Hello family from a muggy and rainy Machala, Ecuador! And can you believe it's already June?!?! It's been raining off and on all day today, but that's fine by me because it's hiding the sun, which is always hot here! I'm still here in Puerto Bolivar after the transfers, something I wasn't sure whether to be happy or sad about at first. But I am very happy that I'm still here because we will be having baptism on Saturday!!! The elderly man I told you about two weeks ago has attended church the needed two times in order to be baptized. Moises kindly accepted our visits and the lessons, although he does still manage to get off track and try and share his life story with us. But he said he wants to be baptized, so we're going forth with his baptism this Saturday at 10:30 am! I am very excited right now because I know he won't back out on us, as he's told us in the past, "I am a man, not a liar." That's always a good principle to live by I suppose.
This past week was pretty busy, and this week will be even busier with getting the baptism ready for Moises. The Puerto Bolivar Ward hasn't had a baptism since the middle of February, so the members are really excited to be seeing a baptism, as am I!!! And we're going for two more baptisms on the 18th of this month. They're not 100% sure as of yet, but I think they will be at the end of this week. The important thing is to help them gain a testimony. Most of the people that we have taught have gained a testimony and know it's true, they just haven't done what's really necessary, and that's attending church. It's frustrating sometimes, yes, but it's nothing to get down about, because as it says in our manual "Preach My Gospel" ("Predicad Mi Evangelio" en español) that we've sounded the voice and given them a clear choice, and when they don't follow through, well, we did all we could on our part. So we'll keep working, knowing there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that people, with time, will accept. Perhaps with other missionaries they will, not just now, and I have heard plenty of stories of that happening (especially one close to home!)
One part of the scriptures I have found VERY helpful this week is found in Doctrine & Covenants Section 31. I encourage you to read it and put my name in place of the man in which it is talking, Thomas B. Marsh. I did this, and it helped me remember my purpose, and that this really is a short time to be here! Definitely a spiritual booster!
Hamburgers with the Elders, eh? :) They must be new to the area, because when I left Elder Larrabee (California) and Elder San Ramon (Phillipines) were the Stake Missionaries. I think Elder Larrabee has finished or will finish his mission this month! I'm sure you told Elder Olsen and Elder M (as Ky said) about me. Haha! Will you be feeding them again any time soon or not? I imagine since they're stake missionaries that they have plenty of options to eat every day!
One picture I have attached today is in front of a park near our house. I'm standing in front of a GIANT mechanical crab! I call it "Crab Park", but the name is just simply "Theme Park." Crab Park sounds cooler, so I'll keep calling it that with Señor Cangrejo (Mister Crab) in the background!
I'm glad you all had a great week, and that the weather is improving, about time! Enjoy it!
Talk to you next week!
Love you all!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur