Called To Serve

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission. August 2014 ~ August 2016

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


 the first week in the field has been insane! On Wednesday the twenty-some missionaries who arrived at the same time (most from the Mexico MTC) went to the temple in the morning and then got our companions. 

My companion is Elder Ulloque. He is from Colombia and he doesnt speak a lick of English. 

After we got our companions we headed out to our areas. I am serving in Quevedo, which is a 4 hour bus ride from Guayaquil, and is one of the farthest areas from the mission home. We got to our apartment at 10pm and I met the other two Elders that live with us and serve in the same area. Elder Gray is from Australia and Elder Magallones is from Peru.  Thank goodness they both speak English. We had pizza the first night, which is expensive here, 13 dollars for one pizza.

That night there was some sort of holiday for Saint Mary. There was a parade right outside our apartment with a float and fireworks. There were so many people... crazy!

The first actual day in the field our schedule was to wake up at 630 and work out, prepare for the day until 8, study from 8 till 12, then work until around 9. The first day was really rough. Everybody in our lessons spout endless Spanish, then look at me to respond to a question they apparently asked me, and I just look back at them blankly. It is so hard to have nothing but Spanish for an entire day. For the most part I dont really know whats going on and I have a tough time communicating with my companion as well. 

Luckily, an awesome family was our last appointment. Familia Cruz. They are 7 and live in this little house, but they are the happiest people in the world. They are so awesome and they slow down a lot so I can understand whats going on.

The second day was amazingly awesome. On the second day, I got my feet wet and baptized 14 year old Jorge. 

Most of the time the rule in the mission is that we cant baptize youth who dont have a member parent, but Jorge had been coming to church all by himself for months, so President Riggins gave us permission to baptize him. He is such a cool kid! So on the second day in the field, I got my first baptism. (Elder Ulloque let me perform the baptism, which was really nice of him.) 

Then we went with our ward mission leader and another member and got hamburgers and serbece or something like that. Pretty much all the members here are the best. They are very strong in the Gospel down here and everybody, even the less-active members, want the missionaries over for lunch and dinner.

My first Sunday, AKA my birthday. Church on Sunday was really weird because I truly had no idea what was happening for the most part. It was a struggle to stay awake because I was dead tired and it was hard to stay focused since I didnt know what anyone was saying. It is also weird because there arent nearly as many members here so instead of having separate classes for different age groups for preisthood, its just one big meeting. 

This first Sunday we got Familia Cruz to come to church with us, and another family we talked to on Saturday too, so that was super cool. After church we went to lunch at Mateos house and that was awesome. Mateo is a ward missionary and we had an awesome lunch with him. He went on a mission to the Phillipines and we talked about his experiences for a while and ate some awesome food. 

That day we celebrated my birthday two different times. Once at our correlation meeting with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries, and then again at dinner. I took part in a couple of different birthday traditions. Elder Gray has one from Australia which wasnt much fun at all. They whipped me with a belt 19 times. The other tradition was actually from Ecuador. At dinner we had a cake, and as I was blowing out the candle, Elder Magallones shoved my face in the cake. I got chocolate up my nose. So yeah that was my birthday. Oh also, Familia Cruz got me a gift. They got me an awesome little robot guy that lights up, a little cake bread type thing, and some pens (theyre the best). 

This is the family that made a cake for me. 
This is pre-Ecuadorian tradition:

This is post Ecuadorian tradition:

So yeah thats just about it. Its been rough but Im hanging in there and hopefully soon I will get a basic idea for what people are saying. One more thing, Im not sure how to make the little symbol for contractions on this weird keyboard so thats why my grammer is technically a little off. I havent forgotten English quite yet, just cant work technology.

Elder Roberts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

9/24/2014 - Arrival in Ecuador

So I'm here! It was a very long day of travel that's for sure. On the plane we all realized how in trouble we are in with the language. The announcements were made in Spanish and many of the people around didn't know English. Oh my gosh!

The first night there were transfers going on and I was so lost. There were about 25 Elders at the house and Spanish was flying. Some of the native speakers have pretty good English, others do not. Tomorrow we go to the Temple and after that we get shipped off to our new areas with our trainers. I'm excited to start doing the work. Hopefully the language comes fairly quickly for me.

Elder Roberts

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mailing/Contact Information - Ecuador

Letter Mailing Address:

Elder Tanner Roberts

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
Casilla de Correo 16160

Package Mailing Address:

Elder Tanner Roberts

Ecuador Guyaquil North Mission
Cdla. Kennedy Vieja, Calle G, N° 601
y La 8va. Oeste, Edif. Mallorca 3er Piso
Guyaquil, Guayas

Ph: 593 4-228-4323

Note: Packages must be valued at less than $400, weigh less than 8 lbs. 8 oz., and be sent via USPS only. Otherwise VERY high customs fees will apply.


Select Ecuador Guyaquil North Mission

Elder Tanner Roberts

Type your message, click send letter, it will be printed out and delivered via the LDS Church pouch mail system. There is no charge for this service.

Pouch Mail address:

Elder Tanner Roberts

Ecuador guyaquil North Mission
PO Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Detailed instructions can be found here:


We had a pretty boss devotional yesterday. We had Elder Scott come speak to us. It was broadcast to all the MTCs around the world which is pretty insane. I had a pretty baller seat. I was fourth row back smack dab in the middle. He talked about prayer and it was a solid talk. Elder Hatefi almost fell asleep though.

So a couple of Elders in my zone are headed down toward Cabo next week, or so they thought. They haven't gotten word on if the hurricane is going to postpone them or not. Hopefully things can get fixed up enough that the Elders can get there.

Well that's just about it... Oh one more thing, I went to the doctor today. Apparently I have a ear canal infection, but the doctor said not to worry because it isn't that bad. He gave me a prescription for some ear drops and anti-biotics and said that my ear will be all fine and dandy in about 6 or 7 days. :)

Oh did I mention that I got my flight plans to Ecudaor? Yeah that happened.

Editorial note:
Thank goodness I was online right as the first message came through so I could push for more information. I didn't get a lot of detail, but did at least get the departure date.
Follow-up email:

So I'm not going to leave you with just that. I got my flight plans yesterday. Elder Taylor, Elder Palmer and I leave for Ecuador on Monday. For some reason Elder Hatefi and Elder Norris still don't have their visas so they will be temporarily reasigned either today or tomorrow. So in about 5 days I will be in a different country. So that's the big news. Okay I actually think that's all that is going on right now.

Love, Elder Roberts

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Same Old Same Old
Every day is the same exact thing. I'm actually starting to go a bit insane. Also me and my district are starting to have a little bit of tension. We've just been cooped up in the same place for too long now. 

We're about to lose the two districts who got here one week before us in our zone. That'll be sad because we've grown pretty close to some of those missionaries. They're pretty much all off to different places in Mexico. Then on the Wednesday before we leave we'll get two new districtsOther than nothing really special has been happening.

I had a dream of where the whole district was going to visa wait (we're still not sure if we are yet, but we haven't heard anything good so I'm preparing myself). The dream said I am going to New York, Taylor is going to Massachusetts, Palmer is going to Georgia, Hatefi is going to Florida, and Norris is going to Irvine mission. These might not make sense, just what my dream said.

Here's a fun story: Elder Palmer has trouble with not saying the H's in Spanish. He can't get used to the silent H, so every time he says a word with the H sound Hermano Griffen makes him eat a piece of paper. This past week he had to eat a piece of paper and then like half an hour later we went to teach our investigator/teacher. In the middle of the lesson Elder Palmer starting choking and ran to the bathroom and threw up the paper. 

Here at the MTC you have to be creative with your fun. Last night Elder Norris came up with a game. Normally it would be really lame, but since it's a way to get away from the routine it's pretty fun. It involves a stress ball, the wall, and kicking. Pretty much the game is baseball with your feet. I've only lost once and I've won 8 times.

That's all for now, I am so ready to be out in the field.

Elder Roberts

Tie Trade Day:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Well nothing much has happened this week. Honestly the MTC days are all pretty much the same. Get up at 6:30, go to breakfast, go to class for like 4 hours, go to gym (which is the best hour of the day), go to lunch, then class for another 3 hours, go to dinner, then yet another 3 hours in class. 
The days are pretty much all the same other than Wednesdays (P Day), Tuesdays (night devotionals), and Sundays (best days of the week). The Sunday and Tuesday Devotionals are pretty much the best things of all time. One thing that is really starting to kill me is lack of sleep. We get to take naps on Sundays and Wednesdays and I definitely take advantage of those opportunities.  
This past week my district has started going to a nice zen river place for personal study, which I love - it's awesome. So yeah, that's all that's going on. Things are going well here. 
Love, Elder Roberts

One more thing...

You should send me news stories that you think I would like so I kind of know what's going on in the world.