Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello Lago Agrio!

Letter from the mission president to the Lomeli Family:

Dear Lomeli Family,

Since today is P-day, we hope that you’ve heard from your son, but we also wanted to let you know that we are delighted to have welcomed Elder Lomeli to the Ecuador Quito North Mission.  We spent three days last week training with him and learned some fun things about him.  He shared with us that his grandparents on his Dad’s side are from Mexico and that his dad served a mission here in Ecuador.  No doubt, he will continue what his father started here.  He has a wonderful personality and has quickly has found a special  place in our hearts and we are confident that he will be a great addition to our mission. 

We assure you that we will do everything possible to help Elder Lomeli grow in his personal conversion, and to thus have a positive experience here in the newly formed Ecuador Quito North Mission.  This is a wonderful mission that experiences a high number of baptisms, and success in reactivation. Our boundaries include coast, jungle, a native Indian area, as well as the highly populated city of Quito so our missionaries have a wide range of experiences.  President Spencer W. Kimball said that the most pure Lamanite people live in Otavalo, which is a part of our mission.  This is easy to believe because of their faithfulness and strength – earning their city the title of “Utah”valo.

The theme of our mission is translated “The Center of the World; Centered on Christ,” and we have a wonderful group of 19 missionaries who arrived with him.  He will be serving in the jungle area of Lago Agrio, an area that was likely not open when his father was here, with Elder Gonzalez of Peru.
The Lord is hastening the Work of Salvation and this is an amazing time to be a missionary.  Elder Lomeli is needed here and we are so grateful he has chosen to serve a mission.  We will care for him as if he were our own. 
We know you’re already planning on it, but we want to remind you to write your son a weekly letter.  His preparation day will be on Mondays.

With love,

President and Sister Richardson
Misión Ecuador Quito Norte

Travins Email:

Hello Lago Agrio!

Hola everyone!

Well, I am here in Ecuador finally in the field.  I am serving in the area Lago Agrio, which is in the JUNGLE part of Ecuador.  It is very humid and hot here, and if you know me at all, I very much dislike humidity.  It was about an 8 hour bus ride from Quito, so my car sickness phobia wasnt helped much either.  There are 6 missionaries in the city, one branch of about 75 people, and a lot of work to be done.

My companions name is Elder Gonzalez.  He is 23 and is from Lima Peru/Chile.  He speaks very very little English, but a rule in our mission is that as the North Americans learn Spanish, the Latinos are supposed to learn English.  So I teach him and he teaches me everyday.  We get along pretty well, and he likes to joke around a lot.  He is my "Padre" and I am affectionately known as his "Hijo".  This is only because he is my trainer.  I will be with him for a total of three months here in Lago, and after that we will just have to see!

Our first actual day of work, we had lunch with a mamita.  We ate rice, beans, fried plantains, beef, and Coca Cola.  Everything was good but the Cola, because Im not a soda drinker haha.  Then we went contacting in a little neighborhood, with dirt roads, wooden houses, etc.  The first lady I even talked to invited us to sit with her and share a message.  Her name was Ines Castillo.  We shared the Plan of Salvation, and I gave the baptismal invitation, and she accepted it!  We just have to track her down now, since she lives all over the place, or so she claims.  We then tried to contact the area more and we wound up at a part member home.  The Familia Ceballos, are a great familiy, and the grandparents that live with them are the investigators.  They fed us, tried to teach me to play the guitar, but I ended up playing the maracas :)  

The next day, it was my turn to take the lead in contacting, and even though I was a little nervous, I did a good job, and we contacted about 7 people that day.  We then went back the the Ceballos home, and taught them another lesson.  Hermana Ceballos fed us afterward, and after I finished my plate, she gave me a whole new plate with even MORE food.  It left maybe one bite, becuase I was about to explode after the first plate.  They love love love to feed the missionaries here.

Sunday was different from any normal Sunday.  We have church at 9:00 like normal, but its not a regular chapel.  Its on the second floor of a Colobian Refugee building with no A/C and no nice pews.  We had plastic chairs and fans the whole time, but it was still pretty hot.  I was called to give the closing prayer at the end of sacrament meeting.  There is only one Melchizedek priesthood holder in our branch, so one of the ZL´s is the branch president, and our DL is his secretary.  The rest of us missionaries are the teacers for classes and stuff.  After church we had lunch with some members.  We ate rice, corn (like Nacho Libre), salad, Coca Cola, beef, chicken and ubre (COW UDDER).  Oh it was so weird.  It was really chewy and had a weird texture.  I didnt know what it was until after I ate it, so I ate like 5 pieces about the size of my palm.  I didnt puke though so that was good.  We shared a message about Christ with them afterward, and I tried to give as much as I could as possible.  It went well though.

Then later that night, some of the young men in the branch came on splits with Elder Gonzalez and I.  Pablo and Christopher were their names, and they are both Teachers.  They bore powerful testimonies to the member that we visited.  One member was less active, and the other was a family where only the father was a member and the rest of the family was investigating.  They taught me a lot of spanish and local terms.  I think that the young men should go on splits with the missionaries more often in Utah.  I never had the chance and I wish I had.  They have such great spirits and testimonies that strengthened mine.  

President gave us little DVD players to watch the District videos to help with the infield training out here.  My comp never saw them, so we watch some each night, and he is astounded at how easy it is in the show for people to accept the gospel.  He gets a kick out of it.

Well, now that I am here, I am ready to start working.  There are people here that I need to find and teach, and I am going to do just that.  The book is blue, the church is true, and Im really really sweaty.  I encourage you all to keep striving to become closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Love you all.

Elder Lomeli

Me and My comp
Elder Keyes and his comp

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Arrived in ECUADOR

Hola everyone!

This is going to be a quick one.  I will send a longer one when I know when my Pday is.  So we left the CCM at 10:30, and our flight left from Mexico to Colombia at 2:15 in the morning.  After a four hour flight we landed in Colombia and had a two hour layover.  I was able to go through customs, call home, and get some Dunkin Donuts before having to board the next plane to Quito.  That flight lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes.  We were met my the AP´s and President and Sister Robinson by the doors.  One of the APs went to LP as well haha.  We had an hour bus ride to the chapel, where we will be having training for the next few days.  I wont get my companion until Thursday, and I will also go to my new area that day as well.

I got here safe, and am happy to be here.  Cant believe dad was here 30 year ago!!!

Love you all, and I will talk to you soon.

Elder Lomeli

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last week in the CCM!

Hello everyone!

This week really did fly by.  So many good lessons, teaching appointments, and excitement to leave.  I got my travel itinerary a couple minutes ago, and I leave Tuesday at 2:15 in the morning.  So I willl actually leave the CCM at 10:00 Monday night.  I will have a four hour flight to Bogotá Colombia, have a 2 hour layover, then have another 1 1/2 hour flight to Quito.  I cant wait!  We even get a hot meal on the plane too haha.  So I think I will be able to call home either when I am about to leave Mexcio, or once I get to Ecuador.  I will let you all know as soon as I find out.

This last Sunday, my district and I had to opportunity to give a mini sacrament service for the workers in the Comedor (cafeteria).  I gave a little two minute thought on the importance of reading and feasting on the words of Christ.  Afterward, some of the workers told me that my spanish was really good.  Maybe I am learning something here haha.  Then, in our normal sacrament meeting, my comp and I had the chance to pass the sacrament.  I hadnt passed in a really long time, so I jumped at the opportunity.  President Brown then asked me to give a talk on the Holy Ghost.  I tried to just wing it, and use some scriptures, and it turned out really well.  Once again, the branch presidency and their wives all told me that my spanish was good.  Now I just need to completely immerse myself to get the full effect.

We heard some really great news the other day.  This coming Satruday, we are having a special devotional by NEIL L ANDERSON!!! Holy nuts I am sooo excited.  He even wishes to personally greet EACH missionary as we come into the auditorium.  This will be the first time I will shake hands with a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  Good thing he decided to come this week instead of next!

I am super glad to hear that everyone is doing well.  Just so everyone knows, I placed tiny cameras in the Lyman house to make sure that everything stays in order. haha just kidding.  Have a good time down there!  Im sorry to hear all the bad news about BYU.  At least we have basketball to look forward to in the coming years when BYU-Alpine trasfers to BYU-Provo :)

Things with my companion have gone up this week.  We had a good comp inventory, that will at least get us through this final week.  Our district has also become closer knowing this is the last week we have together.  Its ok though, four of them live in Utah so we can hang out after the mission. They live in: Riverton, Sandy, Alpine, and Park City, So pretty close

I recieved an email from my mission president that I will forward.  It is a brief welcome and overview of the mission.  I cant wait to get there!

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know that Joseph Smith restored this gospel here on the earth.   I know Christ died for us so that we can live with Him again.  

I pray for all of you every night.  You were all great helps and examples to get me out on my mission.  Thank you for your prayers in my behalf.  I love all of you so much.

Talk to you soon FROM ECUADOR!

Elder Lomeli



our new latino friends


Letter from the Mission President:

Dear New Missionaries,

You have one more week in the MTC and then you’ll be coming to the GREATEST MISSION IN THE WORLD!!!  We really feel that way, and there are many reasons for that.

Our mission is new and becoming more and more obedient and diligent with each new group.  We fully expect that your group (of 20) will be as strong as or even stronger than previous groups and we look forward to meeting each one of you.  We have been looking at your names and pictures and have been praying for you.

The Ecuador Quito North Mission is made up of 230 missionaries, of which approximately 130 are Latin and the rest are North American.  We have 65 sisters.  Our mission includes coast, countryside, jungle, and city and you will enjoy a wide range of experiences and climates.   Our missionaries consistently reactivate and baptize because the people are very believing.  President Spencer W. Kimball said that the most pure Lamanite people live in Otavalo, which is in our mission.  That part of the country is often referred to as “Utahvalo,” because of the abundance of members.

We will receive and love you like our own child and will do everything we can to help you have the most rewarding mission.  We know that will happen as you choose to be obedient and diligent, which means following the mission schedule and the mission manual.

Please know that we already love you and look forward to meeting you in person in a matter of days.

With love and best wishes,
President and Hermana Richardson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Amazing Weekend!!

Hola everyone!

I think the title speaks for itself.  This weekend was one for the record books.  I will admit up front that this was the first time that I have ever stayed awake for all five sessions of General Conference.  And this was the first time that I have taken notes in every session, not just the Priesthood session.  I have to agree with everyone that all the talks in this session were phenomenal, but if I had to pick out just one (three) they would all be from the Sunday afternoon session.  I really really like Elder Ballards talk about staying in the boat.  I liked how he likened our life jacket as the scriptures.  If we read them, ponder them, and apply them we will never sink.  Elder Scott has always been one of my top three favorite speakers, and this session was no different.  The four tools he gave us to resist temptation really impacted me.  Especially the first two tools, which were prayer and heeding the words of the scriptures and of the living Prophets.  And lastly, Elder Bednars talked geared towards the non members.  His talked really strengthened my desire and confidence to help bring more souls unto Christ.  He made it all sound so simple, and thats how it really is.  So I invite everyone to take his challenge that he made at the very end, to COME UNTO CHRIST and see how he can bless your life.

Things with the companion have gotten a little better.  Just gonna have to try to love and tolerate him for another two weeks.  The departure date that my flight itinerary gave is not the correct one.  I dont leave the CCM until the 21st.  The church has to just schedule that flight in case I needed to have anything done with my visa.  They will end up cancelling it, and scheduling me another flight for the 21st of this month.  So now I get to be fed all this delicious, and desirable food for two more weeks.........  I am ready to just get out of here and go to work.  Sitting in the classroom all day gets really old.

Throughout this whole week I have been wanting to watch the BYU/USU football game, knowing that they play before every conference weekend.  I even asked my zone leaders to call our branch president how the game turned out.  He is an AVID BYU fan, and always gives us updates on the games every Sunday in ¨Priesthood.  To be honest, I kinda had a feeling that Bronco would get too greedy with having Taysom run the ball too much.  Yes that would have won him the Heisman, but it would have been the downfall.  Bronco should just fire Robert Anae already, but he is better that Doman was.  Just my two cents, even though they arent very missionary appropriate.  But hey, it is the LORDS university so we should be striving to make it a better school and a better football coaching staff.

I am so so glad to hear that Elder McCown is doing well.  Im sure he will be itching to get out of the MTC and get into the field.  You come to realize in the CCM that it doesnt matter how prepared you are or how well you know the language.  As long as you can invite the spirit, it will teach the investigator all they need to know to come unto Christ.  Knowing the language and lessons just make it a little easier :)

I love you all, and thank you for your prayers. I pray for the blessings of the Lord to come upon all of you every single night.  I know this is where I am supposed to be and I am too excited to serve the Lord.  Kinda hard to believe that I am already ONE MONTH done with the mission.  I am 1/24 done Mom, and next month will be 1/12! But who's counting? :)

Talk to you all next week! Love you! 

Elder Lomeli