Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!
Before I get started with another fantastic weekly update to kick off my third week here in Ecuador, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my fantastic dad, whose birthday was on the 22nd. He's turning "38" (again... Hahahaha), so I just wanted to say love you, Dad, and don't get too old all at once! ;)
SO much more Spiritual moments that I've been able to have here, but the one that takes the cake this week was the opportunity that I had to travel once more back to Guayaquil for a trip to the Temple, and a Zones Conference. The devotional that our Mission President, Presidente Riggins, gave was one that literally shook me in a way that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland does each and every General Conference. During his devotional, he pulled up a poll that each of us had the opportunity of taking earlier during our missions here. The poll displayed how each of us, as missionaries and companionships, were not NEARLY taking enough time to study the Doctrine, studying from Preach My Gospel, or with our Companions. And his words for us were (he spoke this in Español, but I'll translate it): "If we're not studying the Doctrine, what are we doing? If we're not taking up our time, studying the material that we should be studying to teach to our investigators (and so many others in our missions), then what exactly is it that we are spending our time doing?!?"
I just recently received some mail from the Taylor family, and seeing all those kids wish me luck on my mission makes me feel really glad to have so many people supporting me.
My Spanish is getting better each and every day, the food here is AWESOME, and the culture is different in a humble, unique, amazing way. We have several investigators, but right now, only one has been truly progressing. Her name is Carmen Escobar, she's 47, she's a shopowner and a less-active Catholic, and is REALLY interested in the Gospel. But, she won't go to Church, because she feels that she can't. This feels so exciting and fantastic, having the opportunity to share the Gospel with people like Hermana Carmen.
I love all of you, and thank you again for all the love and support for my serving a mission!
Elder Conner Duane Parke