Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

Hi everyone! Is it already Monday?! I guess that means you all have to hear from me...AGAIN! Haha!
Hopefully everyone is doing so, so good! I say that with as much sincerity as I possibly can. I truly hope that you all are receiving an outpouring of our Heavenly Fathers blessings!

This week...I am not quite sure what else to say besides...AMAZING! We headed out to the border or the sector to a place called Los Angeles. Let me tell you... it is NOT the same Los Angeles as the one back in the US. PURE JUNGLE! Haha! But soo awesome! Tons of tracting in the wilderness which was sweet. I was fasting that day so walking through the wilderness and up mountains was not the easiest thing in the world... but hey! The Lord provided as usual... and I am still here! :) There is no doubt that I am receiving Heavenly Help with every single step that I take. We did get to take about a 30 minute truck drive from Ventanas to Los Angeles. You will just have to take my word for it... but we fit TWENTY-FOUR HUMAN BEINGS IN THE BACK OF THIS TRUCK! Some were niños... but still! I have never been more uncomfortable in my life! And the fact that I was crouched on the floor of the bed of the truck face to face with a dude that had drank a little too much did not make matters any better! Haha!

MANGO SEASON IS UPON US...WOOSH! The biggest, juiciest mangoes you can possibly imagine! it is unreal! LEGENDARY to say the least. ¿Que Mas?!

We were tracting and a family went nuts when they saw me! "Hello! Estados Unidos!" They started taking pictures and losing their minds! I don´t know what it is! Haha! They love Gringos here! I felt like Harry Styles!

On a more serious note... one of our Investigators has the sweetest little boy! I am not quite sure what his situation is but he has special needs. He is very sick right now and I was able to give him a blessing! Such an amazing experience. He has to spend a couple of days in the hospital so we are not sure how he is doing quite yet, but I am sure that The Lord will provide and fulfill His will and all will be well! :)

One of my favorite memories this week has to be one of the houses we contacted! It is this bamboo house... WWWWAAAYYY high off the ground. So we made the climb and they let us in! Such a cool house... if you like LIZARDS! Haha! We were trying to talk to this family while lizards of all different shapes, colors, and smells were getting all up in our grills! Mostly just crawling around our feet and what not... but STILL! And it didn't help when the cutest little niño with chocolate all over her face and hands came and sat on my lap and wiped all of her nonsense on my white shirt and then proceeded to fall asleep in my arms. Despite the chocolate and lizards... my heart still managed to melt! Haha!

We were fed some bad meat earlier this week... oh wow... that was quite the experience. Something my companion nor I will EVER forget! Haha! I am sure you can imagine! Actually... probably not. In the words of our good neighbors, we were having multiple "Faveo Moments." Ask Vaughn Johnson for further explanation! Haha! But once again... The Lord provided and I am still here!

Sunday night I was SUPER dehydrated... it is difficult to drink water here! It is very rare to find clean-pure water. Anyway... My calves AND booty started cramping! I felt like I was running the 400 meter dash all over again! Bad News Bears! When I saw a member carrying buckets of water up two flights of stairs I didn't think of anything else but to help her! I honestly do not know how I did it! I shed some manly tears with every step... haha! Not really... but stairs, heavy buckets, and booty cramps do NOT make a great combination! But once again... The Lord provided and here I am! :)

There honestly is not a whole lot to talk about this week! I am loving every second! Especially after our Baptismal Service on Saturday... which leads me to my spiritual message!!

This weeks spiritual message takes us back to about a week after I received my mission call. Shortly after I was assigned to labor in the Ecuador, Guayaquil North mission I was blessed with a very special experience that led me to KNOW that there was a woman here in Ecuador waiting for me. More importantly... waiting to hear the message of the true and restored gospel. Fast forward to just over 2 weeks ago. Elder G and I were tracting in the poorest part of our area... possibly the entire mission... and sitting outside her house (if that is what you can even call it) was a woman with her face buried in her hands. My companion and I felt the need to talk to this woman. With her head still dropped and her face still in her hands my companion and I knelt beside her and gently asked if there was anything that we might be able to do for her. When she looked up... never in my life have I seen more sadness. Tears filled this woman's eyes, her heart was broken, her body has been through the whirlwinds of life needless to say. This woman wept. She cried for what seemed like hours. Finally when she was able to compose herself she began to express her deepest concerns, her struggles, her fears, and her challenges. As I looked at this woman, I could not help but think of her as a Resurrected Being coming forth on the morning of the first Resurrection with a perfected body. And I could not get over the fact that I had finally found the woman that I saw a week after I received my mission call. We taught her very briefly of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she asked us if we could please return in the next couple of days. Those couple of days passed and then we passed by her house again... and there she was! This time on her feet with the biggest smile on her face! As soon as she saw us she yelled "ELDERS! Please! Come in!" Haha! The change from just two short days ago was unreal! We started to teach her of the restoration of the Gospel. It has a few different parts. 1. God is our Loving Heavenly Father. 2. The Gospel blesses families. 3. God calls prophets. 4. Jesus' earthly ministry. 5. The Apostasy. 5. The restoration through the Prophet, Joseph Smith.

I didn't understand a whole lot of the lesson but when Elder G looked at me, I knew EXACTLY what I needed to share. As I held back tears and fought back emotion, I was pierced by the spirit and managed to share with her something that is very close to my heart. I told her the exact words of a 14 year old boy and his experience:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" As soon as the lesson was over she accepted Baptism!

Since then...we have discovered that she has a family! And they too have accepted baptism!

This past Saturday I was forever changed... as soon as I raised this wonderful sister out of the water I cannot put to words the feelings that were felt. Words just can not explain the happiness that this Gospel brings! And I want EVERYONE to partake of the happiness I feel right now! "For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and for the gospel's, the same shall save it."

We are modern day pioneers to the millions of Heavenly Fathers children who have yet to hear the Gospel, says Gordon B. Hinckley. We make our contributions by faithfully carrying out the work of The Lord.

Brothers and Sisters, this Gospel is true. That I KNOW. I know that EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO READS THIS EMAIL AND EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO DOES NOT has someone waiting for them. Waiting to be brought to the truth. I believe many of us made promises to our Brothers and Sisters in the life before that we would find them. And that we would save them. Returned Missionaries, Future Missionaries, brand new Deacon or Beehive, 8 years old, or 80 years old... find a lost sheep and bring them unto the fold and into our Shepard's embracing arms. I believe I said this already in a past email, but we have already lost 1/3 of our Brothers and Sisters in Heaven! We can´t afford to lose more. YOUR brothers and sisters that you fight with, laugh with, live with, and share unbreakable bonds with are the same relations you had with all of God's children before you and I came to this earth. Find your brother or sister! Bring them home! I promise... "GREAT will be your JOY." Put a spiritual name tag on your chest EVERY SINGLE DAY!
This Gospel changes lives. Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world and how blessed we are to be able to share that light!

The church is true. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

"The standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing." However, every single unhallowed hand can help!

Love you all!
Now go share the Gospel with someone! :)
With as much love as I can offer,
Elder Noll

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