Called To Serve

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission. August 2014 ~ August 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

April 2016


My companion and I are doing super well right now. We have a good amount of investigators that are progressing and we had lots of people attend the General Conference this week. We found a Spaniard who called to us from his balcony and asked if we wanted to visit him. Of course we said yes. He came to 2 sessions of conference and is loving everything about the church and the Book of Mormon and all that good stuff. He is super cool. We have a couple of other good families we're working with too, so we'll see how that goes. 


This week we had a meeting with President Riggins on Monday and Tuesday so we were in Guayaquil again. We went to the temple on Tuesday and we had our meeting in the house of President, which was cool. We had a taco bar that was super delicious! 

We were only in our sector from Wednesday to Sunday, but we had another really good week. We have been working super hard in finding new investigators, and now we have a ton of people to teach, so we were running back and forth from appointment to appointment. We didn't find very many new people this week, but we do have plans to find more investigators. 

The other elders in Triunfo had a baptism of someone who got baptized15 years ago, but her records got lost. That happens quite a bit here in Ecuador, and especially in the pueblitos. 

4/17 Earthquake Update

I'm not sure if you've heard about the earthquake here in Ecuador, but I wanted to let you know everything is fine here in Triunfo. We felt it, but all is good. A family we're teaching actually recently moved here from one of the places that got hit hardest - Manabi. They have family affected by the earthquake, so that's very sad. But don't worry about me, we're fine!


This week was pretty interesting. Our zone had interviews with President on Tuesday. All the missionaries came in the morning for lunch, and instead of sending them back home between the meeting and interviews, we found them lunch with the members here in El Triunfo. We had to call just about everybody to find lunch for 8 missionaries! 

From there we had intercambios on Friday. I went with Elder Llanque to the other side of Triunfo. We had a pretty good day, we found a couple of new people to teach, which is what they needed most. They had people they were teaching who weren't progressing, so we found them some new people to visit. 

On Saturday we did a service project in La Troncal. I didn't have my camera, but I'm working on getting some pictures. We cleaned up a park that was in pretty bad shape. That was a pretty good service project and we are hoping it will raise the interest of the people to see what these crazy gringos are doing in their country. It's interesting that right now in the mission there are a ton of latinos coming and not many gringos, but in our zone we have a majority gringos. 

The service project was in the morning and in the afternoon we had a reunion in the church. While we were there that's when the earthquake came. Some of the members started to freak out, but I actually crossed the room to look at the baptismal font that was ready for a baptism that night. The earthquake made pretty awesome waves in the font. It was a good sized earthquake and we definitely felt it, but I haven't seen any damage here in El Triunfo. 

The rest of the mission also felt it, and some felt it a lot more than us, but as far as I know we didn't receive much damage in the mission. I do know an old bridge fell down in Guayquil.

On Sunday church reuniones were cancelled in a lot of places in Ecuador, including the majority of the mission, but here in El Triunfo we were far enough away that we still had church. We actually had a District Conference and watched a transmission from the area, so that was interesting. That night we had an activity in the church. That was fun. We're trying to do more activities than we've done in the past. We had a couple of new investigators in church on Sunday and also a couple in the activity that night, so that was good. Have a great week! 


We had a pretty good week this week. President Riggins decided to give a small little visit. He came to do some interviews and see how the branch was doing. We had been visiting pretty much all week, running around from one house to another, and on Sunday we saw awesome results. I saw my attendance most big (that was a super Spanish wording) of all my mission at 175!  That was cool, especially because this is just a rama and my first three sectors were wards. The attendance here in Triunfo is normally around 140 so we were feeling pretty crammed in the church, and they had to bless the sacrament twice because they ran out of water! 

We have a couple of really awesome families that are progressing. La Familia DiLorenzo was one of the first families here in Triunfo. They even have a street named after them. Everyone knows them here, so when they came to church for the first time a couple of weeks ago all the members were like, WHAT! Who brought them? 

We also have a familiy where the dad got baptized in Babahoyo about 27 years ago and then he lost the church. He didn't even know there was one here in Triunfo. When he moved here from Babahoyo the church was in construccion, so when he searched for one he didn't find it. 

This week out of nowhere there was also a ton of rain. We went to La Troncal to visit on Wednesday, and we met a TON of new people there. Oh, and this week there was an announcement that in June we're going to have an apostle visit us, so that's awesome! It will be right before my companion goes home. Cambios passed by this last week without a call from the asistantes, so it is possible that I finish my mission here in El Triunfo! We're not sure yet, but it is possible.

This is Josue. He was serving in his mission in Peru, but had to come back for some knee problems he was having, but he's already got a goal to get back to the mission in about a month. He's a super good kid.

 This is Elder Rydalch. He is going home in about 2 weeks and he will be playing Basketball at U of U so keep your eyes open for him.

This is cake, it was good.

 Elder Veli and Elder Wright. 
The cake was for Veli's birthday and Elder Wright is a new gringito. He speaks Spanish WAY better than I did when I first got to Ecuador.

He's actually been gone for a couple of weeks now, but heres a photo. 

March 2016


My companion and I are sad this week. I left my camera in the house one day and exactly that day there was a ton of cool stuff to take pictures of. My companion had his camera, so he took all the pictures and we were good, until we got back to the house and we realized he lost his camera... with all the photos from his entire mission. We're pretty sure he left it in the taxi we took that night, and it wasn't an official taxi. We talked to the driver a little bit, but he didn't want us to visit him, so we didn't get any of his informacion... sad story.

Other than that we had an okay week. We went to Guayaquil on Tuesday to have a meeting with President Riggins and I saw my MTC buddy Elder Norris. He recently had changes, and is now an office Elder, so he spends the morning and a good part of the afternoon in an office dealing with all of the administrative parts of the mission. He got sick with parasites for the 3rd time in a couple of months so they sent him there to have him close to the best hospital in the mission and to be able to give him better food. Now whatever package or letter you send me will go through Elder Norris before getting to me.

As far as the work we lost a lot of families this week. They were families that we weren't sure were going to progress, but after this week we realized they weren't progressing. But we also found new families, which is good. Triunfo is definitely the easiest place to find people that I've been in. We always have people to teach.

As far as service projects we're just doing small little things right now, nothing major or super cool. And for P-Day activities, we're in Triunfo and there's not much to do here. We come to write, buy food, and then we don't know what to do with the rest of the day, so we usually just sleep... and that's P-Day. 

Also, with your weather report from California, I have an update on El Triunfo... FLOODED! On Saturday we saw the blackest skies ever and that night it rained super hard ALL NIGHT, and it almost got cold... almost. There was a crazy lightning storm, very intense. We woke up in the morning and it wasn't too badly flooded, just some really big puddles, but by the time we left church on Sunday the streets had flooded completely. We had to cross rivers to go anywhere. Only the main street of Triunfo didn't flood. Everyone says the last time Triunfo flooded was like 15 years ago, so it was pretty interesting. Not many people came to church on Sunday and there were a lot of people who had water enter their houses. 

Elder Coleman & Elder Roberts

Here is our pueblito church. It's actually a lot bigger than it looks, we have a hidden chapel. It has to be one of the nicest capillas I've had. It's always super clean and it's really new as well, so that's cool.


We're in a small pueblito, maybe 40,000 people in total that live here, and missionaries have been here for 20 years with 4 missionaries currently in this town. So the majority of people have at least seen missionaries around before, a pretty large number have talked with missionaries in the street, and a decent number have conversed with missionaries in their house at some time, but there's always new people to meet and teach. Just this week we were looking for a reference in a fairly unsearched area and we found a family of 11 who had never seen missionaries before. That was interesting. 

This week I had an intercambio with Elder Llanque. I went to his sector so I was pretty much just following him around the entire time. We had an okay day. We found some new investigators, which was our goal for the day, so that was good. 

As for my sector, we're doing good. Working hard, working hard. We had a really big number of people at church this week, which was cool. the number went from 92 last week to 160 this week. I think the flood last week had a good amount to do with that though. I don't know what we'll do when the ward grows more because with 160 we had a FULL sacrament meeting, but we have a goal to get the attendance higher in El Triunfo this year. I don't know where we'll put the other people, but we'll find the space!


Well, before I knew it my hour was up. I'm not really sure where my time went. Whoops... I'LL WRITE DOUBLE NEXT WEEK!


Well, no double letter this week after all. I spent my time researching all the college information and options you sent.  WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE!

This guy might look cuddly, but he bites really hard!

Lunch is served. ;)

 So many little animals running around...

Elder Coleman freaked out, and got super homesick for the mountains the first time he saw it. 

The temple... 'nuff said.

February 2016


This is Bucay.
I will never get used to how green it is. Also I was almost cold when we went there this week. I'm sure it's only because I haven't actually felt cold in a year and a half, but still... 

 It's been kind of crazy in our sector because a missionary that was supposed to come here from the MTC went home instead, so that left someone without a companion. Elder Suarez hopped between sectors for awhile, but he spent most of last month in our house. He's off to serve as Assistant to President now, and we're back to normal here in Triunfo.

 Triunfo is a small city with one branch that is split down the middle for the missionaries. We're only an hour away from Guayaquil, a lot closer than when I was in Quevedo, which was 3 hours away. 

As far as mosquitos I'm doing okay. They really eat my companion alive, but I pretty much never get bothered by them. We have seen some pretty scary big bugs lately though. But it's all good, we have repellent and all that good stuff.

So this week on Wednesday we went to Guayaquil and we will be there tonight and tomorrow as well... It's almost like I never left. We had a reunion with half of the mission. I saw Elder Silupu and Elder Lafuente and Elder Lund. I saw my uncle Elder Whalen (was trained but the same elder that trained Elder Ulloque) and my brother Elder Nock. It was pretty fun to see all my old mission buddies! We talked about how we're going to change with what we learned two weeks ago from the worldwide mission conference.

On Saturday we went to Bucay to meet references from a family that lives there. It was a super cool reference, a young couple with a son who are searching for a good church to raise him in. Little do they know that thanks to their uncle they are going to find the one true church in the world! 

We almost  got locked out of our house today, we left the house without thinking about our keys, got to the cyber and started writing, then all of a sudden I ask my companion if he has the keys... ummm no! So we call Elder Accordino and Llanque and they were just about to get on the bus to go to Guayaquil when we called, so we got saved there.That would have been really bad! So yeah... I think that's all.

We made cinnamon doughnuts, and they were super delicious!

Elder Carlisle... model status. When we are just walking around town the teenage girls go crazy for the two gringos guapos. Last week when we were on the bus to go to Bucay a group of high school girls got on the bus. They asked us if they could take a picture with them, and we said no. But they were just like U.S. teenage girls, taking a ton of selfies and all those shenanigins, and we just "happen" to be in the background. I did get in a pretty solid Book of Mormon photo bomb!


I had already heard about the Super Bowl. We had a reunion with President Riggins this morning and he gave us the results. His Son-in-Law called to gloat because he is from Denver. 

The reunion was for changes. We thought Elder Carlisle would have changes because he already had 6 months in Triunfo. My new companion is Elder Coleman from Utah. He has 6 weeks more in the mission than I do, and we're going to tear it up here in Triunfo, if I don't get lost. 

 My last week with Elder Carlisle was pretty good. On Monday we went to Guayaquil at night and on Tuesday we started in the temple bright and early. We talked a lot about planning, something I didn't do very well at home, and we talked again about what we learned in the worldwide conference for missionaries.

We came back Tuesday night and we found a super awesome family to teach this week, the Figueroa Family. They are a family of 6 and are totally prepared to change their lives! 

On Saturday we went to Guayaquil again and went to the temple with the branch. We had a couple of recent converts there, and it was a pretty cool experience. In the bus coming back to Triunfo we talked to a super cool guy from Venezuela. His name is Gustavo and we talked pretty much all the way to Triunfo. He was awesome and we're going to send the missionaries there to visit him.

At church there weren't very many people this week because Carnival started. A lot of people went to Guayaquil or the beach or the sierra and the people who didn't leave were busy having a huge water/paint/mud/everything else that gets you dirty war. We tried to avoid it by visiting members, but we got hit anyway, so that was pretty "fun". They tell me the stains come out of the shirt super easy, we'll see if that's true.
Well, that's the story and I'm stickin' to it.

Here are the carnival assassins, Matias and Jack.

 They told us on Friday who had changes, so the Branch President invited us to pizza and fro-yo to say goodbye to Elder Carlisle.

 A birthday/carnival/farewell cake of my companion.

 This is my new companion, Elder Coleman, or how all the latinos are going to say it here, coal-eh-mawn. He's tall. 


El Triunfo is a nice little pueblito, and it's super cool here. Well, it's still hot, just not as bad, but it's a great place. We got a little lost this week, but not too bad. We had super good days Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, some pretty rough days Thursday and Friday, but overall we worked well. 

We found a TON of new investigators this week. We already had quite a few, but we found 4 or 5 new families, so that was pretty awesome. We're working with a couple of super awesome families who want to get baptized, but they aren't ready to get married yet.That's common here, but we're trying to help them get ready to get married and baptized. 

Elder Silupú is here in the zone, which is nice. Actually we have a ton of new missionaries in the zone, and as a zone we had such a better week than the week before, it was a breath of fresh air.  I LOVE EL TRIUNFO. 


The rain isn't really coming like it did last year. We're almost in Marzo, and it's really only rained a dozen times or so, that's weird! 

We had a really hard working week this week. We found a ton of new investigators again. It's easy to be excited when we find so many new investigators like we have the past 2 weeks. People here in Triunfo are so awesome, now it's just our job to help them get ready for baptism! 

We found a new investigator yesterday named Raul, he was so prepared it's ridiculous. We have to help him overcome some problems, but he is so ready to change his life. Also I heard one of the investigators I was working with in Guayaquil got baptized. His name is Jose. He is a really old guy and is really funny. Apparently the week after his baptism was fast and testimony meeting, and he got up and shared his testimony, and out of nowhere started singing  a song. He's really interesting, but really awesome. 

We had to go to Guayaquil this week... AGAIN! I've been there a ton since I left. We had a doctor (psychiatrist) visit us from the area because we're crazy, or going crazy. He talked about stress and how we can deal with it. It was super fun because he and his wife are from Australia, and even in Spanish some of their accent carried over. This week that is coming we DON'T have to go to Guayaquil. We'll be here in Triunfo. YES! 

Well, I think that's it... I'm going to get my hair cut today.... wish me luck. 

Elder LLanque... working hard or hardly working? Answer: Working hard. The poor guy collapsed on his bed like this Sunday night after a long hard week.


I don't remember if I told you or not, but Elder Silupu has followed me here to the zone. We had an intercambio this week, so the father and son were united again. 

We had a pretty good week this week. We have a ton of investigators to visit and have been running all over the place doing that.

We had a pretty interesting experience yesterday. We were on our way to visit a family and we passed by the house of another family we just started teaching. We decided to stick our heads in and say hi. When we did we found the husband laying on the coach pretty hung over and with a pack of cigarettes in his hands. We starting talking to him, and then he told us he thought God had sent us to him to help him drop that stuff and save his marriage, so that was pretty cool! We took out his cigarettes and alcohol, the alcohol he was drinking was ridiculously strong. When we poured it in the street you could smell it a block away, that was pretty insane. They're a super good family and we really want to help them.

We're teaching another family that is really Catholic. They even have a daughter getting ready to be a Franciscan Nun or something like that, but they're willing to listen and read the Book of Mormon, so we'll see how that goes. He sells rice, an important thing here in Ecuador, so they're pretty rich by standards here. They gave us a super delicious dinner and their house makes me remember a nice apartment from the United States.

I just about walked out of these shoes the other day. We were walking and all of a sudden I heard a sound and I looked down and saw a flopping shoe... dang it!

After a year and a half of wear and tear what finally put an end to my Eccos is mold.  This pair might not look that bad, but trust me, they are done for. On the inside... well, it's not pretty.
#ecuador #humid

These shoes got me through the first year and a half of my mission and they have seen SO many miles! THANK YOU SO MUCH SISTER FARRELL! You are the best!

I'm sure that seeing 2 pairs of shoes shredded in one week you're worried I don't have  shoes, but it's OK, I still have 2 pair. Remember those war boots we bought? Yeah, those things are perfect for all the rain and mud I have going on in my sector right now. 
If my last shoes break down just a little bit of time before I go home I can always buy a pair here, they might not be the best quality, but they should last me at least a month or two! 

My clothes are fine. I had saved a couple of new shirts for the last part of my mission, so I've thrown out the worst looking ones and starting using the newish ones. The other day I was looking in my bag for a book I knew I had tucked away somewhere and I found socks I hadn't used before, so I even got to put on new socks last week.