Well it has definitely been an exciting week! Very eventful to say the least. Right now I´m writing you from the bus terminal in Guayaquil because there were more transfers in our zone. (Four missionaries are leaving and two are coming in so they´re closing an area.) I got to hold onto another telephone and another set of keys for a half hour:) We were really sad to see a bunch of good missionaries leave, but we´re also excited for the great new missionaries that will be coming in!
I really enjoyed the temple sessionnight, but it was also very sentimental for me because it´s the last time I´ll be doing a session in the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple. I was looking back on my mission and in total I think I´ve been to a total of 29 sessions. It has definitely been an incredible blessing to have the temple so close, and to have a mission president that really values the temple and its blessings. In the celestial room President Riggins gave a hug to all the missionaries who were going home, and you could tell that he was sad to see so many of his missionaries going home. I also got to say hi to an old companion (Elder Alucema) and it was fun to catch up on old times. I´ve really seen a big change in him. He´s grown a lot spiritually which is always so great to see. =)
The actual zone conference was really good! We talked a lot about how to prepare people for baptism, and how to help them understand the baptism interview questions. President Riggins talked about how this is the only time in our lives where we´ll get to do baptismal interviews for converts. I had never looked at it like that before! He also talked about the importance of planning. With so many missionaries going home, the sectores are going to be even bigger and planning is going to be a much more important part of the week. Some missionaries are going to be working in multi-wards for the first time in mission history!
The interviews went really well. President didn´t say to much, (I think a lot of what he probably wants to tell me he´ll do in our next interview at the end of July) but it was really nice to sit down with him and then have a conversation with Hermana Riggins as well. Hermana Riggins was a lot more talkative and even gave me some good ideas for gifts, so I´m excited. Next week I´ll go with Elder Call to ´´el marcado artesanal´´ where people come in from all over Ecuador to sell stuff so that will be fun. =)
I just wanted to finish by telling you about a great experience we had with a partial member family last night. Brother Felix Garcia was baptized 47 years ago in the church (I just want to remind you that the church in Ecuador only has 50 years) so he is one of the oldest members in the whole country! He lives with his wife, two children and 5 grandchildren, and we had an incredible Noche de hogar in their house last night. (That´s family home evening for you gringos haha ;) ) and we felt the spirit so strongly! They decided to come to churchfor the first time in over 40 years! He´s got nephews who are studying at BYU right now, so I´ll have to go look for them next semester. We were just so happy to see how the gospel could plant a new seed of faith in this family. We have our next appointment .
I hope that everyone has a great week! Isaac and Jacob, I´m so glad that you were able to enjoy EFY, and Mom, what an answer to prayers that you are walking so well! Have a great week!
Elde Hales =)