Monday, February 28, 2011

Last week of February=Normal Week

Hola mi querida familia!!!!

How's everybody doing this week? All of you always have lots of stuff to write about in your letters that you send to me each week...but this week there isn't much to write about from the Southern Hemisphere. But, I'll write about the few things that happened this week :)

Yesterday I was sick....sick enough that I couldn't go to Church :P I'm pretty sure it was something that I ate on Saturday, but I'm still not sure what it might have been cause my companion didn't get sick. I wasn't dying or anything..just the normal sickness in Latin America..... you know, diarrhea lol. And I threw up 3 times in about an hour and a half :P It just kept me in the house all day yesterday...a good chance to catch up on some much-needed sleep, I guess. But no worries now, I'm all back to normal...just in time for P-day! haha

On Friday we had a Zone Conference in Guayaquil. Only the 2 zones from Durán went...Durán Norte and Durán Sur..so there weren't a lot of missionaries there. Pres. Gamboa had written us all last Monday saying that it was Zone Conference week and that the Conferences would be full of practices...and he said that the 'new' missionaries would have a lot of chances to learn from the 'old' missionaries. So, Elder Garcia and I were both prepared to be called on alot..since we're both 'old' missionaries lol. But, it turned out that Pres. Gamboa changed his mind and we almost didn't do any practices and he talked most of the time. That was fine with me cause I love listening to him talk. And Hermana Gamboa gave an awesome talk about the Atonement. Almost any talk about the Atonement is a good talk, but I really liked this one. She used a talk from 1985 and I think it's called 'The Purifying Power of Gethsemane' (or something like that) and I don't know who gave it. But it was a really powerful talk. I am eternally grateful for the Atonement. And they also talked about the need for us to be refined, and not ordinary, in everything we do as representatives of Jesus Christ. The way we talk, the way we dress, the way we comb our hair, even the way we brush our teeth ;) haha. It was a really good time to reflect and think about things I want to improve.

And I guess something that's kinda exciting is that this week is MY BIRTHDAY!!! Feliz Cumpleaños a mí :) lol I can't believe I'll be 21!!!! Time flies... (I think I've said that before haha). We'll be celebrating my birthday this Sunday in Stake Conference. I got lucky cause they changed Fast Sunday to the NEXT week cause of Stake Conference ;) lol

Today we're gonna go to this part of our zone that is the richest part in ALL of Ecuador. It's the zone leaders' sector..and there are some rediculously huge houses there...it reminds me of the States haha. I think that part is called 'Samborondón,' but sometimes they call it 'La Puntilla' too (but sometimes they call Salinas 'La Puntilla' too). But we're going there to go BOWLING!!!! I'm super excited..even though I'm not so great at bowling, it will be lots of fun :) The 4 from our house are going.

Well, that's the news for this week!!!! Not much, but hey, that's what I got :) haha I love each and every one of you SOOOOOOOO much!!! I'm thankful for everything that you do for me. Thanks for supporting me in every way possible. Thanks for all of the letters and pics! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Beck



Monday, February 21, 2011

PICS


Elder Beck with 2 of the things he's gonna miss most from Ecuador. Plantains--ripe, and not-ripe.

Elder Beck sweating and dying from mosqutio bites...by the bamboo houses waiting for some investigators to go to Church with us.

19 Months

Hola mi querida familia!!!

How's all the fam this week? It sounds like everybody has had a great time in California all weekend. How would it be possible to NOT have a good time in California? haha Congratulations to Jamison on his baptism! That's so great! This week we invited 4 people to get baptized in the middle of March...and all 4 accepted! I was very happy and I was thinking about the baptism that was happening up in Pismo :) Also, all 4 of them came to Church yesterday. 5 other investigators came to Church too, so it was a pretty good Sunday. Lot's of people in the Gospel Principles class. I just wish that a few more of the 200+ members in this ward would get smart and at least say hi and introduce themselves to the people that are in the Church for the first time. We talked about that a little bit yesterday with the Bishop..we'll see how things change :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOSH ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you Josh and I hope you have an awesome birthday!

THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE THAT I GOT THIS WEEK! Deodorant, HLJ rings, Pencils, sour candy, oats & dark chocolate nature valley bars, English hymn book, wedding announcements (EVERYBODY is getting married!!!! lol), Valentine's Day card (the jokes on the back were hilarious), Valentine's day stickers, Church News, letters. I love getting packages!!!!!!!! :D

Yesterday was a really good sacrament meeting..for the most part. There was one little part that was slightly uncomfortable, but funny. The guy who gave the last talk was talking about Jesus Christ and his life and it was just a really good talk. It really got me thinking about Him and all that He did for me and every person that has ever existed or will exist. I was thinking about the Sacrament and what the bread and water really mean, and how thankful I am for all that He did. I felt really good....until he asked a question.....and then asked the members to raise their hand if they knew the answer. Everybody knew the answer cause it was really obvious, but they all paused wondering if they should Really raise their hand. And the speaker just kept on waiting for everyone to raise their hand.... So one by one they raised their hand quickly and then put it back down. And then he said that it looked like everybody knew the answer......so he asked them to all shout out the answer. I thought/hoped that that was just a joke....and I was hoping that all of the members would think it was just a joke too. But there were a quite a few that took it seriously and they started to shout out the answer. I was trying my hardest not to laugh at that moment..especially when I saw the look on the Bishop's face lol. I think he was about to stand up and ask the speaker to sit down..but then the speaker took control again and somehow finished his talk, making everyone feel the Spirit again. It was like a mini spiritual roller coaster lol.

This week we were teaching a family (a referral from the Mamita Acuria) and the wife/mom of that family (Mirian) has been having some problems with one of her kids that lives about an hour away with his grandparents. He has chosen a lot of friends that have had a very bad influence on him. They are the type of kids that do drugs and drink and all that stuff. She's pretty sure that her son doesn't actually participate in the drugs, drinking, etc. but she doesn't want him to be with those kids anymore. In that moment, my companion and I were really grateful for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We had planned to teach the Plan of Salvation and we had already introduced the lesson. And when she told us that, we both pulled out our Book of Mormon and opened up to Mosiah 27 where it talks about the time when the angel appeared to Alma the Younger. The angel explained that he had come as a response to the prayers of Alma, father, and all of the people, and commanded Alma the Younger to stop persecuting the Church. It was so great as Mirian and her husband (Augusto) could feel how that related with the situation they were in at that moment. That day we invited them to get baptized on March 12, too, but they wouldn't say anything. When we went 2 days later they said 'We're not sure if it's gonna be March 12, but now we are sure that we are going to get baptized.' I LOVE the Book of Mormon and as we were sharing those Scriptures with them I could feel that it really has ALL of the answers. The Book of Mormon is true..it is the word of God.

I finished reading the Book of Mormon last week for the second time in Spanish. After I finished, I did what Moroni invited us all to do and prayed and asked God to help me feel again that the Book is true. And, as always, the Lord responded to my prayer and my testimony was strengthened. I love the Book of Mormon. I love this Church. I know it is the only true one. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. He really did see our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for every one of my sins. He knows what I need and always is there to help me. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God at this time. He guides us with revelations from God. I'm so thankful for my testimony and that I can share it every day.

Well, that's the news for this week, fam! I love every one of you soooo much! Never be afraid to share your testimony. Pray and read the scriptures every day to keep that testimony burning bright. Be examples to the people around you. SMILE :D Thanks for all that each of you do for me. You are awesome! I LOVE YOU TOOOONNNNNSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Beck

Monday, February 14, 2011

more pics!




Homemade Banana Bread!

Elder Beck and Elder Garcia on los rieles in sector-los rieles :)

Today after the derm. appointment we did a quick trip by the temple!

I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Beck

Nuevo cambio, sin cambios


Hola mi Querida Familia!!!

How's everybody doing?! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO ALL OF YOU!!!!! It's a holiday here in Ecuador, too. But it has a different name for most people. Every so often I hear somebody say Happy Valentine's day...but all the rest of the people say Happy Love and Friendship Day haha. Our clothes mamita was asking us what present we had brought her for the holiday, and all 4 of us immediately pointed at our big bags of dirty clothes. Like we had planned it or something..it was pretty funny.

Today is day 1 of my 13th transfer in the mission...and I just want to say something about that...TIME FLIES! lol Last night we were all waiting anxiously to see if the phone was going to ring for changes...but it was silent all night! So, the 4 Elders in my house are staying put. That's a good thing...we all get along well :)

This week, we were outside of our sector for 4 days. On Tuesday, my companion had a derm. appointment in the early afternoon in Guayaquil. The doctor got there pretty late and after that we had to wait in the mission office while another Elder had an appt with the same doctor. While we were waiting in the mission office the only other person that was there was Pres. Gamboa, so we talked with him for a long time. That was kinda fun...he was joking around saying that my comp. and I are probably trunky cause we don't have much time left in the mission and we go home together. And then we politely reminded Pres. that we are going home the same time as him..and he thought about that for a couple seconds and then we all laughed lol. That night, Sis. Gamboa wanted to buy the medicine for my comp. so we stayed in the office and waited until about 9pm..and then she came back to the office to tell us that the pharmacy was closed haha. She told us to hurry and get back to our house...so we got back as quick as we could and that was at 10:30 pm...just in time to go to sleep haha. The good part about that trip was that we ate McDonalds...and McDonalds has a Snickers McFlurry now! haha

So, we had to go to Guayaquil again on Wednesday, just to pick up the medicine and go back to our sector. And that wasted pretty much our whole day.

On Thursday we were in the Stake Center cause my comp. was doing some baptism interviews for some elders in other sectors. And the same thing on Friday..and the interview-ees (the people getting interviewed lol) got there really late. And that took up almost all of those 2 days. So, we weren't so busy Preaching the Gospel this week like other weeks...but we were really busy with all of those other fun missionary responsibilities :) And somehow we still managed to have a few investigators in church on Sunday haha.

Sister Gamboa told us that there are a lot of Elders in this mission that are suffering with acne...and she has decided to make a drastic change in Ecuador. She says that the food here is too greasy..and the greasiest part is the soup. So....she has told us that we are no longer aloud to eat soup!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOO Thank you Sister Gamboa! The prayers of all of the missionaries in this mission have now been answered lol. I think that the people that give us lunch are gonna freak out a little bit about that new rule...but I'm willing to deal with it if it means that I don't have to eat soup bahaha.

On Saturday morning we had a ward missionary 'bonding' activity at the Bishop's house. We all went over there and made banana bread. Basically Elder Garcia and I made it all and the ward missionaries just washed dishes....and ate haha. It was DELICIOUS:

Well, that's all the news for this week! I hope you all have a fantastic week! ENJOY California this weekend!!! Send some pics of the baptism. Congrats on your baptism Jamison! I LOVE every one of you SOOOOO much!!!!!! Thanks for everything you do for me :)

I LOVE YOU!

Love, Elder Beck

PICS!

Zone: Durán Norte

The 4 Elders where I live. Elder Garcia, Elder Beck, Elder Laub, Elder Elías

McDonalds! 1/4 pound, double stack with cheese ;)