Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Jeremiah seemed to be short on time, but we are so glad to hear from him! The attached pictures were sent to us from Sister Richardson. She also told us his companion is Elder Budge "a very happy and good-hearted elder from Utah". In a quick note to me, Jeremiah said his companion is "fantastic". We appreciate your prayers and thoughts for Jeremiah as he adjusts to life in Ecuador.

I'm sorry this will be very short. My companion (mi padre, my trainer) has been sick so we had to go down to the offices today, and we didn't get back until late.

Wow, all the things that are happening down here! It's a very different place. The area I'm in I believe is called Calderon. It's a very big sector (for the city, at least) - maybe as much as 20 minutes from end to end by bus. It isn't in Quito proper, it's probably what equates to suburbs here. So, I'll just list a whoie bunch of stuff about the area and maybe that'll give you an idea of what it's all like.

-Most people just work in little stores they have in front of their homes. There are supermarkets and whatnot, but they're few and far between. All of the shopping we do in the week (like, if we need something badly or want a little something to eat) is done at these little stores. And they use American money here, which is really convenient. Some of the coinage is different, though. And they never use one dollar bills - always coins. Which I think is pretty cool. They've got the gold Sacagawea  ones, but also for some reason the first 20 or presidents. My goal is to collect them all by the end! I've got Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and I think John Adams so far.

-There are tons of stray dogs. All you have to do if they start barking at you is pretend like you pick up a rock and are about to throw it at them, and they'll back down. But it can be a bit scary sometimes.

-It's pretty crazy how many people they can fit into a bus sometimes. No wonder it's so easy to get robbed here (apparently they have a few cases each month with the missionaries)! I haven't so far, but I'm being careful. I looked like a fool the first time I got onto a bus, flopping around as I tried to hold on. But I'm already getting the hang of it - it's our main mode of transportation here, other than the occassional taxi.

-Dusty, dusty. I don't really know why, but it is in this area.

-Two things you'd never see in the States: payphones and pay...internet? That's what I'm using right now, actually. Lots of stores have little desks where you can pay to use the internet - I guess because not everyone can afford a computer here! that's for sure.

President Richardson is great, and I can really feel the love both him and his wife has for us. I'm sad I won't be able to serve with them the entire time - I'll have a different President for the last couple months.

Sorry I don't have any pictures today! No time.

The most important thing I have to learn is losing myself in the work. That is the Character of Christ. I can't think of myself, I have to turn outward and help OTHERS. That's where I'll find true joy. I love you all!

Elder Budge and Elder Scanlan

New Missionaries and their companions

President and Sister Richardson with Elder Scanlan

The newest arrivals to the mission

Dinner at the President's home

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CCM Wrap Up

 We heard from Jeremiah just as I was posting this to his blog today (he sent this email last nite). He made it to Ecuador safely! He says it is very pretty and at least people drive in their correct lanes.:) He will be in the mission home for a few days and will receive his new companion and area assignment on Friday.

Man, what a crazy six weeks this has been! I have LOVED my time here in the
CCM. Nowhere have I felt more spiritually fed, every single day. I don't
think I even realize how much I'm going to miss it. I'll probably have
withdrawal over the next week or two. We'll see. But I am SO ready to
leave, and can't wait to get going to Quito! My plane leaves at 2:00 in the
morning tomorrow. I hope I can get enough sleep. It's a little harrowing to
be going out into the real world, where not everyone is Mormon. The CCM - I
don't know if I ever explained this - is a walled-off, gated part of Mexico
City. And not one of the particularly nice parts, either, apparently. I've
only had contact with "outsiders" maybe three times - when I went to the
temple, and the two times we taught TRC, which is when we teach volunteers
(the rest of the time it's either teachers or other missionaries). But hey.
It's gonna be great.

Elder Neil L. Andersen

I keep forgetting this even happened not two days ago - that's a testament
to how spiritual this place is that I forgot that I SHOOK THE HAND OF AN
APOSTLE. Well, it was super quick because he wanted to shake the hands of
all the missionaries and we had a giant line that they kept moving pretty
fast, but hey. I did it. This is only the second apostle I've ever had a
change of being close to in my life, the first being Elder Bednar who I
recall gave a fireside or some sort many years ago up at the Greentree
building (am I remembering that right, people?).

Also, I got to be in the choir, which was awesome, because I got to stand
pretty much right behind Elder Richard G. Maynes (who was along for the
ride with Elder Andersen I guess) and thus not more than five feet or so
from Elder Andersen. We sang I Stand All Amazed (in Spanish), which was
also great because it's one of my favorite hymns.

No pics, sorry, we were specifically told not to. That would've been a mess.

And not surprisingly I suppose, Elder Andersen decided to talk to us about
the Atonement. It was a great devotional.

I think that's one of the most important things I've gotten to learn about
here. And what I've learned is that I'll be learning about if for my whole
life. But I am so grateful for a God who loves us so much He sent His only
Son to atone for our sins. That is the message I want to bring to the
people of Ecuador. I relearn it every day, and in the most unlikely of
places - but maybe that's not unlikely, because it's something that can
touch every one of us. I hope it does.

Everything I Needed In Life I Learned In Band

The other thing I'd like to mention is a little I've learned about
dedication. I've gained the reputation here in my district as the
hardest-studying missionary - I won't say it's undeserved, I suppose. They
asked me why I can do that so easily, so easily dedicate myself to
something and I thought about it a lot and this is what I think is the

I learned it in band.

(Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Matchett, Drew, if you're reading this you have every
reason to feel validated, and maybe share this in a pre-game pep talk or

I seem to remember a poster or piece of paper stuck up on the band room
board that said this, or something like it. And you know what, I think it
WAS in band that I learned how to do this! All of my study habits and
ability to focus came from pushing through those last minute attention
drills or the countless hours I spent trying to get that stinking trumpet
lick in Chester under my fingers. Because I learned that process of
relentless practice, I knew how to apply it out here - and it was just
second nature. I slipped right into to it, because I'd been taught to
expect nothing less of myself and that dedication. And I enjoy, it too. I
know the results come because I've seen how they come in the past from this
kind if practice.

So, join marching band.

I'm surprised at how much I miss it. I really miss music and being able to
make it. I love how music can be used to praise God - like singing in the

Well, if that wasn't the geekiest way to end an e-mail. I have so much more
to write about but...another time. Next time you hear from me I'll be in
Ecuador! Hasta luego!

Elder Scanlan

 My classroom...I'll miss it, but I won't! I practically lived here for the past month and a half.

 The district and our teacher Hno. Juarez! He'll be going to BYU - I'm going to hunt him down there.

 Teacher and first "investigator," Hno. Medina!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Understand Your Purpose!

This e-mail will be short, but I hope you learn something from it.

I've been thinking a lot about what I need to do to be the missionary the Lord wants me to be. At times it's hard to forget that all of you back home are enjoying Super Smash Brothers and Five Guys. I'm deathly afraid of not being able to do the work here, but I've felt very unfocused at times, and find it hard to want to teach lessons to our "investigators."

Here's what I learned: I will overcome that when I understand my purpose.

My purposed here is to invite others to come unto Christ. To have faith in Him and His atonement and the plan that God has prepared for us so we can live with Him and our families forever. When I truly remember all the things God has done for me, and the love that I've felt from Him - because it is real, and don't you ever forget that, and if you don't know it yet, pray to Him and read his words and you will feel it - when I remember that, I can remember my purpose here. To share that with others.

Then, I can do anything. That isn't to say it won't be difficult, but when I understand my purpose, I will want to go out every day and leave everything behind. It's why I came here in the first place. Because I want to show others the love God has for them. So many, as the scripture says, have been kept from the truth because they know not where to find it! It´s very daunting, at times, to be a missionary. All my life I've looked at them and said "wow, I can't believe they do that. It must be so hard to do what they do, and they are at the center of so much of what our church can offer." And now that has to be ME.

I need to devote all my time and energy here, and in Quito in a week! I can't wait! This might be the only e-mail for two weeks - I leave from Mexico City early Tuesday morning, and I don't know if I'll get to send anything when I get there. There are 20 of us going. Can't wait!

Also, we got to visit the temple grounds this morning. It's a pretty sweet temple. Check out the pics. Sadly, we couldn't go inside, because it's under construction, but we got to go through the visitor's center this morning. It was funny for me in a way - I've been to the Washington DC temple and visitor's center. It's really crazy how different these two world capitals are! And yet, it is the same Gospel.

Oh, one last thought: goals and planning are awesome. I'm starting to learn that. Actually, I might've talked about this before. So I'll share a goal with you: when I get back, I'm making it an ACTUAL GOAL to learn Japanese! We met a Sister missionary here at the visitor center who speaks Spanish, French, English, Russian, and Castellano. how cool is that! Set some goals, and achieve them! It feels pretty great.
Mexico City

Mexico City Temple

Exchanging ties with an Elder in the CCM

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

General Conference

For those who may not know, General Conference is a semi-annual meeting of our church. It is broadcast world-wide and contains many uplifting and edifying speakers. You can find more here
Jeremiah seemed to be short on time this week, but we are so happy to hear from him. There weren't any captions for the pictures, so I tried my best.:)

Man, how awesome! I took a good 20 pages of notes (in my little notebook, so I guess it's not THAT impressive). I don't even know what to share, honestly! I think I'll share my overall impression.

It seems like the theme was "listen to the prophets." I think it's rather timely and very applicable to all of us. The point here is that prophets are the mouthpiece of God (Amos 3:7). We must listen to their council, no matter how hard it is to hear. I've been studying the first bit of the Book of Mormon again, and it reminds me of how Laman and Lemuel were always getting worked up because Nephi was simply telling the truth. Likewise, we shouldn't murmur. We have to decide where we truly put our trust - in man or in God and his teachings. It's really as simple as that. It's very hard to follow, sometimes. But ultimately it is part of learning humility. We have to humble ourselves and show our love for the Lord.

Also, I found it interesting that TWO talks were about lifting up the poor. I don't know that I've heard that much in recent General Conferences. Holland's talk was incredibly powerful. I hope we can all follow that council.

And how cool was it that they let speakers talk in their native language! The second they announced the Cantonese speaker there was a buzz in the auditorium (that's where we watched all the sessions). I thought it was incredible. The Spirit testified to me that these truly is the church of God. Not just an American church or something else. It's global in its reach because God's reach is global. Sadly, the Spanish talks were translated for us as well. The latinos were all in a different place watching conference, so they got to hear it in Spanish. They were pretty happy about that, to say the least. So cool!

Speaking of latinos

We have a whole bunch in our casa now! It can be awkward at times because not all of us Norteamericanos have great Spanish (I should honestly be practicing with them more) but they're cool. We bonded with them by racing paper boats in the drains outside our casa while it was pouring rain. Apparently one of them is going to be a pro soccer player! And the Peruvian gave us all some real chile seeds to try. They were pretty darn hot! I loved it, of course. Right up my alley.

Sorry I don't have much time. I'll leave you with some pics!

Watch conference! Send Elder Bednar's talk to your friends! I love you all!
Elder Scanlan's district, I assume.

Doritos...not sure why these are picture-worthy.:) I must be missing something.