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

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Companion and A Convert

Hola Familia!

Loved your letters. I'm sorry to hear that the Mariners stink. haha. This made me laugh. I need to find out if people here know what baseball is. I have not ever seen a baseball here. Mainly soccer and basketball.

I am so excited for my oldest sibling to GRADUATE!!!!!!! WOOO HOOO!!! What a wonderful accomplishment. She always sets a high standard and example for the rest of us to follow. I am glad she was born first. :)
This week we had transfers. I am guessing you will be nearly surprised as I was. My companion, Hermana Falls transferred to another area in Guayaquil and I got a new companion. Once again, let's put the emphasis on NEW. Hermana Reyes from Honduras! She is fresh from the Peru MTC-- only 15 days there and now she is in the field with me. Hermana Reyes is super cute and has a lot of excitement for the work. I will miss Hermana Falls! I felt like we were just getting to know each other, but there is a chance we will serve together again. Changes are a bit exhausting but are also exciting. I am still in the same ward that I started in-- this will be my 4th change here.

Saturday Hermana Narea was baptized! She is such a tender hearted lady. Quiet spoken and gentle. I loved her descriptions of how she felt when she was baptized. She said, ¨I don't have words for it. I just feel clean and happy.¨ This touched me because the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. For some, the gospel can be a dramatic change. For others, it is more of a natural, bit by bit change. What I know is that all need the gospel! Who does not want to have that fresh out of the shower feeling everyday? And in Ecuador, this clean feeling is treasured even more than in other places.

I am happy and busy. There you have it. The work is going well. I was reading this morning in Luke 2 about the childhood of Christ. The first 12 years of Christ's life are summed up in one verse....something like, and the child grew and waxed strong in spirit. The next 18 years of His life are summed up in another verse that says something like, He learned wisdom and grew in favor with God and man. I wish I could remember the verses can look it up. I thought though, I would like my mission to be summed up in one verse as well, ¨Hermana Garlock served the Lord with all her heart, might, mind, and strength.¨ Christ is my example and He truly directs His work.

Well, we are off to search for shoes for my companion...she has high heels. Yeah, not going to work too great here. :)
I can't believe my little sibling is driving!! Sweeeeeeeeeeeet. Aren't our parents some of the most patient people there are? I really had no idea how patient until I learned to drive. haha.

The gospel is true! Thank you for your examples and love.
Hermana Garlock

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring, Sun and Service


Wow, it sounds like Spring Break was a fabulous time.  :) I am so glad that we live in such a beautiful part of the world. Your trip reminds me of the Family: A Proclamation to the World, which says that strong families are also based on wholesome recreation time. I can see in our family how true that is. I love spending time with each one of you and getting to know you better. There is always more to learn about each of you and your dynamic personalities! I love each one of you.
 I am still pretty white. Don't ask me how, but I think I am the whitest person in my district and possibly in my zone. haha. But for me, I'm doing good.
Thank you for your words of wisdom, and the be wise. Have you been reading in the Book of Mormon by chance? It sounds like the prophets in the Book of Mormon!!!! It is one of the very BEST places to find counsel.
We are eating really well here. When we don't have a mamita, I cook up some creative dish. haha It's quite fun.

This week I realized that no matter how much I give, I am always receiving more. This week we ¨served¨ Marta, one of our investigators. My companion ironed shirts and I helped her cook. First off, cooking lessons should not count as service for me. I am thrilled any time I get to see even a portion of how they whip up soups, creams, etc. Although a member of the ward was going to cook for us, Marta served us heaping portions for lunch. Some service! Then she proceeded to give us these cute boxes and gift bags in which we can keep our things. She sells these and so this was a sacrifice for her to so freely and gleefully give us these boxes. In the same day, the Family Coello gave us pens and Gladys gave us three large mangos straight from the Ecuador fields. These are temporal, physical gifts.

More than these types of gifts, I am grateful for the spiritual blessings I receive as I serve. I am learning so much from these people about what it means to be humble. I am amazed by their examples of faith and courage. The Lord truly blesses me in His work.
My testimony of the perfect plan of Heavenly Father is strengthened as I share it. I know this will be a foundation for the rest of my life. Likewise, it is a privilege to learn Spanish in order to share the gospel. No matter how much I give, Heavenly Father blesses me with more. I understand a little bit more the phrase in the scriptures that says even if we labor all our days, we will still be unprofitable servants.

I am thankful for the guidance of the Spirit as we seek those who are ready and waiting. I loved what you shared about acting in the moment we feel the promptings. This is so true! I often have to turn around and walk back to talk to someone as I realized that I had shrugged off the quiet whispering of the Spirit. It is a lifelong process to receive, recognize, and act on the promptings.

I love you! I am doing well-- healthy and happy! I have now been in the same ward for 4 months and it feels like home. I know almost every member (active and many inactive) by name and they are a huge support!

Have a fantastic week back at school and work! With faith, even the mundane activities can be turned into joyful occasions.

Hermana Garlock

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Iguanas, Candles, and Cookies

 Posing with Iguanas!
Hermana Salmon's Birthday cake!  I found these amazing candles.  They warmed up the cake in no time.  The only problems was that we could not stop the flames!  YIKES!

General Conference

Bonjour! Ooops... Hola!
I do not remember much more french than that, but I expect lessons from my brother and sister in the future. Our FHE activities can be language focused. What do you think about that?!

Conference was wonderful! I loved the talk that mentioned making Celestial Traditions. What a rich thought. As I think about all the times Dad or Mom or whoever called us for family prayer and scriptures, I am filled with gratitude. This along with family dinners, FHE, and family planning are truly celestial moments in our
home. I listened to all but Sunday afternoon Conference in English. How did I accomplish this? Well, Luiz, our recent convert who is deaf, watched Conference in a classroom with subtitles. So, in an effort so that he would not be alone, Hermana Falls and I joined him (with others) and put the audio on English. Perfect solution! I love hearing the speakers voices, and was sooo thankful for the opportunity to listen in English so that I could fully understand.

I also loved the talk by Elder Bednar about the Spirit. As I think of experiences with the Spirit in the past few months, most of them are small, simple moments. It is almost tempting to say that these were just coincidences or my own thoughts, etc... but truly this is the beauty in how the Spirit works- a still whisper.

For example, Saturday two weeks ago, we had only 10 minutes before we normally go back to our apt in the night. We were right by our house, and I had no idea what to do for just 10 minutes. But, I felt a gentle push to not go back to our street. We started walking toward the house of a girl we had taught once. As we walked in this direction, I saw a woman entering into her apartment. I felt that we needed to talk to her. So we did! I thought she was a lady Hna Rosas and I taught once and she, Gladys, also thought we were the same missionaries who had taught her a year before. (Turns out we were both mistaken, but this mistake was key in our trust in each other). Gladys told us of her problems with her spouse and we invited her to church the next morning. Surprisingly, she was up and waiting for us when we passed her apartment for church. Truly the Spirit guides us in this work. Gladys, her husband, and her neighbor all are planning to be baptized in just another week. The Lord blesses us for obedience.

I was also touched in conference by the mention of angels. As I think of my setting apart with President Call and our family, I think of the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 84:88 that says His angels will be around me. This is the truth. I can feel it. Often these angels are the mortals- my companions, church members, and investigators. I have also felt that at times, there are angels strengthening, comforting, encouraging, and guiding me in this grand work of God.

OoO! Last night there was a huge thunder and lightning storm. Drenched us through, but Hermana Falls and I were gleefully skipping in the flooded streets.
I wondered if you were eating German pancakes yesterday! :) YUM!

Hermana Garlock