Monday, November 24, 2014


Hows it goin everybody!  Things sure have been great here this last week in Lago Agrio. Elgar and Luz Ceballos were baptized on Saturday!  It was such a neat experience, especially since they were my first baptisms!  I had the opportunity to be one of the witnesses for the baptism, and Hermana Ceballos had to be dunked twice becuase here hand SHOT out of the water the first time for fear of drowning.  It all worked out well though.  We had about 30 people show up to support them which was really neat.  Then the next day in sacrament meeting, they recieved the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  In these last few days, I have literally seen their countenances change for the better.  Really awesome experience that I hope to repeat many times in the future!

 So I finally figured out that I live like 15 minutes from the Ecuadorian-Colombian border this week.  For P-Day today, a member took us to his jungle orchard.  He grows all kinds of fruits like: oranges, coconuts, bananos, guavas, pinapples, and sugar cane.  Then he cut down coconuts, and we drank the water straight out of the coconut.  Not as sweet as you would think, but still tasted good.  After we had lunch there with them, he asked us if we would like to go to the border.  We said yes without hesitation.

About a mile before the border, there were a bunch of military soldiers with full camo and machine guns.  They said that they were going to check us for firearms, so we all had to get out of the truck.  They gave us patdowns, checked out bags, and sent us on our way.  It was a very odd experience for a missionary, but it is something that we will never forget....or tell President haha :)  Then at the border, the countries are separated by a river about 100 yards across.  I almost jumped in.

Oh gosh you all would be so proud of me this week! Most everyone knows that I HATE seafood is almost every form.  I ate fish TWICE this week, straight off the bone, with the head still attached and everything! I also ate shrimp that was that nasty red color that people claim means its cooked.  I got it all down, and most importantly, it stayed down :)

I also had another first this week.  I gave a talk in sacrament meeting!  It was about Missionary Work and how members can participate too.  Everyone told me that it was good, and I didnt sound too much like a gringo when I talked.  They also said that they feel a little more obligated to help us out when the missionary efforts.

Things are going well here in Lago Agrio.  Transfers are next Monday, so we will see what happens.  I believe I will be staying here though to finish my training.  The gospel changes lives for the better.  I challenge all of you to think of a person who could benefit from the blessings of the gospel, and share it with them.  Members are the most important tool in missionary work.  Its true.  Have a great week everybody!


Elder Lomeli

cool lightning storm outside the house of the Familia Ceballos.  Notice the small houses and dirt road

drinking straight out of the coconut

Hide and seek from the comp in the jungle

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Work is Progressing in Lago Agrio

¡Buenas Tardes!

Wow, so good to talk with everyone again!  This week has flown for me, so I hope the same for everyone else too!  The weather is really warn down here.  Someting like 85 degrees and sunny almost everyday, with the occasionaly cold front of 70 degrees and a couple hours of beating rain.  Nevertheless, the work is moving forward.

We have two investigators, Elgar and Luz Ceballos, with a baptismal date this Saturday, they just need to get married REALLY QUICKLY haha.  We also found a father and son who are very interested in the church. Edison (father) and Jackson (son) Graniso both have dates for the 6th of December.  I hope that they can follow through with the committments for that date.  We are doing quite a bit of contacting (tracting) as well.  The people here are willing to talk to anyone on the street.  Then after we get our hopes up, they drop the bomb and say that they are super Catholic or JW, or dont show up to church, or dont make a return appointment.  But I know that we are being blessed for our efforts.

The members here are really caring and loving towards the missionaries.  They are always asking to feed us or give us a ride, so its really nice.  Makes it easier to not miss home, when they are always saying that their home is also our home.  I am really starting to understand what they mean when they say that you need to love the people.  I love all of them, and to be honest, I dont really want to leave Lago Agrio!  One mamita made us SARDINES this week.  I didnt want to hurt her feelings, so I endured it.  Had to brush me teeth twice after it haha :)  I also ate tripe this week too!  Always something new to eat down here in Ecuador.  

Great to hear about the mission calls of Syndey and Tyler!  The people of North Carolina and Arkansas will be blessed a ton by their Spirits!  So many missionaries preaching the truth to the whole world....Amazing.  I love it so much.

This week though, I have had to apply one of my favorite scriptures: Joshua 1:9.  It has helped me beyoned belief this week, and I urge all of you to remember this promise God has given us.  

I love being a missionary already.  Feels so good when people decide to follow the example of Christ and be baptized.  I love you all and thank you for your prayers in my behalf.

Till next week,

Elder Lomeli

Monday, November 10, 2014

Greetings from the Jungle

Hola everyone!

How is everyone doing?!?!  Things have started to improve here in Lago Agrio.  I have started to slowly get over my cold and cough that I have had all week.  Made it a little harder in our lessons and meetings, but Im getting better.

We have four investigators with baptismal dates in these coming weeks.  Elgar and Luz Ceballos, Diana Castillo, and Jani Begai.  The lesson with Jani was the best one we have had yet as a companionship.  We met here while we were walking to another appointment one night.  Elder Gonzalez told me to practice my Spanish and talk to her.  We chatted, explained who we were and what it was that we did.  A few days later, we taught her and her grandpa the Restoration lesson.  It was very apparent that she had been prepared by the Lord.  The Spirit was so strong, and she accepted all of our invitations, including a baptismal date on December 6th! (Happy Birthday Ty).

I thought Id like to share a typical day that we have here in Lago.  We wake up at 6:30 like usual, do some exercises and shower and get ready for the day.  At 8:00 we have our first companionship study. 9:00 is our personal study. 10:00 is our second comp study.  We have two comp studies because I am still in my training and need more practices and stuff.  Its good though, I learn a lot. At 11:00 we have our language study.  Half and hour for me to study Spanish, and the other half for me to help Elder Gonzalez with English.  He is required to speak English before he leaves the mission.

At 12:00 we hit the pavement.  We contact for a bit, or go do some kind of cleaning of the chapel.  At 1:00 all six elders in my district got to a members house or a "mamita" for lunch.  Which consists of some kind of soup, then a course of meat, rice, lentiles, salad, fried banana or yucca, and Coke or juice.  Pretty delicious most of the time.

The rest of the day consists of meeting with members, contacting, or teaching lessons to investigators.  We keep really busy most of the day.  The streets here are dirt and rock, and there are little tiendas or stores where we can buy water at any time of the day.  And believe me, WE NEED the water haha.  There is a mamita that we have that has two pet turtles that walk around the yard all the time.  They are pretty cool.

I did something totally disgusting this week too.  I ate MAYONES, or worms.  They are the size of an almond joy.  They swim around in water, then skewer them and grill them.  When they are done being grilled, you eat them.  They taste like a mix of maynaise and butter, with a hit of peanut.  They dont taste bad, just the thought of eating a jungle worm grossed me out.  I got it down without bringing it back up too!

So overall, it was a good week.  The book is blue, the church is true.  My testimony is growing everyday, and I am learning to love the people.  Thank you all for your prayers.
Love every single one of you!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 2 in Lago

¿Cómo les va?

What is up everyone!  Things are going alright down here in Ecuador.  It is really hot and humid still, so thats a plus.  But slowly and surely the work of the Lord is progressing here in Lago.  We dont really have any investigators right now, so we are doing a lot of contacting and working with members.  We did however, have an potential investigator and a less active sister show up to church  on Sunday! It was so great.  The investigator, OMarya, has a lot of questions and doubts, but she wants to learn.  She is an Adventist.  I have no idea what religion that is, but I think its Christian.

Also on Sunday, I had the opportunity to assist in conferring the Aaronic Priesthood to a new convert.  His name is Camilo Ceballos.  His uncle, Edgar Ceballos, was also advanced to the office of Priest.  They live about a 4 mile walk from our casa, but my comp and I consider their home, our home away from home.

We also have a family that could be investigators. Raul and Lisbeth.  I dont know their last name, but they seemed interested and agreed to have us visit again.  The people here are willing to listen to the message we have to share, but they usually struggle to complete their commitments.  Makes things hard.  Pray for Raul and Lisbeth.  I can see them in my mind dressed in white getting baptized and later going to the temple.  I hope they can accept the gospel into their lives.

This week I ate something I will never eat again.  But I WILL make my new comps eat.  It is called Sábila.  It is this gooey slimy stuff that they scrape off the sábila plant.  Then they mix it with panela and some other substance and drink it.  Tasted like drinking a loogy...YUCK.

Towards the end of this week, my comp and I have been a little sick.  There isnt a whole lot we can do as far as buying medicine goes.  We are told not to buy medicine without calling the nurse first and making sure she is ok with it.  She is also a full time missionary like us, so it can be hard to get a hold of her.  We are getting a little better though.  My comp has it worse than me.  First time he has been sick on his whole mission! 

The thing I am most grateful for this week is a washer and a dryer.  Here in Lago, our mamitas dont have the stuff to wash all of our clothes for us, so we need to take our regular clothes to a laundromat, and wash our garments ourselves.  I spent an hour last night washing my garments by hand, and I mean just my hands, in the shower.  I had a little detergent, but I had to use a lot of elbow grease.  Then we hang them up to dry! Haha I feel like a pioneer.

Though this week has been a little rough, I know that God lives and loves us.  He answers our prayers.  I had a few answered this week myselft, and He will answer all of yours too.  The Book of Mormon is true.  I love you all and thank for the love and prayers you send my way.

Till next week,

Elder Lomeli