Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, July 25, 2011

25 July 2011

Hello family once again! Another week has quickly come and gone, and it sure went by really fast! I feel like I haven't seen much of this month as it has gone by super fast! I have now been in Guayaquil for a month now! 
This last week we had a another "free" baptism! The granddaughter of a very active family (the Reinel family), who was actually baptized at age 8 had to be baptized once again, because after her first baptism, the ward secretary in Esmeraldas (northern Ecuador) didn't put in the information in the Church member system (MLS), and it's likely those papers are long gone, so a rebaptism was needed. So Saturday I was able to baptize Nahomi, once again, and I even got to do the confirmation on Sunday in Sacrament meeting. It was really a great experience! This week we could have two baptisms, but there is some work to be done for them, but we're going to throw everything we can at them to save them. Also, we've been putting baptismal dates with people for August, so we're hoping to have a lot in August, especially for the 27th! :)) I'll have to come up with a creative way to put a baptismal date with someone for the 27th, hahaha!
This last weekend, and even today is a little bit slow, because the ENTIRE city of Guayaquil is celebrating the birthday of the city, which happens to be the 25th of July, today. A lot of places are closed for this feriado (holiday) so we were lucky in finding a Cyber to write.
Let's see, some interesting things that have been going on here in Ecuador: President Rafael Correa wants the El Universo newspaper to pay him $80 million for things the paper has criticized him on. The judge in the case says El Universo should only have to pay $40 million, but Correa is being very insistant in getting $80 million out of the paper. From what I've heard, the US State Department is keeping a close eye on this. Also, Uruguay won the Copa America this year, after beating Paraguay in the final. Earlier in the week, Uruguay pulled off a huge upset in beating Argentina in PK's.
Glad to hear RSL is still playing great! How are they doing in the standings? And yes, I'm jealous that you're going to Bear Lake! Take photos and send them to me! How is the weather back home?
Oh yeah, tell Jakob Johnson I say hi! I thought he wasn't due to come home until September! From what you told me it sounds like he had a great time!
I had a brief interview with President Montalti last Wednesday and he says to send his regards to you all!
I also received a letter from Alex Petersen, Ky probably remembers him. He is in the MTC until August 16 and then is off to the Phillipines. I don't know whether to write him at the MTC address or the mission address, but I think I'll just send it to his mission home, but who knows how much that will cost! Hopefully not much, but then again, it is traveling across the majority of the Pacific Ocean!!!
Well family, all remains well here in Guayaquil, another fast, but busy week is here, and I'm sure it'll be Monday again before any of us know it!
Love you all, have a great trip to Bear Lake!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, July 18, 2011

18 July 2011 Guayaquil

Hi family! Sorry today's letter is a little late, Elder Reynoso and I went to the Malecon 2000 here in the center of Guayaquil today to see some of the sights there. It was really cool and I managed to get some great pictures! There is a lighthouse in which you can walk up 444 stairs (and even more to get to the top of the lighthouse) to have a fantastic panoramic view of all of Guayaquil! It really was amazing, but really tiring! You can probably find it by searching "Faro de Guayaquil," or Guayaquil Lighthouse". There are some other places by the Malecon which are really cool, but we didn't have time to go to them, mainly because the walk from the beginning of the Malecon to the Faro is easily over a mile! Without a doubt the funnest P-Day as of yet here in the mission!

Glad to here all is going well, Ky I hope you've recovered after a hectic last week! It made me tired reading the description you gave me of all you did! And no, I don't know anyone by the name of Rene Paul Garzon Cruz, so you can deny the request. I'm glad your talks went well! I haven't given a talk since April when I was in Puerto Bolivar, Machala. How the time has flown by since then! All is going well here as well, although it's a little slow in teaching people, because after the last transfer our sector was what we call dead, nobody in the program, so this last week we went contacting like crazy, and now we have people to teach, so things are back to normal! We managed to have 5 investigators in Sacrament meeting yesterday, which is pretty good for our sector, but I think we can bring even more next week, so we'll be working really hard to make sure that that happens!

It was kind of slow-going the past week, so there's not a whole ton to write about, apart from the Lighthouse and Malecon, haha! But there are pictures to see this week of the Malecon, lighthouse, me putting a baptismal date with Ronald McDonald, our last baptism on 2 July and what you get for having a baptism (SNICKERS!!!) I'll be sure to send some more pictures next week too!

Oh, and Ecuador was eliminated from Copa America last week by losing 4-2 to Brazil. So everyone is bummed here. :)

Well, gotta hurry and get back to the house so we can get our stuff and go out for a little bit tonight!

Take care, have a great week! Tell everyone I say hi!

Love you all!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, July 11, 2011

11 July 2011 from Guayaquil

Hello family! Sounds like you have had and are having yet another busy week, as am I!

As has been the theme lately, MORE TRANSFERS!!! But this time it wasn't me, but Elder Blau, who just simply changed sectors in the zone. My new companion, and if you've kept track, my 6th in the mission field, is Elder Reynoso, from Guatemala City, Guatemala, who has 1 year and 1 month on the mission. I'm not sure whether I'm in Ecuador or Guatemala, as Elder Reynoso is my third Guatemalan companion in my time here. :) If you remember, I had Elder Donoso as a companion in Machala, so it was funny when I found out that Elder Reynoso would be my next companion here in Las Esclusas. So I might only have two weeks in this sector, so sometimes I feel lost, but I think I'll be able to get around easily enough, as our sector isn't too big and the chapel, along with the members, are usually close by. This past week went by very fast, I really can't believe I'm writing again, as it only feels like yesterday that I was writing you telling you about everything that's going on!

No baptisms this past week, but we are very optimistic about this week, as one of our investigators, Alexander, who said last week he didn't want to be baptized yet, told us yesterday that he feels it's the best thing to do, and wants to do it as soon as possible. That gave me a boost of happiness as Saturday and Sunday were kind of slow, again due to soccer, Ecuador played Venezuela in the Copa America and lost 1-0 and Sunday was the Guayaquil derby between Emelec and Barcelona, in which I think Barcelona won. Oh, and we did happen to see the amazing header goal by Abby Wambach and the penalty kicks between the US Women's team and Brazil. Crazy how quickly the game turned around in just a few minutes!

Well, not much else too exciting is going on, and all is going well here in Guayaquil. I think next week we're going to go to a really popular Iguana park in the center of G'quil, and there's a cool place called Malecon 2000 in which we can also go. There's more to do here than in Machala, so I'll have to take advantage of what's here while I'm here.

To answer the question Mom posed about shoes, mine are holding up fine. I think the only problem I'm having is keeping them clean! I brush them off everyday and polish them from time to time, but walking on dirt roads and all puts in vain the effort! But hey, if the shoes are clean for a little bit, I say it's worth it to make them look as nice as possible!

Would it be possible for you to send me some Church songs, like some Hymns and other inspirational songs, in which I can put on my other SD card that I have and listen to in the mornings? That would be awesome if you could!

Well, got to get going now, I love you all and hope your week goes well!

Talk to you next week!

Elder G!!!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, July 4, 2011

4 July 2011 Guayaquil, Las Esclusas

Hello family from Guayaquil on this 4th of July! It's pretty different as it's just another day here and not a huge holiday like it is back home. I'll admit it feels a little strange being outside of the country and wanting to celebrate. But at least it's only one day and not an entire week, as some of the things are here in Ecuador. And we've bought food and drinks to have somewhat of a celebration later on.

This week we had the two baptisms of Roberto and Daniel, both really great and excited to be new members of the Church. We probably won't have any baptisms this weekend, but we're looking at the 16th as a good opportunity to have several more baptisms. July should be very good as there are five weeks and plenty of people to find and teach here in this sector!

So where I'm serving, Las Esclusas, is a Branch. That also is a little different as I haven't been in a Branch since we lived in New Mexico! But whether it's a Ward or Branch, the members are great either way and I'm excited to be working with them. Are you surprised I'm not writing about getting transferred yet again? :) Transfers come really quick, so June was pretty crazy as I felt like I was moving around every two weeks (oh wait, I was moving around every two weeks!) ;). But for now things have settled down, until likely next week where this transfer ends and we could see some more transfers. We're thinking that not many changes will be made as a lot were made in June.

Oh one thing... The Church is discouraging the use of blogs, so we've been told not to use them out of respect for privacy and safety and all. So I suppose you could post this as a notice to those who are following the blog. The easiest thing would be for those people to email or write me, as I can get back to them. I'll still send photos, but they can't be published on the blog. Unfortunate to see that happen, but the Church is about the well-being of everyone, so that's just how it goes. And missionaries are saying bad stuff about the mission, so that's a factor as well.

The Copa America soccer tournament is underway here in South America (Argentina this year), so yesterday was terrible in trying to find people because Ecuador was playing Paraguay, which ended in a 0-0 tie.

Colorado, huh? And the Greeley Stampede?!?! I am jealous! I'm glad to hear Nana and Papa are doing well and that you all had a great time there! I want to see some photos! Take some pics at the RSL game too! I'll send pics next week as this computer today didn't have an SD card slot.

Having 4 Americans in the house is great! More English is spoken in the house, but we do speak Spanish often as well! No interesting foods, but there is really good pizza place just down the street from our house that makes a HUGE family size pizza for $10! It's a really good deal!

Well, take care everyone and enjoy the day and the rest of the week! I'm sure it'll go by fast, just as every week has! Can you believe I've been out for 6 months already?!?! Crazy! The time goes by very, very fast! Tomorrow we will have a District Meeting with President Montalti, which should be a really good time.

Love you all!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur