Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, May 30, 2011

30 May 2011 Machala

Hello family! How is everyone? Wet it sounds like with all the rain and snow you've had lately! We had a little bit of rain this morning here in Machala, but it was more during the night than anything.

We had another good week, but our baptism fell through once again, so we've had to tell our investigator, Omar, that he HAS to attend church this Sunday in order to be baptized. He has told us many times over that he wants to be baptized, he knows the importance of baptism, and it is his desire, so we can only hope he'll attend with us this upcoming Sunday. We've also found some more investigators who are interested in the message, so we'll see how they progress over the coming week.

Transfers were to be last night, but they've been postponed until, well, we don't know, perhaps tonight or sometime during this week because last night the Assistants were calling everyone to gather their goals for June, in which President Montalti says will be the best month of our mission, and the best month for the entire mission. So I'm still in Puerto Bolivar for the time being, which is alright, because the members here are great and I know my way around! 

Last Wednesday we had a great meeting with Elder Walter F. Gonzales, of the Presidency of the Seventy, in Guayaquil, with the Guayaquil North mission. A lot of it was centered on the Atonement of Christ, which is key for us in teaching our investigators. It was good to learn and have, in essence, a refresher course on that in order to be able to teach it with more clarity. And really, it was just nice to take a little bit of a break and listen to some good counsel and advice.

Our trip to and from Guayaquil was interesting, also... On our way to Guayaquil, our bus, just a normal city bus owned by the city of Machala, blew a tire almost in the middle of nowhere. Luckily we made it to a place that could repair our tire, and within a half hour we were on our way once again. The meeting was to start at 5 pm, but didn't until 5:30, which we thought, "Well, ok, no problem." We left Guayaquil at around 8 pm, and didn't make it back to Machala until 12:15 am because the bus was kind of slow and the driver stopped a few times, who knows for what, perhaps a bathroom break! Waking up at 6:30 was no fun that day, I can tell you that! 

Apart from that, things are going good here, I'm sorry I don't have any pictures this week, it was a little busy with traveling and all! But I hope to get some pictures and send them to you next week!
Bummer about RSL's streak! Well, all good things come to an end as they say. 
And I'm glad to hear all went well with Keaton's surgery!

I love you all and hope you're enjoying things back home, even if the weather is still gloomy! Things are going fine here! Tell everyone I say hi!

Talk to you next week!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, May 23, 2011

23 May 2011 Machala, Ecuador

Hello dear family! Another week has come and gone quickly yet again! And maybe, just maybe the pictures will send...
This week was pretty good. We were able to teach our progressing investigators, Omar and Wilmer, this week, and we managed to find other people here who we think can progress quickly. Sadly, Omar can't be baptized this Saturday because he couldn't come to church on Sunday, which means he needs to attend with us this Sunday so that he can be baptized on 4 June. Wilmer, on the other hand, can be baptized, it's just a matter of him accepting a baptismal date, something he's not 100% on right now, but he's getting there. We feel confident that in the next few days he will accept a date, and we will be helping him to the best of our abilities.
As I mentioned, we have found some more people who seem interested. One of these people we found, Moises, lives about a block from our church here in Puerto Bolivar. When we contacted Moises, somewhere in his 80's we think, he began to rattle off basically his life story to us, and it went all crazy from there. He was telling us how "when I was in my youth in 1930 something I could speak to the animals." He then began to "speak" this language, and all we could do was nod our heads and try to see if we could teach him something brief in his house. Well, after HALF AN HOUR, we managed to get in to his house and start teaching, but he continued his everywhere and anywhere stories. So we only taught a brief portion of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he said he wants to be baptized, so we'll see where that one goes. I also got the *great* chance to talk to a drunk guy Sunday afternoon (22 May). He wanted to know how he could change his life, so we explained to him how that's possible, but in the state he was in, there was no way he was going to remember. Hopefully we can find him again and help him get out of a tough part of his life.
On Sunday we had Stake Conference here in Machala, it was a really good turnout with some great spiritual messages as well. The Stake Center in Machala is also one of the few buildings that has air conditioning in it, so whenever there is a meeting there, I always seem to smile for some odd reason or another... :)
On Wednesday we will be traveling to Guayaquil to have a conference with Elder Walter F. Gonzales, of the Presidency of the Seventy. This meeting was originally supposed to be with Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but due to scheduling conflicts, he won't be able to make it. So this week is shaping up to be a busy one, with traveling, teaching, and TRANSFERS next Monday! I'll let you know then if I'm anywhere new! I have a slight feeling I could be moving, but who knows?
Well, not much else is going on around here, nice and calm as it should be!
I love you all and I'm looking forward to writing you all again next week!
Take care! (And yes I'm jealous you're all going camping!) Have fun!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, May 16, 2011

16 May 2011 Update from Machala

Hello again family!

I am happy to hear that another week has gone by quickly! Another week has passed by quickly here as well! And yes, I am using a computer where I can send photos! Finally!

Let's see, this week was pretty good in terms of the work. We managed to find some new investigators and have been teaching them some commandments and some of the lessons in detail. For some reason or another, the people we are finding now are more interested than the people in the past, something I'm grateful for! We have two investigators, Omar and Wilmer, who are progressing quickly towards baptism, always a happy time for a missionary! We're aiming for 28 May as their baptismal date. The 30th is when we have transfers, so we're hoping to get the baptisms in before that time! You could say the final week of this transfer is crunch time!

My new companion, Elder Choc, is a really good missionary! I think I mentioned this last week, but he has only 3 months left on the mission, so he's really working hard to finish strong. Before the mission, he didn't speak very much Spanish, because he's from a part in Guatemala where it's a native dialect. But he picked up Spanish really quickly and speaks very well. He spent 18 months of his mission in Guayaquil! That is a long time in one city! But there are a lot of sectors in Guayaquil, so he moved around from time to time. He says he is enjoying Machala because it is cooler in terms of temperature than in Guayaquil. Speaking of Guatemala, Andy Smith emailed me saying he received his mission call and will be serving in the Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission. He leaves 21 September for the Provo MTC! He said he is really excited! I am also excited for him, and for Danny and Ben, who will be leaving in the next few weeks as well!

I have attached quite a few pictures, I hope they all get to you! They are of the Temple in Guayaquil, some height disparity (you'll understand why I say that when you see the picture) even a FIRE close to our house! When the Zone Leaders yelled "INCENDIO!" my journalist skills jumped into action, I went right for my camera. and got some photos. Also included are some photos of where we are living and some of my mad cooking skills. We had lunch with our district today and made hamburgers, which were excellent, mostly because I cooked them! Hehehe!

Something exciting coming up here rather quickly is the visit of Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles! He will be speaking exclusively to the missionaries of the Guayaquil North and Guayaquil South missions on the 25th of this month in Guayaquil. So that will be a very exciting time to hear an Apostle of the Lord give us some words of advice!

Enjoy your week! And again, I hope the pictures get to you! Thanks for the pictures of the banner for Javier Morales and of the robins by the house! Your camera is very good, Dad!

I love you all! Take care! More pictures next week as well!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

(NOTE: No pictures were attached to Garrett's e-mail)

Monday, May 9, 2011

9 May 2011 - Machala & A New Companion

Hello family!

It was so great to talk to you all yesterday and hear how everything is going! I was incredibly happy all day yesterday knowing that I'd be able to call! I am very delighted to hear everything is going well and that everyone is happy!
Another Monday is here again, and I have some interesting news to share with you!

You know how we talked about how our transfers are 6 weeks long? Well, after we finished our hour of proselyting, Elder Ruiz and I walked in the house to find the Zone Leaders talking to the Assistants over the phone saying that there were transfers! Elder Ruiz, whom I had only three weeks with, was transfered to Guayaquil this morning! I must say I was a little shocked to hear about the transfers, seeing as I had only just talked to you about how long they were! But this happens sometimes in the mission, so it's not like the world is spinning out of control if there's a mid-transfer transfer.

My new companion is Elder Choc, who is also from Guatemala! He has only 3 months left in the mission! He seems happy and is happy to be here! I'm glad he is here too!

It seems a little crazy to be on my third companion and only midway through my second transfer! Hopefully I'll be able to stay with Elder Choc for a little bit longer time than just three weeks, but who knows, it's likely in three weeks, when this transfer ends, I could have a new companion and be in a new location! About the only thing I can say about that would be "CRAZY!" We'll see what happens!

Other than that, not much is going on. We're still working with some people in getting them to baptism, something they have trouble accepting, but we're getting close!

I received your email about Keaton, I will keep him in my prayers that all will turn out good for him, that he may be able to return to the field as soon as possible.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I get the computer where the USB drive doesn't work and there aren't any other computers available. AGH! I'll be honest, I'm just a little angry about that! I promise I will send photos when I get a computer that works!

Anyway, I love you all, and you are all in my prayers! Smile! :)

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 May 2011 from Machala

Hello family! Sorry if this seems short, but we're going to the Temple in Guayaquil today so we're limited on time!

Everything is still good here in Machala, especially the weather. It's starting to cool down and I've heard it gets into the mid 60's some days! That is a welcome sign! Our investigators are doing good as well. We have some great people who know with all their hearts that this is the true Church!

I was meaning to send pictures today, but with the limited time, I'll send them next week, I promise! 
I am very surprised to hear the news about Bin Laden. I guess you could say that was very unexpected! The world is much safer now, well, at least we can hope so!

Sorry for not responding to all the questions you've asked! But to answer one, the fruits here are very fresh and delicious! Especially bananas! Oranges too! 

I'll get some great photos of the Temple today and tomorrow and I'll be sure to send them to you!

Thanks for your weekly letters, I always feel good after reading them!!!

Oh yeah, I love the picture of you all at the RSL game! It definitely made me smile!

I love you all! Tell everyone hi! More next week (I promise!)
On Sunday 8 May I will call hopefully around 630 or 7 pm here (430 or 5 there in Utah). I forgot to add that in the first email! Sorry! Talk to you on Sunday!

Love you all!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur