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