Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Jan 2012

Well hey there family, sounds like it has been a rather interesting week back home. It's rather unfortunate to see that someone I know was part of that plan, and I should be rather careful about what I say or I'll be very, very angry. Kudos to the police and the Roy High administration for stopping what could have been something awful. It has been a rocky start to the year in Roy and Ogden from what I've gathered from you all this month.

Well, on another note, the mission. It was a pretty good week, although a little bit slow. However, we managed to put a baptismal date with one of our invesigators, Jose Luis. He will be baptized this Saturday after having attended Church the minimum two times. Something very helpful for Elder Alvarez and I was that after church last Sunday, almost all the youth who are the same age as Jose Luis instantly made a friendship with him, giving him something crucial, fellowship. For us as missionaries we oft times struggle to find members who can be their friends. Because if we are their only friends, it will be just a short-time relationship, as we are subject to transfers and all the good stuff of the mission. The members, however, will always be there, almost assuring that the investigator-turned-convert stays active in the Church. We even have a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) planned with Jose Luis and his member friends tonight, which I'm pretty excited for!

The weather this week has been rather unpredictable. One moment it can be sunny, almost 90ºF (32ºC), and the next, a DOWNPOUR!  I have streets in our sector that after maybe a half hour of rain are flooded with several inches of water built up. That also presents a challenge, as some of our investigators live on those streets that are flooded. The result, a lot of postponed/cancelled appointments. Oh the mission! It never ceases to surprise me!

I love the pictures you sent me of the house! Especially the one of Kru just chillin' on the couch, like always! The paint job looks fantastic! I like the color!

The photos this week: President Montalti coming down to my level! The sister missionaries from Otavalo, Ecuador, and my buddy Elder Zuleta and I!

More photos next week!

Love you all, glad to hear everyone is doing well! Enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend! More next Monday!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, January 23, 2012

23 Jan 2012 ¡HOLA desde un Guayaquil muy caliente!

¡HOLA FAMILIA desde un Guayaquil muy caliente! Hi family, sounds like all is well back home, and finally the snow decided to show! That's always good news! Here in Guayaquil it's been another rainy, humid, hot week! This week went by a little bit faster than the last, for which I'm grateful for! It's better when the weeks go by fast, it means there's a lot to get done in the Lord's work! Well, this week was yet another of finding people to teach, which we managed to find many people who have seem to taken notice that this message we share is a blessing in their lives, and that it can help them through difficult times, and it's not just something we say to interest them! We're working with a few families right now who are part-member families, which for us is what President Montalti calls "mangos bajos" or "low mangos," meaning that the people are easier to work with, they don't have or have very few challenges they need to get over. For the "mangos altos" ("high mangos,") that's a different story, more hurdles to jump over, more difficult the task of preparing them for baptism. Right now, we are working with the mangos bajos, which we feel will produce results, perhaps not for the end of this month, but the beginning of February (wait, did I just say February? Wow!) I thought we just started January!

This past week I had a few "workshops" with President Montalti, where we learned, as Senior Companions, how to help people overcome obstacles that prevent them from being baptized. It's all about the investigator solving the problem, even though at times they think we as missionaries are the ones to resolve their problem. And it works, I saw it first hand in teaching some of our investigators this last week, and we'll be using that method for the weeks to come! 

Well, other than that, not too much else to report, it was a pretty plain week. But this week looks to be more lively in getting people to commit to baptism!

Hey, I'm still waiting for you guys to send me some photos of the "new look" house! I'll send some more photos next week, I don't have much time today, as we had a multi-zone conference with President Montalti this morning, which kind of cut our time down, but that's ok!

I love you all, take care and have a great week, maybe more snow will fall! Here it's likely to be more hot, more rain, and more humidity. Awesome! :)

Chao for now!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, January 16, 2012

16 Jan 2012

Hello family from sunny, rainy, humid, call it what you'd like Guayaquil! The weather has been each one of those this past week. Well, first off, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Hyde family for the passing away of Sister Theresa. That is very sad news to hear. The Hyde family has always been an example to me, the Lord has greatly blessed that family over the past few years. I will certainly keep them in my prayers.

This past week was kind of tough, as the program here in Puerto Nuevo is a little low, so we had to go out and find more people to teach, which was a little more difficult than in times past. I finally started to realize this last week that there is a lot of confusion amongst the people here who attend "their" church. It seems about every block in this part of G'quil has at least one, maybe two churches, Evangelical, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholic, etc. Seeing that as a missionary is rather mind-blowing and confusing to me as well. And it seems people just start up a "church" right there in their own house as well, it's unbelievable. What Elder Alvarez and I are having to do is explain in great detail the whole point of Authority from God, something that ONLY the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possesses. But it takes more than just saying that, it includes using the Bible quite a bit to prove that it is actually true. But not everyone believes the same way, and some just flat out reject the message we teach. For I think the first time in the mission I had a Book of Mormon rejected by someone last week. That gives me a new perspective on the mission work, not that they're bad people, but it will take a long, hard effort to find those elect of God. And that's the purpose, to find those who will accept the restored Gospel in their lives.

I was able to see some of the awesome members from Las Esclusas this weekend, as we, well I, was teaching an English class, and Esclusas had a cleaning project in the Chapel. Many members mentioned that "they missed me" and "things aren't the same." I was very humbled to hear them say those things, not that I'm boasting of myself in any way, but it was very good to see them happy!

Also in Ecuador this past week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a stop in Quito to visit President Rafael Correa. I'm sure that lifted a few eyebrows back in the States. Not much came of the visit from what I heard, but Correa just completed 5 years as president, and he's trying to make it so he can be in office longer. We'll see what happens there...

Well, the good news is that there are photos this week! Some photos of those "monigotes," good food, and a small house! And I also received my package last week! I'm good to go now!

I love you all! Hope you're enjoying your holiday! 

Write you next week!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, January 9, 2012

9 Jan 2012 Wet in Guayaquil

Hello family from a cloudy, somewhat rainy Guayaquil! Well, first things first, I was transferred yet again from the 7 de Septiembre Ward to the Puerto Nuevo Ward. Now if Puerto Nuevo sounds familiar to you, it should, it's in the stake with the same name, Puerto Nuevo, and it borders my old sector, Las Esclusas, so a lot looks familiar here! I was a little bit bummed about this change due to the fact that Elder Curtis and I had two baptisms lined up for this weekend, and we had worked really hard for them, but the Lord works in His ways, so I can't do too much about that. My new companion, companion number 12, is Elder Alvarez, from Granada, Nicaragua. He has 6 months on the mission and has been in this sector for about 3 months.

Well, the last week in Siete was pretty good, we found a lot of new people to teach, got more help from the members, and we were thinking that transfers wouldn't come for us. But as I was praying last night, just about to get into bed, the Zone Leaders called, and said I had a transfer, the only one of the four missionaries in the house. At first I was more shocked than anything, then a little bit sad to know I won't be able to see those baptisms. So then it was off to packing, which surprisingly only took an hour to do, as I had most of my stuff all together. I wasn't expecting to be transferred, it's just I was organized enough so I could have everything ready to go in short time. The house I'm in now has to be the smallest house in the mission, without a doubt. I hope I don't get claustrophobic! But I should be fine, it's not as hot outside as it has been lately, as the rainy season has started, so the umbrellas will be coming out very soon.

Other than that, not too much is going on, mainly for the fact that I was transferred, so it will be another new time to learn and meet the people of this sector, even though I do know some of them just from being in Esclusas, so that is a bonus. I am still awaiting the package of the razors and journal you sent me. I hope it has arrived and it's just waiting in the office, but who knows....

I'm glad to hear it finally snowed! About time! The picture you sent me looks great! About pictures, I've not benn able to take too many lately, as P-Days have been super busy and seem super short! I suppose that happens when you complete a year on the mission! But I will get you pictures next week, as the Cyber were at is a really good one and my companion says the pictures send really fast! No worries, all is well with that!

Here soon I'll have to start getting some stuff to bring back for all of you. I'll try and look for some stuff!

Oh yeah, I got a "friendly" letter last week discouraging the use of blogs, as it's a matter of privacy, and the Church doesn't want problems with that. So you'll have to discontinue the blog, but encourage everyone to write me so I can share with them a little bit as well.

Hey send me some photos from the house and of all of you! And as I mentioned, I'll send photos next week!

Well, I love you all, I'm happy to hear all is going well and that everyone is in good spirits.
Take care this week, and I'll write more next Monday!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 Jan 2012 ¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!

¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO FAMILIA! Here we are in 2012! Incredible! Without a doubt, 2011 was the quickest year of my life! For all but three weeks of last year I was either in Peru or Ecuador! It has been an incredible experience living in South America, getting to know the people, the cultures, and the food! I can't really believe it's 2012, and I'm expecting this year to be fast as lightning, so I have to take advantage of every moment I have left here on the mission, which, on Wednesday reaches 1 YEAR! WOO HOO! I think that calls for a party in our house!!! We'll see about that one :)

Wow, this last week of 2011 was a good one too. We managed to keep finding a lot of people even with another shortened week due to New Years, which was a very interesting experience! So the four of us that live in the house, Elder Johnson, Elder McRae, Elder Curtis and I had turned out the lights at 10:30 Saturday night, just planning to wake up Sunday morning and be sarcastically excited that it was 2012. Well, that didn't happen. About 5 minutes to 12, all the monigotes that people burn went up in flames, many small fireworks started going off, and at 12 exactly, it sounded like a war zone right outside of our house! I looked out our window and I saw about 5 fires burning from the monigotes and all the bombitos they put in them were exploding. So we all got out of our beds and watched and listened to all the madness going on! It put a smile on my face, as I remembered all the New Years parties from years past with everyone, friends and family, although they weren't as crazy as the party I saw here! Granted, it was a little hard to sleep after, but we managed to make it through all of Sunday as well cooped up in the house. This week will be a little bit more calm I'm thinking, although on Friday more monigotes will be going up in smoke, as the bigger monigotes that were made will be judged and then burnt. There are some interesting traditions here in Ecuador, and I get the great chance as a missionary to see them. Everybody asks us what we do for holidays like Christmas and New Years, and almost always our answer is "not what you guys do!"

Wow, this past year, as I mentioned, has been full of lifetime memories, and many people I won't forget. I am expecting this year to be just the same. It kind of scares me to think that I only have one year left, and judging by last year's pace, it'll be over before I know it! It will be very fun!

Well, I've got to go now, but I love you all, and I'm glad you all had a great New Years!

Hasta el próximo lunes,

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur