Monday, February 24, 2014


Hello family!

Valencia. It has definitely been a week of growth. I have been thinking a lot about something that Hermana Pratt taught my first week in the CCM. She told us that our whole missions would be a cycle of Garden of Eden´s and the Lone and Dreary World. When we start our missions, we leave the Garden of Eden (home) to go out into the lone and dreary world (CCM). I started out kinda backwards, because I left dreary Moapa Valley to go to the Garden of Eden. But she told us that there isn´t progression in the Garden of Eden, and so when the CCM started to become too comfortable, it would become our Garden of Eden, and we would be cast into the lone and dreary world of the mission field. But after a time, that area would become our Garden of Eden, and we would need to progress, so once again, we get cast into a lone and dreary world so we can learn and grow and progress. I testify of this. Milagro became my garden of Eden, and I was way too comfortable there and it got to the point where I wasn´t progressing as much as I could have been, so I got cast into what is now my lone and dreary world. But I´m working on garden of eden-izing it!

Things have definitely gotten better. For starters, my Spanish has gotten better. I also got sick this week (combination of different foods and stress) and so I´ve had to talk on the phone with my colombian lider de zona a few times (usually I would have to call the president, but I´m not too keen on calling the head honcho to tell him that I vomited. So I´ve been talking to the zone leaders and they inform the presidente, but I can do it! It´s hard to talk on the phone because it´s even harder to understand, but gosh darn it I´m a Spanish speaking machine.

My first night here, I thought that there were quiet sirens going off every where, but it turns out they´re frogs. They inflate themselves, and when the deflate, they make this siren sound. It´s weird. Kinda cool. Here, it rains a ton, which means it´s not terribly hot, which is awesome. 

We don´t really have investigators right now except for Ramon. Ramon is the spouse of a member that is less active. He´s 77, and went blind two years ago. When we first started talking to him, it was obvious that he didn´t really care too much if he lived or died. But we forced him to come to church (I mean that almost literally) and now he´s so much happier! It´s presh!  We´re teaching lots of people, but no one is married, just living together which makes things VERY difficult. But we´re doing all we can, so I know that the Lord will bless us with people that are ready for the gospel in their lives. 

This week the elections for mayor and stuff finally ended. They celebrated with a concert that went until three in the morning that we could hear at our house. They do things way different. Anyway, I´ve got to go, I love you all, things are fine, we´s a progressin.
Love you all!

Monday, February 17, 2014


On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM, Natalie Rust <> wrote:

New area... The new area is absolutely beautiful. The men here are much more respectful and while they do pay more attention to me than I would like, most of them don`t shout at me. I did tell a creeper that walked way too close to me and said`goodnight baby`(in English) right in my ear. And by tell off I mean that I said (in Spanish) that I speak Spanish and that I didn`t like what he said.

This has been a week of personal growth. I didn`t like how a lesson was going this week, I think it was day 2 that I was here, so I took the initiative and completely changed what was going on. Normally, I would have never had the courage to do that, I would have just followed along and prayed internally for things to get better. So that was exciting for me. I know it doesn`t sound like much, but remember, I`m speaking Spanish here and it was a big deal for me!

 I`m trying desperately to think of things to say...
Today we ate in a two story KFC in Quevedo. So that was interesting. I don`t know why anyone would need a two story KFC but they´ve got one here. It had a pool table.....

Presidente Amaya was invited by the stake president here to give a training about ward council. Isn`t it funny to think that I attend ward council now? It scares me though, I don`t like that he knows my name. He was calling on missionaries to answer his questions during the meeting yesterday and they had to stand in front of everyone with a microphone and say things and I really did not want to do that. I knew the answers, I just have this awful habit of forgetting how to pronounce words right when I`m in front of lots of people. Lots of people have complimented me on my Spanish though! I always like when that happens. The bishop´s wife in my new ward thought that I had tons of time in the mission, and she was really surprised when I told her I only had 4 months here (even though technically I have 5 months in the mission... I have four in Ecuador and that`s really all that counts. FIVE MONTHS what?).

I don`t really have anything else to say, nor new pictures, so I`ll just send you some of the pictures I couldn`t send last week.
Love you all!

Oh yeah, there`s a Noelle and Eric couple here. Seriously! The guy is super tall and gangly and has that fresh off the mission friendly vibe, and his fiancee is a bubbly thing half his size. They`re presh. 

Me and Giandry. We decided my last day to be BFFS.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Hola familia!
The day I have been dreading has come. I left my beloved Milagro. I think I was actually pretty ready to leave Milagro, but I love Hermana Chil so stinkin much that it is going to be hard to be away from her! Now I am in an area called Valencia, and it is gorgeous. So green! This morning I traveled to Guayaquil and then from there on a four hour bus ride to Valencia, which is why I am emailing so late.

 My new compañion is from Quito and right now I do not remember her name and I feel weird asking so I´ll fill you in on that later. She`s super cute and super short and so far (the last forty minutes) we have gotten along swimmingly. In the cyber that we`re in, they`re playing music in English. The Reason by Hoobastank of all things is playing right now. Kinda funny. I thought of Brandon and Beebz and Noelle.
I can hardly remember this week, I feel like so much has changed in the last 18 hours that I don`t remember anything else. This Sunday was rough, because we committed five investigators to attend church, and we got up way early to pass by all of their houses because we didn`t get help from the members to bring them, and church started at 8, so we got up early and passed by for all of them... and only Kevin (the miracle investigator) came. I was kinda relieved to leave Milagro just for this reason, because they basically have to start over from scratch pretty soon.

But I am excited for this new cambio! My companion does not speak English, which is exactly what I need, even though it does make things a little difficult. I was excited because I thought that I was going to be with two elders that were here before, but I found out that they`re in the other zone here. So new zone, only Spanish, all new people. I think it`s exactly what I need.

I don`t really have much time today, just because I travelled all day and we have to leave to work very soon, so this is going to be really short, but I love you all and thanks for the prayers and support!

Tell Barbara Christensen thanks for writing me. It`s kinda impossible to send anything back to her and it`s really expensive, but tell her thanks for all the letters. Who is she?

Me with the Torres and Pasmiño families, yesterday. Hermano Torres is holding Rebecca the plant. He completely deadpan refers to this plant as Rebecca like it`s a friend or daughter and it is the funniest thing ever. So this picture is basically all the people I treasure the most here. Kevin is the one on the far right on the couch.

Hermana Chil, Hermana Yurt, yo, y Hermana Perez. We had another intercambio this week, and I was with Hermana Yurt from Paraguay. She told me my Spanish was flawless (she`s very kind).

Me and Hermana Chil. This was the night that Alex and Johanna de Pazmiño took us home the looooong way and showed us where the went to school and met and it was precious

Monday, February 3, 2014


 My beloved Pazmiño family has a son, Diego, serving in California right now. Every once in a while he´ll email me and tell me a name to go find and teach of one of his friends. He gave us one name, Kevin. I went to his little brother Jerry to have him come with us to show us where he lives, but Jerry´s a little punk and told us that Kevin is never in his house and that it´s basically impossible to meet him (that excuse sounds weird in English but that´s actually a pretty common challenge. People work all day and get home at eight or eight thirty, and we have to be at home at eight thirty.)

Anywho we went along on our way, but seriously, we had no investigators, and the members weren´t giving references, so we have had to resort to contacting. So we contacted an older guy that was getting his car fixed at the house of our lider misional, and we set up an appointment to teach him and his wife. A few days later, we went to meet with the guy and teach him, but here´s the problem. The streets have names, but they don´t have signs. Lots of people don´t know what streets they live on, and 98% of the houses here don´t have house numbers. So ... it´s difficult to find houses. We stopped in front of what maybe could have been his house and called out (we don´t knock) and 7 or 8 teenaged to 25 year old boys came out. Most of them were very interested in talking to us but not for any good gospel-related reason. But we didn´t have anything else to do, so we sat down and taught them the first half of the Restoration. A very dedicated Evangelical came out and started trying to pick fights over doctrine with us though, so we didn´t teach all of the restoration, which was fine because most of the people weren´t paying attention anyway, only one person was actually asking questions about prophets and the apostasy instead of if my hair color was natural and if I wore colored contact lenses.

 So we ended the lesson, and we went up to the one focused person and asked him if we could teach him again sometime. He said that he would like that, and we set an appointment, We asked for his name and apellido, and when we wrote it down, I was thinking, "Huh, that sounds familiar". Thirty seconds later, I flip to the front of my agenda where I had written down the names that Diego wanted us to find, and sure enough, right at the top was the name we just wrote down. I asked him if he knew Diego Pazmiño and sure enough, we found the impossible to meet Kevin Perez.

We´ve taught him and his mother a few times, and Kevin is really interested and is reading all the things we gave him to read and feeling good about his decision to be baptized. They both came to church yesterday, and we had a nice normal testimony meeting (hallelujah!). His mother still has a lot of doubts and questions, but Kevin is progressing awesomely and if all goes well, he will be getting baptized on the fifteenth of February. Today Diego emailed me again and asked me if we ever found Kevin, because he really felt that he would be interested in the gospel, and it was fun emailing him and telling him about everything that has happened.

Also, Edisson, who was baptized on the 18th, is pretty much the greatest person ever. He has had so much opposition from his family members and friends about the church (his grandpa is very, very, VERY Jehovah´s witness and lots of his friends have stopped hanging out with him because he´s a Mormon now, and the ones that do hang out with him make fun of him). But he is doing amazingly. He really likes movies, so we lent him one of the Doctrine and Covenants discs with the Restoration video on it. Each disc has a ton of movies on it though, but we told him to watch the Restoration. He watched all of them, and two days ago told us all the things he learned about Oliver Cowdery and the lost pages of the Book of Mormon and the earliest missionaries in the restored church.

Yesterday, he received the Aaronic priesthood and he was just glowing! Yesterday in the afternoon, we stopped by to teach him a little bit (after baptism you reteach all the lessons and teach about the laws and ordinances of the gospel like temple work). Anyway we call into the house, and we hear a whistle (used to get attention) and we look up and he´s on the roof with his scriptures and his ¨Principios del Evangelio book reading about the nature of the Godhead. Riiiight? He also was excited to hear that there are mission prep classes, because he is so much happier since finding the church and he wants others to be happy as well. Then he told us about how one of his friends that he hadn´t seen in a while asked him "why are you so much happier now?"  and Edisson said "So I taught him the Plan of Salvation".

It was so cool! He told us that he didn´t know what to say, so he just started talking, and he told us that he was pretty sure he wasn´t using his own words, but the words of the Holy Ghost. Right after saying that, he was just like, I don´t know if that´s how the Holy Ghost works or if that´s right, that´s just what I thought. We were just smiling so big and told him he was absolutely correct. Me and Hermana Chil decided afterwards that anytime we were feeling discouraged, we were just going to go to Edisson´s house and have him teach us what he learned. We taught him too about temples and ahh it was just swell. He is just the perfect example of someone who not only needed the gospel, but was prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel. I´m pretty sure we didn´t even teach him in some innovative or particularly great way, it´s just that he did his part to receive his own conversion.
I don´t really have anything else to say haha. Oh yeah, I had an intercambio with the Hermana leader, Hermana Pereez, who is basically the greatest person ever. She just exemplifies all the Christlike attributes in Predicad mi Evangelio, and I learned lots of things that I need to improve haha. 

Last Monday, me and Hermana Chil bought a funky looking fruit, just cuz we were curious.