Monday, July 2, 2018

What’s the best way to Pre-Celebrate the 4TH OF JULY??? BAUTIZANDO!

KARINA GOT DUNKED!! 

That’s right we took a spiritual punch to the face for our dear friend Karina who has been investigating the church for over 11 years! 
And let me tell ya, she has gone through a Huge change over my short 7 weeks working with her!!
She even told everyone in her testimony after she got baptized that she sometimes rejected us and was kind of rude when we first showed up. But in tears she thanked us and most of all her mother for working so patiently with her. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SOMONE CHANGE SO FAST AND BECOME SO HAPPY!!!
She also testified of how much keeping the Sabbath day holy these last few weeks has changed her life. (Before she always went to the stadium to watch the football games on Sundays, she is a HUGE SPORTS FAN HAHA!!!) So the fact that she had given that up due to her incredible faith has inspired me so much to be 100% obedient to the Sabbath day after the mish!!

The last big news of the week is that I once again found myself in an Ecuadorian Hospital... why does my stomach like to be infected....? I DONT KNOW!! But I was on the look out for some more nurses to teach and baptize jaja!!

AND FOR ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN ASKING I WILL BE COIMNG HOME ON THE 8TH OF AUGUST....

I AM NOT TRUNKY AND DONT WANT TO BE SO PLEASE HELP A BROTHA OUT AND JUST KEEP ME MOTIVATED ;)

2 Nephi 25:26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 


Sorry the picks aren’t great but there what I got]!
Geovanna my nurse, is in the first 3 picks.

Karina is in the next 3!
 

Monday, June 25, 2018

GOD HAS PERFECT TIMING AND A PERFECT PLAN

I HAVE THE COOLEST STORY EVER FOR YOU ALL TODAY!!!!!

But before I tell ya let me just state that I am soooo exhausted!!! And it’s a great thing!! "Why is my favorite missionary so tired?" you may be asking yourself... its because its been one heck of a week and most days began at 4:00 or 5:00am!!  I’ve decided that the mission is coming to an end just way to fast.... SO I DONT GOT TIME TO SLEEP!! We had one lesson at 6:00am on Thursday, which means waking up and getting ready at 4:30am to get geared up. We went to the temple on Friday and had to drive 45min to the temple and show up at 6:00, which means waking up at 4:00am. Then just to throw the bow on top, we had a baptismal service at 7:30am Sunday morning, and for those of who know what its like we had to clean and fill up the baptismal font and church before hand.... meaning another wake up alarm at 4:30. 
BUT WAIT there’s more!! Sunday night my comp had changes to become Assistant and we spent the whole night talking cuz he was kind of nervous and we have really become great friends!! I will defiantly miss this guy!! He has been a great soldier and an incredibly hard worker, plus I taught the guy to laugh a little harder and have an even better time in the service of the Lord! MAN I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

So on to my super incredible story right!?!

To my adoring fans who have paid such extraordinary attention to my banana and rice filled life here in Ecuador, you will all recall that last year elder Stidham was severely sick and hospitalized many days.... it really was a rough time for me because I just wanted to be in the field working and I was in way to much pain and suffering to do much... I seriously went through a million trails and learned many more life long lessons, but among my heart-ach and countless doctor/hospital visits I began to know and talk with my nurses and doctors. I actually became great friends with one doctor and I taught a little bit of the gospel to one of my nurses.
Well over a year latter our hero elder Stidham is walking down the sweetly scented trash filled streets of Guayaquil and knocks on the door of a reference. The next thing he knows is that this same sweet nurse who received a little of the gospel from a sick missionary appears in the doorway... they both look closely at each other trying to awkwardly remember where they know each other and then it dawns on them and she gladly lets the missionaries into her home!
 (Idk why this is in 3rd person lol!)
But anyways I got to teach her the gospel, the spirit testified of the truth powerfully to her that the message of the Plan of Salvation is true, AND THEN SHE FEASTED ON THE BOOK OF MORMON!! Like literally. In only 4 weeks she has read all of 1 and 2 Nephi!!

Well as I said earlier, we had a baptism Sunday morning at 7:30am.... can you guess who got baptized???

That’s right, Gevoanna Jibaja, my old nurse, was prepared by the Lord and introduced to the gospel of Jesucristo by your favorite skinny, extremely sick and insanely white missionary! (And no I’m not sick anymore!!)

Even though I’ve been joking a lot in this letter, I really can’t describe how humbled I have been to have this amazing experience! The Lord prepared me in a way that I never could have imagined becoming an instrument in His perfect hands. I am sooooo grateful of every rough day that I went through last year just to have been able to meet Geovanna. As I reflect back on how close I came to being sent home from the mission due to illness and how many tears of sadness I shed I just have the words of Jeffrey R. Holland ringing in my head when he said:

Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.

Brothers and sisters I add my testimony to those true and powerful words. God has a PERFECT TIMING FOR ALL THINGS!!


It’s been one crazy and incredible week and I’ve got another one coming up.
Elder Stoker is my new companion and he’s from Syracuse, Utah!! 
-He has 9 months in the mission
-I’m training him to be a Zone leader!
-I’ve heard a million great things about him!
-As far as I can tell they are all true and I’m pumped!!


We will be having a baptism this Saturday of an investigator who has been investigating and attending the church or over 11 years!!! Please Pray for Karina, she has done a 180 with her life in these last 6 weeks and her family has told me that they have never seen her happier!!

Love you all!!!! 
Please write and let me know how you all are!!!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Are you a Potato or an Egg?

Does that title make any sense at all?? NO! Unless you read this question that my bro Elder Withers shared with me this fine morning: 
"The same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the potato, it's about what your made of, not your circumstances" 

So that kind of struck me today because we have been seeing a lot of miracles lately and we thought that tons of investigators were progressing really well... but turns out that not everyone is strong enough to hold onto the gospel. We have been working incredibly diligently these last 5 weeks and haven’t seen much success as in terms of baptisms which is strange to me because usually we should have had several from how hard we are working and how much the ward is doing to help... but the Lord has a purpose for all things. 
We had 8 investigators who had attended church, felt the spirit, and accepted baptismal dates decide to stop investigating the church.... that’s kind of rough for one week.... but at the same time we have been very blessed and guided to several others who I believe will be baptized over the next few weeks so I’m still as happy and positive as ever!!

So let me tell ya about one miracle we had this week!!
There is a non-member couple who have a son currently serving a mission. And this mother and father never wanted to hear a word from the missionaries and love to drink and sell alcohol... well a week ago on Sunday this missionaries mom showed up at church and I got to meet her! Elsa (yes just like in frozen) sells empanadas for her job and invited us over last Thursday. We get there and start talking to her husband who also never wanted to listen to the missionaries either. But the Lord prepares his children!! We started small talk with him and talked about sports for a bit (the world cup lol) and then offered our service. He gladly accepted because they are going to move houses and wanted help clearing the land and prepping it. 
After our service we were eating empanadas again and Hno Rene asks me what do we know and believe about death? We got excited and told him a brief explanation of the Plan of Salvation and asked if we could come back another day to share more! He accepted and is progressing slowly but surly!! 


OH, AND HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO THE BEST PAPÁ EN EL MUNDO!! LOVE YA DAD!! 


Not sure what else to add besides that we had a ward activity and our lesson was on the Restoration of the Gospel. We decided to make hand-made cut out puzzles and then take 1 piece of each puzzle so they couldn’t finish them.  We related the puzzle to the gospel of Christ and that no one had the entire puzzle and that everyone was confused and frustrated without the Fullness of the Gospel. We watched Joseph Smith’s first vision and then ended with some games and food! It was a bomb activity and we have another one coming up this week!
Love you all and thanks for the support!!


1 Corinthians 13:1-3 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

Monday, June 11, 2018

We almost burned the house down...

So many stories to tell and no time to do so....

Anyway my companion burned the cable to out electric stove and it sent sparks everywhere and our house looked like the 4th of July jaja!!!! I valiantly took one for the team and ran into the blazing scene to rip out the stove from the outlet and was only slightly singed!!
haha oh the things that’ll happen in a small cement house in banana land!

Oh yeah! We are seeing miracles on a daily and had 9 investigators show up to church on Sunday!!! 11 have baptismal dates still.

If you want to help a brother out send us some prayers for Jipson and his family. He’s having some difficulties with drugs but wants to get baptized!!

Thanks for the love and support!
Have a great week!
Read the book of Mormon!!

1 Nephi 1:1 

Monday, June 4, 2018

13 Fechas Bautismales!!!

We are on fire here in the Pedregal!!!!

Man we are working our tails off but hope to see some huge results this up coming week! We have found our way to many investigators to be able to teach all of them that want us to!! Which is awesome but terrible at the same time!! Its great being so busy that there’s never a second wasted but at the same time its kind of rough having to choose between who we focus on and who we have to leave hanging....

We were suppose to have a baptism or two this week but they got some anti-Mormon family members who got them shook up a bit. We will work on them a lot this week to see what miracles the Lord has in store for them!

Never a dull moment as zone leader. We had an incredible zone conference with our President Moreno and his wife Hermana Moreno. They brought the spirit big time helping me understand JUST HOW DANG IMPORTANT THE BOOK OF MORMON IS!!!!! 21 months and you’d think I would know that right?! Well as always, the Lord wants me to prefect myself more than ever! We also did several practices of teaching an entire lesion in just 5 minutes!!!! And let me tell ya, ITS SOO MUCH MORE SPIRITUAL! We learned how to get down to business real quick, invite the Holy Ghost to testify, leave a commitment on the Book of Mormon and take out a return visit in just 5 minutes! 
IT HAS WORKED MIRACLES IN MY SECTOR THIS WEEK!! 
By far the best part of our multi-zone conference was when President and his wife at the end gave us an example of the most spiritual 5 minutes I’ve ever had outside of conference!

Sorry I don’t have time to talk more about those incredible 13 souls who have accepted a baptismal date but they are awesome and cant wait to see what the incredible power of the Book Of Mormon will do in their lives!!

SHOUT OUT TO MY AMAZING ABUELITO FOR 88 LONG AND HAPPY YEARS OF LIVIN LIFE AND THE GOSPEL!! Te amo bastante!!

So I have some catching up to do on the picks.... my cameras not feeling too well so I’m going to take him to the doc to see what’s up... but good news is that my comp had some picks over the last 3 weeks! Bad news is that Latin’s have a different filter mode on which makes them look "lighter" or in my case.... a whole heck of a lot whiter....

And yeah my comp is in loooove with hamburgers!!
 

Anyways do as our beloved prophet Thomas s. Monson reminded us so frequently to follow the saviors example and "go about doing good" Hechos 10:38

Monday, May 28, 2018

More Miracles?! YES!!

SO I HAVE THE COOLEST STORY EVER TO TELL!!! But I got to tell it in detail so y'all have to stay in tuned next week when I have more time to write.... sorry....

But besides that we have just found endless people that the Lord has prepared and placed our path this week! 

I seriously have began to feel culture shock again lately... like some of the people we have been meeting are just so poor and humble that it leaves me sadden but at the same time I understand better Ammon’s response in Alma 32:6 when he sees other afflictions with joy. Because afflictions really do humble people and it prepares them to hear and receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have experienced it many times in my own life and so many more times here in the mission.

Sorry there is just no time to write but I am happy and excited for another week of hard week of looking for those elect!

Choose to be happy today and Read the Book of Mormon!!


Letter written by Jill for Elder Stidham for the Parkway 9th Ward Newsletter:
I seriously have began to feel culture shock again lately... some of the people we have been meeting are just so poor and humble that it leaves me saddened, but at the same time I understand better Ammon’s response in Alma 32:6 when he sees other afflictions with joy. Because afflictions really do humble people and it prepares them to hear and receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have experienced it many times in my own life and so many more times here in the mission.
We have a new miracle! Last year I was really sick and hospitalized with chikungunya.  There was a really nice nurse that attended me.  We talked to her about being a missionary and what we do and why we were there serving.  A year later I am knocking on doors and I find this same nurse!  She invited us in to teach her.  We taught her a lesson and gave her a scripture to read and set another appointment for the next day.  We arrive the next day and she had read 18 chapters and accepted baptism!  I feel so blessed that so many people are prepared to receive the gospel.  I am sad to think this is my last newsletter.  I would love to keep serving as a missionary indefinitely!  But I realize that when I do come home (August 8) I will still be able to serve and minister and receive personal revelation my entire life! What a blessing my mission has been! It has changed my life!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Milagros y Bendiciones!!!

OHHHH MY GOSHHHH I HAVE BEEN TRANSFERED TO THE COOLEST WARD EVER!!!!!

I AM SOOOO HAPPY TO BE HERE AND WE ARE BEING EXTREAMLY BLESSED FOR OUR 100% DEDICATION TO THE OBRA!!

If you can't tell I’m pumped to work in this ward!!!! And what makes it all the better is that my Comp Elder Garcia is a Champ!

We have been working our souls off this week in the trenches of Pedregal and I mean that literally because we are being so blessed with families that want to hear our message!!!

ahh!!!! I’m so stoked about this week I don’t even know where to begin....

I'll start with my compañero el Elder Garcia. This guy knows what he’s doing! He seriously has such a mastery of the scriptures that it has left me amazed every single day of this week! Combine his wisdom and the never ending Enthusiasm of Yours truly, WE MAKE ONE HECK OF A TEAM! Get ready for lots of baptisms ladies and gents!
Elder Garcia is from Peru (companion #4 from Peru) and loves to go running in the morning so I’m happy! He is very focused on the work and loves helping other missionaries. He told me that he’s felt a lot happier since I’ve been with him so I’m glad we are getting along really well. We decided to work our tails off this week so we’ve been contacting literally everyone!!! From parties to buses to weeding and to visiting member’s girlfriends we have been on the hunt for the Lords elect! AND WE WANT ALL OF EM!!

We were walking down the street on Tuesday and one old, but very friendly one-legged man yelled "hello my friend" in a Latin accent. I decided to talk to him and lo and behold the man has been prepared by the Good Shepard! He his so humble and has had a few rough weeks which afflicted him just enough to be in the perfect condition for the restored gospel to enter into his life! He accepted it with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face! Can’t wait for his up coming baptism in a few weeks!!

Another story. We were just leaving an appointment and were kind of hungry as us young men genuinely are. When we heard and saw a party of 20 little kids dancing to some evangelic music. We decided to stop by and do some contacting. When we had just gotten to the door, a very excited father invited us in to see the party and get to know his daughter and his grandson who were dancing. After talking a few moments of who we are and what we do they invited us to eat and share a brief message!! HOW COOL RIGHT?!

Here’s another story, While walking doing the street we noticed a sweet older sister struggling with some bags of verduras she had just bought. We decided to help her of course and she allowed us to meet her family. As we entered in the house we were soon surrounded by 8 of her daughters and grand children who eagerly listened to our message and asked many interested questions! As we concluded they asked us were our church building is located and when would we visit them again!! BLESSED!!

Last but not least of my joyous week has been meeting these wonderful saints here in Barrio Pedregal (which "means stony" way in English like when Christ taught about the seed that fell into the rocky soil in Mateo 13.) Our bishop is the most humble and excited guy I have meet here in Guayaquil!! His counselors are amazing as well! Our Elder Quorums President is soooo awesome and has already made 3 visits with us!! Relief Society President? The best! She brought an investigating friend to church with her and is ready to work!
But by far the best part of the ward is our Ward Mission Leader!! He is and RM who served in Colombia and is soooo ready to work and so excited to help us out! Man I can only imagine how much success where about to have here!!

Acts 10:38   How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
This was one of President Thomas S. Monson's favorite scriptures.
It sure helped me find lots of new people to teach this week!

Love you all and I invite you to study the word "REMEMBER" and why it’s so important.

Read the book of Mormon every day!

Ps. the guy on the far right is my companion Elder Garcia!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cambios.... y posiblemente el ultimo sector......

What’s up white bread?

What a week!?? Was it good or bad I’m not sure but it was filled with 7 days and I’m not sure what happened...

Obviously the highlight was talking to my sweet and wonderful mother!!! Happy Mothers Day Mom!! (Every day should be mother’s day but sometimes I forget to say it) I also enjoyed talking with the Stidham clan and seeing their funny mugs again!
P.s. my family is way too trunky ;)

We spent the week trying to feel the spirit though all the loud music and alcohol filled streets as my dear Ecuadorian friends celebrated Mothers Day in their unique way. We didn’t see too much progression because everyone was out of town and no one wanted to go to church due to parties all night.

However we were pleasantly surprised with 3 new references that members brought to church with them!!

Oh and I had changes so now I’m a Zone Leader and my new comp is Elder Garcia. Ill tell y'all more about him next week!

Love ya!!

Mosiah 4:11-12
Read the book of Mormon every day!!
Choose to be happy today!!!

Monday, May 7, 2018

5 de Mayo con Guacamoli, papa a la Huancaina, y 3 bautismos!!!!

Que Tal mi querida familia? Ojala que comieron algo Mexicano y picante el sabado pasado!!

If you don’t understand that I invite you to repent and learn the celestial language of Española!

How was your 5-de mayo?? All I can say was that mine was better!! You want to know why?

1. 3 of my dear rice loving friends entered into the waters of baptism this weekend and it was a baptism service so amazing! We had tons of support from the ward and about 50 people showed up between the 2 baptismal services! There was just such a peace in this service that it made me so excited to keep helping everyone get to this moment! You can never underestimate the power of MINISTERING!!! It is so powerful and it really has been changing lives!!

2. We didn’t eat rice on Saturday!! Hallelujah!! We made some Mexican food and the famous Peruvian papa a la Huancaina for lunch with a family of members and their 2 not-yet member friends!! Looking forward to seeing some more baptisms there as well!
 
3. Service, service, and more service. So this week we have become some construction experts and one of our service projects was to destroy an old guardaria which I think is called day care in English... but anyway it is going to be a home so they wanted us to clear out all of the walls!! It was seriously a dream come true to take sledgehammers to the walls and just break everything ha-ha!!! But the clean up was kind of rough and we were short on time because of the baptisms we had to prepare! 

4. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

So sorry there isn’t too much more time to tell about all of the other miracles we had this week but I just wanted to end with the quote of the week from my new investigator and favorite New Yorker Moises Ronquillo "hay que estar alegre!!! La vida es beautiful baby!!!" yes he speaks Spanglish hard core and cannot control it at all ha-ha!! He just got back from the US and doesn’t remember Spanish 100% neither English 100% haha I love this funny old guy!!


My new favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 5:27

27. And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

If you read the context of this scripture you will understand that they did not have many reasons to be happy.... they just had to abandon their houses... again..... Their brothers Laman and Lemuel literally wanted to kill all of them, and had no food or home. Why in the world were they happy?! The answer is in the same chapter and I invite all of you to read 2 Nephi 5 and ask yourself what you can do to be happier TODAY!!!

Love you all and hope and pray that all mothers can enjoy this special week!!! Don’t forget to show extra love for your momma this Sunday!!!

Monday, April 30, 2018

3 Grados de Gloria

Que tal mis queridos amigos!!

This week has been awesomely hard and at the same time super fun!!

We have been grinding and searching diligently for those elect ones of our Father and its been pretty fun getting to know some new banana lovers to teach!

We have been studying hard on how to help this ward grow and have the pure love of Christ for one another but it has been a slow and steady process for sure!! Little by little we are helping them change which is a great fruit of our labors!!

Sadly we did not have any baptisms as planned but this Saturday we are looking forward to having 3 so we are going to have a fast hopefully followed by a splash or 3!

The mission life here is going great and we are thrilled that the heat is starting to calm down a bit because man it’s hot here!


Romans 5: 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.


2 Corinthians 12: 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
As I stated earlier we just had a really hard week because almost all of our appointments and investigators and baptisms fell and we were obviously sad about that.... but I just decided to "take pleasure in my infirmities, reproaches, necessities, and persecutions for Christ´s sake" 


I love all of you guys and hope that the spring weather is treating you well!! Don’t forget to Minister one to another, as Christ would do!!


Picks!!
1. We did a service helping an investigator shuck corncobs so they can make and sell Humitas. As a thank you they gave us some and they were honestly the best ones I’ve had in my mission!!
 
2. Our friend who joined us for estudio de compañerismo.
 
3.Rice!! Did I ever mention that they eat rice here in Ecuador??
4. Mas arroz
5. Aun mas arroz....
6. Some Ecuadorian kid just earned my respect big time!
 

Monday, April 23, 2018

20 Months....????????????????????

Well it is kinda rough to admit but today I mark 20 months out in the mission field....
Time passes by just way too fast when you’re in the trenches and fighting for what you love...
Anyways this week was super super fast. We spent every day contacting our bums off and ended up meeting over 45 people who accepted an appointment this up coming week so it should be an interesting one for sure!
We also had 11 new investigators so we are defiantly searching diligently for the Lords elect!!
We also have planned 4 activities with the ward this week so were hoping to see lots of miracles in meeting new people and helping others meet the members and excite them to come to church!
We have 2 baptisms planned out for Saturday so please pray for Karla and Marianela Rios!!
No time to write more but just thought i'd invite you all to read "Judas 1:22" and think about how you can apply it to yourself!!

Love you all and hope that you keep perseverando hasta el fin!!
Chao!

It’s a bad picture but I made tacos and burritos for 12 people!! 
It was a glorious break from eating rice!! (You have no idea how much rice they eat here in Ecuador!!! it's seriously soooo much more than any other South American country.....)

 

Monday, April 9, 2018

MI HIJITO EL ELDER VALASQUEZ!!

Ok sorry for being weird there but don’t judge... I haven’t been around normal people for a long time...

So want to here about my new compañero?
His name is Elder Valasquez and he is from Perú! He is 19 years old and was baptized at the age of 10. He has had a pretty rough childhood and life but he is a very nice guy, which surprises me that’s how he turned out!


And MAN THIS GUY LOVES PREACHING THE GOSPEL!!! AND TO EVERYONE!!!! He is seriously a huge motivation to me to step it up and we are working like dogs out here!! This guy is so excited to be a missionary because he waited a year and a half to get his call.... a year and a half!!! He had some problems getting accepted by the missionary department but he is soooo happy to be out in the field!!! We are literally talking to everyone and anyone who we see... and if you’ve never been to Guayaquil, Ecaudor..... You see 1000s of people a day!!

This week we have 4 baptisms so it’s going to be a busy one!!! The blessings just never end down here in Banana Land!! But we are seriously seeing so many miracles on the daily that I cant believe how fast the time is beginning to fly...... 

 

1 Nephi 15:8 And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?