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

Monday, April 14, 2014


The dreaded ceviche. Delicious, but deadly

Taco night with the boys on our Quito trip.

Just some Homies.

 Pizza Night with the Boys


A Convert

A Miracle Family

Dear Family and Friends,

So life is trucking along here in Ecuador. Our investigators that were baptized a couple weeks ago were confirmed today so that was nice. And we also found a miracle family! Last week, a dad with his daughter who had both gotten baptized a couple months ago in Guayaquil, showed up to the church for General Conference. So we talked with them and planned to go by later that night. Sadly, Elder Schneider got deathly ill and we were unable to go. So we finally made it by this last week. We found the Macias family and they're awesome! The dad and one of the daughters are members but his wife isn't and his 3 other sons who live in the house aren't. They are way cool and really like listening to us and are excited for their baptisms! We had been struggling to find new investigators so it was a great blessing and miracle to find them. The Lord really does take care of his missionaries.

Oh and it rained a ton yesterday. Like a lot... It just poured and poured. I thought we were gonna have to build the arc of Noah again and put all the missionaries in 2 by 2. Needless to say, we got really wet.

Enjoy the pictures I'm sending home. Most of them are from last week because I was unable to send pictures then. Life is good! Next week we have changes so I'm going to know where my last sector will be. Love ya all!

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ceviche and Conference

Life is going well here in Ecuador. I am in Quito right now. We have a leader's meeting with President Ghent tomorrow so we had to come here. I came with 2 other missionaries though because Elder Schneider got pretty sick. It was bad ceviche I think that made him sick. Ceviche is like a delicious soup-like dish that has half-cooked fish or shrimp or clam (you can choose) in a lemon and onion and tomato mix. It is amazingly delicious. But apparently the shrimp in Elder Schneider's ceviche was bad and now he's sick. And I feel a little queesy now, but not too bad. We'll get over it.

In other news, General Conference was amazing!! I loved it! I always feel edified and uplifted from the conference messages. I am going to do all I can when I get home to watch all of conference and not just priesthood and sunday morning sessions. Besides that nothing really has changed this week. The computer I'm at is broken so I can't send pictures, but I'll send some next week. I hope you all are doing well and I love you all a ton!!

Con Amorcito,
Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, March 31, 2014


Baptisms and more Baptisms

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, things sounds pretty normal and boring at home. Cool beans. We had interviews with President Ghent this week and he said that the last little time goes really slowly for the parents at home. At least he said that's how he felt when his son went on a mission. Is that true? Because time just seems to go faster here. And it's really scary haha.

But it was a pretty great week here in Ecuador. We had some sweet baptisms!! Whoohoo!!! And they are some cool peeps. First, (and I am sending home pictures of all of them) Alejandra and Mishell got baptized. They are sisters that we found while out contacting. They already had some friends at church and they like church a lot and got baptized! Their parents aren't married so we are trying to help them too. Then, the niece of the wife of the first councilor in the bishopric was baptized! Her name is Neeby (pronouced Navy). But she's way cool too. Just a 9 year old girl, but she was really happy with her baptism.
And lastly, The Zambrano Family was baptized. That was probably the best baptism of the weekend. They are an amazing family. We really had to work hard to get them baptized. There were a lot of obstacles that kept coming up, but finally everything came through. And the whole family was baptized! The dad, mom, son and daughter; a whole family that can make it to the temple to be sealed in a year. I really love the people I get a chance to teach here.

The only thing that put a damper on this weekend was that it was raining. And because of the rain some of our converts couldn't make it to church to be confirmed. So that was sad. But in 2 weeks they'll get confirmed now. So we've had a bit of rain and a bit of heat (it's super hot today!) Like 108 degrees outside. Needless to say I have sweat a ton today. But life is good.
Oh and the other pictures are of a birthday of a recent convert family we had and then a FHE activity with the Zambrano Family. Enjoy!

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, March 24, 2014


Brackets and Breakfast Burritos

Dear Fam and Friends,

It sounds like everything at home is going well. Tell Amanda to check her email and that I say happy birthday!! Sounds like she had a fun  one. That is the hardest for me to believe though.... She can't be 17 years old yet.... Dang time flies.
I am titling this week, Brackets and Breakfast burritos. Because that is what we did this week. Elder Schneider and I had some friends send us March Madness brackets, and even though we can't watch the games, we filled them out just for fun. Then one morning we decided we wanted to make breakfast burritos. And they turned out soooo amazing... It was definitely a good choice. I'm learning to cook more. Little by little.

But not really a lot else happened this week. We are visiting some awesome investigators. We have one family, the Familia Zambrano, and we've been working really hard to help them get baptized. And if everything goes well they (mom, dad, and 2 kids) should be getting baptized this weekend with some other investigators. We can always use your prayers for these people.
So yeah, everything normal and todo bien here. Just working hard until the end. And I'm really enjoying being with Elder Schneider. I love you all a ton!!!
Con Amor,
Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, March 17, 2014


Pictures of all the ZLs and the missionaries from my group (the ones that are all going home together)


Planning for Life after the Mission

Dear Fam and Friends,

I've gotten Christmas packages!! Sorry for not letting you know! I got one from you and one from Grandma and Grandpa Johnson and one from Grandma and Grandpa Pope and one from the Hills. Awesome packages and thanks sooo much to everyone!!!!!!! It was nice getting some later because it has made the goodies last longer.
Well life is good here in Ecuador. This week I was feeling a bit down and stressed out because I felt like we were losing some of our investigators. We had an awesome family that wasn't as excited when we visited them and didn't go to church yesterday. But things got better when we went to visit them after church. We got there and the wife was reading the Book of Mormon and was pretty happy. She had just been feeling a little down because her husband doesn't want to get baptized yet. So we are going to keep helping them and hopefully get the whole family baptized together, or at least baptize the mom and kids for now. And we also got a couple of referrals from recent converts this week which was nice. I'm feeling better now.
I think the stress is combined with the stress of having to pick BYU classes soon. I'm still not sure what I want to study and I have to pick my classes on March 31st. I'll plan classes on MyMap on the BYU website and if you could register for them at midnight on March 31st that would be great. 
But otherwise things are going well. I'm still trying to stay focused on missionary work and why I'm here. I can figure out life later. Here are some pictures from like a couple weeks ago. I finally got my camera back so I can send them now. These are pictures of a convert family I visited in Quito and when I went to crepes and waffles with Elder Nelson. Delicious!! Enjoy!

Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, March 10, 2014


The Matador

Dear Family,
So I believe I should be arriving home Tuesday, June 3rd. I don't know at what time though. They should probably give me all the details in a month or two. So it looks like I'll be home for a couple days and then get to travel again. And you just got me super excited about the trip to California to see a baseball game. Tell dad that that is like the first thing I want to do when I get home. It would be awesome that same night to go to a Dbacks game. I miss baseball. But it sounds like it'll be a fun summer. And how long are Amanda and Nicole going to be in Tonga? That's like way far away... Cool stuff.

So you just gave me a lot of information there. And I always laugh at the Ben stories and at your lack of enthusiasm for golf haha. Everything is going well here in Ecuador. We just had changes today and my companion finished his mission and is going home tomorrow. I have now gotten the reputation as the matador (or the killer) here in the mission because they say you "kill" someone when you are their last companion before they go home. And I have now "killed" 3 missionaries which is a lot. But I was happy and sad with the changes. I am very happy because my new companion is Elder Schneider!!! He is a missionary from my same group. We met over a year and a half ago in the MTC in Peru and now we are companions. He's an awesome guy and I'm way excited for this change. I've wanted to be with someone from my group my whole mission and now I finally am. But I am sad because this probably means that I won't finish my mission here. I will most likely have to spent my last transfer in another sector because Elder Schneider and I are going home together. But I guess I'll get over it.
This week was fun. My last companion, Elder Plua, pretty much spent it saying goodbye to everyone. I took a lot of pictures, but sadly my camera almost got lost and is now in the offices in Quito. We'll see how soon they can get it back out to me. But when I get it I will be sure and send all the pictures we took. For now, here are a couple pictures off of my companion's camera. This is us with all the zone leaders at the leaders council with President Ghent. And the other picture is our zone before we had transfers.
Oh and last week one of the Senior Missionaries called me from the office asking which airport I'd be flying into. That was a trunkey phone call haha. I told her Sky Harbor airport. So I will be flying there. But in like 3 months still. Life is good. I love being a missionary. And I am going to work hard until the end. I love you all soo much and have an amazing week and spring break!


Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, March 3, 2014


Carnaval and an Answer to Prayers

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow sounds like a pretty eventful week. It sounds like an awesome experience at the Temple Cultural Celebration.
Here things are pretty much the same. Not a lot has changed. I am still doing well and enjoying life. 

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are a holiday here in Ecuador. Its called Carnaval. Its something they do in a lot of South American countries. But its pretty much a three day holiday where people use it as an excuse to throw water on other people. And more than that. People go around throwing water with foam and coloring and even eggs and flower. It can get pretty messy. So some people got my companion and I soaked and with coloring on the white shirt and face. I sent a picture. You might not be able to see that well though. But we spent all day yesterday wet. Luckily today we had to come to Quito and its cold here so they don't get each other wet as much.

And I saw an answer to my prayers this week. These last couple weeks I have been praying to find a family that was married and ready to listen to our message, and this last week the Lord answered my prayers  Two Sundays ago when they had elections here in Ecuador we only went to one hour of church and it was at 8:00 am instead of 10:00 am.  So we left at 9:00 to go visit some people. Well after we had left a family had shown up to church because they had desires to see what it was like. But when they got there almost everyone had left, except for our Elder's Quorum President.  So he talked with the family and got their direction and phone number and set up an appointment for us on the following Tuesday.  

That Tuesday we went to visit this family, the Familia Zambrano and we had a great lesson.  they said that the Lord had touched their hearts and that they had a desire to go to Church and learn more about it.  So we were able to teach them a few times during the week and they came to church again on Sunday. I really could see that the Lord answers prayers.  An awesome experience.

So life is good here in Ecuador.  I am also sending a picture with a giant plate of food.  You could say I'm a happy guy here.

Love you all so much,


Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fish Head Soup

Dear Family and Friends,
I will be sure and check out the Temple Cultural Celebration on the church website next week. And that's awesome that Jessie got to dance at a Suns game! Way to go Jess!! And as always, I love the Ben stories.

This week was another normal week. Not a lot of exciting events. We did have a lunch this week of fish head soup. It was a soup with a GIANT fish head in it. With the teeth and eyeball and all that jazz. And it was actually really delicious. I sucked the eyeball up and ate the tongue and other cool stuff like that. I'm actually really amazed at all the different foods I enjoy now. If someone would have tried to make me eat fish head soup two years ago I would've said they were crazy. There are a lot of cool experiences on the mission.
But not a lot else happened this week. We have some investigators who are progressing al lright, but we still have to find that family. There are a lot of cool families here, but the problem is finding a family that is married and willing to progress. But I have faith that the Lord will help us to find one soon. 

I love you all a ton! Thanks for everything!!
Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, February 17, 2014


Rain and More Rain

Dear Family and Friends,
I love the Ben stories. And that sounds like an awesome experience for Jacob and Amanda to participate in the Celebration for the new temple. Take some pics and send them if you get a chance. And.....  CONGRATULATIONS AUNT ANNA!!!!!!!!!!! Whoo!!! I can't wait to see new baby William. Another cousin! How many do I have now? I lost track a long time ago. 

So first I'm sending  home a picture of a baptism we had this weekend!  It had been a while so it was nice to have another one. And they are an awesome family. It's a single mom, Sandra, and her 2 daughters. It took a while for them to do it, but they finally decided too. We visited them for a while and finally helped them get an answer that the gospel is true and they decided to get baptized. There are a ton of awesome families here. It's a bit hard now because everyone wants us to visit them and there just isn't enough time in the day to pass by everyone. And we still have to find more people to help them come unto Christ. But we'll find a way. I love my sector a lot. The only bad thing is that the humidity is making everything moldy. My hats got kinda moldy. But I washed them and hopefully it'll go away. 
Not a lot of news this week. It is raining a TON here though. Day after day it just rains and rains and rains. And then rains some more. I've just gotten used to being wet. But it's a cool rain. It's a nice break from the heat of when I first got here. Besides that, life is normal. No abnormal experiences this week. Have an awesome week!!!!
Elder Joshua Lee

Monday, February 10, 2014


The first pictures is when my companion and I got lost looking for a referral.

A fruit called cacao. its what they use to make chocolate. 
Suspension bridge in San Jacinto

More cacao and San Jacinto pictures


Tapado. Fish with verde

Birthday lunch with the mamita and me with a chicken foot and a bag of tripas or insentines. the things people eat here haha.

Birthday dinner and cake with the Burgos Family