Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, April 25, 2011

25 April 2011 Semana Santa

Hello family! Hope everyone had a nice Easter! This past week in Ecuador was "Semana Santa" or Holy Week, so it was rather difficult finding people to contact and/or teach, especially Friday and Saturday, where basically everyone, except the members of our ward, left to go to the beach and have a mini-vacation of sorts. We only managed to get one of our investigators to Sacrament meeting on Sunday, but at least it wasn't zero! It's a funny story with our investigator, Francisco Chavez. He's basically the boyfriend of the Stake President's daughter. With that in mind, we feel pretty confident he will be baptized in a couple weeks, specifically the 14th of May. In our ward, we're really lucky because we have the Stake President, the Stake Patriarch, along with the Bishop to go to for help or whatever we need!

Our living conditions were a bit tough for me to get used to at first, but I'm adjusting quickly. Probably the toughest part is not having AC in the house, as is the case in every house here, so I'm getting used to that. We do have fans, however, so it's not terribly hot at nights! We live in an apartment with the Machala Zone Leaders, Elder Bigelow of Utah, and Elder Ochoa, of Guatemala. It's really nice to be with them and share experiences about our sectors. We eat breakfast and dinner in the house (sometimes dinner with members), and we eat lunch with "Mamitas" or the ward members. It is so nice to talk with the members on a daily basis. It's very important to have their support and friendship!

I will send some more pictures next week. I don't have my camera with me this week, but I'll snap some photos to give you more of a view from Puerto Bolivar!

Oh, and for Mother's Day... I will call the house some time during the day, but just so you have the number. You'll have to call the number back so we can talk. I know, sounds a little bit odd, but that's what we've been told to do. And we'll be able to talk for 40 minutes. Again, sounds a little too short, but I've been told it's just plenty of time.

No KFC today, but we went to Machala Central and ate at a hamburger place there. It was really quite tasty! I might have to go back in a few weeks!

Glad everything is still going going well and that everyone is doing alright!

Love you all tons! Write you next week!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
MisiĆ³n Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, April 18, 2011

Still In Machala, No Transfer For Me! 18 Apr 2011

Hello Family!

It's been a pretty crazy week with transfers and all! I'm happy to report that I'm still in Machala in the Puerto Bolivar ward. Elder Denison, however, was transfered to Guayaquil early Friday morning, 15 April. My new companion is Elder Ruiz, from Escuintla, Guatemala. He has over a year and a half in the mission! He came from a big sector in Guayaquil to one of the smallest in the entire mission, so it was a bit of a shock from him.

Baptism wise, still nothing... We were getting really close with a couple who lived in our sector, but then we found out they moved for pretty much good to Esmeraldas, which is in the north of Ecuador, in the Quito mission. As you can imagine, it was a little frustrating to find that out. But we can contact the missionaries up there and give them the reference. But we are still teaching some great people who have told us that they want the Gospel in their lives, so at least there is something to fall back on.

I'm glad to hear that everything is going well with everyone! Not too much is going on here, except that Elder Marcus B. Nash, of the Seventy, and President of the South America Northwest area will be here in Machala tomorrow, 19 April, giving a Charla Fogonera (Fireside) at the stake center. We get the chance to be there and talk with him tomorrow in the morning about 0900, and then his fireside is at 1930. It should be a good turn out! I actually met Elder Nash while in the Lima MTC, so it will be exciting to see him again!

For Mother's Day, we will get to call sometime during the day and get to talk for about 45 minutes is what I've heard. So that will be a very exciting time! I can't wait for it either!

Well, that's about all for this week! Hopefully there's more to report next week!

Oh yeah, still haven't had any "weird" foods yet. Today's lunch was KFC in Machala Central! A little spoiled? Maybe. :) It was really good!

Take care everyone!

Elder Garrett Cederquist

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Week in Machala!

Hi Dad! Thanks for the update! Sounds like a busy week! Kind of like mine are!

I've been pretty good this week, although I got a little sick last Friday, I think it was from a hot dog I ate for lunch :( It was prepared well and all, oh well, I feel perfectly fine now, so no worries! 

In terms of missionary life, it's interesting for sure! No interesting foods this week, but we ate chicken and fries twice yesterday, for lunch and dinner! It was really good! My daily schedule is really busy. We wake up at 0630 every morning, do some exercising for half and hour, then we shower (they're cold, but not freezing cold, so I'm always quick in showering) and prepare. From 0800 to 0900 we have personal study, from 0900 to 1000 we have companionship study. From 1000 to 1300 we go out and proselyte/teach and then eat lunch from 1300-1400. From that time until 2100 we proselyte and teach some more. We plan until 2130 (most nights it goes until 2200 though!) We're able to eat something while and after we plan! Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays are the only days that have a different schedule. P-Day Monday, district meeting on Tuesday, and Church on Sunday, we attend at the same time you do! From 1500-1800 for us!
We get $160 every month, which rolls over as well, so there's a little bit extra every month!

Everything is good here, it's starting to rain a little bit more every week, so the temperatures have cooled down a little!

Love you!
Elder G!

Hello Mom!

I'm not sure where my blessing would be, perhaps in my room... I think that's where I last left it. You can probably ask Patriarch Cornea for another copy.

The weather has cooled down just a little bit here, as it's starting to rain a couple times a week, a welcome blessing!

I'm glad you're staying busy with the business! I love hearing about the projects you're all doing! 

Last week was pretty busy, and this week is sure to be as well, because next week we have "Cambios" or Transfers. I probably won't find out until Sunday if I'm going anywhere, or if I'll stay in Puerto Bolivar here in Machala.
Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, I know you're always in mine as well! It keeps my motivation level up! That still, small voice is powerful at times!

This week should be fun, I get to speak in Sacrament meeting! Hopefully I don't butcher Spanish too bad!

Disfruta su semana! (Enjoy your week!)

Con mucho amor (With much love)
Elder G!

Monday, April 4, 2011

4 April 2011 Machala, Ecuador

Wow, what a busy week you had!
Yes, I was able to watch the 4 sessions of Conference, along with the Priesthood session Saturday night, all in Spanish! And I was able to understand a great majority of it! It was a great recharge of my batteries and gave me even more motivation to keep pushing on in the work! Are you surprised to hear about the Temple in Fort Collins, CO? I was so excited to hear that, along with the other temples in Idaho and Winnipeg, Canada! I noticed a lot of the messages were about being prepared, as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan showed, we should all be ready.

This last week was pretty tough, as we had to let a lot of investigators go and find new ones, because they weren´t progressing at all. We've managed to find new ones, however, and get lessons in with them. We're planning a baptism for THIS SATURDAY, the 9th! It finally seems the work is paying off! I'm really excited!

This morning (4 April) at 0430, we left to go to Guayaquil to pick up my Censo (or resdency card) here in Ecuador. It feels good knowing that I'm not "illegal" per say anymore! But it has been a very long day, as we woke up at 0200! At least the buses we take are confortable, so I was able to get a few hours of sleep to and from Guayaquil.

Sounds like all is chevere (Spanish for "awesome") back home, which I always love to hear! The time is going by so fast! I've been here a month already! Crazy!

Can't wait for next week!
Love you tons!
Elder Garrett

Hello Mom!
I can't believe it's Monday again! Last week was tough, but it got so much better when Conference rolled around! It was tough because our investigators weren't progressing at all, and so we had to go out and find new ones, a task I thought we would be working at for a LONG time. Luckily it took us only a day or two to get things back rolling!
We were able to watch all the sessions of Conference this weekend! It was incredible and in Spanish! I understood a lot of it! Oh, and I met Elder Tait on Saturday too and told him how you and his mom are emailing each other. Elder Tait is super cool, so it was really neat to meet him! I wish I would have seen the MTC special, but I bet it was just a KSL thing, as we got the Satellite transmission from Salt Lake City. Conference came on here at 11 am, 9 at home, so we actually saw it live, and not on an hour delay as it is on KSL. I thought that was interesting.
We're progressing towards our first baptism, which we're planning for this Saturday!!!! It should be a blast!
I'm glad the business is still doing good, along with everyone else! Staying busy as always!
I love you tons! And yet again, next Monday will be here in the blink of an eye!
Talk to you then!

Elder Garrett!

Right now, I'm good with everything. Clothes are holding up good, but I've somehow lost two short sleeved shirts. I don't know what happened to them, but that's it. Yeah, but for now, I have all I need.
Actually, if you could email me a copy of Patriarcal Blessing, that'd be great!

Love you,