Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missing Ecuador Already!

I think you all know that I am going to MISS Ecuador. I love this country, people, and place. Even before I got here, I decided I was going to love it and knew that it would hurt to leave this place. So many memories and so much love.
Saturday afternoon we saw a group of kids playing. I could not help but laugh when we saw that they were playing with empty plastic litter bottles on long strings. I am not sure what the game was but I think it had something to do with seeing how loud you could hit your plastic bottle on the ground and how high up you could throw the string. I love it! The kids here have to get a lot more creative.
I know that I belong to the Lord´s Church on Earth. I am called by a true prophet of God, President Monson. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and is another testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful for our Savior because He did what none of us could do. And He did it because He loves us and He loves our Heavenly Father. He is our perfect example. He leads this Church and has blessed and guided me all my life. My mission has been the greatest blessing and choice in my life.
Hermana Garlock

Ecuador Fruit    April 16, 2012
So much to say...so little time.... in so many ways....so much to do!
Let`s just say the reality of going home is somewhat overwhelming, but never fear, I am excited for the next journey in my life. I know that there is always a great adventure to be had. In my moments of doubt, I repeat ¨The BEST is yet to be* and I know it is true! My mission will be the foundation for my life. As with the foundation of a house, no one sees it nor knows how it is made. The true test is in how the house holds up. I have never heard anyone comment on a house foundation to say just how beautiful it is-rather they comment on the actual house. But without the foundation the house would never exist. So, I am thankful for the experiences I have had. ALL of them. I agree with the Lord in that all things work out for the best for those that trust in Him.
The week started with the biggest thunder and lightening storm I have seen in my mission. It was incredible! We first heard thunder and thought that we were being bombed or something! It was insane. The streets all flooded and we prayed that the cars would stay on the road. We were protected. We faced the rain with our oversized jehovah witness umbrellas and big smiles.
I am trying to enjoy all of the fruit that soon will not be so available. I am also discovering possible reasons that the fruit is not exported to the U.S. The list I have come up with¨
1. When the fruit gets ripper and is on the verge of going bad, little clear worms appear. How are they born inside of the fruit¿ I still do not understand.
2. The cost. Some fruit here is very expensive. Also very delicious and excellent for the digestive system.
3. Ecuatorianas do not like the fruit that they have too much of. They think that it is normal and take it for granted! So I imagine they do not even offer to have it exported because to them it is as common as potatoes in Idaho.
4. The first time I tried some fruits I did not like it. BUT now I love it! SO. There is a flaw in the taste testing system. One dietitian attests that kids have to try the same exact food 16 times to even begin to like it. The taste testers are like kids! They do not understand just how good the fruit is. They only tried it once. Personal example-The first time I tried mango in the US, I thought it tasted like shampoo. And anyone who has eaten mango in Ecuator knows that it is as enjoyable as eating a piece of choclate cake. Seriously. I would choose mangos over chocolate cake. And mangos do not taste like shampoo.
Yesterday I talked in Church. I talked about how I worked in my Dad`s office before my mission and got to know him and his work. It is the same now. I am in the Lord`s work and I have gotten to know my Heavenly Father. There is only one way to know Him--it is to work with Him. In His work I have experienced great joy! Heavenly Father lives and loves each one of His children. I love Him and His work.
Have a fabulous week!
Hermana Garlock

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Easter from Ecuador!

Dearest Family,

I am feeling a whole lot of emotions right now and it is somewhat overwhelming! haha. First off, as I am writing every word is being underlined in red saying that it is mispelled. That is interesting....A reminder that I am still in Ecuador! :) Another reminder is the nightly garbage truck that passes. It is so funny because I believe the music that plays is a tune from Disneyland. It is a really loud, happy song. It puts me in a really good mood...like I am in Disneyland when really I am in the city streets of Ecuador...What do the two have in common? I am not sure apart from the music!

I remember that when I started my mission, I lived in the apartment where all of the hermanas who were ending their mission would arrive just before going home. I got to see the difference between how the missionaries ended their missions. I made the decision that I would finish strong and give it my all! It is true, at the end of a mission, one feels a bit more tired and often has a bit of odd health things happen (stories to come in the future), but I also feel like a brand new missionary again in some ways.
I feel like a brand new missionary because every contact, invitation, lesson, Sacrament Meeting, is a reminder that I will soon no longer be doing what I do now! I do not know how to explain it, but yesterday as we taught the Word of Wisdom, I wondered to myself, How many more times would I teach the word of wisdom and testify of the blessings?! I know I will always share the gospel- with family, friends, and others, but it will just not be the same. I wonder if I will end every conversation with ¿Se bautizar√°? :) I am striving to complete with the life changing calling that I currently have. 

The rain is dying down a bit-- it is not raining every day all day anymore, but rather spontaneously. It has given us a good opportunity to serve others. We carry our large umbrellas with us and then when we see a person getting wet, we run up to help them and share with them the gospel. We found a great youth doing this. I love how the Lord works. 

This morning I was thinking about how thankful I am for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His priesthood authority. I am thankful for the worthy priesthood holders who have shown me the righteous, humble way to serve the Lord and exercise His power. Not all of those who have the priesthood treat it with the same respect or treat women with such love and respect. And I am thankful for Dad and Grandpa and many other priesthood holders who strive to do as Christ would and be as He is. 

I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He lives. His hand is in His work and I cannot deny it! I have witnessed His miracles often. He is all powerful, all knowing, and certainly merciful and loving. 

Hermana Garlock

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Day of My Last Change!


Today I begin the first day of my last change. President M. says it is very important to measure ourselves and know where we are at in the mission. I have a lot of mixed emotions.

I am in the same house where I spent the first eight months of my mission. It is pretty much the same--only more space because I will live alone with my companion instead of living with the mission nurses as well (maybe just a bit more company of cucarachas...It is a interesting that in my 6th grade class we observed cucarachas for our science experiments. I have no idea why we were studying them, but now I see it was all part of the Lord`s plan. Surely His thoughts are not mine nor His ways, but I am a big fan of His plan. I no longer am afraid of cucarachas. Or at least I prefer cucarachas to spiders).

I am so excited for this change. I am going to be training a new missionary! Her first name is Olga. Not that I will ever call her by her first name, but I already like her. I am excited to be back, see my converts and the members, eat the delicious food here, buy bread in the panaderias, and find the people I did not find the last time. Please pray so that we quickly find the elect and that we can help them accept the fulness of the gospel through baptism. Pronto! Or maybe we will find some of the same people as last time and that would be wonderful if now they can be ready.

My overall feeling is that of gratitude. The people I have been so blessed to meet have changed my life for the better. Yesterday Remigio -- one of my converts that was baptized in September accompanied us to a visit. He shared a testimony so powerful and full of the Spirit that I was nearly brought to tears. I am thoroughly blessed and amazed to be able to see the changes in the lives of these people. Remigio has learned a great deal and is committed to live the principles of the gospel for the rest of his life. Also, Sergio spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I love these people!!!

The days are passing incredibly quickly and I am determined to live and love each and every one. There are so many blessings to serving a mission. Thank you for your support and love. Have a fabulous week.

Hermana Garlock

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shopping List

Dearest Family,
Well, on the shopping list today is more detan for the mosquitos. They are taking over but I am fighting back and refusing to be bit.
We went to the market in the centro to buy fruit from the people. It was so much fun. We should have put the 30 pkg of eggs in the picture with the bags of beans as well. Hna O and I eat some really delicious food. And all that fruit for just $10. Who does not love Ecuador?!
Saturday was Luis and Lorna´s baptisms. It was a really special night. I cannot remember if I have told you about Luis, but the story is pretty neat. About three weeks ago he was at the church waiting to play soccer with some other guys. We decided to sit with them and talk to them about the Book of Mormon. We read Alma 36 and invited them to be baptized-- a group of about 6 youth. Not one of them accepted to be baptized and I was completely shocked. I felt that at least one was going to accept. So we invited them to church and Luis accepted to come to church along with another youth. We ended with a prayer and then started talking with Luis. Turns out that about a year ago he was assisting church and wanted to be baptized but his mom refused to sign the permission because he was only 17 years old. She said he could choose when he was 18. Well, the very next day was his birthday and he would be turning 18. Meaning that he no longer needed signed permission. He still did not accept to be baptized but a little bit of fellowshipping with the members later, he happily decided to get baptized! Luis is so happy now and is going to prepare to go on a mission. Yeah!
It was really neat to see how the Lord put us in the right place at the right time in order to meet Luis. Heavenly Father truly knows His children and wants the very best for each of us. His love for us is very individual.
Nothing is wasted in the Lord´s work-- He is always preparing more of His children. Sometimes it is easy to feel that there are not results, but the truth is that often we simply cannot see them right away. The Lord is all knowing and all powerful.
Happy St Patricks Day!
Hermana Morgan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rainy Season

No Time To Waste!

Would you believe it? There was another fiesta in Ecuador.

It is Carnival!  As we- four gringas- happily strolled down the street, a truck with a bunch of young guys came down the street. We were deep in conversation and I was completely unaware of what was going on. The next thing I know, we are soaked with water. We took a taxi right back to our apartment to take another shower. In another 15 minutes we were talking to Presidente M. on speaker phone as he told us how bad he felt for us :) and then the mission was confined to our apartments Monday and Tuesday.

Last week we had a conference in Guayaquil with other missionaries and I spoke about what it means to be a successful missionary. It was a really interesting experience because during the talk is when I knew what I needed to say. 

What does it mean to be a sucessful missionary?! Do what I was called to do! Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I do feel a lot of peace about my mission and know that I have been greatly blessed to be a missionary. It is a joy. I know Heavenly Father loves me and all His children. Now, it is out to work and invite people to come unto Christ today! 

Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dancing Dog in the Street!

We have opted to keep up the Christmas tree and the wall Nativity. It just brings so much cheer! I told Hna C about Mom´s college roommate that wanted to keep the Christmas tree up past Valentines Day. We will see when we get tired of the decorations, but for now we enjoy turning on the tree lights at night to watch them glow.

I love seeing how the Lord works. His plans are always so perfectly laid. I pretty much NEVER know how His plans are going to turn out, but I am learning that it is always for the best. Bring on the surprises of life!

Like the spinach rice, coleslaw, and mystery meat we ate this week. I actually loved it.

The rain invites MANGOS. Mango cake, juice, slices, pancakes, etc. Is your mouth watering yet?!

We have had some very interesting teaching experiences recently. We were teaching a single mother with our ward missionary leader. She began to tell us all of the problems that she had been through. Big tough problems. I looked to our ward missionary leader and just said, a one liner to fill the silence. I looked to my companion and she looked at me. I started to pray. Then in one instant the words, *Do what is right, let the consequence follow* came to mind. I love this hymn, but I did not remember what the words said in Spanish exactly or in English for that matter. I said, We are going to read the words to hymn number 154 I believe it is. We opened to the song, began reading and tears nearly came to my eyes. The words were EXACTLY PERFECT. I could not get over it. It even mentioned, let the crickets fall. SO PERFECT for Ecuador.
Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. He loves all of His children. Through the Holy Ghost, He truly inspires and guides HIS work and HIS glory. Thank heavens for the revelation in the moment. Sometimes we do not have to know what we are going to say before hand...The Lord will guide us.

Prayer is so important- it is how we come closer to our Father in Heaven. There is great strength and peace in prayer. So we have to help the investigators learn to pray. Little by little they learn and someday they will be converts in the church offering the opening prayer or blessing the Sacrament.

We saw the funniest sight this week! We were walking at night into the Palmas and we saw a black dog in the middle of the road. A mundane, normal occurrence. As we got closer to the dog, we realized it was waving its front paw. But wait, not only was it waving its front paw but it was also bouncing up and down....in rhythm! With the music that came from the neighbors house. It should have been on Ecuador´s funniest home videos. (If that TV show existed here). Hna C and I could not stop laughing. We arrived at our appointment with great big smiles on our faces. We are anxiously waiting for the next dancing dog sighting.
Hermana Garlock