Favorite Scripture

Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Here's a picture of us and Elder Waddell. FYI he's 6 ft 6 in....Huge..

Well, this week was alright and amazing at the same time. Alright in the mission work part, but awesome in that Elder Waddell from the Area Presidency came and visited our mission!
I'll start off with the mission work and save Elder Waddell for the end. So here in the sector things went alright this week. We did find 2 new families that are very promising, but the ones we already had didn't go to church and we weren't able to visit them this week because they weren't available...Quick update on the Arias family; they're doing great and everything and really want to get married. The problem is that they are illegal Colombians and they can't get married here and if they try to hop the border to get married in Colombia they might not be able to get back....That's the problem...unless they find a magic solution they'll have to wait at least 3 months before they can ask for a permit to stay here in Ecuador. By then I won't even be in the mission! So that's them. Other than the marriage problem they're doing awesome. 
Other than the Arias family we don't have any investigators that are progressing that much, just a bunch that aren't keeping commitments =(, but that's normal I guess. Like Elder Holland says, "Salvation is not a cheap experience"...sad but true. 
Our zone here is super awesome though. It's one of the most obedient/diligent zones I've been in. You tell them to do better with referrals and they do it lol. Makes our job as a zone leader that much easier =).
Well, that's the mission work for you, now Elder Waddell! It was super awesome and I learned a bunch from him. He knows a ton and is very intelligent; pretty much has the mission library memorized. The taught us on why we're here, what is expected of us, and how we accomplish with that purpose. He said a lot of stuff, so I'll just summerize what he said.

He said we're here in this mission, in this time, because God wanted us to be with THIS mission president. He said that 2 Apostles have told him that when they give a missionary a calling, they feel more like they're assigning the missionary to the mission president and less to the actual mission. He said that we are here to learn from our mission president. God also wants us to be with these companions and learn from them. That, in few words is why we're here in this mission, right now. 
We are here in the mission not just to baptize, but to activate, retain, and convert. Before the missionaries just focused on baptizing and that's it. Now we work with less actives, converts, members, and less actives. We also don't teach with the focus on baptizing them. Baptism is not the end, rather a mean to get to the higher goal which is temple marriage. He said that baptism doesn't mean much if we don't acompany it with temple marriage. The purpose of life is to get married in the temple, not just to get baptized. The temple is everything! We have to think, study, and teach to get people to reach that goal. 
How do we do it....Inviting them to repent. He said something interesting that I agree with. He said that people here in Latin America are christians and already have faith in God. Normally to get baptized a person has to have faith, REPENT, and then get baptized. But the people here already have faith and are willing to listen and we as missionaries can skip the repentance part and go straight to baptism. That is the reason why there are so many less actives here. All of them have faith, but very few of them have repented and become truly converted unto Christ. We have to help people to become converted by helping them to repent, and keep covenants such as praying, and reading. If they do those 2 things it is very likely that they will go to church.
Well, that in summerized words is what he talked about, but it was way more awesome. I could feel the Spirit very strongly and I knew that I was supposed to be in this mission right now. I also learned a lot about my purpose as a missionary and what I'm supposed to be doing.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello earthlings,
Well, this week was alright; nothing too exciting happened. We contacted a lot but we weren't able to find very many new people this week...But we do have a few investigators that we're really excited for. One is the Arias Family. There's only 2 of them, but they're middle-aged, unmarried colombians. They're super awesome though. Carlos, the dad, isn't even baptized yet and he's almost finished the Book of Mormon and the Teachings of the Prophets book. Yup, he knows more than some members lol. He does have a lot of doubts and things he doesn't know, but he's got a really open mind. I guess most of his life he's been looking for the truth and has maybe literally researched every religion known to man. Christian, muslim, hindu, jew....about everything lol. So that's why he has a lot of ideas in his head. But the good part is that he believes almost everything we tell him lol. They're also planning on getting married this week. Hopefully it works out =)
Well...that was really the only exciting this this week. We spent most of our time trying to contact new places in our sector, but nobody really wanted to listen to us. One funny thing that we saw in all the contacts though is that they all thing that we're wrong about having modern revelation and prophets and they say that it says in the Bible that there can't be any more scripture because it's already in the Bible and that it also says that it says that there can't be anymore prophets or apostles. Then we ask them where it says that and they start looking in their Bible and can't find it, "Oh I know it's here! I read it! I can't find it but I know it's here!".....Yeah.....Then once I told a lady that if she can find where it says that in the Bible I'll get baptized in her church lol. She still didn't find it lol. People are funny sometimes. They tell us that we need to study better the Bible so we can teach the people the truth. It's funny because we CAN pull out scriptures to back up what we say and they can't.
Funny thing of the week: I found this little notice in a bus stop and translating it says, "Urgent. Need normal people to accomplish abnormal activities"....Uhh.....Like what lol. Yeah, that's all it says but I thought it was really funny and random =)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Well, I got changed this week =(. I was really wanting to stay in Coca until the end of my mission, but I guess that's how life is =).
So now I'm in Otavalo (where are the indigenous people and souvenirs are). It's pretty cool here in both senses of the word. After being in coast and jungle places for the past 7 months the climate change has been rough on my body. Where I used to like the cold, not anymore lol. Here it's been really rainy and cold. To top it off there is no hot water in our house, not even in the shower....Now I want everyone who is reading this letter to go to the nearest sink and put their hand under the water as cold as it goes. Super cold huh? That's what I have to shower with everyday....The first few times you shower you can't really breathe, but after a few days you get used to it and you feel like a real man for showering with that water =).
Other than the cold the ward is pretty good and pretty big. The bishopric actually does visits and the members are very willing to go with us and visit people. When I got here we didn't really have any investigators, but we found a bunch this week. There are lots of people that are prepared to recieve the gospel here; and out of all the investigators that we found this week 5 of them came to church. Now that is awesome!
Now my companion, his name is Elder Pinta from Colombia. He's got about 18 months in the mission and he's cool. We got off to a rough start, but I think we were able to work out our problems. We were able to contact lots and build up our program of investigators a lot. 

Elder Black

*(I will post pictures later on today)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Well, we haven't received a letter from Skylar this week.  We are assuming he got changed...