Hi, Mom. So, before I talk about anything else, I just want everyone to know that's reading the blog that I'm perfectly fine, my companion's fine, we're all fine here in Balzar. According to the satellites and other technology they use to measure and pinpoint the earthquakes, the epicenter was more or less an hour north of a city near the coast called Portoviejo. They say it was 7.8 magnitude, and 400+ people lost their lives from it. The best way the four of us here have to summarize it when it "hit us" was: "We're just lucky to be alive", hahaha. It's funny, because my companion, Elder Palma, is from Chile, so he just cracks jokes about how earthquakes and tremors like that happen every week or so back at his home in Concepción, hahahahaha. But yeah, none of us are hurt, we're all perfectly fine... I mean, I'm still a bit shaken up, because I've only felt two tremors in my life (both here on my mission in Ecuador), but that's nothing to stop me and my companion from working our hardest.
So, I've been doing a ton of thinking about my companionship, and not only in the context of "Why me?" But rather, I've been trying to look at it each and every angle, and see how I can bless my companion (and vice versa) with what little time I feel we have left as companions. What I can see from right off the bat is we are both EXTREMELY different. For whatsoever reason, we click on some subjects, but even so, we're basically Black and White. However, I haven't lost the hope and love that I've had in each and every one of my companions yet, and I'm not willing to start now. Elder Palma may be a little on the crazy side (to me, at least), but also from what I can see between the two of us, we have a very prominent "burning" desire within both of us to bless the lives of those we come across in our missions. We both want to be remembered, we both wish to make the most out of our time here, and more than anything, we both can't thank our Lord Jesus Christ enough for how He has helped us turn our lives around while we still could. So Elder Palma may not be my "perfect companion", but he can be a LOT worse, is what I'm basically trying to get at, hahahahahaha!
I love you guys a lot, and there hasn't been a single day since I left that I haven't been thinking about you guys. It's been a harder climb for me than Camel's Back and Table Rock put together, to put it in Idaho terms, haha. It hasn't been in the very least easy for me to be away from home for the longest time in my LIFE, but I wouldn't trade the things I've learned and the spiritual growth that I've made for absolutely anything in the world. Like I've said how many times now, I have no doubts that it will only get harder from this point on, but at the same time, like you guys have been telling me, never in my life will I most likely feel as close to my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ than while I'm here on my mission. Until next week, let everyone know that I'm okay, I love them, and I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. I've been taking a lot more, but I keep forgetting my Camera Cord in the apartment. Next week, for sure, I'll send more pictures. I PROMISE, haha!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke