Monday, December 29, 2014


1.   How has a mission prepared you to be a mommy?
I have learned that I really love cooking and cleaning and all those household chores haha. If anything it has just made me excited to be a mommy. Once again with that whole patience thing - I think that´s the main lesson I´ve learned, and that is something that will help me be a mom. 

2.   What has been your most rewarding teaching opportunity?

Okay that is a hard one to think of right now. Recently, I taught a less active family that had left the Church because they were offended about something, and I was able to share with them how the Atonement helped me forgive, and about how being angry just hinders our own progress. They came to church yesterday! It was fabulous! 

3.    Share your eating situation with us?  Do you meals?  What is your specialty?
Well, we eat lots of chicken. Lots of rice. Lots of soda :(. I´m not a fan of soda. I have developed some quite expensive tastes while I´ve been here. My latest obsession and what I make in the house is mango juice (I will cry when mango season is over) and goat cheese and apple toasted sandwiches. Not that those are common things here, it´s just that last week I decided to buy goat cheese and man is it tasty. The truth is that I don´t really remember what we eat in the US on a daily basis, all the stuff we eat seems pretty normal to me now. I drink/eat 7 mangoes a day. That might explain some of the issues I´ve been having.

4.    What do you desire to accomplish this week and how are you going to do it?
This week, we want to strengthen this ward. Without going into details about some of the challenges we´re facing, we´re going to focus helping all members, including the active ones, to better fulfill their responsibilities in the ward. Yeah. This time period in my mission is very different, we´re not doing the normal mission tasks, but we are definitely doing the work of Salvation. It´s going to be fun.  

I wanted to thank you guys for taking us to old people´s homes for family home evenings and things. I have thought about those experiences a lot lately, and I´m grateful that we didn´t limit ourselves to sitting at home every FHE. Thank you for that. A lot. 
Okay, I´m sorry, I have to go, but I hope that you have a happy new year!
Hermana Rust

 Reunited with my dearest Hermana DeForest in the mission Christmas activity. 

 Me and Hermana Olsen. I´m mostly just sending these pictures just in case something happens to my camera. 

Muchísimas gracias querida familia Gavilanes! Les deseamos un feliz año nuevo!
Gracias por su amor y por ser nuestra familia aquí en Ecuador. Les queremos muchísimo!

Hermana Rust y Hermana McKee

Monday, December 22, 2014


1.    How do the people you teach respond to learning of Joseph Smith?
Well... Here´s the thing. There´s a very popular evangelical church here and the pastor{s name is Jerry Smith. So sometimes people think we´re talking about him haha. The truth of the matter is, there are lots of false prophets down here. I swear there´s a new church every other day, so there are lots of people claiming to be prophets. It´s not something that different or strange down here. What is really fun and what I really like to explain is about the priesthood, about the laying on of hands. The "prophets" down here become "prophets" because they say that the Holy Spirit descended over them and gave them visions, so when we explain that Joseph Smith received the authority of the priesthood by the laying on of hands from the original apostles of God, they see the difference. The laying on of hands is something I have studied a lot on the mission, I love reading the Bible and finding more and more instances of priesthood ordinances being done by the laying on of hands  - it´s nothing new, it´s the way it´s always been done, and it´s the way things are being done now too. It´s cool. I love it. It just makes so much more sense, no.

2.    Can you share thoughts and feelings on teaching others how to offer their first prayer?
Haha that´s another thing that´s really different here than in the US. Everyone here is Christian. Everyone prays - it´s just what you do.  So usually the only thing we have to teach is that you have to end in the name of Jesus Christ. I really love teaching though that it is a two way communication, and helping people identify their answers to their prayers. There are tons of people that have prayed every day since they´ve been born, but don´t really know why, so it´s really fun when we help them realize that God is talking back.

3.    What is the worst/scariest thing that has happened to you thus far?
The scariest thing that has happened to me... happened a year ago. Almost exactly a year ago. Nothing big even really happened, we were just scared. We had a meeting or something in the church in Milagro, and it ended late, so the zone leaders helped us flag down a taxi and we got in and told him our address and left, and as we were sitting in the car we just felt the most awful feeling ever, and we were speaking in English about how creeped out we were (I was with Hermana Chil) - and then we received a text from the zone leaders telling us that they felt weird about the taxi we had gotten into and that they wrote down the license plate number and that we should call them when we were safe at home. So yeah. We told him that we had mistaken the direction and got out a few blocks before our house so he didn´t know where we lived and started walking in a completely different direction until he left and then we went home. I think I already told you that story. As for recent scary /weird things.... I have had some pretty strange and scary health problems haha but I will not be going into detail about those .

4.    How has the Christmas season affected your teaching opportunities?

It´s been great for inviting members to share teh gospel. We give them the He is the Gift cards and challenge them to invite others to see the video and then meet with us afterwards. How great is that video by the way? I just love it. It´s better in English. 

Well.. we´ll be chatting on Friday... so I´ll let you know how everything goes then. Tomorrow the entire mission is going to the temple in shifts, and then we´re cleaning  chapels and then having a mission dinner. We´re so excited! 

 Easily the coolest activity ever. The man with the beard that isn´t Santa is the coolest guy I know. He´s in our ward, his name is Salvador and he´s from Argentina and he does LEGIT high quality shows in malls and stuff like that. The elf man was singing in English in an awesome Michael Buble swing style and I wanted to hug Santa and dance so bad - but I didn´t.

Did I send you this picture? My zone with the mission president and his wife and the area president and his wife. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


This week was good! I can´t say that I have gotten the exact results that I wanted, but since when is it about what I want, right? Little by little, things are getting better and we´re moving forward! You´re right, the results are coming in different areas than what I want, but the results are coming. I am learning a ton about PATIENCE. It´s not that fun learning patience haha but apparently for me it is very necessary. And I´m learning it. When I think about who I was a year ago, I hardly recognize myself mentally. I don´t know if that makes sense but it´s true, I definitely don´t think the same. 
This week has been fun because in the training program we are studying about learning to help our investigators to recognize the Spirit, which makes you focus on your own spiritual experiences and how we´ve come to know that these things are true. So much depends on humility, because a prideful person will not give heed to the feelings that the Spirit gives us. 
I¨m so sorry,I am out of time! I will repent and be better prepared for next week!

 Malecón with Hermana Marta. I let her cut my hair last p-day... and that is all that will be said on the subject.  

 This is a picture that I never sent from when we went to Malecón. These are two important people in Ecuadorian history.

 We had lunch in Oswaldo´s workshop a couple weeks ago.

Hermana DeForest had cambios today and we´re rather heartbroken. We´re gonna miss her. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


1.    What advice, council would you give to Hannah for what she should be doing right now to prepare better for serving a mission?
Learn to love the Book of Mormon. If you don´t have your own personal testimony of it, get one. If you already have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, ask God again, He´ll let you know again that it´s true. I really think that getting the habit of studying will help a lot. I treasure my personal study time, it´s my favorite hour of the day. 

2.    How have your prayers been answered this past week?
Great question. I have been fasting and praying a lot to know what I need to do in order to have success. It´s been a little frustrating to see the other hermanas having lots of success and us not getting anywhere. This week, we had two meetings with Elder Uceda, the área president, and it was amazing all the things I learned. I received some very specific promptings to know what I needed to change. We have been looking for families to teach, and this week we found two families. They are families that will probably progress slowly, but still, two families! We´re thrilled. I could keep going and going and going, this week has been a week of answered prayers and revelation. 

3.    What has been your greatest joy this week?
My greatest joy this week..... I loved the Christmas devotional. I think you were probably looking for something profound, but yesterday had been a stressful day, and I was irritated about some things (which isn´t good. I´m working on that still) and I wasn´t ... gellin´. But in the devotional, I was able to relax and feel the Spirit and the spirit of Christmas. And I don´t remember what hymn it was but they sang one hymn and I think it might have been the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. 

4.    What talent(s) have you developed since being a missionary?
I don´t know if this counts as a talent, but I´ve gotten a lot better at just talking to people. We hop into a taxi and before we get where were going I know how many kids he has and what he does in his free time and all sorts of stuff. Of course, he also has a pass along card, but I actually enjoy talking to people now: As far as other talents, like actually talent talents... I´ve gotten better at singing. I have to sing loud, because the majority of the people here are tone deaf, so I sing loud and proud. I´m no Holly still, but in my own little way I sing well haha. I´m still struggling to learn to play piano. Every minute of extra time I have in the chapel I´m painfully slowly practicing playing the hymns.
I´m out of time! I love you all!

Las cuatro en Malecón con el árbol grandote!

Monday, December 1, 2014


  I tried barbecued pig intestines yesterday. They were tasty. On to the questions! I got lots of pictures too, a member from Valencia was in our capilla yesterday and last pday we went ot the parque de las iguanas.

1.    What are your biggest struggles as a missionary?Ummm.... People´s agency! That sounds awful but it´s true, sometimes I just get frustrated when the people understand what they need to do, and they feel the Spirit, and then just choose not to do it. In the District videos, Sister Voyles made the brilliant observation that it´s helped her to learn a little bit of what God feels when we know what to do, and we just don´t do it. It´s irritating!

2.    How has your relationship with the Savior changed?I don´t know if I could explain this in an email, especially because I only have 10 minutes left (sorry - I had to read a lot of things and yeah... sorry!!) But let´s just say that I feel His love, direction, and correction more in my life, and it´s wonderful.

3.    What part of the gospel is the most fun for you to teach and see accepted by those you teach
?There is nothing funner and more satisfying than when someone understands the Restoration and tithing. Those are my two favorite lessons, because with the Restoration, when they really just get it, they are in awe of the fact that there is a living day prophet at 12 apostles, and when you stop to think about it, that really is cool! And then I love it when people can trust the Lord enough to pay their tithing. Lots of people are afraid to teach tithing to really humble families, but I love it, because I can just testify of the miraculous blessings that come through obedience to that commandment. Alkjadfklj it´s awesome, and then afterwards, they testify to US about the blessings they´ve received. It´s awesome.

4.    What does the Savior's birth mean to you specifically at this time in your life?These are really good questions! More than anything, as I´ve studied the Atonement, this time of year has turned into a time of profound gratitude. Okay, have you all seen the He is the Gift video? Tell me that didn´t bring you to tears. Also, the Easter video. Tears. I saw the videos for the first time yesterday in the house of our ward mission leader and I was just sitting there bawling.  It means that thanks to the fact that He was born, and He walked totally alone and experienced every painful experience and sadness alone, I don´t have to.

5.    In what ways have your companions prepared you to be a spouse?
Haha I don´t want to answer this almost. I´ve learned patience (is that spelled right?). I´ve learned how to love someone even when they do things that I don´t like. I´ve learned to admit that I´m wrong. I was thinking about it the other day too, and I don´t get as mad as I used to. All rather good qualities to be a spouse I think. 

 We went with a family in the ward and they thought this was funny.... 

 I think I´m funny. 

 Me and mijita

 Some statues .... 

 I made a new friend!

Can this be the picture on my missionary plaque?

Monday, November 24, 2014

#55 & #56

 Received on  Nov 17.

Sorry but this is going to be short. I don´t have too much to share anyway, it´s been a fairly regular week. Things are going great with my companion, we brought two people to church yesterday, which is a funny and stressful story that I will tell right now. So in our sector, the houses are nice and people work all day to maintain their lifestyles, no? This means that right now, all of our investigators are old people, because they are the only ones that don´t work all day. It is incredibly stressful to teach old people (we shouted the restoration to a guy - after the lesson my throat hurt)
Anyway, two people came to church yesterday, two old guys. One attended and said that everything was nice, but that he didn´t hear a single thing (that´s the same guy that we have to shout at). The other one that came is .... crazy. He spends all day on the internet and believes everything he reads. Also, during the gospel principles class, he talked about how the Virgin Mary was a prophet and that she and some other virgin prophesied that there would be three days of darkness again and that NASA said that in December that prophecy was going to come true and all sorts of weirdness. 
 He´s an interesting fellow. We invited him to church, just because we invite everyone to church, but we didn´t think he´d attend. But yeah. We finally had people at church. One didn´t hear anything and the other one was teaching some interesting stuff he read on the internet.
I´ve learned patience though!
Love you all!
Hermana Rust

On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:04 PM, Natalie Rust <> wrote:

1.  How has being a trainer influenced you as a person?  missionary?
It´s been so fun! I am learning that I actually really like teaching others. It´s helped me be more exactly obedient as well, because I know my example is the only example that my companion has right now. Also, I know that I have to be 100 percent ready for everything because if someone says something wacky, I can´t just hope that my companion will respond haha.

2.  What doctrines/principles have been in the forefront of your life at this time?
Chapter six of preach my gospel. The attributes of Jesus Christ. I don´t think those are exactly doctrines but they´re good to know and to study. I´ve been studying/learning a lot about how all the atributos of Jesus are interrelated. Like, how faith means having hope and patience and that you can show your faith by being obedient. Things like that. I´m learning a lot about the divine attribute of patience especially. Sometimes we don´t get what we think we deserve when we want it. But the Lord always keeps His promises, always always always. 

3.  How do you teach about a living Savior and the Godhead and how is it received?
Haha this is interesting. Something that President Riggins has really emphasised is the importance of understanding who God is. We have made whole lesson plans just to teach about the real nature of God. He´s not just love and forgiveness, He is a God of law and punishment as well. Sometimes when we teach that, the people get a little taken aback, but it´s important that they understand that God requires things of us, that we can´t just do whatever we want and expect to get the same blessings. Also, we have to explain from time to time that Jesus and God are seperate beings, but that is easily taught in the Bible so it´s been received pretty well. The people here already believe in a living Savior, they just don´t really understand what it can mean for them personally the fact that Jesus lives currently and that He will come again. That´s somethingreally rewarding, being able to see someone changed the way they think about Christ and applying the Atonement in their lives. It´s great.
This week we went to the temple. I love that place. I´m sorry for cutting things short, my computer was frozen for a good time so I haven´t been able to write all I wanted to.
I love you all! Write me next week please!  (Natalie can receive emails from others so feel free to drop her a line or two to brighten her day! - Mom)

We had a multizone conference (that´s when we went to the temple) and I saw most of my old zone. That´s the only picture I´ve taken this week oops! 

Monday, November 10, 2014


I received my precious daughter, mijita! Her name is Hermana Alacama, and she´s from La Paz, Bolivia. The second she told me where she was from I proudly told her all about Grandma and Grandpa Skousen.  She´s awesome though. She´s the only member in her family, and she got baptized in March of last year, so she´s still a recent convert. Cool huh? She´s got guts. It´s cool though, but there´s a lot to learn! It´s been really fun though. And all the newbies and the trainers went through the temple together, which was awesome. I love the temple. I´ve official been through the temple twice as many times in Spanish than I have in English.

1.  What exactly are your responsibilities as a trainer?Well the church has this dope program that´s called 12 weeks. The goal of this program is that the person being trained can be ready to train in 12 weeks. Each week, they have goals that they should meet and I as a trainer have to teach them certain things every week, as well as how to do all of our daily tasks.  You´re basically teaching all day, every day, from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm. So far, she has met all of her goals (So proud sniff sniff! They grow up so fast!) and this week we are going to learn how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what we should do in the first lesson with someone. And other stuff but I don´t remember. We have an extra hour of study time in the morning and we have to do practices adn stuff like that with the zone leaders once a week to verify how the progress is going. That sentence sounded awkward, but you understand me.

2.  How do you recognize the Spirit teaching and guiding you as a missionary?

Ahhh I love the Spirit. The Spirit communicates to me mostly through ideas as I´m teaching. For example, I did not know what to say to an hermano that we´re teaching. I felt that we had already taught everything and I wasn´t sure what to do, but out of nowhere I though of a scripture story and decided to share that with him. I know that it was the Spirit because I would have never though to apply that story in that way with this investigator. It´s fun. My own knowledge is very limited, but with the Spirit I am able to be a much better teacher and I´m able to recordar the things that I have studied.

3.  What are the best qualities of the Ecuadorian Saints/people?

They are very giving. We have called people and told them that we didn´thave lunch and they tell us to come on over in half an hour and they´ll have lunch ready for us. Tons of hermanas have told us that if we never need lunch or anything, to not hesitate to call. And they mean it. So we call. They are always very willing to give of what they have.

4.  How do you express your love for the people?
Um........ I think just talking to them is how I express my love. You guys know that before the mission, I wasn´t the type to go sit by the old people in church and ask them about their week, but now, that´s what I do. Listening sincerely. I guess I kinda do physically too for the women, but when you greet everyone with a hug and a kiss, a hug doesn´t mean quite as much here as it does there. 

So yeah! That´s been my week! It´s always fun to be in a training with the President. My companion from the CCM, Hermana Fox, was my companion and spent the night for a day, because she´s training too right now and had to come to Guayaquil for the training meeting and to get her new companion. SO we reminisced a little bit. That was fun. It kinda freaked me out though because every once in a while I realize how much time I´ve been out on the mission and I have a ministroke. So yeah. Imma send fotos now.
Love you all! Thanks for the prayers and thanks for those that wrote me!
>Hermana Rust 

 Our first pday together! 
I didn´t get the memo that we were supposed to be cute and normal. My cameras going south, so all of my fotos are kinda blurry.
 Hermana Deforest, Hermana Alacama, Hermana Mckee (Kylee´s sister) and Me doing a peace sign, which we all know is not like me at all. 

I knew right off the bat that me and my new companion would get along. Why? Because when I suggested ordering pizza, she agreed right away.. and then encouraged us to buy two.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Well. This week has been good. Well, actually this week was pretty normal, but I liked it. I decided that I was going to pray and fast to know what I needed to change in order to have more success in the area that I´m in. Also, the mission president asked us to fast as a mission with the purpose of sanctifying ourselves as missionaries and to have desires to be exactly obedient, while asking the Lord "what else do I lack?" So the mission president was right on the same thought track that I´ve been on.

 I´m still not a hundred percent sure what exactly I need to work on, but I´ve been given a new learning opportunity - I´m going to train! Hermana Isama had cambios and so today I´m in a trio and tomorrow  or Wednesday my new companion is going to get here. Also, the new companion of Hermana DeForest (Hermana Espinoza is going home today :( ) is the sister of Kylee McKee, Noelle´s old roommate! So she´s living in th ehouse with me too. Three gringas together. I don´t know if I´m going to train a gringa or a latina, but I´m pretty sure it will be a latina. I doubt they´d put four gringas in one ward.

 I can´t really think of anything else to tell you - I´m just so excited! Before coming to this sector I never ever ever wanted to train, but now I´m so stoked! Also, I´m running on zero right now, because I did not sleep last night. Last night I took a benadryl and got ready to sleep, and at 10:45 they called us to give us instructions on what to do with Hermana Espinoza and then said that Hermana Isama had cambios too and then threw in that I was going to be training. We had to be in the mission office at 8 this morning, so we packed and cleaned all night then got up early(earlier than usual) and we haven´t stopped going since then. We had to go to the mission office, then back home, then to the bus station, then back home, then to the shopping center, then back home, and to write. I´m exhausted!

But this morning was great because I got to see my beloved Hermana Chil (she goes home today too). I got to catch up with her and it was a blast and I got to tell her that I´m going to train and she was so happy.  Also, on Saturday night we had the last hurrah for hermana Espinoza, which included a chocolate fountain. Always a good time with a chocolate fountain. Tuesday we had the final district meeting with Hermana Espinoza and celebrated by carving jackolanterns in whatever fruit you wanted (I carved some weird zucchini type round thing and a bell pepper) and we ate a huge thing of lasagna. That´s what´s in the middle of the group zone picture that I sent.

1.  What is one thing that you have discovered about yourself since being on a mission?
I have discovered that I actually really like people. I always thought I didn´t like people that much, but I love just talking to people and getting to know them. 

2.  Tell us about your interviews with Presidente Riggins.
HE´S SO COOL. I´m sure he´s just 100% guided by the Spirit because he always says what I need to hear. I´ve only had two interviews with him and the first one was really hurried, but I absolutely adore him and his wife.
3.  How is the ward that you are in now?
It´s different! The gospel is the same all around the world, but the church is way different. I don´t really know how to explain the differences, but let´s just say that the challenges in the wards back home are way different than the challenges here. It´s a ward that needs help, but the members are really great. It´s different though because my other two wards had tons of young people, and here there aren´t any. I think there are two young women. Here it´s lots of adults and small children.
4.  How has your mission prepared you for the goals you have in the future?
I´m a lot more marriage ready haha. I think being without a companion would be awful. Also, I´m learned how to study - before the mission, I had never studied! I think that´ll help me a lot in my goals in the future. Also, PATIENCE. I´ve learned patience. Well, better said that I´m learning patience. It´s a long, slow, sometimes painful process haha.
5.  What has been your most rewarding experience thus far?
Oooh.... That´s a toughie. I´d have to reflect on that to come to a good conclusion. There´s been so many rewarding experiences, nothing too huge or great, but lots of little tender mercies that have made my time here very rewarding. 
Ahhh I love being a missionary!
Thanks for writing, thanks for the questions, thanks for the pictures, I will never ever ever get tired at looking at pictures of my nieces, so keep em coming!)
I love you all!

Me and my sector. We went to the top of an apartment building. 

Our sector during the holiday weekend - empty.

Our carved fruits and vegetables for halloween! I made the minion in the middle out of a bell pepper (it looked better in real life), and then I carved some other stuff but I don´t have pictures. 

my zone!

 Halloween District meeting. We had some time. Love these fabulous hermanas.  

Monday, October 27, 2014


fThanks for the questions! It´s getting harder and harder to think of what to write!

1.    How do you do companion study?   Is it something you enjoy?
I love companionship study! Each companion brings something a little bit different, but here´s what we usually do. We sing a hymn (I like Christmas hymns) and then we kneel and pray, then we read 3 pages from the mission handbook and read the rules, then we share with each other what we learned during our hour of personal study. That´s my favorite part. I love sharing what I learn. And then from there we plan for the day. We decide how we are goingt o teach each investigator and with what scriptures and what compromisos (I can never remember that word in English) we are going to invite them to make, adn then we practice (that part I don´t like. It´s awkward). So that´s companionship study! One hour a day, every day. 

2.     How you and Hermana Isama ? We get along, which is great, but she doesn´t talk too much about things.  She has a super interesting culture, but she doesn´t share too much on her own, so I have to think of things to ask her. But she loves listening to my stories, she loves hearing about my high school and college adventures, because how we interact with friends and what we do for fun is SO DIFFERENT! 

3.    What are you in need of/want that we can send you for Christmas?
I am in desperate need of contacts. Especially for my left eye. They are double priced here. 6 contacts are 60 bucks.... Yikes. If you are able to buy contacts,you could send me one for the right eye and two for the left, and leave the rest there waiting for me, just in case the package never arrives. But I know that contacts are really expensive so if not, I can get along in my glasses. I´ll just have a funky face tan line.

4.    Do you go to members houses for dinner or do you mostly cook?
Here, the lunch is the main meal, so we eat with members in lunch time. Whatever they make us, it always has rice haha.  We don´t eat dinner, we just kinda eat in the house when we´re already home for the night. I make frozen bread thingies out of yuca, which my dictionary tells me is cassava or casava or something like that in English. Do they have that in the US? That would make me so happy. Pan de yuca is my addiction. I love it so much. It´s chewy warm deliciousness and it is absolutely delightful. 

5.    What has been the biggest change/addition to your conversion? Testimony?
I feel like I understand and realize my divine nature more. Having to rely on the Lord has made me understand more my relationship towards Him, and our divine destiny as children of Him more. Also, my understanding of the Atonement has increased big time. I definitely had used the Atonement before the mission, but I can say now that I understand the daily necessity of the Atonement more now than I ever did before. Also, my love and reverence for the Sacrament has increased. I look forward to and cherish the time that I have every week to partake of the sacrament. And my ability to recognize the Spirit has increased. 

6.      Tell us about your Sabbath Days.Sundays are so stressful, because all of your efforts during the week are basically to get people to come to church. Here in Samanes it´s different, because we have church at 3 o clock in the afternoon. We wake up, get ready, our ward mission leader picks us up and takes us to the church and we have correlation. Then, right after, we have ward counsel. Does anyone else think it´s funny that I´m in ward counsel? And then after ward counsel, we run around like mad women all over the ward trying to get people to come to church. We have two hours before lunch at 1 o clock to pass by for everyone, to secure their attendance, to promise them blessings, to try to get rid of whatever excuse they have to not go to church. In those 2 hours, we probably run a mile and teach 6 or 7 mini-lessons. Then at one, we go to lunch (this month we are lunching with a family that is just hilarious) and then we go to the ward mission leaders house (the ward mission leader is the one that you´re friends with on facebook) and he takes the four of us missionaries to pass by for all of our investigators and take them to church: I´m not kidding when I tell you that Sunday before church is a mess. It is so stressful! But it makes for a lovely contrast when the meeting starts and you feel the Spirit and everything gets calm. That´s part of why I love the Sacrament so much. That time is so serene and I can reflect on the week and what I need to improve on and I have a time to chat with the Lord. It´s nice. I love it. And then after church, we have 2 hours more of proselyting, which can be spent in 2 ways: 1) passing for all the investigators and asking them why in tarnation they didn´t attend (I don´t like doing that. It harshes my mellow) or 2) Teaching the less active members and asking them why in tarnation they didn´t attend. If it´s nice and there´s people outside, we contact them and try to teach them too. 

7.    What is the biggest cultural shock that you have experienced?
I can´t really think of cultural shock right now. It all feels pretty normal now. Even the weird stuff feels normal. I think the weirdest thing was being looked at constantly and having people think that I´m basically a goddess because I´m a tall blue eyed blonde,  but I even got used to that hahaha.

8.    What does it feel like to have someone accept baptism and change their life?  What are you feelings towards them?
Alkñasdj It´s the best! I love love love when someone feels the Spirit and they come to feel that what we´re teaching is true. The family that I baptized in February makes me so happy. I heard that the mom is in the Relief Society presidency and that they are just happy as can be. I just love it. I also love it when we help less active members come back to church - I think that might be an even better feeling.  

Hey those took up time! Thanks for the questions. ALSO I HAVE A NIECE WHAT?! I thought she was due way later! I feel way out of the loop here.
Fun fact - our neighborhood is COVERED in mango trees. And they are free for all. You pick it, it´s yours. We´re having a ball with all the mangos. They´re sweet, and in December, we are going to be drowning completely in mangos. Feel free to be envious. 

 This is the tree right in front of our house. In a month, all those mangos are MINE. 

 This is mostly for Holly and Beebz. They were sold out of Zayn dolls. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


This week was a little better. We were able to find a few more people to teach, but they still didn´t attend church. Which means that we´ve gone way too many weeks without bringing a single person to church (you RMs know how that feels). Well, one family came but they only stayed for the sacrament meeting, and we no longer count attendance to just the sacrament meeting. So that's been a bummer, but we´re starting a new planner, which is always nice, and we´re going to do things in a completely different way. It´s been really fun to see the differences that the new mission president has brought. To be honest, it feels like I´m starting my mission over again because we are doing absolutely everything different. It feels a little overwhelming at times, because I´ve already got (gulp) 13 months in the mission (how gross is that¿) and I´m learning completely different ways to teach, find, and work with the ward. Everything´s different, but it´s been really fun too. I´ve been able to learn a lot about myself and I´ve learned a lot about our Heavenly Father. I´m definitely learning more and more about Ether 12:27. He wasn´t messing around at all when he wrote that verse, it´s definitely true that as we come unto the Savior, we´re going to be shown our weaknesses, but if you put your trust in Him, we can overcome our weaknesses and they will be made strong. I like to think that I´m in that process. I´ve also been studying more and more about the Atonement, and I just finished reading Jesus the Christ for the second time. I loooooooove that book. It´s so cool. I really love the Atonement.  I was able to share my experience with the Atonement with two less active girls that had stopped attending church because of some comments that an hermana had made to them and some things that had happened to their family. Usually when people tell me that they don´t go to church because of other people I hit them hard with the doctrine of the baptismal covenant and say that we go to church because we love the Lord and stuff like that, but I felt impressed to share with them my process of learning to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be able to forgive someone. I think that lesson was one of the most powerful lessons for me personally, because I was able to see that a process of repentance and applying the atonement was necessary for me, even though in this situation I hadn´t done anything wrong, and that truly, any injustice in this life can be made right through the Atonement. I really love lessons with the Spirit, because you can see the Spirit testify to them, and even though I was the one talking, I was also learning, because the Spirit helped me to understand things that I hadn´t fully understood before. The Spirit is cool, right?

Anyway, that´s my experience for the week! Sorry that my letter have been lacking, it´s just that Ecuador is very routine to me now and I forget that what I do all day every day isn´t exactly normal haha. 

 I love you all! Thanks for the prayers (keep em comin!)
Hermana Rust

Me and Hermana Espinoza with Pizzahut. We love pizzahut. We were SO tired, can you tell?
And yes, I´m rocking a side-pony. 

There´s a school here with cartoons on the walls, and walking past it for the millionth time this week I realized that there is a little girl holding a chicken with a leg coming out of her face. So I took a picture. I was really bewildered and I thought it was funny. 

#50 Oct. 13, 2014

Last pday we went to Malecon, which is beautiful. It´s like a touristy type park thing on the coast of a big river or some sort of big body of water. I´m not sure if it´s seawater or what. I´ll send pictures, it was pretty. It was hotter than heck though, and there were tons of people there because they were all in vacations and everyone went to the park with their kids.

I´ll write you based on the pictures I send.  This is a picture of something dumb I did this week. After weekly planning session, we had finished a little bit earlier than the other hermanas and we were waiting for them to finish to allg o to lunch together. Well, I have a bottle full of alcohol that I mixed with a little bit of coconut oil to spray on my poor bug devoured legs. Well, I accidentally sprayed a little on the wall, and then I saw that it disappeared after ten seconds. So I started drawing flowers and stuff, having a jolly old time. The bottle was coming to its end, so I decided that I was going to write my name all graffiti-ish. I had forgotten that the liquid at the end of the bottle was most likely the coconut oil, which does not disappear.... So all the pictures I drew, those all disappeared. But my name did not. I tried cleaning it off with everything, Lysol, toothpaste, hand soap, more alcohol, shampoo. Nothing. I just managed to take off paint. So my name will forever be on the wall of this home. We put the dresser in front of it, and I¨m going to see if I can dig up some paint to cover it up. But I´m really hoping that a miracle will occur and it will all just disappear.So yeah. That was my dummy action this week.(One of them haha. I´m sure I had more)

What else can I tell you....
Hmmm..: We´re still looking for investigators. To be honest I´m a bit stressed because our zone leaders are starting to pity us, and there´s nothing I dislike more than being pitied! So this week we´re fasting and praying because we need investigators. We´re working with lots of less active members, which is also fun, but there´s nothing worse than sitting on church in Sunday without investigators. But I have faith that this week, we will finally have the people to teach. 

​This is in Malecón. There were a random stonehengeish garden. It was quite the struggle to get on this rock. I have a huge bruise on my arm from scrambling up this rock while Hermana Deforest and Hermana Espinoza tried pushing up on me. It was a struggle. So we had fun for a minute taking pictures. This is with Hermana Espinoza, the chilean. She goes home soon :( We´re going to miss her. She´s an amazing missionary and tons of fun to be around. But look how green and pretty it is here!
Attatched is another foto from Malecón.

This is supposedly some important man in Ecuadorian history, but I took a picture because it just looks like someone made a giant monument in the middle of a brook to aging Tom Selleck. 

This is Benigno. He is special needs, and he´s made plans for us to get married later today. He doesn´t want cake at the reception, just pizza (which I think is a great idea.) He likes us to call him Elder, and is going to serve in Chile, Peru, and Otavalo. 
That´s what I got for yáll this week.
I love you all, thanks to those of you that wrote, thanks for the prayers, we´ll chat next week!

Monday, October 6, 2014


How wonderful was conference, right? Just based on watching it one time, I´d have to say that my favorite so far has been Elder Christofferson, just because he spoke on some things that I have been studying. On Tuesday we had a zone meeting with President Riggins (can I just say he and his wife are the coolest people ever and that my dream is to be half as boss as them one day?) and he told us that the people here believe in a different God than we believe in. The god of many people here is a god of rainbows and sunshine, a god that loves everyone and who says that it doesn´t really matter what you do, because in the end God is going to be merciful and save everyone. The scriptures make it very clear that that is just not the case. So he told us that when we´re first meeting with an investigator, instead of just asking "Do you believe in God?" and moving on with the lesson, ask them if they believe in God and then, make sure it´s the same God that we believe in. We absolutely believe in a loving God, but He is also a God of justice, of laws, and - when we´re not obedient - He is most definitely a God of punishment. Which is why I really loved what Elder Christofferson said, he said that un dios que no exige tiene la misma función que un dios que no existe. I´m not sure of the exact translation in English, but I love it in Spanish because it kinda rhymes. But in effect he said that a god that requires nothing of us has the same function of a god that doesn´t exist. I loooooooove that.  Because it´s true. God requires much of us, but the rewards are huge. So that was my favorite part of conference, that little quote.

Also, voiceovers in conference are the worst things ever. I will say that I am excited to see conference in English. It´s just not the same as listening to the voices. Everyone really loved the talks that were given in Spanish, because they were able to express themselves exactly as they wanted to and you can feel their testimonies more in their own words in their own voices. I´m guessing on TV they got voiced over, but the Eduardo guy from the seventy had the most beautiful accent and his talk was amazing. it´s really cool that they can give the talks in their native languages. I´m sure it´s really special for the people that speak the language.

 I know I already said it, but I absolutely love the mission president and his wife. I´ve been feeling super discouraged because it´s such a difficult area, and other people are having great success, and we´ve got nothing, so I was excited for the opportunity to have an interview with the President. I was planning on being told all the things that I need to improve on and I was expecting to be humbled, but instead, we talked a little bit about how we need to work in a different way now, and from there he told me that I was a great missionary. That´s always nice to hear! 

Anyway, I love you all, I´ll start sending photos and then I´m off!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Well, this week, I feel like a ton happened. I can´t really remember any of it, and to be honest this week was one of the most stressful OF MY LIFE so maybe it´s a good thing I can´t really remember what happened.  But it´s also been a very good week. 

We had another activity! I proposed a few months ago that we do a CHOCOTALENTAZO, just like we did in Valencia. A talent show with chocolate. But it sounds cooler when you say CHOCOTALENTAZO. My "thing" in the ward is saying chocotalentazo while waving my hands in a rainbow shape. The members know that if they´re going to say chocotalentazo in front of me, they have to do the same hand motions. So we had the activity and it was a success! I´ll include some pictures. The ward mission leader´s three year old son did the dance from Risky Business. Or at least I think it´s from Risky Business. I´ve never actually seen it but the dance where the guy dances in his boxers and yeah. It was hilarious. But there was a chocolate fountain and fruit and chocolate cake and brownies, but we missionaries didn´t get to eat any chocolate because the activity was scheduled to start at six, and so naturally it started at 8, and we had to leave before it was finished.

I cried when the little girls from South Korea were singing. And I love that these last few women´s conferences have focused on the temple and covenants. I imagine that with so many girls going on missions, there could be too big of a focus on preparing for the mission instead of the infinitely more important preparing to enter the temple. But I love it. The temple is awesome. I got to go to the outside of the temple because we´re doing a new thing where we take our investigators to the temple. It was so great because there were a ton of people there from Peru. I talked to little kids that were baptized with their families a year ago and sealed to their families the day before. Their accent was so beautiful, and they live close to Piura, in a town called Paita or Payta. Were you ever there Brandon? I think Peruvians definitely win the prettiest Spanish award. I remember the boys fighting about whose country had the best Spanish, and I´m definitely on Brandon´s side. But it was precious and they were so excited to be in the temple, and they´re more excited because they´re building a temple in Trujillo that will be closer to them so they can go more often. 
So yeah. Temples are great.

My dear Hermana Rosario is just firm as a rock in the church. She just got called to be second counselor in the Primary and is doing baptisms for the dead regularly. She wants to go once a week. She also came with us to a couple teaching appointments and invites the people to come to church and bears testimony without us having to prompt her to do so. It has been very gratifying to see her progress. I´m going to have her add you on facebook Mama because she´s got some pictures of us with her that I want to share. The gospel is just great.

Who else is psyched for general conference?!
I love contacting the week before general conference, because we get to tell people straight up and right off the bat that there´s a living day prophet of God, a modern day Moses, and twelve apostles, just like in the times of Christ, and that they are all invited to come listen to them speak. Cool huh?
Love you all! 

This is the son of one of the investigators of the other Hermanas in the chocotalentazo. He was so precious, but after taking pictures with me he started lifting up my skirt and then he wasn´t too cute anymore.

 Me and Hermana Deforest with Sunday lunch. You can´t really see just how big that pile is, but there were A TON of crabs. I ate one entire crab and then 8 legs more. I would have eaten more but church was going to be starting soon and we had to go. 
Yo y Hermana Deforest (ella no es mi compañera pero servimos en el mismo barrio) con nuestro almuerzo ayer. Yo comí un cangrejo entero y 8 patas más. Yo quería comer más pero asistimos a la iglesia después de almuerzo y no pude seguir comiendo....  

 I made friends with an incarcerated cat. 

She wasn´t done bringing out all the crabs yet. 
 Went to the temple with Rosario!