Monday, January 26, 2015

Week Sixty Two in Ecuador - January 26, 2015 - So Hot, But Pushing Forward and Had Another Baptism!

Hey family!

Well this week has been great! We worked extremely hard. And it's definitely not easy right now in Machala because it is the hottest time of the whole year! You don't even know how tempting it is to sit down in the shade or hang out with all the members when the sun just melts everything, but the mission wasn't suppossed to be easy and we're given it all we got and we were extremly blessed in the fact that this Saturday we had a baptism!!! Hurray!!! It was sweet.
But I'll tell you more about it in a sec. So anyways it's hot and everyday we are in a place that is called the COCO haha go look it up on the's like a small little piece of Africa in the middle of Machala and pretty much everyone who lives there is  black... and they love to dance :) They have giant speakers that they set outside of their houses and blast bachata merengue, regaton and salsa choki and I love it, because the people aren't wealthy and they hardly have anything but they are happy and love life and dance like crazy ALL THE TIME.  

Our baptism that we had is named A and he also lives in the Coco and he's a great kid. The funny thing is, is that all of his friends and family aren't the greatest people they can be pretty scary looking... haha and wow it was a miracle that we were able to find A. He's a great kid and he loves the Gospel I was so amazed that he stayed strong and got baptized even when his whole family made fun of him and when they don't respect the morals of a worthy LDS member. It truly was a blessing to find him, teach him and see the way his face would light up as we taught him about the truths of the Gospel. As I talked about before with our other investigator, K. I feel like him finding the Gospel has been an escape for them both.... a way to feel at peace when a lot of the parts of his home life don't have that peace or calmness.  

I love this Gospel and the time that I have been able to have here in Machala. I have learned so much here in the short 2 months that I've had. I've learned that honestly your success as a missionary does not come through numbers. That our ability to have success in our missions really is just the ability to give it all we have and not rest. If we constantly work and strive to improve, God will make us feel successful, happy and at peace. It's the greatest feeling in the world to know that God is happy with us and to know that we are fulfilling his will when he answers our prayers.

So anyways, I'm happy and hope all is well at home.

Love, Elder Lignell            The Baptism of A.  He was so strong to follow through!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Week Sixty One in Ecuador - January 19, 2015 - Press Forward With Faith

Dear Family,
Thank you so much for mailing out the package. It sounds perfect. You guys are the absolute best!
And to answer your question Mom, yes I have given a blessing recently. In fact we give blessings weekly and to be completely honest sometimes I feel like my blessings are really being guided by the Spirit and then other times I feel like it's just a lot more of my own thoughts. I'm not sure if it's my fault in not listing to the spirit or if God is just trusting me in that moment to use my own thoughts and intuition.
Now about this week. It was wonderful! We have been working extremely hard everyday and it has been fun to see the small fruits of our efforts. And I was thinking, this time right now really is the best time in my mission for me to just give it absolutely everything that I have. Because why not...I understand the language, I have a good companion and a wonderful ward to serve in right now. Everything is just set up for us to have success here and this week we are going to go all out to get everyone in Machala baptized haha :)

It's been scaring me lately how short of time I have left... I felt a giant wave of anxiety to be able to complete all that I want in this two years and I have found some amazing scriptures that God has given us. For instance D&C 64:32-35  talks about not worrying because God works at his own pace, and councils us to never cease to do good but only to press forward with faith. And it's so true and it's not just a principle in the mission, it is a principle that we all have to learn for every aspect of our lives. To just not worry and know that if we continue in obedience and with patience, God will always pull through.
I love this gospel and I am excited to keep working. Sorry I didn't really have any cool investigator stories this week but I promise I will soon!
Oh and guess what? There is a new missionary that just got here to Ecuador and his name is Bowen Smith haha he is from our stake and he went to Brighton. He played basketball on the high school team and he coached Jacob at a bascketball camp one time!!! I don't have my camera right now but I will send you all a picture with me and him next week!
Well love you all!

Elder Lignell

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week Sixty in Ecuador - January 12, 2015 - Very Hot in Machala!!

Dear Family,

That is so awesome that Jake has been starting for the sophomores! I'm stoked to be able to see him play when I get back so he'll have to not get cut for his junior year ;) haha.

Thank you mom for the package. I'm excited and honestly I could use a tube of tooth paste and also if you can, the scripture stickers that go in the book of mormon :) and nothing else... I don't think I need the insoles so don't worry about it :)
That's awesome about Dad asking the question, and to be honest I have thought that before, about how come God had to wait so long to restore his Gospel to this earth. But like you said Mom, everything just had to fall right into place at the right time. A lot of it also could have to do with the actual plates of the Book of Mormon being hidden in New York in the Hill Cumorah. Joseph Smith was literally chosen to be born there in that town that had so much religious pressure in a country that had the liberty to start religions and have new ideas and obviously being close to the plates in actuality, all played a part in the restoration of the gospel. scriptures of Joseph Smith (acts 3:20,21) Apostosy Amos 9:12  4Nephi 1:27

Alright so now about my week. Well it has been great! This last week we worked really hard and it is so hot right now in Machala I get burned even when I put layers of sunscreen on... there is no way to avoid it! haha but I feel good and I'm getting along with my companion. He's a weird little Peruvian kid and he hangs his mooth open all the time and it looks like he just has no idea what's going on hahah but I've found the way to get along with him and help him out little by little. :) And as a missionary I've discovered that getting along with your companion is sooooo crucial to be happy and having success. And sometimes it can be a struggle, but when you figure it out everything just goes smoother. You can feel the Spirit, you find more people to teach, the members like you more, and all in all it makes you more happy. So I'm so grateful that my comp and I are getting along and this last week has been a blast...we found a ton of people!

A cool experience from this week is that I was able to visibly see that God answers our prayers. The week before I had asked him in prayer if we could be able to sit down and teach all of our investigators because in the weeks before we hardly were given the opportunity to teach our investigators. It was frustrating and then right after asking that, every single day our investigators weren't busy and gave us the time to sit down, start with a prayer and really be able to feel the Spirit. I was so thankful and blessed to be able to see in front of my eyes, God answering my prayers.

I know He watches out for us and I know He listens to us. I am so excited to keep pushing forward in this year and finish it all out strong :)

Love you all,
Elder Lignell

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week Fifty Nine in Ecuador - January 5, 2015 - Happy New Year !!

Hey Family :) 

Well I did actually have a nice week, and yes Machala does celebrate New Years. In fact it celebrates New Years a lot haha however, this New Years for me was extremely boring. I went to bed at 10:30 and woke up around 11:50 because of all the fire works and music. I thought about going up the stairs with my companion to see all of the lights from the roof, hopwever I was too tired haha so I watched the countdown on my bed on the little nokia phone that we have...pretty exciting :)

And to be honest, New Years this year actually made me a little bit more homesick than Christmas which is really weird... but everyone was with family and going on trips and listening to music and not in their house, so us working New Year's day was just pathetic to be honest. We didn't find anyone... and no one was out in the streets either... :( but now I'm glad because it's over.

Thank you for the scriptures that is so nice of you :) and with the shirts you can get the ones from Mr. Mac. They are neck size 16 and the brand is called ENRO and slim fit and thank you so much... I'm way excited for the ties and the scriptures!

Now about my week. Well as you all know it was New Years this week and in Ecuador they celebrate New Years for a lot more than just one night. They start the new year off with a party and just keep going and going and going. The parties started on the 31st around 7 at night and at 6 we were in the house by ourselves because of the danger of being in the streets, however New Years Day we left the house around 11 in the morning and it was a lot more dangerous then because the parties from the night before hadn't finished yet. They were still going strong and everyone was drunk. I couldn't even count how many drunk guys asked us for money that day or said bad words in English or invited us to drink and "start the new year off right" hahaha. But we made it through the day safely and back to the house to rest in peace. Then all in all the week was great.  We worked hard and found a ton of new people that are willing to progress and learn more about the Church. 

An interesting experience this week was that we have an investigator named Alexander and he is a little black kid who is 15 years old and his family and friends and pretty much everyone that lives around him is a bad influence. However he likes to listen to us and you can tell he truly understands when we teach him. 

The cool experience that we had was that we went to teach him on New Years Eeve and there was a giant party at his house, so I, not knowing what to do, invited him top sit outside with us on chairs to be able to teach him. We started with a prayer and read part of the Book of Mormon and I honestly don't know how it was possible with all the music inside, but I felt the Spirit enter into our lesson, you could see it in his eyes as he was reading he felt something... and later that week, he told me that he felt something. But it really amazed me how strong the Spirit can be. Obviously the Spirit won't always be detected when the environment isn't right, but God needed Alexander to feel that and maybe it even helped him to make some better decision that night. All I know is that God helps his children... He touches their lives and if we invite his spirit to come, it will come :)

Love you all to death!

Write back!

Elder Lignell