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

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