Come Unto Chirst

Come Unto Chirst

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!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey dad,

I have no time to write, this is just a little note to let you know I'm safe. I arrived in Quito about 11ish today and I've already had a lesson and read mom's email. I love you so much and hope the family trip is awesome. Take great pictures for me, that ram is super cool!!! I love you all and miss you all so much. Stay safe, have fun, and don't forget to read the scriptures and pray together on the trip. I miss you a ton but I'm doing really good and loving every moment here. Pray for me to learn this language and to have the strength to make it through the first few months here, its going to be tough!

-Elder Gonzalez

Hey mom, 

I'm in Quito safe and sound. I got to fly first class it was super nice!! The flight was only an hour and 10 min long. Quito is absolutely beautiful. Just stunning!! The mountains are massive, they make Colombia look tiny. Today we had interviews with president and hung out at the church building. One of the zone leaders took me on a little trip to a member family's house where we shared a quick message about the sons of mosiah. I was able to bare my testimony and understood almost the whole discussion. I am the only new missionary in my group to actually do stuff yet. It was seriously so cool!!! I dont have much time but I love you guys and miss you guys. 

P.S. I left a voice mail on the home phone from the airport. I couldn't remember your cell number so I wasn't able to call you guys directly. Stay safe and have tons of fun and BTW I got all your letters. Thank you sooo much!!! 
 -Elder Gonzalez

Dear Brother and Sister Gonzalez ,
We are so pleased that Elder Gonzalez is serving in the Ecuador Quito Mission.  We welcome him with all our hearts and know that the special gifts he has been given from our Father in Heaven  and talents he has developed will bless the lives of those with and for whom he serves in a unique way only he can offer.  His dedicated service will further increase his abilities and character in remarkable ways.
There are currently 229 missionaries in our mission, serving in 14 zones.    Elder Gonzalez has been assigned to serve in Ambato with Elder Scanlon as his companion and trainer.  Elder Scanlon is known by the other missionaries as being hardworking, diligent,  excellent missionary.
   Attached are several photos that show Elder Gonzalez with his companion;  the group of missionaries with whom he arrived; and the group with their new trainers.  I have also invited you to a Facebook site for families of missionaries currently serving in our mission.  I encourage you to add pictures as he sends them to you.
We know and understand that there is sacrifice on your part both emotionally and financially to support him during this period of full time missionary service and we express our gratitude for your offering to further the work of inviting others to come unto Christ and to receive the blessings of the Gospel in their lives.
With our love and gratitude,
President and Sister Christensen
Misión Ecuador Quito

First day in Quito, Ecuador

Elder Gonzalez, first day in Quito, Ecuador

President and Sister Christensen and Elder Gonzalez

Elder Gonzalez with his new trainer, Elder Scanlon

New Missionaries and their trainers.

New Quito, Ecuador Missionaries

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Holy cow, this week has been an absolute roller coaster. I received my latino companion about 4:30 Wednesday, he is from Florencia, Colombia. He's 18 and his name is Elder Silva. He's awesome! Everyone says we are the exact same person because of our humor and how we act. He has been awesome, but it's amazing how hard it is to only hear and speak spanish all day everyday. Mornings are great, I understand most everything and can speak and contribute. Afternoons get hard because I get tired from focusing on spanish, and nights get really rough. I've broken down more than once in the past few days. When I'm tired I start to get lost in conversations.  I can't keep up and I feel like a burden to my companion and class, but I'm just doing my best to make each day better than the day before.

I only have 4 days left in the MTC. It's crazy to think I've been here for 6 weeks. I can't comprehend that I'm actually going to be teaching real lessons in spanish in a few days. I'm super excited and super nervous as well.

Today was my last time probably to go to the temple for the next 22 and a half months. I enjoyed the Bogota temple every time we've gone. It's so beautiful, and when you go inside I completely forget the fact that I'm in a foreign country, I just feel at home.

Maya sounds like she's working super hard, same with Elias. I know they will both do great this next year in school, with band and swimming. Both of them are super talented. I'd love to get pictures of you guys in the emails, It's only been 6 weeks and while that's not too long it feels long at times. Tell Mari and Sarah hi for me. I bet they are still happy for me to be gone since they have their own rooms now.

I don't yet have my flight info yet, but I think my plane is 6ish Tuesday morning. We have to wake up at 3:30 am to get ready to leave and I think when I get to Quito I'll get to write so I'll let you know how my trip is.

As always I miss and love you guys. Thank you for writing and keeping me weekly company to look up too. I love getting emails!

Elder Gonzalez 
This picture was only the elders from Columbia, but they consider me Columbian because I have been speaking with them all week. Also Elder Londoño from France is in here because he hung out with us all week too. All great missionaries. 

Mis Amigos

Last time at the Bogota, Colombia Temple

 Elder Londoño de Francia, Elder Lugo de columbia, Y mi compañero Elder Silva de Columbia.

Hermano Sanabria, one of my teachers at the CCM