Friday, September 26, 2014

So this week has been crazy and wonderful! Some highlights: 9-20-14

Tuesday: One year cake!

Wednesday: Hermana Albornoz and I began our branch's mission program of "Embarked in the Work of Salvation"! We made a huge poster, swimming in glitter for days, and prepared a branch calendar of the branch activities that we are going to begin. We're thinking about campfire nights on the river, cake competitions, game nights...anything we can to unite the branch! (If your ward or branch had any cool activities, let me know! We'd love to put them into play!)

Thursday: Moved to our old house that has a bajillion mirrors. Any Narcissist would love it. There are mirrors every way you turn.  Made our way out to a tiny town to visit a lady named Rosa. We talked about the law of chastity and how civil union just doesn´t cut it. Her friend, Carlos, stayed a bit and decided he and his wife will  stop living together and get married so they can better obey God's commandments. Eek! They also gave us like a thousand mandarins. And they were delicious. We missed the last bus that passes through Catarama and God gave us another little miracle with a Evangelist pastor stopped and gave us a lift. God is SO aware of our needs.

Friday: Moved back to our old house, due to miscommunication. That leaves the Narcissist house to the incoming Elders, hahaha  Also, we painted our branch president's house and ate five times over. We passed by Gustavo, our investigator that has read the Book of Mormon three times and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Gospel Principles book and is finally preparing for baptism (yay!) and shared some pinapple cake for his birthday. Saturday: Met a little lady named Lourdes.At first, she had a wall up and made sure that she loved to listen to all religions but was not into that baptizing stuff. The Spirit guided our words and we learned about her daughter who had passed away recently, and her heart was softened. She then took us behind her house and made her son get guava, or as I like to call it, "cotton fruit". Guava is a long, green sword looking thing and inside are these big, black seeds covered in a very sweet cotton fur. You break the sword covering and you eat it. And it's amazing. On our way to our next appointment, a man cutting down a tree, pulled out a trash bag and filled it with perfume-worthy flowers. Then we ate patacones with the Vinces family that night and watched their 18 year old daughter, Daniella, light up with interest as we introduced the Book of Mormon. She started searchingthrough the book from front to back. She even read the publication date. She's amazing.

Hermana Albornoz, our ward mission leader and I all shared talks about the Work of Salvation. Although we had very little time to prepare, I feel that Heavenly Father really guided our thoughts and spiritual insights. Hermana Albornoz talked about Finding People to Teach, I talked about Retaining Recent Converts and Brother Veloz talked about Resucing the Less Actives. In my talk, I felt impressed to share the story of Tony. The little, blind Chinese woman in our ward that walked past the church one day, sat in on a sacrament meeting (and does not speak any English), felt the Spirit and decided to be baptized. Because my mother was a faithful visiting teacher and friend, always stopping by Tony's house in the mornings to bring her to church and memorzing bits and pieces of Chinese to communicate with her, Tony is active and strengthening her testimony every day. 

In the second hour, we felt impressed to share the Restoration with the Gospel Principles class. Everyone had a pamphlet to read and they all participated. Our GOLDEN investigators, the Vinces family (who ALL came to church!) were all very attentive and the Spirit was strong. After church, they all accepted to prepare for baptism this 11th of October!
The third hour, we joined the Relief Society and the Priesthood and trained them in how to share the gospel. We even did practices with the members (us pretending to be their neighbors or friends) using the "Family: A Proclamation" pamphlets! And all of the members are more excited to get involved in the work! Hermana Albornoz and I had barely briefed our plan for this training, but the Lord helped us so much! We were needed the entire day in meetings and I felt like my brain was going to fry from over-usage and too much multi-.tasking. But as always, the Lord was aware of my needs and sent immediate comfort and basically...super natural abilities.

I am so grateful to have a God that knows our needs.
when feeling discouraged or down or overwhelmed...pray. It workds miracles.

Hermana Scott

Preparing dinner.

Eating the delicacy of a guinea pig!  

Welcome to Ecuador!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Update 4/19/2014

So allow me to tell you about Jorge and Maria Fernanda (MaFer).  Maria Fernanda was baptized years ago but separated from the church when she met and moved in with her boyfriend.  She encouraged him to go to church with her, but he denied and wanted nothing with "los mormones".  We found Maria Fernanda one day in the street and began teaching her.  Soon, she was reactivated and prayed and fasted that her boyfriend would listen to our message.  We approached him one day in their very humble home and invited him to church.  He stared at the ground the whole lesson, shook his head and responded "no" to nearly every question.
That Sunday, maria Fernanda ran up to us exclaiming, "Hermanas! Hermanas!" I turn around with wide eyes.  "Jorge came to a ward activity and liked it and wants "the nines" to come teach him and I'm so happy and when are you coming over to teach him?!"
Breathe, Hermana Scott, breathe.  Let's review what you just heard.
Jorge. Activity. Us. Teach. Jorge. What?!
Apparently, Jorge secretly made his way to a ward activity (he's a sneaky one) and really enjoyed it.  He felt a peace in the chapel and wanted us to teach him.
Challenge accepted.
We learned that he cannot read or write. so we taught him all of the lessons with pictures.  The Spirit was strong and we lined up a member of the ward to come teach hi how to read and write.  His faith grew, his confidence grew, and he and MaFer decided to et married so that he could be baptized!  They were married a week later and baptized that weekend.
So this past Sunday, we had stake conference.  Jorge stood outside his humble home dressed in a white shirt, tie and his favorite Nike sneakers pressing mater to get ready so that they wouldn't be late.  This man is completely different.  Jorge, once a heavy drinker and difficult person has transformed into a priesthood holder with an enthusiasm for the gospel and a friend to many.

Transformations happen. Miracles happen.  And as a missionary, I get to watch them happen.  I just feel so blessed:)

Also, Virginia was baptized!  Once a hard Catholic who didn't want the gospel allowed herself to open her heart and let the Spirit work in it.  Her baptism was beautiful and I just love to see peoples' lives change!

I am happy with Hermana Olsen:)  She is so determined to learn Spanish and she is diligent and obedient.  Could I get better?  I feel so blessed to be a missionary in this time as the Lord hastens His work.  Please, please get involved in missionary work.  Accompany the missionaries.  Open your mouth and talk about the gospel to friends, neighbors and cashiers.  Talk to everyone!  And you will be part of a great transformation!

With all my love,
Hermana Scott

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Later on by Birthday, Hma Wright surprises me again!

(Lauren wants to make this a tradition)
Transferred to Quevedo w/ Hma Blacutt 
Size is relative!

Too tall for the tights we are required to wear!

March 3, 2014

Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY? Because it's true. Although I'm getting fat against my will (you should see these piles of rice--really, you should), although I have never been so tired in my life, and although I'm far away from apple cider autumns and peppermint hot cocoa winters, I get to spend every day teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Ecuador. Every day is an adventure.

Sunday night, my zone leaders called and shared their meloncholy news: transfers for Hermana Scott. I wasn't ready to leave my companion Hermana Wright, who I came to love dearly, nor my investigators who would be baptized that weekend, but the next morning, I hugged Hermana Wright goodbye and headed to...Quevedo! I joined other Elders on the three hour bus ride to Quevedo, passing farms and countryside. It was the first time I had seen real green in a while, and they were right, Ecuador is gorgeous. I arrived and met my 5ft tall Bolivian companion, Hermana Blackutt!

This past Friday, Carnaval commenced in Quevedo! Think Mardi Gras, but instead of extravagant feathers and costumes, imagine shirtless men with big rice bellies. Instead of confetti and sparklers, imagine buckets and buckets and buckets of water. And instead of city wide parades, imagine groups of Ecuadorian children chasing you with water guns and water balloons.
EVERYONE gets wet.
Oh, you're a missionary walking in a polyester skirt? Doesn't matter. "Get 'em! Get 'em!"
And to add on the all the water, people use an aerosol foam that stains your face and your clothing. This man next to me in this cyber cafè? Yeah, his face is green.
I think all of the Ecuadorian clouds are celebrating Carnaval, as well. Horrid rainstorms come out of nowhere. Hermana Blackutt and I visited a less active lady and only moments after stepping inside, all of the Guayas river fell down from the sky. The rain slammed down so hard on the tin roof that we couldn't hear each other talk, haha. So we huddled together as we read a scripture with her, and then braved the rain. At first I tried to avoid it by staying close to the wall and running through convered areas. Ha. Smarter than the elements!..or so I thought. These paved and un paved Ecuadorian streets pulled one on me as this giant puddle of water appeared out of nowhere, and I fell into a muddy, murky mess. Humbled. Not that much smarter than the elements.
I look up to see my companion laughing like crazy as I pull myself up from teh water, my entire skirt drenched. We laughed and laughed and decided to stop by the house to change, since we cant show up at someone's door looking like wet rats (eh'hem, Bogitos). We cross the first half of the street and patiently waited for cars to pass. Splash!  A huge wave of water drenched us from behind! Like those surfing videos, when the surfer is crouched down all cool, with teh wave of water rolling behind him. Except, that rolling ocean water was really nasty, trash-filled, street water. 

I've lived a few adventures in my short time as a missionary. But I'm not here to adventure. I am here to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the spiritual growth I am experiencing is the best adventure of all.
I am learning more about my Savior, and doing my best to be like him. The Savior has recently commanded us, all of us members of the church, to search for the less actives in our respective wards. The Prophet himself and the 12 Apostles have put a lot of time and effort into the new Church prorgam: the Work of Salvation. The Savior needs us to find His sheep that are lost and confused, and bring them back into the fold:
4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was asick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with bcruelty have ye ruled them.
5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
6 My asheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
7 ¶Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the ashepherds bfed themselves, and fed not my flock;
9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will arequire my flock at their hand, and cause them to bcease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
11 ¶For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both asearch my sheep, and seek them out.
12 As a ashepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I bseek out my csheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been dscattered in the ecloudy and fdark day.
(Ezekiel 34: 4-12)

i invite you to find the less active members in your wards, to befriend them and kindly invite them to attend Church again, to read their Scriptures again, to pray again, so that they can feel the love of God in their life. We do not know why people separate themselves from the Church, but those reasons are usually delicate. As we befriend the less active members, we will find that the Spirit will help us to know what to say to help them. They will grow spiritually and we will grow spiritually.
I also invite you to read, "Come, Join With Us" by President Uchtdorf from this past General Conference.

Hermana Scott