Tuesday, February 16, 2016

el fin se acerca 2.15.16

Hola mi querida familia.  

escribo with my corazón so so full, this being my final email to you all in the country of Ecuador.  This week was truly amazing.  José was baptized and it was a beautiful service.  My companion and I sang soy un hijo de Dios.  José gave his testimony about how much he believed in these things and how grateful he is for Christ in his life.  On Sunday he was confirmed and we went over to visit him.  He had brought his aunt over so that she could listen to us as well.  She is having some difficulties right now in her life.  I felt so grateful because i could truly SEE the conversion process in him. He bore a stong testimony in which he said that he felt happiness and peace... and that happiness and peace is from the spirit.  I was reminded of when Lehi partook of the fruitin 1 nephi 8:12.

12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. 

THAT is true conversion.  And i have felt that on my mission.   I had the opportunity to visit some old converts today in my first sector.  The familia Sabando and The familia Quishpe.  They are both doing so great.  As I sat there with them I think i was waiting for a special feeling of like "wow Hermana Neff, look at all you did for these people."  But it didnt come.  Instead i had such a peaceful feeling.  I felt 100% that these people are by no means MY fruit.  They are the fruit of The Lord Jesus Christ.  Of the work that He has done through me and countless other missionaries.  I have wished my whole mission to be remembered by others for what I have done.  But i am realizing that i truly havent done anything.  Christ has done it all.  And He has allowed me to be a part of it.  I cant believe that it has taken me so long to realize that missionary work is not about ME.  It is about THEM!!  It is about their salvation and their relationship with Christ and their eternal progression.  So it doesnt matter if they always remember the name "hermana Neff"  The name that i want to be forever engraven in their hearts and in their lives is JESUS CHRIST.  HE is the master.  It is to HIM that we should be grateful.  I am so infinitely grateful for Him.  

We were blessed this week to have Elder Holland come to our mission.  WOW.  I will tell you all about it when i get home.  Truly amazing.  The focus was mainly the Book of Mormon.  

I would just very simply like to express to you all the deep and sincere love i have for this country, and the people that reside here. The food, the culture, the excuses for not coming to church jaja (that i dont love too much).  I love it.  I feel like The Lord has to know me perfectly because He knew that He had to send me to this incredibly beautiful country.  I love it.  I love it.  I love it.  Words cannot adequately express the pain i feel to have to leave it all. 

Neither can words adequately express the gratitude i feel for my mission.  I wish that i could explain how full of love my heart is for Ecuador, the people, The Savior, The Holy Ghost, Our Father in Heaven, my mission, the book of mormon. I am infinitely grateful for the decision i have made.  Not one day have i felt that the mission has been a sacrifice. The blessings are eternal and far greater than anything i could have done with my life at home during this time.   

I love my Savior so dearly.  I love the gospel. I know that it is true.  My simply testimony is that Jesus is our Savior.  He has taught us His gospel through prophets of old and living prophets today.  This gospel, after being lost, was returned to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.  The Book of Mormon is evidence of that great truth.  

I know that through Christ I can truly be perfect though I am so far from it.  In my mission The Lord has revealed to me MANY of my weaknesses, for which i am so grateful.  It has been a time that He has helped me to overcome these weaknesses throught the incredible lessons i have learned from others, from the scriptures, and on my knees.  I have spent many nights weaping for the difficulties and many nights weaping in gratitude for everything that i have experienced.  I am not quite ready for it to end. 

However, i am very very excited to see you all.  It is amazing how much my love for our family has grown in this time.  I am ready to do our Noche de hogar every monday night!!  Thank you all for your prayers and for your incredible support and love. I feel so blessed for all that you have done for me.  I have recieved countless emails that have been from guided family members and friends that have KNOWN how to follow the promptings of the spirit.  You are all so dear to me.  

I feel that this scripture has been kind of a theme for me in my mission, and really a theme for my life.   

  32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

 34 And now I bid unto all, farewell.

con todo mi amor, 
Hermana Neff 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Carnaval LOS CHILLOS: 2.8.16


So we have had a great week!  Jose our inv. from Quevedo is getting baptized this Friday.  It has been such a special experience to see his conversion process as he has listened to the gospel and decided to change his life.  

There are so many people that we are teaching that i love so much!  We have a little family a mom with her two daughters that will most likely be getting baptized the week after i leave which is so exciting and happy for them!! We have had some really special spiritual experiences with them.... especially with the Book of Mormon.  

With another inv. (Rosa)  she prayed to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet at the end of the lesson and the spirit was THICK. After we asked her how she felt and she said "The same as i always do when i pray.... peace."  I felt the spirit guide me in that moment and i said "if it werent true do you think God would allow you to feel peace about it?"  So grateful for the spirit!  We left her pondering many things and we are hoping that she will progress!  Her challenge is her family... they are catholic and she is worried what they will think of her if she changed religions  .  

Right now it is carnaval and it is CRAZY.  
We learned this week that carnaval is basically a "eat drink and be merry" type of thing.  We saw that this week when we passed by some old inv. that we really really love and they were all drunk in front of their 4 little kids.  Sometimes i literally feel anguish for these people and understand a little of what the prophets felt when the people always rejected the gospel and chose not to repent.  I feel anguish!  But i am filled with joy to know that repentance is for everyone and that we have accepted the gospel and we live it!  

On Saturday this week Elder Holland is coming to our mission and our zone will be singing for it.... AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We are all SO excited.  I am sure you will be hearing all about it next week.  

I am so grateful for the gospel.  My mission has helped me to appreciate the special truths so so much.  I love it.  

Hermana Neff 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

LOS CHILLOS: Accepting the will of the Lord 2.1.16

Hola mi queridísima familia. 
 I am doing ok!  We saw miracles this week!   

So we have an investigator names José he is from Quevedo.  We started out teaching his prima.  She told us that her husband is a less active and that she wasnt baptized.  We found out a couple days ago that she lied to us and that she is baptized!  We have had some difficult and very direct lessons with her.  It is so hard to call people to repentance when they dont have any desires to act! It really just makes me feel sad for them!  Anyways so José is her cousin and the first lesson he was not even interested in listening to us.... but we arent quite sure what happened but all the sudden he started reading the Book of Mormon and he has come to church twice now.  He keeps talking about how he just felt like now is the time for him to make the decision to change his life!   

We are also teaching another investigator named Rosa.  She commited to coming to church and she accepted a baptismal date... but when we passed by on Sunday there were people that were coming unexpectedly to visit her.  I promise that happens so frequently here!  Opposition is a real thing!  I have learned as a missionary to just always expect and prepare for the opposition.  So anyways we passed by and we were literally just trying so so hard to get her to come to church.  Normally i would feel weird about "obligating" or "begging" someone to go to church... but Hermana McGill and I felt the spirit telling us to keep trying.  She ended up coming to church and she LOVED it!!!  And her visits didnt even get there until she got home.  Miracles indeed.  The Lord blesses those that are sincere in their intent and desires.  

This week i am ponderizing Alma 29:3.  I have been thinking a lot about Alma and his desires.  They were righteous.  All he wanted was to be able to declare the gospel to every soul.  That is how i have felt lately.  So many feelings of not wanting this precious time to end.  Feelings of inadequacy,  Wishing i could have accomplished more things. Verse three has given me MUCH comfort and peace as i have pondered these things.  I, you, all of us!  We MUST be content with the things that the Lord has allowed us to experience, do, and learn.  I am learning more and more that our expectations about life, the mission, marriage, callings, school.... are normally so different than the expectations that The Lord has for us. But we must be humble and accept His will... and what HE has "allotted unto us"  

1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

 2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

 3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

Anyways i love you all so much.  I love the sweet blessing that it is to teach the truths of the gospel everyday with the power and authority given from God.  I love the gospel!  

Con mucho amor, 

hermana neff 

 empanadas de verde.  They are my favorite! 

i have to wear this scarf on my head in the mornings beacuse it gets so cold in our house
this is ceviche with fish. I LOVE IT
beautiful sunset

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

LOS CHILLOS: Missionary Work 1.25.16


un postre de maracuya

Ok so first off HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAIGE!!!!!!!!! I love you so much.  You have been the most faithful writer and i am so so so grateful for you!! I hope you had the best day EVER!!

Ok so we have still been finding lots and lots of families.  Most of them arent married which is so so frustrating because it makes their progress so slow!  But they have a lot of true intent so we are working with them and trying to help them in their progress to be baptized!  

We found this family that lived in Quevedo and they listened to the missionaries before.  So anyways ximena didnt come to church this sunday but Jose did!  He is her cousin....25 years old and so so prepared!  He said that before he didnt even want to listen to the missionaries.... but now he feels the need to change his life.  His experience at church was GREAT and he passed up a job offer to be able to attend.  I love to find those that are chosen!! 

This week we had interviews with President Christensen.  I feel so strongly that part of the reason that The Lord sent me to this mission was so that President Christensen could be my mission president.  He has helped me in so many ways. And i am so so grateful!

We have literally just been working so hard the last little while.  It is so satisfying to share the gospel with others!  I cant think of anything else in this world that brings me so much peace, contentment, and fufilment.  I love it!  My favorite hymn is Hark all ye nations.  I love it is spanish.  "listen nations and rejoice! Listen to the light of heaven! In this land the light of truth was restored!" I LOVE IT!! It makes way more sense in spanish but it has been my favorite song since i started my mission.  I think it always will be.  Our duty is to share this light and this truth with others.  Today on the way home from Quito i was contacting a man who had read a lot of false things about Joseph Smith.  He was not too excited to let me share what i know to be true.... and he wasnt exactly nice about it either.  But i tried to be kind but firm.  I asked him if he had had a spiritual confirmation that his church is true.  He couldnt respond so i took advantage to testify of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon.  He promised that he would pray to know and apologized to me.  I gave him the biggest smile as i got off the bus. 

It is always interesting to me to think about the feelings i get as a missionary.  Sometimes it is so so hard to be patient with these people!  But i LOVE them.  And i LOVE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL!!!!  I cant think of anything so fufilling.  What a beautiful life.  We have been focusing a lot on repentance the last few days and i feel like we have been very directly calling people to repentance and we are seeing such changes in people!  I wish i could just tell you all everything that we see everyday.  But so many things happen i forget them all!  jajaja but the general feelings i have are feelings i just cant describe.  Sacred feelings that really just fill me up so big that i want to burst.  

I love you all so much.  I hope your week is filled with joy and love and The Spirit!! 

Hermana Neff 
 some flowers that were in my hair when i got home.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Ok so this week was a week full of ups and downs!  I truly wish that i could share with you guys the many wonderful experiences that i experience daily.  I have been learning so much that the spirit IS the greatest tool that we have here in missionary work.  I feel like he is constantly guiding me.  There are times when i have to make decisions based on logic, but the spirit always affirms to me that it was the right thing to do.  I love kneeling down at night in my nightly prayers with my heart full of peace and warmth.  Nights in the mission are my favorite... because at the end of the day i love the feeling of fufillment that The Lord gives me.  I find myself thanking Him every day for the mission and the wonderful experience that it is for me.  I feel like i will never truly be able to thank Him enough.  

So we are teaching 3 families right now that are married and very interested in the gospel.  They are all catholic... and wanting to be baptized, but not if it means leaving behind their religion. They all came to church this week so that was great! But there is a lot of work ahead with them. Anyways we have just had some great lessons filled with the spirit and seen such wonderful changes beginning in them.  I think the most frustrating part of missionary work is when people feel peace and feel that the things we are teaching them are true.... but they arent willing to act on the feelings and answers that they recieve.  Sometimes it is heart-breaking, but as missionaries we have to accept their agency (that is, after we have done literally EVERYTHING to get them to change and after The Lord has done all as well)  Sometimes they just wont change.  We do our best to help them! It is such a blessing though to see that when the truths of the gospel ring true to them, their eyes change and they always feel it.  I pray every day that every person i have taught the restoration to in my mission will remember it forever and always remember what they have felt.

We have been getting rained on quite a bit but we are enjoying.  Gotta love missions!!


hermana neff 

LOS CHILLOS: The Spirit 1.11.16


Ok so this week was a hard and a GREAT week!!  It rained almost everyday and we had some days where we were soaked.  We have been contacting lately and have found 5 less actives that the ward didnt even know existed and now we are teaching their non-member family members!  

We are seeing so many miracles.  I know i dont share too many experiences, but we see miracles everyday.  For example, yesterday we were going to visit some less actives and we got lost.  Which is SO UNLIKE US!! It was a little dark and we had some unpleasant run ins with some rather large dogs, but we finally found out way to a safe street.  Then my companion says, "we are lost.  it must be for something."   So we kept walking and two minutes later this HUGE black guy was like "hermanitas are you going to a cita right now?"  We stopped to talk to him and it turns out that he is a less active that wants to come back to church with his non-member wife.  That is just an example of the types of things that happen to us EVERY DAY!!! 

Earlier this week we found a family who had just had a death and we were able to testify of the truths of the restoration and that families are forever.  I love love love being a missionary!  My favorite part is just finding a new person or family and being able to share the restoration of the gospel of jesus christ.  And watching them feel something and change.  Of course they dont all progress... many do, but many dont.  But the best thing is just being able to testify.  I love the gospel!  

Anyways i hope that you are all doing so well.  This week we had an investigator drop us because she said that she saw an angel that showed her that the catholic church is true.  yay.  Luckily The Lord is blessing us with so many other people.  We said goodbye to her and left off on great terms and made her promise to recieve the missionaries again some day!  I know she will!! 

This week i have been feeling grateful for the spirit.  I feel like i am feeling it and recognizing it more lately than i have my whole mission and i am in heaven.  We are nothing in this work without the spirit.  

Transfers were yesterday and i am staying with Hermana McGill here in Los Chillos!  thrilled.  

Love you all SO SO MUCH!! 

Have a wonderful week!! 

Hermana Neff 

mom we made the gingerbread house!! So fun and sooo cute and soo yummy.  in case you were wondering what our companionship is like... this picture explains it 
 love love LOVE hermana pingree!
our less actives that are progressing  jajajaj i love them 
So fun to do divisions with hermana maldonado again!! 
the dog of a family that we are teaching that is identical to maisy 
the plan of salvation
 Los Chillos before a storm 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I HAVE NO TIME TODAY!!! I am so sorry i will try to make it good, and quick.  We had a lot to do in the mission offices today so we got back kinda late.  But first off,   I SAW HERMANA PINGREE!!!

 AHHHH IT WAS LITERALLY THE HAPPIEST REUNION OF MY LIFE!!!!  She is so so good and so so cute and i can tell is SUCH a wonderful missionary!  Tell her family just how wonderful and consecrated she is as a missionary.  She is doing such great things down here in Ecuador!  We LOVE this country!

Anyways this week was a little frustrating because people go CRAZY here for the Holidays!  And we couldnt even leave the house because it was unsafe the 31st.  So i set goals.  I will be honest.  I shed some tears for 2015.  One of the best years of my life.  I feel so grateful that i was able to be a missionary in this time.  I loved loved loved this special year in my life.  Mostly for everything that it has taught me, and my heart aches thinking that this year is over.  BUT, i am ready for a happy and wonderful new year.  2016!! It will be great i just know it!  

This week we had some wonderful very spiritual lessons.  I love the spirit!  This work is really impossible without him.  

I love you all so much.  I hope that this year may be a year full of spiritual growth and joy found through living the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Hermana Neff