Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, August 29, 2011

29 August 2011

Hello Family! Wow, this was really one of the best weeks in the mission by far and not just because I had my birthday! We managed to put a bunch of baptism dates with our investigators, and they all accepted! Elder Badger and I are super excited for the month of September, as our goal is to have 10 baptisms this month. Right now we have seven people who will be baptized, two of them this weekend! Lucia and Ariel are awesome people and they are really, really excited to be baptized and enjoy the Gospel more fully in their lives. We have another family, the Rodriguez's, who at first we weren't sure if they'd accept, but through a lot of praying and diligent work with them, they accepted baptismal dates for the 17th. Our other two dates we have aren't so sure as of right now, but we will be working very hard to secure them in the coming week!
This transfer has seen this sector really come alive. The last change we didn't have much success, just a lot of building up. Now we are getting the members excited about the work and they helped out a lot last week which I've noticed is a lot better than trying to do all the work on your own! This week will be a lot of the same, which is ok, because we'll have members ready and willing to help out!
Ok, so I'll share how my birthday went: REALLY GOOD! Saturday we had another huge pizza from the pizza place close to our house, really tasty! Sunday was great because the Branch has a tradition to have cake on the last Sunday of the month for the members who had birthdays in that month. It was neat to be included in that group! They even sang Happy Birthday/Feliz Cumpleaños to us! It turned out great!
This week will be another great one, mainly for the baptisms we'll be having, but being with the members and having their help will make things very smooth for us! It's awesome to see the blessings we get for working diligently!
I hope you all have a great week, and thanks to those who wrote me for my birthday! It was great to hear from you! And I'll have to get back to you next week about the packages, I've not received anything as of yet, but I'll let you know!
Take care everyone! I love you all!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, August 22, 2011

P-Day 22 August 2011 A New Companion

Hey family! Thanks for the great picture you sent me! I enjoyed it! This week is going to be a fun week, and this morning I received what you could call an early birthday present: A NEW COMPANION! Elder Reynoso was transferred to another sector in the center of Guayaquil today. My new companion, number seven (7) here in Ecuador for those who are keeping track, is Elder Badger, from Provo, UT! He is just about to complete a year on the mission and is a super missionary! When I was in Machala he was in my district, and I was his companion for one day when we were evacuated to Cuenca back in March, so you could say it was just a matter of time until we were companions for a longer period of time, and now we are! I feel we are going to have a lot of success in the month of September here in Las Esclusas. Elder Reynoso helped me build up the sector, and now we're going to be "harvesting the field" (D&C 4:4). It was definitely a time to just be patient and try and find those who are ready to listen to the Gospel in the last transfer, in this transfer it will be a time of baptizing! I thank my Heavenly Father every day and night for the people we're teaching, He has put these people in our path at this time, a sure good sign that they are ready to listen to the Gospel!
This past week was really good in the sector, we had five investigators in Sacrament meeting! Funny story: After bringing the first two to the Chapel on Sunday, Elder Reynoso and I literally sprinted out the door to get the other three investigators to make it on time! Having those people in Church gave us a big boost of confidence to know that they wanted to attend, yet another blessing!
This week I'm sure will be great as have been the other weeks here in the mission! Something I've learned, and maybe I've shared this a few times, is that every transfer has its fruits and is for the better! I can already see the upcoming six weeks passing by really quickly and with a lot of baptisms! I'm really excited to go out and get these people baptized! YEAH!
Another week will seem like a blur here in Guayaquil! I'm sure your week will too with school starting up again, and before we know, September starts! Have a great week! I will too! And I'm sure I'll hear plenty of "Feliz Cumpleaños" on Saturday! :)
Tell everyone I say hi!
Love you all!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Thursday, August 18, 2011

15 August

Before I start... You guys are having way too much fun with those Kayaks! The photos you've sent me are awesome! Good to know that Kru can swim as well! Sounds like your week was pretty busy, and without fail, mine was too!

Alright, to use my journalist skills, last week's report starts as such: HOT! It was a very hot week here in the province of Guayas. I'd say we had temperatures of 90ºF (32ºC) just about every day. Sunscreen was my best friend! I think we'll see about the same in terms of weather this week as well.

We had a really slow week in teaching people, mostly because we were still searching for people to give our program a little bit more of a boost. We found some really cool families who are accepting of the message and the commitments we left with them (reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it, coming to church, being baptized, etc.). Unfortunately, as it stands now, I won't be having a birthday baptism... The family we visited and invited every day couldn't attend due to some things with their house. It was a little frustrating to have things fall through literally at the last second, but it's something I've seen time and time again, and I've learned to just keep going. Sure we'll keep visiting them, but it's of great importance that they attend with us this next Sunday. However, we could have a baptism this Saturday, as the cousin of a member has attended church several times and wants to be baptized. We've just got to make sure of a few things so that she is ready for Saturday. It's sure to be yet another wild week in Guayaquil!

We've not done anything too interesting for service, just helping out some members and investigators pull weeds (we've done this A LOT!) and clean up around their houses. They're always very grateful for the service, and for us it's gratifying to help out.

Yesterday was yet another match between Emelec and Barcelona, this time in the Capwell, home of Emelec. Guayaquil was basically a ghost town as everyone was watching the game, I don't know how we managed to get a couple lessons in during the game, it was luck! The game ended 1-1, Emelec tied things up very late in the 2nd half, I think I heard people saying in the 90th minute was when the equalizer was scored.

Well, glad to hear everything is going well! Keep up the good work Ky! It'll be a great season for the Lady Royals! Enjoy your week! I'll enjoy mine as well, because it'll go by fast! Can't believe school is just about to start again! Seems like it ended yesterday!

Love you all! Another Monday will be here before we know it!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, August 8, 2011

8 Aug 2011 Chinese in Ecuador

Hola Familia! Wow, thanks for the pictures from Bear Lake! Looks like you had an awesome time! It looks really nice up there! And Kayaks?!?! Awesome! Glad to hear RSL is still doing good as well!

Wow, yet another fast week has come and gone here in sunny Guayaquil! I know I mention something about how fast the time is going every week, and this past week was exactly the same! Staying relatively busy finding and teaching people!

So Fast Sunday turned out to be great! It was definitely needed, seeing as the past couple of week have been tough for us and our investigators. After church yesterday we managed to find a family of GOLD! They already knew a little bit about the church, which was really surprising and were really open to listen to the message. We have a lesson with them tonight as part of a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with the Reinel family. It should be pretty good! It was definitely a blessing to find them after a diligent fast. I definitely felt and still feel really happy that we could find them, because it's been tough to find people who really and truly are interested in the message. This could be the family that could be my birthday baptisms, stay tuned to see if that's the case!!!!

Also, we're having to put a big effort in helping the Branch out. Our Branch President, President Olivares, is having to run things on his own because his counselors are basically inactive, and the other Auxilaries, Primary, etc are having trouble keeping the leaders as well. So if you could, please pray for the Las Esclusas Branch and for our sector and investigators. This is going to be an interesting time, and we'll definitely need the Lord's help getting these people back attending church. Elder Reynoso and I would really appreciate it!!!

So we ate Chinese food today at a "Chifa" in our sector. It was really good, but it was a TON of food, so much that I had to take it back to the house to eat later on! That's what's in the photo I sent today!

Well family, that's about all that's going on this week in the mission. Since I've been in Ecuador, I've learned that there are so many things to do in such a short period of time! Every sector has been more and more busy every day of every week! The work can be tiring, but it is so worth it looking back and looking forward to what's to come!

Love you all family!
Take care!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Already!

Hello family from sunny Guayaquil on this first day of August!!! Can you believe that?!?! It seems just like last week I was writing about it being the first week of July, it's really incredible how fast the time flies by when you're having fun and staying busy! The last week we had was really busy, finding and teaching people, and trying to get them to commit to being baptized, attending church, all that good stuff we do as missionaries! In this sector it's a little bit tougher to get them to commit to those kind of things, but I know with work and a lot of prayer, we can help them out and better their lives.
Yesterday was rather interesting, Elder Reynoso was feeling pretty sick, so after calling President and Sister Montalti, and the Nurses, Sister Mairena and Sister Salmon, it was off to the Kennedy Clinic in the center of Guayaquil to have a look at what might be the problem. Luckily for us, Dr. Villacis, who is a member of the Church, was waiting for us to do the check-ups and all the good stuff that we know all too well thanks to me! They took some blood and Dr./Brother Villacis wrote out a prescription, and actually right now we're waiting for the results, so I've got to be quick! It shouldn't be anything too bad because Elder Reynoso has been feeling better today, so that's good news!
We're strengthening our really strong relationship with the members, so we're planning on having some activities in the near future to boost up the missionary work here. Our branch is multi-cultural it seems, we have members from Colombia, Spain, and Peru who attend our ward, so it makes for a good time when we can talk to them about what it's like in those countries. One of the missionaries in my district, Elder Ochoa, who will finish his mission this month, is from Colombia, and we were talking the other night while Elder Reynoso was interviewing an investigator for baptism, and we managed to arrive at the subject of Formula 1 and Juan Pablo Montoya, who is in NASCAR now, but was F1 a few years back. I think he was a little surprised to hear that I knew about him and followed those two sports! I've also talked to the member from Colombia about Montoya, he was even more surprised to hear me talk about him! It made for a good time!
The activities we're going to try and have should be pretty fun, showing the movie "The Testaments" and having Karaoke and other fun activities we think will help us gain more referrals from the members, something all missionaries need, because it's pretty tough to find every single person on your own! "Every Member a Missionary," the famous words of President David O. McKay.
Here's something I liked: President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “My brethren and sisters, we can let the missionaries try to do it alone, or we can help them. If they do it alone, they will knock on doors day after day and the harvest will be meager. Or as members we can assist them in finding and teaching investigators” (“Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep,” Ensign, May 1999, 107).
Well, other than that, not much else is going on, just keeping up the work and staying busy, the best and only thing to do while on the mission! And as I said in the beginning, it makes the time fly by!
Sounds like it was a great time a Bear Lake! Send pictures next week, as will I!
Love you all! Enjoy the week! Good luck Ky with soccer try-outs!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur