Saturday, April 23, 2016

Querida Familia! 

So many things have been going on lately that the week seems to have flown by, and at the same time, last Saturday seems like it was an eternity ago. Luckily all the missionaries in our mission are 100% okay, and there were no lasting damages to missionaries houses either. There has been, however, a lot of damage to the country. Here in Guayaquil (about 300 miles from the center of the quake) the biggest damages were one bridge that collapsed, and one big mall whose movie theater ceiling fell in. In total here there were only 4 deaths. 

The real damage was done in the Poor Guayaquil West mission. They had to pull out four zones from the most affected areas. All missionaries are okay, but we have heard some incredible stories about missionaries who had to basically hitch hike 8+ hours to get to Guayaquil. We`ve been working a lot with the West mission, helping them get the materials they need to support all the missionaries that lost so much. It truly has been a humbling experience, and I`m so grateful that our mission wasn`t as affected. What I`m truly grateful for, is the fact that God protects his missionaries. =)

The hardest thing to see though are all the affected families. Guayaquil is really an immigrant state, and almost everyone you talk to has family that lives in the most affected areas. Our ward mission leader lost a nephew, and has taken it pretty hard, (as I`m sure we all would) but seems to be recovering well. We had our mission coordination meeting, and he shared a powerful testimony of the spirit world and the love of Christ. It is such a comfort to know the plan of God. 

They actually canceled church on Sunday because they were worried about a possible after shock. So we were unable to see the missionary training broadcast. Tomorrow will be the regular sacrament meeting though. Hopefully lots of people will be able to come.

But a lot of good things happened this week as well! Monday will be the first choir practice and i`m excited. We`ve got the music picked out, with one number being a special melody of ``Called to Serve`` with ``We Are All Enlisted`` and it sounds really cool! I might be asked to be the accompanist if no one else volunteers, which will mean some late night practicing, but I don`t know who else could do it because we are the only missionaries that have a piano in their home to practice. We`ll see how it all turns out on Monday. =)

Also my companion and I are going to a baptism in another stake in Guayaquil tonight. President gave my companion permission because he taught this family about a year ago, and the last member of the family finally decided to get baptized but asked that my companion Elder Norris perform the ordinance. It`s exciting to hear that the work is still going forward.

More exciting news is that the mission nurses (Hermana Yeakey and Hermana Palmer) are having a baptism this week! They are so excited. They have been in the office as the nurses for their whole missions so far, (17 and a half months) and this is the second baptism they`ve had in all this time. They`re extremely happy to end their missions with another baptism, and I get to do the interview on Wednesday. =)

Mom, I wrote you a quick message already, but I just wanted to say again how much I love you, and how much we are praying for you! You are such a hero for me. =) 

I hope that everyone has a great week! Take care, and remember that you are in my prayers!

Lots of Love,
Elder Alcuma from Chile showed Jonathan this picture this week.  Who can find Kyle?

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