Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 77

Hi, Mom. So, to be a little straight forward, Elder Reilly and I are highly certain that he (at the very least) will be getting transferred this next week. We've also been hearing some rumors/hints from some of the other missionaries about how it might be like if there were only 2 missionaries here in Balzar as opposed to 4 like now. I personally find it quite interesting to say the least, because Elder Reilly and I have made quite an amount of magic here, and we believe that it can only get better if the branch continues to play their cards right. We do have some plans to start up some more training for the leadership here, because a lot of them know what it is they need to do... It only comes down to a matter of how they do it, which is where they become a little unsure. Granted, it has taken quite the stress toll on my companion and I for taking all of these initiatives to fortify the branch, but at the same time, we feel in our hearts that what we're doing is for the good of the branch both now as well as in the future. I myself have grown really close to this branch and its members, especially from all of the sacrifices that have been made on our parts and also theirs.

It just blows my mind to comprehend that I've already got 18 months in the mission. It at the same time scares me, because that means that my days are slowly but surely becoming numbered here in Ecuador. It isn't the most mind-blowing place to serve (it does make me facepalm from the things they do and say, though, at times, but I digress), but I can't help but simply be grateful for the person that the mission has helped me grow to now be. There have been nights were I looked back on the person that I once was, and I cried. I was prideful, I was angry, but more than anything I was unhappy. On the inside, I couldn't help but feel miserable. It wasn't until I submitted to the will of God and His Son Jesus Christ that I soon began to find my self-worth, and more importantly the worth, trust, and love that my Father in Heaven had for me. I still may not be perfect, but I at least do what I can to help me and those around me get closer and closer to that long-term goal. A couple scriptures that we've begun to use a lot more often in our teachings are Alma 5:33-34, and D&C 89:3. Our Lord loves each and every one of us to always and forever have His arms stretched forth, even unto the most spiritually weak of Saints. If we love Him, follow Him, and let Him in to help us change for the better, He'll open our eyes to just how much He loves us, and how many blessings He has for us.

I just want to conclude by testifying that the Lord truly prepares the way for those whom are or will be ready to recieve us, accept us into their homes and lives, and have come to know just how "curious" they are about the relationship they have been God, His Son, and each of them. We came across one of our investigators, Miguel, when he suddenly showed up to Church 3 weeks ago with his wife, who's a member. They've been together for 8 years, got married 2 months ago, and they just moved back here from Guayaquil. Miguel attended before in Guayaquil, but received us the Tuesday after they came to Church. He's a dentist, he's a really great guy, and Elder Reilly and I have faith that he'll do great things after his baptism this coming Saturday. On a different note, a member family here, the Batioja's, invited some family to Church this Sunday (Sister Batioja's sister Ruth and her husband Eric). It just so happened that Ruth was President of the Relief Society in the ward Las Americas before moving to Ward Sauces while I had been serving down in Guayaquil. I know in my heart that the Lord has divinely prepared my mission for me, and given me clues to help me know that He's been watching. I love you guys a lot, I miss you guys a lot, but I know that my being here has been without a doubt one of the greatest blessings that I have ever been given by my Heavenly Father. I want to thank everyone for all the prayers, love, and support, because
they've helped me more than ever while serving here. Until next week, keep on looking for the hand of the Lord each day, wherever it may be. Take care!!!

Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke

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