As I draw closer and closer to the end of my mission, I can't help but look back and see all of the people here that have become my friends - or rather, that I've come to care about. I've recently been opening my eyes to the fact that this has been almost quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have come here to Ecuador and preach the Gospel as a representative of the lord Jesus Christ. I couldn't be more grateful for the things that I've learned, for the person that I've become, and for the people I've met. Though my mission hasn't been the easiest (and I know I've not stressed saying that enough), I know that my Savior loves me, I know that God loves me, and I know that the things that I have learned in my mission I wouldn't have learned if it weren't for the miracles - both big and small - that I have been a witness of. I'll be sure to attach a picture of my companion, Elder Ames from South Dakota for everyone to see on the blog. He's super chill, but he hasn't yet received a strong testimony of the Missionary Work, so as a result, things such as appointments falling through seem to discourage him easily. I've personally learned that looking for opportunities to serve has really helped strengthen and fortify my testimony of the Work, because it's helped me remember again and again that I've been "called to SERVE." It won't be a problem for me to give my Homecoming Talk, especially after being given the testimony that I've been blessed with by God. Peñon (pronounced pen-eeown, by the way for those that were probably asking) isn't the easiest sector, but like President Riggins assures me, it sure makes it hard for me to think about going home from all of the work that needs to get done there, hahahahaha! This isn't going to be a super long entry, but allow me to close it by reciting the final verse of probably my favorite hymn, "The Day Dawn is Breaking". It goes like this: "Then pure and supernal, our friendship eternal, With Jesus we'll live, and his counsels obey. Until ev'ry nation will join in salvation, And worship the Lord of the beautiful day." It helps remind of all of the amazing friends (missionaries and people of Ecuador alike) that I've come to make these past 22 months, and how special I find them to be. Until next week, I'm super glad to hear all of the awesome changes, even though it gives me a little heartache to come back to a home so different, haha! I love you guys, and I can't to see you guys in absolutely no time at all now. Take care!!!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke