Monday, July 24, 2017

God be with you till we meet again Ecuador

I have been saying bye to a lot of people recently (what a surprise right?) and a lot of times I have been speechless. That is the only way I can describe how I am feeling right now. Speechless. Humbled. Grateful. Ready. Happy. Sad. Inspired. 

In the pictures you will see a couple of the many good bye pictures. With missionaries, members. It is amazing how quick people get so close to each other in a matter of weeks. (for example EFY) I feel like other role of the Holy Ghost is unify people, their thoughts, actions. Until two very different people end up getting along very well. Why? Becuase that´s the Lord´s will for us. And it is VERY hard to let those people go. I didn´t know that written behind the words in D&C 4 it says: "and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory to God, (will bring you and your heart so close to those that you serve that it will so hard to let them go) I love these people. They are so loving and it doesn´t matter if I am really wierd or don´t speak like they do, they listen. And when they feel the Spirit, they change their lives. They are challenged as we all are. But this is a special place with so many special people. I am not sure if it is for my accent but I now consider myself part Ecuadorian. "Ama la vida" 

I apologize for not writing a lot. I hope all those who can come on Sunday( I don´t have the address but maybe my parents can send y´all the info) so I can give you a BIG HUG for all you have done for me. It is more than you know. Many people will probably ask what was the most important lesson from the mission. There is A LOT that I can respond but maybe it comes down to this: " I am a disciple of Jesus Christ" and that means that EVERYDAY I can change my very being to become more and more like Him. He lives. He loves us (especially His daughters) and He wants us to come back to our Heavenly Home. The best part is we don´t have to do it alone. We have Christ pushing with us. I also have my eternally sealed family in South Jordan pushing with me as well. 
Thank you and see you (not all of you) soon! 

Elder Devan Alder (I hope this isn´t the last time I will be able to use this name)

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Recipe of a Champion

No, Sushi isn´t the recipe that I was talking about, even though is really good and I´m pretty sure eating sushi everyday would transform anyone into a champion but no it´s a different recipe. 

The recipe that I am talking about is found in the 8th chapter of Preach My Gospel. And it something that has been engraven on my heart working here in Ecuador for two years. It says there that a good goal is one that is reasonable, specfic, and that we are committed to achieve the goal. (Elder Ballard helped me understand a lot about goals during conference) But the recipe of a Champion are put a little better in the words of my dear companion Elder Vieyra, "A Champion gives ALL that he can, and then, a little more" You have to love old companions that become assistants that call you every now and then to invite you to "give a little more" one last time. 

I have mixed emotions coming to the last week of my mission. I want to smile, laugh, rejoice, sing, cry, and above all I want to give a little more. This week has to be the best week of my mission. As our mission President taught us (did I already mention this?) this is the time to seal alllll the work that we have done. I´m excited to seal it. I´m ready to run as fast as I can and THEN a little more. We already have so many things planned. We have divisions with the zone leaders and the assistants. Baptism on saturday (your prayers would be more than helpful) and I think I will be having my last interview with President here soon! What a rush! What an honor! "what a lamb!" (anyone remember that?) 

But as the famous conversation between Ammon and Aaron, "wow cool it Elder Alder, don´t let it go to your head!" Don´t worry, Elder Bednar in January taught every single missionary that ALL success is GRANTED by the Lord. Always. Forever. 
His is my light. His is the light to all the world and thanks to Him, my mission has been absolutely wonderful and it doesn´t end here!

Thank you for all your support! See you sooner than I think!

Elder Devan Alder

Monday, July 10, 2017

Back in Time

What a week! I really don´t know how to describe in words how I´ve felt this week! I certianly can´t keep up with all that is going on! 

Let´s describe the title first.

About a year ago (maybe more), after the visit of Elder Rasband, we had a little good-bye for President Torres with the Whole mission in a certain stake center in our mission. In that Stake Center, we heard some powerful last testimonies of some of the elders and sisters that would be ending their mission soon. It was a powerful meeting. The testimonies were strong and you could tell they were dedicated missionaries. And in our heart (well at lest mine), the meeting left a feeling of: "I hope I can work hard my entire mission to be able to have a testimony as strong as their´s"
Well, in that same stake center, this last Friday, I had my last Multi-Zone Conference with President Moreno and his dear wife. And I gave my "last testimony"... Sad right? (I´m sorry, I know it´s happy for the whole world, and myself included, to be able to come home, but as a missionary, it´s really quite the saddest thing) I did my best and I hope my dear missionaries here could feel the spirit. The best part was having old companions there crying with you, that helped. I couldn´t help but cry the whole confernece especially as we sang "I stand all amazed", that was the hardest song I have had to sing without crying in a loooong time!

Yeah, crying over at least for right now! Time to get to the track again and run as hard as I can! "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life" I hope to be able to say this with true intent and with faith and actions to be able to help someone! There are still people here and as President talk us this week, Every sector and the work we do there will be recorded above, so make it count! 

I am so grateful for every prayer and letter that y´all have given me. It really helps and you (and I really) have no idea what kind of effect it has on a missionary. I hope and pray that I can understand and apply the teachings of Elder Utchdorf when he said "The most important calling in the world is the one that you have right now" 

I love you all! Keep it up!

Elder Devan Alder

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's July???

Even though it hasn´t felt that long, you can tell that it has been almost two years when a member family that you met and taught at the start of your mission, goes to live in Utah for some reasons that you didn´t have a chance to talk with  them about. And that family lives in Utah for a year and a half, they meet your family, eat ecuadorian dinner with them, enjoy the utah snow, and then in your last sector they come back to ecuador saying "Hey! we were just in Utah, we saw and talked with your family". 
The Sanchez family! What a crazy experience! I didn´t even think I was going to see them again! What a great love I felt to see them again and it also made me feel like I have been here on the mission a little longer than I thought! 

I really don´t like talking about the "lasts" but this was my last fast and testimony Sunday on the mission and I actually felt super sad. I love bearing my testimony and I couldn´t let the oportunity pass! I felt the spirit super strong and I am so glad for every chance I have to say what I believe!

This week we decieded to look for new investigators in a new way! We printed out the branch Directory and we went searching! One great experience from that was when we visited a 30 year old man that was baptized when he was 11 years old. He sure thought that the church had forgotten about him but they haven´t. We just happen to go to his house the birthday of his daughter or otherwise, because of work, we would never find him. We shared a scripture of how the Lord prepares the way for ALL His children to find the truth. We testified that his wife and children would come to know the gospel through him in this time. It was a great lesson and as I gave the closing prayer, I couldn´t help but feel God´s love as I heard the husband cry.

I almost forgot to mention  (which explains one of the pictures) This week we went on a 5 hour split with James from Idaho. How is this possible?? There is a charity foundation here in Ecuador called FAOM (Not sure if that is how you spell it but that´s how it sounds) It´s baiscally only members but it is also filled with people who served here in Ecuador 25 years ago. SO a big group of Utahns, Californians, and Idaho people came here with their dentist, house builder, nurse parents to help all the children  and kids getting ready for their missions! We  got to sing for them as a Guayquil mission and President spoke to them. I really loved one of his words: he turned to us and said "I have a lot of missionaries that have asked me what a succesful missionary does and looks like. Well look at FAOM and their families. These are succesful missionaries"
If I want all that I have done here count for something, I have to stay faithful forever! (isn´t that true with our baptismal covenant)

It´s so marvelous to be out here. I would say that you are all missing out. But in reality, no matter where you are. In a place where everyone is a member or accross the seas where no one isn´t, as baptized disciples of Christ we can looking and find people that will listen to the light of Christ they have inside of them and BOOM you are a missionary. The first seconds are hard  but as you open your mouth to say "hello" suddenly everything becomes easy.

Love you all! 

Elder Devan Alder

The rest of the pictures is our little district in the Mall de Sur. I will sadly not be eating Wendys in Ecuador right now. James and I. And the Sanchez family, they have changed a lot!