Monday, April 28, 2014


This week was wonderful. We are continuing to teach Angel, the single father, and they attended church yesterday. We taught them the doctrine of sanctify the sabbath day, and he committed right then and there to not work on sundays, even though that`s one of the days that work is the most available to him. His faith is amazing, and he and his son are so excited to be baptized this saturday. The second we teach them the commandments, they want to live them. It was the same with the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. We really, really, REALLY love this family, and they love us too. They gave us some strange gigantic fruit. We`re not really sure how to eat it but we´ll figure it out.

OH MY GOODNESS PDAY WE WENT TO SIETE CASCADAS. I kid you not, best Pday ever, best day ever, and Ecuador is without a doubt the most beautiful place in the world. We went with some members from Buena Fe, another ward, and the sister missionaries serving there. It was really fun because we went with the bishop and his family, and they are such Leavitts. Really, I`m not kidding. The wife of the bishop is more quiet and is super sweet and pretty funny, and the bishop thinks he`s 15 and wants to climb up and jump off things and have fun and sometimes his wife has to remind him that he`s a full grown man haha. It was so much fun, I`ll send pictures. It was breathtaking gorgeous too, and we returned very muddy, very sore, and very happy. We climbed up the mountain the easy way, but took the scenic way down, which involved grabbing onto tree roots and vines to keep us from slipping down the mountain. It was quite the adventure. 

Hmmm what else... I love my companion. It´s fun to see that I can have fun and have the same type of friendship with someone that only speaks Spanish. We really hope we`re still together for Mother´s day because I want you to meet her and she wants me to meet her family. She`s a love, and I`ve already promised that I`m going to do all in my power to go to her wedding in the Monterrey temple.

Mission life definitely is hard, these months have been the hardest of my life, but I`m starting to actually understand why everyone says it`s the best time. I feel like I`m changed a ton, and that I`m becoming the type of person I need to be in order to deserve the caliber of husband I want to marry haha. We talk about temple marriage a lot in this mission.... Every training that President has given the last few months has had lots to do with temple marriage and our lives after the mission. I´m not trunky, but I am really excited to get married haha.

 Me and my comp at the 7th waterfall

They couldn`t belief that I wasn`t afraid to touch the stick bug. In fact, I stuck him on my head and he was with me a good half hour.  How do you say that? I know it`s not stick bug but that`s the only word I can come up with right now. 

The bishop from Buena Fe (Ecuadorian Bishop Leavitt) and me and Hermana Flores

This computer is super slow and I was going to send more pictures that showed us and just how gorgeous it is here, but I suppose you`ll just have to see next year. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


It has been a splendid week!

I want to tell you about two miracles this week, their names are Angelica and Angel.

Angelica is a 17 year old. She started attending church in Quevedo and decided that she wanted to learn more. Her cousins gave her a Book of Mormon and she started attending church in Quevedo. She attended with her boyfriend a few times, because he`s a member, but he`s less active. But even when he didn`t go, she went. Well, she decided she wanted to be baptized so she told her boyfriend and her boyfriend told the missionaries, my zone leaders. They called us, told us to find her house (because she lives in Valencia and pertains to our ward) and schedule an interview to get her baptized! I already told you about the whole wrong Rosa ordeal (Angelica`s real name is Rosa...) but we found her and got her interviewed. She had another interview and then this Friday morning, she had an interview with the mission president. She came out of the interview SO HAPPY and told us that Presidente Amaya told her she could be baptized that very day if she wanted (and she wanted). So we scrambled and planned a baptismal service for that very day. I don`t have pictures, but I think the obispo put the pictures on facebook. She`s a doll, and on Saturday she attended Stake conference with us in Quevedo. The stake conferences are a little different here I think, and the stake president was calling on people to read scriptures and what not and asking for volunteers, and I think Angelica read three times. She raised her hand to read scriptures the second he asked for volunteers and we had to scramble to find the verses that he had indicated, because she volunteered before we had time to find them. It was so precious, she`s so excited and she always has lots of questions. SHe wants to know it all.
Angel is our other miracle. Angel is a widower with three young children. We found him contacting, and within the first 30 seconds of meeting him, he accepted the baptismal invitation. This actually isn`t a miracle, lots of people say that they are going to be baptized, but 2% actually get baptized. But we went back, taught him the Restoration, and invited him to church. He told us that he can`t work a lot because he can`t leave his kids at home alone, and his mother was in Guayaquil. The poor man hadn`t worked all week, and was really worried. Sunday morning, his boss called and told him that there was work for him that day. But he told us that he figured it was more important to attend church than work. I teared up, and we promised him that the Lord will absolutely bless him for the sacrifice he made.

It wasn`t normal church either, we had a stake conference via satellite. Elder Scott, Hermana Wixom, and Elder Holland spoke to all the stakes of Ecuador, and believe me when I say that I have never enjoyed a session of conference so much, stake or general, in all my life. The spirit was so strong!
Elder Holland had a translator voiceover for his talk, but he bore his testimony in strongly accented spanish, and I cried and cried and cried. His extremely simple testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ and the Savior of the world, and that the gospel is his most precious possession conveyed the spirit so strongly, and even though it was a bit difficult to understand, I felt so strongly that he was definitely an apostle of the Lord. Elder Scott speaks spanish, and he spoke so beautifully about the Atonement and the Resurrection (I had forgotten it was Easter). It was exactly what Angel needed to hear, and he really really enjoyed church. We also invited his cousin to church, and his cousin attended. That night, we went to teach them both. The cousin, Jose, told us he had a question. He told us that when he walked into the church, he felt something in his chest, and that he felt happy, and he had no idea why, and asked if we could please explain. Our smiles were so big and we explained that that feeling he had was the Holy Ghost telling him that the church is true and that it was where he needed to be. This was all before we had taught him anything, we had just seen him outside the house sunday morning when we went to make sure that Angel and his family were going to attend and Hermana Flores told him to come to church. He told us that he had been invited to many churches, and he had no idea why he accepted our invitation when he had always made excuses beforehand. We then invited him to be baptized, and he said yes. The Spirit in this lesson was so strong I tell you! The members that were with us afterwards were just like.... wow.... okay... wow... did that really just happen?

So yeah. I`m happy. It was a good week. I`ve been a little sick, but that just means that people give me more juice and that makes me happy. Also, the members have started giving us jewelery which is also fun. Today we`re going to the 7 cascadas, seven waterfalls. Apparently it`s super gorgeous, so look forward to pictures next week! 

I love you all, share the gospel please, it`s the best.
Love you, thanks for all the prayers. 

Monday, April 14, 2014


I hardly know where to start. This week has been so strange, but so fun! I`m trying to remember all that happened to us this week.

I can finally say I`m a true missionary because 1) All my shoes have holes in them. It`s been really rainy and all the walking mixed with constant wetness has destroyed my shoes  2) I got bit by a dog. So I`m a full-fledged missionary now. The dog was a little one and it only bruised me a bit, didn`t break the skin. But it counts. Speaking of bites, the bugs here are vicious. They don`t just bite and then you itch, they bite enough to draw blood. Me and Hermana Flores were waiting for the rancherito to pass by to return to Valencia and I looked down at my hand and I was bleeding through two little bites on my hand, and then I looked at my legs and I had blood coming from a dozen or so bites! It was rather horrifying. And the bugs are tiny little things that you can barely see, but they are vicious. We were up all night scratching and trying not to scratch and right now I`m about ready to saw my legs off. 

What else happened this week... We got a call from our zone leaders telling us that they had talked to the boyfriend of an old investigator in our ward and that this investigator wanted to repent of her sins and be baptized and they asked us to please find her and schedule an interview with the leader for baptism. The elder told us her name was Rosa and that she was 18 and that she was the Rosa we met with Hermana Jeronimo. So we went ot visit the 18 year old Rosa that we met with Hermana Jeronimo to schedule the entrevista, and she wasn`t friendly and we had to fight with her and persuade her for hours to come to the interview. Seriously, we worked with her hours and we couldn`t figure out why in the world the elderes wanted to talk to someone who obviously wasn`t interested. After a few hours of teaching, she finally conceded to come and talk to the elder. We walk in, and the Elder welcomes her and leads her to the interview, and then turns to us and says (basically) who the heck is that?

So we wasted a huge chunk of a day with her and I can`t really tell the story too well because the humor was in his tone of voice and the look on his face, but it was funny. We did meet the correct Rosa eventually though. We have assigned the guilt to the Elder and have chosen to blame him for the waste of time.

I finished the Book of Mormon is Spanish this week!

I don`t know if they already put the picture on facebook but I broke a chair at the bishops house yesterday at lunch...... I really love their family!
As I`m writing this right now there are three kids behind me marveling at the fact that I know how to write English haha, even though reading back it seems like I´m losing my ability to form coherent sentences in English.

 We found a family! They attended church yesterday and when the Relief Society teacher put flowers on the table he asked who died. He thought we were in a funeral haha. They´re precious and have lots of questions but I like talking to them because they are one of the few families we have met that are 1) legally married and 2) happily married. There`s lots of unhappiness in the families and lots of them don`t want to work on bettering their relationships,  and so I really like being in a happy home. You can feel the difference immediately.

I don`t know lots of funny things happened this week but it`s just not the same to tell the stories in writing in English. 

I have tons of fun with my companion and we work hard! I love having a compaƱera that knows how to work hard but also knows that we are most definitely allowed to laugh and have fun. The woman talks a million miles an hour and to be honest I don`t understand half of what she says when we`re just talking normally just because she says it so fast, but I love her and we are going to work miracles here in Valencia!

We really love patacones, fried plaintain disc type thingies, but neither of us has learned how to make them, but we tried anyway. So this is a photo of Hermana Flores practicing her patacones making while practicing her smile. SHe doesn`t like smiling in fotos but I forced her to try. This is the result of her efforts.

We received permission this week to visit Buena Fe today, where Hermana Flores was before. The bishop there makes the best sorbets and hamburgers and invited us to eat with them, and I`m always down for free food so that`s where we´re heading after writing this. 
These are our attempt at patacones. If we can get our hands on some good green plaintains at home these will be my entry in the next Rusty Whisk competition. I kid you not, patacones with a fried egg or a bit of queso fresco are addictive and probably the best things ever. Or avocado... It`s like a mix between McDonald's hash browns and french fries and banana chips....We´re a few hours from breaking our fast and I`m really hungry... 

*The following are excerpts of  Natalie's letter that the average reader may not understand as they mostly pertain to her family.  But in true Natalie-fashion, they are insightful, honest and humerous so I included them in this post for your enjoyment. - Lorri (her mommy and blog administrator.) 

Walter is the bishop. Oh I love them! At lunch yesterday they showed me the pictures of Noelle´s belly, they think she is just the cutest thing ever and they can`t believe how tall Eric is
Tell Lindsay I am so proud of her and that the temple is the best and that she is going to be the cutest stinkin missionary ever! I was thinking about how different our missions are going to be. I suspect that her primary focus will be helping people understand who Jesus Christ is. I can`t imagine what that`s like. Here, everyone is already catholic or evangelist or testigo de jehovah. I can`t remember how to say testigo in English but you know what I mean. Our focus here is trying to get people to leave the wicked and blind traditions of their fathers and live the law of chastity!   Her mission will be fascinating.

I did not take a single foto with me this week because something decided to wage war on my face and I kid you not, the results are horrifying. The bishops wife yesterday asked me what happened, because my face before was perfect (those were her words and I`ve chosen to accept them as fact) and now... it`s not. So yeah. No fotos until world war III ends.

Okay my time is up, I was going to write more but I`ve forgotten, but I love you all! Thanks for writing me Ma and Pa, it´s always a little weird but nice to see that life continues on whether or not I`m there. Seriously. Seeing Molly all big weirded me out big time because I feel like you are all in pause. Weird. 
Anyway yeah I love you, bye!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Okay I have to start things out by saying that I absolutely adore my new compaƱera. Her name is Hermana Flores, she`s from Mexico, and she`s a powerhouse of a missionary and we have tons of fun together. She talks so stinking fast! But I love her, we hit it off right away. We`re finding tons of people to teach and together we`re just having a ball while getting stuff done!  I`ll include a picture of her. She doesn`t like to smile in pictures but I`m working on that.

We started off this week well by celebrating as a zone meeting our goal. We celebrated by all going and eating lunch together on the mission president`s dime. It was fun. I didn`t contribute to the goal at all but it was nice to enjoy the fruits of other`s labors haha. Then the next day we had interviews with the President. This was my first interview with him since my first day in the mission field, and that day I didn`t understand a thing he said so I was only in there for about 30 seconds, so for this interview this week I was scared to death! I`m not really sure why I was so nervous (it could be that I am very honest with the president in my weekly emails to him.)  But yeah it went swell! We read scriptures together and he gave me come counsels and I`m kinda excited for my next interview, whenever that will be.

We have an investigator with a swastika tattoo in between her eyebrows.... She came to conference and really liked it! Also, we are teaching a brother and sister who are about the sweetest people ever and very humble and teachable and sensitive to the spirit. 

What else can I tell you? Obviously I loved conference. It`s not exactly the same because the translators´ voices don`t shake when the people are about to cry and the translators during the prayers take some creative liberty, but I loved it. I loved the first three hymns Saturday morning, those are my  three favorite hymns and I like to think that was a personal shoutout from Heavenly Father to me. I loved it though, lots of good stuff. I can`t take notes in Spanish very fast and I can`t switch my brain from English to Spanish fast so my notes don`t make much sense at times so I`m really excited to get the Liahona with all the conference addresses next month. 

We were eating lunch in the mall when two young men presented us with paper flowers and said in english "for two women beautifuls"
We responded in a professional manner, but kept the flowers because it was pretty funny. Hermana Scott

Our zone!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Well, here they think I sing like an angel. The four missionaries in our ward sang in the birthday party for relief society, and after that they think I sing swell. Then I sang - all alone - in a baptism Saturday. Just me. In Spanish. In front of A LOT of people. I sang Divina Luz, Lead Kindly Light. They also wanted me to sing in the ward conference but 1) No and 2) I don´t think that´s encouraged and 3) No.

When Hermana Wixom had the little girls stand and sing, they did it here in the chapel and you best believe I cried. Unashamedly. 
And then the video with all the people singing I Am A Child of God in all the languages I really really really cried. That conference was so amazing, I listened in Spanish of course, and I can´t take notes quite as fast in Spanish as in English and I can´t just switch my brain from Spanish to English in a jiffy, so I think I¨m going to print off the talks and read them again. By the way, we are very blessed to be able to listen to the people in their own words, because it´s just not quite the same to listen to President Eyring without his husky, low, about-to-cry voice. It was so great though, and we´ve been working with a member that is less active because she has severe resentments towards some members, but she came to the conference and she felt the spirit and it was fantastic. Although we haven´t had baptisms in many moons, I almost like rescuing less active members more, because they have to learn the gospel otra vez and it´s really rewarding when they have  resolved to continue in the gospel. 
What else...
This is from yesterday. Hermana Guitarra, Lina (consejera), Liliana (presidenta de mujeres jovenes) and Rosa (Relief Society presidenta).   

You all know that I´m not one for peace signs and duck faces but this was hilarious. With the exception of Lina, these are full grown women with children and all. Love it.

Me and Hermana Fajardo. She´s a dear.

My two biggest fans. I´m not great at their names....
But they love me and they help me with my Spanish and talk to me about Justin Bieber (not that I want to talk about him, but they do anyways)
Thanks for all the prayers this week (I´ve needed them!)