Monday, May 19, 2014


A Baptism

The Natives of Santo Domingo

The Tsachilas' and More Baptisms

Dear Family and Friends,

Things are going super-de-duper here in Ecuador!! It was a dope week.

So to start off, I had just had a false alarm about the Familia Zambrano last week. I think that was the best part of my week this week. We went by their house on Tuesday and Sister Zambrano said that she had just been having a bad week and had been having some tough trials in her week that week. But that she wasn't going to let Satan get the best of her and that she was going to keep pushing forward in the gospel. That made me way way happy!!! And they went to church this Sunday. So the family is doing better.

We also had some baptisms this week! Whoo!! There was a guy here who got baptized in the city of Guayaquil like a couple months ago and we have started teaching his family and some of them got baptized on Saturday! Whoo!! So that was dope. We are also hoping to baptize his wife and a couple other of his kids here soon. I love baptisms!

And today we went to see the Tsachilas. They are like the native people here of Santo Domingo. They taught us some of their rituals and danced and I bought a bunch of like trinkets to bring home. So that was cool. I'll send some pictures.

And yeah that was my week. I still feel like the mission is never going to end. And it's hard to believe that in 2 weeks I'll be hanging with the fam bam again!! Whoo!!! Love ya mommy!! And see you soon!!!


Elder Joshua Lee

Some Weeks are a Struggle

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I don't have a lot of new news either. It was awesome getting to see you all and talk to you yesterday. But it'll be even more fun to see you all in a couple of weeks. I can't believe how much Ben has progressed. It's really amazing to see that. I still can't get over Jacob's voice. It frightens me. And you probably shouldn't have sent me that picture of Jessica mom. It's almost as scary as Jacob's voice seeing how flexible Jessica is. haha.

Well it was a good week here. We had some more people in church and if everything goes well we should have a couple of baptisms this weekend. It was kinda a tough Sunday though. Like hardly any of my converts here went to church on Sunday. It was Mother's Day, but it is kinda hard sometimes when you feel like a lot of your work has gone to nothing. But they are good people and they should come to church next week.

The hardest part of the week was with the Zambrano Family though. It almost felt like another Cobos Family situation (if you can remember back like 10 months ago). We went to the house to teach them on Saturday, and they at least let us in. But the mom of the family, (who had before been way super excited to have us teaching them and she was the one who helped everyone read and go to church) was really cold towards us. She didn't like participate at all in the lesson and said that she didn't want to go to church. So Sunday came around and her kids came to church, but she and her husband didn't come. And I talked to one of her kids and he said it was because his mom and dad had still been fighting a lot and his dad hadn't really changed very much since joining the church. He said that his mom had said that she regretted ever joining the church and that she didn't want us to visit her anymore... Words like that hurt more than anything else I think. I almost felt as bad as when the Cobos Family situation happened. When you come to love a family soo much and help them start to see changes in their lives and see the effect the gospel has, and then to see them not want it at all afterwards is really sad. I've had some of my happiest moments on the mission, but also some of my hardest and saddest moments I think. But, hopefully things work out with this family. At least the kids can help their parents come back with time. And they are moments I've really learned a lot from. 

So that was a sad part of the week, but everything else is going well! We got another good week ahead of us to keep working. Love you all!


Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Jimmy-rigged Water System and Praying for Rain

Dear Family and Friends,

I love the picture of Ben mom. That is just super cute. Everyone just looks so much older and bigger now. I guess I'll be seeing you on Skype next week so I'll be able to tell better. I don't know if I'm prepared to hear Jacob's voice again though. Tell him to talk in a high voice so it sounds normal haha.

Things are going well here in Ecuador. I can't believe how fast time has flown either. Less than a month left. It still hasn't hit me yet. I still feel like the mission is never gonna end. I am getting a little more anxious though. I don't feel ready to come home yet. But I'm sure I'll get adjusted quickly. I hope so at least.

It was a good week. Not a lot happened. We have a jimmy-rigged water system now. The landlords of the house hooked up a tube that collects rain water into the water tank on our house. So now I'm just praying every day that it rains a lot. Because we are just living on rain water now. Thankfully it has rained these last couple days and I have been able to shower normally and not use buckets now. So things are looking brighter in that area.

It still amazes me how willing and ready are the people here to accept the gospel. The other day my companion and I were walking home at like 8:30 at night when a guy pulled up in his truck. He called us over and said that he had listened to the missionaries before and really liked it and wanted to talk to us more. It was Saturday night so I talked to him a bit and invited him and his wife to church the next day. I didn't think much more about it. Then the next day at church, he showed up with his wife and his 7 year old son. I was way surprised. But he stayed the whole time at church and really loved it. Sadly, he doesn't live in our sector, so we sent the other missionaries to his house and they taught him and he and his wife accepted a baptismal date! The people really are prepared here. I'm gonna miss that when I have to go home. The Ecuadorian people are amazing.

SO, I don't have a lot of other news. I'm gonna try and send some pictures home. We made tacos with a dope family here. And they gave us this thing to eat called Tapado a Recho. It's like a soup with all kinds of meat in it. The meat was definitely not all the way cooked though. And I was afraid I was going to get deathly ill, but thankfully nothing has happened to me yet. Life is good. Love you all a ton! See you next week!! WHOO!!!

Con Amor,

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, April 28, 2014

An Ant Infestation and Bathing with Buckets

Dear Family and Friends,

I am doing well here in Ecuador. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can until the end. We had a good week this week. We had managed to find a lot of new investigators and we had 8 people in church! Whoo!! And they are all progressing pretty well. If everything goes well, we should be having a baptism this weekend. We find almost all of our new investigators from recent converts. It seems like they are more willing and happy to share the gospel sometimes than active members who have a lot of time in church. So we pretty much spend all our time visiting recent converts or the investigators we do have. We are trying to contact less and less in our mission because it isn't very effective. We took some time to look on the number of converts we have from knocking on doors and the number is very low. It is more effective working with the referals from the members or just talking to someone in the street.

So yeah, things are going well. We are also trying to visit families where not everyone is a member. Families are the basic unit of the gospel and it really helps to stay active when a whole family can support each other. And even though we had a lot of people in church this week, there were a lot of people who were supposed to go and never showed up. It always makes me sad and a little upset when that happens. Sundays are often the most stressful days of the week as a missionary. But we just keep moving along.

The only real bit of news this week is that we don't have water in our apartment. We have now been 5 days without water and it doesn't look like anything is going to change soon. They are fixing up some piping in the city or something like that and so that's why we don't have water. So my companion and I have to bathe ourselves with buckets of water. It's not that fun. I'm starting to get tired of not having water. And we don't have very much so we hardly have water to clean the house or wash dishes so the house is getting dirty slowly. I hope we get water soon.

Oh and one last thing. This made me really upset. We have a lot of little ants in our house. That's just how the coast is. They don't really do anything. They hardly even bite you, but they are everywhere. But, the other day, I got my little shaving machine and started shaving myself in the morning when I saw an ant crawling on it. Then I saw another one. And another one. Then I opened it up and I swear there were like 500 ants in there. It was disgusting. They had like started a little colony in my shaving machine. I'm pretty sure I killed the queen ant. So now there aren't any ants in it because I cleaned it all out. But I still feel kinda gross about using it. I bought a regular razor to shave in the meantime. I have to learn how to shave with it though. I keep cutting myself. My skin is really sensative. I hope I get used to it.

Well, that's about it in news from Ecuador. Things are going well! I love being a missionary and I don't want it to end! And I'm looking forward to talking to you in 2 weeks! Love you all!

Con Amor,

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, April 21, 2014


Birthday Party with a Recent Convert

Zambrano Family Dinner

Pony Malta Floats

Semana Santa and Elder Joshua Lee's Last Transfer

Dear Fam,

Sounds like things are going well at home! Tell Jacob to man up and get healthy again. He needs to go to South America and eat the food here and he'll never get sick in the States again afterwards. I feel like the food here has turned my stomach into a stomach of steel. And I love the Ben letter! He's learning a ton it looks like! 

So it was a fun week. We had Semana Santa here. That's the week leading up to Easter. And I completely forgot that on Easter we have the Easter Bunny and go hunting for eggs and stuff like that... That's a weird tradition. Here, on Viernes Santo (in English I think that's good Friday) all the Catholics go for a walk. It's like this parade thing. Sadly I didn't get any pictures. But what they do is reinact the death of Jesus Christ. Some guy dressed up like Jesus and others as roman soldiers and they went along whipping him. We saw them go right past the chapel. Then they went up to this hill and there they put him on the cross and all the stuff. It's an interesting tradition. They have a lot more traditions here in South American countries is seems like.

But we did have changes this week as well and......... I DIDNT GET CHANGED!!! Whoo!!! I thought for sure I was going to get changed and go to another sector because I had more time here than Elder Schneider, but I got to stay! So now I am going to finish my mission here in Santo Domingo. I'm really happy about that. Life is good here. And I won't have to pack my bags for another 6 weeks. Its hard to believe that I'm in my last transfer of the mission. It hasn't really hit me yet how close I am to the end. But I've just got to keep working as hard as I can until the end.

So we did see some blessings this week. We've been trying to work more with the recent converts here in our sector and its helped. They have given us lots of references and they are bringing people to church and thanks to them we've found a lot of new investigators. We have some great people we are teaching now and if everything goes well, they should get baptized in May. But I still want to find one more complete family to teach and help come unto Christ before I go. With faith I know I can do it. 

Enjoy the pictures I'm sending home. One is of the meal that the Zambrano Family (the family that got baptized a couple weeks ago) gave us on Good Friday. It was a TON of food and I couldn't finish. And all with fish. Delicious though! And the other picture is of a bud from the mission, Elder Cook. He is from my group so we will be going home together. And he lives in Manti so I wanted to hang with him a bit when we go up there for Derek's wedding. Well we made Pony Malta floats. There isn't any rootbeer here so we used this drink called Pony Malta and it was still pretty delish! So yeah... That's life! Love you all a ton!!

Con Amor,

Elder Joshua Lee