Date

September 20, 2016

Area

Los Vergeles, Ecuador

Companion

Elder Arenas

1st Week in Ecuador!!

Hey Family!!!

It was so nice talking to you or leaving messages on your phones. I love you all so much. I want you all to know how much I love everyone of you and miss you.

My flight to Ecuador on Monday was good. I got so much sleep on the plane ride over there! I flew with another person that was going to my same mission. He is a recent convert and excited to serve! We arrived in Guayaquil at around 10:30 and met the Mission President and his Wife along with the Assistants to the President. They are all really nice and great people. We flew in and slept at the apartment where the AP´s stay.

Tuesday was also good. We had an interview with the mission president that went really well. I was a little homesick since I left Miami and when I called you all. President Riggins gave me advice to rely on the Savior so that I can build others. This has been my focus for this week, relying on the Savior. Later we had a temple session in the Guayaquil Temple. It is so beautiful. It is like a light in the city. All around it is the city and then there is the House of the Lord. We did a session in Spanish and I could barely understand what was being said.

Wednesday was the day they assigned us to our area and companion. Before they assigned us they had training. They trained us on all sorts of things from health to lessons. It was very helpful. I feel like I learned a lot. I later got assigned a companion. His name is Elder Arenas and he is from Lima Peru. Half of the time I have no idea what he is saying. But it is alright. I am learning. We are in a ward in Guayaquil called Los Vergeles. It is a great part of Guayaquil. The houses are a little run down but the people are so nice and friendly. I met the bishop Wednesday and some of the others leaders of the ward. They really seem to be dedicated to the church and very active.

Thursday was hard. It felt like an emotional roller coaster. I could barely understand what they were saying because of the speed and the accent. They also like to cut off the ends of the words when they talk. That did not help. I felt like I am just wasting my time sitting and watching my companion do my job. The best part was when I started a conversation with a man in the street, I couldn't finish it but it is the little things - haha. I can feel the Lord humbling me. I feel like I am learning a lot.

Friday I had the best experience so far. We were visiting less active members and one of the member's daughters was sick. We gave her a blessing. My companion had me do the anointing and he sealed. I did such a terrible job. I could not pronounce her name or the words that I needed to. But after we gave her a blessing the lady told me afterwards that she looked up when I was giving the anointing and she said she saw an angel standing behind me. I about broke down in tears after she said this. I feel like that angel was not only for that woman to see but also for me to know that I have help from the Lord´s servants and I am helping build his kingdom.

Saturday wasn't very successful and a lot of the people we planned on visiting cancelled.

Sunday was rough in the morning. I was plagued with thoughts of how much I miss home. I teared up several times. When we went to church, I prayed to help me rely more on Christ. I need him as my anchor instead of other things. As soon as I took the sacrament I felt the confidence I needed come back. Now the ball is in my court. I was reading earlier in Alma 34 and the verse Alma 34:18 was prevalent in my mind. It talks about service. Then I read in 34:32-34 about now is the time to meet God, I am serving Christ now. This is not for me. This is for him I was blessed with the strength I needed to finish the day.

Love you all and thank you for all off your prayers

Elder Smith




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