Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Elder Echols' Missionary Placque

Ryan's missionary placque is complete and will be hanging in the hallway of our church building on Cornell Rd in Cincinnati, Ohio, until he returns from his mission:

Into Week 2 at the MTC: My Second P-Day

Elder Logan Leach, from Spanish Fork, UT, is Elder Echols' companion.

August 27, 2016

Hey everybody!

So, to start off, this keyboard is trash and the shift button is awful, so forgive my lack of capitalization. also, this email is probably going to be ideas a bit haphazardly put together.

This week has been pretty good. as a general overview, we're getting into the routing of class, study, and occasional exercise time. Something fun I like doing around here is speaking spanish to the missionaries that are going spanish speaking. it's just one of those random joys that doesn't quite understand.

Study Materials

Vocabulary to Memorize

Ready for Daily Exercise Time

Last saturday after i emailed, we got to go to the temple. it was pretty great. the temple is such a wonderful place.
These are all the missionaries going to the Adriatic North Mission (my district).

These are all the missionaries in my zone, which include: Croatians/Serbians, Slovenes, Czechs, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Polish, Slovaks, and Macedonians.
Elder Ryan Echols and his companion, Elder Leach, on the Provo Temple grounds
There was also a night when there was a huge necktie trading party in the elders' residence. as it went down, i traded one of my leas favorite ties for one i liked more, then my companion, Starješina Leach eventually traded around and ended up with my tie that i gave away. and he just handed it back to me. so, i got a free tie?

A little rough patch this week was when i had a headache for a full day and a half. dunno what was going on there.

Some cool stuff has been memorizing the missionary purpose in croatian ("Naša svrha je da pozovemo druge da dođu kristu..."), singing christmas songs for no reason while studying, actually getting good at Australian Handball, and playing volleyball. a lot of people in the zone played volleyball in High school. also, we got the new missionaries going to Poland and introduced them to handball.

Homemade Australian Handball Court - made with tape 
The Australian Handball
My roommates starješine Crapo i Leach have gotten packages this week to share with everyone, such as food, and matching ties.

Treats for Elders Leach, Echols, Isom, and Crapo, from Elder Crapo's mom Carrie.
Left to Right: Elder Jared Crapo, Elder Logan Leach, Elder Ryan Echols, and Elder Noah Isom. Elder Leach's mom, Dana, sent us all matching ties and handkerchiefs.
We got to see the nashville tribute band on sunday for the devotional, and on tuesday our whole district was in the choir for that devotional. (we have 2 devos each week)

Lots of Missionaries at our Devotional
Yesterday we had what was the first hard class for me. i had no idea what our teacher, sestra vukorepa, was saying. no one really did. and she wasn't giving us much help either. but then after that i saw a friend at lunch, had a fun exercise time, and our evening class was awesome. for that one I understood 98% of what sestra Watts was saying. and it was super spiritual. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it can bring peace and happiness to your life.

Alma chapter 7 is great, and teaches about Jesus Christ. that's your domaća for the week.
i like it here. i see lots of friends from elsewhere, and the Hrvatski is coming along really well. the gift of tongues is real. the lord gives it to his servants that need it to serve him. we've been teaching entire lessons to investigators in Croatian.

Lots of photos!

i love you all!​

Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

On the Provo Temple grounds with other Elders

With Elder Leach and some Sisters on the Provo Temple grounds

Shaking hands with one Sister and being photobombed by another!

Study Time Outside

MTC Day 7: A Surprise Text!

From Rachel Echols, Ryan's mom:

I was thrilled to get a text after Ryan had been in the MTC only 7 days! On Tuesday, August 23rd, I got the following text message:

"This is McKayla the harpist from the BYU Folk Band! I ran into your Elder Echols at the MTC! He says he loves you so much!"

The following picture was attached:

Apparently McKayla was doing some landscaping around the MTC when she saw Elder Echols. I'm so grateful for wonderful people who think of missionary mamas and send them unexpected pictures!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

MTC Day 4

August 20, 2016

Dobar Dan!

Hope you all are doing well. Life at the MTC is starting to settle in now. From here out until OCT 18 or so, I'll be emailing on Saturdays.

In our zone there are Czech, Slovak, Slovene, we the Croatians, Polish (though there aren't any at the moment), Macedonian, Bulgarian, and I think that's it. In my district, there are the 2 Slovene speakers and we the 10 Croatian speakers. 2 Sister missionaries of us 12, 1 of which is Slovene. One of the elders here, Starjesina Froc, is from Canada. He loves making jokes about it, and going into a crazy Canadian accent. Cool dude.

Yesterday for exercise time, we played Australian Handball. The Czechs that have been here for 6 weeks totally murdered the new people like me, but it was still fun. Pretty interesting game.

Last night for class we taught our first lesson with an investigator (istrazivac = "ee-stra-zhee-vach"), Almir. He was super chill, and I understood a notable amount from what he was saying, but not a whole lot. I think we got our message across.

Learning Croatian is still super fun, but it definitely takes a lot of work. With all the vocab and stuff. We've just been walking around yelling Croatian at each other all day to practice, basically. Super fun. Tako da.
Sorry I don't have photos right now. I need an SD/USB converter. I'll buy one from the MTC store in just a bit so I can send photos next week.

I love you all! This place is great. You should read the story of Ammon and King Lamoni. Alma 17 and 18, basically. Ammon is a great missionary.

Dovidenja! See you next week.
Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

MTC Day 2

Elder Echols has been using a voice recorder to record things that happen in the MTC. Then on P-day (preparation day), he attaches the audio file to emails home. Here is one all about things happening at the MTC, and his efforts to begin learning Croatian.

Friday, August 19, 2016

First Letter from the MTC! (Day 2)

August 18, 2016

Hey everybody! 

First email. Woot woot! So, I only have a little bit for email, but I'll try to get it. When you first arrive at the MTC here, you get unloaded from the car and then quickly sent through a huge long line through multiple buildings where they give you your name tags and books and everything. Didn't take very long; Moving quickly. It's a very well-oiled machine. After you get all your stuffed picked up, you drop it all off at your room and head right to language class, and as legend says, the teacher doesn't speak any English with you (though she clearly understands, English, since she can answer our questions using a response in Croatian). So, right now I'm learning Croatian, and Serbian will come later.

My companion is Starjesina (star-YAY-she-na) Leach from Spanish Fork Utah (On je iz Jute!) and he's super cool. Zovem se Starjesina Echols. I really like learning Croatian. And, this place, the MTC, is so cool. Everyone here that I've met sincerely knows for themselves that this is what the Lord wants for them, and this Gospel that we're preparing to teach is true, and brings joy into people's lives. I love it.
Gotta go now! You guys are awesome

I'll email again on Saturday
Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

Entering the Mission Training Center

On Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 at 12:45pm, Elder Echols was dropped off at the Provo MTC to begin his gospel and language training. Some of the missionaries already in the MTC acted as hosts and came out to greet all the new missionaries and help them with their luggage.

Missionary Hosts

Airport Arrival, Porter's Place and the Provo City Center Temple

Elder Echols' sister, Kayla, and his Grandpa Larson, as well as his friend Susanna Buss, met him at the Salt Lake City airport on Tuesday, August 16th, and then took him to Porter's Place in Lehi for some much needed lunch. Thanks to Kayla for taking such wonderful pictures!

Susanna Buss and Elder Echols shaking hands, with Ryan's Grandpa Larson nearby.
Getting the luggage

Heading to the Car
Kayla, Elder Echols, and Grandpa Larson
Porter's Place in Lehi, UT has always been a favorite place to eat, especially since we used to live in Lehi before Ryan was born. We often go there when we visit Utah as a family, so it was nice that Elder Echols got to go there on his last day before entering the MTC.

 Elder Echols also got to attend an endowment session at the Provo City Center Temple that day! Here is a picture of him with his Grandpa Larson and Grandma Echols right outside the temple wall.

Grandma Echols took Kayla and Ryan to dinner that night and Ryan got to stay the night at Grandma's house so he could spend a few hours with her.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Elder Echols at the Airport

On Tuesday morning, August 16th, 2016, Elder Echols flew from Cincinnati to SLC in preparation to enter the Provo MTC the next day. Saying goodbye was hard, but we are so proud of our missionary!

Elder Echols and his dad, Kyle Echols
Elder Echols and his mom, Rachel Echols
All three of us

We took a few pictures of Ryan waving goodbye and going through security. Ryan's sister Kayla and his Grandpa Larson met him at the airport in SLC.

Being Set Apart as a Full-Time Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Well, it's official! On Monday, August 15th, at 7:30pm, we went to President Bradley's home where Ryan was officially set apart as a full-time missionary! Kyle got to assist President Bradley. We were fortunate that Trevor was able to accompany us as well. It was a very special experience, and Ryan later said that he felt the spirit confirm to him that he is doing what God wants him to do at this time in his life. President Bradley gave Ryan some really good advice for his mission. He encouraged Ryan to be completely obedient in all things, to work hard, and be happy. He also encouraged Ryan to write letters home so his family can know how he is doing.

Rachel, Elder Echols, and Kyle at President Bradley's home

President Bradley and Elder Ryan Echols
After we left President Bradley's house, we headed to Red Robin for a later dinner. The boys enjoyed each others company and some really good food.

Trevor and Elder Echols at Red Robin
We are excited for Trevor, as he will be set apart as a missionary in about three weeks, and will be serving in the Utah Salt Lake City South mission. He will be in the Provo MTC while Ryan is there!

Last Pre-Mission Get-Togethers with Friends

On Thursday August 4th, 2016, our family got together with the Ralph family so Ryan could spend time with Zachary, Caitlyn, and Lindsay and Josh. Zachary was heading off to EFY at BYU-Idaho once the weekend came, and he wasn't returning until after Ryan needed to fly out to SLC on his way to the MTC, so we felt it was important to spend some time together. We met at Plain Folk Cafe for dinner and some live music, then we went for a short scenic drive and then stopped for ice cream.

Lindsay, Caitlyn, Joshua, Zachary, and Ryan at Plain Folk Cafe
Ryan and Zachary at the ice cream shop, enjoying their friendship
The Ralph and Echols Families enjoying an ice cream treat
A few weeks later, on Ryan's last Sunday in Cincinnati, we had the Peterson family and the Little Miami Ward Elders over for dinner. In addition, Ryan's friend, Marisa Lonske was able to join us! We had cheesy chicken enchiladas, a yummy green salad (Thanks Terry!), watermelon, grilled chicken, chips and dip, green beans, and a mint-oreo layered dessert. The missionaries gave us a wonderful lesson on following the spirit, and we had a wonderful time. We are so thankful for wonderful friends!

Jared, Terry, and Kyle, plus Elder Klingler, who is from Kyle's mom's ward in Orem, Utah
Trevor, Ryan, Marisa, Elder Mofoa, Alec, and Danielle enjoying dinner
Ryan, Trevor, and the Elders during our evening lesson

Visit to the beautiful Indianapolis Temple

On Saturday, August 6, 2016, Kyle, Rachel, and Ryan went to the Indianapolis Temple with Jared and Trevor Peterson to do an endowment session. This temple has such beautiful and ornate furniture, woodwork, and decorations inside. During the session, light streamed through the stained glass windows, which have round glass pieces with prisms on the surface, and it cast mini rainbows throughout the room. One of the rooms has beautiful murals painted on the walls with trees, flowers, and animal life. It was a really neat experience to go and enjoy the peaceful feeling there and the beauty all around.

After our session we stopped at a restaurant for Chinese food before heading home.

Trevor and Ryan in front of the Indianapolis Temple. This is Trevor's "superhero" pose!

Beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs surround the temple.
Jared, Trevor, Ryan, and Rachel. (Kyle was behind the camera)

Monday, August 1, 2016

With Zachary Ralph at the Columbus Temple!

Zachary Ralph finally got his mission call, after waiting for 4 months! 5 days after his call arrived, he was in the temple to receive his endowment, and Trevor and I got to go with him. Both Trevor and Zachary were called to the Salt Lake City South mission, and report to the Provo MTC on September 7th.

My mom bought matching ties for Zachary, Trevor, and me! It was Zachary's special day, so he got to open them. We all wore them to church the next day too.