Obispo Orrala: From the coast of Ecuador, and so he talks really fast and I have trouble understanding him sometimes. But it's probably my favorite accent I've come across here. Has an interesting twist and turn to it. He works for CES here in Ecuador and is relatively young (his oldest kid is about 13 or 14 years old I think). That means he actually gets paid really darn well for an Ecuadorian, so his kids have tablets, they have phones, a nice, well-built apartment, and are looking for a car. Of course, the tablets and phones were all bought in Peru or the US because technology is ridiculously expensive here. May I remind you that a PS2 (The pathetic competition to the Gamecube? Yeah I forgot it existed too before I came here.) costs over $200? Anyhow the Bishop is super pilas and always willing to help. Great guy. Always cheerful and laughing, and a bit on the tuco (chunky) side.
Hermano Lopez: The second counselor. Also rather well-off as he works in the petroleum business here. That unfortunately means he's often in the jungle working so he's not here very often. Also friendly and hilarious. A fantastic story-teller. He had a great time telling us about his mission, which he served in Guayaquil about 12 years ago. Did you know the missionaries used to have a Manual of Belief-Destroying? Oh man, good times.
Los Herrera: The primary president, her son (the ward mission leader), and her daughter and son-in-law (the first counselor). A great family. I think it's funny how so much power of the ward is concentrated in the hands of one family. As Hermano Herrera is the ward mission leader we are constantly bothering them and in their house.
Hermano Cabrera: Another super pilas member. I really like this guy a lot - he's an architect and a such also well-off. I admire his collection of classic rock. He has a sporty red car that we get plenty of rides in when he sees us walking in the street. He's really embraced a pattern of learning in his life, always studying and trying to get better. Here in Ecuador it's truly important, and he's an awesome example of how to rise above the rest. He learned a good bit of English through a BYU program called Pathway. I remember one time when he asked us to revise an essay he'd written for Pathway and smiling to myself as I read his railings against the left-wing Ecuadorian government. Funny how the members of the Church are similar even in other countries.
I think I'll add more next week! This was actually fun to write. Hopefully I'll have pictures, too.
Why Don't You Just Get It?
For me the more and more I study the Gospel and the church I belong to, the more and more it just makes sense to me. I absolutely love teaching the first lesson to investigators because I love teaching how the church came to be and why it's important that there is this church. Of course, I need to work harder, because people still don't get it. So I'll practice a bit here. Check it out. Hopefully I can explain it so that you get it, too. How much for me this all makes sense!
God is our Father and He loves us: Of course a lot of this making sense takes for granted a belief in God. So that's fine if you don't believe in God, but pretend that you do so that this will all make sense (by the way you can also know he exists, but we'll leave that for another e-mail). As Mormons we believe God is literally our Father in Heaven. We're creations of Him and as such follow the same pattern. He's just like us in the sense that he has a body just like ours, but perfect. We're here to become like Him, to learn and progress. And because He loves us and that's what He wants, He's given us the Gospel, or in other words, the path we need to follow to find happiness and progress in this life. But how did He let us know this plan, this Gospel?
God Reveals What We Need to Know Through Prophets: Prophets are just men called of God. Not any average joe can be the prophet - they have to be chosen. Prophets have the power of God, the Priesthood, to communicate with Him and receive revelation, or, the knowledge that God needs to give to the world. A classic example: the prophet Noah, in the Bible, received the info that there was going to be a lot of rain in the coming days. The people rejected him, but at what cost? They all died.
Now, do you think a prophet is important in our day? Think about that for a second. We live in a world off-kilter. Many people are searching for the truth. Do you think we need someone that can guide us? God knows everything, but of course WE don't. How can he tell us what we need to know without a prophet?
This Is How Christ Organized His Church: Christ also organized His church with prophets and apostles when He was on the Earth, as it says in Ephesians 2:20. With the ability to speak with God, the prophet and his apostles could correct error as it says in Ephesians 4. They could guide the church to go where it needed to go, and not change the doctrine of Christ, the specific Gospel we need to follow. But wait, if Christ established one church in the Earth, why do we have many different Christian denominations today? With so many different interpretations and ideas? Why didn't the prophet keep everyone in line?
The Prophet and Apostles Were Killed: And they never had transferred the power of God, the Priesthood, to anyone else. Without this Priesthood there was no revelation. There was no power of God in the Earth. And as such the Church went astray. All that was left was the scriptures, and with just the scriptures, people began to misunderstand and change the doctrine. Without somebody to tell them exactly what God had meant in such chapter and verse, they got confused. And so doctrines such as indulgences, the confusion of the Holy Trinity, and many such other things came to pass.
Why doesn't God speak to us today? Why doesn't He make everything clear for us?
Well, the message we as missionaries carry to all the world is that He has! He's called prophets again, beginning with Joseph Smith, and established the same Church with the same doctrines that Christ taught again in the Earth. Pretty cool, huh? Check out the prophet that lives today! https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/guided-safely-home?lang=eng
Anyhow I'm out of time. Ask me questions please! I love hearing from all of you. I hope this all made sense. The missionaries who've taught this before will probably note many things I could have taught better here, but let me just say: I know this is true! And you can too! Love you all!
Some pretty sweet graffiti at the bus stop.
|Pay to play takes on a new meaning here. You can actually pay to play PS2 by the hour. It's hilarious to me but deep down incredibly depressing.|