Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul. D&C 4: 1-4

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Chose to Stand Beside Him

Howdy y’all! 

Me with all my mail! yes, that's all for ME! Yes, I have corn rows, and yes, I am the dopest missionary in Ecuador.
How we had to carry my bag because it was so heavy! haha

I just have to say that the gratitude I have in my heart right now could poor out my ears! I received my very first letter in my mission on Tuesday!! And the winner is...drum roll please...Elder Trevor Oberender!!! :) Anyone who knows me can only imagine how excited I was. Haha :))) but as if that wasn’t super exciting, on Saturday I received even MORE mail! I received letters and 2 packages from my parents! A package from my teacher in middle school Mrs. Brady! And I received letters from Alisa Hunt! Sister Henshaw her husband and Mimi’s primary class! (totally made my whole week) and a dear elder from Sister Stassforth! In my bag from my parents I also had letters from Haley and her brothers! And a pillow from Tylen that I totally balled my eyes out when I saw! Thank you all sooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!! I cannot put into words how grateful I am!!!! 

When I got my first letter ever in the mission!! And my first letter from Elder Oberender :)
The amazing rain boots my parents sent me!!! in love!
I literally balled. Thank you Tylen Nicole!

This mail was exactly what I needed to end this awful week! haha

It all started when every single person we were teaching or contacting didn’t want to hear from us, wouldn’t answer their phone, or were too busy to talk. It was seriously so hard. And then my comp tells me that she is homesick. The first time she had ever expressed her feelings to me! And of course I was homesick too, I always am haha but because we both had these feelings we were both in a really weird funk. We both wanted to break down and cry. 

But all through out the week we just kept saying we just have to make it to Saturday then we can be in the temple and everything will be good again! Plus Saturday was my comps b-day!! 

So Thursday night came, and we receive a phone call from our leaders. As if we needed more bad news… they tell us that we have a conference with the president this week. Take a wild guess which day! SATURDAY! WOOO! So who doesn’t get to go to the temple? US!! WOOOO!! We instantly just started balllllllllling. I mean like ugly crying. We sat in bed together cried and ate chocolate cupcakes and ice cream. We ended the night with laughter and love. It sucked that we couldn't go to the temple but honestly so grateful for this experience. I can honestly say that my companion is one of my best friends. 

When we found out we couldn't go to the temple
So we had the conference and it was great! I love my president and his family! I had another chance to chat with his daughter. My oh my... I have never met a girl who is just like me! She 14 and she is going through the EXACT same things that I went through at that age. I couldn’t believe it. She wrote me a letter, and I read it on the bus ride home. In the letter she told me that she knew I was switched to the west mission because we needed to cross paths. As my eyes filled with tears I knew that was the reason. If I don’t connect with anyone else on my mission like I did with her I wont be disappointed. I know I needed to meet her. I know why I went through all of those things when I was I could help her. Give her advice from a personal perspective. I wrote her a letter back and I can’t wait to see where this friendship goes! She also has a love and talent of being able to make hideous faces for pictures. We def had fun with that! I’ll attach those in a little bit! 

Me my comp and S---! The president's daughter!
proof of our ugly face talents!

Yes! I was so excited I captured this picture!
We had two baptisms on Saturday night after the conference, and we celebrated my comps birthday with our "family" here. I gave hna Alexandra money for a cake, a chicken, and coke. She made us fried chicken, mashed potatoes and rice. The cake was beautiful, and abuelita (grandma) hand made edible flowers for the cake! My companion was SO happy! And at the end of the night she hugged me so tight and told me she loved me for the first time! I could’ve cried!!!!!!!!!! Such an amazing way to end the week! 

I finally had some really odd experiences with food this week. Surprised I haven’t thrown up yet! I have soooooooooooo many pictures from this week!

Me curling X---n-'s hair before church on Sunday!
One of the members dogs had puppies!! I was in heaven!

The member with the funky lunch and the puppies also had turtles! I was in heaven!!!
And the odd animal experiences continue!

I wanted to share this poem I wrote this week. Hope you all enjoy it.

From the very beginning I chose to stand beside Him,
His bravery and grace is something I cannot fathom.
As a child I chose to follow the commandments of God the Father,
Dressed in all white, I was immersed in the water.
Thought out the years many things I did learn,
Blessed are the times when in my bosom the spirit did burn.
My testimony was strong and my spirit was bright,
But the iron rod was not something I always held tight.
Being a teenager in the world today,
We all know is not easy in anyway.
There were plenty of nights when I would just stay up and cry,
Pain and heartache were two things I didn’t want to conquer but I knew I needed to try.
I broke, I fell, I gave into temptation.
When I told people I was Mormon, they said they couldn’t see the relation.
High school was over and decisions needed to be made,
Was I going to turn to the Lord or let my testimony fade?
One summer night I just couldn’t do it anymore,
I dropped to my knees and let the tears poor.
Who had I become? What was I thinking?
I let myself walk off the path with out even blinking.
I made the choice right then and there,
These burdens so heavy, were mine to bare.
As I prayed I asked for His mercy and love,
That my slate could be made clean through my Savior above.
There was pain, suffering, and a lot of regret,
But the comfort and peace I later felt is something I will never forget.
I truly felt the forgiveness of my Savior,
I know it’s through his atoning sacrifice that I was made stronger.
In that moment I knew who I wanted to be,
I felt brand new, from my sins I was finally free.
Almost a year later now, I look at the name tag I wear on my chest,
I am a representative of Jesus Christ; this honor is nothing but the best.
I never thought this day would come,
I am preparing His children to enter into God’s kingdom.
I know that I stood with The Lord before,
And I promised Him that I would bring unto Him His children in Ecuador.
He’s not just my Savior; He is my best friend,
And I KNOW that one day I will see him again.
When I think of that day and how I hope it will be,
I see my Savior call me by my name and tell me He is proud of me.
Repent, be baptized, and keep your path steady,
The Savior is coming, will YOU be ready?

Hermana Younce

Me and Elder T-g-- he's from Samoa and in my district :))

Me and my comp at the conference!

The whole gang! the A--l-s family! starting from the left we have J----r, A-------a, My comp, Abuelita(Gma), C----s, Ch- Ch-, Me, D----n, and A---l. I love them! They helped me make my companions birthday perfect!

Us with Hermana C----n our other mommy here! Hna A-------a told me she wouldn't take a pic till I did a model pose haha so here it is!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sing... Sing again... And sing some more

Hola everyone! Well this has actually been a really good week! One of the longest weeks I've had so that's prolly why its so good! The harder you work the happier you are! Its so true!

We have 6 baptismal dates right now. This coming Sunday we have 2 baptisms for two 9 years olds. one is M----l. His dad and step mom are members but his real mom isn't. We've been teaching him and he is excited to be baptized. The other is J---y. her mom has been investigating for a long time now but isn't able to be baptised because she isn't married to the man she lives with. Therefore after baptism she wouldn't be able to live the law of chastity. But we've been teaching J---y and she is SO excited for her baptism! Then we have L-s---t and L--y, they are sisters and their parents are inactive. They have some doubts and questions, but i know that if they really pray and ask God they can know that these things are true and will be baptized. And lastly, we have M-r-- and S----n-! They are a married couple and the mom of the daughter is a member. They've been taught by the missionaries before but are afraid to be baptized because they don't want to not be able to endure to the end... but they have a date for the 3rd of August. So I'm praying they can have the strength to put their faith in the Lord and in themselves and be baptized.

So as you all know, these past 5 weeks have been rough for me! I received an email from my Bishop, Bishop Bramwell my first week in the field with a bunch of amazing advice in it for me. One piece of advice was to "sing...sing again...and sing some more" and that  "music is a language everyone can understand". So I took his advice, and this past Sunday I sang a solo in sacrament meeting. I sang "I Stand All Amazed" 2 verses in English and 1 in Spanish. And they don't have a piano in our church so it was acapella haha. But the spirit was soooo strong. The congregation was in tears and by the end of the song... so was I . BTW, singing and crying all at the same time is a serious skill I'm learning to develop! My Bishop was right, music IS a language everyone can understand, I know that the people of the congregation could feel the spirit and could understand through the spirit the message that the song gives. Not only did I sing, but I also gave a 10 minute talk in Spanish on the Atonement! I've never even given a 10 minute talk in English! haha Oh! And this morning before church we attended a baptism for a little boy in the ward. And right then and there I was asked on the spot to speak on baptism. So I did! I'm feeling so good about my Spanish its really coming along great! The gift of tongues is real and the spirit has been such an amazing companion for me! This Sunday was honestly the best Sunday ever! My favorite part was during third hour we were pulled out of relief society and asked to help teach  a group of the youth the song "Army of Helaman" it was seriously SO powerful! And such an amazing experience for me. Standing there watching these kids belt out this  song with their future missionary tags on, and singing with them in Spanish I couldn't help but just ball. The opportunity I have to be here and to serve is something I will cherish forever.

This is Hermana A-----d-- A----s! She is amazing! She has been like a mother to me here. Her son is C----s! Our first real baptism here in the playas. Her "spouse" is J----r and she has two other children C------ and G-----s. A---l and his father D----n live with them! This is the family you always see me in pictures with! The boys I was playing jenga with. This is the mother of the household. Her and J----r are waiting for papers so they can be married! And we have been teaching J----r, so... praying that hopefully after they are married he will be baptized too. 

This is the beautiful earring and necklace set she gave to me on Sunday. I feel so blessed. She's an amazing woman and with an even more amazing family.

Results of sleep deprivation

Remember J----n? He was our first baptism here but we weren't the ones who taught him. He's in military school here in Ecuador and this is one of his uniforms. He called us to come see cause he wanted to show us! So adorable.
M---n-- came down the hall doing this and was like "I'm just like Hermana Younce!" My heart melted! So cute!!! 

Me my comp and M---n-- having some fun girl time!
Me rocking my new $12 high tops! I got them in white too haha
Happy P-day!!!!!! Dirty bun no make up! Feels soooo good!

Me and A---l being gangsters. He came out of the back of the house and was like "Hermana Younce-ay!! Look!" So cute!!!!!!

Me and my comp! Taught her the famous face!

Sorry this email is a little short! Next weeks will be better! Promise!

BTW I CAN email people other than family now! Yay! But if I don't email you back don't get offended! I don't have much time here! And only on Mondays! Love y'all! Thanks for everything!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friendly Moments

I was obsessed with my hair today, so of course I had to take a selfie
Howdy! Well this week has been pretty average. we've actually been looking for a new house because we have two more sisters coming! I'm really excited about that but its so hard to find a house with two bathrooms and two bedrooms with a large living area to study... in fact its like impossible. But I just keep praying that we can find something soon!

Things with my companion are a little better! We've actually had a couple friendly moments together this week! I'll share my favorite, so one night I was straightening my hair for the next day and we were chatting about her old district and she came and sat down on the bed behind me and start straightening my hair for me! Looking at us both in the mirror I almost started crying. We talked about boys, fun memories and laughed together. Prayer is real. I know I've been praying for this to happen and I'm sure all of you have too, so thank you for that! 

Struggle of the week! Well in this culture people call each other "gorda" in our language its "fat" or "chunky" and its no big deal here. But EVERYONE tells me I'm fatter than my comp. One member tried to sell me one of those jumpsuit things that sucks all your fat in..... I had been able to just suck it up until Sunday when a woman in my ward told me I look like I am pregnant. How convenient that I was eating a chocolate cupcake when she told me this and she took my cupcake and told me I didn't need to be eating it. For some odd reason she thought she was hilarious. Well, not only did I not think she was funny, but neither did the other women in the room. While one of the women stood up for me by telling her she shouldn't be talking, because she was bigger than I was. I proudly took my cupcake back and finished eating it. After she was put in her place by a protective woman in the ward she felt bad and apologized. I've just been reminding myself that I am a beautiful daughter of God and I made a goal to work out as hard as I could every morning. Its hard enough to be here and be white and feel self conscious cause I feel so out of place but to be self conscious about my weight too... its been really hard. But I know that all these trials are just making me stronger! And I'm sure there's a special surprise in the after life for those who say rude things to missionaries. :)

A cool experience I had this week was we were walking to an appt. and after being blown off twice I was really discouraged.  I was thinking in my head about a time I had shared before when I was proselyting in the CCM and a man came up to two other sisters and said "what is that book? Teach me! I wanna know!" And I said to my self that those things don't really happen. God just lets those things happen in the CCM so we still have faith to come out into the field. So we taught our lesson and as we were walking back home a man stops us and says, "hermanas! this is my sister! teach her! she wants to know about the church and the book of mormon"! My jaw dropped, and I just looked up at the sky and said okay okay I get it... God really is listening to us. And loves us so much. 

Over all the work is great. We have a baptism this weekend. The homesickness is kicking my butt still, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty I know I need to be here. And the Lord has blessed me with two amazing families here who make me feel like I am at home and I am loved. 

me and my companion!
As I'm sure you guys have noticed I got a little tweezer happy on my brows one night..... and idk how to fix them hahaha so I'm just rockin it. 

My cute but ugly toesies in the sand haha I bought nail polish today. Next week I promise theyll be better!

me being homesick 

hahaha us and A---l    he's so adorable. 

Today we went to the beach!
First try for a jumping picture... hahaha fail.

Second try! Success!

Thank you all for the love and support!!!! Keep praying!
Hermana Younce

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Love one another as Jesus loves you

Howdy howdy! There's gonna be a lot of different emotions in this email just a fair warning! 

First off we officially are the West Mission! We have a new president who is AMAZING. He and his wife have so much love for us its seriously exactly what I needed. Neither of them have served a mission before so we are all figuring this out together. We had interviews with the president the day we met them and I cried, he cried as we expressed the difficulties we were having being away from home and our families. And how tough this whole mission thing is. But we also discussed how beneficial and how much better it gets. He told me how great of a missionary I am and how I am going to bless the lives of many. And we ended with a prayer together. And the best part was this whole thing was in English! I seriously can't express how grateful I am for not only the president but for his wife and their daughter! His wife is so understanding, so loving and nurturing, they both cherish their calling so much!  And treat us all like their own children. It is so comforting. Their daughter S-t- is  14 but looks 18. but she is so sweet and so funny! I love her! We instantly bonded over our love for coke and our hate for fish! haha but seriously, strongest girl I know. Her parents have been called to serve for three years. so this brave young woman packed her bags and will spend 3 of the most vital years in a teenager's life living in Ecuador. Then when she returns she has a year of down time then she serves her own mission! Wow.. she is my hero, Seriously, how brave! Over all their family is amazing and are really here to love us and take care of us. Oh and just an added bonus, we don't have to wear nylons and we can drink coke! And at the beginning of next month when the first batch of missionaries arrive the president will make a mission wide announcement on his decision about writing people other than family. pray pray pray!

Some more news, our ward is having a temple day on the 27th and I asked my companion if we could go. And she was very stern about the fact that we couldn't attend. I told her I wanted to ask the president she just kind of blew me off.... well we are going! I am beyond excited!

Okay here come some more emotions! My companion....... I'm losing it. We are opposites. I am very connected to the people, I love to love and want to build relationships and trust with not only the members but with the investigators and she the opposite. I think she cares about the people in the sense that she knows she's right everyone does! but sometimes i feel like that results in rushing and not teaching by the spirit. And I like to take my time and really get to know the people. And if I feel like they aren't ready for something I don't push it. That's something we often don't agree on. But not only am I here to teach I am here to learn... and boy am I learning. It's been really hard for me because I genuinely feel like she does not care about me. And she never informs me of things, she doesn't wanna work as a companionship and when she does "train" me (because I have 12 weeks of training) I feel like its only because she wants credit for the outcome. Like she asked me if I had spoken in Spanish during my interview with the president and when I told her no she was literally annoyed.  And I think its because with our last president when he heard how well I was speaking Spanish after a week he complimented her on her training skills. Another struggle we have is she like to say little "jokes" you know those personal digs that no ones else thinks is funny.. yeah I hate them. I don't know how to handle the situation when we are in front of other people so I just tell her she's not funny. All those things I've been very good about just sucking up and forgetting about so we can have the spirit with us. But last night during our lesson I was really struggling and trying really hard to explain something in Spanish and because I was struggling so much I guess she thought it was funny? and looked to the investigator and snickered. As my eyes filled with tears I finished my sentence in my broken Spanish and tried to take deep breaths so that I didn't freak out right then and there. I shortly got over it and the mom of the household picked up on what had happened and complimented me like 6 times on my Spanish that night haha. Although its extremely hard to live with someone and be with them 24-7 when you feel as if they don't like you at all, when I am angry or offended the words of the hymn "I'm trying to be like Jesus" come to my mind, "at times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, but I try and listen as the still small voice whispers, love one another as Jesus loves you. try to show kindness in all that you do. Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, for these are the things Jesus taught." I am here to be a representative of Jesus Christ. My companion has something that God loves her for and I have been praying that I can find that something and love her for it too. At the end of the day she is my companion, it is my duty to love her, protect her, and carry her when she can no longer carry herself. And I will do these things with a smile on my face. 

Some more emotions in results of feeling like the one person you're with all the time doesn't like you... I have been homesick. This week was the first time i cried myself to sleep. My pillow with mascara all over it can testify for me haha. But honestly, I am so grateful for times like this. First off because it really makes me appreciate my family and friends and seriously how blessed I am to have such amazing loving people in my life. And secondly, the only person I have to turn to here is the Lord. And my oh my how blessed am I to have 18 months to spend just me and God. like what? The growth and strength my relationship with the Lord has gained is indescribable. And I am forever grateful for that. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not only for our sins. It is for times of trial when we feel alone or that we cant go on. Jesus Christ has felt everything we feel in this life and He will lift us when we need it. Another song that has helped me is "He´ll Carry You" by Hillary Weeks, in the chorus it says "and in the moment when no earthly words can take away your sorrow and no human eyes can see what you re going through, when you've taken your last step and done all that you can do, He will lift your heavy load and carry you." I have felt the Savior carry me multiple times on my mission and I know that He will continue to do so. I am so grateful for my family and friends... thank you all for being so kind and loving me! I am so sorry if i ever acted unappreciative of your love or friendship. There are so many things I wish I could take back... To all those who I have hurt or offended or simply not treated as Jesus Christ would, I am sincerely sorry. I wish there was a way I could take it all back. But I hope you all know how truly sorry I am.

We had a baptism this week! A----y! her whole family is inactive but we are trying to get them all back to church. Her and her sister L---y are now the only two active in their family. A----y was baptized at the beach!!! Because the whole city didn't have any running water! haha I loved it. Their whole family is amazing and so sweet! I really have fallen in love with the people here! 

To end I would like to thank every single person for your encouraging emails. I print them every week and read them over and over. They keep me going. Special shout out to Bishop Bramwell, thank you.. I read your email at least 2 times a day! And same for my parents and my siblings, I read them all over and over. Thank you all. I love you!!
PS: Just so everyone knows, I can't receive packages over 4.5 lbs. So if you would like to send me something and its over 4.5 lbs you have to send it in more than one box! thanks for all the love!

over and out!
Hermana Younce

Here is my new address: 
Mission Ecuador Guayaquil West
Casilla 09-04-206
Guayaquil, Guayas

We played jenga on Sunday before lunch

Thought I had it...

But I didn't... I lost, had to say the prayer over lunch. Lol

My favorite little boys! C----s who was just baptized last weekend and A----l, he's 5 we are teaching his dad right now they live with C----s and his family who I am so in love with they take such good care of me! his dad is being baptized this weekend!

I waited 3 days after I found out I could drink coke to have my first one on the fourth of July! I also wore my red white and blue!
omg! today is my 2 month mark!!!!! YAYAYAYY!! 2 down 16 to go! everyone celebrate tonight for me!!!