Monday, June 27, 2011
BTW...we did service this week! But I'll tell you more about that tomorrow (in person) and I'll show you the pics if you want to see them lol. Some people might not want to see.... It was a chicken service project ;) But here's a preview pic....
Elder Rodriguez and I on our second and last night as companions lol.
I love you all!!!
Love, Elder Beck
This is the last time that I will be writing to all of the family as a missionary in Ecuador!!!! The next time we communicate with each other we will be face to face!!!!!! I can hardly wait for tomorrow...in Sky Harbor in Phoenix....with all of you that I love so much!!!!!!
I received a call last night saying that I need to be in the mission offices tonight at 8 pm... I'm not sure what I'll do from then until midnight. But I don't care too much cause I know that I will be on a plane back to the USA very soon!!!!! lol I packed up all of my stuff last night, and gave away some more stuff, and threw away some more stuff. Now both of my suitcases are about half empty haha. My companions were very happy to receive my dress shirts, that are still whiter than their shirts ;) They also liked my ties...I had A LOT of ties! haha I'm only going to bring 1 tie home..the one that I'm wearing. I got rid of all of my dress pants. I got rid of A LOT of stuff lol.
Thankfully at this point in my mission I don't have a lot of 'stuff' because last Wednesday I had transfers AGAIN! haha Elder Rodriguez is training now, so they had to get rid of me in that house ;) I am really going to miss that house cause it has HOT WATER!!!! I thought all of my showers in the last week of my mission would be in hot water, but I ended up only getting 2. And now I have been in Pascuales Stake, Pascuales Ward. The same stake I was in when I was with Elder Barrientos. I have been with 2 companions, Elder Giron from Colombia and Elder Machuca from Peru. This house is the cleanest and nicest house I have seen in all of the mission...cause they recently moved to this house like 2 months ago haha. I have met and taught a lot of people this week..and I imagine that I will never see them again lol. But I'm kinda glad I finished my last week in an unknown sector....it makes it easier to leave Ecuador cause I don't know anybody in this part. The hard part was leaving Portoviejo and that's over already ;)
Now, I just get to wait until midnight tonight to get on a plane and head back home!!!!!! I am on my way home ;) I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited for tomorrow morning...and you all know why ;) I am trying to hold in the excitement and control all of the butterflies in my stomach. But it's not very easy.... Sometimes I just imagine tomorrow and I get a HUGE smile on my face!!!! I love all of you SOOOOOOOOO much! Like you don't even imagine. You are the best family. We have been SO blessed in these 2 years, right? I'm sure there are some things you haven't written me about....just like there are some things I haven't written YOU about ;) But I'm also sure that the blessings have been greater than any other things in these 2 years.
I'LL SEE YOU ALL TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM COMING HOME!!!!!!! I LOVE ALL OF YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS WE WILL SEE EACH OTHER!!!!!!! I'M PRETTY SURE I CAN WAIT THAT LONG ;) I LOVE YOUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder (for now) Beck
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Hola mi querida familia!!!!!
I just can't hold in all of my excitement!!!!!!! Especially after reading all of your letters.....talk about trunky! lol But I've still got 1 more week to work hard...and get to know a new companion AND new sector!
First, we had 4 baptisms this week!!!!! Lorena Medina got baptized on Friday and her 2 daughters Milena and Ximena (the X is pronounced like an H). And Rossanna Rivera was baptized on Saturday too. They were both such great baptismal services. And all of 4 of them were SO prepared when we found them. Lorena was a contact that my comp. did when I was in Montecristi. They just started talking with her a gave here a Book of Mormon. And then when I was back, we talked with her and her daughters and they said they wanted to get baptized. They went to Elian's baptism that week, and to Church the next day. And they went to Church the past 2 weeks too. It was almost too easy with them...they were definitely GOLDEN investigators! And now they are golden converts ;) Lorena is a widow..they killed her husband last year. And Rossanna showed up at Church 3 Sundays ago with a member-family that had recently moved to our ward and we thought she was a member too. But the next week (Last Sunday), she told us she wanted to be baptized....and she was baptized the same week! A very golden investigator/now-recent-convert too. She is a single mom, 20 years old....with a 6 year old..crazy right? She's younger than me and has a 6 year old. But she immediately wanted to change and she did it! It is incredible how the Lord prepares people so quickly. To be baptized, we just need the desire and we need to obey the commandments. Lots of knowledge isn't that important. I love the mission!!!
And now the big news... Yes, that's right, I was transfered yesterday! Who could have predicted that?? Definitely not me...but it looks like Pinza's going to train, so I guess it's OK ;) So, on Sunday night I received the 'dreaded' phone call and started packing. And throwing away lots of stuff. And putting lots of stuff in a bag for Mamita Fanny to give away. And then Mamita Fanny came with her family to say bye to me and cried lol. And we talked for like an hour and a half...till almost 11pm. I'm going to miss Portoviejo SO much! She wants to go to AZ to visit me and meet all of you.....we'll see if that happens one day! She said this year she's going to Canada...maybe next year to AZ ;) I want you to meet her too.
So, on Sunday night I didn't sleep AT ALL and on Monday morning we were in a bus on our way to Guayaquil at 330am. We got to the bus terminal at 730am and they sent me and Elder Muhlestein to the Mission house. They told us to change in to our suits and we waited there for a little while and all of the Latins that finished this change were there. And all of the Latins went 3 by 3 to the Mission offices and had their "I'm-going-home" interviews with President Gamboa. Then a small bus (no, not the "short bus" lol) showed up at the house and we all went to President Gamboa's house. We chatted for a while with him and Sister Gamboa and then we ate..... A LOT!!! Remember when I talked about ceviche on the phone? That was the appetizer with some BIG shrimp..YUM! And then the main plate was a giant piece of really tasty fish, with some cheesy potatoes, vegetables, and homemade bread! And maracuyá juice (I'm going to miss that juice so much...they say it doesn't exist in the US cause the Americans do something with the seeds and turn them into drugs lol!). And dessert was a big brownie with chocolate ice cream. I felt like I was eating at home!!!! The only people that were missing were all of you ;) But soon we'll be eating like that ALL together ;)
After we finished eating, I felt like I wasn't going to be able to stand up...and apparently everybody else felt the same way, cause we all just stayed there and kept talking lol. And then I had my "I'm-going-home" interview with Pres. Gamboa in his home office and it went well. He said that if a missionary goes home and doesn't feel tired and worn out, it's cause he wasn't a good missionary and he didn't give it all he had. I think I have been a pretty good missionary then, cause I'm EXHAUSTED! lol And then we went to the airport in the small (not "short" lol) bus and dropped off all of the missionaries that were actually going home. There were 19 of them! And then Elder Muhlestein and I went back to the mission office and met our companions (for ONE WEEK) and went to our sectors. It looks like Elder Muhlestein and I go to Atlanta on the same flight.
My new companion, for now, is Elder Rodriguez (another one ;) ) from Nicaragua (from a neighboring stake of Elder Contreras). He's already been out 21 months, and we just found out that he's going to train too. I don't know when his 'son' will get here, and I don't know where they'll leave me if he gets here this week lol. I'm basically just floating around here until next Monday. The other missionaries say that I'm more dead than alive hahaha. But now you all know why I didn't write yesterday ;) I hope nobody got TOO worried..I know a little worried is inevitable lol.
I hope each and every one of you knows how much I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you all have a great week this week! Next week, I'll say that to you in person! I am SOOOOOO excited and can hardly wait to see all of you in Arizona, in person, and not just in pics...even though I really have loved the pics ;) I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now is when you can seriously get trunky ;) lol
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, June 13, 2011
Hola mi querida familia!!!!
How is everybody doing this week? I hope everyone is great...and not TOO trunky. We'll still get to write at least 1 more time..and then you can get as trunky as you want ;) WOW..I can't believe we'll probably only get to write 1 more time....it's just weird (but SUPER exciting) to think about that! I can't keep thinking about that so much haha. 2 nights ago Sister Gamboa called and told me all of the stuff I need to know because it's almost time to go home. Just stuff like, don't leave things in the house. If you're not going to take something home, throw it away or give it away. Give away your mattress cover to somebody who needs it and throw away your pillow. ETC. I think that phone-call has the nickname 'Trunky phone call' ....I wonder why??? lol
Just one more trunky thing that I thought of this week... I need an appointment with Dr. Lavender when I get home ;) lol He is still working right? And we still go to him? I hope so, cause this week I have really been wishing for a nice 'atlas adjustment' ;) Thanks!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dad, I love you and thanks for being SUCH a great father! I couldn't ask for a better one ;) And Happy Father's Day to the other fathers in the family, even though you're not my father ;)
Yesterday in Church there were some more changes in leadership callings and something exciting happened. Vilma Corrales was called as 2nd counselor in the Ward Relief Society Presidency! She's an awesome convert and she is so ready and excited to work. She seems like she's been a member of the Church for many years ;)
Lately, I have been praying a lot for a miracle to happen before I go home. And last week something happened that I think could be an answer to those prayers. One day, we decided to walk down a street that we almost never walk down cause it's kinda out of the way. As we walked down the street 2 guys started shouting at us saying "Hey you! Come over here! We have to talk to you!" My comp. and I were a little hesitant to go talk to them cause they honestly looked like they wanted to rob us lol. But they started telling us that their brother is member of the Church in another part of Ecuador, that he served a mission in Bolivia, that his life is really good, and that they've always liked the Church and looked up to the missionaries. They said they had been observing my companion and me for a few weeks and they had wanted to call us over, but other neighbors said that they shouldn't talk to us. But finally, they just decided to do it. We taught them and they said they believed that all that we taught was true. We invited them to be baptized on June 25 and they accepted immediately and asked US when and where they had to go to Church. Yesterday we went to pick them up for Church and they were already waiting outside their house, all ready for Church with ties and everything! They participated a lot in the classes and afterwards they said they really liked it and that they wished it lasted longer. So, I'm thinking that this could very possibly be a miracle! Especially if they get baptized on June 25....there are very few people that get baptized on their first date, but I know they'll do it. Once again, I know that the Lord answers our prayers and that miracles still exist. I love the mission!
We've also got a few baptisms planned for this week ;) That's all the news for this week, family!!!! I love all of you SOOOOOO much! Soon, we'll be able to talk in person, and not have to send emails ;) But until then, I'll keep loving P-days and emails! I LOVE you family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, June 6, 2011
Hola mi querida familia!!!!
How is all of the fam doing this week? I hope that everyone is great. I am feeling great and still loving my last couple weeks of the mission. But, I can't believe that it is already JUNE! That makes the 'end' seem WAY closer. I have a lot of mixed feelings at this point in my mission. For example... It's hard to leave, but at the same time I can't wait to be home lol. That's how I feel right now ;)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GAVIN ON WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you so much, Gavin!! Enjoy your birthday :) I'll see you soon!
This might be kind of irreverent, but I laughed so hard when it happened that I just have to share it......lol. In this ward, we have to sing the hymns with a CD player hooked up to the sound system because there isn't a piano or a keyboard. Sometimes the member that is in charge of changing the CDs turns the volume WAY up and you can't even hear yourself sing. That's kinda how it was yesterday. Yesterday, we were singing the opening hymn in Sacrament Meeting and the first 2 verses were a little loud, but it was just fine. And suddenly, in the middle of the 3rd verse, the CD player started skipping and it sounded EXACTLY like it sounds in that one part of Mean Girls (I know everybody knows which part I'm talking about). All of the members laughed a little bit and stopped singing cause they got kinda lost, but I seriously could not control myself for a moment lol. The rest of the members started following the music director, but I could NOT stop laughing. NOBODY here has seen Mean Girls (at least from what I've been able to find out from companions...I've never asked other members lol) so I didn't have anybody to laugh about it with. It was a moment where I just needed to be with my family.
Now, on to more serious, spiritual, important things that really matter ;) On Friday we had Zone Conference in Manta with President and Sister Gamboa. It was a great Zone Conference. The last one for Pres. and Sis. Gamboa......and me, too, I guess! lol We still keep reviewing and learning about those 8 lessons that I mentioned back in August. I thought it might get old to keep reviewing the same thing, but every time I learn something new. It's great. And it looks like they'll keep reviewing those 8 Principles of Preach My Gospel for a long time. At the end, it got kinda trunky when Sister Gamboa started talking about how they were called and how quickly the time has passed. And they showed a pic of the new Pres. Amaya and his wife (also Colombians) and told all of the missionaries to be very obedient. And they mentioned a number of times that it was their last Zone Conference. Also, after the Conf. I took a picture with them (just in case I don't get to take one with them the day I go home) and then ALL of the missionaries wanted to take a pic with them. It was a really good Zone Conference...and just a little bit trunky ;) lol
Well, that's all the news for this week. It was a pretty normal missionary week ;) Thanks to all of you for ALL that you do. Thanks for being the best family! I LOVE ALL OF YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, May 30, 2011
Me and the Tituaña Family. She's from here and he's from Quito...he served his mission here...and came back for her. Not the best way to meet your wife, but hey, they're a good family lol.
Elian, and his mom trying to be tall ;) lol And Andreé, the priest who baptized Elian.
Me and the Menendez family. The one on the left is Fanny, our Mamita.
I love you tons!!
Enjoy the pics!
Love, Elder Beck
Hola mi querida familia!!!!
How is everybody doing this week? I'm guessing every body is doing well...cause it seems like everybody is always doing well ;) I'm great, too!! This week was a really good week. I just don't get tired of the mission...I love it more and more as time goes by. And when I love it the most, it will all have to finish...but the commandment is only 2 years, and that's ok with me ;) haha
One reason I love the mission is because we get to help so many people...members and non members. This week, we went to our first appointment after lunch, and they weren't there. So, we went to our backup plan, who wasn't there either :P So, we thought for a second about where to go and decided to go visit a member family. We both still don't know why we decided to go there, because they are active and strong in the church and they didn't seem to have any problems. But we just felt like we needed to go there. When we got there, just the dad was there with their baby. He told us that when he said his prayer for lunch, he asked for help because he felt overwhelmed and things weren't going so well with his wife. And he said that within 10 mins my comp and I arrived. He told us all of this after we had shared a scripture about trusting in God and being able to overcome trials and temptations. And he said it was exactly what he needed. So, I guess that's how the Spirit helps us, right? That's why it is so important to follow the Spirit in all that we do...especially as missionaries. I love the mission.
Another reason love the mission is cause this week we went to the big city of Guayaquil for a huge conference with ALL of the missionaries from Guayaquil North and South. There were about 400 missionaries there. And Elder Walter F. Gonzalez from the Presidency of the 70 was there and Elder Hooker (an area 70). It was an AWESOME (and super-SHORT) conference. Elder Gonzalez talked the whole time about the importance of teaching Christ's doctrine, especially as taught in 3 Nephi 11... He pointed out that the first thing that Christ did when He got here was ordain people and teach them how to baptize. He really stressed how important baptism is..I think in chapter 27 is when it says, more or less, "If we are baptized we will saved. If we aren't baptized we will be condemned." It's very simple, we all need to be baptized as Jesus taught and showed by his example. It was a really good conference....but only 1 1/2 hours :P I wanted more haha.
I also love the mission because THIS WEEK WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!!!! A 10-year-old boy named Elián Jared Mendoza Muentes was baptized on Saturday night. His mom is a member and his brother is on a mission in Mexico...his dad is not a member and doesn't live with them anymore. His mom always said that he couldn't get baptized cause he was too young and he wouldn't understand what he was doing (she was inactive until about 4 months ago when her other son was about to leave on his mission...now she's super active). Elian always said that he wanted to get baptized. Finally, one day we went to visit them and said "Elian is going to get baptized on May 28th" and she just looked at us and said "OK!" So, on Saturday night at the baptism, she bore her testimony and thanked us for being very direct and helping her realized her son needed to be baptized. She said that when we said that about Elian's baptism date she just felt that it had to be that day and she couldn't say no. The Spirit was really strong in the baptism service. A priest from the ward baptized Elian..it was his first baptism ;) Elder Pinza did the same musical number from the last baptism, so there isn't a new video this week.
I love the mission because yesterday there were 53 INVESTIGATORS in Church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, 53!!!! It was SOOO awesome. Yesterday was the Ward Conference and the Bishop said that all of the members needed to bring at least 1 investigator or less active member. Elder Pinza, our Ward mission leader, and I did a small meeting last week just for the ward leaders to get them excited to do missionary work and invite. And it all paid off. The members worked hard just for one week, and there were 53 investigators! And the total attendance was 230....on a good week about 130 usually come to church. It was SOOO great!!!!! Now we just need to help the members realize that it was because they were actually working...and help keep them working ;) But we need a new ward mission leader, too, cause our ex-WML is now 1st counselor in the Bishopric ;) haha
Well, I guess that's all of the news for this week!!! I just LOVE the mission...in case you couldn't tell haha. There's so little time left and so much work to do!!! Especially with all of those people that came to Church yesterday. And I'm ready to keep working...even more now that I've written to the best family ever! I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, May 23, 2011
Me in front of a Mausoleum with some ashes of Eloy Alfaro. He was a Pres. of Ecuador that did some good thing, like religious freedom in Ecuador. This place is really close to the school where we were translating, next to the National Assembly where all of the important government people meet for meetings.... or something lol.
The 4 of us in the Mausoleum
Me and the Ecuador flag :)
Me, inside the Mausoleum, in front of a giant statue of Eloy Alfaro. There's a box next to my right arm, and supposedly Alfaro's ashes are in there...but I didn't see them haha.
I love you Fam!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Hey! How is everybody doing up in the Northern Hemisphere? Down here in Ecuador it is finally cooling off at night...cool and windy enough up in our 4th floor apartment to use my blue swim/dive blanket ;) I'm thankful for that! Except the part that the water in the shower in the morning is even COLDER than before (I didn't think that could be possible, but it is :P). But I'll be able to take steaming hot showers soon! ;) haha Yesterday was my 22-month-CLICK! in the mission! I seriously can't believe how fast time is flying. It seems like just yesterday was my 21-month-CLICK! Everybody time would go faster after 1 year..but I didn't think it would go THIS fast. I hope time is flying quickly for all of you back home, too :)
Well, the big news for this last week is all of the translating I was doing (hence the Subject line lol). But I'm pretty sure I didn't lose anyone in the translation proccess ;) I was in the town of Montecristi on Tuesday and Thursday with the other 3 gringos from Portoviejo. Elders Hansen (Texas), Hancock (Utah), and Juliana (Oregon). It was like a big gringo field trip! lol The Navy had a big clinic set up at a school called Eloy Alfaro with dentists, eye doctors, pediatricians, women's doctors, and general medicine. They weren't operating anybody at the school, only on the ship in Manta, but they sent some people that needed operations from Montecristi to the ship. There were also a lot of LDS volunteers from foundations called LDS Charities and Continuing Promise. Also, some of the soldiers/doctors were members.
On Tuesday I mostly helped with crowd control and getting peoples' papers fillled out with all of their info and why they wanted to see a doctor. It was pretty fun, but not as fun as Thursday. On Thursday, I was with Dr. John Podraza (from Brooklyn) in Pediatrics all day. We saw about 50 patients that day with all sorts of complaints. I learned a lot about URIs (Upper Respiratory Infections) and that most kids get those 6-12 times a year and they can be sick for up to 2-4 weeks. So there are some really unlucky kids that get URIs 12 times a year that last 4 weeks each....in other words they are basically ALWAYS sick. Poor kids! lol But pretty much the only thing you can do is try to prevent it by practicing good hygiene. Once you get a URI pretty much you just have to wait to get better. And that's how we build up our immune system so we don't get sick so much as adults. We also saw some other pretty random cases that I'll have to tell you about when I'm home....I'm guessing some of the kids won't want to hear about them. Or more likely, the parents won't want the kids to hear lol. But yeah, I was translating everything the parents said to me about their kids into English, and everything Dr. Podraza said into Spanish. It was awesome. I've always wondered if I'd like translating or if I'd even be good at it...and now I know that I like it and I was pretty good at it :) All of the docs and navy people said that they wouldn't have been able to do it without the Elders. Elder Hooker was there too..I think he's a 70 or area 70, I'm not sure. But I've got a pic with him haha.
Elder Hooker is going to be there for the conference this week in Guayaquil, too. The one where I mentioned that Elder Scott was coming. But Elder Hooker told us that Elder Scott had a last-minute assignment and that Elder Walter F. Gonzalez would be there. He's not Elder Scott, but I know it will still be a great meeting!!!!
Well, I think that's all the news for this week. We are still working hard, investigators keep coming to Church, some of them just need help to have the desire to get baptized :) I know we can help them there. There's very little time left in the mission and I'm going to work hard until I'm home! And I'll keep working when I'm home too ;) haha That's basically what we have to do in life to be successful and happy...work, work, work, and work some more, especially in the Gospel! I love each and every one of you so much. I can never say that enough, so I just keep saying it :) You are the best family a missionary or anybody could have! I'm thankful for all of you. I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, May 16, 2011
I can't believe Monday is here again! It seems like just yesterday I was writing to everyone and reading everybody's letters and seeing all of the fun pics you all send me. But I'm definitely not complaining! It would be nice if every day were Monday... But, since not EVERY day is Monday, we did get some work done this week! ;) haha
But first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LYLA ON FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!! I love you SOOO much Lyla, and I hope you have a great birthday! I can't wait to hold and squeeze you soon. I hope I get some pics of her eating her first birthday cake ;)
This week, we have been working really hard. As I mentioned last week on the phone, yesterday we had Stake Conference. The Stake Presidency had asked for every active member to bring at least one person, less active or investigator, to fill up the stake conference. So, my comp. and I were working hard all week to get all of our investigators to Stake Conference. They didn't ALL go, but we DID have 16 INVESTIGATORS in Church yesterday!!! It was so great :) One of the Pres. Gamboa's counselors spoke, and a member of the Temple Presidency, and Elder Richard Zambrano from the 70 (I think he's from Peru....?) All of the talks were so great, and focused on helping families, as usual ;)
We've also been working hard to fix baptism date goals with our investigators. This week we invited a few more people to be baptized and they accepted, so we are hoping to have plenty of baptisms in this transfer...and maybe leave a couple of baptisms for the Elder that will be replacing me ;) haha I love missionary work. Last week, in the District Meeting, we all introduced ourselves saying where we are from and how much time we've been out (I'm the 'oldest' in this zone BTW :P lol) and we finished with our testimony about missionary work. It was so great to hear every one's feelings and testimonies. It helped strengthen my testimony. I love missionary work because of the joy that you feel as you do it, and the joy in other peoples' lives as they accept the Gospel. It's so great!!!!
This week, Vilma Corrales (the one who got baptized a few weeks ago) received a special assignment from our Bishop because of the Stake Conference. She did visits every night last week with the Relief Society pres (our Mamita, Fanny). They worked super hard and almost all of the sisters that they visited went to the Conference. She was telling us how happy she was to be able to visit the sisters and see the results of all of her hard work. Next week is our Ward Conference, and it looks like she'll be doing the same thing. She is an AWESOME convert! ;)
Well, I think that's all the news for this week! I hope all of you have an amazing week this week. I love each and every one of you SOOOOO much! I couldn't ask for a better family! I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, May 9, 2011
A Family home evening with our Ward Mission Leader and William (who got baptized recently) and another investigator (Frank) who needs to get baptized ;)
Trying to get a good pic of the whole Portoviejo Zone. (Almost like trying to get a pic of all of the nieces and nephews looking at the camera and smiling lol).
How is all of the fam doing this week? I hope everyone is great...and it seems like you always are :) HAPPY MAY!!! I can't believe it is May already....where did April go??? After May, is June...and we all know what's happening in June ;) lol
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NICOLE ON THURSDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have an awesome birthday! I love you tons!!!
Today is Super P-day...that's why I'm writing a little later than usual. The last Monday of this change! I hope Pres. leaves me here to finish the mission....and with Elder Pinza would be fine, too :) Today we super-cleaned the house. I introduced this house to that acid I have mentioned before...and our bathroom looks way better ;) It didn't really LOOK dirty before, but now it looks way better. I still like cleaning every so often..... I miss vacuuming lol. Only the people that have a lot of money here have vacuums. I think it's cause basically nobody has carpet. But it's way better to vacuum tile, too, than to sweep it. Soon I'll be able to vacuum again :)
Yesterday we were invited to the Ward Council meeting, and I'm still not sure why, cause they didn't say one word about missionary work lol. It was kind of a sad meeting....there are some problems with YM and YW and even Primary kids and all of the leaders are trying to think of what they can do to resolve those problems. The leaders here have a lot of work to do, and I know they'll do it. They are good leaders. I've learned so much in the mission about what kind of member/leader I need to be when I'm not a missionary. I think that what I've learned most is that complaining doesn't help with anything. People need to look for solutions, not just complain about problems.
This week we had interviews with President Gamboa in Manta. I saw the ocean!!!!!!!! haha My interview went great...I'm going to miss President Gamboa. We talked a little about my release date, and I'll be explaining more about that in the PHONE CALL on Sunday, but it looks like I'll be arriving on June 28 in the morning to Arizona! :) The 'end' still seems kinda far away, but I know that it will be here before I know it. I want to work SUPER hard and take advantage of every day until the last day.
Well, that's the news for this week!!!!! I hope all of you have an AMAZING week this week! And to my AWESOME Mother....HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Happy Mother's Day to my sisters that are mothers too....Aby, Carlie, and Nicole ;) I can't wait to say that to you on the phone this Sunday at 2PM AZ time!!!! ;) I LOVE ALL OF YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!! Thanks for being such a great family...such a great support. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, May 2, 2011
How's everybody doing today? It was SOOOOOOO EXCELLENT to talk to all of you yesterday! And before we know it, we'll be talking to each other cara a cara (face to face!). So exciting. Phone calls don't really make me trunky...they actually make me more excited to keep working hard. But we can't deny that the end is near haha.
Like it says in the subject, today is CAMBIOS!!!!!! .................But not for me! And not for my companion either! We're staying put, just like we hoped. It looks like I'll be 'dying' here in the beautiful city of Portoviejo. I'm happy about that, cause I love it here. Last night, we went to the Mamita's house to give her the chocolates for Mother's Day and she was so happy that she cried haha. She's a great mamita...but not as great as my REAL Mamita!!!!! I love you Mom ;) Happy Mother's Day, yesterday.
On Friday and Saturday, there were some elections here in Ecuador about some new laws that the President has made up. So, for the missionaries, that meant lock-down in the house from Friday at 2pm until Saturday at 5pm. It wasn't long enough to get too bored...just long enough to catch up all of the greatly-needed sleep ;) All I did was sleep and eat haha. The laws were passed...it seems like most of the members aren't too happy about it...a lot of people don't like Ecuador's President. But obviously, there are more people who like him.
THANKS FOR THE EASTER PACKAGE I GOT LAST WEEK!!!!!!!!!! Church News, Sacred Priesthood duties pamphlet, letters from buds in the mission, Al's Sacrament mtg talk, artwork from the kiddos, McConkie Atonement talk, Stride gum, Reese's Chips Ahoy, Reester Bunnies, Al's Spanish Vday card, chocolate bars, cards from E and R, stuff to color eggs, Easter card with hilarious sound. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, I guess that's all the news for this week. The BEST part of this week, by far, was the PHONE CALL yesterday!!! I love all of you SOOOOOOO much, and it was great to talk to all of you. I hope you all have a great week this week. Thanks for being the BEST family ever! Elder Contreras (my son) just found out that he'll be TRAINING this transfer!!!!!!! So, I'll get to meet and live with my grandkid ;) LOL I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, April 25, 2011
How's everybody this week! I hope you all had a Happy Easter!!!! From all the letters and pics I received, it sounds like it was a REALLY Happy Easter. I had a Happy Easter too....it was a pretty normal day, but it was Happy ;)
On Wednesday we had exchanges and I went to Chone. They say that in Chone there are a lot of people that look like 'gringos' .....white-ish and colored eyes. And it's true...there are more people there that look like 'gringos' haha. But that city is not very pretty...there almost aren't paved roads...and it rains a lot there. Thankfully the day that I was there it didn't rain, cause the missionaries told me that almost the entire city fills up with water :P When I was just there, it was just full of mud ;) haha But it was a good exchange... While we were travelling to Chone, a girl came up to me and asked if I was from another country. (DUH! lol) And I told her yes, and she said that she had to make a video for an English class in the University of her speaking English with a native English speaker (that's me!). So I helped her out a little bit and we had a 5-minute conversation in English. Thankfully there was a script to follow, cause I couldn't understand a word of her 'English' lol. I hope she passes that class...... :/ haha
We did a service project on Friday! It's been a long time since I've done service. We helped our ward mission leader and his fam 'mop' their house. But there wasn't even a single MOP in sight. His house has rough, cement floors, which would be very difficult to mop. So they get it all wet with the hose and then pour laundry detergent and bleach and then scrub it like crazy with those really rough brooms. I couldn't believe how dirty the water was when we were scrubbing. And there is nowhere for the water to escape, so they have to empty it bucket by bucket. It was really hard...and I had blisters on my hands lol. But now I'm ok, and the house looks really clean ;)
This past week I passed my 21-month 'CLICK!' in the mission!!! I can't believe how fast the time has passed. It's crazy to think about...we'll be talking in person before we know it! Speaking of talking (that sounds kinda repetitive and redundant lol), MOTHER'S DAY is really close! Dad has the phone number and we're going to talk at 4pm Ecuador time, 2pm AZ time. I can't wait!
This week we had 3 BAPTISMS!!!!!!! William, Nubia, and Aideé were baptized on Saturday. William is a 14 year old, and Nubia and Aideé are 'older'.....aunt and niece. It was a B E A UTIFUL baptism. All of the members got back from the Temple and went straight to the baptism. The Spirit was so strong!! William bore his testimony and I think everyone that was there was crying. Including his Mom and Dad and sister who still didn't want to be baptized. He said he wished that all of his family could be baptized in the true Church and be an eternal family. It was awesome. So, we're gonna work harder with his family ;)
Yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting...it was the same one I gave in another sector...but the members here don't know that ;) lol It went well.
Well, that's the news for this week!!!! I hope you all have an awesome week this week! I love you all SOOOOOOOOOOO much! I'll never be able to say that enough. I LOVE YOUUUU!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, April 18, 2011
How's the family doing this week? I hope everyone is great! It seems like everyone is ALWAYS great :) We are blessed!
HAPPY EASTER THIS SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope everyone has a great Easter....remember why we really celebrate Easter :) And eat a lot of chocolate bunnies and eggs for me! And jelly bellys! And Peeps! And color an egg for me! Where did all of those traditions come from? Oh well, I like all of them! Any excuse to eat more chocolate is good for me ;) lol
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRENT ON WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!! I hope you have an awesome day! Love you so much!!!!!!!
So, on Friday night we had a Family Home Evening with all of the members in the ward. The missionaries and the Relief Society were in charge of it. It was based on an article from April's Ensign about Holy Week...the one where it talks about what happened each day in the last week of Christ's life. They talked about the things that happened each day and in between the days we sang hymns that are about Jesus Christ and the Atonement and everything. It was short and sweet and spiritual. And 8 investigators went, which made it even better! That was the real reason we did the activity...so that the investigators can become friends with the members.
On Saturday we had a BAPTISM!!!!!! Vilma Corrales was baptized and it was a very spiritual baptism. We did it at 230pm cause her other sisters had to travel to Utah that day and they had to leave at 5pm. All of the people who needed to be there were there, and she invited some non-member friends too. And all of her family was there, which was what she really wanted. My comp and I did a musical number (the video I sent). Talk about being nervous....I've never been so shaky in my life! lol My hands were shaking uncontrolably....but according to the members, it sounded good :)
After she was baptized, she bore her testimony and it was amazing. I think I always talk about how much I love to hear the person's testimony right after the baptism...it is always so great. She has such a strong testimony and she always says that she wants to be a 'good Mormon' and do everything that the Lord has commanded us to do. She arrived on time to Church yesterday and was confirmed and she looked SO happy. She was glowing ;) And last night she had her interview with the Bishop to go to the Temple on Saturday with all of the ward! I love playing a part in the Lord's work. This work is SO important and I've never felt so happy in my life. Vilma has been ready for a long time to be baptized...but she just still didn't want to do it. And now her time came and I'm so happy that I am here to be a part of it.
Well, that's all the news for this week! I hope you all have an amazing week this week! Enjoy the Easter Pageant! And eat lots of 'C' foods for me.... ;) And send pics! I love seeing all of the pics everyone sends each week. Thanks for all of your letters. Thanks for your support and prayers and love! I LOVE ALL OF YOU SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, April 11, 2011
How's everybody doing this week? I'm doing great...getting all settled in to my new sector :) So far, I love it! There aren't as many members as in my last ward, but the members here are really great. We eat plenty (many members have said that I will gain weight here...but I hope that's not true lol). Our clothes mamita doesn't charge us anything to wash and iron our clothes :) Elder Pinza and I get along great! It sounds like he has had a number of 'difficult' companions, but so far we haven't had any problems. He likes to work really hard, and I'm glad about that. I've heard of a lot of missionaries who, when they are close to finishing their missions, have a companion that isn't too excited to work, and they get lazy at the end and basically stop working. That's something that I don't want to happen, and it won't happen :)
Speaking of being close to finishing the mission....I'll be coming home in the end of June! Not the end of July/beginning of August. It's so that I can get everything ready to get back in school, change my major, etc. And, I'll be finishing with Pres. Gamboa which is even better! So, I think only Mom and Dad knew about that...but now everybody knows :) That's just a little over 2 months from now! I'm excited to be back with all of the fam! ;) But for now, I gotta keep working hard!
Speaking of hard work, this week we have worked really hard. In this ward, they haven't had any baptisms in more than 7 months...and that's pretty rare here in Ecuador. But my comp. and I want to change that, and that's why we are working so hard. This week, 6 people accepted baptism dates. One investigator, Vilma Corrales, had accepted a baptism date for April 23. And then yesterday, in Gospel Principles, they announced that on the 23 the ward is going to the Temple. She asked, "And if I get baptized on the 16 instead of the 23, can I go to the Temple with the Ward on the 23, too?" and the Bishop was there and said "Of course!" So Vilma said, "I want to get baptized on the 16 then!" And who would say no if somebody wants to get baptized sooner than the date she had accepted at first?? lol So, we are planning the baptism for this week. She has a sister that lives in Salt Lake, and she said that she wants her baptism to be really pretty like they do it in Salt Lake ;) The members are excited!
I'm glad that we live SO close to a temple...and soon SO close to 2 Temples! Yesterday in Ward Council, the members were planning everything for that trip on the 23.... how many buses they would have to rent, how much budget they could spend on food, etc. And I was just thinking how much easier it is to live 10 mins from the Temple... We really should take advantage more that we live so close. It is a huge blessing. I think it was Pres. Monson (??) that talked about the imortance of the temple in General Conference. He said that there is no goal more important than keeping yourself worthy to enter in the temple. The temple must be pretty important!
On Friday, we were teaching a lesson and a bee came out of nowhere and stung my left hand. It hurt really bad lol. But after about 15 mins it didn't hurt anymore. And I guess it was a good thing that it chose to sting ME, cause afterwards everybody else said that they are really allergic to bees lol.
Funniest thing I heard this week: We were in a lesson with a family and a friend of one of the daughters was there. She said that she likes to read the Bible and that she has studied the Bible for many years.....but it was kinda obvious that she was just saying that so that we wouldn't try and teach her haha. The daughter that we are teaching asked her to name one book from the Old Testament. And the girl said "Well, the first book is GEMINI!!" BAHAHAHAHA I'm pretty sure she meant to say Genesis.....LOL It was HILARIOUS.
THANKS to Grandma and Grandpa Beck for the Birthday package that they sent me!!!!! I got it a couple of weeks ago, but I had forgotten to say thanks! Love you!
Well that's the news for this week! I love all of you SO much!!!! Thanks for everything you do for me :) Thanks for the letters, pics, prayers, etc. I'm thankful for all of you and all you do. I couldn't do it without your support! You all are the best family ever! I LOVE YOU TONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck
Monday, April 4, 2011
Hola mi querida familia!
How's everybody doing this week? I hope every one is great, and I hope you all enjoyed General Conference!
I really enjoyed Conference. First, 2 whole days in an air conditioned chapel ;) lol And Second, all of the talks were AWESOME! I must say that my favorite session of all was the Priesthood session :) But ALL of the talks were incredible. It is just so obvious that this is the true Church. I am so glad that we have prophets and apostles on the earth today. They truly receive revelation from God. They just say the things that one needs to hear. I was able to learn so many things and think about lots of ways that I can improve. I liked the talk about doing and being too. It really made me think. As a missionary I can ask my self 'I'm doing what a missionary does. But am I BEING a missionary...a representative of Jesus Christ?' I think there are always ways that we can be better :)
So, last night when we got to the house there was no power, again. It was raining pretty hard with lots of lightning. It reminded me of the monsoons in Arizona ;) I was sweating like crazy because I couldn't turn my fan on, so I decided to lay down on the tile, cause it was a little bit cooler haha. As I was laying there, I was thinking about what I would write to the Best Family in the World the next day (today). I realized that basically the only exciting thing that had happened this week was General Conference, and I couldn't think of anything else to write about. But, this morning I received a call that gave me something else to write about!
The 4 of us in that house woke up and exercised and everything, and then we were kinda sitting around lazily.....just talking...and putting of cleaning the house. Suddenly, at about 730am, the phone rang... Elder Garcia answered and all he said was "Yes, yes, yes, OK, ok, 900am, yes, Bye." And then he hung up the phone and told me that BOTH of us were being transferred! So, I sat there for a few seconds waiting for him to say "Just Kidding" ....but he never said it..he just went and started to pack. And so did I. lol I think that was the fastest that I have ever packed. I left a few things in the house that I don't use much and a pair of pants that was too worn out to put in the suitcase ;) We got all ready and then went and waited, in the rain, with suitcases, for a taxi.
When we got to the Bus Terminal where we always go for transfers, I met my new companion Elder Pinza. He is from the southern part of Guayaquil. So, my record of all companions from different countries is over haha. And now we are in the city of Portoviejo, in the province of Manabi. We aren't very far from the beach! ;) This is one of the 3 zones in the mission where we can eat seafood, too. The zone is called Portoviejo, and the sector is called Reales Tamarindos. Elder Garcia was here before he came to Los Rieles lol. It was about a 4-hour bus ride from Guayaquil. And guess who else lives in this house?! Elder Contreras! It's the first time in about a year that I've seen my son ;) haha Elder Garcia got transferred too, and I think he is in another part of Guayaquil.
So, that's the big news for this week. I guess it's a good thing I got transferred or I wouldn't have had anything to write to you all about ;) lol Next week I'll send a pic with my new companion, cause we still don't have any pics together. It's very possible that this could be my last sector....but nothing is certain, just like EVERY thing in the mission ;) lol I'm gonna miss the members and investigators from Los Rieles a lot. That was SUCH a good sector! And we were going to baptize an entire family next week....lucky Elders that are there now. (I just hope they can find them! lol) I love each and every one of you SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! Thanks for being such an awesome family. You are the best! Smile always :D I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Elder Beck