Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week Ninety Six in Ecuador - September 21, 2015 - MY LAST EMAIL FROM ECUADOR!!

Hey family,
Well I honestly never thought that this moment would arrive.

This week has been crazy, but honestly probably one of the busiest weeks that I have had in my mission. Which was good because it helped me to keep my head in the game and not focus so much on going home. We were everywhere trying to prepare everthing for the last Saturday for their baptisms but it turned out perfectly. There really was not a better way that I could have asked for to finish my mission.

So first off Saturday night was so spiritual, it was amazing to see so many people ready to make a covenant with God to follow him from there on out. First I had the wonderful opportunity to baptize E. He is 9 years old and his whole family are members. The day before his baptism his mom said to us " With the other missionaries it was different, it's better now because I really fel like it is E's time to get baptized and everything is just falling right into place." Next was M. Her son C. has been a member for a little over a year and she had been visited by countless missionaries and always said to them that it just wasn't her time that she had too many problems and wasn't ready yet. This last week when we visited her I asked her how she was doing and she said, "I'm ready to do this. I feel happy and ready to get baptized." Her son was so excited to baptize her it was amazing to see how God really changed her in these last few weeks. Then there was I. she is the aunt of a recent convert and recently has been having a lot of health problems and in sharing with her how God could help her and just how much he loved and cared for her you could see her joy just shine. She was so excited and ready to make a covenant with God and to recieve his guidance in her life. The lastly there was G. he is the husband of T who got baptized about 3 weeks ago. He asked me to baptize him and it was such a spiritual experience. Then after his baptism he bore his testimony and explained that at first when he saw the missionaries come to his house he didn't want to accept us but explained that in the end it wasn't his desiscion it was God's decsion and that God opened his heart, that now he is ready to be a better person and to live in the gospel. He explained that he is excited to get sealed to T. in the temple and put a goal for the 20th of September next year, he then thanked us for teaching him and bringing a new light into his life.

 Wow I can't even explain the feelings I have had in this last week but it has been amazing. I feel so blessed and I have been pondering and thinking a lot that in reality we didn't even do too much for these people, I mean me personally. It was almost all God ;he prepared them, he opened their hearts, he sent his spirit, he works through 20 year old kids to change the lives of others, but we hardly do very much. We are only instruments in the hands of God, and well as I finish my mission in this week, I only have to keep being an instrument in his hands, and he will continue to use me to work miracles, to feel the spirit and change the lives, of others. Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the world!! There truly is nothing else that brings more joy to our lives than helping others.

I know God lives, I know he knows me better than I do. I know that everyday we have to change and be better and as we are humble and let the power of the atonement work within us we will be made into perfect instruments in the hands of God. He has a plan for each and everyone one of us, he loves us and is willing to give us joy and happiness that is unending all we have to do is trust him, follow the steps of Christ his son and he has a celestial paradise prepared for us and for our families.

I am so grateful for these last two years, and for all of you!! Thanks for supporting me, helping me and never giving up on me. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my last two years in any other way.
Love you all and see you soon.

Viva Ecuador!

 Love,  Elder Lignell                                 Baptisms this past week
                                                             My Going Away Party

                                                     T. and Her Family
                                         Final Celebrations With The People of Ecuador!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week Ninety Five in Ecuador - September 14, 2015 - I Can't Believe It Is All Coming To An End

Hey family I'm here again :)

Alright so first off, mom thank you so much for your advice letter.

It's been cool to be on a mission because it's given me another
concept of family and love and service and also joy. I definitely am
not perfect. I know when I get home I won't be perfect. But I feel a
lot more confident now about what I truly want out of life and what
kind of person I want to be. The mission honestly has been the
greatest experience of my life. I don't think there are words that
could explain just how much of a blessing it has been in my life. And
I'm so grateful I've had this opportunity to serve. I feel so blessed
that God stuck with me; he never gave up and honestly God is
the perfect example of patience because all of his kids have problems
and difficulties but he hasn't given up on a single one of us and will
always be willing to help us repent and change. I feel like I'm a
different person, which is good but at the same time the mission is
not the end... I have to keep learning and progressing for my entire

I can't believe it's all coming to an end. I have one week left to work
as a missionary and if everything works out right we will have a few
baptisms and I'll finish very content.

I'm working well with my companion he is learning a ton. T, the lady who got baptized two
weeks ago, invited us over for a dinner as a sort of a going away party for
me :) and her husband is super excited about church; he wants to be
baptized as fast as possible. So anyways the day before the dinner, we
had visited them and we taught her husband (G.) a nice lesson
and at the end he told us that he still couldn't find a new job and I
said,"don't worry, I promise you you'll find one soon" and hey the next
day at dinner he told us about an hour after we left that someone called
offering him a job. We are planing everything so that he can get
baptized this next Sunday after church :)

It truly is crazy how much God helps the missionaries. Sometimes I
feel as if we hardly do anything at all and that people just accept
our invitations and change, and it truly is just amazing. There is no
doubt in my mind that God exists, and something that I love that is
stated in my patriarchal blessing is that I will see God working in
the small details of my life. And it's so true... when we look for him,
we find him in every aspect of our lives! (Family: I invite you all to
do something this next week; pray and ask to be able to notice God in
the small details of your lives and I promise you will all have better
weeks :) ))

Love you guys all so much. I hope you understood what I wanted to say.
Next week will be my last week to be able to write. I'm so thankful
for all that you guys do. Love you all to pieces and when I get back I
would love to eat Panda Express haha and Jake has to be my companion
until I feel normal again. :)

We'll talk next Monday

Love, Elder Lignell

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week Ninety Four in Ecuador - September 7, 2015 - People In My New Area Have Started Called Me "The Elder That Is Going Home Soon" because "Lignell" Is Too Hard To Say In Spanish :)

Hey family, I'm online.

Thanks for your letter...glad Jake is at least doing his homework,
that's what matters :) and congratz on the garden, I'll be ready for
some zuccinni bread when I get back so you'll have to make some!

Thanks for the packing list thing, I think I'll be fine getting it all
in I just hope it's under weight because I think it costs a ton if it
goes over... anyways I'll try my best.

Anyways this week has been great. I'm gonna be honest...finishing the
mission is one of the weirdest things of all time... I just feel odd.

All of the members here have started calling me "Elder that's gonna go
home soon" because "Lignell" is hard for them to say in Spanish. A
member even shared a scripture in church which was Enos 1:27 and he
made me read it... the scipture talks about how soon he would go to
his place of rest... haha so ya it's pretty lame but I still feel like
the same missionary. Still working, and everyday we get more and more
blessed, I feel so grateful.

This week I felt like I really got to feel comfortable in the new sector.
It's been about a month and now we know most of all the members and we
found quite a few people to teach this week. One of those being the
husband of T that got baptized the week before. His name is
G. and he is awesome! We met with him and taught the
plan of salvation and we focused in that families can be together
forever. He was super interested when we told him that and he said,
"Wow that would be great!" haha we set a baptism date for him and he
accepted. And they both came to church yesterday and the bishop
blessed their one month old baby in sacrament meeting. And then in the
second hour he stood up to present himself and he said, "I am being
taught by the missionaries and up until now all the things they
promised me about church have been true, so I think I'll keep coming."
It's awesome but the best part of all is that he was working as a
security guard in an island like 2 hours away from Guayaquil and he
would stay there working for 15 days and then 6 days here, so we
doubted he would commit to go to church next Sunday and he said, "I'm
not going back so I can look for a new job with better hours to be
with my wife and come to church next Sunday!" I was just shocked. God
really does prepare people to come unto him... I love it :)

Then today in my personal study I was studying the atonement and in
Alma 36:20 where it says, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I
did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my
pain!" It's the same joy that Lehi felt when he had his dream and
partook of the fruit. 1Nephi 8:12 which says, "And as I partook of the
fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore,
I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for
I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." In the story the
tree represents the love of God. And in Spanish in the guide to the
scriptures it says that the greatest example of God's love to us is
shown in the atonement of his son Jesus Christ. So first it's like a
giant circle that when we repent we feel God's love and it brings joy
and second, repenting and using the atonement in our lives is the
only way to motivate us to do missionary work, because as the scripture
showed that after Lehi  partook of the fruit, he desired that joy for his
whole family. Cool huh? I hope this is all making sense.  I just wanted to share what I've been learning.

Anyways love you... all write back please!

Elder Lignell

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week Ninety Three in Ecuador - August 31, 2015 - A Visitor From Switzerland Needs a Blessing - And I'm Amazed At Just How Real This All Is...It Changes People's Lives

Hey family,
Glad to hear that everyone is doing well! Wish Jake a happy birthday for me, hope he had a great day!

I loved the story you shared mom, that was a way cool example of the lamp salesman and how the extra light is what convinced him that he needed it, not the salemans pretty words or price or special functions. It's so cool how the gospel is the same. It just gives us more light that we didn't realize we could have in our lives :) so thanks for sharing. 

This week for us has also been a really good week. So many miracles happened, I was shocked...

So first off on Wednesday we were walking to lunch and right before getting to the member's house to eat, a lady called us from her window asking for a blessing for her small 1 month old grandaughter, so we accepted and went in and gave the blessing. In talking to the lady we found out that she was a member and lives in Switzerland but was here visiting her family who lives in our sector (her daughter).  She explained to us that she shortly would be leaving again but that her daughter wanted to listen in on our lessons. So we talked to her, T. (her daughter) and we found out that she had gone to church before a few imes, and that she has more family members who are part of the church, and we invited her to be baptized and she accepted but explained that she wanted her mom to be there when she got baptized...
But the next visit from her mom wouldn't be until this upcoming February and she was leaving this Sunday... so we left thinking that she would just have to wait, however the thought popped into my head "what if she gets baptized before her mom leaves, like this Saturday" so we called our mission president and explained the situation, and got permission.
So, she got baptized this last Saturday. It was so spiritual in the baptism service! She bore her testimony how her goal is to get her husband baptized and to get sealed in the temple, and her cousin came from the north of Guayaquil to baptize her, (he's a bishop) and all of his family, and wow everything just fell into place, I couldnt believe it!
But she was ready,  it just took God to guide us to her house at the perfect moment for her to be able to take that step. I feel so blessed. I know God is preparing people for the missionaries, we just have to be humble, obedient and ready to listen to the Spirit to do his will. What an amazing miracle.

Next there is a family named the family C. who have two sons who are members and the mom and her daughter who aren't members and the mom always listens to the missionaries but never accepted coming to church or to be baptized. But this last week we had a lesson with her and her son who is preparing for the mission and he shared his testimony to her and how he wanted her to be part of the church. And all we did was listen to her; her doubts, her fears, her worries, her desires and wishes, and tried to explain how the gospel can bless her life. We invited her to be baptized and she just sat there in silence, it was so amazing you could almost see God's light filling inside her and finally she said okay I'll do, I'll get baptized. The day after we visited them again and right before leaving she said, "Ever since I agreed to be baptized I have just felt good, and the spirit just hit me." I felt so happy for her, and wow, God suprises me everyday of how much he does to help us as missionaries, and just how real this all is, it changes peoples lives, it's amazing.

It has been such a wondeful week. I feel so blessed, I don't even feel like I deserve so many blessings, but it just means that we have to keep working and show God that we are grateful for all that he's given us.
Love you all,
Elder Lignell
                                                   The church where we Baptized T. Last Saturday
                                                           The baptism of T.
                                                  T. with her entire family.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week Ninety Two in Ecuador - August 24, 2015 - Shouting for Joy

Hey family,
Thanks mom for yor letter it was nice. I'm doing well here in Batallon and yes I am figuring out the area more and more and also getting to know the members a little bit better, and this week has been a lot of fun. We recieved a ton of blessings as well. It still feels unreal that I'll be coming home soon... like I will never not be a missionary. I feel so used to this life, it's hard to even imagine that there was anything different before. I'm sure it will be hard to get back and to adjust and I know I will miss so many things from Ecuador. But at the same time it is nice to know that God has called me for two years to serve and those two years are coming to an end. So as long as I fight to the end and keep serving as a member afterwards he'll be happy with me, and that's all that really matters; just hope I can make this last month really count!

Anyways glad that everyone is doing well. :)

This week was fun, and as I explained last week we had a baptism that just fell out of the sky for us and it was such a wonderful experience. My companion got the opportunity to baptize her and he was so excited! It made me think back a lot to when I was started the mission and all of the crazy feelings I had and both the good and not so great experiences, it's crazy how far I've come.

Anyways, N. the girl that got baptized is great. On Friday we gave her the clothes for her baptism and explained how everything would work out on Saturday and she literally started jumping with joy yelling, "I'm going to be clean and I'm going to become a daughter of God!" Haha that is the first time I have seen someone actually shout with joy for their baptism! :) then on Saturday, her mom who is recently getting reactivated, gave the spiritual thought and it was perfect! She explained how it was her responsibility as a mother to guide and help N. and she then started crying explaining how she knew that N. needed to be baptized and how much it would help her and wow, the whole room just filled up with the Spirit. My companion was also really worried about baptizing her right but he did it perfectly.

I'm excited this week to keep working and to keep helping out my companion. He's a funny little kid; he's trying hard, and when he stuggles he reminds me a lot of how I was starting the mission and it just makes me so grateful for the changes I have had in my life out here. God truly is amazing and without even realizing it, in the moment he changes us, makes us stronger, better, braver, he makes us disciples, and all it takes is our willingness to serve him, to forget ourselves and go to work as President Hinckley's dad said :) I know it's true! Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Hope everyone is doing well, and thanks so much for your support and love.

Elder Lignell                                      The Girl Who Shouted For Joy :)

                                                      The Baptism of A.
                         A lot of Rice!  This is Usually What We Eat For Our Meals!

                               At the Beautiful Guayaquil Temple With Elder Myers

Week Ninety One in Ecuador - August 17, 2015 - Happy 98th Birthday Grandpa!

Hey mom and family,
So thanks for your letter I really enjoyed it.

That is so amazing that grandpa turned 98! I cant believe it. I'm gonna right a special part for him so that you can read it to him.

Haha I love Jake, I'm so excited to see that kid, hope he's not being to much of a bum about school.

Anyways this last week has been insane, sooo much has changed and I can't wait to tell you all about it. So first off, I left my last sector... it was tough because I loved all of the members there and God had blessed us a ton in finding amazing people ready to hear the gospel. They called me Monday night and told me I was leaving but with the surprise that I was going to train a new missionary for my last transfer!! So Tuesday I went through the temple again! So blessed!
Then we had a training meeting and we got to meet all of our new companions. My (kid) is named Elder Coello he is from Peru and he is twenty years old. And they sent us to a sector called Batallon, so we are completely new here we are both figuring out the streets and the members together, although I did know a little of the area because I served as a zone leader in La Isla Trinitaria so I was a little bit familiar. 

But it has been crazy, and funny because he asked me the first day as we left the house where we were going to go and I said, I don't know. And his face was so confused, he asked how can we leave the hosue and not know where to go, and I responded saying I don't know but God will help us somehow :) and he has, he has blessed us so much in this last week.

We have found two amazing people one is named N. who is a little girl who has going to church for the last few months and literally asked if she could be baptized, we talked to her parents and they accepted and she will be baptized this next Saturday! It was just a straight up miracle!!

The other investigator is named I. and she is 38 and her nephew is a member she accepted a baptisimal invite and came to church yesterday only after knowing her since Saturday.

For real I feel so blessed right now. It's so amazing all of these little blessings that God gives daily. And it doesn't stop there...

Sorry if this seems like I'm bragging... hope not, I'm trying hard to stay humble.

Anyways They called me on Saturday and told me that I had to be back in my old sector at 3 to baptize one of my investigators, because he asked if I could baptize him. So I got to go back to my old sector and baptized him his name is A. , and wow he was so excited, and his whole family went to the service, it was super spiritual.

Lastly I was just realize with my new companion how hard it is to start the mission, how many things are different from our normal lives, and how I had to change a lot. I am so grateful and amazed for the changes God has made for me and who I am now. It's unbelievable. From waking up at 6:30 not 1 pm,  to walking all day long and to trully loving the gospel. My companion is doing well, but he has a lot of changes he is making. Please pray for him a lot and pray for me to be a good trainer, I really want to help him a lot. 

Now this is for grandpa!

Grandpa, congratulations on turning 98! That's amazing, I am so glad that you are strong asnd healthy and from what mom said you have a great appetite. Honestly I cant wait to see you and tell you all about my mission. I have learned so much here. And I am so thankful to God for giving me this opportunity to be here. I love your ties... I use them a lot! Thanks for always being a good example to me and showing your love to us. You have a giant heart, and I think that everyone feels your love. Hope you're doing well, I'll always keep you in my prayers.

 Love, Elder Lignell

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week Ninety in Ecuador - August 10, 2015 - Incredible Week!

Hey guys...everyone looks great! Jake looks a ton different! But he looks good and they look like they had fun on his backpacking trip! 

 Anyways this week has been great, we worked hard and we had some awesome spiritual experiences, so I', just gonna dive right in. So first off this week we had a consejo de lideres where all the zone leaders of the mission get together and have a conference with our president and he trains and teaches us. Well this time was different because we had the chance to go to the Guayaquil temple and do a session! And wow it was amazing! I felt the spirit so strongly. But the hard part was that we woke up at 3:00 in the morning to be able to go and do the session at 6. Then until 3 in the afternoon we were being taught by the president.

He taught about how to make decisions. And it was amazing how much I learned!  You will have to remind me when I get home. I could speak for hours about what he taught but I'll try to just sum it up right now in a few words. So he explained that there is a process to making decisions 1. study it out in our minds. 2. make a decision. ACT! 3.  Pray to God. 4. If the decision is right He will speak peace to our mind and heart. RYC 9: 7 to 9.

And it was almost funny because we got home after the conference around 3:30 pm and I took my suit off and went to the bathroom, then I find my companion asleep on the bed. And BOOM haha I had to make a decision, I was tired soooo tired. But I knew I couldn't sleep... we had to go out and work so I got him up and we went. It would have been so easy to have just laid down and slept, so I feel like I started out well on my good decisions :)

Now in church yesterday two of my recent converts came and one is named K and the other is Y and I was so surprised how much they have changed in this short amount of time that I've known them.

K. had bought a suit and was wearing one of the ties I gave him and Y in the second hour gave one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard and came to church with her whole family. It made me think back to when we first found her, that she was scared to pray and didn't know what to say and how her kids never wanted to wake up on Sundays for church.

It made me think a little bit about the change that God can make in our lives and it is unbelievable what He can do. Only God can change someone like that in such a short amount of time. I'm so grateful for the blessings that he has given me to be missionary here in Ecuador and to have been able to find some many wonderful people. Missionary work is definitely the most amazing thing in this life.

Love you all so much

Elder Lignell
                                              Baptism From Last Week
                                               Zone Meeting
                                          K. in his new suit with the tie I gave him...front row.
                                           Y. with her family

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week Eighty Nine in Ecuador - August 3, 2015 - Working With A Companion That Only Has Only Been Here One Month :)

Hey family, so another wonderful week down :) it's been a busy one for sure, but I'm happy I'm doing well.

This week we taught a lot, and the Lord was able to bless us with a bunch of people who were just ready to accept the gospel. It was amazing to see it happen. In fact I was with a new elder this week named Elder Dure in a split (when we exchange companions for a short time), he has about 1 month on the mission and he was asking me a ton of questions about what to do how to teach and how to help others and it was a little wierd, it made me feel really old in the mission. But we just worked super hard! I tried to explain to him that there really isn't a secret to the mission other than work hard, love everyone and always search for the spirit in every moment.

And it was almost funny how that day inviting people in the street and in their homes almost all of them accepted our invitations and it was so cool because you could see how excited he was to be working and sharing the gospel, and he started to smile and talk to everyone he could. And it actually helped me a lot to remember how I should always be thankful and get excited for the little things, and not wait for a giant miracle but see the little tiny ones everyday and let those be the source of my desire to keep serving and working.

We also had a baptism this week named J. She is 19 years old and her best friend is a returned missionary who just got back from the mission.
 The day of her baptism and of her confirmation she had soooo many difficulties, it was crazy to see how much satan was trying to hold her back from doing the right thing, and it just so happens in this week I was reading in Alma 49 and 50 and it explains how Moroni never stopping preparing for the war even though it was a time of peace. I realized that the same principle works for all of us and satan. Even if we feel at peace we can never stop progressing in the gospel... we can never feel satisfied with our spiritual progression because there is always something more to do and just as Moroni didn't stop if we don't stop we will always win!

Love you guys so much and hope everyone is doing well!
Thanks for the pictures send more when you can!

Elder Lignell
       Monthly Leadership Council Meeting. I'm in the back row, second from the middle.