Monday, March 30, 2015

Feliz Pascuas!

Hola queridos amigos y familiares!

Well, what can I say.  This week was kinda hard as far as the missionary work goes. To start off, Tupak has had some more challenges with his father that made is so he will not be baptized for a while.  His dad even took him out of school for skipping a day, and also forbade him to come to church.  Tupak feels really bad, but we keep passing by to see how he is and encourage him to perservere with a good attitude.

We also had a lot of appointments fall through this week too.  But we didnt let that get us down.  We whipped out our pamphlets and started knocking doors.  We found a couple people that seem a little interested, and others that say they are fine the way they are.  Oh well, they just arent ready.  We also contacted a couple Yachacs, which are like native witches that cure people.  They are funny people to contact and give us a good laugh.  We met another guy that is such a good Christian, that he doesnt kill ANYTHING, not even a fly.  Instead, he invites the fly to land on his plate, let it eat a little, then eat the fly......I guess eating isnt killing here in Iluman :)

Our focus has been a lot on the members this week.  We visited a ton and many of them are less active.  Almost all of the two cities that make up our sector are filled with members, just less active ones.  To try to counter this we held a Tarde Misional at the chapel Sunday evening.  We teach the missionary lessons, but make them more dynamic and easy to learn.  Yesterday, we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and had dynamic activies for the 5 principles: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end.  So far we have only had active members come, but with time they will spread the word, and we hope to have all the city coming to church and to the tarde misional.

Well, the countdown has started for General Conference!  I cannot explain how excited I am.  The missionaries in my zone all feel that President Monson is going to say something huge.  I love being a missionary and helping others come unto Christ.  This Church really is true!

I love ya, and have a good week!

Elder Lomeli

Got me a cow named Elder Valverde and Elder Gomez 

Normal lunch of abbas, potatoes, and toasted corn

Sunrise behind the volcano Imbabura

Monday, March 23, 2015

I Must Be Dreaming

Hello Family and Friends!

This week went by fast just as usual, and Im sure you all feel the same way.  This week has been kind of unfruitful for us.  To start things off, it has been raining and been cold all week long, and even right now its raining perros y gatos.  When it rains here, it makes all the people grumpy, even the members.  And when even the members are too grumpy to invite us in, it just makes things even harder.  But we still keep working with the hope to find people that will listen to us!

I may have said something wrong about Tupak last week.  He was scheduled just to have his baptismal interview this week and baptism the next.  But we ran into a hiccup there as well.  We went to see Tupak on Friday to prepare him for what the interview is going to be like and all that good stuff.  Towards the end, we explained that Satan knows that he is going to be baptized soon, and will stop at nothing to try to prevent it.  We finish explaining and in walks his father.  We ask if Tupak can have his interview the following day.  

His dad responds saying that he says he withdraws his permission for Tupak to be baptized period until he is 20 years old.  That just totally blew us away and we didnt really know what to do.  His father continued to make up all these irrational and made up reasons as to why Tupak isnt ready.  We waited for him to finish talking, and when he left, Tupak was balling his eyes out.  We told him that this was a great example of how Satan will use any means necessary to stop the baptism.  We then had a fast with Tupak to plead with the Lord to change the heart of his father.  We will still have him down to be baptized this coming Saturday.  Please pray that Tupak will be able to be baptized this Saturday.  He is way more than ready to make this covenant with the Lord.

On a happier note, we have been listening to General Conference this last week to help us get pumped for the sessions in April.  You have no idea how excited I am to be able to hear the words of Living Prophets.  Its not like me in the past. I kind of just endured General Conference before, and now Im counting down the seconds.  I challenge all of you to find a question that you would like answered, and you will find that it will be answered.  It happened with me in the session in October, and I know that it can happen again.  I just hope I can listen in English ;)

Well, thats all for this week folks. The Church is true and just dont forget it, ok? :)  It will help you a lot. Have a great week!

Elder Lomeli

We got to weed wack for a service project! Thanks Riverside

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel

Me and Elder Luque and the Cascadas de Peguche

Monday, March 16, 2015

6 Months Already?

Hola familia y amigos!

This week has only lasted for 2 days.  Didnt know if you knew that, so Ill let you know now.  Other than going really fast, this week has been pretty normal.  Walking the winding hills of Iluman, learning Kichwa, and trying to save souls.

On Wednesday however, we had a special zone conference with President Richardson.  He talked A LOT about diligence and obedience.  He reemphasized a lot about how when the Lord punishes us, its becuase He loves us.  So, out of love, he really urged us to be more diligent and obedient.  One thing that he said that really stood out to me was: Obedience=Happiness.  Really simple, short, and to the point.  When we work harder, we show more love for the Lord and His work that He called us to do.  He also said that the time we have to serve the Lord is excremely short.  We calculated it out, and found that if we put two years of our time, it comes out to 41 SECONDS of God's time.  Hows that for a mind blower!  I got like 30 seconds left! Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!!

Other big news is that Tupak will have his baptismal interview this Saturday!!! We couldnt be more excited.  He was baptized a Catholic on Sunday, then turned right around and told us that he is ready for the REAL baptism.  He has such a strong testimony and is more than ready to make this covenant with the Lord.  So we have some big plans these next few weeks with him!

I was also able to go on divisions with the ZL Elder Herrera this week.  He is from Honduras and loves to work hard. We had a really good day with him, and were able to find more people to teach in my sector.  We even helped a woman push her wheelbarrow almost a half mile UPHILL.  It was exhausting, but she accepted another visit after that!  Service goes a long way, and I have seen many fruits of that here on my mission.  We even made some delicious food to end the day with Elder Herrera :)

Two quick quotes from Elder Holland that I heard this week that I really liked:
"If its not uncomfortable, its not missionary work"
"We all have the duty to share this Gospel with the whole world, and SOMETIMES us words." (Be examples)

Well it looks like 6 months are down, but it feels like 6 weeks.  The work is moving along great here in Ecuador among the Lamanite people.  I am learning and growing more and more each day.  I even have proof!  I GET TO SHAVE 3 TIMES A WEEK NOW!  Yeah, I feel pretty proud about that.  The Church is true, so go share it with the world.

Me and Elder Herrera

Who wants to eat some Cui? (guinea pig)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Not My Will, but Thine Be Done

 Hola Familia y Amigos!

This week has been a pretty typical week, with lots of good things added in.  The work is moving forward greatly here in Iluman, and we are excited to start to see some miracles for March!

Ill start out with Tupak.  He is progressing really well this past week.  He came to church and continues to read his Book of Mormon everyday without fail.  We are just waiting for his baptism in the Catholic church which should take place this coming Sunday.  We are going to  invite hiim to be baptized on the 21st of March! Please pray that he can be baptized on this date!

 We have also done lots of contacting this week, just talking to almost everyone we see.  We also give service to people that say they dont want it.  On Satruday, we helped shuck and degrain corn for some random people that said they were find without our help.  After the service, we were able to share a small message about the Restoration.  They gave each of us 6 cobs of corn to eat afterwards as their token of gratitude.  They declined to have us return, but it was the first time they had accepted Mormon Missionaries.  Seed planted.

Things have gone well in the ward as well.  We got a new Relieft Society Presidency, and we are excited to have them help us forward the work.  The four of us missionaries in the ward have also started having a ward wide FHE every Sunday night at 6:00 at the chapel.  We had a decent turnout of 30 people, all of which said they would invite more people to come the next week.  We need more strength in the ward, so these FHE nights will help out a lot we hope.

Now to explain the title of the email.    This week, I read a  small talk about forgetting myself.  The speaker added the words of Parley P. Pratt, who was an amazing missionary who served almost all his life.   Ill share a little of what he said after recieveing another mission call from President Brigham Young.
 " I have desired, after traveling for 25 or 26 years, mostly abroad, to stay at home and minister among the people of God, and take care of my family; but God´s will be done, and not mine.  If it is the will of God that I should spend my days proclaiming this Gospel and bearing testimony of these things, I shall think myself highly privelidged and honored. And when the Spirit of God is upon me, I think it matters but very little what I suffer, what I sacrificed-  whether I secure the honor or dishonor of men, or where I die, if it so be that I can keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish my course with joy.  I have all eternity before me, in which to enjoy myself."

This little message had greatly changed my perspective  in  many aspects. Do the Lords will, there is no other way.  This church is  true and I feel so blessed to be spreading it.  We are enlisted in this work!  Lets go save some souls!  And talk to some strangers :)

Que tengan una buena semana!

Con amor,
Elder Lomeli

 Me with the Statue of Rumiñahui a famous prehistoric native

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sé Que Vive Mi Señor

Muy buenas tardes amigos y familiares!

Are you serious? Am I writing yet again?  Well, thats just how time passes I guess.  This week has been a great one!  I am getting along better and better with my new companion Elder Luque and we had a very successful week.  We were able to contact a ton, at least for this specific sector, and find 2 new families to teach!  We have a companionship goal to contact people on the street primarily, and that is how we found these two new families!  We have yet to teach them, but they accepted appointments for later this week!  Time for faith and crossed fingers!

We were also able to find a different family of 11, 9 of which are less active members, and the two youngest are eligible to be baptized.  We were only able to talk for a few minutes but they said that they moved from a different ward up the street, and stopped going to church becuase the members didnt fellowship them.  We have seen that to be a big problem for lots of less actives in our ward.  The members arent truly converted to the Gospel.  So, as a zone, our focus is to strengthen the members here and get the work rolling!  We are pumped!

So our zone got meshed this last transfer, so we are 22 missionaries in the Zona Imbabura.  We also make the biggest zone along with the Zona Ibarra that also has 22 missionaires.  Two of the Elderes from the jungle, Elder Ashby and Elder Poma, are in our zone now so its cool to see how things are going in Lago Agrio.  We feel like a really big family, and we all already get along really great!

This week has been a lot of eating potato soup and choclo (corn on the cob).  We are fed this almost ever day and I think Im getting a little fatter now haha.  We have the occasional rice with meat that we ate in Lago Agrio, so thats nice when that happens.  At the casa, we eat a lot of chicken nuggets and some yellow rice that Elder Zambrano taught me how to make.  We eat for sustenance mostly haha :)  We have another goal to start eating healthier as a companionship though.  We will be buff in spirit and in body!

Some news on Tupak!  So last week, he was supposed to have his baptism in the Catholic church, but he lacked some classes or something like that. So, his dad said that he could baptize with us towards the end of March or beginning of April.  Now, all Tupak needs to do is to is finish a little booklet, baptize a Catholic, and then he is golden with us!  It all sounds strange I know.  Why are we letting him be baptized into an apostate church first? Good question.  His dad says that is the only way he will give Tupak permission.  Tupak understands that the baptism isnt valid and all that stuff.  We prayed as a companionship and we had the feeling that we need to let Tupak follow through with it first, then come into the true fold of the Shepherd.

This week, I have listend to the hymn, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, or in spanish, Sé Que Vive Mi Señor.  I think this hymn is starting to become on of my favorites.  I feel this Spirit every single time I hear it, and I think about all that the Savior has done for me.  He has done the same for every single one of us.  We should be eternally grateful for His humble sacrifice.  I can now say for a surety, that I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES, and this is His church here on the earth.  

Have a great week! I get to go talk to some strangers!  Lessss gooooo!

Elder Lomeli

The Elders of Barrio Iluman : Lomeli, Herrera, Bishop Gonzales, Valverde, Luque

American burger at an American restaurant