Elder Sanders

Elder Sanders

Monday, November 5, 2012

week # 67 Latacunga


  How are you all this fine evening?  Over here, it`s rather rainy.  BUT- I do hear it`s been just a smidge more troublesome with the weather over in the US, right?  Super storm Sandy actually has been part of the news down here too! So luckily, I have been informed and I am as pleased as a peach that our cousins in New York are doing alright! Er, mostly.  Good to hear they`re all safe is a better response.(My companion and I are keeping you all in our prayers!)

And what fun at home!  I loved your guy`s costumes, (especially yours chantel! That rocked !), it looks as if all is good over yonder!  And Barbara Quittner, I got your letter!  I guess it don`t know if I mentioned that before, but I did thoroughly enjoy it!

But, it`s been very fine here in Latacunga, we have a handful of investigators, but this sector is full of opposition!  And the opposition isn`t in teaching, but in just trying to get lessons!  This is the largest sector in the mission, and A LOT of our time is dedicated to just traveling to visit investigators, and if they`re not home, we lose a lot of time!  Plus, we don`t have a cell phone!  So, it`s been a little harder, but at the same time, really good!  We received about 11 references last week!  Yes, about half of them were `duds`, but it`s still good that the members are willing to work with us!  (which, By the way, woot for Dad for looking to share the gospel to friends and airport travelers, and we meet people like that Jehovah`s witness member practically every day!)

Ah, what else?  So, we didn`t have baptisms this last week because we didn`t have the baptismal interviews!  So, we have the baptisms for the Familia A planned for this next Friday, so it all should go well. 

And this next week, Latacunga will be celebrating something called ¨Mama Negra´ where someone paints them self like a richly adorned jet black skinned woman, and leads a parade down the streets of the city, full of parties, fireworks, and celebrating.  I guess it somehow connects back to a time 200 or so years ago when the virgin Mary appeared and stopped the local volcanoes from erupting, but I am not too sure how that relates to a parade led by a black lady? Odd origins I suppose. Oh well!  I guess the party gets pretty riotous, so we`ll have to spend the weekend with other missionaries outside of our city!

BUT!  It was a good week, Sacrament meeting was really spiritual during testimony meeting, and our neighbors cooked Cui, guinea pig :( (and Ashlyne don`t read this next sentence!) as twisted and funny as it sounds, to kill them they hung them outside on the water spout!  Like an 18th century executioner!  That was a Sunday morning surprise...

So, it`s been good.  And I`m sending some photos!  One of me in front of our sector and my companion eating Granadilla (super good!)

Until next week!

-Elder Sanders

Week # 66 from Latacunga

Here I am! 

 Calling in from Latacunga!  So, it`s been a fine week, and as fine as it was, I don`t think I have too many big stories, but it was definitely pleasant! 

So first off, congrats to Courtney Evans!  A mission faithfully completed!  It sounds like it went wonderfully, and good to hear the family is doing well too. 

So, you may ask what`s going on in our sector? Well, first off, we live in a nice little apartment, and our building consists solely of members!  Yes, it`s only 2 other families, but still nice.  One is our ward mission leader, and the other has a T-shirt store on the first floor where he makes, prints, and sews his own soccer tees, and pretty soon we`re going to commission him to do another zone T-Shirt!  We thought I`d be fun to do the one from the general conference talk from Ann Dibb, the one that says, `I`m a Mormon. And you?¨
It would be great!  Where we live is just full of stores, catholic cathedrals, and many hills and parks, but if you venture out a little, it`s just pure flat  land with some scattered trees, not to mention the towering volcanoes that hovers above the city!  It`s great!  But I don`t think we`ll be seeing any eruptions any time soon,

And!  As for investigators, right now we`re working with some families, the family Are, and the family G The family Are are what missionaries call, `un familia de oro` or for those that only speak gringo: golden family .  And they have plans to be baptized this Saturday!  YES!!! As of now, they`re testimonies are doing well, but they have some marriage issues that they still need to resolve, so pray for them that they can overcome past errors to change into better people!  And the family G, well, they love to listen to us, but they changed houses and we don`t know where!  We`ve been trying to get a hold of them by phone, but we`ve been a little out of luck.  But I think sooner or later, we`ll find them again and see how their doing with their Book of Mormon study.

  So, those are the main things that happened, we had a small ward activity, found some new families, and I`m just trying to train my companion while he trains me on the new sector. 

Hm.  I feel my mind is refusing to give you information!  Think! 

        WELL!  I do have one more thing that my companion and I are going to try out, which is based on a big story given to me by Elder Housley, but essentially it entails the story of how 2 missionaries purged their lives in order to have the FULL company of the spirit.  How? They started with a fast, and wrote a big list of all the things that kept the spirit away, or that simply distracted them from feeling the spirit (such as playing golf Mondays, speaking sarcastically to thier companions, obeying all the mission rules etc etc) and then did a 40 day fast of all those listed items.  And what happened?  Their most basic desires changed, and they became spirit weilding druids!  They had a flood of baptisms and really big spiritual experiences happened many times a day. 
And so, Elder Kingsford and I are putting the challenge to the test, just today I finished my fast and have made my list of things that inhibit me from having the spirit at times, and starting today, we are going to purge ourselves!  So, I`ll give you updates every now and then on how that goes, so wish us luck!

Well, good to hear that all is well, and I shall write later.  But first, some quotes!

                     ´If it is to be, it`s up to me.`

             `I cannot teach a man anything, I can only help him to find it within himself.´  -Galileo

 `I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it my primary and chief duty to accomplish small and humble tasks as they were great and noble. The world is not just moved along by the mighty shoves of it`s heroes, but also by aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.`        -Helen Keller

 -Elder Sanders

PS: Hooray!  The camera is at last coming!  So, in the box, I always do primarily love letters and photos from you guys at home, but you could also toss in some things like: beef jerky, root beer extract (yeah, I can make it down here with carbonated water!), and any art supply. It could be markers, pencils, or it could be a pocket sketchbook, but make it a surprise! 

Week # 65 Return to AMBATO !!!


Dearest friends and family!

Sorry my email was a bit delayed, but before all: I am fine and made it to my new sector and new companion!

Alright! Now, where to start?    So, I have returned to Ambato, the zone I was in last April!  But, a new sector, actually the largest one in the mission if I understand correctly, and it is just peachy!   And not only that, I am now a father again!  Yes, I am finishing the training of a new missionary!  Dear Elder Kingsford is now my companion, soaring in from Bountiful Utah, and we are just doing swell.  I´m writing late because Monday I was on the bus all day, literally from the morning, to the night time.  It was RATHER LONG.  But, I made it to Quito, met up with my new companion, and stayed with some other missionaries, and the next day was the new-missionary-verification.  So we were in training meetings all of Tuesday, and then, at last, we got to leave this morning and now we are here in our sector! 

Whew, so those are the recent news.   BUT! I would love to share some past highlights of last week!

-First, we had a baptism!  Yes, in the family V, the parents are still lacking papers to be married, but their 11 year old son was completely ready to be a member, so we asked him if he wanted to be baptized that weekend, and he agreed!  So Saturday we got to have our last baptism of Lago Agrio, and he was confirmed Sunday.  It was rather sad to have to leave all of my investigators, but I know that they´ll be in good hands.  (and I´ll get some photos of the baptism as soon as I write to the other missionaries to send them to me)

-AND! Great experience.  Usually, in Ecuador, every time you get on a bus there´s always someone in the front selling something or preaching or asking for money or something, and last Tuesday there was someone who stood up the front and starting speaking.  I was far back and couldn´t hear what he was saying, but saw he had a ´Watchtower´, the magazine of the Jehovah´s witness religion, and thought he was just preaching.  And then, I noticed he also had a magazine from our church too, and then when he started walking down the bus with a hand outstretched for some money, I thought I´d see if I could get a teaching opportunity from him.  Well, turns out I started speaking to him, and he was a tourist from Peru who got stranded in Ecuador because the day before he got mugged, beaten and lost all his possessions that he had with him, and was just looking for a coat or something for the long trip ahead. (and even worse, it all happened on his birthday!) He had received some money from other people and the church magazine from a member (spirit points!), but we told him our house was nearby and we´d see if we could bring him something to help.  And we did!  We stopped at home, made him a ´travel bag´ with food and clothes, and a half an hour later we very luckily found him again outside on the sidewalk. (small prayer answered) We gave him the bag, then thought we´d get him some food, and we ended up taking him to restaurant.  It turned out he hadn´t eaten or drunken all day and was very grateful for the help.  We fed him, helped him count out the money he collected on the bus, and shared with him about who we were and a little about the restoration and the book of Mormon.  And later, something impacted him, and he told us, ´I want to read the Book of Mormon´  WOW! Without even explaining what it was!  We quickly got him a copy, helped him get ready to leave to Peru, wrote down his name, direction, and showed him how to find the church in his country.  
So, all in all, it was a very VERY special experience for us, and from our good efforts in little than an hour he had a burning desire to learn about our church.  Your modern day good Samaritan story!

Ah, yes.  So those are the big news of the week, we hope that we´ll be able to have success here, and that I´ll be able to adjust from hottest zone in mission to one of the coldest!  Whew! 

Stay spiffin!

.-Elder Sanders

PS- President Ghent s wife told me that her daughter will coming to Ecuador in a couple of weeks, and that you can send me a camera with her! So, be expecting an email in a day or so in how to coordinate that.

PSS-  Did I say it before?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!
I hope you got the photo from sister Ghent of us and the birthday sign!

Week # 64 leaving Lago Agrio

Hello one and all!

 Here I am, enjoying what is to be known as my last official preparation day here in Lago Agrio!  Do you wish to know why? 

YES, once again we have received emergency changes!  Egads!  So, how it`s going to flow is that last Friday 2 new Elders came down to work with us, Elder Cantera from Uraguay and Elder Carrasco from Peru, who will will work with and train for a week, and then they will take our places!  So Elder Plùa and I will be shipped off to other zones to work!  From what I know, we`re getting changes because of a mix of things: missionaries finishing their missions and heading home with us filling their places, possible danger for `Gringos` in the areas by Columbia from a Colombian political group (I don`t really remember what their deal is, but, oh well!) and from what I suspect, disobedience too!   So from a mix of things, I will be leaving the beloved jungle-city next Monday, the 22, and will be heading off to a new sector! I`m not sure where, but I^ll be there!

So, that was the biggest news of the week, but I may also have something that may be it`s equivalent:  Baptism!!!
Yes, this last Friday our investigator Joana  was officially baptized and confirmed after 3 months of work and 3 sets of missionaries!  We got to baptize her in a river, and it turned out wonderfully, although it was really rainy, and we only had a handful of people attend, it still was a very very neat experience. 

 Plus!  Our baptism we had 2 weeks ago, Angela the 8 year old, was finally confirmed!  And not only that, we had 2 baby blessings Sunday also!  One of some members, and the other: A family of part investigator part less active too!  So many spiritual bonus points for us indeed! 

Ok, so right now we are doing very well with the missionary work, for we doth have 3 families with a baptismal date!  2 of them we`re planning to baptize on the 20th, but they just need to get married!  (we`re so close, if everything goes well it should happen this Wednesday!) and lastly the family Gong they are a lovely couple who had listened to the missionaries before, whom we contacted on the street.  After a week of teaching, they now have a testimony of the church and the book of mormon!  And even more, they had a spiritual experience with it too!  Normally, his wife has much difficulty reading because she has poor eyesight and needs glasses so  she doesn't gets horrible headaches, but one day she did not have her glasses, and happened to start reading in the Book of Mormon, and little did she know, she could read it perfectly !! and clearly!  WOW!  They were so excited when they shared the story with us!  Miracle !

And also: Interviews with President Ghent!  For those, we all traveled to Coca, met up with our zone leaders and then went to the hotel where President and Sister Ghent were waiting for us.  We got to sit outside in a gazebo by the poolside, and had some very refreshing interviews and a mini-training meeting with him.  All in all, it went well.  And actually, during the interviews, you kind of feel like the investigator in a lesson, where all you have to do is express a concern and they expound many answers for you through the scriptures, and all you need to do is sit there and absorb it all.    So it was a good weekend,
So this week my companion and I will both be training the 2 other Elders and then we`re off!  I will miss this sector, but my time has come!  Until next week dearest family!

-Elder Sanders

PLUS: Your letters this week were stupendous!  From the zoo to fishing to birthday joy!  What a fun week!  So, good to hear that the Evans are doing well, and good luck to Tanner in his mission,  and I hope Chantel feels better!  I`ll keep you all in mind, Ashylne Meikayla and Madison alike!  And you too Mom and Dad!
¡Les queiro mucho y espero que tengan una buenisima semana!

Oh yeah, PHOTOS!!! Yes, I am still without camera, here are  some pictures copied from my comp, so here`s a random batch from the past 3 weeks.  Enjoy! 
 (oh, BTW Ashylne your Bon-Bons were a hit! ¡Que Rico!)