Monday, September 28, 2015


(said like Aloha if you didn´t get the joke)

Well Hola from Loja, Ecuador which is the southern end in the mountains-ish! It´s absolutely goregous here and I pretty much lucked out since most of the places here are hot and humid all the time! And at least for the first little while I get to train in the nice, slower talking people of Loja! 

Well let´s start with the temporal stuff and finish with the best spiritual things! So Once I arrived here in Loja, our whole group was met by our Presidente and his secretaries (is that how you spell that, every day my Spanish gets better and my English gets worse) and off we went for a training for the rest of the day! And one of the first things they said (then repeated a thousand times because it´s true) ¡Bien venidos al mejor misión en el Mundo!  And yep, this is the best mission in the world! (I´m not trying to offend anyone, your mission area was for you and this one is for me) This mission is bold. First Lección of the mission was "Your missionary work does not end in the baptismal waters, it ends at the Temple" So we even added to our objective: "... and endure to the end. Through the ordenanzas de salvación" Our Presidente is bold, his rules are strict and to a point because that is what will help us as missionaries. And for this mission we don´t invite people to be baptized by saying "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ", nope takes to long, it´s "Will you be baptized the 24th of October" Bold. I love it! I know that Presidente Torres is called of God.
Now to Loja! We really on walk and take buses and taxis to get around here so after training we went straight to the Busport (because it is just as big as an airport) and took a 9 hour Bus ride from Guayquil  to Loja. And we got to our apartment at 4 in the morning! What a day! Started at 2 and ended at 4 the next morning, how I had energy was a milagro! Now real quick, our apartment in US standards is pretty shabby but it is proabably the nicest apartments on the block because our toliet has enough pressure to take the toliet paper with it! (Honestly a blessing!)

Okay spiritual time! As I have been learning spanish and the gospel, and going out everyday to strength this small branch in Loja through teaching less active members and investigators, through trying to understand the conversations going on around me and saying something when I hear what people are saying, I have been brought to ponder what really is my whole "might, mind, and strength" and how I actually give all of it. Blessed mission gave me a talk called the Fourth Missionary (I advise all to read it especially if you are serving a mission) It tells exactly how to give your all and that´s what I want to try to do every single day. I want to be able to say to my Father that every day I gave everything I could that day. And that is what turly makes a mission and especially a lifetime, or even a moment in our lives, the best it can be. A quote from C.S Lewis: The Lord says to us, "Give me all. I don´t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You... Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself, My will, shall become your will. My heart shall become your heart." 

Powerful, maravilloso. Give your all my friends and family and you will recieve much more in return.

This is my testimony
Now I would love for you to share your´s with me :)

Elder Alder

Oh btw, that´s a guinea pig

Welcome to Loja!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The arrival of Elder Alder

Devan has arrived in Ecuador!  Letter from his mission president is below:

Dear Brother and Sister Alder:
It was a very special experience to personally greet your sonElder Alder, at the airport upon his arrival in Guayaquil. We were impressed by his great spirit and desire to serve. We are grateful and humbled to have him serving here with us. 
From the airport we took him and the other missionaries downtown to the Guayaquil Temple for a picture.  We then went to a stake center to meet the office staff and take care of some paperwork, and orientation.  We enjoyed a great Ecuadorian dinner after which it was my privilege to interview your son as well as the other arriving missionaries.  What a nice experience it was to get to know your son and feel his outstanding missionary spirit! 
Later in the day, they were assigned companions for their first assignment. The next morning they traveled to their new area. Your son was assigned to the Loja Este Zone with Elder Barneyas his companion. The address for the mission office is Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission, Casilla 09-04-566, Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador.  If, in case of emergency, you need to contact your son, please call the mission office at 593-04-228-2454.
Your help in encouraging him in your letters to continue to serve faithfully, being completely obedient throughout his mission will be greatly appreciated. We know that he and the Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission will be in your prayers. We also know that the coming months will bring many blessings into your lives by your son´s faithful service and the sacrifice you are making for him to serve the Lord. Thank you very much for having prepared your son to withstand the rigors of missionary life and to now be serving with us.
May God bless you for your consecration towards furthering the Lord´s work.  We send our love and appreciation.
Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission
President Maxsimo C TorresSister Blanca T. Torres

Thursday, September 17, 2015

One More Day in the Colombian City!!!

By one more day I mean one more P-Day! Where did the time go?? Is it 6 weeks going fast for anyone else? jajaja. Well the CCM has been great to me! Good food, temple trips once a week. An CCM president who tells it how it is and has blest me with so much knowlege! Spanish training that I don´t think I could had anywhere else! Contacting real people on the streets of Bogota! Latinos who think singing Justin Bieber is about the worst sin anyone could commit! A district that has bonded pretty good! Teaching 3 investidagors and 2 menos activios. Also the Latinos trying to trade you money from their country for one dollar (which is usally a hundred dollars in their country haha) Cooks who know you know no spanish so they speak as fast as they can but in the end are really nice because they give you the recipe for their hot chocolate! And more spiritual knowledge and such a spiritual thirst (or hunger) that I´m pretty sure it will never end because there is so much to study!

Just wanted to share an life changing experience from a couple days ago! A miracle, not for me, but I walked away from it a different person! So every two weeks another group of Latinos comes through the CCM, this will be the third and last for me! Each group has a different personality and honestly something to learn from them. This final week, my companion and I are in a room of just Latinos, it´s really helping me with my spanish! One of the elder´s in our room was Elder Ruiz. Energetic, always talking, wanted to learn english so bad, he was so energetic that he forgot some of the rules! One of the greatest guys! One night, we walked in the room to find him lying down like he was sick. We did a little companion swap so his companion could go get ready for bed. As I was writing in my journal, he jumped up, kind of shouted, and ran out the room before I could even say his name. We found him later crying holding his head on the stairs saying his head hurt really bad. We were told to go to bed and at 1 in the morning, I saw president carrying him in with some other elders, he had passed out because of the pain. It wasn´t till the next day that I found out what kind of pain. On Sunday, he seemed to be just fine until the night. Then as we were getting ready to watch our Sunday movie. We found him in our room hurled over in a pain I couldn´t describe but I will try to. He was shaking, yelling, had no control of his hands or legs. It was the most horrific thing I think I´ve seen anyone go through. The latinos keep saying that it was the work of satan. As we held him down for an hour until the medics came, all I could think was that he was such a beloved son of god and was going to be a wonderful missionary to be going through this pain. (He is fine now, headed back to his home country to get some tests and then back to the mission field) Why do I tell all of you this? For one reason. Count your many blessings and name them one by one. I have never seen anything like what my dear friend went through and it just made me so grateful for the blessings that God grants me, and from my time in the CCM, it has been a lot!

Next thing learned from the CCM! A Scripture! D&C 121:45: "Let they bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let  virture garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall they condifence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the preisthood shal distil upon they soul as the dews of heaven." 
Okay you could spend hours on this one verse! Charity (I try to pray for it every day, caridad) The household of faith (come on members, why are we so hard on each other...) Virture garnishing our thoughts (probably the most important part! Without the spirit, you shall not teach) Doctrine of the preisthood (great talk by Bruce R Mckonkie) But I want to focus on the dews of heaven! If I haven´t said it already, learning a language is really tough! But here are two dews of heaven that I´ve seen. During one lesson, our teacher had us teach in english! WHAT? What a relief! Everyone in the first couple weeks always thinks a English mission would be eaiser but this changed my mind entirely. As I taught I had this new pool of words and I completely relied on myself and not the spirit, I was saying to much! The teacher noticed and told me to stop and try again three times! What a testimony builder! By small and simple things are great things brought to pass! The spirit can work through me because I won´t know a lot for a while! I am blest to be speaking Spanish! Second dew from heaven, We had our last teaching lesson yesterday (meaning my companion and I taught) after the lesson our teach evaluated us and said something like: "You know I was listening to the lesson and thought, wow, their spanish is really clear and they are asking really good questions"
I was so surprised, my spanish is clear? Really? You never see dew coming until the morning and only when you look really closely. Spanish will be hard for awhile but if I look closely, I will see the distil of dew everyday!

My testimony of this gospel is increasing by every hour! I´m kind of scared for the mission field but super excited! Especially if my first companion doesn´t know English! (I´ll just make him hot chocolate in the morning and it will be okay! If you guys have time, set aside sometime to really dive down in the scriptures! Personal and with someone! You will be amazed what the gospel can do for you and your day! 

Elder Alder

District Selfie!

District Temple trip

Getting through traffic

Mios Maestros

Mios Maestros

Mios Maestros

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

On a Llama for 3,000!!

There is too much to talk about and the Subject is going to take awhile to explain, jaja!

Let´s start with Spanish! How can you not? So one of my favorite things about Español is that it sheads more light on the gospel for English speakers! For example: the missionary scripture "see that you serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength" is wonderful and amazing! Plus is really let´s all the missionaries of this world know how we should be serving everyday! But in Español it is this: "mirad que le sirvías con todo corazón, alma, mente, y fuerza" Now most of those are the same things in English except for one! Alma means soul which is kind of like "might" but gives it a new meaning! "with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength". And from what I´ve seen in the CCM (Centro Capacitación Misional) the missionaries is that are the happiest are the ones that give it their all. Give all of their heart and mind and strength. But also their whole soul! I learn so many new things everyday because of this! That is Miracle #1

Miracle #2: Learning about the spirit! In 2008 Elder David A. Bednar gave wonderful talk in the MTC in Provo. We got the chance to watch the recording here in the beautiful CCM, (did I ever mention that it is like 70 degrees all day! The weather is literally perfect) Anyways back to Bednar. He started off his talk explaining, "What do you think, 4 years being an apostale, is the most asked question by members of this church as I travel?" His answer was: "Elder Bednar, how do I know if something I feel is of the Holy Ghost or of me?" His answer was bold and special: "Quit worrying about it!" I was kind of shocked what did he mean? As the talk went on, I learned what he meant was, most of the time in our lives we recieve promptings from the Spirit and we don´t even know about it (Look up the 20 or 40 mark story about him and Elder Packer) If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, In his words: "Being a good boy and good girl", almost every thought is from the Spirit. We just have to be bold enough to follow it even when the spirit is speaking so softly. Because as we do what we are supposed to do in this life, we get closer and closer to thinking what our Father in Heaven speaks. Kind of sheads some light on the scripture where Christ says: "And the I in the Father. And the Father in me" Because there is no doubt Christ got to the point where every thought was His Father´s. So Quit worrying about it!

Miracle #3: Ayuno. Which means fast, or literally I fast. Fast Sunday was great because of a party! What? A party you say! Yes about 10 meters away from the CCM is a Catholic church that started to play rock music on sundays becasue their congregation wasn´t big enough. And the fundraisers that the church has are on Easter and last Sunday yearly. There was Loud music from 8 in the morning till 8 at night. It literally shock the building during sacrament. The music got louder and louder becasue their biggest sponser is a local beer.. How were we ever going to feel Spirit during fast and testimony meeting? How? Through all of our increased desire for the spirit because of the music. I searched for it, so I found it. A miracle. A real testiment to the setting apart of a missionary absolutely great!

And now the llama for 3000 pesos which is about a dollar in the US. Probably the best dollar I have ever spent! So we got to go to the top of Bogota today and see the whole country side! Or in this case a picture of 9 million people in one counrty! Glorious! And for those in Colombia a testiment that God is preparing those people in that city for them and others.

I add my testimony. This is His Church. He directs it. His power will never be taken off the Earth before the coming of our Lord and Savior. Oh what joy if we bring but one soul unto Him. Open your mouth my family of Latter-Day Saints. People need to hear this and God will direct you if you Embark in this wonderful Journey! Which can be everday no mattter where you are! 

Lots of Love from Colombia!

Elder Alder

A Llama for 3,000!

Granadilla fruit

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Does Elder Alder know Spanish? No he doesn´t..."

Jajaja (proper spanish way to laugh, thought I should start now) I´ll explain the Title at the end!

Let´s start with a joke from our wonderful teacher Hermano Gómez! (He knows english pretty well but not everything, and he is hilarous! He is also getting sealed in the temple in 14 days!) Hermano: There are two ballons in a dessert. Us: Dessert? Hermano: Dessert!!... Desert? Two ballons in a desert and one says to the other, " Hey bro Watch out for that cactus!" "Bro what cactusssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss"

Sorry I had to! Did I tell you guys yet that last week we went out on the streets of Bogóta and contacted!! First week! And I don´t even know any spanish! It went pretty well buttomorrow we are contacting on the street for 3 horas!! I am very nervous but excited because that´s what I´ll be doing for three years! It is so great! 

One of my favorite things here in the CCM is the time we have to teach "investigadors". Elder Baker (my companion from Orem) and I are teaching Marcos ( a wine drinking futbol lover who has a wife who is a less active mormon) and Freddy (a less active 50 year old that believes in reincarnaiton). Miracle numero 1: They have us here at the CCM memorize a couple of things in spanish on entry! First our objective, second the baptismal invitation, and third the First Vision. During one of our lessons with Marcos, I quoted the First Vision in Spanish for the first time in a "real life" situation. That was the miracle. I felt the Spirit in my words and could tell Marcos did too. The Spirit is the energy of the mission and I love it. It really is the one thing that look for everyday and I have a good day!

Miracle numero 2: CRE is an excersise they have us do where we teach an "investigador" for the first time and they film us and then evaulate us. It was Elder Baker and I´s second time doing it and for some reason it was harder than the first. I couldn´t remember the scripture I wanted to share. I couldn´t think of the words to say in English or in Spanish. It was really hard and I got down on myself pretty hard. The miracle came that night while I was writing in my journal. I noticed that in the past couple of days I didn´t write about a tender mercy that I had seen that day. And I wasn´t having a prayer in my heart all day that i could have the spirit to be with me. I prayed fervently that night that I could look for the spirit every day and be able to have that energy from the spirit to help me have better days. And you know what? It works! Heavenly Father knows exactly what you need!

Okay one more thing before I talk about the title! Orar Orar Orar! (That means to pray) Do you know how many times we pray in the CCM? I think I counted 15 times in one day! Morning, night, before planning, before every meal, before every lesson and every devotional! Ore Ore Ore! I love it! I invite all to pray as much as you can and when you aren´t to have a pray in your heart because the spirit will always be with you no matter what!

Miracle #3: Okay the title! So on saturday morning, presidente assigns certain topics for Sunday talks! Everyone writes a talk and prepares as if they are going to speak in Sacrament. They have 6 to 8 people give talks every sunday but you don´t know who is giving the talk until they call your name after the sacrament! So everyone kind of gets nervous because no one knows who will be called. So this last sunday I was leading the music and assumed I would be off the hook but nope! They called "Elder Alder" and I got sooo nervous! First talk in Spanish!!! I was talking about God is our Loving Heavenly Father but it was in Spanish and I wrote it myself! Scary but once I started I felt the calming spirit of my Father. Did I say some things wrong, yeah, but at least I tried to say them wrong with the spirit! Now later that day we had a devotional with Presidente of the CCM. And let me just say I love him! And when I say that he is the most blunt person I have ever meet, I mean it in a loving manner because it is so funny some of the things he said. Including this: The devotional was on Gift of Tongues and in the middle of it he said: "Like today during sacrament" He looks at me "Does Elder Alder know Spanish? No he doesn´t" I knew it was true but it was so unexpected infront of all the Nortes, then he added, "Just like the rest of us." Then he said what the spirit told him to say even if it was a little bias "But between you and me, I think you gave a much better talk than any of the other Latinos because you prepared with the Spirit" During sacrament, I was the only Norte to speak with 6 other Latinos. 

Heavenly Father knows what you need. He knew I needed Presidente to say those words to give me confiedence that even if I can´t speak Spanish right now, he will help me use what I know after I have prepared as much as I can. The scripture 2 Nephi 25:23 "For we know that is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." Now that scripture means something a little different. Grace for all is not only being saved at the last day but also grace is everyday when we do all tha we can and somehow, someway, we do what God wants because of grace. 

I love this gospel. I love this work. Find a love for it and you will go far in whatever you do!

Con amor

Elder Alder