Come Unto Chirst

Come Unto Chirst

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015


Dang the flu sucks. [talking about family at home all having the flu]  I haven't really been sick too much here in the field except for the normal diarrhea, lol. This one new elder got this nasty sickness, I forgot the name, but you get it from drinking like sewer water. He doesn't know what he ate or drank, but he had diarrhea for 3 weeks, nothing but water, and he lost 20 pounds. Finally, he took what we call here in the mission, the Bomb. It's two pills that basically scrape everything out of your digestive system and he's perfectly fine now, haha. 

The culture here is super cool. They go hard for "day of the dead" i don't really understand it, but everyone just gets drunk. This guy, the other day, asked us why we study the scriptures and serve missions. He basically told us we were dumb because Christ already atoned for our sins and we don't need to do anything else in this life. He was very rude and a little drunk. He said some pretty mean stuff and my companion wanted to hit him so I ended the conversation and pulled my companion away. It's a little sad, well really sad, to see people like that, so many people have such hard hearts. 

I'm doing my best, Dad, to be the best I can. I want to be 100 percent obedient so I can have the constant companionship of the Spirit in every moment. I trust God and the Savior and I want to show that through my actions by reaching the potential Heavenly Father has for me and by doing so I know I can help others do the same. 

Elder Gonzalez


Rainy season has begun, haha. It rains for hours and it rains hard. Luckily my shoes are waterproof and I have a cheap 2 dollar, but usable umbrella. This whole weekend has been Halloween. There's hundreds of people out in the street today. Everyone is decorating graves and stuff for dia de difundos, but there's also lots of street food, but as missionaries we can't eat it. Lol, its pretty cool. Almost every food stand has a whole pig on a platter and they dish out pig meat with french fries or tortillas de papa [potato tortillas], which is just like mashed potatoes fried and covered in salt. Also tons of fruit stands with caramel apples and other candy fruits. Cool tip next time you eat watermelon, put lime on it, it's super good!!!! 

Today for p-day we played dodgeball as a zone, some of us showed up early to play soccer, but we played dodgeball with toilet paper rolls.  Instructions:  Take a toilet paper roll (not used is preferable) and fold it in half so that there is no hole in the middle, then wrap it in tape. Then throw it at someone. Super fun!!
We also played a quick game of ultimate frisbee and then my companion and I went and bought a huge family sized pizza and ate it by ourselves. 

I've been doing my 30 min of exercises every day now for about 3 months. I'm starting to get kinda buff. First we go run a mile, then we come back to the house and I do three sets of 15 wide pushups with my feet up on a chair, 3 sets of 15 wide pushups normal, and three sets of 15 pushups with my hands up on the chair, followed by abs and biceps or shoulders or triceps. I gained a little bit of fat at the beginning of my mission, but almost all of it is gone now. 

We had a super good day this past week! I'd like more like it. We did 14 contacts, we taught 4 lessons and found two new investigators and both have fetcha [dates for baptism]. I mean in writing that doesn't seem like much, but in the mission it's a lot.... Our district leader was shocked and our zone leaders even commented to us the next day in zone meeting at how hard we worked. In the mission we have lots of ups and downs, but that was definitely an up.

Hope everyone at home is doing good and strengthening their testimonies, I love you guys and our Father in Heaven loves you even more.

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hey dad, work is good. People progress and fall, but my companion and I have some good goals, 10 baptisms this change and 2 rescued menos activo [less active] families. We had 7 with fech [a date] for baptism but none of them came to church, so it fell for all of them. Satan works really hard on really good people. We teach one family that are only home at night and don't have electricity so we teach by flashlight or candle light. Kinda cool. There's 3 women of that family that had fetchas [dates] and one brought her husband to church, but on the way they lost a license for his work, cell phone and some super important papers. So they went home. They are super poor and live up the mountain basically alone, but have an awesome view with a pig and a cow and cui (guinea pigs), rabbits and chickens. They are super stressed and don't have the 200 dollars to get a new license and he can't work without it. rough.... but the church is true and we are doing our best to help. 

Love you dad! Sounds like work is super crazy, haha a new boss must be weird, but it's like a new sector and a new companion, just love him lol that's all you can do. 

Elder Gonzalez


This week has been good. I'm in Amaguana or at least we live there and work mostly in Uyumbicho. It's super pretty, mountains huge pine trees, views.... It's amazing! Streets are mostly dirt except main roads that are cobblestone. It's been raining and thundering all day so kinda dim, but still misty and pretty. It rains hard and cold here and a lot. We've entered rainy season so wish me luck. 

The other day we contacted his old man, stiff, cold, blank, military looking guy with a bar mustache. Military decorated leather jacket and American looking art on his walls. His parents died when he was very young, grew up on the street, hungry his whole life, worked hard, made money and begged God to send him a loving woman to marry. He found a woman, but she turned out to be cold, bitter, mean and rude. They've been married for idk how long but he's given up on God, says that he doesn't exist. He's not there, doesn't believe in happiness, doesn't understand why anyone would want to be happy. He talked for about ten min, and I wanted to cry for him so bad. As I listened, a tear ran down my cheek and I begged Heavenly Father to touch his heart as I spoke... I bore my testimony of the plan of salvation, that we have a father in heaven and that we can have happiness both in this life and the next. My companion asked if we could pray, still standing in his doorway, rain falling on our backs. My companion offered it and prayed for this man directly in the prayer. He ended the prayer, the man stood and looked into the distance still cold and empty, but there was something in his eye. We stood there and he began to speak again. He explained his past briefly again, and expressed how when testigos and catholics and christianas come to his door to talk, they are mean and attack him with words and his wife yells at him to come away from the door and to stay inside. But with us his wife said nothing, just sat in the kitchen bitter and mean, but no words and that we were kind. He said, I hope one day I can know God like you do.¨He took the plan of salvation pamphlet and looked at it and said, I'm going to read this. And that was that. We said goodbye and went on our way. I think we will go back there this week, I know he felt something and caught a glimmer of hope. His heart is rough and hard on the outside but within there is a child of God dying to have some kind of hope. 

Every day I am here my testimony grows, the mission is not easy, but I know that there is always hope.  It hurts my heart to see someone blame and dismiss God because things went wrong in this life. I know this life isn't easy, but I have almost literally felt the arms of Christ around me in some of my lowest moments of my life. He lives and he loves us so much. Please, please do not ever forget that Christ lives, that we have a Heavenly Father, and that all of us, even the worst of us have the potential to become just like our Father and Heaven. Look to your neighbor and lift them up and as you do, you will feel even greater the love of Christ. 

I love you guys and am so grateful for each and every one of you. Trust your Heavenly Father and I promise, and even more important, He promises that He will take care of us!

Elder Gonzalez

my scripture his week is moroni 10 32

*Here's a link to a free online Book of Mormon to look up the scripture above.  You can also read the Bible from this link.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

WOOOOOw super excited!!!! I'm being transferred today to Los Chillos its near Quito. I'll give you better info later today!!! 

You guys are awesome!!!

Wow! Changes already...  yes, please let us know!

yea for sure, love you guys, I'll write some more when I get there. Super nervous for a change, Ambato has become my home.

Everywhere you go will become your home! That's how you know that you are serving with your heart! Love you!

So I am here in Los Chillos, el barrio(ward) selva alegre. Apparently I'm in a red zone of cotopaxi [the volcano] so if it blows I'm right in its path, comforting right?  Lol, I'll be fine, don't worry.  President is on top of all volcanic action. Um, my companion is Elder Tzun from Guatemala and he's got 20 months in the mission, two changes left, I might be his last companion..... Crazy. I'm in el campo, very country, lots of cows and chickens and farm land, so far, but very tanquillo [tranquil] and pretty and green, and a little hotter than Ambato. It's nice though, I really like it so far. 

It's weird to leave my first sector. It's like leaving home all over again, but I'm excited for this change. My companion wants to end his mission strong, our goal is 10 baptisms this change, apparently we already have 6 with fetchas. Super excited!!!

Miss all of you guys and I send lots of love!

Elder Gonzalez

P.S. the time is going way too fast, I almost have 6 months..... its really crazy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

I'm just on for a few minutes right now... thought I'd answer some questions, ok so with packages I'll give you some ideas of what to send...
my jogger pants with the elastic at the ankle
candy(sweedish fish, sourpatch...)
a pocket knife
a flash drive to put pictures on to keep safe
deer jerky
If I come up with other ideas I'll tell you. 
With the camera deal, it's probably more expensive to buy here... but probably safer... if you want you could send it, I would take a pair of wool socks and hide it in the bundle part of the socks if you send one, if not I can just take out some money to buy one I need like 50 bucks more or so to have enough I think to buy one here.... I'll have to look some more. 
When you send the package, if you do, they have white mail bags that you can send the stuff in instead of a box and it's cheaper and faster and doesn't get checked.... just an idea.

any other questions?

Later in the evening...


This change has been really hard. So far in 5 weeks we have taught and found 28 new people, but none of them have progressed, but miracles happen and this past week we found the family Ortiz Leon, and they are so cool. So a bunch of citas [appointments] fell this past Wednesday, and so we were knocking some doors on a street we have never seen before and on the 5th door/gate, this kid named Javier came to the door. We introduced ourselves and asked if his parents were home, he said just a sec., his mom came to the door and said come in come in, and that never happens, I mean for someone to say yea come right on in is a rarity. So we walked into the living room and their whole family one after the other filled in, 6 is a big family here. (mom, dad married for 20 years, daughter 19 years old, daughter 18 years old, son 17 years old, and daughter 8 years old) and they came in and sat down all ready to listen. So still in shock (we thought it was a joke) my companion and I introduced ourselves and got to know them a little bit, then we started, explained about who we are, what our message is about and we started with a prayer. They had a few questions but mostly just listened super intently. The little girl was super cute, she reminded me of Mari, she read in the scriptures and was so good and sat still and listened and was interested. We ended with a prayer and the dad offered it. We came back the next day and the dad had to go to work but they had read and studied the pamphlet of lesson 1 all the way so we left them a Book of Mormon and came back the next day. They had lots of questions, and we helped them understand lesson one more in depth. They had read three chapters of the Book of Mormon together, they have some doubts but they come from a different background so they have reason to be confused, but they promised to come to church and they did except for the dad because he had to work. Tonight we have a noche de Hogar con ellos y una otra familia y obispo [family home evening with them and another family and the bishop]. They are super awesome and have great desires to learn and they are so smart. They have a baptism date for the 31 of this month.

I'm ending my second change in the mission and finishing my training. Not sure what's gonna happen this next change but I'm ready for whatever. 

Miss everyone at home, stay strong, read your scriptures, say your prayers with your heart, and always go to church. 

Elder Gonzalez

Hey dad,

Thanks for the email, that really helped, things have been hard but also really great, and the great always triumphs. I'm super grateful for your example in my life, I don't know much about your youth, but you've been an awesome father. One of my alltime favorite pictures of us I think is in the green shoe box mom has of pictures of me. It's a photo of me and you sitting at the edge of a pond fishing and I'm super small and you were like tickling me or something so we are both laughing hysterically, it's an awesome picture. 

My English is getting worse and worse. I don't know how I'm gonna go back to school when I get home or speak Spanish. Spanish is so much easier to speak. Well, as I learn it, it seems more and more simple. 

This past week we found a family of 6 people, awesome family, Ortiz Leon es el apellido de la familia, y ellos asistieron este domingo pasado menos el padre porque el tuvo trabajo. pero cuando dejamos una libro de mormon con ellos, ellos leeron tres capitulos y el folleto del leccion uno. Voy poner mas informacion sobre ellos en mi carta a mama. Pero estoy animado por el progression de este familia. 

y bueno, con sus preguntas sobre mis compañeros y todo, yo olvido mi papel en la casa entonces no tengo conmigo ahora, pero el proximo lunes voy a enviar el informacion a usted. 

creo que el español de mexico es bien differente que aqua en ecuador, la gente aqui dicen que mexicanos hablen con mucho volgur.. pero yo no se, como es en san antonio y argentina? differente, casi el mismo o que? 

si quere puede escribir a yo en español, y voy a mejorar mi abilidad escribir en español. solo para practicar. pero ya. 

I miss you a ton and hope all is well in the family and in the stake. 

Love you dad,

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wow.... Conference was incredible. Never in my life have I actually stayed up and intently listened and taken notes on every single speaker. I was able to listen in English. I have about 25 pages of notes from conference. I am so very grateful for the divine callings of prophets and apostles and for their willingness to give their whole souls to the Lord. There are so many talks I would like to talk about, but there is no where near enough time to share all my thoughts. I'll start with a few ideas I pulled out of the general spirit of conference. First the plan of salvation is real, God exists and Christ does too, they work through divinely called leaders in the church. Second, what we learn in the scriptures and from the word of prophets and apostles are not just good words to hear, they are things to apply. Application of what we learn is essential to holding on to the "old ship zion" we can not jump out and try to swim to exaltation on our own. Third, the sacrament is so incredibly important to our lives and to our salvation. We received very strong correction from Francisco J. Viñas, as he told us we should not be late to sacrament and we should not arrive without preparing ourselves before. Go back and watch that one... from the first session on Saturday, and the talk by Elder Eyring was super good too where he spoke of the role of the spirit in our lives through the sacrament. Fourth, the men that are called as leaders of the church are men called of God, we need to sustain them by applying the things they teach, if we do not apply what we learn, they serve us no purpose. My question is how long will it be until we forget what was taught. 1 week... 2 weeks..,. a month? ...or do we have to wait 6 months to relearn and reapply.... if you ask me each conference is a step in a staircase to exaltation. Are we just jumping up and down on the first step or are we slowly making our way up the stairs building ourselves upwards off of each step. We need to apply everyday until it is habit, that is how we become like christ, apply what we have learned in our hearts, nuestro corezones. I'd like to share a few of my notes from one of the talks, one of my favorites. 

This is from some of my reflection on conference.
" The Talk by Larry R. Lawrence is one of my favorite talks thus far into conference. First thing is first we must be humble and teachable and if we are, the Lord will take us by the hand and show us the way. Then we must pray and if we are to receive an answer we must be willing to act when we receive that answer. That is part of being teachable. As we ask humble, sincere questions in prayer, the spirit will give us personalized answers that may shock us. The spirit is going to be honest with us. Sacrament is the perfect time to reflect on ourselves and ask the question "what lack I yet." Elder Lawrence then gave us a commitment (in spanish we say compromiso... not sure if that's a good translation) to kneel down and sincerely and humbly ask "what is keeping me from progression?" with the desire and humility to act on whatever answer we receive. the speed of our progression is nowhere near as important as is our direction, towards Exaltation." 

Before my mission I knew nothing... suddenly it is as if my eyes are opening, I am understanding things in my heart that I always knew in my mind. This is crucial I think to our progression... the growth of understanding in one's heart... there is so much more I would like to share but my words are not the prophets, for this reason I invite all of you to get on the church website and watch these talks again and take heartfelt notes even on things you do not think apply to you. I'd like to end with my reflections on elder Holland's talk. 

As usual Jeffrey R holland gave a powerful talk specifically of and too mothers. Christ's love for us is just like that of a mothers, never failing. This love of a mother to her child is divine and because it is divine children can cause their mothers great pain, the same way they cause the savior pain. I echo the word of Elder Holland, but specifically to my mother "Thank you, you are doing Better than you think you are."

Want to know more about what the Prophet asked of us?  Click on the link below:

This link below will take you to all of the wonderful conference talks spoken about above:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

This week has been really long and hard. No one is progressing right now. I think the Lord is working on me and my companion's humility and patience. On top of having a hard week, my companion got a super bad migraine and he thinks he will have it for a few days. He's really out of it so I'll probably be doing most of the work today and tomorrow with teaching and planning and stuff. I've been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the first time. I'm in 1 Nefi 15. In chapter 7, I believe, Laman and Lemuel are going back to Jerusalem and left Nefi tied up in the desert. Nefi breaks free because of his faith (super cool scriptures) and then he's guided by the Spirit to seek out his brethren, and everything he says comes from what the spirit directs. He calls his brethren to repentance and convinces them to return to the tent of their father. If Nefi didn't listen to the words of the Spirit right then, the entire Book of Mormon would be different. A completely different story and history and maybe even an entire different history of the American continents. I mean Columbus was directed by the Lord to come to the Americas. It's prophesied of in Nefi chapters 10, 11, 12, 13, I believe, but what if Nefi didn't listen to the Spirit and let Laman and Lemuel go back to Jerusalem. There never would have been a Lamanite nation...... there may not have been a need for Columbus or even the creation of the United States and the preparation for the restoration of the Gospel would have had to be set up in some other manner. Crazy! ...and all because one guy spoke by the spirit, that he was worthy to have the spirit and had faith enough in the Lord to trust the spirit. 

The last few chapters of Moroni will change the way you look at life.... Moroni writes to his son, unsure if he will ever see him again because of the wars with the Lamanites. He talks about the wickedness of the Laminites... cannibals and stuff, and yet at the end of chapter 8 he tells his son to pray for them..... these Lamanites are killing, murdering, raping women and children, and Moroni has enough love that he desires his son to pray for them, not only that, but in chapter 9 he tells his son to be diligent in the work... What work is there to be done... the Lamanites are done for, they are so far from the Lord, they are denying the Holy Ghost even after knowing him..... but Moroni desires his son to be diligent in the work and to pray for the Lamanites... if that is not the pure love of Christ I don't know what it is.... If you read the scriptures, not with your eyes, but with your heart, you will understand sooo much. These people existed, they lived and breathed. Just imagine what it will be like to meet these men, these prophets after this life.... and then think just what it might be like to meet Christ.... who was perfect, without sin.... Will we be able to look up at him in the eyes and say that we have loved him? 

The scriptures are a tool that we overlook way too much. I wish I had read them with a depth that I read them now. If I had one wish it would be that every person would read the book of mormon with their heart.... applying every word to their lives..... if we could do that, if we could be faithful in reading and feasting on the words of Christ, we could change this world in a blink of an eye. The prophets tell us this over and over, we hear it in primary, in seminary, in FHE, in church, from our parents and leaders that we should read our scriptures and we don't. And why not? We don't have time, we forget, we don't want to, it's hard, why????  We don't do it because we don't understand them... the scriptures are not just words they are not just a book to read, they are the words of Christ, the words of God. They are the words of life... the key to life is reading the scriptures and applying them in our hearts. It's hard, we are busy people, we have things to do in our lives..... but we are not on this earth to sleep, to play video games, to hang out with friends, to text, to do chores, to take vacations, to waste time..... We are here to become like our Heavenly Father, to learn, to strengthen faith, to repent, to be baptized and then persevere until the end spiritually. Why do we go to church?  Why do we keep commandments?  Because we are supposed to? or because we love our Heavenly Father? 

Read the scriptures with your heart, and ask Heavenly Father for help to do so and your eyes will be opened. 

Our Heavenly Father lives. He loves us. Christ lives and loves us too. This church is Christ's church, restored to this earth with a living prophet as our guide. This coming weekend we have the chance to listen to our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who speaks directly to God, who holds all the restored priesthood keys of this earth for the church of Jesus Christ. Find a notebook and a good pen, and open your hearts to every word he says, pray for guidance and pray for revelation. Through the words of the prophet and the apostles, through the words of God, we can edify our lives and sanctify our lives if we apply what is taught. If we forget what is taught in a couple of weeks and stop applying it because we forgot or it's too hard or we don't have the patience or time, what good does a prophet do us? We have tools on this earth to use them. Before my mission, I didn't understand that. I overlooked them. And I was "too busy" to use them. But they are there waiting to be used. Please use them. I don't know a whole lot, I'm a 19 year old kid, but i know, with my entire soul that these things are true, and i promise, that if we are diligent in our hearts at using these tools, one day we will return to live in our Father's home for eternity with a happiness unlimited. Do not give up a future like that for a video game, for a chore, or for any other thing that satan might put in your way. 

I miss you all and love you all so very much. Stay stong, read your scriptures and keep pushing on. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. Your soul is great in the sight of God. 

Elder Gonzalez 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015


Regular letters go to the mission office... not sure the adress, I'll look it up and I read emails online. P-days are always different. Today we went to a park as a zone, 24 missionaries and played sports. My Spanish is apparently really good for how much time I have, apparently I speak as though I have 6 months. I have 2 plus a month and a half in the MTC. LOL, so good I guess. Write me in Spanish to test me, although your Spanish is probably different than mine. My companion is Elder Bentley, from utah. He's awesome, he has 11 months. We get along super well and teach really well too. Packages I don't know much about. What would I like.... rootbeer..... lol, ummmm idk what else.... anything really, letters, maybe my cargo jogger pants lol idk really I've got most everything... texas tortillas Lol

You're the best, mom!

OK, answers to questions super fast cuz we only have 45 min today because we had a zone activity on the top of a mountain. 

My momita cooks us food, that's it, lunches for two weeks cost 25 bucks and dinners 20, so every two weeks we pay her 45 each, a total of 90 from our apoyo, we get 120 every two weeks. 7 bucks goes to lights and 5 to water, we get reimbursed for that, light and water. The mamita of the hermanas does our laundry for free because she has a washing machine. People here normally wash clothes on concrete slabs. 

OK, strangest thing that happened, um how do I explain this, the guy I baptized, well he stole my camera and a phone from a bishop as well as 40 dollars and he disappeared he doesn't answer his phone and he's never at home..... sucks because I felt like I baptized someone not ready and I don't have a camera. Anyways yea... strange, sucky, lame.... yea... Best thing, me and my new companion have been contacting all week, we had 85 contacts this week, a high number and we found three new families to start teaching as well as a family that we have been teaching has committed to get married so they can be baptized. Lots going on.

Service is random, we helped build a concrete roof one time and we helped empty a messy house one time, other than that random service in the street.

My sector is super small so in the sector we walk EVERYWHERE, lol but when we have to go somewhere far it's by bus or taxi, and mom if you thought my driving was crazy you should see the busses here. haha 

No ash is falling here wind carries it a different direction. 

Other than that from my sector I can see three volcanoes two of which are erupting there are currently 4 volcanoes erupting, just spitting ash. There's like 30 other volcanoes in this mission though.

But I'm safe working hard speaking better Spanish every day. Missing everyone at home, especially your cooking mom, seriously am so tired of rice. lol welcome to ecuador.

Love you mom, 
Keep Maya in line with boys, and tell her I said that, lol.

Below are pictures that the Mission President and his wife posted from their recent Zone Conference
 September 21, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

*Elder Gonzalez is now substituting English words with Spanish.  We will put [ ] around a translation for those that don't speak Spanish.  

We have a baptism this coming Saturday for a guy who was catolica [Catholic], but he just knows everything we teach him is true, he has zero doubts, questions yes, but doubts none. 

For the most part, issues here are 1. marriage  2. religion (catolica) 3. drugs/alcohol 4. they just are crazy....
For work, there are lots of little stores here, most people either own a little store or work in one. there are about a billion taxi drivers and bus drivers as well. But most people have tierra en el campo y [land in the country and] sell their stuff they grow and soda and food, pan... [bread...] It's just like one giant flea market. It's like if you took San Antonio and made the whole city into a flea market, that's Ecuador, or at least Ambato. 

Ok food, rice - no seasonings just white rice... very plain, but here a meal sin [without] rice is not a meal.
Soup - lots of soups, I don't know how they make it but it's just like a broth, always broth, with chicken, potatoes, y queso de sopa [and soup cheese]. We had one soup that was exactly like clam chowder, but with camerones (shrimp) but it was like brown not white, but sooo goood. Other thing is, you might like this, sometimes when soup is just broth they put popcorn in the soup to give it a filling substance. They just pop a bowl of popcorn and everyone takes handfuls and puts it in the soup. For instance tomato soup they do that. Weird, but it's not baaaaad.... just not great....

Food here can be salty and it can be bland. One of my favorite things is verde [green] or platenos... [bananas...] Not sure how to spell it, but they have like a million types of bananas here and they fry them and it's super goood. 

No cuy [guinea pig] yet, I'm hoping! Fingers crossed.

My area here is really small, and really hard.. Not many people really progress and if they do it's incredibly slow except for the guy getting baptized on Saturday,  he's way cool. 

Hey Dad,

 I answered your questions, let me know if you have more, it's hard to think of everything and say it all too. 

Just wanted to let you know my testimony is stronger than ever and growing each day. This church is true. This gospel is the Gospel of Christ. It can bless our lives immensely. As I read more and more, I find so many cool things and things that touch other people's hearts. The keys to conversion are reading, praying and then assisting [attending] church. When we do these simple things with diligence, with faith and an eye single to God, then we find direction, we find change and we find ourselves in the path of righteousness. I'm grateful for you and mom, for helping me to get to where I am. I love you and the family. And miss you guys sooo much. People here are kinda crazy, but they are the Lord's children and our brothers and sisters and for that I love them all, as crazy, as drunk and as prideful as they may come, they all have the same potential as me to become like our Father in Heaven and for that I try each day to show them my love. I never pass by a person without a hello or a smile and most often there will be no reply, but I'm planting every seed I can and helping each seed already planted to grow as strong as can be. I'm not perfect but I do my best and pray they will come to be as strong as can be, to become great trees, tall and strong. 


I don't think this computer will let me send photos, so next week. 

My companion is finishing his mission this week. He leaves this coming Sunday and I'll get a new companion that next day I think. We have a baptism this Saturday, which is super cool. All he needs is an interview tomorrow so we will see what happens. He's super cool and really wants baptism.

Not much has happened this week.  It flew by really fast. I'm super tired. We've worked really hard this week!
Not really sure what else to say. If you guys have any questions, feel free to ask them. I answered a bunch of questions dad had in the email I sent him. 

Hope everything is well at home, everything is good here, just really tired. 

-Elder Gonzalez

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

So Cotopaxi [the volcano] is smoking, but that's about it. We have evacuation plans and emergency plans so I'll be fine. If it blows I'll head further south, so don't worry, I'll be safe. We actually drove past Cotopaxi on our way back from Quito so I took a few pictures. I'll send them. I've never seen a volcano before so it was pretty wild. I think the ice cap has melted or is melting which is really dangerous for the surrounding areas with huge mudslides that could cover towns and cities. It's super crazy what would happen if it did blow, but it's not likely. 

About the rice, seriously it's just white rice with nothing in it with a piece of chicken or hard beef, and a bowl of soup. The soup here is amazing!!! I don't eat many vegetables, lettuce and tomato is about it. there is this one fruit that is pretty crazy. I can't remember the name but it's loco sour, enserio!!! It's yellow and small like a grape, but kinda like a little tomato texture. 

Sorry I don't have any more time to write. I love you guys, stay safe and be good. Say your prayers and read your scriptures every day.  3rd nephi chapter 11 is always a good one. 

Elder Gonzalez

Hey Dad,
I'll check out D&C 5 and 6, I don't have any more time to write but I'll answer your questions first when I get on next.

What mission did you serve in in Argentina? 

Give me advice for people who need relationship help and encouragement and a desire to get married. That's a huge struggle and also some advice on how to activate members in missionary work. 

I love you a ton, sounds like Maya had a great birthday. She's a good kid and she'll be awesome cuz she has awesome parents, love you gtg. 

Elder Gonzalez


Wow Maya looks super tan!!! and super old!! I didn't know that that elder emailed my dad, thats pretty cool, it was nice to meet someone else from san antonio and talk about times we may have met at multi stake activities and stuff, super cool.

Grandma, you would not believe how many stray dogs there are here, and how incredibly skinny they are. They all look like they are going to die any minute. It's really crazy, and all they eat is trash on the street. But besides the dogs, its super pretty here, and the temperature is always like 70ish every day. At night it's a little cooler, como 60 or 55. 

Miss you a ton and am so grateful for your love and support. How is Haley doing, does she love colorado yet?

Elder Gonzalez

Sister Christensen says, "Cotopaxi has continued to spew ash during the week.  This photo was taken from the mission home Saturday morning.  The official reports continue to say that an eruption with lava is unlikely."
Elder Gonzalez is currently residing in Ambato which is about 40-45 miles southwest of Cotopaxi.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Good afternoon President Gonzalez, I was able to obtain your email address from CDOL, and I would only like to comment on your son's excellent service here in the country. 
My name is Elder Rogers, and I'm serving from the Hill Country Stake here in the Ecuador Quito Mission. I was able to meet your son during a regional conference with Elder Waddell in Ambato, and missionaries of my zone stayed the night in your son's (very clean) apartment. Apart from the surprise that we are serving from the same city, I was very impressed with your son's Spanish, I mistook him for a missionary of 6 months, and additionally, his conduct is very mature for his age and time on the mission. Observing him during the conference and at night during daily planning, I was surprised by the way he was able to analyze the needs of the investigators and work with his companion to plan how to resolve them. His skills are those of an experienced and talented missionary, and what he was able to learn at home has helped him much on the mission. I look forward to a future day in the which he receives the assignment to help the work as one of my leaders.
Thank you for preparing him to serve in the Lord's vineyard here in Ecuador. We need many more prepared and obedient missionaries in this part of the world.

With love and appreciation,
Elder Joshua Rogers
Líder de Distrito - Riobamba Sur


So the hair cutting lady screwed up my hair bad today..... as she was buzzing my hair, the guard fell off and she buzzed to the scalp on the upper part of my head.... so then before I could really say or do anything she started buzzing the sides.... like almost bald.... so i have a mohawk thing right now.... its the best she could do to fix it without me going bald.... and tonight my companion and I have to go back to Quito because all the new missionaries have a three week check up to see our progress so I get to go meet with president with a mohawk and I really don't think he will approve.... hopefully they can maybe fix my hair without buzzing it all.... lol ecuador..... 

Anyways, this week has been really fast. We had a member of the area 70 come, Elder Wardel, that was really cool. He gave an awesome talk and I learned a ton. He talked about how the purpose of the priesthood is to create eternal families and how the purpose of a mission is to help people get to the temple so they can then make it to our Heavenly Father again. He talked about a lot of other stuff too, but that's a quick one sentence summary. 

I haven't gotten sick yet so I'm doing good. I'm just a little bored with eating rice at every meal. But I will say the fruit, the natural fruit drinks and the bread here is amazing and cheap. We have a bakery right across the street from our house, and like 5 others within 2 min of walking distance close by. It's awesome. 

One quick thing, the part members play in missionary work is huge! What members can do for less actives and investigators is really amazing. As members, we should do all we can to make investigators welcome, seek out less actives and love them and help and invite them to come back to church. When members show love to investigators and to less actives it changes people's hearts and helps them see the light and truth of the gospel. Members really do play a huge role. I know everyone in the church knows someone that isn't a member. These are called references, give them to the missionaries. It doesn't matter if they are catholic, baptist, atheist or testigos de Jehova, they are children of our Heavenly Father. If you don't think they are interested it doesn't matter if you think they won't accept, it doesn't matter, tell the missionaries. Every person on this earth needs to know the truth, they are our brothers and sisters, show them love, the love that Christ showed to all, even those that persecuted Him and invite them and help them, be an example, give the missionaries all the references you have and then help the missionaries contact these people, in your homes, at the park, do all you can to help the missionaries help other people to know the truth. I can not express enough how important the members are. Being in the field I see and understand and really wish while I was in high school, on sports teams, I had done more to help my friends find the missionaries and start on the path back to our Father in Heaven. Miracles happen and you never know what could happen if you open your mouth, so open your mouth and do all that you can in the Obra missional. 

I miss everyone back home and love you all so much. Thank you for all your prayers and emails and love. It's a huge help each Monday. You are my care package each Monday and I apreciate it so much!

-Elder Gonzalez
Me being awesome

Everyday things as a missionary:  Planner with homemade cover, watch with an italian coin in the middle, coin pouch, and a nametag
This is my companion.
he has a few words to say.
I was raised by a clan of gnomes. in a small place called KilmKettle.
Many know me by the name of Twig. And Coppertop. and Scrongy. and Waldo. and UK. 
I am very well famous for my skills with the blade, and my wonderful taste in tin pottery but that is another story"

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dad! Guess what?? I gutted about 15 or so trout, yes trout, with another elder for a guy who owns a restaurant and he cooked us a free one!!! That was in Baños. I think you would like it there. Tons of cool hikes and sights to see. We went to see Pailon Del Diablo, this massive waterfall and it was super cool. Also I know you can't have gluten, but the pandarias here have the most amazing bread!!!! I think of all the things you would like here as I'm walking around. Like at the waterfall there was this rope bridge but with cables and I wish you could have been there because I know you would have jumped on it or shaken it so it would sway and freak everyone out including mom!

My companion and I have had some struggles in our lessons where investigators and less actives talk a ton and don't really let us talk and it's always about random stuff so it makes it hard to have a strong spirit. How can we fix that or change that or do better in having the spirit in the lesson?

Miss you a ton and hope you're safe in all your travels.

Elder Gonzalez

Wow...This week was a gooood week.

At the beginning of the week, on Tuesday night, we did splits with the ward so I went to an appointment with two guys and my companion went to another appointment with other members. We went to teach Milton at his work. He is a security guard for this street in front of a driving school. He is a very interesting guy... odd beliefs but a good guy all the same. Anyways, he was too busy for us so we headed back to the church. One of the guys I was with, I didn't know, so I started asking him about himself. I came to find out he wasn't a member. We got to the church sat down and he was called out of the room to talk to someone, and I was left in the room with his cousin, who is a member, Israel is his name. Israel told me how his cousin had always searched for God and was in a different church but is a super strong believer in God. So Moises, the non-member, comes back and I asked him what he knew about the church and he said he had read one paragraph of the Book of Mormon and when he came back to read it, his dad (a priest of another church) had thrown it away. But Moises said he had always wanted to know more. So I pulled out my Book of Mormon and had him read the last two paragraphs of the introduction and bam, something hit him hard in his heart. I waited a second and then asked him what he felt and he broke down right in front of me. He said all his life he had searched for God and he had thought he had found it in the other church, but he felt in that moment was something he couldn't explain. Then Israel testified, I testified and I invited him to pray to know the truth. He doesn't live in my sector and he has some challenges to overcome, but he was at church on Sunday. The night after our meeting on Tuesday he read 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon and he is progressing super well. 

I don't speak Spanish well at all, I don't understand it well at all either, but in that lesson there wasn't a single thing I didn't understand. The spirit I felt with Moises was as if the room was on fire. It was incredible. It is something I will never forget and I really hope and pray that Moises will be baptized and make it to the temple with his family.

OK, for a change of subject. Today our district traveled to Baños, Ecuador to see Pailon Del Diablo, which is a huge waterfall in the jungle it was amazing!!! Seriously amazing!!!! I got to stand behind it in the side of this cliff and it was sooo cool. One of the coolest places I've been besides Yellowstone. There are not words to describe how cool it was. Then our district climbed up to this open area and we had a first vision study all alone in the mountains of Ecuador. It was super cool. I'll send pictures. 

My companion is still awesome, this week has been hard but the little special moments make everything awesome. We are seeing little by little progression. We had three investigators at church on Sunday from our sector. There is a set of sisters in our ward as well. There are three wards in our building and there is a set of sisters and a set of elders for each ward. Pretty cool. 

I hope everything is well at home. It sounds like everyone is super busy like me. lol. I hope everyone is having fun and enjoying their summer. As always i miss everyone. 

Also mom, your spiritual messages each week are awesome. Thank you so much! I miss you a ton and love you a ton as well!

-Elder Gonzalez

Pailon Del Diablo

Behind the waterfall.

My companion, Elder Scanlon, being awesome.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hey Dad, 
It's hard. Like really hard, but I'm trying to do my best. Speaking is the hardest, because I don't know a lot of words for just talking with people. Teaching isn't so bad, but just chatting is like the hardest thing. Our area is really small, there's lots of work to be done, we never stop working, but people are hard to find. When we contact people we never know their direction (address) and when we go to follow up, people don't answer. We have had some success though this week and it feels good when we do. It keeps me excited to work more. We do lots of visits with the ward mission leaders and a few other brethren. Maybe half of our visits are with a members present so thats really helpful. There are lots of less actives to work with and lots of service. I spent a few hours in the morning the other day putting a concrete roof on a house. We mixed concrete, poured it in these huge buckets and then this levi pulled the buckets to the roof where they poured the cement! It was really hard work but it was cool because the members we were helping loved how hard I worked so that broke down some barriers and we got to joking and laughing. Its hard, its not easy at all, but I love it!  It's awesome. 

There are two sisters in my district from Argentina. What mission and parts of Buenos Aires did you serve in? 

I miss you a ton, lol try to have fun at work ;P 

-Elder Gonzalez

Hey mom,
I miss you guys a ton, I am in Ambato, its very different but very pretty! My companion is Elder Scanlon. He's pretty cool! He only has 5 weeks left in his mission, so I get to kill him. That's what they call going home. so he gives birth to me and I kill him! Pretty funny!! He is way into fantasy and loves larping (thats where they dress up in medieval stuff and fight in wars!)  Interesting but cool. This week has been really hard internally for me. The language is hard. There are times when I understand and times when i don't, the hardest thing for me though is speaking. I never really know how to add to a conversation.  I can teach but holding casual conversation is soooo hard. I keep trying to understand and not let myself focus on what I don't know and what i can't say. I've been pretty home sick in the back of my mind this week, I just try not to think about it. 

It sounds like you guys had a really awesome trip, I'm super jealous! And that bear incident would have been pretty freaky, but I'm with Dad, I would have wanted to see it :P 

Calling at the airport was hard to get an answering machine and not know your cell just because I was excited to call. 

Dad would like Ambato I think, lots of neat little shops and it's a pretty big city. I think Dad would have a lot of fun wandering around the city. 

Today we made empanadas with the sisters in our district who are from Argentina. They were soooo good!!!! The food here in ecuador always has like a mountain of rice with it, and a bowl of soup, so I guess I've been sent here to learn to like soup. All the food is pretty good and is all prepared by our Momita. She's a member of the ward and we pay her every two weeks and she makes us lunch and dinner every day! Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. 

We haven't had a lot of success in our area this past week. Our area is really small so contacting is hard because a lot of people are from outside our area. And the people that we do teach are hard to find. But we have taught quite a few lessons and it's cool to meet with real people and listen to what they have to say. My first day was really cool. We taught this family, a mom, dad and a kid, they are not married, and are having a hard time understanding why marriage is important. I got to ask them some questions and then I bore my testimony of the importance of my family to me and talked about some other stuff, but the spirit was so strong and the dad was practically in tears at the end of the lesson but was trying really hard to fight it. I think that family will progress. I'm excited for them. 

 I miss you guys a ton. I'm super grateful for all your prayers and emails, they keep my spirits up!!!

 -Elder Gonzalez

New Missionaries with their "trainers" 
"Trainer" Elder Scanlon and Elder Gonzalez in Ambato, Ecuador

***Sam and Mom exchanged a couple quick emails because we were on the internet at the same time, so Mom asked what was in the filling of the empanadas and Sam said that they had ground beef, cheese, onions and peppers.  Yum!