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

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