Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, November 28, 2011

28 November 2011, Back To Guayaquil & A New Companion

Oh where do I begin this letter? Well, I'll start with this: My time in Naranjito has come to an end, and following what Kyley said in her email from two weeks ago, I've been transferred again! Today's entry comes from Guayaquil once again, from my new sector called "7 de Septiembre" (7th of September) in one of the most talked about stakes in Ecuador, the Cisne Stake. I've heard about Cisne all of my mission and the success that there is to be had with the people, and now I get my chance to be here! I'm pretty excited for that! My new companion, number 11 on the "Companion Counter" is Elder Curtis, from Draper, UT, who has 3 months here in Ecuador. Sadly I had to leave Elder Caal behind in Naranjito after only two weeks of training him. Hopefully he's able to find his away around quickly!

Well, this past week was a really crazy one! We were blessed to have the baptism and confirmation of Julio on Saturday, which turned out fantastic. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Bella, who in all honesty bugged out on us both on Saturday and Sunday. Not sure if I want to recap all that happened with that, but I'll do it anyway for you all. So Saturday she couldn't come due to a minor accident she had while at the gym. So after the baptism of Julio, we went to her house to figure out what happened. We then committed her to baptism on Sunday at 8am, right before church, where then she could have been confirmed in Sacrament meeting. Well, she arrived to the chapel, in which we're thinking "Awesome!", until she tells Elder Caal and I that she has to go back and get some things she forgot at her house, and would be right back. well, she left, and we did too to go pick up Julio, who doesn't live too far from the chapel. But when we returned, Bella wasn't there, and had gone straight to work, a flat out, 100% lie, which affected everything else of the day, most notably our investigators attending Sacrament meeting, in which we had zero, all due to us getting run around by a possible baptism. Wow, I've not felt so let down before on the mission. But I remembered that people have their agency, and we as missionaries can't force them to be baptized, we just help them arrive spiritually to that point. But it was more sweet to see the baptism of Julio, because he was ready, in that I don't doubt. I just feel bad that I can't be there to reteach the lessons to him to help him grow more in the Gospel. But I'll make sure to write him a small note here in the coming weeks to keep him excited about everything.

Elder Curtis told me that we'll be having quite a few baptisms in the coming weeks, so look forward to a lot of photos! Oh yeah, can I just say how physically tired I am with all these transfers I've had lately?!?! It's the most tired I've felt as of yet on the mission. That's a testament to the amount of work my companions and I have been doing, finding God's elect. The blessings are coming more and more abundantly, something I'm extremely grateful for.

To answer the question about Thanksgiving here: We made up for it this year. Allow me to explain: So Turkey Day was Thursday, but all the Senior Companions from parts of Milagro and Guayaquil (me included) had a training with President Montalti last Friday. After the training, we went to Terminal Terrestre (the huge bus terminal in G'quil) where there is a pretty nice food court. It just so happens that all the senior comps were Americans, so where did we go? Pizza Hut. And we ate. And ate. And ate. A supreme pizza and cinnamon sticks have never tasted so good! And we have even more training with President tomorrow and Wednesday, so we'll see what food comes from that! :)

Well family, I'm glad to hear all is well and that you enjoyed the holiday!

Love you all, and I'll write you next Monday!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, November 21, 2011

21 November 2011 Another New Companion

Hello once again family! Sounds like you all had a great last week, as did I! I think Kyley mentioned in an email last week that it seems like I get a new companion about every week, well, that is the case yet again! This time around I am TRAINING!!! My NEW companion is fresh out the MTC in Bogota, Colombia, and his name is Elder Caal, and is from Cobán, Guatemala. After P-Day and all last Monday, we received the call from the zone leaders saying there were transfers. The conversation went something like this: "Ok, Elder Bohorquez will be switching rooms in the house (yes, that's really the case) and Elder McRae to the bus terminal in Guayaquil at 7:30 Tuesday morning, and Elder Cederquist will be training." "¿¡¿¡WHAT?!?!" was my reply to hearing that news! So Tuesday, I went with Elder McRae, who is also pretty new to the mission, to Guayaquil to drop him off and to wait for our new companions in a stake center near the center of Guayaquil. They arrived about 2 pm or so, and we had a "new missionary training" with President Montalti after their arrival. Elder Caal is pretty excited to be here, and I'm pretty excited to be training him! Recently, the Church released a a 12 week training program for the new missionaries, something I didn't have when I first arrived to Ecuador. "The First 12 Weeks" is an excellent training course, I even feel like I'm learning more and more thanks to it!

Alright, to the news of last week... Unfortunately the baptism of Bella fell through due to a work conflict, so she will be baptized this weekend along with Julio, who has been taking it all in in terms of the lessons, and is really excited to be baptized. We're just finishing some things up in terms of teaching and all will be ready for this Saturday! I'm really excited to be seeing the fruits of our labor. We've been really blessed lately in teaching them and finding other people to teach as well. The time is really passing by quickly, mainly because we're keeping busy and working diligently. This week is shaping up to be a really successful one, in which I'm really happy for! I won't lie, I felt just a little lost in the sector last week, as I was only with Elder Bohorquez one week, and he knew the sector really well. So I had to ask him a lot of questions last week about who lives where, where do we go to lunch on what days, yeah, at least I'm somewhat familiar with the area now!

I will post more photos next week, as we'll for sure have the baptisms! Don't worry!

And LA won the MLS Cup.... Didn't help Houston that LA was playing at home. And what happened to Chelsea? Tough season so far!

So the random experience from the day: We were shopping in Tia, when all of a sudden I hear "Teardrops on My Guitar" by Taylor Swift. I couldn't help myself, I was singing along. It was a little odd hearing a song in English, but somewhat refreshing as the music here in Ecuador gets a little boring after hearing it a million times a week!

Well, that's about it for this week family! Another busy seven days is upon us!

Love you all, take care!

(the photo is of the baptism of Viviana, from Saturday the 12th)
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, November 14, 2011

14 Nov 2011

Well hello family from what has been a cloudy Naranjito, Ecuador this past week. Cloudy may have been the weather, but the work of the Lord was sunny this past week! It's been a week of adjusting and getting everything in order, and even a BAPTISM!!! Elder Bohorquez and his last companion had been working with a lady named Viviana, whose dad is a member, for a couple of weeks, and she had accepted a baptismal date for this past Saturday, so it was yet another freebie baptism for me, but that's ok, because it's yet another soul coming unto Christ, the most important part of it all. I do have photos, but I left my camera in the house, so next week you'll get photos of the baptism on Saturday AND the baptism we are going to have this Saturday of a lady named Bella (yes, that means Beautiful in English, just in case you were curious).

This week we found some people who are pretty interested in hearing the Gospel. One is named Julio, who we found last Tuesday. Julio is a pretty cool guy. He commented to us that he feels a little bit lost in life, and wants to straighten things out, and the Gospel is the perfect tool for doing that. When we taught him, he really was attentive, and he mentioned he felt good about what we had discussed. We invited him to pray, and he gave a genuine, heartfelt prayer, one of the best I've heard in quite some time. The Spirit was present, it was an incredible feeling. While he was a little hesitant to accept a baptismal date, we helped explain that when someone feels the feelings as he did, it's the Spirit talking, confirming the truthfulness of the message, and that one should act on those feelings to receive even more of those feelings from the Spirit. Acting, in this case, is baptism, for a remission of sins and to have a constant companion in the Holy Ghost after being confirmed. The goal is for his baptism to be on the 26th of this month, so we'll keep working with him, helping him prepare for baptism.

While I thought Naranjito would be pretty hot in terms of weather, it really wasn't. Yes, it was muggy, but not as hot as it was when I was in Guayaquil, so that's a bonus. There's only four missionaries here in Naranjito, and we live together, as we all work in the same Branch. For our district meetings, we have to travel 20-25 minutes in bus to Milagro, which isn't the most exciting thing, as many people travel from Naranjito to Milagro on a daily basis, so the buses are usually full. But overall things are good here, the members are a good help for us, and even in a short time being here, I've gotten to establish a good friendship with some of them. Today is also the beginning of a new transfer, but no changes came for us here in Naranjito, so all is normal.

And changes in the Stake, huh? To me it doesn't make much sense in moving chapels as like half our ward lives a minute away! I'm not too surprised that those changes are happening, the stake was growing really fast! Any word on what other wards will be in the new building with ours?

Well family, that's about all from this week in the mission field. As promised, I'll get you some pictures next week from the baptisms and some sights, and more experiences from Naranjito.

Love you all, have an excellent week!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, November 7, 2011

Transferred Again, I'm in Naranjito now.

Hello family once again from Ecuador! Today's entry comes to you from the city of Naranjito, just outside of a city called Milagro. Yep, I was transferred once again, after only five weeks (one week shy of a full transfer) in Cuenca. I'm once again in the province of Guayas, but about an hour or so away from Guayaquil. It's becoming very often that I say this, but my NEW companion (number nine) is Elder Bohorquez (Bore-kez), who has about three months in the mission, and is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I was informed late last night that I was getting transferred, which to be honest I was a little bit bummed. Bummed for two reasons: One: We had two baptisms lined up for this Saturday, Two: I was really liking the weather in Cuenca, nice and cool. I got to bed at 11:50 last night, didn't sleep too well, and was up at 5:30 getting the last of my things ready to go. It's not too fun as a missionary losing sleep. The weather here in Naranjito is just like Guayaquil, hot and humid. Today it has been really muggy, so the humidity, something I have to get used to again, is very high. I've been on a bus for a grand total of 5 hours today, so I'm just a little bit tired!

The last week in Cuenca was pretty good, even though it was darn near impossible to find anyone to teach as the "Fiestas de Cuenca" were last week, and everyone was out celebrating. I was hoping for a good last week of the transfer to get in those two baptisms, but that willl be up to Elder Cruz and his new companion to do. Elder Bohorquez has told me a little bit about the sector and what to expect, and I can only expect good! Should be a fun time getting to know more people and helping them receive this great Gospel.

Again, this letter is kind of short, apologies for that, but next week will have more details!

I love you all, glad to hear all is still well!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur