Monday, December 28, 2009

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Nuevo

Hola familia y amigos!!

First off, an announcement. I asked President Johns if friends are allowed to email me and he said that email is for family only. So friends, even though I love your emails, I also don´t want to be disobedient. I´ll try to snail mail you all, and if you want to send me a message, write on my facebook or blog and my mom can email it to me, or try Or snail mail it, but know that it will take forever and probably be expensive. Just letting you know!! Oh yeah, and family extends to grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. So you´re all still good. :)

Feliz Navidad everyone!! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas. Family, it was so great to talk to you!! It was hard to hang up that phone though, there were so many more things I wanted to say, but it´s okay. We didn´t really do a whole lot on Christmas, and I actually think we could have worked a lot harder than we did, so I´ve made a goal that next Christmas, wherever I am, I´m going to work harder and really try to accomplish the goals we make for the day. This coming week is Nuevo Año (New Years) which is celebrated pretty much the same as the United States except louder, drunker, and more dangerous, so I think we have to be in early on the 31st. Hopefully we can still be productive though.

Christmas in Ecuador is really interesting. On the 24th they have Nochebuena, which basically is that everyone stays up till midnight and then throws a big fiesta in the street. Families visit each other and everyone eats a lot of food. They eat turkey on Christmas here, and this stuff called relleno, which, as one of our zone leaders put it, is "their attempt at stuffing." I thought it was okay but they gave us a ton of it and it would have been much better in a smaller amount. But they also have torta Navideña which is AMAZING. So good!! And this stuff called Pan de Pascua, which is bread and looks like it should be good but I don´t like it. It´s got that crystallized fruit stuff in it like fruitcake, which makes it pretty gross. But for the most part, the food was awesome although I ate way too much and seriously thought I was going to die on Thursday night. But the next day I was hungry again. Of course. Pretty much everyone has a nacimiento (manger scene) but they don´t put the baby Jesus in until midnight on Christmas day, so that´s kind of cool. So yeah, it´s pretty similar to the United States except everyone celebrates on a different day and time. But what´s important is that we celebrate the birth of Christ, cierto??

So this week was slightly frustrating because we couldn´t get a lot accomplished because everyone was busy celebrating Christmas and didn´t want to talk to us. But we did get two people committed to baptism on Saturday!! Robert Grazzo, the guy with the chicken stand, and Marcos Arrata, who is 26. Both of them have had the missionaries visit them before, and Marcos even knows who he wants to baptize him!! He has a cousin who is a bishop in another ward that he wants to come and baptize him. I feel really good about these two but I also am a little wary, because I know that as soon as something good happens, Satan comes right down and tries to ruin it. But we´re going to try not to let that happen. Plus Rolando finally comes back this week after taking his tests for the police academy. We talked to his dad on Saturday and he told us that Rolando passed all his tests!!! YAAAAAY!!!! I´m pretty sure it´s because he was reading and praying. Haha. Anyway, hopefully we can get in touch with him again and get him baptized. We´re all feeling really good about this next change, and I´m trying to keep those good feelings with me so that I don´t get discouraged.

So I´ve decided that since you all ask me questions, I´m going to start asking questions too, one every week, for my RM friends and family. This week´s question is: What is the absolute worst/lamest/stupidest/funniest reason you´ve been given for someone not coming to church?? I got the best one so far of my mission this Sunday. We went to get the Fam. Balarezo to go to church with us and when we got there, they told us they couldn´t go because . . . . . . there was no water in their house. Ummmm . . . . how does that possibly keep you from going to church?? And guess what building always has running water??? If you guessed the chapel, you get a gold star!!! We walked away and I was seriously so irritated, because I knew that Hno. Balarezo had something to do with this (he´s the one that doesn´t want to get married and thinks that we´re crazy bc we don´t worship Mary and Joseph Smith wrote the BOM.) Anyway, I was upset all through church and it was bad bc this time I didn´t hide it as well, bc Hna. Lopez and Marcelo Bacaluna both were like, "Hna. Chamberlain, por que usted es triste? (why are you sad?) Anyway, I thought again, I just want one person to come to church today. And boom!! When we went to pick up Marcos, there he was, ready and waiting. Robert bailed on us again, but he´s got plenty of time to go to church before he´s baptized, so I´m not too worried about him yet. So yeah, I´m trying to look at all the good things that happen and realize that I need to learn patience. I think maybe that´s why I was put in this area first, is because I didn´t learn enough patience in the MTC. But I´m trying, I really am. I could always try harder, I know, but that´s what this life is for, to find your weaknesses and make them strengths, right?? Also, we were talking to this lady last night who lives with someone else that we were trying to contact, and all of a sudden she was telling us about all the problems she has with her family and we were just like . . . . whoa. You really need the gospel!! So we´re going back sometime this week to talk to her again. It was so random, who talks to complete strangers about their personal problems like that?? But it was good for us, and I was able to tell her about the people in my family that have made some bad decisions and caused us a lot of pain and sorrow, but that having the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing that He was there always helped us, and that it was part of the reason I was here, because I wanted to share what helped me. In Spanish!! And she even said Gracias at the end, which meant she understood!! YAY!! It´s getting better. Slowly but surely.

So who wants to know what I did on Christmas?? Well, I got up at 6:30 like every day and then I went to the playground next to the chapel and played volleyball for 3 hours with the rest of our district. It was super fun. We had BonIce for breakfast and I got to talk to the other elders in my district who speak English (which is secretly why I look forward to P-day and district meeting. I know it´s bad but it´s the truth!!) Then we went home and planned and ate lunch and called our families and then went out and tried to visit people. I felt like kind of a bum, to tell the truth, which again is why I have resolved to make next Christmas better. And that was my first Christmas in Ecuador. Cheverissimo!!

So I feel kind of at a loss for other things to say, because nothing super exciting happened this week, other than me eating a lot of food on Christmas Eve and the two baptismal dates that we made. Hopefully this week is more exciting. Elder Hicks, who is in my district in area La Pradera, told me a cool story about blessing a house of this lady that they found. Some of the members told him and his companion that she was having trouble with evil spirits, and he said that when they went into her house he was like, okay this lady´s just crazy, there´s nothing wrong with this house. But when they went into her room, he said that the Spirit pretty much flew out the window. But after they blessed it, it came right back. I was like . . . whoa!! I´m hoping that nothing that exciting happens to me, because that would be super scary. But it just goes to show the power of the priesthood of God, and how grateful we should be that we have it in our church to bless our lives and our families. I hope those of you that have the priesthood that are reading my email never take it for granted. It´s the power to act in God´s name given to you, and I can´t imagine a more amazing gift, or one that requires more responsibility. Remember that!!

Shoutout time!! Eric, I´m not sure how long ago you sent that letter but I finally got it!! Muchas Gracias!! It was awesome, and I promise that you will get Ecuadorian postcards . . . . eventually. I was going to write soon but that probably would have been a lie. But sometime throughout the course of these next 15 months, you will get them. But for now I will just say be good and don´t do anything I wouldn´t do!! Also, I still need addresses from the rest of you or you won´t get any letters ever. Kristen, Jordan Mayorga, anyone who didn´t write in my pink book before I left, I´m talking to you. Oh yeah, and write to me!! DearElder is super easy and supposedly I get it within a week (although I suspect that may be wrong, bc apparently there´s a ton of dearelder letters that have been sent but I haven´t gotten them.) But I love you all, and I miss you all, and I´m loving it here even if it is frustrating sometimes. Salvation isn´t easy or cheap, so of course it´s going to be hard!! But at the same time . . . somehow it´s also awesome.

So I guess that´s all for now. Please keep praying for me and being good and feeding the missionaries, and when they ask for members to come with them to lessons, please go and help them out!! It´s so much better when members come!!

Mucho amor!! La iglesia es verdadera!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 21, 2009

AWOL Investigators, Taxis With Spinners, and a Crab Looking Me in the Eye

Hola hola!!

SO, this week was a little better than last week. Still frustrating but better. I feel like the Lord is slowly but surely turning things around for us. We finally got poor little Henry Astudillo baptized, after changing the date twice. But it was a baptism fraught with issues. First, we got to the chapel and the zone leaders were there and were talking to us and then Elder Lively, says, almost like and afterthought, "oh, y hermanas, en cinco minutos no hay luz" (in 5 minutes, there´s no light). Remember that the City of Guayaquil turns the lights off at random times in random areas of the city to save money. We were like . . . . are you SERIOUS???? So we ran to a tienda to buy candles. And then we thought the Astudillos weren´t going to show bc they were really late. But they did and Henry and Rene are baptized and confirmed, finally. Our investigators with baptismal dates are still AWOL. Well, AWOL is probably a little strong for Rolando, because we at least know where he is, when he´s coming back and that he´s still reading the BOM and praying. And we´ve had some contact with him over the past week. He is trying to get into the police academy and he went to Quito to take his entrance exams, but he´s not coming back until this Friday bc he has family in Quito, so he´s hanging out with them for the holiday. But at least we know what his deal is. Jonathan, on the other hand, we have NO IDEA. Seriously. We´ve been trying to call him and his brother Luis this whole week and except for one or two times we haven´t been able to find him. Luis seriously disappeared off the face of the earth. He won´t answer our phone calls, he´s not there when we go to his house and we seriously don´t know what happened to him. And without Luis we really can´t get to Jonathan, bc he won´t come to church without his brother. It´s frustrating, and yesterday Hna. Laime left Luis a rather angry message that pretty much said, look man, if you don´t want to talk to us, fine, but maybe you should remember that your brother needs you, ya jerk (okay she didn´t say it that way but that´s how we all feel.) So yeah, that was annoying. But we started teaching a bunch of new people this week, including Filipe and Joselina, from a family that makes muñecos!! Filipe is 19 and was really receptive. He said he would read the BOM and pray about it and he really wanted to come to church with us this Sunday but he couldn´t (and he looked genuinely disappointed about it too!!) But his mom Joselina said she wanted to come and she actually did come with us!! Good story about that. Sunday morning, we had a bunch of people who said that they wanted to come to church with us. We even called one of them the morning of and he was like oh yeah I´m coming!! So then we showed up at his house and he had peaced out. So I got really mad and was grumpy all the way to Joselina´s house, and then she said she couldn´t go either!! I was like . . . . . WHAT THE HECK???? But then we remembered that we had another lady that wanted to go to church with us at 3:00 in the afternoon and so we asked Joselina if she would go with us then, and she said, oh si si!! So I looked at her and said promesa?? Promise?? She laughed and said si si, and then we left for church. Well all through church I was depressed bc just bc someone says they´re going to come to church doesn´t mean they will and I was really frustrated and trying not to cry and I thought, Heavenly Father, I just want ONE person to come to church with us today okay?? Yeah. I had hit a low for sure. And then we figured out that if we went to eat lunch with the Chavez family like we usually do on Sunday, we wouldn´t be able to get to Joselina on time and possibly we wouldn´t be able to get her to church. So we decided to skip lunch. And this is when I realized something. I am willing to pretty much do anything for my investigators. Skipping meals, risking my life in taxis, I would even jump in front of a bus if it meant my investigators would keep their commitments. I had this little epiphany in RS bc I couldn´t really understand what Hna. Gomez was saying, so my mind was wandering a little, and I thought that maybe this is why the Lord gives us bad days, is so that we can evaluate what we´re willing to give to Him. And I realized that maybe I´m not as selfish as I used to be, bc I´m pretty sure if you asked me in the MTC if I was willing to skip meals to go gather investigators for church, I would have been like, ummmm . . . . no. We did end up eating something before we went to get Joselina, but I would have been okay with not eating till we got home at 9 if it meant that she would come with us. But she did and she LOVED IT!! We went to Sacrament meeting and then we were going to leave but I felt like I wanted her to stay for longer, and I guess the other hnas. did too bc they asked her if she wanted to stay for class. So off we went to Gospel Principles and it turned out to be the articles of faith!!! I about jumped out of my seat. I was like, Heavenly Father, you´re awesome!! Anyway, she wants to go next week and she´s going to bring Felipe with her and we´re teaching them again on Tuesday. I´m so excited. They are so going to be baptized. We also started teaching a guy named Robert who sells chicken on the street and has had the missionaries before. He´s very receptive and the chicken is delicious, although I think we might have been breaking the rules when we ate it bc we´re not supposed to eat things from street vendors ever. But it was fried chicken so I´m pretty sure anything that could have hurt us got killed in the frying process. But yeah. He´s cool. Didn´t come to church with us like he said he would, but still cool.

And who´s ready for some more good news??? Remember familia Pino?? Today is the day that they should find out for reals if Hno. Pino got his divorce. Either today or at the first of the new year, I don´t know for sure because I couldn´t really understand what was going on (which is pretty par for the course with everyone) but I am really excited and I KNOW that things are going to work out for them. Because really, 4 years is enough time to wait to get baptized, especially when they´re more faithful and active than some members that I know!!

So now it´s time for me to talk about the experiences that I could only possibly have in Ecuador. Yesterday I rode in a taxi with spinners!!! It was so awesome and I really wanted to take a picture but I didn´t know how to do it without the cab driver looking at me like I was weird, so I didn´t. But trust me when I say that this cab was like an episode of Pimp My Ride but with a taxi. It was the most tricked out cab I´ve ever seen, inside and out. I also got called Barbie for the first time this week, I don´t remember by who but I think it was an old lady. But she said it in a nice loving way, so I wasn´t offended. My favorite is when the creepy guys yell at me in Spanish bc they think I can´t understand, but most of the time I do and it just makes me laugh. And for the first time yesterday, someone honked and flashed their lights at me. I guess I´m just really pretty. Or really white and tall. You decide which one it is. What else. I ate crabs for the first time ever in my life last Tuesday. I swear to you all that when I walked in, one of them was looking at me. It was seriously the creepiest thing EVER. I had a hard time reaching my hand into the pot for one bc I was legitimately afraid that they would start moving. And when I finally picked one up I turned it facing away from me so that I wouldn´t have to look at its face. I was super creeped out!! But I made it through all the legs but I couldn´t eat the head, I just couldn´t do it. I gave it to one of the bishop´s daughters, who then proceeded to shove it in my face and laugh. Not very nice. But I did like the crab meat, although eating crabs is a lot of work for not very much food, so I´m pretty much over it. Anyway. On Wednesday we passed a panaderia (bakery) and we saw this amazing cake in the window annnnd . . . . . we bought it. The remnants are in our fridge right now. It was only $6, which was awesome bc in the states it would have been like $20. But it was delicious, even though we had to throw the strawberries on top away bc we´re not allowed to eat them here. We still eat all the time, and I´ve resigned myself to the fact that I´m probably going to get fat here and am okay with it. And I should probably tell you that when I get back I´m probably going to eat really weird things. Like yogurt on cereal, and jam on crackers, and jam on tortillas, and I will probably also eat a ton of food for lunch, eat everything with a spoon, and be really upset about the fact that we don´t have pineapple jam in the states or manjar (sidenote:I´m not totally sure what manjar is, I only know that it´s DELICIOUS). Yeah. Mom and Dad, you should come get me at the end of my mission and we will have a great time just with the food. It is seriously so good. Anyway. I had my first interview with President Johns this Thursday, who validated all my concerns and said that sometimes we´re going to have bad days or weeks and that´s just how it goes. I felt slightly better after that. He also said that I´m doing a great job and that I´ve acquired the gift of tongues (not true, my Spanish is terrible!!) and that it will all be okay. He is great and I am lucky to have him as my president. Today I think we are going to the faro (lighthouse) but I´m not sure. I hope we do bc I love love LOVE lighthouses. Whenever I hear the song "The Whaler" by Thrice, I always think of lighthouses. Brad and James Porter are probably the only ones who know what I´m talking about (PS: Brad, I can´t believe you didn´t tell me you´re engaged. I thought we were friends?? jk, it´s okay but I better get a wedding announcement for my fridge, and you better not have a kid when I get back. jk, you can if you want to;). Anyway, I love lighthouses bc they´re so pretty and cool and they remind me of the Savior, bc he´s the light of the world, isn´t He?? If you have a minute, you should all find your hymnbooks and read "brightly beams our Father´s mercy" Its awesome. Promise.

More little things. I taught myself to French braid this morning and now I feel pretty good about myself. Also, last p-day we went bowling and it was AWESOME. I´m sure you can imagine that bowling shoes look really amazing with skirts. Believe dat!!

Time for shoutouts!! Purdue friends, I miss you!! Lindsey, Jamesy, Curty Curt, Brad, James, Brent, Stan, Jordan, all those new people who´s names I can´t remember, I miss you and love you!! What is going on in the ward?? Who´s engaged?? lol jk. How are you all doing?? I wish you could be here with me so we could convert some people and afterwards dance to the Ecuadorian rap that everyone blasts from their villas. Jordan Mayorga, what is your address?? I want to write you a letter. How are the elders in your ward?? Seriously, what´s going down? Also KRISTEN!!!! I miss you tons!! I wish you were here with me too. We would have the most amazing time here together bringing people to Christ and also sticking them with needles. LOL. I love love love your hospital stories, it makes me think of the good times at the VA. All my cousins, how are you doing?? Daniel, usted tiene una novia?? Pensaba que nunca se pasa!!! LOL jk. Por que usted no me escriba?? Katie me escriba. En serio. Estoy muy triste porque nunca oyo de usted. Pero esta bien si usted no me ama. Katie me ama, y los otros miembros de nuestra familia me aman. Entonces, esta bien. lol jk otra vez. Pero, en serio, escribeme. Y Katie, la amo mucho y this week I had the pleasure of using a toilet that had to have water thrown down it first. I thought of you and laughed, until I realized that I couldn´t flush this toilet. I love Ecuador!!

So I am good. Sometimes I get really frustrated and discouraged but mostly I am good. And I´m trying to work on it because faith and discouragement can´t exist together. Remember that everyone!! And be good and read the Book of Mormon and have an amazingly Merry Christmas!! Remember the reason why we celebrate it and be with your families and tell them you love them and eat a lot of food!! We already have two Christmas dinners lined up and we´re probs gonna have more as the week goes on. I can´t wait!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 14, 2009

Read the Book of Mormon!

Hola hola!!

First off, no I do not have an oven. We wanted to cook a turkey for Christmas but we can´t because we don´t have an oven. Don´t worry though, the members will take care of us ;)

Grocery stores here are pretty much the same as the ones in the United States, except that all the food comes in different kinds of containers. They have pretty much the same brands of peanut butter and candy and stuff like that, so I eat pretty normal food. And I can get pretty much everything that they have in the States, for now (it will probably be different once I go to Loja or Machala or other places). But I´m glad that you´re depositing money in my account so that I can get peanut butter and nutella, bc I feel bad using the mission money for it. Plus I want to get some of the native bracelets and stuff, bc they´re pretty.

SO, this week I learned that just when you think everything´s going awesome, Satan shows up and delivers you a nice swift kick in the pants (or skirt, I haven´t worn pants in awhile). Anyway this week was really hard. On Tuesday we did have two investigators commit to be baptized on the 26th!! Very exciting. Rolando, who is 24 and muy bueno. When we came to teach the second lesson he was reading the Book of Mormon before we came. And we have Jonathan who is 18 and is the brother of Luis who is a less active member that we´re trying to reactivate. He seems pretty excited about it too. Or so we thought until neither of them showed up at church on Sunday like they said they were going to!! We called Jonathan and he said that he wanted to go, but not without Luis, and since Luis went AWOL he didn´t go. But Luis has his own set of problems that I don´t even want to get into because we´d be here all day. Also, Hermano Pino wasn´t able to get his divorce on Wednesday, and to top it off, he got in a car wreck. He´s fine, but his car´s in pretty bad shape. I thought, really Satan?? You didn´t want them to be baptized so badly that you messed up his divorce and then you tried to kill him?? Was that necessary?? It was very sad and frustrating. But the Pinos are so great. They said they just needed to keep having faith and things would work out (I think . . . . I didn´t really understand very much!!) But it is heartbreaking for them. And Familia Belarezo . . . . ugh!! It´s so hard. I feel and know in my heart that they will be baptized, all of them together. But Hno. Belarezo just is the epitome of stiffnecked. We went over there last week with the whole family and guess who hadn´t started to read the Book of Mormon?? And then we went to visit Hna. Belarezo on Thursday and she´s having a really hard time with it. She is so good, she has such a strong testimony, and she really wants to get married but he just won´t relent. We did the best we could with scriptures and encouragement (I personally like Ether 12 where it says that faith can work miracles) but it was hard to see her upset like that. But yesterday, I feel like we maybe had a small breakthough. I didn´t really understand a whole lot of what was going on, but I feel like Hno. Belarezo maybe opened his heart just a crack. Hna. Laime asked him what he wanted most for himself and his family and he said, Tener paz (to have peace), to which I replied with a sentence from the BOM introduction, which talks about how reading the BOM will tell you how to have peace in this life and in the life to come. Then I said, I know that this is true, but we can tell you that over and over and you won´t believe. The only way you can know for yourself is by reading and praying to God, and I know that He will give you an answer. Then I told him that sometimes it was difficult for me to be here, when my family is on a different continent and I don´t speak or understand the language very well, but that I knew that Guayaquil Ecuador was where I was supposed to be, for him, his family and all my investigators. And I said it all in Spanish!! Granted it wasn´t very good Spanish but I´m pretty sure if not positive that he understood. Anyway, I felt very gratified afterward and I have strong faith that he will at least feel the desire to read and know that it´s true. And I extend the same invitation to all of you who read my blog or my emails, whether you´re a member or not. If you are, read the BOM again and pray again and I promise you that you´ll get a reassurance that it´s true. It probably won´t come like your first answer did, but it will come. If you´re not a member, please please read the Book of Mormon, and pray and ask God if it´s true. I promise you that if you pray, really wanting to know, Heavenly Father will answer you. If you don´t have a copy of the Book of Mormon, send me your address and I´ll do my best to get one to you (I have two copies in English) or go to and request a free copy. I know this book changes lives for the better. It answers all the questions of the soul that you could possibly have, and I know that because it´s answered many of mine, even the ones I didn´t know I had until I found the answer. The best Christmas present you could give me this year is to read and pray. It´s not too hard, and you don´t even have to spend money, and really, it´s the best gift you´ll ever give yourself. I promise you that.

Wow!! I wasn´t expecting to write that but I felt like I should. Anyway, this week was tough for sure. Even the baptism we had fell through bc his dad had to travel for work (no worries though, we´re baptizing him on Wednesday). But at the same time, it was humbling and faith building. It taught me that sometimes you don´t always get what you want, even if it´s a good thing, and that you can do all the right things and pray and teach and commit and have the Spirit, but even after all that, people still have their agency and sometimes they use it to do the wrong thing. It happens. And I feel like I probably should have seen it coming, because after we got our baptismal dates on Tuesday, Wednesday morning I was reading in 1 Nephi 8 about the tree of life vision, about the vapors of darkness. It struck me that the mists of darkness only show up AFTER the people grab hold of the iron rod and begin on the path to the tree. And that´s exactly what happened this week. Our investigators grabbed onto the rod by reading and committing to be baptized, and then the mists of darkness came down like crazy. But I feel that this week will be better. It has to be!! Funny story. In Ecuador they make these things called muñecos for New Years. They´re paper mache statues of cartoon characters and famous people and superheroes and stuff like that. They put all the bad things that happened in the old year on them and then kick them around and stomp on them and finally light them on fire and blow them up. So Hna Laime, Hna Lopez and I decided that were going to build one of Satanàs and oh man are we gonna have a good time with taking him out!!

Anyway, for the most part things are pretty good. I eat pretty much all the time, it´s ridiculous. But the food is really good here!! Everything is just better!! And I really don´t think I´m gaining very much weight, because I walk so much. But I am having a tough time with Ecuadorian music, bc it´s really good, and we walk down the streets and I hear it and I´m like, wow, I really like this song!! And then I´m like, ah no!! I´m a missionary!! Must. Not. Listen!! It´s tough. But I´m making it!! I feel like I might complain a lot about how hard it is in my letters. And it is hard. But I hope nobody thinks it´s unbearable for me and that I hate my life. I know it´s going to be fine, and already I´ve had great experiences. But nobody talks about how the first few weeks of the mission are pretty tough!! So I´m letting you know. It´s fabulous and amazing but it´s tough!! But I promise I´m okay. More than okay. I´m superbien. Promise!!

Tambien, Hno. Barrios, ¡muchas gracia por su mensaje! Fue muy bueno y me ayuda mucho. No puedo enviarle un email, pero no dice en las reglas de la mision que no puedo escribirle en mis emails a mi familia. Entonces, estoy muy bien y trabajando mucho y muy duro. En Ecuador, las personas son muy buenos pero no puedo entender mucho. ¡Ellos hablan muy rapido y no dicen todas las palabras! Pero sé que me aman much y estan alegre que yo estoy aqui. ¿Cómo está usted? ¿Que tal su estudia? ¿Tiene una novia? Hahaha, jk. Yo lo extraño y el distrito tambien, pero estoy muy feliz para estar en Ecuador y hacer la obra del Señor. Espero que usted este muy muy bien. ¡Chao!

So yeah. I´m good!! Tired and hungry all the time but good!! This is the hardest yet best thing I´ve ever done in my life so far, even if sometimes it doesn´t seem like it. It´s fabulous. Life is good. And I´m glad that life is good for all of you too!! Kristen I love your nursing stories!! Katie and Hillary, muchas gracias for your words of encouragement. So far, the ants have not tried to eat my shoes. And we don´t have spiders or cockroaches in the apartment, which is good bc the cockroaches are sometimes the size of my thumbs. It´s gross. But the spiders are pretty small. Oh, my apartment. It´s pretty big, there are 3 rooms, the kitchen and 2 bathrooms and yes we have running water and flushing toilets. I´m still getting used to cold showers everyday but it´s not terrible. We have mosquito nets on our beds and no oven or microwave, just a stovetop, a blender and a fridge. And we can´t drink the water out of the tap, so we buy pure water every week. It´s pretty awesome, and we have good times!!

Well I need to go buy food, so hasta luego until next monday and love you all and be good!! The church is true!! Jesus is the Christ!!


Hermana Chamberlain

PS: Hno. Barrios, if you write to Hna. Yoshino again, por favor tell her I miss her tons and love her to death and wish I could email her but I can´t and I had a brownie on my first Pday here and it was delicious and I thought of her. Gracias!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter and Ants--No Me Gusta!

Hola familia y amigos!!

I´ve been here for almost 2 weeks now!! Crazy to think about. Tons of good, weird, not so good stuff this week. First, I´m starting to understand people a little bit better but I feel like I talk less. I think that as I hear other people´s Spanish, my confidence in my own Spanish drops, so I just keep my mouth shut. But I´m trying, I know I need to work on it.

So, first off, your questions. I´m not sure how many Hermanas there are total. But I know that there are only 5 or 6 white hermanas here!! I´ll try to find out for you, it´s probably on the mission website. Also, I got your first package with 4 presents in it, but it was kind of sad bc I saw the customs form on the front so I already knew what was in them. But I did laugh pretty hard when I saw the pictures of Mary and Jesus all over them, and when I explained in my broken Spanish to my companions, they thought it was funny too. Funny story. When I opened the box and was pulling out the presents, Hna. Lopez said, ohhh, muchas regalos!! (Many presents!!) But I thought she said, oohhh muchos pecados (Many sins!!) I was like . . . . ummmm, como?? And then after I explained what I thought she said, we laughed really hard. It was hilarious!! We have a great time in our apartment, it´s a blast. Another funny story. We were walking around one day and we sat down to decide where we needed to go next, and there was this dog that was barking really loudly and obnoxiously. I remember thinking, "wow that dog is really obnoxious" or something like that, and all of a sudden Hna. Laime mutters under her breath, "urrrgghh SHUT UUUUUUPPPP!!!!" I looked at her and just started laughing so hard!!! I couldn´t believe she said that!! She said that they used to say it in her home ward all the time and I said, "De todas las palabras en ingles, ustedes aprendieron estes palabras?? (of all the english words, you chose those ones??) It was seriously hilarious. Now whenever I hear something annoying I think . . . . ugghhhh SHUT UP!!! Hilarious.

Back to your questions. I get as much time as I want on the computer here but I have to pay for it. But it´s super cheap, so not a big deal. We had a killer time last week buying groceries. I felt like a little kid in a candy store, I just wanted to touch everything!! And I can get peanut butter here, but it´s super expensive. OOOHHH. Another story. We got peanut butter on monday, and on wednesday when we came home at night I was SO tired and SO frustrated bc of the Spanish and just not having a good day and I just really really wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was really excited about it. So I got out the bread and the jelly and opened my peanut butter and THERE WERE ANTS IN IT. I WAS SO MAD!!!!! Hna. Laime and Hna. Lopez were laughing so hard but I was really legitimately angry bc I had to throw the whole thing away and I REALLY WANTED A PBJ. So I´m standing there fuming and all of a sudden Hna. Lopez hands me a can of Raid. Then she and Hna. Laime got to enjoy watching me terrorize the ant population in our kitchen with the can of Raid. I think I went a little bit crazy. I literally sprayed it EVERYWHERE. (Sidenote: lying in bed that night and smelling the Raid, I later regretted this decision). At the time I was really having a crisis but now its just funny. And I get another jar of peanut butter today, which I will be keeping in the refrigerator. It´s interesting bc I remember having the feeling that I should put my peanut butter in the fridge that morning, but I just brushed it off, bc we don´t keep it in the fridge at home. Well, now I know that maybe I should listen to those feelings bc Heavenly Father knew that there would be ants in my peanut butter that night and that I would really want a PBJ but obviously I did not listen to the promptings and therefore suffered the consequences. Oh well. Now I know!!

So I bet you want to know what´s going on with my investigators. Well first off I have some sad news. Yes. I gave Carl away. I know, I know. But little Jimmy Belareiso needed him more than I did. And he is a very happy little niño now. I know Carl is in a good place, stuck up next to the lightbulb in their ceiling fan so that he´ll glow. I won´t lie though, it was really sad, and when I told Elder McGuire at zone conference he wasn´t very happy. But it´s all for the best. Anyway, we´ve been having the same issues with familia Belareiso this week. Hno. Belareiso doesn´t want to get married, blah blah blah. I had been thinking and wondering if the issue maybe went a little deeper, bc they´ve been together for 20 years and have 5 sons, it´s not like the relationship´s likely to fall apart anytime soon. So I´d been thinking and praying about it, and one day in companionship study we were talking about it. Hna. Laime was reading from our search for happiness about something, and I flipped to the section where she was reading. I read the section before it, where Elder Ballard talks to the minister about how he could hold the gold plates in his hands and he still wouldn´t know any more that the Book of Mormon is true. The only way to know is to read and pray. BOOM!!! It was like it jumped off the page!! I grabbed Hna. Laime´s Spanish OSFH and read the section and then said, "El no tiene un testimonio del Libro de Mormon!!" (he doesn´t have a testimony of the book of mormon!!!) Because if he did, he would know that it´s true, and therefore Joseph Smith is a prophet, and therefore this is the true church, and therefore the law of chastity is a commandment of God, and therefore he needs to get married and get baptized. (I don´t know how to say that in spanish so I explained in much simpler terms) My companions agreed that that could be what it was, but over the next few days I started to doubt that I had actually received revelation bc he was listening to us and being nice to us and all that. BUT, Saturday night we went over there, and I´m not really sure what happened bc all I know is that one minute we were talking about how they celebrate Christmas in the United States and the next minute he was on this tangent about how we´re not the true church bc we don´t worship Mary, the mother of Jesus. I don´t even know, but I could understand most of what he was saying. Basically he said that Joseph Smith wrote the book of mormon and that he was crazy and that he´s catholic and a bunch of other things. So they were getting into it and I was just sitting there thinking, "I KNEW he didn´t have a testimony of the BOM. I KNEW it!!" But I couldn´t say ANYTHING, bc my Spanish is terrible, although Hna. Belareiso was amazing. She was explaining the BOM to Hno. Belareiso and she totally has her own testimony and basically she´s awesome. Anyway, finally after a long time of back and forth Hna. Lopez asked Hno. Belareiso, "Have you read the Book of Mormon?" You know what he said?? "NO." I was like . . . . . . I KNEW IT!!!!! Anyway, long story short, Hna. Laime bore a very powerful testimony (and finally the Spirit came back into the conversation at that point) and we left. The whole way home that was the only thing I could say. I KNEW IT!! I KNEW IT!! We had a long session of complaining and being irritated about the stiffneckedness of Hno. Belareiso and then we went to bed. But the next day, we went to the Christmas devotional and there he was with the rest of his family!! We were very confused, but very happy to see him there. I spent much of the time praying that he would open his heart and listen to the words that were being said (BTW, could someone send those talks to me in English?? I didn´t understand a whole lot!!) So yeah. We´re teaching them again tonight and I don´t really know what will happen, but I´m trying to remain optimistic. However, I remember thinking when Hno. Sears talked about how we can receive revelation for our investigators, "Hmm. That´s cool. I bet it won´t happen to me though." Well guess what?? It DID. And it´s awesome!! Now I pray everytime I study for help finding things that will help my investigators. It´s awesome!! The Spirit is real!!

So are you ready for some good news??? Remember familia Pino?? Hno. Pino told us this week that he thinks he´ll be able to get his divorce really really soon!! Which means he and Hna. Pino can get married and then get baptized like they´ve been wanting to for FOUR YEARS!! I was so happy when I found out, it´s totally an answer to prayer. I probably shouldn´t get used to having my prayers answered this quickly in exactly the way I want them to, but it was so amazing!! I feel like we should take them to visit the Belareisos. I doubt they would have much patience with Hno. B, since he has the opportunity to get married and baptized right now and won´t, and they´ve been waiting and praying for that same opportunity for 4 years. But it´s amazing amazing news and makes me so happy, bc the Pinos are seriously awesome.

And we started teaching a new family this week, the familia Manso. It´s a mom and two sons, Washington and Mario. Her husband lives in the States for work, so it´s just her and the boys at home. We taught them the first lesson and committed them to read 3 Nephi 11, and then I felt impressed to mark Alma 32 as well. When we came back she had read Alma 32!! Which was what we prepared a lesson on!! So we read with her and even though she wasn´t able to come to church that week I think we´ll be able to get her there again. We invited them to the Christmas devotional and they said they would come, but I felt like we should go and pick them up. But we didn´t, and they didn´t show. Now I know that I need to open my mouth when I have these feelings!! But next Sunday, next Sunday. Hna. Manso loves to talk a lot and even though I don´t know what she´s saying I know that she goes off on tangents a lot. But she always gets really into our lessons and I´m looking forward to continuing to teach her family and committing them to baptism!!

It´s interesting, bc while I was sitting in the room with the Belareisos listening to my companions talk to Hno. B, I was thinking about what I could say to him. My thoughts went something like this: "Look man, I´m in a foreign country right now. My family is on another continent, I can´t understand barely anything anyone says to me, I walk for miles every day, eat pretty much the same food every day, struggle with feelings of inadequacy every day, I´m tired all the time, it´s so hot that I have to keep my toothpaste in the refrigerator so it doesn´t melt, I constantly feel like I have no idea what´s going on, and furthermore, I have to take cold showers everyday. But you know what?? If one person gets baptized while I´m here, it will all be worth it. Do you really, honestly think I would be here, giving up a year and a half of my life to come to this place where I don´t speak or understand the language very well and I have to live in a way that´s completely different from what I´m used to if I didn´t know for a surety that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ??? Do you think I would be here if I didn´t know that Joseph Smith was a prophet or that the Book of Mormon is true?? Bringing that knowledge to people like yourself is worth every temporal inconvenience that I have to deal with right now. It´s true, I know it is, but the only way you can know is if you find out for yourself."

Okay so I didn´t have all of those thoughts while I was sitting there in the Belareiso living room, only the thought that I wouldn´t be here if I didn´t know that the gospel was true. Most of those thoughts came as I was thinking about it later. But it´s all completely true. There is no way I would be here doing what I´m doing if I wasn´t sure that the gospel was true, and if I didn´t know that Heavenly Father wanted me to be here. I´ll admit, sometimes I wonder, when it´s especially tough, if this really is where I´m supposed to be. But I know it is. I know I was sent to Ecuador for a reason, even though I have no idea what it is right now. But already, as I´ve mentioned above, I´ve been able to receive help to know the needs of the people I´m teaching and been able to see the joy that this gospel brings to people, and to feel the love that the Savior has for them. It´s incredible!! I´m not going to pretend that it´s easy, or that every day is a great day, or even that I´m really happy every day. But I know that in the long run I am going to say, "This was the best thing I´ve ever done in my life." RIght now I´m thinking that it´s the hardest thing I´ve ever done in my life, and no doubt it will always be tough. But I remember a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland on this subject. He said, it wasn´t easy for our Savior to take upon Himself the sins of the world for us, so how dare we call ourselves His disciples if we´re not willing to have a little bit of that same pain and struggle in our lives? I´m paraphrasing horribly but that´s the gist of it. And it´s true. It definitely wasn´t easy for the Savior to suffer for us, so why should we expect it to be easy for us to live life or bring people to the gospel of Jesus Christ?? A lot of times when I´m feeling down or sorry for myself another quote from that talk pops into my head: "Salvation isn´t cheap." It´s absolutely true. So don´t worry too much about me. It´s tough now and no doubt it will be tough for awhile. The MTC and the mission field are two very different places, and both take time to get used to (although at least I could speak English in the MTC!!!!) But it will be okay. I know it will!!

So how is everyone else doing?? If you all want to email me you can. I can only write letters on monday and I don´t really have time to do it, but I´m going to try my best to get letters out to people. There are some addresses I need so if you want me to write you, put your addresses on my fb group page and my mom will send them to me. It takes snail mail about 3 weeks to get here and dearelder takes 1 week. So far I´ve gotten 1 dearelder letter from you Mom, and I think you wrote it before I left the MTC. I´m still not totally sure how the mail here works, but I think we only get it once a week. But I´ll let you know when and if I´m getting your mail and packages. I thought of a few more things I would like for Christmas (or Navidad). If you can, could you send me some Nutella and peanut butter?? Both are really expensive here and I feel bad spending a lot of money on things that I don´t really need, just want (although I suppose I could argue that I need peanut butter . . . .) If you can´t that´s fine but I would really love some. Also some bobby pins, directions on how to cook a turkey, some earrings (small and nonexpensive looking please) and Lamby. I don´t know why I left him at home, bc everywhere I´ve been on the mission, someone has had some kind of comfort object to sleep with. Friends, don´t judge me ;). I can´t really think of anything else right now, unless you want to send a Christmas tree. Haha, jk. I love you all and miss you all and be good and read your scriptures and pray always and don´t do anything I wouldn´t do. And don´t leave your peanut butter out!!


Hermana Chamberlain

PS: Mom, could you figure out some way to get Christi´s emails to me, and to get mine to her??? I really want to know what´s going down with her in Paraguay!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Have Arrived!

So I was typing this nice long email and then the power went out. But I´m here and having a blasty blast for the most part. I pretty much don´t understand a word anyone says to me except for my companions, so I do a lot of smiling and nodding. My companions are Hermana Laime from Peru and Hermana Lopez from Guatemala. They speak pretty much no English so it´s a learning experience for everyone!! A lot of times they have to translate other people´s spanish into slower, easier spanish so that I can understand. But, it´s been pretty good. Really overwhelming but good. I won´t lie, sometimes it´s really hard for me because I don´t understand what´s going on. A lot of times I have no idea where we´re going and what we´re doing until we get there and do it, especially if it´s not in my planner (sidenote:that thing is amazing, I don´t know what I would do without it.) Sometimes I feel really alone, like I´m the only one that doesn´t know what´s going on. But I know the Lord is with me even if sometimes I don´t see it. And my companions are great. Very patient and very encouraging, even if they do talk really fast.

Anyway, some things about Guayaquil. It is HOT. I literally am sweating all the time!! Our apartment doesn´t have air conditioning, only fans, so I feel sticky all the time. But it´s pretty big, it has 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms. We all sleep in the main room and we moved the desks into another room, and then our stuff is in the 3rd room. We have mosquito nets but we can´t figure out how to hang them up, so I get bitten a lot. I´m pretty sure I´m going to get dengue fever eventually, but it´s okay!! And our shower is always cold, but I´m starting to get used to it. Our apartment building is behind two gates and there´s a cactus in front of it with flowers that only come out at night, which is pretty cool. All the houses in Ecuador have bars on the windows and gates over the doors, and most of them are behind walls as well. But I feel very safe even when we´re walking around at night. They´re trying to save money, so the city turns off the power twice during the day. People drive like maniacs here, the few times we´ve been in cabs I´ve seriously thought we were going to die. A lot of times there are no seatbelts or we can´t put them on, so I pray a lot!! OH. And at the house across the street from me, there are two roosters (gaillos) that start crowing very VERY early in the morning, it´s really obnoxious. But it´s also funny that the house across the street has roosters. Random!! There are cantinas everywhere but also lots of panaderias (bakeries) and lavanderias (laundromats) and random street vendors and bodegas and random things. Most of the time it smells okay but sometimes you can tell that people have been relieving themselves in the streets bc you can smell it. And there are dogs and cats EVERYWHERE!!! My first night in Guayaquil we got chased by a dog. And I thought that was just a missionary stereotype, but it actually happens!!

Some things about our investigators. I am in Huancavilca right now. We have the familia Belareiso, with 5 kids. They´ve been together 20 years without getting married. Hna. Laime said that a lot of times people don´t get married bc they just don´t think it´s necessary. Anyway the second day I was here, we went and taught the Plan of Salvation to them with the Aguilars, who were just baptized not too long ago and had kind of the same situation. Hno. Aguilar said something, I have no idea what, but Hno. Belareiso loved it!! I really wish I could have understood what was going on, but their family came to church with us yesterday!! We also have the familia Pino, who has been investigating the church for 4 years and they want to get married and be baptized but can´t bc Hno. Pino is separated from his wife and she won´t allow a divorce. Kind of annoying. And we have the familia Astudillo. The dad was less active but came back to church and now his 12 year old son Henry is getting baptized!! Muy excelente!! We are working with a lot of less actives and recent converts as well. The Bacaluna family are really funny and they came to church yesterday as well (or at least I think they´re really funny-I can´t understand them but my companions laugh a lot!!) Anyway. Most of the time I can´t understand a word they´re saying but I know that they love me and are happy I´m here, so that feels pretty good. I feel like I should know more about our investigators but right now I´m just trying to remember everyone´s name and whether they´re investigating the church or are less active or recent converts and what their stories are and the names of their kids and all that. It´s tough but fun!!

More about me. I have never walked so much in my life or been so tired in my life!!! I pretty much come home and die at 10:30 every night, and waking up is a struggle. I fall asleep in personal study and companionship study and sometimes I nod off during lessons too!! It´s especially hard to pay attention when I don´t know what´s going on, so yeah. But my companions said that the same thing happened to them when they first started, so it´s okay. (or I think that´s what they said . . . . Hno. Barrios, I think you taught us the wrong language in the MTC!!!) I get honked at a lot in the street bc I´m tall and white, and people in the street love to yell out random English words at me. One time we were walking and we passed this guy who said, "buenos dias, buenos dias" to Hna. Laime and Hna. Lopez, and when he got to me he looked right at me and said, "HI!" It was so funny. And one time we were walking at night and someone yelled out "Good Morning!!" at me. And whenever I tell someone that I´m from Indiana, almost always the next thing they say is, "Ahhh . . . . Indiana Jones!!" I just laugh bc I don´t have the heart to tell them that I´ve only seen one Indiana Jones movie. And even if I wanted to tell them, I wouldn´t know how to say it!! And they give us SO MUCH FOOD!!! Pretty much everytime we visit someone they give us food. TONS of rice at every meal, but I´m pretty sure that I´m losing weight bc I walk so much. Funny story. I haven´t run into a lot of things that I don´t like, but yesterday we were eating with a family and they gave us canteloupe juice. Yeah, I hate canteloupe. I tried to drink it without making a face but it must not have been very successful bc Hna. Laime said, Usted no le gusta? (You don´t like it?) I said, no!! She said, okay!! grabbed my glass and drank the whole thing when their backs were turned. I officially love my companions!!! But for the most part everything has been really good. Hna. Bacaluna gave us something called budin (I really doubt that I spelled that right) that was SO GOOD, kind of like flan but not flan. And the familia Pino gave us flan yesterday, which I didn´t like until now, bc they put a lot of honey on it!! Milk and yogurt come in bags here and jam comes in packets. The ice cream is so much better here, and they have these things called BonIce which are like OtterPops but way better. The yogurt is better here too, I´ve eaten it every morning except today bc yesterday I ate it all. And I don´t know how they do it but the bananas here are incredible!!!! And the chocolate is amazing too. Pretty much everything is awesome. Except the canteloupe juice. Ew. And I´ve discovered that I don´t like papayas either. I had some this morning and I felt sick until we ate lunch. But we had Pizza Hut for lunch so now I´m good!!!

So I´m sure everyone wants to know what happened on Tuesday. Well I won´t lie, Monday night was really sad. I was in a group with only elders, so I was in my room all by myself and I didn´t have any of my clothes. It was pretty tough. I had been really patient all day but when we got to the hotel I just wanted to cry. But I didn´t!! The next day we all got up and ate breakfast and then I just studied until we went to the airport. I didn´t really know what else to do!! We went to the airport at like 2 bc we didn´t want to take any chances!! In the airport we met a lady from Guayaquil who was telling us all about it, and then Elder Sandberg taught her the first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon. Pretty awesome. Then we got on the airplane and I sat next to a guy from Guayaquil and had an entire conversation with him in Spanish!! Then I taught him the first lesson in Spanish, gave him a Book of Mormon, and showed him pictures of my family and friends. I bet you think I´m making this up but it is absolutely true!! I was really proud of myself. We got to Guayaquil around 1 in the morning and President and Hermana Johns picked us up. The elders stayed at the temple (there´s a place there for people who have to travel a long way) and I stayed at the Johns´ house. While we were driving there, they told me that my first assignment was to sleep in!! I was like . . . . . en serio??? I don´t know if I remember how!! But I slept until Hna. Johns came in and said, I forgot to tell you, they turn the power off so if you want a warm shower you need to take one now!! So I got up and showered and then went back to bed. Then we had orientation with the elders (they got to do a session in the Guayaquil temple and I was really jealous, but they said it was really hard) and the nurses came in and were having a really hard time speaking English, which gave me hope for the future. Then we met our companions and went out for the rest of the day!! Elder McGuire is still in my zone I think, but Elder Sandberg is in Machala which is about an hour away, so I probably won´t see him for awhile if ever. Sad. But I´m excited for zone conference just bc I get to see Elder McGuire. A lot of times when I´ve been depressed about the fact that I can´t really talk to anyone bc my Spanish is terrible, I think, I just want to talk to Elder McGuire!! And I get to in a couple days (or weeks maybe, I didn´t really understand when they told me when zone conference is. But welcome to my life now!!)

So yeah. I´m hanging in there. Most of the time it´s good, just sometimes I think, I am never ever going to be able to do this!! I try not to get discouraged but it can be tough sometimes. I just keep praying and trying my best and I know that eventually I´ll be able to talk and understand. I just saw Hna. Glanzer in the internet cafe where we are and she said she still barely understands anything anyone says to her, so I feel a little better. But I´ve come to love the Scriptures a lot bc they´re the same in every language, just like the gospel. Everyone, read Moroni 7:46, but replace the word charity with the Savior and see how the meaning changes. I know that without the Savior I would be nothing. He´s the one who makes it possible for me to communicate even a little bit, and the one who helps me keep going when I feel like there´s no way I can do it. Even when I don´t see His hand in my life, I know it´s there. And I know He´s blessing my family and friends too!!

So how is everyone?? I haven´t gotten any letters since I got here but I think that´s more due to the fact that I don´t really know how we get mail than to any fault on the part of you guys. But I want to know how everyone is, so write to me!! Look at the pouch instructions on facebook. Oh, and if you´re going to send packages, they can only be 4 pounds and DO NOT SEND THEM SPECIAL DELIVERY!!! Apparently when you do that it´s really expensive for me and sometimes I won´t even get it. So don´t do it!!! Just send them regular mail. For Christmas, can you send me my computer speakers?? The iPod one doesn´t work for some reason. Also, pancake mix and syrup. I haven´t gone shopping yet so I have no idea what I can and can´t get here, but I´ll probably have more things for you next week. Some more knee highs would be good too, I´m starting to get runs in the ones I have. Annnndd . . . . . I had a whole list in my head but of course now I don´t remember any of it. I´m in a pretty urban area and I can get most of the stuff I need here. OH. Can you send me little toys and stuff like that for the kids?? I almost gave away Carl the other day bc I didn´t have anything else. Even if it´s just like McDonald´s happy meal toys that´s fine. The kids here are so funny, and of course they all speak better Spanish than me, which makes me kind of sad. But it´s going to be good!! I know it is!! Presidente Johns told me that after I´ve proselyted for a few months, I´ll be one of the mission nurses for awhile, and then I might go back to proselyting, depending on what goes on. So for right now I´m a regular missionary but that could change in a few months, it just depends on President Johns. But he and Hna. Johns are both great and my companions are great and the other elders and sisters are great too (I just wish I could speak Spanish like they can!!) But Dad, every once in awhile I remember what you said about wanting to go back to the MTC and I can totally relate bc I miss my district a LOT!! Today I had a brownie and thought of Hna. Yoshino. But I know that I´m in a good place and that great things are going to happen while I´m here. Already I´ve had great experiences and I´m loving the people. They are all so friendly and loving, and after coming from a place where you can´t hug or shake hands, it´s so great to finally be able to shake hands with people!! And in Ecuador, the women do the little air kiss thing, which was kind of weird for me at first but now it´s no big deal. Hna. Laime asked me once if they do that in the States and I was like ummm no but it´s okay!!

So yeah. I´m doing good!! Having a huge culture shock but doing good!! Write to me, send me your addresses so I can write you, and be good and read your scriptures and pray all the time and feed the missionaries and be nice to people and be grateful that you can drink out of your faucet bc I can´t!! The church is true!! MUCHO AMOR!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Unexpected Extra Day in the US

This is a Mom update.  Ellen left the MTC at 5 am Monday.  Her flight to Dallas boarded on time, but they sat on the tarmac for over an hour, sorting out a problem with the plane.  When she and the 7 elders she is traveling with arrived at DFW, they had just missed their connection to Miami.  They were put on the next flight, but that got in 1 hour and 15 minutes after the flight to Ecuador left so they spent the night in Miami and will head to Ecuador today.  Kindly, the airline provided them with hotel and food vouchers.  Unkindly, they would not give them their luggage so Ellen, who doesn't really think about possibly not getting where she wants to be when she wants to be there, was stuck in Miami with no clean clothes, no makeup, no contact solution, etc.  She was quite happy, though, to have a large bed, a room to herself, the ability to shower, and the possibility of a toothbrush from the hotel.

In Dallas the eight of them headed to the payphones to call home.  Some man, watching Ellen leading 7 men all dressed alike, stopped her and asked, "Are you babysitting?" She thought that was pretty funny.  The highlight of the Dallas layover was helping a woman on their flight, who was from Paraguay and spoke no English, get her connecting flight worked out and off to her gate.  Ellen said she had to ask the lady to repeat herself several times, but she was able to blunder through enough Spanish to get her where she needed to go and she told the lady to look for her friend, who is on her way to Paraguay as a missionary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last Week in the MTC!!!!

Hola Hola!!! ESTE ES MI ULTIMA SEMANA EN EL CCM!!!!! Yo salgo para Ecuador en LUNES!!!! And . . . . . I GET TO CALL HOME FROM THE AIRPORT!!!! I don't have my flightplan on me but the branch pres said that I can call from all the airports if I want to, so I'll try to call a few times so i can talk to everyone. But you should just be home all day on monday just in case. Mom, thats really funny that now that I can't check facebook, I'm way more popular. Just accept everyone and when I get home I'll go through and purge the people I don't know/like. lol. Did you see Hno. Barrio's friend request?? He reads my blog now too. Hi Hno. Barrios!!! About your other questions: Yes I got Katie's letter and I sent her one last P day. Yes I got Aunt Meg's box and our whole room devoured all the pretzel-ish things. Sidenote: I love you all but you have got to stop sending me food!! Hna. Yoshino's mom sent her a box yesterday with a ton of Japanese snacks and now we literally have piles of food in our room, it's ridiculous!! I don't know what we're going to do with all of it when we leave!! I LOVED the photo album you sent me mom, it was so amazing!!! Although I had to look at the scuba diver for a really long time before I figured out it was Eric. Just so you know though, i have copies of all the pictures from my mission so you don't need to send them back to me. I can't really think of anything off the top of my head that I want/need for Christmas but I'll let you know if I think of something. Oh yeah. Here's an example of how awesome pres. clegg is. He called me down to his office on Sunday b/c he'll be in the Fort tomorrow and he wanted to know what he could take back with him. Isn't that cool?? We ended up talking for like an hour and a half. Someday I'll have to tell you all the things he said, b/c they were so awesome I wrote them down. I already have two referrals in Ecuador from him!! He's great. So the TRC. Usually it's members pretending to be investigators but I hear sometimes they have legit investigators. We get a situation beforehand and we adapt the lesson to the needs of the investigators. It's really really awesome, I love it. We've had some truly amazing experiences there. When I have time I'll write more about it but trust me it's awesome. So this is my last week in the MTC!!

Here's a list of things I'll miss:
The Spirit here, obviously. It's unreal.
Hna. Mount. I'm not sure what I'll do without her to keep me in line!!
Hna. Damm. I think we were friends in the premortal life. For rels.
Hna. Yoshino. I don't need to explain!!
Elder Yeates. He is so awesome. And pretty. haha j/k.
An hour of gym every day. Running around after sitting for hours is the best feeling!!
Our branch presidency. They're amazing.
President Clegg. I wish I could pack him in my suitcase.
Going to the temple every Wednesday. What an amazing blessing!!
Hno. Barrios and Hno. Sears. They are the best teachers ever. And I'm not just saying that b/c I know Hno. Barrios is reading this ;)
Knowing that my mail will arrive safely and securely. That's not likely in Ecuador.

And now a list of things I won't miss:
The food. My stomach hates me right now.
The bathrooms. They are DISGUSTING.
Living in a shoebox. Eric, I feel your pain, for rels.
No music. That was hard.
Being cold. So not going to be a problem in 5 days.
Elder McGuire and Elder Sandberg-b/c they'll be with me for the next 18 months!!

And here's a list of things I've learned at the MTC:
The Lord is willing to help you with whatever you need-but you have to ASK
I don't know anything. En serio.
The Book of Mormon will answer any question you have. Literally.
I am nothing without the Savior. Nothing.
EVERYONE needs this gospel in their lives. No matter who you are, what your story is, doesn't matter. You need the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible is also awesome. For sure.
The Spirit doesn't always speak to you the way you think it will.
Heavenly Father answers prayers, sometimes in the way you expect and sometimes not.
Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.
Stairs are very slippery. And ghostbusting is awesome.
Tongans are really good at volleyball.Watch out for the Tongans on your team. They will take. you. OUT.
My cooking isn't really that bad after all.
The Mormon world is a very small one and everyone knows everyone.
MTC food+sitting all day+ multiple packages of junk food=Hna. Chamberlain gains tons of weight
19 year old boys can preach the gospel and do it well
The gospel is TRUE!!!!!

So I bet you're wondering why I said to watch out for the Tongans. Well, last week in gym I was playing volleyball, and I jumped up to hit the ball. I hit it but it didn't go over the net, so I jumped up to hit it again. All of a sudden something HUGE slammed into me from behind and I fell to the ground. I looked up and there was a huge Tongan standing over me saying "sister I'm so sorry!!" Another hermana helped me up and after the stars went away I kept playing. But I have some nice abrasions on my right knee!!! BUT, it's all good b/c I turned it into a gospel analogy. Sometimes, we're going along, thinking everything's all good, and then BAM!! We get smacked down by trials, temptations, challenges, etc. That's life. BUT, like the hermana that helped me up, the Savior is always there to help us up. But like me, we have to reach out our hands to Him so that He can help us up. Awesome?? I think so. Remember that when you're having a tough time. And seriously, watch out for Tongans.

So, a lot of people still haven't written to me and I'm really sad. Today I'm just going to send out one last plea to the masses to WRITE ME SOME LETTERS!! Or postcards or whatev. In the next email I may start making a list of all the people who haven't written to me who said they were going to. Just saying. If you don't want to be called out, escribame!!!

Love you all and miss you all!! Next week my email will come from ECUADOR!!!!!
Hna. Chamberlain

PS: just out of curiousity, who are all my new fb friends/blog followers??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Zone at the Provo Temple
and the sisters I live with

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Only Two More Weeks!

Hola Hola!!!SOULEMENTE DOS SEMANAS MAS EN EL CCM!!!!!! AHHHH!!!!!I thought this day would never come and now that it has I'm so excited/scared!! But mostly excited. It's going to be so amazing!! But I'm starting to realize how much Spanish I don't know. The first few weeks/months are going to be a HUGE culture shock for sure. Pero esta bien, esta bien. We're supposed to get our flight plans TOMORROW!! I'm so excited, but a little worried b/c there hasn't been any word on our visas. Please pray that Elder Sandberg, Elder McGuire and I don't get reassigned to Omaha Nebraska. Brother Dart, if you're reading this I apologize ;).So I don't really have a whole lot of exciting things that happened this week. We got to teach Lucia in the TRC again this week but we had to do it in Spanish this time so it was a lot more stressful!! I feel like it's harder to feel the Spirit when I teach in Spanish b/c I'm so worried about how I'm going to say what I want to say that I'm not listening. But I know it will get better. Right?? Last night we had an amazing fireside about temples from the director of the temple department. I was hoping he would announce a temple in Indiana but he didn't. Next conference I'll keep my fingers crossed. In the meanwhile, everyone in Indiana should go to the temple as much as they can, so we can show the Lord that we're ready for a temple in Indiana!! Hna. Mount and I have improved our planning a lot this week. We start by figuring out what our goals are and then we plan our day around them. We've really seen an improvement in reaching our daily goals and it's really interesting to see how the Lord puts people in our path so that we can accomplish our goals. Mom, your questions. I have tons of chapstick and Hna. Mount steals it all the time, but it's okay b/c I love her. I do not have any sunscreen so if you could send some that would be awesome, but I can also look for it in the bookstore. And I have not figured out how to get my stuff home but when I do I'll let you know. Why didn't you want me to send it home?? That's probably the easiest way to get it out of my hair. I dunno though. About a blog. If you want to you can set one up. It might be easier for people to access I suppose, but I worry that people won't read it b/c it's not sent directly to them. So I guess my point to you all is, if my mom sets up a mission blog, don't be lazy and read it!! :)I've been reading a lot of Jesus the Christ this week. Isn't it such an amazing book?? I challenge you all to read it again or read it if you haven't. It's so awesome, except that James E. Talmage uses a lot of big words. But fer rels, it's awesome. You will learn so much about our Savior that you'd never thought of before, especially about the Atonement. And while I'm on the subject of the Atonement, how amazing is that gift to us?? We sang a really beautiful arrangement of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" last night at the devotional and one line popped off the page at me: "He will bind the broken heart." I thought of all the times that the Savior has bound my broken heart and I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for Him. Never EVER forget that the Savior loves you, and NEVER hesitate to turn to Him!! He is always ready and always willing to give you what you need!! Tambien, yo he leido el Libro de Mormon mucho, porque yo quiero terminar El Libro de Mormon antes yo salgo el CCM. Yo termino 3 y 4 Nefi este manana!! Muy bien para mi!!Kelly, you should have a really special letter coming soon!!! I had it in my bag to mail ever since last P-day, but I kept forgetting to pop it in the mailbox. But until it gets there, I just want you to know that I love you and that if I was there that silly girl in your class wouldn't dare to pick on you b/c she'd be too afraid of your big sister!! I hope things are getting better in your class and don't hesistate to tell the teacher if she keeps being mean to you. Nobody deserves to be picked on!!Hmmmm, what else. We start teaching the Plan of Salvation in Spanish this week, and that will be interesting. We've already been doing it with our progressive investigator Hermenegildo, who, BTW, committed to be baptized!! Muy bien!! First he has to find a way to get to church every sunday, so Hna. Mount and I had a fast for him yesterday and Hermenegildo fasted with us. He was supposed to talk to his boss about it yesterday, so hopefully that went well and he's set to jet!! Oh, and Erica White, if you're reading this, I met Elder Deffense!! And Hermana Galbraith found him too!! So we're all buds now.Speaking of Hermana Galbraith, we were talking last night about how we're very sad that we don't get letters from any of our friends!! Don't get me wrong, I love my family, and I love hearing from them, but I want to hear from my friends too!! I want to know what's going on in your lives, and how the gospel blesses your life, and all the drama. Entonces, POR FAVOR, escriba las cartas a mi!!! Es muy necesario!! Lindsey, I love you for writing me letters and I wish I could be there with you this month!! I'll be thinking about you for sure!! The rest of you, QUE PECADORES!!! ESCRIBA A MI!!!! j/k. but seriously, do it. :'(AHH!! Only 2 more minutes!! LOS AMO MUCHO Y LOS EXTRANO MUCHO Y LA IGLESIA ES VERDADERO Y JESUCRISTO ES NUESTRO SALVADOR!!!

Hermana Chamberlain


Hola hola hola!!! Como estan everyone?? So many crazy things happened this week. First, mom, I don't know if I can send mail through pouch or not but I'll find out and get back to you. And there are actually only two new hermanas, Hna Funaki from Tonga and Hna Lee from South Korea, and they don't live in our room. BUT, we would love to give them treats anyway, so just send enough for all of us.Okay so first off, Hna. Mount got really sick on Friday so we went to the health clinic, and she got sent to QUARANTINE!!!! Estuve MUY triste porque no tuve mi companera conmigo. En serio, Estuve muy lonely. But cool story. That night I started feeling really sick too. My body hurt and I was coughing and I felt really tired and I was SURE that they were going to ship me off to quarantine the next day too. But that night I prayed that I would feel better and the next day I felt completely fine. Turned out to be a good thing b/c Hna Lee was sent to quarantine that afternoon and Hna Funaki was having a really hard time with it, so I was able to help her out a lot by being her companion until Hna Mount got out yesterday and Hna Lee came out today. The Lord really looks out for us doesn't he??Hmmm, what else. Hna Yoshino is still really hilarious. Monday Elder McGuire made fun of me pretty much all day b/c he's Elder McGuire and that's just what he does. Anyway, we were ragging on each other all day and when we got back to the room, Hna Yoshino said to me, "You and Elder McGuire are so funny!!" I said, "I know, we're like brother and sister" and she said, "what if, you know, after your missions . . . . . you guys get married??" I was like " . . . . . . stop it. Just stop it right now." She just kills me sometimes, seriously. So Grandma wanted to know how much time I spend studying the scriptures and Spanish everyday. It really depends on the day, b/c I get an hour for personal study and an hour for companion study, but sometimes I need to prepare a lesson or I want to go over something in PMG or something like that. So it just depends. Language is kind of up in the air too, b/c we're supposed to have an hour for language study but a lot of times we don't get it b/c other things come up. But now we've switched to having all our classes in Spanish so I guess that kind of counts. It's a lot easier with Hno Sears b/c he's a gringo, but Hno Barrios is pretty much impossible b/c Chileans like to leave parts of their words out and talk really fast and slur everything together, so it's difficult. We have interviews with our teachers every week and he always asks me if there's anything he can do better and I always say, "talk slower." But other than that our teachers are so great. Hno Barrios brought a pair of Mickey Mouse ears to class on Halloween and wore them, it was so hilarious. Grandma also wanted to know about my Spanish and if I have a travel plan yet. My Spanish is not too bad, I find that once I start talking I'm surprised by what I can say. But I know that once I get out in the field it will take awhile. And we don't have our travel plans yet but we should get them in the next week or so. Can you believe I only have 3 weeks left in the MTC??? I can barely believe it!!So I bet you want to know what we did for Halloween. We made a plan that every sister missionary who owned a Jody dress would wear it that day, along with the ugliest shoes we own. It was so awesome!! I have a picture of some of the sisters on my floor and me in our dresses. I'll send it to you when I get a chance. By the way Mom, those pictures didn't come through. I think you'll have to print them out and send them. So this week was my first week teaching in all Spanish at the TRC, and I had to do it without my companion :(. But it ended up being amazing. Remember I told you all about Lucia?? This time the other Hnas and I taught Rosa, who is Lucia's mother and doesn't speak a single word of English. I didn't understand most of what she said, and I'm pretty sure that my Spanish was muy mal. Pero, estuvo bien porque el Espiritu Santo fue muy fuerza!! Rosa was crying by the end and I was like, "Awesome, I can do this!!" This week has otherwise been kind of a bummer b/c since Hna Mount was in quarantine and I was with Hna Funaki, I didn't get a chance to teach any lessons. But tomorrow we're teaching a ton and Friday is another TRC and the RC. PS: I sent the missionaries to someone in the RC last Friday and it was amazing!! Those moments make all the answering machine calls totally worthwhile.So everything is pretty much the same here. I get up, I study, I eat, I sit in class, eat again, sit in class, eat again and sit in class. I'm getting fat for sure. Elder Yeates said he's gained 10 lbs since he's been here and I believe it. There is no way that the food we eat is nutritionally valuable. But it's cool b/c once I get to Ecuador I'll probably lose it all and then some. The medical training I got basically said that it's up to my mission president whether I'll be used as a nurse or not. But if I am, I'm not actually allowed to practice fully b/c my license isn't good outside of the United States. But I can take care of things like dog bites and little things like that. I'm also in charge of finding good doctors for the missionaries to go to and stuff. I want to write more but its time to go to the temple. I love you all so much and keep being good and reading your scriptures and writing to me. And if you want a letter from me, send me your address!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Prayers for Brownies-10/28/09

Hola Familia y amigos!!!So much this week!! First, sad face, my favorite district left for Chile and El Salvador en Lunes y estoy MUY triste!!!! Especially b/c my favorite zone leaders left with them. I'm trying not to be depressed about it but I keep looking around for Elder Kouts to flip me a peace sign in the hallway and then I remember he's in Chile and I feel sad. But I'm getting over it :)So our devotional yesterday was no big deal. The speaker was just L. TOM PERRY!!!!!!!! OMG!!!! There were cops ALL OVER the MTC yesterday all day and we were like, what is going on?? So then all through dinner we were speculating on who was coming b/c they don't bring out the cops for random seventy members that we usually get. I was pretty sure that if it was Dieter F. Uchtdorf I was going to pee my pants and then keel over and die. But we got back and we saw Elder Perry walk in and everyone jumped out of their seats!! I don't think I've ever gotten up so fast in my life!! And I guess my face was really funny b/c Elder Yeates said I looked like I was going to pass out. LOL. His talk was so good, he talked about how to be an effective teacher and spent a lot of time talking about the scriptures. He is so great!! I wanted to talk to him and ask if he remembered me or Grandpa but they wouldn't let us, plus there's this rule here that you can't hug or shake hands b/c of flu season so they wouldn't have let us near him anyway. But it was SO AWESOME!!! I WAS IN THE SAME ROOM AS L. TOM PERRY!!!!!Anyway. This week has been pretty good. I feel like I've been in kind of a slump for a couple days, I haven't felt as motivated as in weeks previous, but I'm starting to come out of that. We are starting to teach the lessons only in Spanish now . . . . . and it's scary!!! But fun. We have been teaching our progressive investigator Hermenegildo (probably not spelled correctly, I don't think Hno. Barrios could have picked a more difficult name to spell or pronounce) in Spanish from the get go and it hasn't been too horrible. He's been reading the BOM and has questions about Laban and why God commanded Nephi to kill him, so we're going to teach him about that tonight and then teach the Plan of Salvation . . . . en Espanol!! I had this inspired idea to liken our life on earth to a futbol (soccer) game, b/c Hermenegildo really likes futbol, especially team Chile!! So we'll see how it goes, with our broken Spanish, but as long as the Spirit is there we should be fine :) And we are getting a new district today with THREE HERMANAS!!! One is from Korea and one from Tonga, and one from the States. I have met a few Australians here too which is pretty exciting. Eric, one of them looked a lot like you, it weirded me out a little. Pero, esta bien ;)Funny story. Hermana Yoshino loves brownies and one day they had brownies at dinner, but by the time she went to get one they were all out. So she prayed that night in roommate prayer that we would have brownies the next day. We didn't. BUT, Hermana Mount gave her a brownie from the elders that night and said, oh some random elder gave it to me!! Since then, Hermana Yoshino has somehow gotten brownies every time she prays for them. One time she prayed specifically for homemade brownies and got a homemade brownie on her desk. It was so hilarious. Dios contesta nuestros oraciones!!!Yo se que este es verdad porque tuve una experiencia con oracion la ultimo miercoles. We went to the temple early b/c I had a meeting during our normal time. We did initiatories and they were so amazing. Those blessings are so fantastic. Anyway, we had to book it back and when I came back I found out my recommend was missing. I have never felt so miserable or prayed so hard in my life!! I seriously was praying constantly through the rest of the night. But then right before we went upstairs, they called my name to the front desk and someone had found it!!! Dios nos ama muchisimo!!!Mom I'm so glad you are all going to send your testimonies soon. I'll admit I was getting a little bit frustrated when only Grandma sent hers. BTW Grandma thank you so much for doing that for me!!! I loved it and I am going to write to you today, I promise!! I'm so sorry to everyone I haven't written yet, I don't have a lot of time to write letters but I'm trying to get to everyone at least once or twice before I leave. That reminds me mom, can you send me Caitlin, Caleb and Christi's mission addresses?? I want to write to them and I can't get on Facebook to look up the addresses. Also it's possible that you might be getting letters for me at the home address b/c I wrote it in Elder Coats and Kouts' address books b/c I don't know what my address in Ecuador is. So if you get one can you forward it to me and then send them a note with my address and instructions for pouch mail?? Thanks!!Craig and Kelly, I loved your letters!! Craig, I read your story about Totoro to Hermana Yoshino and she was so excited!!! She knows all about Totoro, and she translated the Japanese sentence for me but I don't remember what it means. You should write me a whole letter in Japanese and I'll have her read it to me. Mom, the pictures you sent won't open on these computers. Is it possible to have them developed and sent?? And I would love pictures of the family, b/c Hno. Sears says in South America people love to see pictures of your family and they look at you weird if you don't have them with you. I am sending you all some more pictures today from temple walks and Elder McGuire's birthday which was amazing!! We gave 20 sisters Hershey kisses to give him randomly throughout the day and he would get SO RED everytime he got one. It was so amazing. Everyone, POR FAVOR, write to me!! Mail is the only connection I have with the outside world!!!Okay I only have like 3 minutes left!! Write to me and tell me what you want to hear in these emails, I feel like I ramble a lot. I love you all SO MUCH and I miss you all but not enough to come home b/c I'm preaching the gospel to people who need it and it's AMAZING!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Diseases and Parasites-10/21/09

Okay, first of all, FELIZ CUMPLEANOS PAPA!!!!! 50 anos es muy viejo!! LOLThis has been the most amazing week. Hermana Yoshino has received her box and she about peed her pants she was so excited. Our entire room is very grateful for the packages we have received. Grandma, I got your box and the chocolate covered pretzels were gone within 2 days. The rest of the food remains uneaten. Old habits die hard I guess. I know I ask for something every week and I promise that I feel bad about it, but this time the only thing I want is some sheet music that I can sing here. They have special musical numbers at all the firesides and I would love to do one but I don't have any music, so if you could send me some I would love it. The EFY book would be good and if you have In the Upper Room that would be good too, and really anything you want. Gracias!!So we taught some amazing lessons this week. We've moved onto the Plan of Salvation and it has been incredible. I'm learning so much about the Plan that I didn't know before. Isn't Heavenly Father awesome to come up with something like that?? We taught our zone leaders last Thursday and we used these little cut out diagrams that Hermana Mount has, and we made this little person with red hair b/c Elder Coats has red hair. It was hilarious. But it was a really powerful lesson b/c we both shared some personal experiences and we shared how we had been able to take the Atonement into our own lives, and yes, I cried a little. The zone leaders have not stopped asking us when we are going to teach them again since then. They are teaching us tomorrow en Espanol and I am way excited.So then we went to the TRC on Friday and we taught a really sweet lady named Lucia, who was from Mexico. At the beginning she asked us why everyone didn't know about this wonderful plan that God had for us, b/c it didn't seem fair, and I said, "Well that's why we're here as missionaries so that we can tell as many people as possible about it!!!" And then we explained that b/c Heavenly Father loves us so much, he's provided a way for everyone to hear the gospel and accept it. It was so amazing, and Lucia was so awesome, I could have talked to her all day. And, the Spirit was so strong!!! AHH!! I love it here.So THEN, on Monday we went to the referral center and talked to this guy named Robert, and we pretty much taught him the first lesson. After we talked about living prophets, H. Mount asked him how he felt about that. He said, "It would be like my prayers have been answered!!" SO AMAZING!! So we sent him a BOM and we're calling him back tomorrow to talk to him some more. Seriously this place is incredible. Yesterday I had to spend all day in medical training for the mission and we talked about the grossest diseases and parasites and bugs and I'm pretty sure that we're all going to die when we get to Ecuador. There's this one that bites you and then lays eggs under your skin, so the larva hatches IN YOUR BODY and grows up in there and you have to put vaseline over it so it can't breathe. I about threw up when he was talking about it. Plus I didn't see H. Mount or my district all day and so by the end I was really grumpy. But it was good to know that I want to be in class where I'm supposed to be. But today I have to go back from 4 to 6 so I can't go to the temple with my district, so H. Mount and I are going early to do some initiatories. OH!! We went early last week and did sealings, and there was a girl in there who knew H. Mount, and I got to be sealed for her great-grandmother!!! It was so incredible. La iglesia es verdad!!Ummmm what else. I learned some new words in Spanish this week. Desmanado=awkward. Tenorio=ladykiller. Our Spanish/English dictionary has some interesting phrases in it. Also, H. Mount's nephew drew her an entire storybook about dinosaurs. It was amazing. And in our medical training yesterday they gave us a bag full of stuff and now I have 3 stethoscopes. BUT, I also have a BP cuff!! I've always wanted one of those!! So I have more things to say but I have to go do my laundry. So I will try to come back today and write more but if not I love you and miss you all and remember that this is the most amazing gospel ever and you should tell everyone you know!!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Okay 10 more minutes!! Ummm I don't remember what I said in my last letter. oh yeah. Please Please PLEASE write down your testimonies and send them to me ASAP!!! This goes for all my friends who are reading this too, por favor. I really would like to have them. And I would love to have some pictures of the family as well. And also I forgot to bring a pedigree chart with me sooooo . . . . . yeah.Mom, I loved that article about President Uchtdorf. Actually I love anything about President Uchtdorf. Elder Coats still hasn't figured out that "Me gusta su sonrisa" means "I like your smile" and it's starting to majorly stress him out. I let Elder Kouts play with my stethoscope today and I'm pretty sure we're now best friends. Then Elder Coats was like, "How do you take a blood pressure?" and I told him I would show him how tomorrow. I'm going to be muy triste when they leave on Monday, but at least there's only 4 1/2 more weeks until we'll at least be on the same continent.I finally saw Hermana Larsen in the bookstore a couple days ago and I talked to Hermana Glanzer at the temple on Sunday, but I didn't tell her that you read her blog Mom, b/c I didn't want her to think we were weird. She asked me where I'm going and I told her and she was like oh me too!! I just pretended like it was a big surprise, haha. We'll probably be companions eventually, so esta bien.So, Craig still hasn't written me any letters, and neither has Curt or Lindsey or most of my friends that read this email. What the heck guys?? LOL j/k. I'm not mad or even overly upset. But I would LOVE to hear from you all and if you do it on it's way easy. So if you have a minute, write to me por favor.I miss you all and love you all so much!! Be good, don't do anything I wouldn't do if I wasn't a missionary!!

Hermana Chamberlain

PS: Eventually I'm going to teach my district how to go star-tipping ;)

No Thanksgiving Dinner This Year-10/14/09

¡Hola familia y amigos!So Grandma wrote to me this week and said that Elder Newell is her sister´s grandson and so we´re pretty much second cousins or something. She also said she´s going to try and find out why he went home, but
don´t worry about it bc none of us really want to know. It´s none of our business and we only want him to be able to come back as soon as possible.Now that I´ve pretty much become Debbie Downer, how is everyone? I miss you guys mucho a lot, but again, not enough to come home. I´ll be sending more pictures soon. Hermana Mount got a Jody dress at DI for like 6 bucks and we both wore them last Friday, it was totally hilarious. We also taught a great lesson in the TRC that day, which just goes to show that wearing jody dresses is essential to having the Spirit with you. lol.Ummmm what else. OH!! Funny story. A couple nights ago I accidentally kicked the ladder that goes up to Hermana Mount´s bed in the middle of the night. I just rolled over and went back to sleep but then Hermana Mount woke me up and was like, OMG!! My bed was shaking and there´s a huge storm outside, did you feel it?? I was like ummmm, I think that was me kicking your ladder. It was hilarious and I haven´t stopped giving her a hard time about it yet.Still no sign of President Uchtdorf coming to give a devotional, but we´ve gotten some way good ones. Last night we had a seventy come, David Evans. He talked about the Book of Mormon and how we need to use it to convert people. It was basically awesome except for the part where he went half an hour over. No me gusta.Oh yeah. I got called as coordinating sister like the second day I was here. It´s pretty much the zone leader for hermanas, which isn´t hard bc there´s only 4 and they all live in my room. We´re getting a new district today with no hermanas, and we got a new one last week with no hermanas. Muy lameo. Nesicitamos más hermanas!! Another list of things I need. I´m still waiting for those black sweatpants from gap. And about the robe, it´s not a huge deal if you can´t find one. Also, my roommates say muchas gracias for the food you sent mom. Hermana Yoshino really likes granola bars and she´s really excited for the next box. She wants to know if you can send rice crispy treats. Mom we do have a microwave oven so bring on the easy mac. Except not really bc I think its gross. But if you want to send something else please feel free. I love those Betty Crocker microwave dessert things, just FYI.So one of my zone leaders, Elder Kouts, wants to be a plastic surgeoun when he grows up and when he found out I was a nurse he was like, tell me all your stories!!! So I told him about the time I got thrown up on and about the crazy guy that got out of his restraints and came after me and the guy that stuck the nerf ball up his rectum. He loves it, its so funny. Hermana Mount and I are getting ready to teach them the Plan of Salvation today and it´s basically going to be awesome bc we have some sweet visual aids. Another random story. Hermana Mount tells our other zone leader, Elder Coats, that he has a nice smile in Spanish and he totally doesn´t understand it and he screws up his face trying to figure out what she´s saying. It´s hilarious.Soooo, yeah. I don´t really have a whole lot else to say. It´s awesome here and the Spirit is strong and la iglesia es verdadero. For rels. I miss you and love you all, be good and read your scriptures and pray every day and love each other!!

Mucho Mucho amor!!!
Hermana Chamberlain

A couple more things with my last 10 minutes: please send more pants. P-days are killing me!! I should be able to send stuff home in boxes or send it to Abby, hopefully. Also, you can send pictures to me on myldsmail, so please send some!! I can't send to you though. What else. How are Craig and Kelly?? Why haven't they written me any letters?? lol j/k. Ummm . . . . I don't know what else. Not a whole lot of exciting things happened this week. Can you believe I've been here for 3 weeks already?? It feels like I just got here yesterday!! And now I only have 5 or 6 weeks left!! We figured out last night that I'm leaving the week of Thanksgiving, so no turkey dinner for me this year. BUMMER. Thanksgiving is only my favorite holiday after Christmas. Oh yeah. Hermana Yoshino hasn't gotten any mail from her immediate family yet. Would you family be willing to write letters to her?? If you send them to me and write her name on them I'll be sure she gets them. Also, would you all mind writing your testimonies down and sending them to me?? I would really really love to have those. Also mom and dad, in one of our firesides the speaker told us we should ask our parents for stories about their lives, like how did you meet and things like that. Could you write those down and send them to me too?? Por favor?? Awesome!!

Te amo muchisimo y adios hasta miercoles!!!