Monday, July 31, 2017

Followers of Jesus Christ

This week I had the opportunity to accompany President Alarcón to several places throughout the mission, as he continues to become familiarized with the cities, the leaders, and the missionaries.  It is wonderful to work with him, and learn from his example of leadership, and from his actions and his testimony.

With the help of the Holy Ghost, I was able to learn from him and from many others this week.  I was able to see others in a different way, as followers of Jesus Christ.  I have had the opportunity to watch as President Alarcón, besides the fact that he arrived to Ecuador without knowing the missionaries, the local leaders, or the people or area, begin to bring about miracles.  Many have already been affected by his love and his efforts to serve and to bring about the work of God, and I have seen the Spirit touch me and others as he has been an instrument in God´s hands.  What it is that he has done in this short time that he has here?  I realized that it is very simple.  He has simply come willing to serve and with desires to be obedient to what God has called him to do.  His genuine love for God has led him to do things that he didn´t even know how to do, but that, through His divine help, he has been able to accomplish to bless the lives of others.

I saw that in the example of others as well.  As I sat in church yesterday, I looked over the faces of the members of my ward and observed as many of them served others, simply by saying hi or welcoming another to church with a smile.  I saw one brother who, by small and simple means had blessed the lives of several others present in the meeting yesterday.  About six months ago, this brother had met a couple who he had recently met, who had recently moved to Guayaquil from Venezuela just a few weeks before.  He talked to them about his beliefs in our Savior Jesus Christ, and shared his testimony with them.  Soon after, he invited the missionaries to visit this couple with him.  He continued to help this couple as they came to know the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were baptized just 2 or 3 months later.  Now they are actively coming to church every week, participating in family history work and church activities, and the father is carrying out his duties as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder.  We saw another couple that came to the church for the first time yesterday.  This brother had also invited them to come with him to church, and we could see that they could feel the Spirit as they met the ward members, and listened during the classes.  They left with big smiles on their faces, and with a brighter glow in their countenance.  

What is it that this brother is doing?  He, like President Alarcón, is faithfully serving His Savior.  He is not giving speeches to multitudes of people, nor making fire come down from Heaven as a great miracle.  He is simply acting in a faithful, obedient and loving way.  Love for his loving Father in Heaven.  It is by these small, simple, acts, inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost that are bringing about miracles in the lives of others, one by one.  I am very grateful for their examples, and for the perfect example of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is my desire to serve Him constantly and faithfully, so that He can bless the lives of others, and that I might be an instrument in His hands to help them also be followers of Him.

I hope we can all simply listen and follow the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost in our desires to serve God and to serve and love those around us.  I know that with God´s help, our efforts will bring about miracles, and we will be witnesses to see God´s love extending to all of His children.

Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Oyler
 
Take a look at the last name of the other elder in this pic.  :)
 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Be of good cheer

This week I had the opportunity to work with a missionary in Quevedo, the furthest part of the mission.  There it was wonderful weather, a little cooler with a nice cloud cover, and I had a great experience!  The missionary I worked with was one of the happiest missionaries I have seen!  It is obvious that he loves being a missionary, and loves serving!  As we walked through the streets he would greet everyone in such a loving and cheerful way, to the point that I asked him if he knew them, and he would say ´more or less´ with a smile.  He goes around spreading joy and happiness, no matter who he sees or what he is doing.  I learned a lot from this experience I had with him.  I could feel his love, and also the love of God as I was with him.  That love whose beauty is ´´far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty´´ and is ´´precious above all´´ (1 Nephi 11:8-9).  Recently, I have felt that there have been a lot of things to do, and that the next few weeks could be stressful or saddening, but I learned from him, and from what the Holy Ghost taught me through simple thoughts and impressions that there is no reason to be down.  No matter what the situation, or what challenges we may face, or how hard or impossible the path ahead of us seems, that we can always follow the advice of our Savior, and of many of His prophets and apostles, and ´be of good cheer´ (John 16:33).

I know that as we remember our Savior, and what He has done for us, continues doing for us, and will yet do for us, that we will be of good cheer.  There is no challenge or sorrow that He has not overcome, and there is nothing that, through our faithfulness to Him, will stop our eternal happiness in the presence and love of our loving Heavenly Father.  I hope we can turn our thought back to Jesus Christ, and pray to our loving Father with faith, remember all that He has done for us, His children, so that we can always be of good cheer, and also spread His love to those around us, as did my fellow missionary in Quevedo.

I hope you all have a joyful week!

-Elder Oyler
 
 

With Elder Arias in Quevedo



The Historic Park - Elder Spencer, Elder Capistran, Elder Bazalar, Elder Hernández, Elder Carranza

A celebration for a holiday here in Guayaquil today (in the Historic Park)
 
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Baptism!

This week the weather has still been quite nice, a lot cooler and less humid than winter, and the breeze has been pleasant!  It has been another wonderful week full of work and joy from serving in God´s work, and the week ended with the baptism of one of our investigators!

I learned a lot from this wonderful experience this week.  I had the great privilege of baptizing her on Saturday, and as she got into the water, she was a little nervous and afraid (partly for fear of going under the water, and partly for the decision she was about to make).  She was tempted to leave in that moment, but she continued with faith!  It was a spiritual experience for her and for all present.  After her baptism, she had the opportunity to share her testimony, and she expressed how she had been in many different religions, but had never quite found what she was looking for.  She expressed that as she came to know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there were many influences that seemed to pull her away from learning more, and from preparing to be baptized.  She had several friends who tried to persuade her not to be baptized, and many times when she almost followed those influences, but she expressed that she kept going, and that she knew that this wasn´t just a good thing to do, but that she was being baptized in the true church of Christ, and that she is now ´another sheep in His fold´.  The spirit testified firmly as she shared her simple testimony of the sacred baptismal ordinance that she performed.  

I know that this is Christ´s church.  I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of this truth, and of all other truths, so that we can follow Christ, and know when we are in the path that leads us back to live with our Loving Heavenly Father, being like Him, fulfilling our full potential, as His eternal sons and daughters.  My hope is that we can all recognize and feel this special confirmation from the Holy Ghost as we strive to follow Christ and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Ghost this week! 

-Elder Oyler 
 

Elizabeth´s baptism


 
 
Bus ride from Quevedo with Elder Wright

Exchange this week with Elder Ogden (from my same group)
 
 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Council

This week I was able to be with the new mission president and his family as they got to know the mission and all the missionaries.  It has been quite an experience!  I have learned a lot!  While I miss President and Sister Riggins, I am also grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve with and get to know the new mission president, President Alarcón and his family.  They are wonderful and have come ready with lots of excitement to start serving in the new calling that God has given them.

We had several conferences in places throughout the mission, and have been able to visit all of the missionaries with the Alarcón family.  We have traveled quite a bit and been able to watch as they come to know what will be their home for three years!  Seeing them try new foods, and see new sights, and they have already come to love certain dishes and places!

One of the things that I have learned about this week is the importance of a council, especially in the church but in each of our lives.  Since President Alarcón came without knowing hardly anything about the mission, he was able to use councils to get to know and start working with the mission.  Through the councils we have had (council for leaders, councils as the mission office, etc.) we have come to align our visions and goals, without throwing aside anyone's ideas or input.  President Alarcón was able to start leading the mission, but also able to have everyone's input so we could all come to a conclusion as to how we all, together, would continue to work as a mission despite the changes.  Councils are something so simple, but I have come to understand more the importance of a council.  After just one week, we have all, as a mission, been able to understand where we are going and come to an accordance as to how things will be done, and nobody has been offended, or unheard, and we have come to an understanding.

Councils can be applied in many situations, and I have seen how councils are helping my companion and I continue to work together, having the same vision, and not having any uncertainties that might irritate or bring confusion or misunderstandings.  

I have realized that through councils, I will be able to avoid problems in family relationships, in work, in school, and in any interaction with someone else.  Councils held while maintaining Christlike attributes (love, patience, humility, etc.) will strengthen and fortify every relation that we have.  I hope we can all resolve any challenges or misunderstandings we have, maintaining Christlike attributes and together finding the solution to our problems.  The doubt and uncertainty, anger and disrespect will be replaced with love and joy, relief and unity.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

-Elder Oyler
 
The Osuna family!  They finally were baptized!  I was invited to attend the baptism, and had the opportunity to baptize Rosalva, the mom :)  Such a great family!