Garrett in front of the Guayaquil Temple

Monday, April 30, 2012

30 April 2012 No Transfer Just Another Companion- #18

¡Hola querida familia! Wow, yet another week has gone by super fast! And
Dad says he's waiting for news on a transfer or a new companion, well, I do
have news on that front! I have another companion! Elder Doyle was
transferred today, so I'm still here in Amazonas 2. Click the Companion
Counter one more time! My 15th companion (in Ecuador, #18 overall) is Elder Castillo, from San Luis,
Argentina. He has a mere three months on the mission, so he's what I could
call really new, seeing as I now have 1 year and 4 months on the mission.
I'm super excited to have a companion from Argentina, a first for me. Elder
Castillo's first sector was in Machala, so there is a lot we can relate to,
as I served in Machala in what seems forever ago. We're really looking
forward to May, it will be a superb month! Yesterday we had the
satellite-transmitted stake conference. It was really good! We heard from
Elder Marcus B. Nash, of the Seventy, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and
Elder Richard G. Scott, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and
Sister Mary N. Cook, 1st Counselor in the Young Women's General Presidency.
All the Elders spoke in Spanish, while Sister Cook had a translator. It was
really neat because for General Conference, translators are used, but
yesterday we were able to hear the actual voices of the General
Authorities, as the trasmission was specifically for Ecuador. The Church is
growing A LOT here, especially in Guayaquil, it's really well-received, for
that reason, many people get baptized on a monthly basis. The Guayaquil
South mission is one of the highest baptizing missions in the world, so for
me it really is an honor and privilege to be serving here and to be taking
part in the "most important work".

This week here in Ecuador we saw a little bit of rain towards the end of
the week, but for the most part the rainy season is done, and the "cold
season" is coming, although here on the Ecuadorian coast, cold means 70ºF
or so, so not what I or you would consider cold. That's what I call
comfortable! That is good missionary weather! My companion says that in his
city in Argentina they are all getting ready for the cold as well, but he
lives more in the mountains, the western side of Argentina, so that's the
type of cold I'd be familliar with.

This week will be great, the time just keeps flying by! Seems like April
just started, and now it's over! No photos this week, but I'll try and snap
some for next week! Hopefully I get some photos from you as well!

I love you all! Write you next week!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, April 23, 2012

23 April 2012 Pictures of Stitches

Hello family! No worries, I'm still alive and doing good. I'm feeling very good, excited to get back working more this week. As a result of the sickness, we didn't work too much this past week, as the order from the nurses was to take it easy and not overdo it. I'll be able to work more this week, so I'm excited to be able and go out to finish off this quick month of April. This weekend here in all of Ecuador there is a satellite transmission for every stake, so basically Stake Conference for the entire country. I don't know too much else about it, other than a General Authority will be presiding over the conference, which will be beamed from Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City. So we had a lot of plans to have baptisms this month, but with my sickness, things kind of went the other way. It's true that life can make really good plans look rather silly in a short amount of time. But we're looking forward to May, which, if all goes well, will be a fantastic month here in the mission. I also heard today from Elder Herrera, my companion in Puerto Nuevo. He said five people we had been teaching when I was transferred were baptized a couple of weeks ago, all in the same night! I was excited to hear that! Five in one night, wow, my record stands at three, that was when I was in Machala, in the La Aurora Ward, and that's almost been a year ago. How the time flies!

Well, in all honesty, there's not too much to report on this week, other than, yes, I'm doing fine, and that this week will be very productive. I do have attached a couple of pictures of the stitches, from last Tuesday, to today. The scar is healing up pretty quick, and it's not that noticeable. It has made for a good conversation starter with the members and investigators though. I got a bunch of sympathy points from everyone last week too, so that's a little bit of a motivator!

Okey dokey family, that's it from Ecuador this week, I'll have more next week, I promise it won't be as boring of a report!

I love you all, take care!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur
10 Stitches
Resulting Scar

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 Stitches! 17 April 2012

Hey family, I apologize for not writing yesterday, but it has been a really
crazy week, but before I start recounting all what happened, just know that
all is well with me!

After writing last Monday, I didn't feel too good, so I called the nurses
of the mission to tell them what was up and that they'd have an answer for
me Tuesday morning. Well, Tuesday rolled around, I still didn't feel too
hot, so the nurses had an appointment set up for me in the afternoon at a
small clinic nearby. Well, after three hours of being in the clinic, they
told me I had a case of Dengue Fever, which somewhat scared me, but didn't
make any sense whatsoever because I hadn't been bit by a mosquito in a
really long time. But they also told me I had a little case of Bronchitis
as well, something which made more sense seeing as I was coughing, having a
little trouble breathing. After leaving the clinic, we went to a nearby
Pharmacy called Sana Sana, where I could pick up what I needed. Here is
where  things get interesting.... Due to the clinic appointment and a
district meeting in the morning, we hadn't been able to eat anything "good
-sized" to knock out our hunger. As we entered Sana Sana, I started to feel
a little light-headed, but didn't think much of it until I started to feel
even more light-headed as I was buying the medicines I needed, and before I
knew it, unfortunately, I had passed out, right there in the pharmacy.  Even
worse about this incident is that as I was going down, my head hit the
counter, leaving a nice gash right above my right eyebrow.

So after 15-20 minutes of putting my puzzle pieces back in order, we went
back to the clinic in which we had just left, but this time, I needed
stitches. Many of the people that I had  saw there after leaving the first
time, I saw again, and they all gave me a "Hey, you were just here" kind of
look. Well, they were right, I had just left, and made a quick return. The
second stop at the clinic ended up with me getting 10 stitches to close
this "star-shaped" gash. Afterwords, the nurses and the secretaries of the
mission came to see me, rather shocked at hearing what had happened to me
in a such a short time. They then told me that President and Sister
Montalti wanted me to go be hospitalized in the Hospital Alcivar,  one of
the best hospitals here in Guayaquil to check out the problem with my
lungs, and to recover a little from the stitches. So from Tuesday night to
late last night, I was in the hospital, having tests done to see what was
the problem and at the same time being treated for  this problem. The
diagnosis was a case of Pneumonia in my left lung, which I believe was the
cause of all those pneumonia episodes many years back. The doctors told me
that in this sector I'm working, it's likely for an illness like that to
arise. There is a lot of garbage because of markets, a lot of dust, and
when the weather goes from sunny to rainy, certain illnesses can arise, and
that's what has happened in this case. But as I stated in the beginning,
I'm alright, I feel much better than I did this time a week ago. I was on a
lot of breathing treatments, just as I was as a kid, so nothing was too
different, just perhaps trying to recount my medical history in Spanish
was the only difference. Luckily the doctor I had is a member of the
Church, and he took good care of me while I was there. I was able to watch
a little TV as well, so I got caught up  on some things.... :)  I do have
some medications I'm taking now, being out of the hospital, so I should be
all set to go. The question of if I'll get transferred to another sector
remains unknown, however it wouldn't surprise me if I were to be
transferred to avoid another case like this again.

As I mentioned, I'm doing fine, although the stitches look a little
different. I had some of them removed today so the cut can heal up quicker.
Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me to get any photos, but I do
have some I took this morning, but I'll have to send them next week.

So that's about it for this week's report, I promise that next  week's
report will be much more tranquil, and I'll be sure to take care of myself!

I love you all! Talk to you next week!

PS: I AM FINE!!!!!  :)

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

9 April 2012

Well hello again family! It seems like I just wrote all of you the other
day, but wouldn't you know it, it's been yet another quick seven days,
Monday again! I must say I have a big smile on my face too after seeing
Kyley's pictures with Nat Borchers! Good thing he remembered to give her
his jersey! Good to hear that RSL won both their games at home! Crucial

Anyway, to the update of the mission: We were supposed to be having a
couple baptisms this week and the last, but our investigators didn't show
up to church, after we had invited them various times during the week, so
we'll have to keep working with them closely to make sure they attend and
can be baptized later on this month. We found an investigator this week who
we thought could be a really good investigator and eventually get baptized.
Well, turns out no. He's attended church a few times in the past, even the
bishop and other members of the ward know him. The bishop mentioned to us
yesterday that he's kind of crazy, that he wants to establish his own
church, taking parts of the Book of Mormon and Bible that he likes and
forming his "church's" base off of that. That's called flat-out apostasy in
my book. We tried getting him to read Ephesians 2:20 in the Bible, which
says: "And are built upon the foundation of the
prophets <>, Jesus
Christ himself being the chief
corner<> stone."
The LDS Church is built on that foundation, and his church wouldn't be,
because he doesn't the Priesthood Authority, and he'd be using the
scriptures in the way they weren't intended. Well, at least we gave it a
try... As always, we're always finding people to teach, this week is
crucial that we do so we can have a decent program for the month of May,
which is approaching rather quickly. From here on out, or in other words,
to the end of the mission, time will just go by faster and faster.

Have I mentioned how good the members here are to us, especially in this
ward? They make sure we keep well-fed, so no need to worry family, I'm
doing just fine when it comes to food. And just as I write that, the
thunder rolls here in Guayaquil, likely meaning our three proselyting hours
will be wet ones! Bring on the umbrellas! Ummm, too late, the rain is
falling right now! The famous Aguacero is back, at least we're in a Cyber
close to our house.

Well family, that's about it for this week, sorry if it seems short, it was
kind of a slow week. But I'll try and get some pictures this week and send
them your way for next Monday!
I love you all, tell everyone I say hi, even Kru!

¡Hasta el lunes! ¡Chao!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

Monday, April 2, 2012

2 April 2012

HOLA familia! Glad to hear all is going well back home! It has been an
excellent week, especially with being able to watch all the sessions of
General Conference. It was a real spiritual feast to hear from the Prophet,
the twelve and other leaders of the Church. The messages were very
uplifting and really left me feeling good about the things to come in the
mission and in life. And even I am surprised that it's already April! This
year is going by really quick, I'm now down into single digits when it
comes to how many months are left, and that's NINE (9)! I'm not sure what
else to say with respect to that! I've mentioned this a few times, but I'm
so grateful this time I've had to serve here in Ecuador, to be able to
learn more about the Savior, His Atonement, the people here in this
country, to be able to develop and use a foreign language, all things that
will be a huge benefit to me after the mission!

Well, I think the highlight of this week was General Conference. I didn't
notice David Archuleta in the MTC Choir, but it's not surprising to me that
he was singing. Nobody knows where he will be serving, other than South
America? I'm sure he will be a great missionary! I really like a quote from
President Monson that he gave in his Sunday Morning address: "In this
fast-paced life, do we ever pause for moments of meditation--even thoughts
of timeless truths?" In Spanish, the translation was "Verdades eternos" or
"Eternal truths." Whether it be timeless or Eternal, it's a real great
question to reflect on, one I'll definitely be pondering over the next
little while.

It is sure to be yet another busy, but great week here in Amazonas 2 to
kick off April! We're going to be making this the best month for the
mission! Having General Conference also helped, as our investigators heard
from the Prophet himself! That is a sure way to gain a testimony!

Well family, that is about it for this week from sunny Guayaquil. More to
come next week!

Take care, I love you all!

Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur

26 March 2012

Hello once again family! Wow, is it already the end of March?! Incredible to think that April, and General Conference, are this week! It was a really busy week here in Amazonas 2. I was able to meet a lot of the members of the ward, and from what I can tell, they are super excited to help us out in the mission work. What is a big help to us is there are quite a few returned missionaries who attend our ward, one who just returned 3 weeks ago! Having their help will be a great benefit We even had a baptism (Surprise for me!) on Saturday, of sister Marcia, whose family are members. Her husband even baptized her, which was really neat to see! Not too much more more to say about the baptism, as it was a freebie for me, but this week we have been teaching a few people and families who have baptismal dates for April, so we'll be working to help them progress towards baptism. This week we'll be working super hard to get people committed to go to General Conference, mainly on Sunday, as that's the only day that counts for Sacrament meeting attendance. So this week once again will be another running all over the place like madmen type of week, just like almost every week here is in the mission. It only rained twice this week here in Guayaquil, but they were both pretty big storms. The one that wasn't the most welcomed was yesterday's torrential downpour right before leaving Church. Not having our umbrellas didn't help any, luckily we made it to our appointment without getting too terribly wet.

Well family, another week is sure to fly by, especially with General Conference! It's hard to believe that it's already been 6 months since October's conference! I'll be sure to enjoy it, and I hope you all will as well.

I love you all, take care, more next Monday!
Elder Garrett Cederquist
Misión Ecuador Guayaquil Sur