Monday, January 31, 2011

The Family Rodrigues gave me this poncho to wear so we could run in
the rain to our house to collect the things for the baptism and then
the the chapel. YIKES!!!!!
 The baptism of Narciso Onofre
 Narciso was insistant about not bringing clothes to change into after. This was
super funny because after the baptism he was all wet but we ate refreshments
and everything like normal!

This is what I made today for lunch! Saturdays and Mondays we cook for
ourselves. It was quite an adventure with the chicken. I skinned it,
broke bones, etc. Good thing I don´t faint at the sight of chicken
blood. The bread is from the little bread shop on the corner.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pictures and P-Day Adventures!

                 We went to see the ocean!

Karina's Baptism

 Karina and Gio with me and my companio
Baptism celebration!
      Turtles and Iguanas --They were crawling all over the park!           

Valentine's Day in Ecuador????

Dear Familia,  Amigas and Amigos,
A Valentines Day package?!!!No way!!! THANK YOU!!!!   I'm going to be honest and tell you I had completely forgotten Valentine's day exists. I wonder if they celebrate it here. I will have to ask. Ohhhhhh what love fills my heart for each of you in this very moment.
Thank you for the update about Hermana Val, she is in my prayers and so are each of you. I am thankful for the perspective freely offered through the Plan of Salvation. The challenge is to have faith, hope, and confidence in these promises. My faith in this Plan of Happiness is being fortified. Oh I how I know of Heavenly Father´s love for us through this merciful plan which makes it possible for us to be reunited with our family perfectly for forever.

SURPRISE BAPTISM this week!!! How to explain... Hermana Karina. She lives with her mom and two kids. Karina is mentally slower and is like a young child-maybe 12 years old...I don{t know. When we first met Karina, we mainly focused our teaching on her mom, Tomara, and her 11 year old daughter Nicole. We left them with the BOM and in our next visit when we returned, they had not read in the BOM. The mom, Tomara, had no desire to keep learning or listening, so she left the house to talk to her neighbor. Nicole goes to a different church with all of her friends and likewise outright said she would not read the BOM. I told Nicole that if she was not going to read the BOM, could we please take the book and give it to someone who would read it. She quickly ran and got the book. My companion, in her wisdom and love, was talking to Karina during all this. She realized that Karina understood all we talked about and wanted to keep learning. Unfortunately, Karina cannot read in order to read The Book of Mormon. So, I told Nicole if she would read to Karina, I would bring her cookies. (I know.....aren´t these good habits for parenting in the future? Threats to give the BOM to another family...bribery....) And so, in just under two weeks time, Karina learned about the gospel and was baptized after church yesterday. The best part is how happy Karina was. I doubt that her family has ever seen her happier. She was just beaming. Nicole and Tomara´s hearts have definitely been softened and they are very supportive of Karina. We are excited to see all that will happen with Nicole and Tomara. It may take some time but now Karina is such a powerful example in their home.

Also, guess who baptized Karina?! GIOOOOO!!! This was precious. Yes... He may have had to repeat the words 4 times to say the correct words and it took three attempts for Karina to be baptized by immersion, BUT Gio holds the Priesthood of God. And how beautiful it was to watch him use this power and authority to bless one of Heavenly Father´s dear children.

Thank you for your letters! Time flies. I may be transferred tonight...So I may be in a new area next week! We will see.  Five new Hermanas come this week and 5 left and there are about only 20 here in total. Thank you for your examples. Thank you for your love and assistance !!
Hermana Garlock

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whirlwind, Rainy Week--Sunshine in My Heart!

 Mis padres and Familia en toda!

Wow! I loved the description of your week---a whirlwind. I can relate here in Ecuador! Last night, it rained harder than I have ever experienced in my life. We were literally walking through a river in the streets. My clothes were soaked through within a couple of minutes. It took all of my will power to not grab the hand of my companion and dance in the rain. I am not sure how appropriate this would be as a missionary. At the point when we were chilled to the bone and realized no one would let us into their apartments looking as we did, we took cover in our apartment.  From what I hear, this is just the beginning of the rainy season.

Even when it is rainy, I realized I can have sunshine in my heart. Since it is super hot during the day, it is not too difficult to remember the warmth of the sun. :) This week was full of little tender moments.
We found a family that has four little boys--all under the age of five. Their house is really only one room and the other parts of their house has some kind of covering over it. I don´t even want to imagine the damage from the rain last night.... Their youngest child is only 16 weeks old and he was born premature two months. I believe he is the smallest baby I have ever seen! Sooooooooooo precious. The mother- Jacqueline loves reading the Book of Mormon. They didn't come to church this Sunday with us unfortunately so this will be a challenge to overcome. When we visited the family on Saturday, Mario, the father was gone and Jacqueline was trying to calm her four boys who were running around crying. It was a really special experience for Hermana Rosas and I. We sang I am a Child of God and the boys settled down. It was so precious--- one of them came over and rested his head on my knee. Unfortunately, I did not realize he had poop on his hands. Yeah this was nice on my skirt....Thankfully my skirt was black. So I just wiped it off with some water and we were able to move on without too much commotion. Even wild little boys can feel the Spirit  to be calmed. With this experience, the rain, and my week reminded me of the song ¨Master the Tempest is Raging.¨ The beautiful part is that the Savior comes and says ¨Peace be Still.¨

The greatest tender mercy this week was immigration. Yes. All of the new missionaries traveled to Guayaquil to receive ID cards from Ecuador. I am thankful for this law of Ecuador because guess who came to our apartment at 6:30 am from Loja?! Hermana Salmon!!!!!!!! AHHHH! It was the happiest reunion yet of my mission. We ate pancakes with peanut butter and caught up on the past month of our missions. It was a little boost of happiness that I needed. I would love love love to serve with Hna Salmon again in the future. What good motivation this is for me to learn Spanish...Not that I need more motivation. Truly I feel the greatest source of motivation from the fact that I want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to share it with my hermanas and hermanos!!!!

I was thinking this morning about how thankful I am for our family. I remember mom and dad when we lived in the house on Grandview, you made a chart for the Book of Mormon. After we read to a certain point, we would get a reward like a blizzard from Dairy Queen, or an even bigger reward after finishing Alma. As much as these rewards were delightful, I realize now the greatest reward from this was not something temporal, but something much more valuable. I have developed a love for the Book of Mormon. It began at the age of 10 and has been fostered and the love will continue to grow as I share it with more people. The Book of Mormon with the Spirit is the greatest conversion tool we have.
 I love you! Thank you for your love and prayers and support!
Thank you for your letters!

Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Mis Padres and toda familia!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! How exciting it is to celebrate 26 years. Holy cow. That's more than my life and more than your single lives. Wow. Someday it will be more than the years you spent single
combined- 24 and 24?
What great faith you demonstrate in your marriage. Marriage is probably the greatest act of faith and our family has been richly blessed due to your temple marriage. Thank you for being wonderful examples of love- love for each other and love for your children. It was so good to hear about your trip to Cannon Beach. It sounds like you had a delightful time and it made me happy to think of you walking on the beach and talking about your kids.
Guess what else was celebrated this weekend? Guillermo's eternal salvation!!!!!!!!!!!! WOoooo hoo (In the most reverent missionary woo hoo way). Gio was baptized Saturday and this was the most special day yet of my time here in Ecuador. I cannot begin to express how satisfying it was to watch this baptism and to be a witness of the power of Jesus Christ. I was amazed as I realized that the young man performing the ordinance truly holds the power to act in the name of Christ. He received the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday from the Bishop. I listened as carefully as I could so that I could understand as much of the blessing as possible. Gio is a witness to me that the power of Jesus Christ is not limited. What I mean is that the healing effects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ extends to all of our needs, sins, and suffering. Miracles truly occur through faith in His name. Gio was baptized and confirmed and oh what joy this brings to my heart. In just three weeks, we taught him the principles of the gospel and the Spirit taught him it was true! AHHHH!!! IS ANYONE ELSE EXCITED ABOUT THIS?! It is amazing to me.

Ok now I have to share just a little something. I remember before my mission thinking that it was a little bit zealous of missionaries to want to baptize someone within a month. I thought that the people needed more time to learn and to really be committed, etc.... I have had a change of heart! In 3 Nephi 11 when Christ comes to visit the people in the Americas, the first thing Christ does is He has the people touch His hands and side as a witness that He is the Savior of mankind. Then the very next thing He does is teach His doctrine. The doctrine of baptism! Starting with Nephi, Christ gives certain people the power to baptize (signifying that the authority to baptize is essential), then teaches the way to baptize by immersion in His name, and invites all to come unto Him to repent and be baptized in this manner. As a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ, I must act as He would.
Yesterday, we searched for a couple of past investigators from months ago. We visited with them and asked them if they had any questions for us. The mother, Jeanette, asked why the missionaries wanted to baptize her after only visited a couple of times. In essence, why was baptism our motive? My companion explained our purpose and I shared this scripture with her and we testified of the blessings of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. At the end of our time with her, we asked them to be baptized the 29th of January. AND GUESS WHAT? Jeanette and her daughter said, YES! When we follow the example of Christ, more good comes than we could ever do in any other pathway.

My fire for missionary work is gradually building. And I was thinking about something....Mom and Dad you feed the missionaries in hope that someone will be taking care of Nate and I in our missions. My thought
is, what if you also had the missionaries teach your friends?! Then would Nate and I have more people to teach! I think it could work. I don´t know about Nate, but I eat really well. So I think it could work. Just a thought.

I am thankful to be a missionary and to be here in Ecuador. It is different than I expected in many ways, but this is good for me. It reminds me that the Lord has a plan for me and it is the best plan. His way is the only way I will truly be happy. And certainly, I want true happiness!

Thank you for the many Christmas cards I received this week!!!! I LOVED THEM!
Have a fabulous week!
I love you!

Hermana Garlock

Monday, January 3, 2011

Feliz Año Nuevo!

New Year's dinner with my companion and roommates.

Me with the monkey lady outside our apartment.

New Year's Eve on the streets of Guayaquil 2010.

Happy New Year!!!

Hola Familia en 2011!!!

Did you go through the white stocking of goals for FHE today? I hope so! I love this tradition and definitely want to do something like it in the future. For now, I wrote down my goals in my study journal.
Once again, I have made the goal to read Jesus the Christ. This may be the 3rd time or more I have made this goal. But this year, I have a really good feeling that I will accomplish it! I have other goals for study and such which I am excited about working on.
New Years here is locisimo. Or something like that. On the 31st we returned to our apartment at 2 pm, did weekly planning for a few hours, and then with Hna Montenegro and Hna Barker we made hamburgers, french fries, and corn on the cob. It was deeeelicious and so much fun to cook. It felt like summer. We rocked out to EFY music and Mindy Gledhill. Oh the life of missionaries. :) I thought of you and your
sea food dinner! The only seafood I have eaten so far is tuna,. but it was yum yum in my tum tum.

For the whole month of December and maybe before this, the people are busy making paper mache figures. They are in the shape of all sorts of things-- buzz lightyear, and toy story figures are a favorite! They are called munecos de ano and on the 31st at midnight, they light them on fire in the streets. The big ones have some kind of explosives in them so when they are lit they make a series of BOOM BOOMs. It was
CRAZY! We all woke up to the sound of a battlefield at midnight. The people were in the streets, music was playing loudly, and there were also huge fireworks in the sky. We clapped and enjoyed to view and
sounds from our window. It was really fun to watch and hear. They know how to party here in Ecuador. On the 1st of January we could leave our apartment after 2 pm, so we spent the afternoon waking up our
investigators to remind them about church in the morning. It was reeeeally interesting. BUT! Our efforts paid off and we had five investigators at church on Sunday morning! This was really exciting for us.

It was fast and testimony meeting this Sunday and the meeting was soooo good. There was a non stop stream of members sharing their brief but true testimonies. It was exciting for me to realize that I am
getting to know and love the members in this ward! We need their testimonies and efforts in this work. I also shared my testimony--in Espanol! I was nervous before because then the ward members would know
exactly how well I can speak... but I think the Spirit was at least communicated and that's what matters. It is amazing that I could say all that I wanted-- very similar things as I would say in English. What a blessing it is to have the gift of tongues.

Remember Gio?? We are hoping he will be baptized this Saturday. He has an interview with President Montalti so we will see if he can be baptized or if he will need to wait. We are praying really hard for Gio. The highlight of this week was when we walked by Gio´s house 30 minutes before we were going to teach him. There was Gio sitting on his little couch reading the Plan of Salvation folleto we had given him the day before. It was sooo tender. He had a ruler and a pen in hand and was marking parts. We watched him without him noticing and my heart truly was so happy. It is so exciting to see someone come to Christ. And with Gio we can see tangible evidence. The first time we talked to him he was a different person than he is now. I believe we met on my second day here and he came up to us as we were talking with a group of older gentleman sitting on the corner. In the beginning, Gio was a bit unkept and such and he has an evangelical background so there were a lot of AMENS during the first lesson. :) But now he is calmer and has an inner peace that comes with a budding testimony. This Sunday he was at the church 30 minutes early. I think the member who was going to bring him to church was a little worried when Gio wasn't at his house. But all was well! Gio was waiting in the church. I need to send a picture of Gio. He is a thin little man with
a partially empty smile due to the lack of teeth. Gio is just classic and it brings me so much happiness to share the gospel with someone who applies it and comes closer to Christ through it!

 I have a strong desire to share the gospel because of how much it blesses our family. Thank you for always being valiant and for focusing on the basics like family prayer! I can testify of the impact of these things because I know it from personal experience.  What a blessing. Thank you for preparing us for missions and for preparing all of us for the journey of life!

I do not know all that this next year has in store, but I have faith that it is going to be a year full of happiness and joy. I am excited to see the Lord's blessings in our lives. No matter what the year brings, the answer to it all is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have such confidence in this which is yet another reason why I love sharing it.

Hermana Garlock