Monday, December 27, 2010

On to a New Year!

Mi Familia!

Can you believe we were just talking on the phone just a few days ago?  I am thankful that we had the opportunity to talk for a bit. And thank you for making sure Grandma and Grandpa and Gayle were there. This made me especially happy to hear them. haha I am glad that you thought my Spanish sounded good. I definitely need to work on my accent....I am still gringo through and through. Paciencia. Paciencia....

Interesting that you were supposed to have the missionaries for dinner last night and they didn't come.... We went to our dinner appt but no one was there! So we had dinner with Grandma instead! Meaning, we went back to our apartment and made the minestrone soup Grandma sent for Christmas. Hermana Rosas, Montenegro, and Barker all say THANK YOU GRANDMA! Hna Rosas said in her cute English, ¨It´s delicious!¨ Thank you Grandma for helping us keep the Sabbath Day holy and for feeding us. YUM YUM.

Tonight, we are planning on having FHE with Gio, one of our investigators and hopefully ward members. We are planning to talk about how goal setting is an act of faith and through Christ is how we reach our goals. (Ether 12:27).

I have found a few beautiful things about this city:
1. Cute little YELLOW birds
2. The fruit vendors--really, neatly stacked fruit is bright, colorful, and beautiful
3. The people!!!! I am not sure I have ever been kissed so many times a day in my entire life. I am grateful mom and dad that after family
prayer we kiss each other on the cheek. I had no idea this was actually preparation for my mission.
4. Actually, that may be all for this week

We went out into the streets for a few hours--during the appointed time we could-- on Christmas afternoon and we met two delightful families. I will tell you about one-- In one apartment lived a lady who is 93 years old with her three kids who are in 60-70 years old. It was an interesting experience. We are not exactly sure how to go about this because none of them can see well enough to read The Book of Mormon, they cannot walk the distance to church, and we are not sure how well they hear. And so, this is an interesting challenge. But I was thankful for the love I felt from them on Christmas. The mother, who was 93 just held my hand for a long time. We shared Matt 11-- come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give thee rest. A beautiful passage. And then we invited them to be baptized! One of them said yes, the others said they have been baptized before in the Catholic church, so we will see what happens when we visit them again.

Baptism is a huge focus in our mission. In the first lesson, we usually invite the person to be baptized in just 2 or 3 weeks from that date. We are finding those who are ready to hear this message. We do not have time to waste, and so we do our best to testify that this is the truth and that they can know it is the truth as well through prayer. And those who want to know it is true, will act. They will keep commitments and eventually, will know it is true. It is simple! Se bautizara? SI!

I am definitely being strengthened in this work. Especially Christmas night and afternoon, I was surprised at how peaceful I felt. It was just a quiet feeling of contentment with the choice to serve a mission and with being here in Ecuador. I was thankful for this reassurance. I am finding joy in this work. I hope the rest of your Christmas was a blast!

Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feliz Navidad!


I am officially here in Ecuador. The last week in the Peru MTC was fabulous. It is hard to believe that my MTC experience has ended and now it's the real stuff from here on out. Saving souls....finding the injured....seeking the elect...etc. It's big time. I am working on realizing that I have been prepared for this experience and that Jesus Christ is with me in His work.

This has been some experience so far. Where to begin? First, the bug count has gone way up. I have seen a rat, cockroaches *I feel you Elder Garlock!, unidentified little bugs and ants, mosquitos every night, and I saw a spider within the first 12 hours of arrival. And so, my bug count has come to an end. I am here for a different work and as much as I would like to keep you updated on the bugs I have seen, I am afraid this is all I would have time for! You can count on hearing though if I see anything really crazy.

My companion's name is Hermana Rosas and she is from Costa Rica! She only has two transfers left and I expect we will be together for both of them. It seems that the sisters stay in one area for months at a time. Hna Rosas is a wonderful companion. She has a positive attitude and compliments me often, which I appreciate. We are opening a sector or something like that. The other missionaries in our area finished their missions so we are starting from scratch! We have had some interesting days so far. My nose is often in the map as we try to find the next place. I am pretty sure Heavenly Father has a sense of humor and that He laughs with me everyday as we try to navigate our way through the streets. Believe it or not, compared to many Latinos here, I have a sense of direction!!!! Unbelievable.

We live in an apartment with another companionship who are the mission nurses! I love them. They are way fun and I'm thankful for their friendship and knowledge of the city.

The city I am in is somewhat interesting....I'm not exactly sure how to describe it. Let's just say one of my goals this week is to find the beauty in the city. One thing I love is that there are hens! Similar to Sister Farnes' hens! I love these!!! One is making a lot of noise right now. The city is very noisy at times with sounds of people, animals, cars, and music. So far I like the food even more than the food in Peru! Bananas here are five cents. Incredible.

The work is going well so far. We found an older gentleman named Gio and are teaching him. He keeps us on our toes! Our ward I believe is called Bolivar. The members here are very supportive and I am sooo thankful for this. It helps a ton! We are praying to find find find.

This has been the biggest adjustment of my mission so far. Hermana Salmon was sent to another city 10 hours away and I am here in the main city in Guayaquil! I miss Hna Salmon dreadfully but I have hope we will get to see each other again later on in our missions. She has been such a dear friend to me throughout my mission! My heart is full of gratitude for her. The first day we arrived we all went to the beautiful temple in Guayaquil. It has been a bit of a whirlwind and I am excited to get to talk to you all on the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU For the ELFudge cookies. They are half gone. We love them. Thank you for the Reeses. Holy cow. Love them.

I love you and am thankful for your support and prayers. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and what a special treat it is to be a missionary during this time of year. I love it.

Hermana Garlock

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas in Peru and on to Ecuador!

Hola Familia!

It is so good to hear that you have a Christmas tree and that it was obtained without any tears. It sounds very exciting. There is a Christmas tree in the CCM auditorium that Hna Salmon and I got to decorate. It is beautiful of course. The Elders put the tree up and we put on the teddy bears. haha.   Can you believe it is Christmas time??? There actually are Christmas lights on a lot of the trees here at the CCM, and the best part is that there is little music to go along with it.

Last night Hna Salmon and I were teaching our maestro in "the park" and we decided to sing, "Did You Think to Pray?" as part of the lesson. The challenge was singing louder than the singing Christmas lights. :) It was a special moment. Besides the Christmas lights and the fact that I am listening to Christmas music, it is so odd to me that it is Christmastime! It feels like summer still. As I hope it will feel during my whole mission. I love summer! And thus far, I love my mission!

I would like to make a short list of things that have changed my view on the world. These are not really very deep points....these are the superficial ones, but interesting nonetheless:
1. I found out this morning on our bus ride to the temple that 50 people can fit into a tiny bus. In all reality, only 30 people should fit. It was crazy.
2. You can use the same type of soap for your toilet and for washing your clothes and for washing the walls and for washing the sink. Who would have thought? It´s a one soap for all kinds of things we use
3. During musical numbers here, the Latinos often join in singing. It is great fun!
4. Eggs do not need to be refrigerated. Good to know since I want hens in the future.

This week has flown by so quickly, and in just another week I am headed to ECUADOR!!! I am sooo excited. I have loved the past two months in the MTC and CCM. Every morning when my alarm goes off, I look at my alarm and also see a painting I brought by Simon Dewey of Jesus Christ washing someone´s feet. This is the best reminder to me of my purpose as a missionary. First, I represent Jesus Christ and because of this I must bring others to Him! I think one of the focuses of my mission so far has been to understand my calling as a missionary. As I understand it better, I can fulfill my responsibilities as I should. When I begin to feel discouraged about the language, about what in the world am I doing in Peru, etc, I remind myself that this is the best thing I could be doing with my life right now. And this is a once in a lifetime call. I will never
again be 21 years old in Peru preparing to go to Ecuador. So I better soak in every moment. I am doing my best to do this.

This past Saturday for proselyting, we went to some area of Lima that we heard was somewhat interesting. As missionaries though, we cannot worry about this because there are people who need to hear about the
gospel in every area. Hna San Francisco and I met a man who had been a drug addict, had read parts of the Book of Mormon, now believed in God, but he did not want to become a member of the church. When I
could understand bits and pieces of what he said, I was very touched by our Heavenly Father´s love for His children. I could just feel this. Even though this man had such a difficult background, I knew Heavenly Father loves him! I love sharing my testimony with people here.

It is amazing to me how much I have been blessed in learning the gospel and the language. When I left the Provo MTC, I was able to bear my testimony and this was a huge milestone. Now I am at another milestone I believe. Hna San Francisco and I are friends! We can talk and tell each other about our lives. The sister missionaries here are amazing.

This week we had representatives from the US Embassy visit. Hna Salmon, me, and 4 other North American Elders met with them. I got to share my experiences here in Peru with learning the language and everything. It brought me back to being a Daffodil Princess for a few moments. I loved doing Daffodil. That was such a fun, worthwhile experience. I want to always be involved in my community. That way I can always have people to share the gospel with!

I leave for Ecuador on Tuesday!!  I cannot wait for Ecuador. The real adventure beckons.

I love you! Thank you for your love and prayers. I get to talk all the time about how families are forever and I am so thankful to know this. I am thankful for your examples of faith to me.

Hna Garlock

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In front of the Peru MTC with Hermana Salmon!
                        Peruvian houses built into the landscape.
                          Fun Peruvian hats!  So Stylish!
   Me with my new companion and two elders from Ecuador-Guayaquil
                        So fun to be in the market with a llama!

Best week yet!

Hola Familia!

This week has been one of the best yet!  
The news of the week.... I have a new companion! Hermana San Francisco. She is from Arica, Chile--- in the Norte part. I love her! She is amazing. All of my roommates are converts to the church and inspire me. Hna San Francisco and I often end up playing a game that reminds me of Catch Phrase. If anyone would like to know how good they would be at communicating in another language, play catch phrase. Seriously, it is the same idea- try to describe the word in every way possible without saying the word. Only you can´t cheat at all because you don't know the word. It´s a lot of fun. My companion and I have become friends quickly and this helps with communicating.

Last P-day, we went on a tour of the city with the North Americans. This was fantastico! We ate Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, and saw beautiful buildings and the OCEAN. The ocean is one of my most favorite things. As soon as I saw it, I was reminded of home and Long Beach. I immediately felt so light and happy. Heavenly Father´s creations bring me so much joy--especially nature. I have heard really encouraging reports about the beauty of Ecuador so I am excited!

I also met missionaries from Guayaquil this week! They are going to missions in Peru. I cannot believe I am going to Ecuador in just two weeks!!! I can distinctly remember opening my mission call and reading
Ecuador, and now I will be there shorty. The Elders from Ecuador are my favorite. I love talking to them and hearing about all I have to look forward to. My level of excitement for Ecuador has escalated.

I am thankful to be in the CCM in Peru right now though for a few reasons. One reason is that President Whetton is from the United States meaning we actually had a Thanksgiving dinner last week! I could have cried tears of joy. I am not sure I have ever been more thankful for mashed potatoes. That is possibly the only way we do not eat potatoes here, and I was so happy to have them. During the dinner, the sun was setting outside and I marveled at how much I have been blessed with on my mission. I love being here and I love all that I am learning. The miracle of it is that the more I learn, the more I want to learn. You would think at some point you would max out of learning. Don´t worry, if that point exists, I do not think I am anywhere near it.

I am so excited (if you couldn´t already tell) to go to Ecuador and share the gospel with every person I meet. I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of all mankind. He lived a perfect life and understands exactly all of our insecurities, weaknesses, temptations, and trials. Because of this, He is the way to find true lasting joy. I can feel this every day as I learn more about Him and how to become more like Him. I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and that through him, Heavenly Father restored the Church of Jesus Christ to this
earth. I love sharing this with people because there is so much hope in this message. I know that Heavenly Father wants His children to be happy and even when we do struggle, as we turn to Him, He will give us
the strength we need to endure faithfully. I love this gospel and I love representing Jesus Christ.

Hermana Garlock