to her and she's like "oh, just come on in" (ok we didn't even ask to come in so imagine our surprise...) and we go in and she gives us cola and cookies and we just start talking (still so surprized at how well this was going) and we start talking to her and turns out she is going through some hard times right now with her family and she just started to cry. She really truly needed us to be there at that exact moment. It just amazed me at how well the Lord prepared His children. We can never judge who is ready or not because we don't know what these people are going through. The Lord has  PERFECT PLAN. And everything is in His timing. He is preparing these people and we need to go find them.So if the missionaries ever come to your house and knock on your door and ask for referrals and a name comes to your mind TELL THEM! Because the Lord has obviously prepared them to hear the gospel at this time, even if you don't think so. Also, when we visited other people this week and went to ask for referals and they had the same "I don't know anyone" attitude, we shared this experience and then they gave us referal. So cool.

Okl also learned something really cool this week. So we go with this Hermano from the ward because he's like come to this house to meet someone so we go and when we get to the house there is this woman leaving (not the person we were looking for) and the brother is just like hey is the other lady home and she was like I don't know and he was like oh we're the Mormons. Do you want the missionaries to teach you. And then she was like no. And it was obviously because you can't go about it that way. We started talking to her and getting to know her and offering to do service (gets em every time) and then we asked if we could go visit her and she was like yeah, that's okay. That just showed me that it really makes a difference on how we communicate our message. We can't just be like Hey we are the Mormons and do you want the missionaries to come? No. It's better to get to know them and talk with them and then extend the invitation so that they know it's because you care. Anyway, just a thought. Keep being missionaries though.

Chapter 44 - So Much Learning!

I hope you all had a really good week! This week went by really fast (just like every week.....) but it was good nonetheless. I learned literally so much this week. Like my personal studies were just really great. I love the scriptures!

So this week I was reading about King Benjamin and I really like what he says to his people. Well, preface, this week I was just thinking, how can I be a better leader? I was just thinking this and then boom, God answered my prayer through the scriptures. Anyway, I was reading in Mosiah 2 and he is just saying how he's worked alongside his people and helped him and in verse 26 he talks about how he is no better than any of them becaue he is from the dust just like the rest of them and I just thought wow, King Benjamin has so much humility. He was a King that knew the gospel, but not only knew it, he lived it. He wasn't a king that just was like, hey all of you do this while I sit back and He was like ok this is what we need to do and I'm gonna be right there alongside you working with you. I love it. I was able to see that if we truly want to be good leaders, we need to be humble. We need to not only talk the talk but walk the walk too. So all you leaders out there, church leaders, school leaders, whatever leader you may be, remember that the best leaders are those who are humble, not proud, and who work alongside each other.

Also, another day in my personal study, I was reading Mosiah 3:19 that talks about how we need to become like little children because they are humble and meek and full of love and faith and all these good things and it is so true. We extended a baptismal date this week to a mom and her two kids and her two kids were super excited and wanted to but the mom was more doubtful and didn't have the kind of faith that her kids have. I think as we grow and see more of the world, it numbs us. We lose faith and think more about what others will think of us. Her kids are seriously like little missionaries and were like talking to their little neighbor friend and asking her if she wanted to go to church and they were just so excited and it's like wow, just look at them. They truly have the light of Christ in them and it's evident. They don't judge, they just do as Christ would do and invite all to come unto Him. It's no wonder we all need to become like them and that as such is the kingdom of God.

I know the scriptures are true. I know it with all my heart. Without them, there is no hope, there is no learning, there is no growth. You want answers to your questions? Read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I get the opportunity to testify of this wonderful book every day and I love it. I challenge you all to talk to whoever you know about the Book of Mormon. Tell them that it answers questions of the soul...because it does. Share your testimony. Be a light to the nations!

Chapter 43 - Spanish Me = Missionary Me

Hey everyone!
I have like no time so I'll make this quick. Just a few points.
1. We had a conference this week with our new mission President, Presidnet Santos and his wife and they are really good. They are really going to help this mission!
2. I found out I'm allergic to shrimp. And I found out the hard way....I'm never eating shrimp again....I hate it. The end.
3. So the other day my companion was telling me that the Spanish me is the missionary me and it's so true. I know I'm here in Ecuador learning this language because this is the missionary me. In spanish, like I'm way more bold. I just tell things how they are and I'm just much more direct, but people here are pretty direct so sometimes you just have to tell it how it is. I realized this because today I was talking to someone who is from the United States and we were talking about religion and we were talking in English (very weird by the way, talking about the gospel with other people in English) and I like felt like I didn't know what to say or that I wasn't as bold and then I realized that the Lord called me to Ecuador and called me to learn Spanish so that I would be bold and help these people. The Lord knows and sometimes it just blows me away at how perfect his plan is. I know that God has a plan for each one of us and that He really is in control. Don't doubt in that. He has a plan for you and he is in the details. Trust in the fact that he is in control and leave everything to Him.

Chapter 42 - The Land Bountiful

Hey everyone, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! I may be in Ecuador but I have not forgotten about America. haha In our house there are 3 north americans and one Bolivian, Hermana Gonzales my old companion, and so you can bet we all (including Hermana Gonzales) all dressed in red, white, and blue. As you all know, I lost my camera but my companion sent a picture to my mom so maybe somehow you can all see it on like FB or something.

Ok so last week I wasn't feeling too excited to come back to Florida but this week has changed all that. I got here and there are seriously so many people to work with. I was really surprized. I feel like when I was here before it was like a desert and there just weren't that many people but suddenly I got here and it like turned into the land Bountiful. There are lots of people here who can progress and we just need to be organized and use our time wisely and help them all. I have frequently thought of the quote Where much is given, much is required. This is so true. We have been given much and now much is required but I know we can do it with the help of the Lord. 

I also want to share an experience we had this week while teaching an investigator. These investigators were references from a lady who returned from her mission 20 years ago and she was accompanying us and we were talking after and my companion asked her if her mission changed her life. Her response was no. I was a little surprized because like you always hear how the mission is the best 2 year or 18 months and everyone just loves their mission so I wasn't really expecting that but it made me think. After she said no she said that she had been a faithful member and really dedicated to the church and so the msision didn't really change her life and I'm just sitting there like Um I've been a member my whole life and the mission has changed me completely...I don't know how someone can go out on a mission and preach the gospel and come back the same person. I think it's impossible. It's impossible because we are so focused on other people and learning more about the gospel that it is inevitable that we change. Missions are so goooodddd and I reccommend them to all. I have learned so much and I am excited to keep learning. I hope you all had a great week and enjoy this holiday with your families!

Chapter 41 - Third Times the Charm

Sorry this has a weird grey background, I don't know who to make it go away...Anyway. I have so many thoughts right now I don't know where to start. I also have so many emotions. ¨Yesterday was transfers and guess what...I was transfered...And can you guess where? Yes, Florida...again. It's hard because there is really only two sectors where the nurses can even be so I have already been in both and now I'm back in Florida in Guayaquil. I say it's the third time because after the earthquake I also came here. It's a bitter sweet feeling because I'm glad to be back and see all the member and converts here but at the same time I want to meet new people but hey, the Lord has a plan for me. I obvioulsy need to find some people here I didn't find the frist two times around so here I go. Also, my companion is Hermana Rojas. She is from Provo but her parents are from Peru. She's super great and I'm excited to work with her. I also live in the house with 3 other nurses so yeah things are good. We'll see how this goes.

On saturday we had the baptism of Fernando and it was so great. There were 4 other people baptized that day too from two other wards and we had what we call a "white night" and it was super great. Also my life is over and I lost my camera so I can't even send you pictures....I wanted to cry. Well let's be real, I did cry.....ahhhhh nooooo but hey, gotta keep movin on. I'll ask my companion to send me pictures of the baptism. He's 13 and is super strong in the gospel and I hope that the other Hermanas that stay there can help me along. It was super sad to leave Portoviejo but hey, I could return..who knows.

On another note, we are getting a new mission president tomorrow and so the adventure begins. I want to talk a little bit about some things I've learned in the past week. This time as missionaries is extremely short and we need to make the most out of it. The other day in our zone meeting, our zone leader was talking about a talk that Elder Holland gave about how we need to finish our missions with "no drops of energy left." We need to do everything possible here in the mission because we only have 2 years or 18 months to give it our all. This really hit me hard because as many of you know, I used to run cross country and I ran a lot. I remember one lesson that my dad taught me when I was just starting out. When I finished a race one day he asked me "do you have any energy left? Because if you do, you didn't give it your all." After that, everything was different. I tried to race every race, giving it all that I could. I tried to finish with zero drops of energy left because I knew that if I finished like that that I had given it my all. I know it is the same with missionary work. We have to dedicate all of our heart, might, mind and strength to this work because this is the only "race" we've got, there won't be others. This is our one shot to make a difference here in Ecuador and we need to make the most of it. It's not easy but it is worth it. I am still not completely sure how to dedicate my whole self but I am trying to learn. I want to put everything on the alter but sometimes it's hard, sometimes I don't kow how, but I know the Lord will help me as I try to accomplish this task.

There are so many things that I have learned here in the mission and I have certainly seen many miracles. President Dennis the other day said that he loved seeing these people change. These people who have committed all these sins but have repented and been able to come unto Christ. And the reason they change is because of and through the atonement of our saviour Jesus Christ. I have seen this recently in one of our less actives. Her daughter recently left on a mission and before she left her mom was not supportive of her daughter going on a mission. She didn't want to go to church, she didn't really want us to visit her husband who we are teaching, and just kind of had a hard heart. It didn't dawn on me until the other day when we were teaching her, but she has made a 360º change. We are teaching her niece who also lives in her house and so she was also present in the lesson and she was commenting and really showing that she had a testimony of these things. The change wasn't fast but it did come around. It started out by only coming one hour to church and then little by little more and more she started to stay for the whole three hours. She has now gained more of a testimony and is starting to see what is really important and I know that it is throught the atonement of Jesus Christ that she was able to make that change. The scriptures also are so important to use. They are literally the words of God and can hit the heart harder than our words can.

There is so much that I want to write about but there is simply not enought time. Something that I want to share though is that during our last conference with President Dennis, I was just sitting there and this thought came to my mind. The thought was "I'm certain I'm in the right mission." I know that I am here for a reason. I know that everything that has happened, all the people I 've met, all the companions I've had, and having President and Hermana Dennis as my mission presidnet and wife is all part of the plan that the Lord has for me. I know that this gospel is true. I know it with all my heart and every time we have conferences I gain the resolve to go out and preach this gospel like it says in the scriptures "with the voice of a trump." This gospel is a blessing in my life and I love sharing it with others. I hope you all have a great week!

Chapter 40 - Feliz Dia Papa!


I hope all you dads out there had a great fathers day! ¡Feliz Dìa Papà! Yesterday was a good day, a little hard to visit people on Father's Day, but overall still a good day! Something that the 1st counselor in the bishopric shared in sacrament meeting on Sunday was the scripture in 1 Nephi 1:1 that says "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father..." And he was just talking about how he too had been born of goodly parents who had taught him all about the gospel and how grateful he was for them. I too, Hermana Roylance, was born of goodly parents who taught me the truth and helped me gain a testimony of this great gospel. Thanks to them, I am here and helping others create eternal families! I love my parents so much! Special shoutout to my dad also! He is the best! You all too, have been born of goodly parents, give them a call, go visit them, tell them how much you love them!

On another note....the time is going by super fast! I swear I blink and it's Monday again... We were really busy this week with nursing but we were definately able to see the Lord's hand in the work. Our time was very limited because we had to go to the cyber a lot for different nursing things, but we were still able to get a lot of work done. To me, this is a great tender mercy of the Lord. We have a baptism this week and there are a lot of people here who are progressing and I think "How? We haven't had any time to visit anyone." But the Lord works in mysterious ways and He provided us the time to accomplish the things we need to do. I know that if we look for the Lord's hand in our lives, we will find it because it's always there. I feel like the Lord is blessing me and my companion so much and I am so grateful for that. For example, on the days we had to write weekly reports for nursing, we ended up with a lot of lessons, giving that we only had a limited time to work. Sometimes there are days when we have the whole day to work and we end up with 3 or 4 lessons and so you would think that with less time we would have even fewer lessons but it was the opposite. The Lord helped us use our time wisely and helped us find the people we needed to visit in the exact hour that they were home. I know that the Lord blesses us in more ways than we know and that we need to constantly give thanks for all that we have. I know that we need to continue to work hard and manage out time wisely so that we can continue to have the success that the Lord, my companion, and I  all want. I know this work is very important and I am grateful to be a part of it.

Also. This is my mission president's last week.....They end their mission this week and it's so weird. We travel to Guayaquil this week to have one last mission-wide conference with them and it's crazy. I think I might cry. I love them so much. They have been so great and I have learned so much from them. It will be different to have a new president but I know he is also called of the Lord and that we will all learn lot from him too.

Chapter 39 - It's Not Every Day You Get to Shake an Apostle's Hand

Wow soo much to say...again..I don't know where to start. Well for one, this week I hit the half way mark! Time is FLYING by and I don't know how to make it stop, I've been told it just goes faster so yeah. Things are good though and I love Portoviejo! This week we went to Guayaquil for a nurses conference and it was super great. Also, we went to this really nice buffet restaurant as nurses with Hermana Dennis and it was sooo good! 

So, as for the title. This week on Saturday, we had a mission-wide conference, actually is was a multi mission conference- Guayaquil North, South, and West. Approx. 600 missionaries in one chapel. It was crazy. And why were we gatherred there? Because Elder Rasband, of the quorum of the 12 apostles came and we had a conference with him. It. was. so. cool. I have never been that close to an apostle before. I was singing in the choir and we were seated in the stand so I was even closer. What an amazing experience. It is the first time in the history of all 3 of our missions that an apostle of the Lord has come and had a conference so it was a pretty historical day. He talked and the spirit could be felt so strong. Before going to the conference, we all read a talk he gave in 2010 called "The divine call of a missionary" and wow it is so good. It talks about how each and every missionary is called to where they need to be for a specific reason and that the apostles know perfectly where to send us. He was telling us that just the other week he was asigning missionaries to their missions and he assigned one to Russia and then kept going on with the other missionaries and then said "wait, we need to go back" and they went back and he said that that missionary actually needed to go to Turkey and he said the spirit was so strong and he knew where this missionary needed to go. He talked about so many things and I don't have time to write about them all but I just want to say being in the presence of one of the apostles of the Lord is an extraordinary experience. Before the conference started, each and every one of us got to shake Elder Rasband's hand. What an experience. I still have the picture of his face in my mind as I shook his hand. What a blessing it truly was.

Earlier today, Elder Rasband came to Portoviejo to meet with us and it was also such an amazing experience. He came and talked to all the people here and the spirit was overwhelmingly strong. To hear an apostle bear witness of the savior is something so powerful and you cannot deny the spirit that is there. Afterwards, we all got the chance to shake his hand...and so for me it was the second time I got to shake his hand. This is an experience very special to me and one that I will never forget. I mean, it's not every day that you get to shake an apostle's hand...twice..


Chapter 38 - Good Things Are Happening

So I hope you all are having a great week and that you are enjoying the summer! This week was good and there are a lot of things I want to say, so I hope this doesn't sound too jumbled and scattered. 

First I want to share something that I heard in Relief Society yesterday. We were talking about communication skills and how we need to learn to communicate with our friends, parents, family members, and others and learn to develop good relationships with them. The Relief Society president was saying that as we imrove and work on listening, and not just listening with the intent of responding directly afterwards, we learn to have a better relationship and that these relationships with our friends and family will help us improve the relationship we have with our Father in Heaven. This really impacted me. As we improve our relationships here on earth, we improve our relationsip with our Father in Heaven because we know how to listen and to express our feelings. 

I also felt so much joy this Sunday as we were able to see so many people in sacrament meeting. I don't think I've had that many investigators, less actives, and recent converts in sacrament in a long time and it was very rewarding to see them there yesterday. It got me thinking about how much joy our Heavenly Father must feel when we attend church and are obedient as well. I was grateful for the chance that I got to feel a little bit of the joy and happiness that our Heavenly Father feels for each one of us.

One of the people in sacrament was Fernando, our investigator that has a baptismal date right now. He is so good, he's 13 and really excited to learn about the gospel. His mom, Lorena, is less active but is also really excited about coming back to the church. I feel so blessed to work with them and help them gain a stronger testimony of this wonderful gospel!

Also, one day this week I was just kinda feeling down and not having the best attitude and as I was changing into my pjs, I looked at the tag on my dress and what did it say? Positive Attitude........ God has a sense of humor. I just had to laugh and think, it's true, I need to have a good attitude and if I do, then I will be able to do a lot of good things here. I've heard a lot in the mission that Satan doesn't necesarily need to tempt us, all he needs to do is distract or discourage us and it's so true because if we are distracted or discouraged, we won't want to work and that's exactly what he wants, but as we choose to be happy, Satan doesn't have that power. So basically, be happy :)

ONE MORE THING. Another testimony builder. So we went back and taught the recent convert whose house we were in during the earthqake and it was amazing to me, as we looked at the spot where we were sitting that night. All of the pictures on the wall were fine. But something stuck out to me. There is a big picture of Christ and sitting on top of the frame is a little tiny wooden sign that says Families are Forever. I asked the sister if it was attached with anyting and she said no, it was just sitting there and it never fell during the earthquake. How? Houses built of concrete fell to the ground in seconds and nothing, absolutely nothing, fell where we were. I now, even more than before, have a testimony that angels were certainly in that house that night.I hope you all have a great week!