Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Que Mas, America?!
Other than cooking...? Haha! 
    It is just the usual here in Ecuador, 3500 miles away...PERFECTION! This week was great! On Monday night I went on a split with one of the ward members. Biggest stud I know! He has disabilities but we are teaching him how to read and write because he wants nothing more than to serve a mission. How cool is that?! He has such a strong testimony and I am continually amazed and humbled by his Christlike example. We made it back to his house late Monday night and were waiting for Elder G... While doing so, I got talking to his mom, who was asking me all sorts of questions about the United States. Food was obviously brought up...and I told her my favorite food was a Lasagna that my mom makes. So the next day we got a call and his mom said, "Elder Noll! I made you your Lasagna!" I couldn't have been more excited. was her first time making the dish...and they don't eat it in it was NOT the Lasagna I grew up with. Bless her heart for trying...but I had to choke that sucker down...and hold back the tears as she put seconds...and then thirds on my plate. Let's just say that I am very glad that is over! All around good experience though! ;) Hah!
    Something amazing happened! Elder D was very sick earlier in the week. He was shaking super bad and was having trouble breathing. We were all super scared. We decided to give him a blessing. I was blessed with the opportunity to give it. I am not exactly sure what I said or how I said it but as soon as we said, "Amen", he calmed down and fell asleep. ALMOST INSTANTLY! He woke up the next day fine. If that is not a miracle from our Savior I don't know what is! How lucky are we to have the Lord's power and authority restored to the earth today? So incredible.
    On Wednesday our District got to go to the temple...which was obviously amazing. It is truly incredible to feel the spirit in The Lord's Holy House. We ended up making it back to Ventanas late at night and all got off the bus...except one. So the bus took off with one Elder still on it...sleeping away. The bus made it about 100 yards down the rode and suddenly you see an Elder SUPERMAN jump out of the moving bus. It was hilarious! So we all had a good laugh at that.
    Friday was pretty neat too! I went on a split with Elder M. He has been here just 6 weeks longer than I have. He went to Olympus...and it is a good thing he did not play football or else he would probably be dead! ;) Haha! He really is a stud...and we found FOURTEEN families! It truly is amazing how the spirit works and the ability it has to lead and guide you to people who are in need. Later that night we went to a members' house for Elder M´s FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! 2 meals and 2 cakes later we made it back to the house...and on our way up the stairs we passed the family that lives right below us and they invited us to ANOTHER FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! Gee wiz...more cake...haha! I was fine with it though!
    Then...on Saturday our ward went to the temple so we got to go again! We had to get up at 5 though. At first we were trying to be super quiet out of respect for the other Elders sleeping in our house. One thing led to another and eventually I was blasting MoTab. Choir and making smoothies with the loudest blender on the planet! Haha! They were SO SO mad...but it was pretty funny for me! And of course...the temple was absolutely incredible again. 
    We had another record breaking Sunday! 180 attended church yesterday! We were over the moon! It has nearly doubled in the past 4 months. It is so amazing to see The Lord´s hand in this work. I truly am loving every second of His work. 
    It wouldn't be a week in Ecuador if Elder Noll didn't make a fool out of himself...would it?
    We were tracting and I was walking on the sidewalk...I didn't see that the sidewalk ended so as I took my step, expecting concrete, I fell right on my the mud. It's all good though...I have kind of learned to live with these Gringo moments...haha! It is part of this life! ;)
  I don't have a whole lot of time and I still have to share a spiritual message so I am sorry if this weeks recap was a little boring! With the limited time I have, I just wanted to share a scripture! So everyone go grab your scriptures and flip open to Alma 34:38. Let's take a look at it a little closer!
    38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.
    1) RECEIVE the Holy Ghost. When you receive a prompting don't deny it! Our Heavenly Father knows you PERFECTLY and is going to send His spirit to guide your life in a direction that is best for you. When we deny that spirit and its promptings we are telling The Lord that we don't trust Him. Trust in Him! Trust in the spirit. Be like Nephi and be "led by the spirit; not knowing beforehand what you should do."
   2) Take upon yourself the name of Christ. We make this covenant each and every week when we partake of the sacrament...and it is HUGE. But what does it actually mean? For me, to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, means that when other people see you, your character, and your actions, they are reminded of Jesus Christ. Woah...kind of a big responsibility, right? Pretty big promise we make every week. We are promising to strive to live the life He lived. Walk the path He walked. Be the person He was. Brothers and Sisters, put His name on your heart...what a blessing it is to be trusted to represent such a divine role. What a privilege it is to be trusted to take upon ourselves His sacred name.
   3) Humble yourself. This is something WE ALL need to work on, I believe. We are all nothing. But through our Savior we can BECOME something. With this attitude of BECOMING I believe that we will see The Lord´s hand more in our lives. Don't focus on what you are or what you are not...only on what you can become through the hand and mercy of The Lord. It also applies to your perspective of other people...only see other people, who are actually your literal brothers and sisters, how our Heavenly Father sees them. Only see them for their potential and where they come from. I promise blessings through this perspective and you will experience endless happiness through doing this.
    4) Live in Thanksgiving DAILY. First off...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I thought this message might help the turkey settle and the pumpkin pie taste a little better! ;) But on a more serious we really need to stuff our faces once a year just to be thankful? Why not do it everyday? Probs because we would all weigh 457 pounds and the turkey population would be extinct! Hah! Okay...real life seriousness...let us all strive to live in the spirit of thanks every single day. There is so much to thank our Heavenly Father for. "for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." Really that is an understatement. The MANY?? Try EVERY SINGLE thing in your life that has caused even a drop of joy or caused you to feel an ounce of happiness is from our Heavenly Father. Gratitude is such a crucial part of this life. Let us take a moment...EVERY reflect on all that we have and thank our Heavenly Father through heartfelt prayer.
     I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. I am forever changed...I am still the same bonehead who drove a Hippie Bus and listened to waaaaay too much One Direction...but my heart has been forever softened. The past 3 months have opened my eyes to how beautiful this Gospel is. How much our Heavenly Father really loves us, though it is incomprehensible. How important families really are...and so much more. I am so grateful to be here in the service of The Lord.
     I am eternally grateful for my amazing family. The truth is that without The Lord I am weak. I am broken. I am hopeless. But without my family I am even more weak. I am shattered. I am nothing. They mean everything to me. Don´t wait until Thanksgiving to express your love for your family!
    Finally, I am grateful for my Savior. I am grateful for my Father in Heaven. No matter what I say it will be an understatement but I am grateful for the life that they have given me and for the beautiful and perfect plan that was provided for all mankind to partake of. I am grateful that the only TRUE gospel was restored to the earth again.
I am grateful for all of you. Thank you for all of your prayers.
Eat Lot's! 
     But more than anything...after you feast on the food...feast on the word of God. It is more filling than anything in this world. And try it out as a family! You will be amazed by the blessings that come!
Love you all!
Until next week,
Elder Noll

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

   What´s good America?! Hopefully everything is awesome! I feel like I hear NOTHING about your lives! Maybe I am talking too much...? Haha! I expect answers from multiple people to the following questions...
1)How is the ville (or your current residing place)?
2)How is your family?
3)What´s new?
4)Something funny that happened to you this week?
5)How is Harry Styles
6)One tender mercy from our Savior that you experienced recently
I guess I can answer the same questions! :)
1)Ventanas/Ecuador is usual! "Independence Day" of Ventanas was LOCO! Absolutely nuts. On Monday night we had family night with one of the members which was so much fun! We shared a spiritual message, ate rice, and watched the fireworks from their balcony. It was nothing like the Stadium of Fire...that´s for sure...but one of the fireworks misfired and started a nearby field on fire! haha! So I guess that gave me the Stadium of Fire thrill! ;) 
  So in general my residing place is awesome! Too awesome actually! I wake up to the smell of fresh empanadas and chocolate every morning (there is a restaurant right below us), the weather is beautiful (how is the white stuff over there utah?!), the bananas taste good, people are getting psyched for Navidad...THINGS ARE JUST AWESOME!
2)My fam bam here in Ventanas is doing great too! Elder G and I have been blessed with many miracles and tender mercies from our Savior. Our house is doing super BIEN too! kinda...haha! 
  Elder P had to get his ingrown toenails removed the other day so he has been bedridden for a little while. I had to go with him to get them taken out in Guayaquil...watching them take them out was neat...but if I could have one goal from here on out it would be NOT to get ingrown toenails! They pretty much just took a Machete and hacked at his toes for an hour and sent him off. Absolutely NO REMORSE. Haha! 
  On the bus ride back to Ventanas there was an interesting dude. There are tons of men who dress up as women and get money for it...Yeah I don´t understand it either...but one of these dudes was on our bus...well I think he was a guy! He/She put on a little act for everyone to see in the very front of the bus and when he/she finished, he/she started asking everyone on the bus for money...I immediately pulled change out of my pocket and gave it to him/her because I didn't want this strange him/her to talk to plan worked! He/she took my money and strut him/herself away. Wow...too many experiences on the buses here...Locoisimo! 
   I guess you could call him my grandpa in the mission - Presidente Riggins, was here in Ventanas yesterday. He spoke in our ward. He is the biggest stud! And his messages are always so powerful! Or maybe it just felt more powerful than usual because he spoke after me! On Saturday the bishop called and told me that I had to speak...c'mon homie! I didn't even have a day to prepare! I hurried and threw something together and hoped for the best! So we show up to church...President Riggins is there with his wife and assistants, we have the second biggest congregation of the year, and I am speaking! It went okay though! :) Thank Goodness!
  The work here is incredible! So our "investigating families" are doing well too! We are finding families to teach which is the BEST FEELING EVER! Seeing families change because of this gospel is one of the greatest blessings in my entire life. Our ward family is unreal. It reminds me of home so much! Our ward is filled with some of the most Christlike and loving people. I seriously love them all to death! The member below us makes me fresh fruit smoothies every morning...ONLY ME...Haha! The other Elders are pretty jealous but I don't mind at all!
3)Hmmm...what´s new? I am teaching an English class once a week! It is so much fun! But I sure hope that my Spanish is better than their English! ;) Haha! Just kidding! The language really has been coming along slowly but surely. I am starting to feel pretty comfortable with it! And I know that it is 100% credited to the Lord. I still have a lot of work to do...but I know that through the Spirit all things are possible! :) 
   I played football today! American Football! haha! 
  Other than that nothing is really new...I am still learning, living, and LOVING. 
4)Something funny...I guess I have something embarrassing! We were talking with some investigators about the differences between The US and Ecuador and one of them brought up how they wanted to go to the Baños (Bathrooms) in the US but they they are too expensive...? I was confused too! I said, "Hermana, you don´t have to pay to use the bathroom in the United States...?" They all started BUSTING UP! Come to find out...Her "Baños" was just a really really super thick accented "Vegas". Yeah...that won "GRINGO OF THE YEAR AWARD" for sure! 
Almost forgot! This was kinda funny...well it is funny now but was NOT funny then. I had to use the bathroom really really bad! Drinking 6 liters of water a day causes for quite a few pit stops! Anyways...bathrooms are very different here...I can´t even begin to explain so I won´t...but just take my word for it! So I entered this cave/dungeon/depth of despair, searching for the bucket to...ya know? yeah...and half way through my labors I hear a deep grown...and out of the darkness comes a MONSTER DOG...and it lost it´s mind! I would have wet my pants but I already was...then it leapt at me and knocked me over! It was just bad...something that can only be explained in person...maybe try not to visualize it! Haha! But I will never go to that Baño again!
5)I am not sure how Harry is doing? I hear their new album comes out today though! Everyone Enjoy! 
6)Way too many tender mercies to talk about! Waking up everyday and putting Christ´s name over my heart is one of the biggest miracles I have ever experienced in my entire life. The Lord continues to provide me with His strength and Heavenly help. One of my favorite mercies from our Savior this week has to be with one of our investigators though! Her two daughters just got baptized and she is preparing for her very own baptism as well...she just has some pretty big difficulties ahead of her that she needs to overcome first...anyways...I had the opportunity to share my testimony with her and she ended up getting pretty emotional. The first time I have EVER seen her show emotion actually! I asked her if she was okay and she said that she was fine. It was just that her "heart felt really good. Like it is overfilled with love. Like her body is pure. Like I am just very grateful". What a tender mercy from our Savior it was to see the Spirit work with this woman. What a miracle to witness someone feeling the same spirit that you are...and slowly making it back on the path back to our Savior.
That was this week! 
Your turn!!! :)
Spiritual Message:
"But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary." At this point in the 14th chapter of Matt. the Disciples are a little worried. The seas are raging and there is a man walking towards them on the water. However, Immediately after they discover that this man is Christ, Peter wants nothing more than to "Come unto Him on the water". Of course, The Savior invites Peter to come unto Him and Peter goes forth and walks on the water "to go to Jesus". What a great example of Faith! Take a moment to think of what Peter is thinking...what is going through his head.
Fear, doubt, and uncertainty I would imagine! But despite this fear. Putting this doubt aside. And letting the uncertainty fade...I, Peter, am going to put this fear aside and call to my Master and go to him. I am going to take a leap of faith and go into the midst of the sea. I am going to go to my Savior despite the wind that is contrary and the waves that are tossing the seas. I am going to have faith. And off he goes...walking on the water. What is so cool about Peter´s faith is that we had the same exact faith when we left our ship (Pre-Mortal Life) into the midst of the sea; tossed with waves (the earth) to go unto our Savior and become more like Him. And because we have this faith...we too can walk on water! We can survive the midst of darkness and the storm tossed seas. We can stay afloat. With faith we can make it to our Savior. With faith we can do all things.
"But when he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and began to sink...". Brothers and Sisters, just as our faith and ability to walk on the water is the same as Peter´ is our ability to doubt and sink. So is our ability to fear and drown.
When we walk by faith there is absolutely nothing that can stop us. But in the very second of doubt we are going to drown. Down in the depths of the sea. It is for that very reason that we need to hearken to the words of President Uchdorft, "Doubt your DOUBTS before the doubt your Faith". You don´t need a perfect knowledge of all things! But you do need a perfect BELIEF....a perfect HOPE. With this perfect Belief, Faith, and Hope...we can walk on water...we can stay afloat...we can make it to our Savior. 
But hold up! The story is not over! :)
Peter cry´s unto The Lord and "IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched out His hand to him, and caught him, and said...wherefore didst thou doubt?"
As important as it is to stay afloat and stay true to the faith that you have..sometimes we fall. If you are under the water...if you have doubts...if you are afraid and swallowed up in the storm tossed sea of this upon the Lord and he will immediately reach out His hand to you and raise you up. I promise that His hand is ALWAYS stretched out to save you. Stay true to the faith that you have...or that you once HAD! Cast all doubts and fears aside! Reach up!
Faith is PROGRESS. We build faith through having faith. Through acting in and with faith. It doesn't matter where you are at in this moment or where you have been in other moments...The Lord, Jesus Christ, can and will raise you up. Look to His light and follow. "Look unto me in ever thought; doubt not fear not". After all that The Lord has done for us...Really is there any reason at all to doubt?
Keep trudging through the stormy seas, Brother and Sisters! One step at a time with one purpose in mind...make it to the Savior.
Keep swimming to the surface to grab hold of Christ´s ALWAYS extended hand!
You can do hard things.
Stay afloat! Keep keepin' on. Keep having faith!
Love you all!
Elder Noll
Jess and Jake doing what they love to do!

Jessi said that the guy who cut his hair gave him a complimentary facial - because he has such nice skin! HAHA

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

    I am so sorry for always being so repetitive...but once again...this week was AMAZING! How is everyone? I sure hope you are all doing great!
   Well there is another Gringo in the house! Hallelujah! His name is Elder P...he is from Logan, played football for Skyline, has been in the mission for 15 months, and is a STUD! And we are basically the same person...I guess minus the stud part! Haha! ;)
We went on an exchange his first day here in Ventanas and it was awesome! I learned SO much from him. He is an awesome Elder.

   I am starting to get used to the purple goop is not too bad actually! And I didn´t eat Chicken Noddle "Intenstine" soup, so that was a plus!
   This week was FILLED with so many miracles! I don't even know where to begin!
One of the families we are teaching committed to be married next week! So they will be baptized the following week! How cool?! In our last lesson with them we asked the mom to pray and she said that she couldn't because she is pregnant and didn't want to wake the that even a thing? Haha! I guess you learn something new every day! But they are an incredible family none the less! Even despite her "Condition" ;)
   We got a hammock in our house. It was so neat...while it lasted. Elder G was chilling on it and I attempted to do an "underdog" thingy like you do on swings and at the tip of the parabala of the Hammock the rope snapped in half and Elder G FLEW across the room! It was hysterical! The only thing that came out of my mouth was ´´NOOOOO!!! Mi Hamaica!´´ Haha! Karma will get you eventually! ;)
   Friday and Saturday were a bit crazy...we were all over the place!
   Oh Yeah! Just a random fact and something that was cool! It is not everyday you see your best friend since Kindergarten in another country!!!!!!!!!!! What are the chances?!?! Elder Johnson is looking great. You ladies are like "LOL. What's new?" Haha! But he is an incredible missionary! And is already a trainer! Such a stud! And it was so good to see him!
   We were tracting on Saturday and Elder G ran into a family that he baptized in his first sector! They were visiting their family here in Ventanas! So that was a good conversation starter! Now we have a progressing family preparing for baptism! The Lord works in mysterious ways! It was definitely a tender mercy from our Savior.
   It is the 67th something of Ventanas so it has been absolutely NUTS for the past week. Carnivals, parades, concerts, and beer. That pretty much sums it up! Haha! There is one dude who is passed out every single night right in front of our door with a bottle of booze in his hand. So, stepping over a drunk guy is kind of the norm right now! The streets are flooded with so many people though. On Saturday night especially! We were all up on the balcony of our house at night and we started wringing our wet clothes on people. That led to dumping little cups of water on the people walking by...which eventually led to me retrieving the Gallon sized pitcher of water and SOAKING people! It was awesome! We were even getting the people driving past on their motorcycles! I decided to do just one more...when I was just about to poor it I looked over the ledge and there were probably 20 motorcyclists and 10-15 people with FIREWORKS! They all lit them and threw them at me! Explosions left and right on the roof of our house! I was literally in the front lines of battle! But I managed to make it to safety! We called it a night after that! Haha!
   I saw a giant. Literally a giant! She had to have been 12 feet tall...and the uni-brow and deep voice didn't make her any less scary! So that was interesting!
   One of our Investigators is named Delyla. She didn't like it too much when I told her she shared a name with my dog! I probably should have left that out! So she went on to name her newborn puppy, "Noll". Haha!

   Entonces...ALL IS WELL HERE IN ECUADOR! I am loving every second! But boy is it hard! But hey...we can do hard is what we were made to do!

   So my spiritual message has a little bit of a background story...that 12 foot giant who I mentioned earlier...she was my doctor...and Thursday and Friday were so crazy because they were spent in the hospital.
   I guess you could say I have been leaving some minor details about my experiences here in Ecuador out of my emails. For those of you who have seen my pictures I am sure it is apparent that I have lost quite a bit of weight. It doesn't matter how much...but it was enough to land me in the hospital on Thursday and Friday. You could say I have been pretty sick. On Thursday we had to take a trip to Quevedo where they ran a variety of different tests and found out that I am having some problems with my heart. From there, another appointment was made in Guayaquil with a more advanced clinic where they were able to come up with a diagnosis and find a way to make me and my heart all better :)
1) I am okay. No worries.
2) I only tell you this because I think it relates very well to a very important Gospel Principle.
   And Jesus went about ALL Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people."
   Aren't we all sick? In some way, shape, or form? If you think your not "sick" then the fact that you think you are not sick, perhaps, is your disease!
Brothers and Sisters, we are all sick. Every single one of us. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Hospital. Jesus Christ is our doctor.

   We don't have the capacity to know what our spirits need. For the same reason that I didn't have the capacity to know what my heart needed. Jesus Christ KNOWS! He can heal you! But we have to accept Him as our doctor and His gospel as our hospital.

   We learn all throughout the scriptures that Jesus Christ is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." If The Lord healed the sick and afflicted during His earthly ministry He will continue to do so! Now and for forever! For those of you who are active members in the Church...KEEP RECEIVING YOUR  TREATMENT! KEEP FOLLOWING THE DOCTORS ORDERS! No matter how strict the demands. No matter how hard it is. Salvation was never easy for our suffering don't expect it to be easy for you. Rather, accept the Lord's treatment and stay healthy! For those of you who are not is my deepest desire and crying prayer that you make it to the hospital. Your heart is starving whether you know it or not. And Christ has the ability to heal your problematic heart. He can treat you, but you have to be willing and accepting of His treatment. He has the ability to heal ALL! Spiritual and Physical...and He wants nothing more than to mend your heart. His gospel has the ability to bless you and your family more than anything in the entire world. The entire universe. You and those you love the most will receive blessings beyond your capacity to imagine only in and through The Hospital of Jesus Christ and by accepting Him as your Doctor and Healer. He will never leave and has never left you alone...don't ever feel like there is not an entrance back into His presence. There is always a way. His office hours NEVER close. For those who are not members of this church...thank you SO much for taking the time to read this first of all. Secondly, and more importantly...The Lord has a treatment for you too! I have seen his treatment in the lives of so many! Especially here in Ecuador and it is the one of the most beautiful things to witness. Your heart needs the spiritual nurturing that ONLY this gospel and the Lord, Jesus Christ, can provide.

   There is no way I would still be where I am at this exact moment if I did not KNOW that this Gospel is true. There is no way I would be here without the Lord's treatment.
Give him your heart Brothers and Sisters...give Him your soul. When we do that, all He is going to do is give it right back...but when He does it will be healed. It will be whole. It will be strong. Strong enough to do whatever you were made to do. Strong enough to help you accomplish the things you were foreordained to do in this life.

   I love this Gospel with all of my heart, Brothers and Sisters. All of my weak and problematic heart! Haha! and I have faith and testify that The Lord can make a weak heart strong. Physically and Spiritually.
   He is the Christ. He is our Savior. He is our Shepard. He is our LOVING BROTHER who wants nothing more than to strengthen you.

Love you all so much!
Elder Noll

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Hey Locos!
What's going on?! Hopefully you all got TONS of candy and partied hard! Let me tell you...Halloween just wasn't the same without the worlds best hand-made costumes made by the one and only, Tracy Noll (My BEAUTIFUL Mother). Haha! They don't really celebrate Halloween here but you better believe that I said Trick-or-Treat before a mountain of rice and beans was put on my plate! ;) Best Candy Ever!
I am sorry to say that I have to be brief this week :/ We are super busy today and have to go pick up another Missionary that is coming to our zone, soooo...
Here we go!
This week was honestly GREAT! But what's new!? November is the season for this Purple Goop drink stuff...I am not quite sure how else to describe it...Haha! It is just strait up purple goop with chunks of something or other mixed into it...It is some type of drink. I don't know! Haha! But we drink it 24/7! ...Who knows? Maybe someone back home can do some research and let me know what it is! Or maybe I don't want to know!
Let's see...Monday night we were in a hurry to get to one of our appointments and we were just leaving the casa, which has quite the climb! So I was making the descent down the stairs, with a HUGE bundle of Bananas (I have no idea why...everyone always has Bananas in hand here), and I slipped! On of the stairs at on the top level is a half-step and it tricks me every single time! So down I went. It was quite the visual I am sure...but when I finally came to a stop the only words to come out of my companions mouth were, "AH! MIS PLATANOS!!!(Bananas)" Yeah, thanks companero...never mind my shattered pelvis! Gee Wiz! Haha!
This week was actually really awesome! We were in a trio because one of the Elders in our casa finished his mission so the other Elder, Elder D (Guatamala), teamed up with Elder G and I. We were joking around about being the three Nephites but in reality we were just a team of two Elders and a Goober-Gringo with a name that nobody here can pronounce! ;) Haha! But the missionary we are going to pick up is Elder D's new companion and rumor has it he is from Utah! So maybe I won't be the only white dude in the house! :D Lol
We had to climb  this cliff the other day...If it was orange I could have sworn I was in Utah, looking up at Free Fall at Seven Peaks...but The Lord provides...ALWAYS...and I made the ascent! :)
I got to give a blessing to one of the members in our ward which was really cool! He has been really sick and unable to work for the past couple of days. Elder D anointed and I gave the was really difficult to say what the Spirit wanted me to tell him in Spanish...but I was able to recall words and remember how to say things that I should not have known how to truly is AMAZING what The Holy Ghost can do and is capable of!
On Wednesday we headed to Guayaquil for a verification meeting with the President which was really neat! But I have to say...I was VERY homesick. Not homesick from missing Utah...but homesick from missing Ventanas! Homesick from missing my jungle! As cool as Guayaquil is and as sweet as the city life is....being Tarzan is WAY better! I did have to sleep outside though...on a mattress..with no blanket. Elder G told me I wouldn't need anything...PUNK! At least I had my skinny tie to keep me nice and warm :) And I am almost positive that I now have Wes-Nile Virus (Just Kidding Mom).
We got to do service on Friday and Saturday which was sooooo cool! On Friday we helped a recent convert build her house and on Saturday we helped out a member on his farm. Both days were sweet!
It seems like this week was the week of the chicken...I ate everything...BUT the actual meat of the chicken though! Chicken feet, chicken gizzard, heart, and stomach all in one week! I was even given a strait up wing without the meat and told to eat the that was different. Very chewy. Then...I ate Chicken Noodle Soup...or so I thought! I took the first bite and the noodles tasted really strange...and they had little balls inside of them. It turns out what I thought were noodles were Chicken Intestines! It was hard enough to choke down after finding that out so I didn't ask what the balls were! And I don't want to know so please don't research that...
Brothers and Sisters...I am LOVING every second! It is SO SO hard...but SOO SOO INCREDIBLE!
And that is pretty much this past week in a nutshell!
This weeks spiritual message is for anyone who is struggling...physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually...which should just about include everyone in some way or another!
There is a chance that some of you may be wondering...why is this so hard? Why am I in so much pain? Why doesn't anyone understand? Why don't I understand? Why am I so lost? So alone? Why don't they listen? Why can't I be better? Why can't I be stronger? Why this? Why now? Why me? Why am I here? Why? Why? Why?
I have these questions too. But we aren't the first ones to ask why. Someone long before us asked why too. Someone who is much greater. Someone who is a whole lot stronger.
"...Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me..."
When our Savior was experiencing more pain and agony than we can possibly fathom he asked why too. When you are struggling, when you are rejected, when you are weak...remember who struggled, was rejected, and was weak first. When you are "bleeding" from ONE of your pores for just a fraction of time remember first who bled from EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS PORES for time and all eternity in a sense.
"And there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him."
The Savior was not alone during His suffering...and neither are you.
As hard as it is Brother and Sisters...HOLD ON! HAVE FAITH! HEAVENLY HELP IS ON IT'S WAY!
One of the most beautiful scriptures I know of is in Doctrine and Covenants when Joseph Smith is being spoken to. And I am going to use this scripture but switch things up a little! Just the first part...and I want everyone to take a second and read this...out loud...but in a very quiet voice...alone. Somewhere where nobody can hear you.
"(YOUR NAME), peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high;..."
Brothers and Sisters, this hard time is only but a small moment...and the Heavens are open and help is on it's way. In this life when we shed one of the tears He shed, walk on of the steps He walked, or have to pay a FRACTION of the price He payed, endure it well. God has a plan for you. He will EXALT THEE ON HIGH. What a marvelous promise!
You are stronger than you think. You are smarter than you think you are. You have more potential than you think you have. You can accomplish more than you can imagine. You are a Child of the Almighty God and you have a divine purpose.  And I promise, in the name of Jesus Christ, that our Heavenly Father has never and will never leave you alone. Keep going. Keep trudging forward. Keep pulling your hand-cart! Stay true to the FAITH! Stay close to your Savior. Never give up! Help is on the way! There is a light at the end of this tunnel!
I love you all SO SO SO SO MUCH! And more than that...more than all of this...more than anything in the entire universe...your Heavenly Father loves you. Without end. Without comprehension. Perfectly.
Endure your trials well. You WILL be exalted on high. It is only a moment. A fraction of a moment.
Peace be unto thy soul.
Elder Noll