Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Pictures

Christmas Dinner!!
 Cleaning the apartment!

 Meeting the President's family

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!

Noche de luz, noche de paz, noche de blanca en el bautismal pila. 

Yeovahny was baptized Friday night. A Christmas miracle! Last Sunday he came to church all on his own once again. He was going to get baptized before but was still going to a little evangelical church in las avispas. But Sunday he told us that he no longer goes to the other church and wanted to be baptized. So Friday when we went to his house to pick him up for his baptism, he was all alone at home. The positive side being that his parents were not home to convince him not to be baptized. The negative side being that he could not leave the house alone because of robbers, traditions, etc. It was up to Hna C and I to find a solution....Hna R was at church waiting for us to come back because the other baptisms were still finishing... so we began praying in our hearts and the neighbor who is somehow related to the family stopped by the house as we were talking to Yeovahny. We convinced her to watch the house for a short time and Yeovahny grabbed his clothes and we hurried to the church. Luckily a bus passed by quickly and we were off to the church by 8:15pm. The baptism was just the first part of the challenge.
Yesterday when we went to Yeovahny´s house, Remigio (recent convert) said that Yeovahny had passed by to tell him that he had to go fish and would meet us at the church. Hna C and I once again began praying. We stopped by other houses, unsuccessfully looking for investigators who all seemed to be asleep or had gone shopping in Guayaquil, and arrived to church in time for the sacrament. We slipped in but did not see Yeovahny anywhere.......but by the end of the Sacrament we looked out of one of the windows and saw YEOVAHNY bringing his bike into the church. We breathed a huge sigh of relief that he was able to be confirmed.
Friday night Ivana also was baptized. She is from the ward and is the 15 year old daughter of a convert. Two weeks ago I met her and her mom in the terminal in Guayaquil. We talked for just a couple minutes and then I invited her to be baptized for Christmas. The odd thing is that she has had the missionary discussions for a long time, even had an interview to be baptized and in the last minute decided not to be baptized. We still do not know what made the difference, but in the terminal she said she would think about it. Last Monday we were passing by her house and stopped to have her brother accompany us to teach a lesson. Then I remembered that we had invited her to be baptized and we needed follow up. We taught her for maybe 15 minutes and to our great surprise, she said YES to be baptized Friday. A miracle. This picture is right after her baptism. Everything was so quick in the service that we did not have the chance to take pictures before. We consider this baptism another Christmas gift. 
The other baptisms were Michelle and Ariel. Their mom was baptized last week and they followed her example this weekend. It was really a special experience for the family. The dad and brother are coming to church as well so now we are going to work more with them to help them decide to be baptized!
I am thankful to be a missionary now during this time of my life. It is a great blessing to me. I know more fully that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real and changes lives. I love my Savior and what He did for me and for each of you...for all of those that I brothers and sisters in the US and in Ecuador.
 I am thankful for your support and letters.
Hermana Garlock

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas is Coming!!

The geese are getting very plump here. Yum yum.
I met the area health doctor- Elder Henderson. We had a training meeting with all of the sister missionaries in the mission. This is nearly unheard of! But we had the opportunity to listen to Elder Henderson-- he is an ob-gyn and talked about the sister missionary health concerns. It was informative and I felt like I was back in my BYU physiology class or a dietetics class since we were all girls! It was really fun to be with all of the sisters and my old companions.
I bought a watch. My third watch of my mission. Hmm. Maybe from constant usage...lots of SUN....rain...etc. Who knows. But we are really trying to be on time. It is a constant battle because we will be going to a lesson or going to meet a member and then we see someone and just think, MAYBE this person is waiting to be baptized!!! How can we walk by without inviting her to come unto Christ?! I often think of when I was set apart and the blessing said to open my mouth. I have learned to constantly be talking or listening. Listening to the Spirit or to an investigator. Talking to invite, testify, or to ask.
 Robert was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday. Hna Robison and I sang Away in a Manger in the primary version. The baptism was lovely and many of his family members live in the other ward in which we are working so this worked out great.
Thank you for your continual prayers.
Hermana Garlock
P.S. It is odd to think of my homecoming talk. Happy Mother`s day!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Merry Christmas!

It is official. Christmas time is coming. I heard from one of the sets of zone leaders that we will be locked in Saturday night, go to church Sunday, and return back to our apartments for the rest of the day.  It will be fun to wish you all a Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felicidad!

The opportunities to share the gospel are endless! 

Sometimes the difficult part is in helping people see all that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers. For example, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, it makes perfect sense that God always calls His prophets to teach His children for their specific needs. Also, the New Testament talk about baptism not being complete without the laying on of hands to communicate the gift of the Holy Ghost. THIS is ESSENTIAL for our Salvation. Those who inherit the Kingdom of God will have the Spirit with them. Another point, many people are confused about the Resurrection and the judgment day. These truths are fundamental. Those who say we will not ever be reunited with our bodies after the death, deny the whole plan of God. One of the central purposes of this earth life is to receive a physical body. This life would serve for nothing if we could not receive our bodies again. God sent His only Begotten Son to die for us so that we may live with Him again. Those who deny the resurrection of all mankind, deny that Christ suffered for our sins and that He lives once again. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers that we need to fully comprehend our earth life. It answers the true nature of God. These truths, so basic, are distorted in the teachings and ideas of man. So, God in His love for us, has called His prophets once again to help us return to His presence. 

This is what I was thinking and feeling yesterday as we watched to Christmas Devotional. Those who I have taught and have gotten baptized have testimonies that are just developing. They do not understand all of the scriptures or the Restoration, but they have felt the truth. Just as Adam and Eve offered sacrifices without knowing why, these faithful, elect children of God have gotten baptized with minimal knowledge but lots of faith. Faith due to obedience to the commandments of God.

I have heard now many commentaries of other believes and religions. I have had to relearn the fundamental truths of the restored gospel to recognize exactly where and how I believe what I do. As we tell our investigators in the first lesson, the understanding of our message cannot come in just one visit. It will come by the study of the scriptures, prayer, experience, and keeping the commandments of God.

All is well here! Hector, who was baptized in April just wrote me and told me he finished reading the Book of Mormon and thanked me for recommending it. I loved that he put it this way. I recommend the Book of Mormon to everyone! hehe. Johanna who was baptized just a week ago shared her testimony yesterday in church. 

Robert this week told us about the difficult things that have happened this year and said that the only good thing that has happened is that God sent us to visit him. Because of that, he knows God loves him. WOW. It is really neat to be an instrument in the Lord`s hands. It is because of Heavenly Father`s love for His children that He guides us to them. 

We are still in the two sectors....A little interesting. Ok a lot interesting. Taxis, buses, two sets of district and zone leaders... But I am all up for the adventure!

Today for lunch we ate sopa de pescado con mani and arroz of course con seco de carne de res. delicious! 

Sending lots of love and sun!
Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This week has been absolutely unlike any other. Monday night, we received transfer calls and at 6am Tuesday we left to Guayaquil. Hna Lara is now in Machala (four hours from here) and it was sad to say goodbye. We really have had some very special experiences together as companions. I will always be thankful for her dedication to the work. I then joined up with my friends-- The mission nurses!
I then went to the training for the new missionaries and found out that my companion did not arrive! She is still in the Provo MTC because she got sick and has to wait to come. All week I was in Guayaquil in the office with the nurses. That was interesting because I was not planning on spending the night there...and I ended up staying in Guayaquil until Saturday morning. And what a different mission life in the office. Wow. I have a lot of appreciation for all that they do for the sickies of the mission. Saturday, Hna Needham, one of the missionaries had to go home because she fractured her foot or something like that. Saturday I was sent back home with her companion, Hna Robison.

Hna Robison and I are now companions! She is from SLC, UT and got here one change ago. We do not know if it is permanent or what will happen but we are enjoying ourselves. She is in the bordering sector to mine so we are working in both sectors for now and will wait to see if we are assigned new companions or if we are assigned to work in just one of our sectors. Yesterday at 10am we left my investigators at my church building and went in taxi to Hna Robison`s ward to give talks. I talked about the how we must share the gospel because we are all children of God. Also, that our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation makes us accountable to share the message of the Restoration. I am thankful for the principles that my parents and grandparents have taught me and it is my desire that the converts I have taught will likewise teach their children the principles of the gospel.

Saturday we got back in time to see our baptisms. Thanks to my excellent zone leaders and ward members, Sergio was able to be baptized!!!!!!
I hope that you have a fabulous Thanksgiving. I will be eating lots of rice and perhaps fish for Thanksgiving.  I am most thankful at this time of year for my family, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the opportunity to share the gospel!!!

Hermana Garlock

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Hola hola hola to one and all,
Yesterday when it started raining here, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the cold. I almost could feel it. So far, even if it rains, it is warm. Oh I love this place. :)
Some of our mamitas have turkeys waddling around and I am wondering if they will kill them for the Christmas season. 
Last week, for PDay we went to the center to look for Ecuador stuff. But, shortly thereafter we found Christmas trees and I broke down and bought two!!!!! They are beautiful little trees with lights and we bought sparkly ribbon to put on it. We are happy for our trees. Small as they might be, they are special reminders. Primarily of the birth of Jesus Christ.
This week an organization from the U.S. came to give clothes and toys to children here. They had asked that the missionaries help out, so in response to their request, we went to help handout these gifts and sing church songs. I realized that this was a very nice, generous gesture, but I also felt a deep sense of gratitude for the great calling that I have currently. I do not simply hand out toys to children, but I share the true gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ that heals hearts, comforts the abused, and offers us HOPE to change our lives. Through this restored gospel, we can be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and by continuing faithful, enter in God´s presence with our families. Can I just say that I am so thankful to be a missionary for our Savior Jesus Christ! It is a beautiful work.
Yesterday in church one of our converts, was asked to share his testimony of his conversion. I was touched by his simple testimony. He stated with emotion in his voice that he has had a drastic change in his life. It is true! Saturday he will be interviewed to receive the Melchezidek (oh no....I do not remember how to spell that!) Priesthood. He was baptized September 3rd and is a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yesterday we went with him to talk to more of his brothers who are living the ways of the world....I pray that in the future they will fully accept the gospel and experience the wonderful change that their brother has had.
Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween mis queridos zapallos!
Yesterday when we were teaching we used Genesis 39 to teach about the way we can flee from temptations. We are working with a man to help him stop drinking acohol. This seems to be a very common theme- teaching about the Word of Wisdom and helping them leave behind addictions and habits. I am thankful that Jesus Christ suffered even for our temptations. Even if I have never experienced the challenges of these people, I know that Christ has and that He knows exactly how to give them relief. I have felt the Spirit tell us exactly what to say or share to help others recognize the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday, Hna Lara and I walked with long branches in one hand and rocks in the other. Just in case the pack of dogs decided to do more than bark loudly. haha.
It is heating up in Milagro but we are working through the sun and I am loving it here. The members are wonderful and help us out a ton. Our Bishop is all about focusing on helping the converts and I love this. Yesterday a member took us to the house of his cousin to teach her. It was so fun. The lesson went something like this, Do you believe that God hears your prayers? 15 minutes of stories. Would you read this scripture? reads... What can you do to prepare in this life to meet God? 15 minutes of feelings and experiences. Ok ¿Se bautizarà? 15 minutes of questions, and a hopeful response. This is an exagerration of the lesson but something like that. The people here are sooo loving and kind to us, and I feel grateful to serve among a people that believes in God and wants to be close to Him.
I know that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know He lives and loves us. I know He wants us to be able to live with Him again someday. He is so merciful to those that come unto Him. I have seen and felt this!
Hermana Garlock


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duck Soup

What do you do when the mother of three eager kids does not want to sign the baptism permission?
Enter the house, start cleaning, exit. Repeat weekly. This is what we did about two months ago. End of the story--- the mother herself, was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this very weekend. It is a miracle story. I testify that by small and simple things great things, even the Salvation of mankind, are brought to pass.
I love this family so much. The kids run down the street to meet us and yell as soon as they see us, Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeermaaaaaaaaaaana! It anounces to the whole neighborhood that we have arrived. The younger kids call me Hermana Garliiitiii. It is so so fun.  
After church Sunday, my companion and I were happily eating our soup and chatting with our mamita Ruth. My blissful enjoyment of the soup quickly ended as she mentioned to us that she bought the meat (DUCK) in the soup from Nancy and Sergio. I wanted to cry. It was like eating my pet after she told me that. Nancy and Sergio have ducks that waddle around and I love them because it reminds me of the beach- of Grandma and Grandpa´s house. Sometimes it is just best NOT to ask what we are eating and to simply ENJOY the food.
Interesting points of the normal happenings;
-For breakfast, we enjoy blending bananas with milk. Delicious! The bananas here are sooo good. There are all different types and our investigators often give freely from their trees.
-At KFC here you can buy a full meal with rice, beans, fried chicken thigh or breast, and pop for $2.25
-As of late, the people have told me that I look like I am 16 years old. This makes me happy. I am as free and innocent as a 16 year old. Good to hear it!
I am doing very well and we are working to find more people ready and waiting to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love this work. It is a joy to be able to see the changes in the lives of these people. I pray and pray that the conversions are lasting.
Edmundo said the sacrament prayer for the agua. The members were sooo impressed because he had memorized it in just one week and said it perfectly. He was baptized about two months ago and is already in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. Love it! I know the Book of Mormon is true and it is the iron rod. Hold tight!
Thank you for your love and prayers. I need them and I can feel them!
Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Angels Among Us

Well Hello There!
When we apply the scriptures, the Spirit can teach us for our specific needs. This is what I strive to do in every lesson. Sometimes we succeed more than other times in our efforts to teach individuals and not just lessons. I can tell when the Spirit is teaching when new ideas come as we are teaching, the spanish flows easily, or when I learn as well. These are the best because we leave the lesson practically bouncing down the street.
We are trying to figure out how to teach little children the scriptures! When the kids are running around or distracted or hitting each other, we wonder more if the PARENTS are even able to learn. But I believe the answer is yes. When I believe the answer is no, is when I look to Hermana Lara and say HEEEEEELP! One useful tactic is to bring an apple with us. The kids love apples. Many kids just eat the fruits that grow on the trees around their houses (papayas, bananas, plumarosa, almendras, etc). Apples on the other hand are bought in the grocery store. So, four gleeful children share an apple- one bite at a time. You would not believe how many scriptures talk about repentance and becoming as a child. I have found many and know there is much to learn from these loving children.
Yesterday during Sacrament Meeting, Andrea came and sat by me. She is nine years old and was baptized about a month ago. She squeezed herself onto the bench and immediately took my hand in hers. I am touched by the love of the children. When I was feeling a little stressed about the investigators at church, baptisms, etc, the Lord sent me Andrea as a tender mercy. She reminded me of Christ`s love for me-steady, constant, forgiving. She gave me hope to press on with the hope in Christ as my solid anchor. I am oftened reminded in moments like this of the scripture I chose for my missionary plaque, which says the Lord will go before my face and His angels will be on my right and left hand. All of the Lord`s promises are sure. I am blessed to feel this often. It seems the angels in my mission have been my companions, little children, and various others who have said JUST what I needed to hear in the right moment. An angel is someone who does the direct bidding of the Lord.
I would like to be this kind of servant of the Lord. A true servant- quick to fulfill the Master`s request. Many times, I feel like I am being served- with such love and blessings from the members, converts, investigators. I am humbled by the offerings of so many and grateful for the examples in my life. Hermana Ruth for filling in for another mamita when she was not home, another member- Alberto for accompanying us for 5 hours this week, Edmundo for always having papaya or squash or coconut or banana or etc! cut up and ready to give us.
Thank you for your support for me during my mission.  
Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Well hello again my dear ones!

 We should all feel just a little bit closer knowing we spent eight hours this weekend doing the exact same thing--- watching conference! I love conference. I love it. It is a little different here. Should we say a little stressful? But very very exciting. It is a wonderful opportunity for investigators to learn and to understand a little more about the Church. 

Hna Lara and I prayed our little hearts out and walked and talked our feet out. I actually did lose my voice, and we had to buy pills for the pain in Hna Lara´s feet. It all paid off and we had a very fun week. We learned to teach quick, invite, and testify. :) 

Lots of the evangelical churches here prohibit dancing when you get baptized. Along with makeup, earrings, etc. It made me laugh when Luis, one of our investigators, commented that he was surprised to see us wearing earrings and with makeup. I am certain to put earrings on everyday now to distinguish us as missionaries. 
I absolutely loved conference. We were able to watch all the sessions. I am excited to memorize more scriptures, gain a deeper understanding of the Atonement, listen to the Spirit more, and serve.  
Hermana Garlock

Monday, August 29, 2011

Who Let the Dogs Out?

There are some wonderful people here. They are so loving and generous. I am not exaggerating when I say that nearly every day someone gives us some kind of fruit, vegetable, juice, etc.
The work is sooo good here. The main challenges seem to be in that often the youth and kids get baptized, but their parents do not. The parents have more challenges----they need to get married,  word of wisdom, work on sunday, etc. Even those who are of other faiths are welcoming, loving, and often are happy to listen to us. I think the key is in the DAD. DADS are SO important. With the support of the Dad, everyone jumps on board.
I am loving being at camp. They sell bug repellant here, but it does not seem to be as effective. It is beautiful in Las Avispas (which means The Wasps) and I feel like I have been transplanted as a character in a few of my favorite novels. 
Remember how I used to be absolutely terrified of dogs? And I would run like crazy as they chased me around? I think I am finally overcoming this fear. Every house in Las Avispas has a dog or two or three. These dogs are intended to protect the house and scare any one off.  Truly, I have never prayed so hard to be protected from dogs, and it seems my prayers are being answered. :)
 I am thankful to be here in Ecuador. I have fallen in love with the gospel, the people, the food, the nature, and practically everything else here. I know this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father knows each one of us and loves us so much that He sent His Son. Just as Christ fulfilled the will of the Father in all things, as we follow His example, we will also return to our Heavenly Father`s presence. He demonstrates His love for us in so many ways. One of the ways is that we have prophets to guide us and His power is on the earth today. It is through His power that we can be a family forever.
I know the Lord`s promises are sure. As we make promises to people, I feel the reassurance that it is true! The Lord blesses us as we do what He asks. He will never ask us to do more than we can, and He always makes a way to complete with His will. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and will eternally be thankful for His Infinite Sacrifice.
Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Officially Transferred!!

I would like to report that I have been transferred, YES I OFFICIALLY HAVE BEEN CHANGED!!!! Starting of course with the mosquitos, but more importantly in the sense of the people here live like we are camping. Cold showers, kids running around without shoes on outside--I would like to note that the parents in Guayaquil freak out when their kids don´t have their flip flops on inside the house whereas here the kids are rolling in dirt and the parents are asking me to take pictures. haha. Seriously.
I think I have been transferred to my new home. And I am ever so so so happy. I wish I could express the joy I am feeling here. I am in Milagro, milagro in English means miracle. It is quite a fitting name. There are MANY people ready for the gospel here. The people are just really loving and happy. They are so easy to love, which I am thankful for because this change could have been really sad with leaving what felt like my home.
Thursday morning, was an emotional morning to say the least. Leaving so many friends, who feel more like family, not to even mention leaving the easy bake oven and washer and dryer, sent me straight to tears. I know I should have been expecting to be changed at some point from Bolivar, but I was so confident my time had not come to an end. 
Surprise! The companion waiting to meet me, was Hna Lara! We just had a week or so apart and now are back together. I am thankful for her friendship during the transition time of leaving Bolivar. I feel somewhat how it feels to have broken up with your first love. After eight months in the same place, the people there are my family and friends! I love every one of those converts soooo much and it broke my heart a little to leave them. I will continue to pray for them and for the members.  
It is like a dream come true. Huge guava trees, avocados, zapote, mangos, chocolate trees, bananos, etc.
I am excited for the harvest time. Right now there are a lot of fruits, but the best fruits (MANGO) is yet to come. The people here are so generous and receptive to the gospel. Every day we have been given fruits. Ohhhh I am in love. The lifestyle here is completely different. It is just relaxed and peaceful. The houses here are small but very well organized. This really impresses me. The houses are decorated and swept and washed clean. The floors of most of the houses seem to be some kind of pavement or cement.
The ward here is wonderful too. I am excited to get to know the members. There is a big task ahead to get to know all of the members and the streets and everything. The great difficulty been that here the streets do not really have directions. The houses do not have numbers and there are no signs with the street names. One member told me the directions to her house and that is what it says on church records.....hmmmm....This should be interesting.
Hermana Garlock

Monday, August 15, 2011

By their Fruits...

The fruit here is unbelievable. There is a huge meat and produce market by our apartment. I REALLY wanted to take a picture today for you to see.  However, you will just have to imagine beautiful designs of papaya, pears, bananas, pineapple, granadilla, melon, etc and stacks of tomatos, avocados, brocolli, beets, limes, etc. For three dollars, I came home with two bags full of produce!
This week was a bit of a whirlwind. I absolutely love Hermana Arias. We were having a splendid time together this week--really enjoying ourselves and working at the same time---when we received a call that her visa arrived. Before I knew it this morning, she was packed up and shipped off to Venezuela to serve her mission there. 
Jonaton  was baptized Saturday!!!!! This was a miracle. He decided for himself he wanted to be baptized. His mom, loves the Book of Mormon and the gospel. She has really felt a change in her life. She wants to be baptized but is in somewhat of a situation. His dad, has listened a few times and has a desire to change, but he has a lot of challenges to face....They need to get married....etc.... All I know is that if he is going to change, it will only be through this Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are truly forgiven when we repent and I know this applies to us all!
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support!!!!
Hermanita Garlock

Monday, August 8, 2011


Well I have spent the morning up to my elbows in Clorox bleach. I am actually happy to report this. We moved houses this week!!!!! YES I actually had somewhat of a change in the mission!!! Haha....The funny part is that we changed houses to live in the bordering ward to my current ward (it is still the same stake). And although we changed houses, we have not changed sectors. I am still in Bolivar! So now we take a bus for 10-15 minutes to our sector. The miraculous part is that Hermana Salmon and I still live together. I believe the plan was that just the nurses would change houses, but plans change. I will definitely enjoy this new house--- we have TWO bathrooms, a small air conditioning unit in the main room, and we go on the roof to do our morning exercises. I can see mountains from here as well. Love it. I will send pictures soon.
Contributing to the change is that I have a different companion! Hermana Arias from Quito, Ecuador. Quito is the capital, north of here. She is actually assigned to serve in Venezuela but is waiting for her visa. Hna Lara is in Milagro and I will miss that girl. It has been an exciting week. I actually got to leave Guayaquil for the first time! We traveled in bus just one hour to Milagro. But it was like a whole new world. Ecuador is so beautiful! I saw pigs, horses, and stuff. Lots and lots of palm trees and other foreign looking trees. Many of the houses were built out of thin wood planks and are held tall off the grass on stilts. It was a fun experience.
As we talked to a taxi driver this week, I realized once again how important and necessary the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ was. He was convinced God is a spirit and could hardly believe we thought anything different. Surely it is the Spirit of God- the Holy Ghost that has made it known to me that God is my Father. That He has a glorified body of flesh and bones and that we can become like Him. He loves us and knows us and cares about us. I know that He works miracles in this day according to our faith. I know He listens to our prayers and wants us to talk to Him. Not just say recited words that sound all nice and worshipy, but actually communicate with Him. Learning to pray is a process I am working on so that I can always communicate love and adoration to my Heavenly Father. It is something we all need to do, daily, always, in private, and with our families. 
I am thankful for the wonderful parents I have. You have always shown me such love and care. I hear awful stories and meet people here who have experienced such hard things in their homes. I cannot even imagine it. It fills me with such sadness, but also opens my eyes to the way I have been blessed. I am incredibly thankful for the parents I have. I hope I can always find ways to keep the commandment to honor my parents, because you both surely deserve it!
With lots of Love your daughter, sister, granddaughter, etc,
Hermana Garlock

Monday, July 18, 2011

No Transfer: Cambios


Ok and the moment you and I have all been waiting for....CAMBIOS.
Let`s just say they came and they went. In fact, transfers had already
happened when I wrote my email last week. Only I did not know it
because we somehow did not have transfers! 

I am at peace with it and happy to  still be herein Bolivar. I never 
imagined that I would be in my first sector for solong, but it is really 
fun to know the people here and to feel so at home.

I am happy how it has worked out because it also means that I have the 
little convection oven to make muffins and cookies to our hearts desires. 
Also, I enjoy the luxury of a washing machine and dryer. ohhh life is good.

Things are good here. Sometimes it is super hot and the sun is
strong...other times there is not a lot of sun but it is more hot and
muggy. In the mornings and night it is usually cooler and perfect.
This is the month of the festival of Guayaquil. The bands in the
schools march down the streets practicing. It is mostly loud drumming.

I am grateful to be a missionary and to have this grand opportunity to
learn and grow. The process of learning and growing means stretching
and pulling. What makes me the most happy: seeing people
change and be baptized and press forward in the gospel.

We all have challenges and we can choose to face them with the help of
our loving Heavenly Father or with the depressing guidance of the
devil. The Lord is so merciful. He wants us to continue on, in His
loving arms. He forgives us and He will greatly reward us as we
diligently strive to be like Him. 

It is my plea that we choose to walk the path of the Savior. What we 
sacrifice becomes nothing of a sacrifice...rather, the Lord blesses us 
with more than we offered. Many of the people here in Ecuador have so 
few physical posessions. It is easier to discern here between needs and 
wants. What we need in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
If we have this, the Lord will fulfill all our other needs.

Hemana Garlock

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Change is coming...

Cómo están mis queridos?!
I was telling our bishop's wife this week about how my parents are both active people and she was asking how you make time for it with work and kids. I told her I do not know exactly, but you enjoy it and make it a priority. I am thankful for your example. I realize we cannot serve if we are not healthy so for this reason alone, it is worth it to stay fit.

Yesterday quite possibly may have been my last sunday in my beloved ward, Bolivar in the stake Garcia Moreno. This last week President Montalti asked/told me it was time for a change. My one and only sector in my mission and I love it here!!!! It is my home! But I have a calm feeling that whatever happens tonight with cambios will be the will of the Lord. So, I feel as though I am receiving another mission call. My first mission call was to this specific place, and we will see where I am off to next!

It was a very memorable sunday.
1- Baptism of Hermana Bardellini. A miracle!!! Absolute miracle. Hna Rosas and I taught her a bit in January I think it was. Just a couple of weeks ago, we walked by her house and the Spirit gently proded to talk to her. Although I was a bit unbelieving that now was her time, but we invited her to be baptized and she accepted. So the process went quickly because she has already been prepared by her faithful family, who are members. Her family was soooo happy! I love the family Bardellini. I am pretty sure her son, will be getting baptized muy pronto.

2- Another miracle---I played the violin in the baptism. A musical family just moved into our ward and they were at the church last night with their guitars and violins. I asked if I could borrow their violin to play in the baptism, and they willingly agreed!!! It was truly a gift. The dad played with me on his guitar. It was so fun! We played "Yo sé que vive mi Señor" for the musical number and then a variety of hymns when Maria was changing.

Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Garlock

Friday, July 8, 2011

Walk With Me

Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!  Saluda a todas de mi parte por favor! I hope you eat lots of yummy food. Hna Salmon and I are going to attempt to make hamburgers for our Honduran companions. :)
We often walk down the street Villavicencio. It is the street in which we live and the street of the church. This street has become practically sacred to me! It is where I have walked for nearly the past seven months with Hna Rosas, Hna Falls, Hna Reyes, and now Hna Lara. It is where we walk as we bring investigators to activities, to church, or to their baptisms.
As I think of this, there have been a few moments where I have felt in another world as we have walked down Villavicencio with these three dear friends who likewise live on the blessed street of Villavicencio.
1- Hermana Karina, who was baptized in January. She is mentally slower but has the hugest heart. She says, "Hermana Garlock, I will always accompany you!" And it´s true! Although she has a hard time walking, she will walk far with us to visit investigators, less actives, and ward members. With Karina, we walk hand in hand down the street.
2- Hermano Luiz, who was baptized in March. Although he cannot talk or hear, we must communicate. We must look silly walking down the street waving hands, making facial expressions, and at times pausing to write a few words. He can write in pencil on his hands. I don´t know how he has this talent but it is truly a gift!
3-Hermana Maria, who will be baptized this month! Her family are members of the church, and we eat in their house every Tuesday. Delicious... We have kept a friendship with Maria, and last week the Spirit prompted us to teach her again. So we did and she accepted to be baptized! She is a very large woman, and cannot walk very well at all. BUT she went walking with us down Villavicencio so that we could present her to Nancy who was recently baptized. Nancy and Maria both suffer with their legs so we thought this would be a good friendship. Maria miraculously came to church today and her family was OVERJOYED. There was a special spirit as her younger sister, Clarita shared her testimony about missionary work.
These experiences remind me of one of my favorite primary songs that says,
"If you don´t walk as most people do, some people talk and laugh at you, but I won´t, I won´t. I´ll walk with you, I´ll talk with you, that´s how I´ll show my love for you!"
I wish I could adequately convey how grateful I feel for these tender experiences. These moments confirm to me, how precious each child of God is. As different as we each are, we are children of God. He loves us. He wants us to return to Him. There is one and only way-- through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
The true freedom is not provided by a government or organization. It is provided only through Jesus Christ. The Savior of mankind. He sets us free from the tight bands of sins. Sin, sorrow, and sadness are heavy weights. He can carry them for us. Jesus Christ provides us the mercy that we all need. He sets us free and then wraps us in HIS arms of safety.  
Hermana Garlock

Monday, June 27, 2011


Hola Familia!
Today we ate DUCK! with minestra (beans), rice, and mashed potatoes. Olga Leon de Ruiz invited us to eat with them. I really actually enjoyed eating duck. Maybe not the healthiest meat there is, but tasty. I made Dad´s muffins that he loves. They are a great hit here, but have to be made without the blueberries. There are no blueberries to be found except in pictures on cereal boxes. haha.

Last Sunday, for Bishop Cercado´s family, I made enchiladas. The first time they had ever eaten enchiladas. They miraculously turned out well....I had to get creative because the same items are not here. It was fun to experiment a little....

This week was a whirlwind! Hermana Salmon came with me to my sector Friday because she has been having problems with her knees with the crazy amounts of stairs in her sector (her sector is a hill of lego houses). She has been diligently icing her knees and they are getting better. We had soooo much fun together Friday--we put two baptism dates. It was awesome to actually teach together and not just practice in the MTC. I LOVE Hna Salmon---she is an angel!!! We were laughing so hard in the lesson with Isabel and Theresa because they had this cat that kept jumping on us. Theresa took her shoe and hit it on the head a few times...It worked like a charm until the cat forgot (possibly due to brain damage from getting hit on the head a lot?) and the process repeated. Any ways, it was a fun exchange and I am thankful we were companions for even one afternoon. :)

Bryan Jeremy Araujo Celio was baptized this weekend! His family was inactive in the ward and Patricia Rodriguez showed us where they live and turns out Bryan had not been baptized (9 years old). The family is now active and committed to come to church. What a blessing! Now they need to work to go to the temple as a family.

Thank you for your prayers and love. I know this is the work of the Lord. It brings great joy and the Lord blesses His workers greatly.
Hermana Garlock

 P.S.  This is the little tienda (store) that is right by our apartment.  It is a perfect place to buy bananas, snacks or whatever items we may need.

CPR and Pigeons

Mi familia! Toda de mi familia!
The weather here is becoming a bit more bearable. :) Still humid as ever but there are moments when the sun hides and the temperature drops a bit. But whatever the weather is, the work goes on!
Our Pday this week was changed to Tuesday--today because we did a temple session and had a training with the new missionaries! Hermana Lara has one transfer, so we were part of the group that got to go to the temple bright and early this morning. I absolutely love love love this temple. It is beatimous. I wish I could adequately describe the peace and the tranquility that is found in and outside of this temple. It is a special place! The training was about our purpose as missionaries---baptize! President Montalti often says that if we came here just to serve and strengthen the church, that we do not need to be missionaries to do that. We can do this in our home wards and stakes. That's the truth. The only time of my life when I will be teaching and inviting people to be baptized is NOW. How awesome is that.
So we talked about how to set and reach goals....kind of like a Stephen Covey training, mom haha. We talked about how to invite people to be baptized---that they must be responsible to overcome their challenges. We should not pay for people to get married, buy their Sunday clothes, etc....These are children of God with divine potential and they can receive personal revelation- Revelation that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and how they can repent and change in order to be baptized. I sure do love training from President Montalti. He is a man called of God and holds the keys for this work. He received these keys from an apostle of God, whose keys come from Jesus Christ. Wow. What a marvelous opportunity this is to learn from a true servant of Jesus Christ.
I am finding great joy in the teachings of converts. It is so neat to see their progress. At times it is also really sad because they fall into old habits and temptations and I just want to help them sooo bad. We do what we can and then hope that members of the ward will continue to fellowship and love! I will continue to pray for these converts and hope that in time they will truly be able to leave their addictions behind. The only way we find relief from mistakes and sin is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Christ heals us. His power to save us is limitless. Regardless of our past, circumstances, and problems, He knows how to help us overcome these and change. The changes can be permanent, but we must continually exercise our agency to follow Jesus Christ.
Funny story about Hector Vargas-- he was baptized in the end of April I believe. Hector has the biggest heart. He is about 82 years old and is like our grandpa here! He buys us juice, banana chips, etc when we pass by his house (as we do practically every day). I try to tell him no, but he insists! So we accept. :) Yesterday, we passed by in the night to talk to him about the work of the temple so that he can prepare the name of his deceased wife, who he still loves deeply. Well, we got to his house and he was so so so excited. He told us that just a few hours earlier a pigeon was flying around his house, got electrocuted, and fell down seemingly dead. His neighbor, Jeanette, ran and got Hector because she knows how much Hector l o v e s these pigeons. You would not believe what Hector did....He gave the bird mouth to mouth and did CPR. Seriously. And it saved the pigeon´s life! The bird was up and flying again before night fell. A true miracle. This week I also was shocked in my hand by an electric wire. It was not a big deal or anything--just one of those little shocks but when Hector told me this story, I could not help but think that if I ever seriously needed CPR, I would hope Hector would be near to save me. If he can save a paloma, I believe he could also save me.
 I was SUPER excited to see the rainbow chip frosting (the ligit stuff) and cakemix. HOLY COW! Thank YOU so much for sending that. This is like a little taste of heaven.
Hermana Lara and I are getting along really well also. She likes to talk a lot in the streets and joke around. She is also serious but is always up for a good laugh. We laugh a lot together about random things....our senses of humor are different, but this just gives us more reason to laugh. Hermana Lara is learning English so we try to practice English as well. I still have a lot to improve with Spanish. I understand people a lot better now but at times, they do not understand me! This is the most frustrating-- when I think I just explained something really, really well, and then I ask a question and the person says, NO entiendo. AHHHHHHH great. Restart. Square one. Word by word. The most basics...slowly....and then usually they understand. This is why it is best to use scriptures and let the investigator be taught through the Spirit. haha. :)
Any ways, I talk about Mom and Dad a lot to share my experiences-- about how the gospel has blessing your marriage and our family and my life. People are always impressed when I tell them my grandparents are also members. Nearly all of the members in our ward here are converts, or their parents were converts. I am thankful for the gospel and for the unity it brings into our family. I love you each and pray for your happiness.
Hermana Garlock

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy :)

Wow!!! A lot has happened this week in your lives. First off, have the best parents in the world and I will be thinking about you both this Sunday.
Dad I am so thankful for your calming influence, your wisdom, and your efforts to always be improving. You and mom are always setting goals and moving forward and I love that.
Mom I just love you and am thankful for all that you have taught me. I have learned soooo much from you both and now I can see that it blesses me to be able to do the work of the Lord. Thank you mom for telling me that I am right where I should be. It´s always a good reminder.
This week was the week of finding those who are unmarried. I wonder if the Lord is trying to teach me the importance of marriage. All I know is that I do not think I have ever encouraged people to get married like we do now. Because it is part of keeping the commandments, we say REPENT, GET MARRIED, and BE BAPTIZED. haha. As I received an english copy of the Ensign this last week, I read a few talks that made me realize that we are preaching what the prophets are teaching as well. Most notably, President Monson´s talk from Priesthood Session and Elder Scott´s beautiful talk of the blessings of eternal marriage. I loved reading these and really should make copies for some converts and investigators. All I know is that I am in agreeance. Press forward in faith and get married! Easy to say for me because I do not need to follow this counsel for now. :)
I thought I would tell of a few random happenings this week in Ecuador:
-As we walked down the street, I stopped to admire the roosters and hens that were outside of a house. We realized the owners were also outside and began to talk to them. To our horror, Umberto and Maria were cutting off the red gobble and the crown of the roosters. We watched the somewhat bloody scene, but I was almost in tears. The only reason we waited and watched was because they said we could share our message with them after. This we did, Umberto accepted a baptism date (but SURPRISE---although living together for 23 years, they are not married). Any ways, it was an exciting afternoon to say the least.
-The other day we contacted a man and his child. As we talked, he asked if we were spies. I did not understand the word for spies, so I said Si si! Thankfully my companion quickly explained that no, we are missionaries looking for those who are searching the truth. And after she told me he had asked if we were spies. I wonder how many miscommunications I have had like this without even knowing....
I love this work of the Lord. My favorite part is that we get to read and use the scriptures so much. The scriptures truly come alive as we use and apply them. I love the Book of Mormon and know it is true. I know that every person who reads it with the desire to know of the truthfulness, will likewise gain this surety and testimony. The Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit of God are powerful tools. I invite all to read it and to pray and ask if it was written by prophets of God. Read it everyday and be uplifted by the words of our loving Heavenly Father.
WOOO HOO For Sound to Narrows. That´s awesome. Yes running is very different from walking, but there is great pleasure in running! Start training for next year and we can all run it together (ahh, me included).
Ok I must go but I love each one of you. Thank you for your love and support.
Hermana Garlock


Monday, June 6, 2011

No Cambios


THANK YOU for encouraging/guiding/teaching me so that I made the choice to be baptized! You are fabulous parents. Yesterday we were talking to a mom of a recent convert, Joanna. Neither of her parents are baptized and the dad does not support her whatsoever in her decision. I realized with gratitude in my heart that I am so blessed that you are my parents.
Baptism is the ticket to the Celestial Kingdom. I am thankful for you and for our faithful ancestors who have given me and my future posteridad this opportunity and blessing. Sweet.

Cambios--transfers came and went. I AM IN THE SAME SECTOR! Woo hoo!!!!! This is possibly a greater test of faith than a change. Our sector is relatively small, so now it gets really exciting. I feel more like a detective. Where oh where is Waldo (or the elect who are ready to be baptized). The truth is the more time I am here, the more beautiful it all is-- relationships with members, joy in seeing converts, houses, etc. As we try to discover new places, homes, and people waiting, it really becomes an adventure!

My companion did change---Hermana Reyes is in Milagro (one hour from here) and Hermana Lara, also from Honduras is my companion! She is wonderful! Hermana Lara came in the same group with Hna Reyes-- so has one cambio. She is gentle, and quiet, but also liberally talks with the people and has a strong testimony. I am excited we are companions.

Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Surprises and Delights!

This week was full of surprises and delights! The baptism of Gladys and Felipe  finally went through and they are going to be a powerful couple in the gospel! I am excited to hear about their progress and hope they maintain the peace they have found. They have made huge changes---Felipe has stopped drinking and they are started to change their travel plans so they can go to church more. They both visibly are different people. The gospel has the power to change who we are into who our Heavenly Father knows we really are and can become.

Petita also was baptized and I can hope that her daughters and grandchildren follow her example. Her husband passed away over 10 years ago and left Petita with 4 young girls. Often times, I can feel the desires, presence, or approval of those on the other side. What I mean is that I believe that the family members who have passed away are personally involved in bringing to pass the great work of the Lord here on the earth. Petita is a very special person and has been very generous and loving to Hermana Reyes and I.

We also had a surprise baptism of the nephew of a ward member. How many times does a missionary get to say that someone become a new investigator and is baptized in the same day? It was pretty neat. Jose David Sanchez (Chichi) has been coming to church and his aunt asked me what he needed to do to be baptized! Facilito! Permiso bautismal, guardar los mandimientos, y tener el deseo. Done and done. He will be a wild child to teach the lessons......Maybe Grandma Masters can pass along some more tips from her primary class? :)
 The last surprise was Elder Walter Gonsalez of the Presidency of the 70 came and spoke to our mission and the north mission (over 400 missionaries). It was a wonderful fireside. Before it started though, the assistants talked to me and said, *If Elder Gonsalez asks for volunteers to do the baptism invitation, you will raise your hand. Right? Right.* Sooo the moment came in the fireside, I raised my hand among many other eager missionaries, and somehow, I was called on! It was a really neat opportunity. How many people can say they have invited a 70 and his wife to be baptized? haha. It was fun to do...their ¨challenges¨ were he likes to watch soccer on Sundays and she drinks coffee. Thankfully, they were receptive *investigators* and said YES to be baptized 11 de Junio. :) This is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the best way and perhaps the only eternal way to come unto Him is through making and keeping covenants.
I enjoyed your story about Home teaching and new lesson discussions.  It takes some converts a long time to grasp what the missionaries have taught them and to apply it in their lives. At times I have seen with those who I have taught that they have a hard time adjusting to a whole different religious culture. This is certain with those who pray in different ways and are used to a whole different form of worship that includes clapping and standing, and even shouting. Many converts feel embarrassed often or don´t feel like they know anything about the gospel. This is where the member friendship and fellowship is ESSENTIAL. This kind of change and understanding often takes a great deal and time. Oh, I love those members who reach out and help along the newly baptized. I am so glad for your perspective and your desire to help her become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The missionary farewells and homecomings sounded fabulous. I am excited for those elders!!!
Hermana Garlock
 A Columbia Feast
A member of our ward

On the streets of Guayaquil

 Goodnight, from Ecuador


Monday, May 23, 2011

Temple and Baptism of Hermana Villao

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Gifts

 Familia de mia!

I had a WONDERFUL birthday week! THANK YOU so so so much for the packages. Ok I just received one of the three I think you sent but I LOVED IT SO MUCH! Thank you for the dark chocolate. ahhh to die for.

Chocolate here is hard to come´s different and very expensive. Thank you for the funfetti cake mix and frosting. I nearly started crying of joy. There is no sight of that here---there is not vanilla frosting here. It went perfectly with the homemade oreos Hermana Salmon made for me. I will treasure this can of frosting as I hope investigators treasure the words of the scriptures. DELIGHT in them. Thank you so so so much for every little thoughtful thing in the package. I appreciate it so much!

My birthday was wonderful because I was surrounded by people I love and who love me too! The RS President Hermana Moran made a delicious caramel cake with walnuts (dad would have loved it...I asked for the recipe). Our mamita also made a special lunch for us. Hermana Salmon made me breakfast--muffins and a smoothie. But better than all this was the baptism and confirmation of Nancy and the investigators at church. Truly, these were the greatest gifts. I felt the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of the gospel, and this filled me with happiness! Heavenly Father surely is blessing me with many gifts during my mission. It is a joyful work.

We also went to the temple again this week with our zone for a session and conference with president Montalti. I LOVE the temple here. It really is absolutely beautiful. It motivates me to share the gospel because I know what beauty people can have in their lives. There is such a contrast with the Lord's Holy House and the houses of the people here. Although in the humble circumstances I often see beauty, it is in the House of the Lord that we realize what He offers us is greater than the offerings of the world.

Thank you for your prayers. I am amazed as I learn more about the gospel how well Dad and Mom and our Grandparents have applied the gospel in their lives. Thank you for your examples. I have had such wonderful leaders all throughout YW, Primary, and college. I am thankful to each one of you for how you strengthen me.

Hermana Garlock

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Golden Birthday!

Today is Morgan's Golden Birthday!!!  22 on the 22nd of May!  Happy Birthday!!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marriage, Meat, and Maturity

This week went by super fast.....What is new to report?
I was trying to notice today the things in Ecuador that are so normal that I do not realize that they are unusual or different if you were not from here. For example, there are meat shops on the corners with huge sides of cows, lamb feet and pigs hanging, exposed to the air, heat, bugs. Also, in people´s houses they likewise have parts of red meat hanging. All I can say is it is a good thing that I am not sensitive to things like this anymore...Probably the 10 year old me would faint at the sight and smell of all this. Oh I LOVE Ecuador.
We had a special experience this week as we taught Gladys and Felipe. I think I have mentioned them before. They are a lovely couple. They are working through some difficult things in their marriage. I was touched as they expressed gratitude for the gospel, for this guide in their lives. They have found renewed hope for their marriage and a sense of confidence in their ability to change. There is a great joy in sharing with this couple! They want to serve a couple mission together and I can just picture them doing this.

Maybe the reason I needed to take marriage prep BEFORE my mission was so that I could have a basic knowledge of how to help people in the marriages here. Definitely the answers are in the scriptures and the Spirit can teach us all we need to know, but I have applied a few of the principles of this class to the various couples we are and have taught. Ahhh I am just waiting on pins and needles to find out what happened today when Roberto and Mariana Coello went to the registro civil--where they are going to get married. They are trying to get all their papers in order so they can get married and baptized!!!!

Thank you soooo much for your prayers for my success and safety. I truly feel them and know that I am being protected as a missionary!
Dayanna, Our precious nina is baptized!
People tell me that in Guayaquil it gets cold in July and August....I want someone to define cold. I am thinking cold must be 75 degrees, but I will take it! haha.

Have a fabulous week! The gospel of Jesus Christ is so full of hope and happiness that I can´t help but burst with these feelings as I am sharing it.

Hermana Garlock

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Baptism of Hector and Raul!

Brother Vargas was baptized!  He is a very special man.  He lives on the corner with three large busses, 2 dogs, 3 cats and tons of beautiful birds!

Baptism of Raul with his parents!  I love this wonderful family!

Dia de Preparacion & Transfers 4-18-2011

Dia de Preparacion.  Volleyball con our distric and our apartment. 
It is a delight to live with these Hermanas!
The new Hermanas with their trainers and the mission nurses.  Mis Amigas!  Hna Valazques goes home at the end of this transfer.  Hna Dennison came the transfer before me.  She entered the MTC-Provo with me but came straight to Ecuador because she spoke Spanish.

Hermana Salmon and I with our new companions from Honduras!  We needed to go shoe shopping for my companion :) 

Special Baptisms

Baptism of Hermana Narea with my new companion

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day: Unique, Fun and Faithful Family

Dearest Family,

It was soooo good to talk to each of you yesterday!  Thank you for your unfailing love and support. I am very thankful for our family. We have a very unique, fun, faithful family!

This week was excellente! We went to the temple with a small group from Guayaquil and had a training with President Montalti after. President Montalti is very focused on the results of the work. Here is one thing he said, "Why is the poor man poor? Because he learned it from his father. Why is the rich man rich? Because he learned it from his father. If you want to leave poverty then you must learn to plan, set goals and MEASURE the RESULTS." In this work, the Lord is our great boss. He is very loving, merciful, and wants us to succeed. He truly helps in the work.

Dayanna Salaza, 9 years old was baptized yesterday!!! Wooo hooooooo! Thank you Hermana Rosas for helping me find this beautiful child. The legacy of Hermana Rosas lives on.

All is well here. I feel so happy to have heard each of your voices yesterday. You are each doing such good productive things with your lives!!! I am so happy! I love this gospel. It unites and uplifts.

Hermana Garlock

Monday, May 2, 2011

All Dressed in White

I have loved teaching the Ayala family. 

Nina, Momacita, and Abuelita

Querido Familia,

I had an experience this week that reminded me of how wonderful mothers are.
We ate lunch with three little boys under the age of 5. Wow. Sister Arreaga really has it together....I have no idea how moms do it!!! All through lunch the boys were throwing food, laughing, and running around. I have no idea how Sister Arreaga even made the rice and beans with these energetic boys. haha....Anyways, it gave me a new appreciation for moms and a new appreciation for this special time of my life as a missionary. Of course, I look forward to the day when I will be a mom, but for now I am happy to be a missionary.

Marcelo, Sami, and their nine year old daughter Marcelita  were baptized Saturday! It was a wonderful experience, and at the end of the baptism Marcelita said that when she was baptized she felt like Jesus Christ was at her side. The remarkable part is that He was! When we are baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, it is by the power and authority of Jesus Christ. I know the effects of His power are real!
This week was a whirlwind with whether this Family was going to get baptized or not, but they overcame their doubts and went forward in faith. It strengthened my testimony as well. Marcelo listened to the missionaries when he was 19 years old, but worked Sundays so never went to church. When we contacted them, Marcelo told us to come every day because he had been waiting for about 20 years to finally find the truth. How neat is that.

I love the people here. It is truly in our relationships with people that we find joy and satisfaction. I have observed here an interesting difference in culture. The people here call people what they are--- for example, we are teaching a 60 year old woman, Nancy Billon. She calls me Niña. At first when people called me nina, I though it was demeaning, but now I really enjoy it. To Nancy, this is who I am, a child! And it is appropriate for me to call her abuelita- or grandma if I would like. Gladys Jubile calls her husband Gordo (fat). Really, this is equivalent to calling him Amor, which she likewise calls him. Gordito or gordo is a very common term of affection here. How funny is this! I believe in the US this would be offensive, but here it is normal and accepted! LOVE IT.

Also, voting here is mandatory. Everyone is assigned a different place to vote and then you have to go to that place to vote. For many people it is in their home town so people have to travel. If you don´t go, you get fined! I am not sure how much, I asked and someone told me $70. The Coello family is going to vote, they will get a paper for voting and this paper is needed to get married. Then they can get married and get baptized!!!! Woo hooo!!!! May 7th is a wonderful day. Thank heavens people have to vote here.

I shared my testimony this week in testimony meeting. I felt a powerful witness of the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that He has made it possible for us to return to our loving Heavenly Father. For this reason, I share the gospel every day! I love you each so much! I pray for you and think of you and draw strength from your examples.

Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Miracles and Baptisms

Wow It sounds like you had a wonderful week in Utah!
I think for FHE activities you should have language lessons. Fun?! I am so proud of my older sister for graduating!! Wooooo hoooooooo!!!!!´Time goes by so quickly. I can distinctly remember the morning she left for BYU as a freshman. Early morning. I was so so so sad. And look. Now she has finished. Wow. And it was cold in Utah? How odd. I think I was mildly cold the other day. It was 8:30 at night and it was raining and I was wet. I think I was mildly cold. But overall, it´s the same weather here. Hot, humid, at times rainy at times really sunny. It´s great! I love it. So predicable.

This was a week of MIRACLES. Raul Mindiola and Hector Vargas were baptized. I could hardly believe and neither could the ward members. Raul is the son of members and he has listened to missionaries for about six years off and on. Hermana Rosas and I taught him all of February and he was maybe going to be baptized in March. When the time came for his baptism, he told us he needed more time, likes things slowly, and etc. So we stopped teaching him. Sometimes he comes to church, so when he came to general conference, my companion, Hna Falls told me she felt like we should teach him. We went and he hesitantly, half heartedly, possibly, accepted a baptism date for just a week and a half away. To make a long story short, finally Saturday at 3 in the afternoon, he said YES. Without a smile on his face. Just four hours before the baptism. The miracle of it is that he was baptized and after he shared his feelings, and said how happy he was, that he felt like a new person, and he was thankful that I told him he needed to change. Sunday he was at church early in his white shirt and really does seem like a new person. AHHH!! This work is SO AWESOME!

As for Hector, let´s just say he is one of the coolest 76 year old men that I know. Everyday he feeds a whole group of pigeons at 6am, 12, and 5 pm. He was a sailor and is rad. I love teaching him because we share a doctrine and he shares his life experience. It´s so neat. I am just really excited for him because his wife died a couple of years ago and he LOVES her so so much. I know that she is happy with him and now he can do her work in the temple so that they can be together forever. Sigh. This is beautiful.

I love being a missionary. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives and loves us. This is the work and the glory of the Father. I am so thankful for the people here in Ecuador who accept Jesus Christ in their lives.

Stay tuned...Next week to come is a thrilling story about Marcelo, Sami, and Marcela Ayala. A family who has waited a long time for this gospel.

Thank you for your letters!

Hermana Garlock