Monday, December 30, 2013

Week Six in Ecuador - Merry Christmas From Loja!!! - December 30, 2013

Dear Family,
Our skype call was so wonderful!  It honestly was the best Christmas present I could have asked for  and I am so glad that you all are doing so well! It was so nice to just talk to all of you! And ya, it was hard after the phone call to focus because I love you all so much!
I am very glad that you liked my testimony. I feel like I have somewhat of a special testimony because I know this gospel is true and that is why I have a testimony but I can see both sides to everything so I understand when people have doubts about the gospel.  But I know the gospel to be true and if one church has to be true on this earth than it is this one. The world is just too amazing not to have a God that created it. 
The other two missionaries in my house are from Ecuador and Peru and I love them because they are both such great guys! So, one of them is Elder Castenda  and he is constantly making fun of me and so I make fun of him back and it is hilarious! Then the other Elder is so nice and I have had some good talks with him and it's in Spanish so I love it even more :) So those are the other Elders in our house, and it is very nice to have them with us!!
I'm so glad you all had a wonderful Christmas!!! Mine was good too. I got a tie from the Bishop of our ward and lots of candy from the ward so that was good :)
I hope Jacob is doing okay with me being gone...and I just want him to know that I really do love him so much and think about him all the time. Also, tell him that two years is nothing...I will be back before he knows it and I will have time to watch him play varsity basketball for Brighton. So I hope he is okay..... I love that kid :)
My companion loves all animals and insects so he got a little annoyed with me the other day when I killed a moth and he helped a spider leave our room by guiding it with a broom... it took like 10 minutes.... hahaha.
Ok,  so this week in general was good however, we didn't get too much work done because of Christmas Eve (which is really big here.....much bigger than Christmas Day) and Christmas so that was too bad. We had two invetigators come to church with us and they are great so hopefully we can get baptism dates for both of them!
Also we went to this one place called Guagora and it was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and I will send you a picture that is so awesome. 
Also I was thinking I really do want to bring you guys back here after my mission....Ecuador is soooo cool!!! I love the city of Loja.
Also if I make pancakes do I use butter for the pan or cooking oil?
I can't believe it is almost 2014. The year of my mission! The only year of my entire life that will completely be for the Lord....pretty crazy. I can't believe how the time has flown! I have almost been on my mission for three months and over a month in Ecuador!!!

Love you so much!
Elder Lignell

 Christmas in our casa!
My new tie....a gift from our Bishop...I opened it at 12:00 a.m. Christmas morning :)
The Sunset in Loja 
We went to of the most beautiful places I have ever been to!!! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week Five in Ecuador - Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Family,
So I obviously made it back from Guayaquil and the 8 hour bus ride wasn't that bad. I slept for most of it so that was good and this week was really interesting. I had a few cool experiences. One was that I really noticed that I love the Book of Mormon! We were teaching two investigators about the Book of Mormon and they were sceptical about it being about the Americas and I felt annoyed because I realized that I really know that it is true and that I want other people to know that its true too. It really is a very cool book and everyone should take the chance to read it at least once.
It was kind of a wake-up moment for me because I realized how much I really want to share with others and I believe that I am slowly becoming more and more of a missionary :)
I was also talking to our zone leaders and one of them I really like. His name is Elder Males he is from Ecuador and he was giving me advice on how to teach better and how to be a better missionary.
Also, this week was good and we got five more baptism dates but we'll see if they carry through. I kinda don't think they will...
We now have two other elders in our house and they are great! I love talking to them in the evenings and I gave one of them a blessing of comfort this morning. I did it in English but while I was doing it, I realized that I could have done it in Spanish which is awesome!  The language is coming slowly and I understand a little bit more and more every day and it makes me so very happy because I see my potential as a missionary. 
I'm still trying to figure out how to make an omelet without everything sticking in the pan.  We are eating a lot of eggs here for breakfast and bananas all the time!  The coach roaches aren't as bad as they were in the beginning, but there are ants everywhere.  We do have netting to use for our beds, but I haven't had to use it and haven't seen one mosquito here. 
We did help someone put up their Christmas tree the other day and I had to laugh because it was just like our fake one at home....the kind where you hook the branches into little slots.  Other than that, we haven't had too many services projects yet. 
I can't wait to Skype with you on Christmas!  I have the account and password so I should be all set and ready to go.
Talk to you soon!
Love, Elder Lignell

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week Four in Ecuador - Monday, December 16, 2013

Hi Mom and family. Today is really weird because I am in Guayaquil right instead of Loja.  We took an 8 hour bus ride from 10:00 p.m. last night to 7:00 a.m. in the morning today to get to Guayaquil because apparently, since I am new I have to get some paper stuff done for my visa and so all the newbie missionaries are in Guayaquil today.  We leave to go back to Loja in an hour or so.
Elder Myers is here today also.  He is my friend from the MTC and we talked a bunch and he told me about his experiences so far.  It was really fun to catch up.  We talked about a crazy game we made up at the MTC where the Elders would put "dibs" on the sister missionaries there after our two years were up and it was hilarious how competitive it got when it was really just a silly game, but also really funny. 

Okay so this week was good and I have enjoyed it. I am trying to have more faith and be more diligent in trying to learn Spanish because that is the hardest part by far! The fact that I want to say so much to people but I just can't and it is so very frustrating.
Unfortunately, we are not having  much success as we keep getting baptismal dates and then they all fall through so I have been disappointed a lot this week. However, I know that it will get better and I just need to learn Spanish first so I can teach the gospel and not have to rely so much on my companion.
Well, I asked my first person to be baptized and she said, "no."  Well , I guess there needed to be a first.
Next, my companion and I saw this goat that was caught on some barbwire so we untangled it and tied it to a different fence. So I didn't get any baptisms with my companion this week,  but we saved a goat :)
One day we asked a member, Carlos Luna, to help us go around and commit some people to go to sacrament meeting with us.  Carlos has a little Ford runner car and he is the craziest driver ever  and is about 75 or 80 years old and considering the fact that there are hardly any traffic rules here it was pretty crazy and I'm very suprised that we survived. ( haha )

We won't be able to Skype on Christmas Day, but will be able to do it on Christmas Eve around 4 or 5 in the evening my time so I'll need to make sure it is all set up and ready to go.  I'm glad I have one more pday to get some instructions from you.
I'm sorry this email is so short, but we won't be on the computer terminals long today because we have to return to Loja.  Also, I can't send you any pictures today because I heard that it is really easy to get your camera stolen here and I'm at a busy computer terminal, so I don't want to get out my camera.
I'll have to send you a longer email next week.
Love you all so very much!
Elder Lignell 



Monday, December 9, 2013

Week Three in Ecuador - Monday, December 9, 2013

Hello :)  Our week was good and  I am definitely understanding a ton more Spanish,  however it is extremely frustrating when someone says something and I just can't figure it out. But all in all, I think I can figure out the language and it will just take time.
I miss you guys a lot because of Christmas. It is crazy to think that it is  85 degrees everyday here and it is 10 degrees there..... I'm very sorry. However, I am very excited to talk to you on Christmas.
Ok...continuing with the week... it has been hard because we keep getting investigators with baptismal dates and then they fall through so it's like a rollercoaster with my hope that I can get my first baptism. "Todo es possible mediante dios amoroso todo poderoso eterno" (Everything is possible through all loving all powerful god eternal) 
Ecuador is beautiful and I love the people! They are so kind and humble and willing to talk even if they don't get converted. I love the city Loja! There are so many little stores everywhere and it is fun to explore.
The Church is not very strong here. There are very few members, but they are so great and they are so friendly and help out so much that it is amazing!
We got to watch the Christmas Devotional from the Church I was hoping it would be in English with Spanish subtitles but nope.... all in Spanish. Anyway, what I understood I enjoyed .
It is very nice to know that all my friends are out on missioins with me I absolutely love it!! And this life is very hard and demanding and yes, I am constantly expected to be happy and expected to want to talk to everyone so there are a ton of things that I am learning besides Spanish. Like how to take care of myself,   how to communicate to others in Spanish, how to enjoy myself and always remember at the same time that I am a representative of Jesus Christ.

 So here is a little more detail about our days. I usually make breakfast in the morning and have been making omelets. Then we always have a big lunch at a member's house and then we don't usually have any plans for dinner. 

Apparently the water is cleaner here but I still don't trust it and so we have these water bottles that filter the water so I just use that and I survive. (haha)

And for our clothing right now, we have a member that has voluntereed to wash clothing for us. Most people here wash their clothes by hand and I guess it takes like three hours for a weeks worth of clothing,  but the member has a washing machine so I am very lucky at the moment.

Other than that, I am doing good and everyday I get a little bit more used to being out here. I know this is where I am supposed to be and if for some reason I don't get one baptism out here I know that I already have one convert which is me :)  I love the scriptures and prayer and I can see myself changing but defintely in a good way. I am still the same Austin but I have a deeper appreciation of the Church and of this Gospel, of my family and my friends and just my life in general.

I think about you guys a lot which I know isn't good but its hard not to. ( haha ) I feel bad because I brag about you all a lot which I need to not do so much, but it's easy because I am proud of my family and I love you all so much :)

Talk to you soon,

Elder Lignell

Loja, Ecuador




Week Number Two in Ecuador - Monday, December 1, 2013

Okay, so this week, I have been trying to adjust to my new surroundings and it is not always easy!  I'm in a new country that speaks Spanish and 99 percent of the time, I have no idea what is going on!!

We had our first Zone Conference, which included the President of our mission and our entire zone.  The Conference was really good.  They fed us breakfast and lunch and it was very good.  My favorite part, however, was the individual interviews because I got to talk to the President.  He was so encouraging and supportive and helped me with so much advice! 

Also, there was another missionary there named Elder Riffel who came in the same time as I did and he was very homesick and I tried to give him the best advice possible, but it strengthened my testimony that if I can be able to tell others that they can do it, I can do it too!!!

Ecuador is so cool and it fun to see the people and practice my Spanish.  The buses are always packed and on the buses, they play a lot of American music but I'm not sure anyone on the buses understand what the music is saying. 

There are a lot of stray dogs here and a lot of them look like our dog, Bella.

Before we started our fast for this month, we had lunch at President Hansen's house.  He and his wife are from Washington state and it was like a mini Thanksgiving.  I loved it and I loved being able to talk to them in English!

Also, today I got my first haircut is certainly different. 

I found some cool scriptures that I would like you to read.  D&C 122: 5-9 and D&C 109: 2123.  They are about missionary week and have helped me a ton!

Also, something pretty funny I saw was a big pig head hanging at a local shop and people kept bumping into it.  I took a picture of it for you.

All in all, this is very hard and I'm still not perfect and I'm still trying to grasp the language, but I have hope and faith and I know I can do this one day at a time, one week at a time and one year at a time.  I know this will benefit me so much in the end.  I will be able to live anywhere and be a much better person because of all of the experiences I will have while I'm here.

I love you all so much,


Elder Lignell
Pig's Head Hanging At A Local Shop

Sunset in Loja

A Stray Dog That Looks Like Our Dog, Bella!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Week in Ecuador!!!

Hi everyone and family! This week has been absolutely crazy!
First,  Chandler... I know that he is in a better place now. I know that he is such a wonderful person and that he is looking down at all of us right now smiling. He lived a great live and he was ready to meet God, this is very hard on me and it makes me so so so very homesick and you don't know how badly right now I just want to hug all of you guys. But I think I wil be able to cope with Chandler. One day at a time...I will do better,  but at the moment I'm sort of sobbing everywhere. I know that I will see Chandler again, not in two years but it will be that much sweeter when I get to. I know that God lives and that Chandler is hanging out with him right now, cracking jokes and talking about the Jazz. I'm gonna make it through this. I know I can, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity"

Ok, so now I guess I'll talk about my first week here. Getting to Ecuador was crazy long however on my last flight to Ecuador I talked to a nice Ecuadorian man and his child, mostly about normal stuff and a little tiny bit about the gospel, but he seemed receptive and I gave him a pass along card and got his phone number so that was sweet. And, if I am ever in his area I will call him and try to set up a meeting with him.
Next we got to the Guayaquil temple and we met with our new companions and the mission president and my companion speaks absolutely no English, only Spanish and he is from Bolivia. 
My first area is Loja which is an 8 hour bus ride from Guayaquil, so we slept at the temple for one night and then went on our way to Loja. Loja is very beautiful and it is higher up in the mountains and there are mountains everywhere. I love the scenery. Our casa is pretty big actually, because it is meant to have four missionaries but we are the only ones here for now. My companion and I will have to start cleaning as when we arrived we found we have cockroaches in our kitchen and ants everywhere so making food scares me but I've got a system down for making eggs haha...
Mountains of Loja


 It was really hard to be away from you for my birthday, but one of the ward members made me the most awesome birthday cake.  It was really delicious!!!!

Birthday Cake For My 19th Birthday Made By One of Our Ward Members

I'm trying to work on my Spanish, but it is coming slow.  It has been a tough first week trying to get adjusted to my new surroundings, but I'm going to try to be more positive and hopefully will have a better week.

Love you all so much!

Elder Lignell