Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

What's good? Not a whole lot going on here in good ol' Ecuador besides awesomeness! Haha!
How is everyone doing? How is the weather? How are your families? Any fun plans for Easter? Spring Break?
   I don't have a whole lot of time today...we are going to Guayaquil in a little bit. We have a Zone Conference with President tomorrow and get to go to the temple so we are making the long bus travel tonight.
This week was yet again filled with greatness!
    Monday night was really cool. We are teaching an incredible family! They are so diligent in reading the scriptures, having family prayer, and going to church...they just really struggle with accepting baptism. We brought along "The Lamb of God" to show them... and the difference it made in their lives was incredible! It was so neat to see them increase their testimony and love for our Savior and what He did for us. The madre said "You know...they can make all the movies in the world but no film, word, or picture could every come close to what Christ suffered and how much he loves all of us."
How true!
Tuesday was sad...but funny too...
   We had a visit with an investigator and we were calling him and calling him...knocking on his door...yelling...
I just looked through the window and pushed the curtain aside (they don't have glass windows here in Ecuador really...just holes in the wall so it is easy to look through the windows ;) and there he was...hiding </3 :( He couldn't see me but I could see him...that little punk! Hiding under the table...we waited a minute to make him think we were gone...then yelled...
He got so startled! He jumped from off the ground and wacked his head so hard on the table! Man did I get a good laugh from that one! He did let us in though...I guess he was "looking for something" ...but we still got to teach him and it went really well! Just keep in mind that when you hide from the white dudes in shirts and ties you are going to wack your head! ;) the call late at night again...CAMBIOS. Idk what is up with me and emergency cambios... but I had another one. Elder M headed out to Bababojo and I got a new companion. Elder B...but don't be mistaken like I was...he is white ;) hah. He is from Arizona. He is an awesome Elder!
Small details of the week...
Made the other elders in the other house clean their house. I almost passed away into the spirit world when I walked in...thanks for teaching me to be clean mother!
ate chicken toe soup...crunchy...
so proud of myself because before my mission I only had to shave 2 or 3 times a the MTC I graduated to every other day...but now...I have to do it every single day! I'm a MAN! ;)
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
This scripture literally tells us that there is no greater love than that of our Savior through the laying down of His life...completely knowingly and 100% willingly. This scripture literally tells us that there is absolutely no greater love than the love that Jesus Christ has for you. There is not enough time to put into words or thoughts what He has done for us...there is not a language on this earth that is capable of expressing His love for YOU...personally and individually.
"His soul began to be exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death."
His perfect soul was suffering for our very own mistakes. He was suffering beyond our comprehension...and the scriptures teach us that "He went a little further."
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not give up and he will not give up on you. He will always go a little further to save your sinning souls and broken hearts. He will always go a little further to show you His love.
His is Atonement is not over. It has no end.
When Christ had completed His Atonement on earth and was crucified...and had ascended up into the presence of our Heavenly Father..."one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side."
To me ,this tells us that His sufferings are not over. He suffers with, by day, by day.
So hold your head high and glory in the fact that you have the Savior of the universe who is walking with you every step of the way and is taking a spear to His side every single day...all for YOU.
In your moments of doubt and struggle...grief and pain...when your soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto what you feel like is death...take a knee. Kneel in your Gethsemane and literally feel your Savior's loving arms around you.
Keep on trudging Brothers and Sisters...Children of God!
I am not exactly sure who I am speaking to and I am not totally sure why...
But I am 100% sure that YOU have a God who loves YOU.
YOU have a Savior that will and can deliver you from all weakness and pain.
And lastly...
You are simply in a brief moment of difficulty. Bare it well. Bare it with faith.
The earth is your training to become a God.
There is NO OTHER WAY to become what you were DESTINED TO BECOME if you don't have to feel A LITTLE of what Christ felt.
You got it!
Elder Noll

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

    How is everyone?! :) Man the days and weeks are FLYING by! I have already been in Empalme for a month! I love it here! So much work to be done and so many people to help us do it! It truly is incredible! The members, the investigators, the much fun! TOO much fun! 
This past week was a great one as usual!
Let´s get right to it, yeah?!
    Monday night was sweet. We were contacting and we found this dude with super long luscious hair. Obviously I am going to go talk to the dude...he has long luscious locks. He was so accepting and so kind. He instantly invited us in and he had posters ALL OVER his house...of himself. We asked him about them and it turns out he is a celebrity! He is a famous singer and model here in Ecuador... Haha. He is a stud...and his spirit is a whole lot stronger than his voice! And that´s what counts, right ;)
    We had two "going to lunch" experiences this past week.
The first one was on Tuesday. We had to walk deep into the jungle to get to the bamboo shack...but it is super super dangerous so we had to have these two ripped bodyguard guys come with us. I felt so powerful! Haha! I was a little uneasy after lunch though...our two ripped bodyguards turned into about seven 3-6 year old niñas to "protect" us on our way out. Luckily nothing happened...haha! But I am sure those little girls would have protected us Elders! I am sure they eat their vegetables...or rice.
    Then on Wednesday we had to take a bus to our lunch appointment. After the bus ride we had to walk on a dirt road...about 45 minutes...into the jungle of bananas and corn. I felt like I belonged on survivor man or something! It was roasting hot...bugs flying everywhere...corn falling from every was something else! We FINALLY made it to the house of the Mamita...but we had to eat super fast and peace because we had appointments later in the back to the jungle we went! Haha! Elder M and I were laughing the whole time though. We got bored at one we had a race up a hill. Then it took about 5 minutes for us to catch our breath...haha...but it was a good time...trudging through the jungle and all! 
We get to work with our Bishop a lot too here in Empalme. He is fairly new too...but he is such a stud. Always companioning us to our visits and what not. The best part is that he gets so, so, so upset when we thank him for all that he does. He gets upset because he says..."the only person you should ever thank in the existence of your life is the God that gave it to you."
Wow...if that is not a deep, humbling, true statement I don´t know what is. 
Ah man...the other day...
    We were teaching a woman who has a little 3 year old boy. He is the cutest little dude. And he was going to town on broccoli. Like...he LOVES it. He had to have had at least a pound...he was eating it through the entire lesson. With about five minutes left in the lesson he came over to me and started playing with the hair on my arms and taking stuff out of my shirt pocket and what not...the norm...and then I saw the look in his eyes...that look someone gets right before they sneeze...and this little man with a mouth full of broccoli and a nose full of snot sneezed the biggest sneeze all over me. That was pretty gross to wipe off my face...but the broccoli tasted good ;) haha just messing...
    So as you can see this week was another legendary one! And I know this upcoming will be just as will be BETTER. Not sure why...haha...but I will be sure to make it better! 
Most importantly...
    I love the story of Zeniff and the war between his people and the Lamanites. Here you have the people of Zeniff just ´´feeding their flocks and tilling their lands´´ when the Lamanites come in and ´´begin to slay them and take away their flocks´´.
These people were so good! Feeding their flocks (feeding their faith) and tilling their lands (tilling and strengthening their testimonies) when the wicked world and Satan´s temptations come in to take it all away.
Something we all have to  understand is that if we are striving for progression...striving to feed our faith or till our testimony...
They will come to slay you and your faith. 
The story goes on to tell us that all that were not overtaken by the lamanites were those who fled to the King and called upon him for protection. As soon as the people were attacked by the Lamanites they fled to wo they KNEW could help them.
As soon as you see Lamanites come, because they are on their way if they are not already attacking you, CALL UPON YOUR KING.
Call upon The Lord God Almighty and He will give you what Zeniff gave his people.
´´And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle.´´
When we call upon The Lord God He will arm us...He will protect us...He will fight our battles with us...and we will ALWAYS win. If you call upon The Lord when you are at war with your own Lamanites you too will ´´slay them even until you have driven them out of your land.´´
Satin and his warriors and Lamanites are strong...they are persistent...they are powerful...and they are tough...but they don´t have a King to call upon like you and I do. They don´t have a God to arm them with infinite power and strength.
He will deliver you from all evil and all doubt if you ´´cry mightily´´ to Him like the people of Zeniff.
The end of the story is pretty important too...yeah they defeated their enemies and yeah they were delivered by the hand of The Lord...but ´´to their great sorrow, two hundred and seventy-nine of their brothers were slain.´´
As you water your flocks and feed your faith the devil will come and do all he can to knock you down and take your faith. When he does this call upon The Lord, rely on His strength, Follow in His footsteps and act upon His promptings. You will be delivered. 
But I am here to tell you that there is a chance that you will lose something...or someone along the way. Living this gospel is nothing easy...and you are going to have to ´´flee into the city´´ and call upon The Lord. Perhaps you will have to flee from some friends. Perhaps you will have to give up popularity. Perhaps you will have to leave your comfort zone to call upon The Lord and strive to live His life. 
But think about these people who fled their flocks, all that they had, to save their go unto The Lord...and to defeat the Lamanites. 
They lost their own BROTHERS. Their own FATHERS. 
We can make the sacrifice. 
So sacrifice it all! Feed your faith! Call upon your King! Let Him arm you with His protection to slay your daily Lamanites.
Go to war! Win the battle!
Elder Noll


Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

¿Que ay, Estados?!
    How is everyone? How is school for all you studious studiers? Getting warmer? Is there still snow? What is the fatality rate in Utah with my little sister on the road? I am sure it has changed drastically...
´´you can never be too careful...a lot of baaaaddd drivers out there...´´
    I really do hope everyone is sooo good. You are all in my constant prayers. 
This week was another one for the books! :) 
    Tuesday was really neat...we had the chance to take a less active member around with us to all of our lessons. In the first lesson, I asked him if he would bare his testimony and he strait up said ´´NO´´. So that kind of caught us off guard. But each lesson throughout the day got a little better. By the last lesson this dude was throwing out scriptures, baring testimony, and LOVING every second of it and has showed up at our door every day since then to help us. I find this as such a blessing. As missionaries we are not here to baptize. We are here to help others come unto Christ. What a tender mercy from The Lord it was to help this young man increase his testimony and let it shine. 
    We had a family make the trip to Quevedo to spend their years earnings to get married. They are still in the process of finishing up but their faith is something that I wish I had. So humbling...they are absolutely incredible. Keep the Family Murillo in your prayers!!!
    I got a few letters from back home the other day!! Thank you so much! You have no idea how much it helps! It truly is great to hear from fam and friends! :)
    On Friday we made cookies...LOL. Tried to make cookies. Elder M made the cookie dough, which was incredible, but we took them to a Hermana´s house to bake and that part didn´t work out so well. 
Must be the humidity ;) 
I guess we better just stick to the food they give us here...maaaayyybee...
    The other day I was given sopa de chancho. Literal Translation: Pig Soup. Good grief. Everything was okay besides the GIANT slab of PIG flesh in my soup with the hair still on it. The only thing I can try to relate it to is if you took some water...stuck it in the microwave...threw some salt in it...took the biggest piece of meat you could find...cut all of the fat off of the meat...throw the meat away...put the fat in the water...and go to the hair salon and put all of the cut hair on the ground in your bowl of water and pig fat. 
So there´s that...
but I guess we got to eat it with a banana...idk if that makes anything better??
Haha! But it´s good...we still livin´!
    On of the best moments of this week was teaching a recent convert family about baptisms for the dead. If you could have seen their faces when we told them they could perform sacred ordinances to save their parents, brothers, and sisters. My heart completely melted. Could this gospel be any more perfect? Could it be any more miraculous or incredible? The answer is no. Everything we could ever want or ever need comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. USE IT! LIVE IT! LOVE IT! AND SHARE IT! 
Yesterday night was kind of funny...
    We passed by some dude who was 125% hammered! Just drunk as could be. And he was still going strong with what seemed to be a 4 gallon bottle of whisky. I asked him why he was drinking. We told him that it wasn´t good for him. I asked him if I could see the bottle for just a second...haha...I have no idea why he handed it over...I think he was just too drunk to realize what he was doing...but he gave it it me and I dumped the rest of it out in the street. 
LESSON 1: Don´t dump a man´s booze out in the street.
LESSON 2: If you dump a man´s booze out in the street...get out of there.
Haha! He was not too happy with me! But it´s all good...he forgot about it about 3 seconds later and then we helped him cross the street.
    As for now I am just kicking it in a tiny little cyber...a bunch of elementary school girls looking at me and making jokes...and a little dude named Anthony asking me if he can have my computer. I told him if he waits I will give him something... that did the trick!
I will give him my testimony or something like that! ;) Haha!
Forgive my translation from Spanish to English...
´´The happiness in the family has a greater probability to come when you base your home on the teaching of Jesus Christ.´´
Something like that!
With the short amount of time I have left I just wanted to talk a little bit about family happiness and how to achieve it. Obviously I don´t know anything about raising a family but...
1) I was raised by modern day pioneers
and 2) In my mission so far I have learned so much more about how to raise a successful and happy family.
It truly is amazing to see families and people change. Husbands and wives become as one. Brothers and sisters becoming best friends. And parents developing the same love for their children that Heavenly Father has for all of us...
and it all starts with Jesus Christ being the focus in the home!
There are 3 things we can do as a family that will strengthen us and our home more than we can possibly imagine...
1) ´´ Behold, I say unto you that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures...´´
There is no better study than the study of scriptures. And there is no better way to do it than with your family. It will invite the spirit into your home and that spirit is destine to stay and to linger. 
2) Nephi was born of and taught by goodly parents. What is the best way for parents to teach their children aside from being an everyday example? Perhaps there is a specific time? A specific day? MONDAY!
Family Home Evening is the most important evening in the entire week. That is something I wish I had learned a LOOONNGGG time ago. I truly feel and testify that it will and can change lives. D&C 59 talks about keeping ourselves un-spotted from the world by going to The Lord´s house. Why not make our own homes The Lord´s home too? We can stay safe and protected when we are within the walls of a home where Christ is the foundation. One day a week is not much to ask when you compare it to all that you will be blessed with. We can be free from the spots of the world when we are with our families on Monday nights...growing in our relationship with one another and growing in testimony.
If you want your children to become like Nephi...Family Home Evening is crucial.
3) There is only one prayer in the history of the universe that will ever be more powerful than a family prayer and that is the prayer offered by our Savior Jesus Christ before He atoned for the sins of the world. The power of a family kneeling before their maker, talking to Heavenly Father, is when miracles occur, testimonies sprout, and lasting relationships begin. 
    Parents...YOU ARE YOUR CHILDREN'S CAPTAIN...whether you like it or not...AND YOU MUST ARM YOUR SOLDIERS. They have a battle to fight each and every day and they cannot be protected physically OR spiritually without the armor of God that comes through prayer. If you want to send your strippling warriors to fight with miraculous power and not be slain the last thing you say before they enter the battlefield of the world better be ´´Amen´´.
There is no other way.
The windows of Heaven will be opened and your warriors will be protected.
Your little girl cannot be touched. Your son cannot be harmed.
God´s angels will be in front, behind, and to the side of them ready to fight off every fiery dart that the devil has to cast at them. 
I know that when we apply these 3 principles to our family lives we will be blessed beyond our comprehension.
    God´s angels are LITERALLY standing at the gates of Heaven...ready to flock to your families protection. But YOU are the Coach and YOU have to decide when to put them in. YOU have to give these angels the permission to play the arm your soldiers. And this kind of permission only comes through Family Scripture Study, Family Home Evening, and Prayer.
Elder Noll

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015


   How is everyone?! I don't know why but I feel like I just emailed you guys an hour ago!
   I guess time flies when you are in the best country in the world! ;) It is the truth though!
Let´s see...what´s new in the hood?
   I can´t remember if I told you guys about the bananas that we came across the other week! I thought I was on a different planet! HAHA! We went to make the weekly purchase and I literally couldn't move my feet without stepping on a banana. Red bananas, green bananas, yellow bananas, black bananas, big ones, small ones, mini ones, and every other thing you could think of. That was tight, I guess.
   On Tuesday we had our Zone Conference in Quevedo. I thought I was going to die on the bus ride down there. The bus was so sketchy. We made it there on pretty much 3 tires. One of the back tires was completely destroyed...but that didn't stop this dude! And I had a window seat...the window was completely shattered but put back together with scotch tape...haha...something I would have done as a kid. So, I had to spend the better part of the day taking little shards of glass out of my booty. But hey...good experience! I am learning!
   I don't know what it was this week...but everyone was asking me if I wanted to trade eyes. I don't know what it is with Ecuador. The humidity, heat, or bananas...but my eyes are changing color. They went from like a greenish-greyish before the mish to blue. So I guess if you want blue eyes...come on down to where I'm at! ;)
We had an awesome experience!
   Elder M and I left the house after studying one morning and we felt like we needed to return. So we headed back and ended up grabbing our consecrated oil vile and refilling it so we could use it if we needed to...
   We were contacting and came across a man who invited us in. He is really sick and doesn't have much time left to live. He asked for a blessing from "God's Angels" and we gave him one. Luckily, we had the oil that we went back for. This man was incredible. He isn't a member but has complete faith in The Lord that he can be healed through The Lord's power. Such an example to me of what faith is and how we should excercise it. Then we headed out to visit a less active family and their baby is super sick. They asked us to give their little girl a blessing and again...luckily we had the oil that we went back for. Then we went to pick up a member to companion us for a few of our visits and he couldn't end up coming with us because he got super sick. We asked if there was anything we could do for him and he just asked us to give him a blessing...luckily we had the oil that we went back for! AGAIN! The Lord knows us and our path...perfectly. Our daily life and what we will encounter. FOLLOW His promptings...ACT with faith! You will complete your purpose and help our Heavenly Father complete His too!
   I went on an exchange Friday in Quevedo with Elder M. The first lesson we taught was to a less active. He of course offered us a shrub of bananas and...a pepper. He told me it was just a little hot and that it was no big deal if I ate it. I like spicy food. Man that little guy wrecked my world! It was about the size of my pinky nail...but had the strength of Hercules. I for sure had to fight back the tears...I was sweating so bad...on top of the sweat that I was already experiencing! Haha! I think I ate 6 bananas to get rid of the tongue didn't do a whole lot...but I know now to stay away from the little devils!
   We taught an English class and I told everyone I was from France!
That was a mistake... everyone went wild! Asking me to teach them French, asking me questions about France, telling me to talk in French...haha! Too funny.
I just played along and told them I was from Lyon because that's where one of my number one homies is (S/O to the one and only Elder N) and said "Bonjour". Haha. They wanted to learn more words but I don't know any...I just told them that they weren't saying "bonjour" right and that we needed to practice that so that's what we did for the hour. Maybe Elder N can help me out in the future! ;)
   We went to one house and I had to use the bathroom really bad...
man I feel like I have tons of bathroom stories...
I did my thang...when I went to exit the bathroom I grasped the doorknob and the sucker busted off. It was like a movie! I didn't even grab it that hard...just a normal "exiting the bathroom, peaceful grab, right?
I ended up being stuck in there for 30 minutes. Nobody could hear me yelling for them. When they finally heard me they had to use a screwdriver and a hammer and a few other instruments to bust me out of there. But I made it! Here I am! :)
   The last thing...the coolest thing... we went to investigators house who is more than ready to be baptized. He just can't commit. Finally he shared with us an experience he had... a couple months ago he had a dream. And in the dream he saw Elder M and I. He didn't want to tell us everything about the dream...just that he saw us. And that he knows that baptism is something that he has to do.
So we are going to fast one day this week with him and if he receives his answer he is going to be baptized!
How incredible!? The Lord works in mysterious ways...and he prepares people for you! He prepares people to hear His word!
I guess that kind of relates to my message this week...
   It seems as if the world becomes more and more corrupted each and every day. The most important things are becoming the least important things and the least important things are becoming the top priorities. Satan is attacking this world. He wants this world to fail. He wants us to fail...He is miserable. And miserly loves company.
DON'T JOIN HIM: Don't join him in destroying the world. Fight against him and make it better.
As members of the church we have a sacred obligation: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety, hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
We are obligated to hope. To hope for a better world. We are obligated to hope that this imperfect world can become 
"a place at the right  hand of God. "This kind of hope comes by faith...and faith and hope without works are DEAD.
   When our Heavenly Father sent His son to this earth to save all mankind He had perfect hope. A perfect, un-waivering, doubtless, hope that Jesus Christ would save us from destruction, despair, and endless misery and bring us to immortality, glory, and life eternal.
   I strongly believe that we have a similar role and calling. We have been entrusted to save others from destruction. We have been sent here to deliver our lost brothers and sisters from despair. Our Heavenly Father needs us and has PERFECT and UN-WAIVERING HOPE and FAITH in YOU (the same hope He had when He sent our Savior) that you would take someone by the hand and pull them out of misery and into God's glory.
   To hope for a better world means to have faith for a better world; To have faith for a better world means to MAKE a better world.
There is no IF. There is no BUT. There is no TOMORROW. There is no CAN'T. There is no "it's hard" or I am scared". There is no DOUBT.
   Your Savior had no but's and He didn't wait to save you...don't wait or put off saving someone else.
   This is 100% directed to anyone and everyone who has the capacity to serve a mission. If you are questioning whether or not to go...GO. GO. GO!
   There is your answer...and there is none other.
   The Savior had the same question..." there no other way?"
   Nevertheless...Our Savior pulled through...He did what He was sent to do. He fulfilled His mission.
   It is going to be hard. It is going to be tough. Perhaps the hardest thing you will ever do. You are going to get tired. You are going to get hurt. Denied. Mocked. Cast out. You are going to have to give up school, boyfriends, girlfriends, family, sports, and a whole lot more.
But guess what?
   It was a whole lot harder for our Savior and He gave up a whole lot more than we ever could...He gave up the KINGDOM OF GOD to descend below all despair and all destruction.
Art thou greater than Him?
   Give it all brothers and sisters. Get to work. Be the Savior that you were sent here to be. Fulfill your purpose. Your mission.
If you do this...I PROMISE, in the name of Jesus Christ, The Lord God and Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, you will watch your entire world change in the most miraculous and blessed way. Everything God has in store for you will come.
Make this world a better one!
Abound in good works!
Fulfill your foreordination to serve The Lord.
Hope in Christ and your Heavenly Father.
They hope in you...and their hope wins...
Every time.
Elder Noll