Hey Howdy Hey! Happy March, everyone! It's SO crazy to think that my 20th birthday is in two weeks, but before I jump to that, I just want to give a birthday shout-out to by brother Auston, who turned 13 this Sunday! Funny to think that my brother's becoming a teenager when I'm no longer going to be a teenager, hahaha! Not only that, but when I come back, that little white boy of my little brother is going to be starting high school! CRAZY!!! But, enough about the future. The recent past and present is what everyone is waiting on the edge of their seats to hear about, am I right, hahaha! It's a good thing, too, because have I had quite the week, full of some really awesome stories, and I even had my first two official baptisms this past weekend!!!! So what the heck are we waiting for?!?
So this past weekend, two awesome things happened: (1) I found out that I had my first convert already!!!! She was the cousin of the Young Women's Leader in my old ward in Los Sauces whom I had the pleasure of teaching, but she went back to her home in Quito before she could get baptized here :/ But what I later learned is, a couple weeks ago, when she came back to visit again, she got baptized up in Quito!!! So technically, that was my first TECHNICAL convert. The second thing is that my first OFFICIAL baptisms where also this past weekend! Their names are Rosa (50) and Catherine (22) Velastegui, their mother and daughter, and had been investigating the Church for a short while, since just before I came to this sector. They were SO excited when they received answers that this Church is the true Church, and have been coming and receiving our teachings, and got baptized and confirmed this past weekend! Rosa has two other children, Kerlly (25), and Jose Luis (24), who are both still waiting for their "answers", but I believe in due time that they're going to join and be united with their mother and sister in the only true Church of God here on Earth.
Another strange happening this past week (other than receiving my Christmas Cards from the Sundance Ward TWO MONTHS after they were initially sent, hahahahaha!) was when we came across this very special member, Sebastian. He's from this part of Guayaquil that's just barely outside of the borders of our sector, and just barely not in the boundaries of our mission field. It was pretty funny, because this guy was sporting that "Nerdy Superfan" look (the jeans pulled up high, the thick glasses, and he was even wheezing, haha), which I found beyond interesting, especially as he was asking us all these questions, like "Are you Colombian/Northamerican?" "What's the best way to Endure To The End?" and my personal favorite that he asked, "Can you guys come visit and teach me?" Keep in mind that this guy's already a member, and doesn't even live in our mission field, haha. Still, I guess he's still a good referral for the missionaries of the Guayaquil Sur Mission, hahaha. But yeah, it was a beyond interesting experience, to come across a unique member such as Sebastian.
Other than the usual trials and tribulations that come with having the wonderful calling that is a Full-Time Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, not too much else exciting has happened this past week. It's funny, because I tell my companion Elder Alfaro that "it's always an adventure between our companionship", hahahahahaha! I haven't had a normal day, persay, since I've come to this sector, now that I think about it, but other than the usual teaching our Investigators, Less Active Members, and Recent Converts how they can overcome the trials and tribulations and a TON of them have been having to go through recently. But, I know, my companion knows, and more importantly, we both have the desires for them to know that coming closer to Christ through any and all means necessary, which especially includes Enduring To The End as much as you can (and then a little bit more), that's when you'll start to see just how much God loves you, and how much blessings he's had in store for you; past, present, and most importantly future.
In conclusion, I want everyone to know through my bearing my testimony that, when things get hard, and they seem that they can't get any harder, that's when you need to give it your all, and just a little bit more, until the blessings that I know with a certainty that God has for each and every one of us start to become noticable. Whether it be receiving answers to our prayers, receiving help when we need it most, or even finding out what it is you need to do and how you should do it, I leave my blessing that life may not be easy here on Earth, but it's because God loves us is why we're here. I love you all, and may God be with you until next week!!! Until then, take care, and pray always!!!!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane Parke