Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas With Green Water


It was so fun to talk to everyone on Christmas!! I can't believe it's the last time I'll call my family in the mission, that's just too weird to me. The time is going way too fast and it's freaking me out.
Enough about that. On to more interesting and important things. Jeffrey was baptized this Saturday on Christmas and it was really just the most hilarious baptism I've ever had. So many things went wrong but you would all be proud of me because I kept my cool (although it appears that to some people it came off as indifference, but whatever.) First of all, we told everyone involved to be there at 6:30 so that we could start the baptism on time. We got there at 6:30 and guess who was there??? NO ONE. Okay. So we unlocked the chapel and went inside to see what was going on with the font and guess what we found?? A font full of green water. We were like . . . . . . . WHAT IS THIS??? HNA Bravo started freaking out and saying, what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do???? And I was just laughing because there was nothing we could do, so why worry about it?? He was just gonna have to get baptized in green water and that was that. So we went back to the house to call everyone but on the way we saw everyone come and turned around. Fortunately no one said anything about the green font, so Jeffrey went to change his clothes and we waited on the elders from another branch who were also going to have a baptism. We waited and waited and Jeffrey and his family started to get really anxious because I guess they had to go somewhere afterwards, but finally the elders and their investigators showed up, everyone got changed, and we took pictures. Then we realized that we had another problem-none of the members that we had invited showed up and we were going to be short a witness. Uh ohhhhhhh. We ended up starting the baptism still waiting on the guy that we frantically called and as I sat there listening to our ward mission leader, the ridiculousness of it all hit me and I started to laugh. I was just thinking-bueno, the font is green, we don't have two witnesses, we started late and we have no idea what we're going to sing for our special number. I could react to this in one of two ways-cry, or laugh. I think I'm going to laugh. And I continued to laugh throughout the baptism, even when the zone leaders showed up and I probably should have behaved myself better but I just couldn't help it (and they ended up saving us because hey, 3 worthy priesthood holders walked in the door and could be witnesses). Then we got up to sing and it sounded so bad and I started laughing even in the middle of the song. Okay it was kind of immature but really I was just dying. But despite everything, Jeffrey was baptized and confirmed the next day and we were very happy and so was he!!! And that's the most important thing of all, and the reason that I think I was so calm thoughout the whole thing. I knew, deep down, that everything was going to be just fine, that even though it wasn't the most orthodox baptism ever, that everything would work out okay. And it did!!!

So that was our baptism. The rest of the week was kind of lame-everyone left for Christmas and no one wanted to talk to us. But I'm excited for this week. The blessings always come after the trial of faith. :)

Spanish word of the week: Malcreado. It means, literally translated, badly created. But generally it's used to describe bratty children, rebellious teenagers and disobedient missionaries, also misbehaving pets. Basically it means someone who doesn't behave themself very well. I LOVE this word and I use it a lot, haha.

We're still working with Monica and Kevin. All this weekend we were trying to find her and couldn't but it turns out that she was in the hospital and they're gonna have to operate. We brought the elders to give her a blessing and then stayed with her and talked to her about the Atonement. This turned into a session of answering her questions of the soul, and it just so happened that we were able to answer them all with the Book of Mormon. We then asked her to pray right then and ask Heavenly Father if it was true. She did, and after the word Amen we all stayed there with our heads bowed and our eyes closed for a minute. HNA Bravo and I finally looked up, but Monica was still there with her eyes closed and head bowed, listening. Finally she looked up and smiled at us. We asked her how she felt and she said, tranquila. We asked her if she had received an answer and she said yes. We asked her if she believed that the Book of Mormon was true and she said yes, because it answered her questions. When we left I really felt that we had been instruments in the hands of the Lord. It was an incredible feeling!!!

I know that God lives, that He is my Father and He loves me. I know that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son and the Savior of the world. I know that there is no other way that we can return to the Father except through His Atonement. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that he was called to be the prophet that restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. I know that the priesthood of God is here upon the earth and is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that The Book of Mormon is true, that it is another volume of sacred scriptures and if we read it every day and apply its principles, we will get closer to God and to His Son Jesus Christ and we will have happiness and joy in our lives. I know that families are forever and that the work and the glory of Heavenly Father is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children, in other words, all of us.

He wants us to live with Him forever, but it depends largely on us.

I love you all. I love this work.

Hermana Chamberlain

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Pictures

Monday, December 20, 2010

A White Christmas in Loja!


First off, Feliz Cumpleaños a Kristen y a mi querida tia Laurie!!!!! Your birthdays were last week but I hope they were awesome all the same. Anyway, first off, the big news: we are going to have a White Christmas!!! In other words, we're having a baptism the 25th of December!!! His name is Jeffrey and he's a cute little 9 year old boy, the younger brother of one of the members in Jipiro. One day while we were practicing, Alexis called us over and said, hey sisters, do you want a baptism??? Ummmm . . . . . DUH. What kind of missionary doesn't want a baptism?? He then said that his little brother hadn't been baptized yet but had been to church a bunch of times and wanted to get baptized. Okay, we can help you with that. The permission slip is signed and all we have to do is finish teaching him and find him some white clothes. Awesome.

More good news: I received FOUR packages this week!!! The whole zone looked at me like I was a spoiled brat, but I just smiled and waved. It's gonna be a Merry Christmas after all!!!!

On to more important things: we found a new family this week, Monica and her son Kevin. She answered the door when we were looking for our mamita and when I saw her I thought she was already a member. Turns out she's not yet, but she was looking for a way to get her family closer to God and we were like, how about sealed together and living with God forever?? She loved our message and although she didn't come to church this week I know she will next week. The funny thing is that she's really receptive but her son Kevin is the one that doesn't want to listen. Know how old he is??? EIGHT. It kind of makes me laugh, but we're getting in good with him little by little. They're both gonna be baptized, I just know it. One doesn't have a member face for nothing . . . . . .

So here we are in Guayaquil again, renewing my censo. I have a few commentaries to make on the trip last night: the absolute WORST road trip I have ever taken in my life, seriously. It started when we got on the bus and I was looking for our seats. I saw a couple who had their seats tilted all the way back and the wife was bothering her husband. This made me laugh until I noticed that our seats were right behind this couple and despite the fact that they both saw us struggling to get into them, they refused to raise their seats up to help us out. Finally we both managed to sit down, after much tribulation, and I figured out that even with my seat tilted back there wasn't enough room for my legs, which meant that I was incredibly uncomfortable all night. Then there was the window. HNA Bravo and I wanted it open, so I opened it. After about 15 minutes the guy behind us said, hey can you close the window?? So we closed it, waited until he was asleep and opened it again, haha. Then I fell asleep and when I woke up I realized that the guy behind us had closed the window AGAIN. Fortunately, he was asleep again, so I opened it. I realize that it was a little passive-aggressive, but we didn`t want to be throwing up the whole night. Then I fell asleep again, woke up right as we were coming into Guayaquil at 5:30 in the morning, and realized that my ears were so stopped up that I could barely hear out of the left one (remember that to get to Guayaquil from Loja you have to make a lot of altitude changes) and that no amount of yawning, swallowing or sucking on cough drops could make them pop. Just now they're starting to pop again. Fortunately this is the last time that I have to go to Guayaquil for legal stuff (I think) so we'll only be making this trip one more time-this afternoon, on the way back to Loja. You can not even imagine how happy we are about this!!!!

We're really excited about Christmas. HNA Bravo and I are going to go caroling to all the members and investigators (Spanish word of the day: Carols-villancicos.) Plus one family has already invited us to eat and I'm sure that more are on the way, if Loja is anything like Guayaquil on Christmas. Plus I get to talk to YOU GUYS!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAYY!!! The sad thing is, Loja is a lot more expensive than Guayaquil when it comes to calling the United States, so I might have you guys call me at home. But we get to make a practice call to arrange everything so I'll let you guys know. If a weird number shows up on the caller ID, it is NOT a telemarketer, it's your daughter!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nearly Arrested!


Changes were yesterday and I'm still in Loja and HNA Bravo is still my companion, but she goes home in 3 weeks so we'll see what happens when we get to that point. Enough about that. On to more interesting news. LUIS ENRIQUE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!! We were sooooooo happy and I was gonna upload photos but I forgot to bring my cable and we're kind of running on a tight schedule because we snuck out of the zone barbeque to go write to our families and if we don't go back soon there won't be any food left. But, he was baptized and confirmed and he was sooooooo excited. His testimony was amazing, he was like, at first I didn't want anything to do with this church but now I know that it's true and I'm going to go forward. He's totally gonna be a missionary some day. Believe dat. So now he and his mom are members of the true church of Jesus Christ and his grandma has NO IDEA. I love secret baptisms. The fear of being discovered is a huge adrenaline rush. lol.

This Saturday all the missionaries sang in the Christmas devotional for the district and it was lovely. HNA Bravo and I discovered that straightening hair with a clothes iron is more effective that doing it with a straigtening iron. Basically, my hair hasn't looked that good in all my life, and no, I did not burn myself, just in case anyone was wondering (although I did burn HNA Bravo and after that she decided that it would be better if she ironed her own hair instead of letting me do it. Ha.) Perhaps this is a shameless show of vanity on my part, but hey, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty-and seeing that our cute missionary clothes limit us a lot, we do what we gotta do right??

Random side note: This internet cafe is playing old school gangster rap and it is really difficult to not listen to it. I hate it when the cybers play trunky music. It's just unfair.

Anyway, this Sunday was awesome too, Lida came to church and loved it. She told us that when we called she was getting ready to go to her own church but decided to come to ours instead. She'll be baptized on Christmas day and we're totally excited. She needs a little bit of help with her testimony, but that will come as she puts in her part. Keep praying for her-if there's one thing I've figured out in the mission, it's that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.

Now they're playing reggaeton. Hableme en serio.

Funny story time!!! This week we went to Cuenca and I had to come back Thursday night while my companion stayed for a capacitation. We were having a killer time, telling jokes, laughing, when all of a sudden the bus stopped in the middle of the road and a policewoman got on. She said, good evening everyone, I`m here to make sure that you're all legal. At this point I remembered that my censo had expired the week before. Great. I got it out anyway and prayed that she wouldn't check the date on the back, but my prayers were in vain. She took my censo, flipped it over, frowned at me and said, you're only legal until November 23, 2010. I was like, yeah I know but the thing is that we have to go to Guayaquil to renew it and we can't go until they call us. She was like, sorry, but you're gonna have to get off the bus with me. I was like . . . . . they're gonna take me to jail, this cannot be happening. Fortunately Elder Arevalo and Elder Chicaiza were sitting right behind me and they're both from Ecuador. Elder Arevalo was like, is it really necessary for you to take her off the bus, she's gonna go renew it really soon, look we're missionaries (missionary seems to be a magic word here, lol). The policewoman was like okay, I`ll let her pass this time but you need to go get it taken care of as soon as possible, yeah?? We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and I asked, hey, if she had taken me to jail you guys would have come with me right??? They all said OF COURSE!!! True friendship right there-in fact I'm remembering a facebook bumper sticker right now that says, a friend will come bail you out of jail. A best friend will be sitting in the cell with you saying dang we messed up!!!! Haha. But I didn't go to jail, fortunately. And just so everyone knows, I'm going to Guayaquil next week to get my censo renewed.

Annnndddd . . . . . that's about it. The elders are all probably dying to eat, so chao until next week!!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

This week was really interesting . . . . . I have learned that not only is the Spirit with us, it really does guide us to Heavenly Father's prepared children. On Tuesday we were calling all the people we had planned to visit and none of them could receive us. I was looking at my planner and saw the name Lida, a lady that we had contacted the week before. I thought, we need to call her. So I said hey HNA Bravo, let's call Lida. She was like, I already am!!! Lida picked up the phone, asked who it was and when we said we were the missionaries she said, come right now!!!! We got a little lost trying to find her house but finally we found it. She let us in and started telling us that she was struggling a lot, her husband and son were in Spain and she was alone with her daughter and that she was facing a lot of temptations and every time she thought she was strong enough to overcome them she fell again. I thought, we should teach her lesson 3 (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) just as HNA Bravo pulled out a pamphlet of lesson 3. The lesson was incredible-I have never felt the Spirit so strong in my whole life, I'm pretty sure. Lida accepted a baptismal date and when we went back and taught about the Restoration and asked if she thought Joseph Smith was a prophet she said yes, and that the Book of Mormon was true too. We want her to be baptized in December but she says that she wants to wait until her husband comes in February. I'm praying hard that her husband comes in December for Christmas so that he can be in her baptism, because that way we'll all be happy!!! You guys should pray for that too!!!!

Luis Enrique is getting baptized this Saturday and we're sooooooo excited!!!! We've been having to teach him at 6:30 in the morning because his schedule is really weird, so we've been a little tired these days (don't worry, we had permission to do it!!!) but I'm willing to do pretty much anything for the investigators, as long as it doesn't break laws or mission rules or commandments. He also had his baptismal interview today at 6:30 in the morning, and will be baptized at 4:30 on Saturday. Pray for him pleeeaaaaasssseeee!!!!!!

Plus the Flia Ushca came to church yesterday all 3 of them, and to the Christmas devotional. And I LOOOOOOOOOVED Henry B. Eyring's talk because he said something to the effect of, I know there are people watching this that haven't made covenants with God yet and I would advise you to do it while you still can. BOOOOM!!!!! We're hoping they'll be baptized this Saturday too . . . . . . PRAY FOR THEM PLEASE!!!!

I've been reading Doctrine and Covenants a lot lately and I looooooooove it!!!! The Lord has such a love and appreciation for His missionaries and it really shows in the Doctrine and Covenants. Plus Parley P. Pratt has his own revelation in there-yes, a member of my family has his own personal shoutout from the Lord Himself. And no, I will not be ashamed of my pride concerning this. I've also noticed a lot more that the Spirit is helping me in my teaching-my whole mission I've felt like I don't teach very well, but now I'm figuring out that when you don't know what to say, you just have to start talking and the words will come. I'm really grateful to the Lord for His help in this work-I know He's interested in it and that we really are finding His prepared children and bringing them back to His fold.

Christmas is here in Loja and I am really excited. The first Christmas in the mission field was a little difficult, but now I've been here for over a year, I can speak Spanish, and I'm in love with missionary work. That's like a recipe for a perfect Christmas in Ecuador. And you know what?? I completely forgot that I'm allowed to talk to you guys on Christmas . . . . . does that mean something??? I dunno, but at least I'm not trunky, haha!!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waaay Too Much Food!


We keep on truckin' along here in Loja. This week wasn't quite as amazing as last week but still pretty good. Luis Enrique is so excited for his baptism that it's insane. He just has to come to church one more time and he'll be set to jet for the 11th of December. Familia Ushca is doing sooooo good too-HNA Sandra and Orlandito are really excited, HNO Angel has been out of town all week (he's military) so we have no idea how he is. But I think he'll be okay too, I've got a good feeling. Monica is still waiting on her divorce and Kela and Eduardo FINALLY got his divorce to go through so they should be getting married soon. Basically we're having a blasty blast down here and working really hard. It's awesome.

So I'm guessing that everyone wants to hear about the census, right?? We couldn't leave the house allllllllll day. You know what time the high school kid came to take our information?? 7:30 in the morning. Hableme en serio. And even though she came super early, we still had to stay in the house allllllllllll day until 5. What did we do?? We made cheese empanadas, wrote to our converts, decided we were hungry again and made pancakes, and then our landlords called up and invited us to come eat tamales with them. Keep in mind that when they called up, I had just eaten like 3 pancakes and earlier that day I had eaten a ridiculous amount of empanadas. But we both really like tamales, so down we went!!! We had both eaten one cheese tamale and HNA Cecilia was like, do you want to try the chicken ones?? Before we could say anything more than uhhhhhhh, she had gotten up and was heating them up in the microwave. Uh oh. I was already feeling like I was going to explode but the first rule of being a missionary is-we eat all the food. So I muscled my way through two tamales, a piece of cake and a lot of horchata (a type of herbal tea. Sidenote: I have never drunk so much herbal tea in my entire life as I've drunk here.) By the time we left I was seriously dying. I'm not sure how I made it through choir practice and teaching Luis Enrique without throwing up, but somehow I managed. That night I was lying in bed in severe stomach pain, cursing Ecuador and its good food, and the people who think it's necessary to feed us so much in one sitting. But today I feel fine. Pretty much.

Anyway, this morning we decided that we were going to help out HNA Monica with her restaurant. She's been wanting to paint it for awhile and we thought it would be a good way to show her boyfriend that the Church really is a good thing and that he should be listening to us too because it's going to help him. Anyway, the zone leaders wanted to come too, so Elder Garcia asked me where the restaurant was. I'm 99% positive that I told him on the way to Zamora Huayco, but he apparently heard only Zamora Huayco. Today we went to the chapel to wait for them, but only the elders from Catamayo showed up, so we told them where to find us and left. After about 2 hours, the zone leaders and the other elders all showed up and Elder Garcia said, we just spent an HOUR looking for this place in Zamora Huayco!!!! This led to a small discussion about what I said the night before and what I didn't say and who's hearing was challenged, but in the end they all stayed to help and I still say that I told him on the WAY to Zamora Huayco. But whatevs.

Anyway, there's not a whole lot else to say. I'm really excited for these next two weeks because we're going to have baptisms, plus my zone is cool and apparently next week we're gonna go to Vilcabamba and ride bikes (sidenote:do I even remember how to ride a bike??) Hopefully we don't have to go to Guayaquil again, because I really want to go to Vilcabamba and I HATE the bus ride to and from Guayaquil. It's seriously the worst thing EVER. But I also want to be legal here in Ecuador, so I guess we'll see what happens. I'm hoping we go the next week . . . . .


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fasting Works!


This week was AMAZING!!!! I have gained an incredibly strong testimony of the power of fasting. It works!!! And it's amazing!!!! And I'm gonna tell you all about it. Here we gooooooo . .. . . . So last week we were having a lot of issues with well, pretty much everyone, and this week was going more or less the same way. Monica Remache's boyfriend got out of jail and came back and didn't have a huge spiritual awakening while he was in the big house like we were hoping, plus a lot of other frustrating things were happening. I was getting super frustrated and thinking about what we should do when a thought came into my mind-we need to fast. DUUUUUUHHHHH. Why didn't we think of that before??? I asked HNA Bravo how she felt about it and she agreed that we should give it a try.

So the next day after lunch we went to the chapel and knelt down and poured out our hearts to Heavenly Father. We told him that we needed a lot of blessings and that we were going to fast so that we could have them. We asked him to bless the Flia. Chisaguano, Flia. Ushca, Flia. Remache, Luis Enrique and Kela and all the people that we were teaching, that they could work out their issues and be baptized. We also asked him to bless us so that we could find people who would be baptized, that were prepared to hear the gospel. We closed the prayer, got up and went back out to work.The day of the fast was kind of lame too. We passed by the Flia. Chisaguano and HNA Silvia is having a ton of problems with her husband. She and her daughter Melany really want to be baptized, but HNO Cesar told her that if she gets baptized he'll kick her out of the house (although he did say that when he was drunk, so I doubt he'd actually do it). But she was really upset and we just told her that everything would be okay and that when we keep going on and do what we know the Lord wants us to do, He blesses us. We left her feeling much better and went off to visit some other people, then came back to the chapel to see if the zone leaders wanted to come with us to visit the Chisaguanos. Elder Garcia was dying to go but they had to do some baptismal interviews and the elders hadn't shown up with their investigators yet. So we went off to the appointment alone, but as it turned out, HNA Silvia and HNO Cesar weren't there-HNA Silvia's dad got worse and they went to Quito again. We left, went back to the chapel and told the zone leaders what had happened. They were very sympathetic, told us they were sorry and that everything would be okay. We went back out to visit someone else and on the way, we passed a little boy. I thought, we should talk to that kid, but then I was like, uhhh he's like 4 years old, what's he gonna tell us?? So we kept walking, and then I saw the same little boy run up behind us, pass us and keep going. I thought, that little boy is going to lead us to someone-which is when we saw his mom. We started talking to her, she said we could come visit her and we set an appointment for the next day. Then we went back to the chapel to teach Luis Enrique, the son of a recent convert. His problem was that he could never come to church because he worked and went to school on Sundays (they have school on Sunday here, kind of weird) but when we got there he said HNAs I need to talk you. I can work my schedule out so that I can come from 9-10 on Sundays. In other words, he can come for Sacrament Meeting. We were like . . . . . AWESOME!!!! DO IT!!!!! We left happy, knowing that we were already seeing the blessings of our fast.The next day we ended our fast and went out to work again. I don't remember exactly what happened on Friday, but Saturday was incredible. We went to visit Marcia, the lady that we found, and her husband came out and was like oh she's not here. Just as we were asking him when we could come back, she came out, opened the door and said, come in!!!! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen-some people just don't know how to lie!!!!! Her sister and niece were also there, the three of them listened to us, agreed to come to church that Sunday and accepted baptismal dates!!! We left super happy. We visited Monica Remache and her son Richard with one of the members and they hit it off really well, and she told us she would come to church the next day too. Then we went to visit the Ushcas. We thought HNO Angel wasn't going to be there but he was, so we decided to read the intro to the Book of Mormon with them. Long story short, the Spirit was really strong and all three of them accepted baptismal dates, even HNO Angel. He now knows without doubt that the church is true, he just has to keep on going. We were so excited!!!So then, the big day. Sunday. The last Sunday of the month, because next week no one can leave the house for the census. We got ready, ran out the door and grabbed a taxi. First we went to get HNA Sandra Uscha and Orlando (and Erik, of course). They weren't quite ready when we got there but they got ready really quick and we booked it to the chapel. We left them there and took off for Monica and Richard, stopping at Marcia's house on the way to get her, but she said that she'd come later bc she was waiting for her sister and brother in law to come. We ran to Monica's house, where she and Richard were ready and waiting. We hopped in the cab, ran to the chapel and tried to contact the cab driver, but he said he was Catholic (how many times have I heard that here???) We jumped out and ran in just as the opening hymn was ending and joined Sandra and Orlandito in the back. Right after the sacrament I looked over my shoulder and saw Elder Garcia peeking through the door waving at me. I thought, what's he doing here?? He should be in his own branch!! Then I remembered that the elders from the Loja branch had a baptism and he had probably come to help them, but that still didn't explain why he was peeking through the chapel door waving at me. Then I saw him and Elder Spencer showing a family through the door. At first I didn't recognize them, but then I realized that it was Marcia, her sister Tania, and Tania's husband Lauro. I wanted to jump out of my seat and do a backflip, but we all know I can't do a backflip. What I did instead was frantically nudge my companion and whisper (loudly) LOOOOOOK!!!! She turned around, got really excited, and got up and went to sit with them. As I was watching her go I noticed that Luis Enrique had somehow snuck in with his mom without us noticing. I then started counting the amount of investigators we had in church that day. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, EIGHT. The most people that I've ever managed to bring to church in one Sunday in my entire mission. In Loja, the most difficult area of the mission to baptize. And out of these eight people, 7 of them had a baptismal date. I turned around, focused my attention on the little kids in front (it was the primary presentation, my favorite!!!) and thought, I LOVE being a missionary!!!!!

Prayer works. Fasting works faster. If you want a blessing, and you're not getting it, maybe you're not sacrificing enough. That's what I learned this week. Later we went to choir practice and the zone leaders asked us how many people had come to church with us that day. When we told them, Elder Garcia's eyes about popped out of his head, it was so funny. They then asked us what we had done and we replied simply, we prayed and we fasted and we worked really hard. Because that's all we did, really. The Lord told us that we needed to fast and we followed His counsel. That's the key to success in missionary work-ask the Lord for help and do what He says!!!I love you all sooooo much. Thank you all for praying for me, for my compy and for our investigators. I hope that from this email you can see that your prayers are being answered. Keep it up. I know that what I'm doing is right. I know that the Lord answers my prayers. I know He loves me and that He loves everyone. And I know that this is His church.La vida es hermosa . . . . .


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, November 15, 2010

Satan--The Father of All Lies


Well this week was interesting, we taught a lot of lessons, the familia Chisaguano FINALLY came back but it looks like they took off for Quito again, we found out that one of our investigators went to jail, you know, just another week down here in the mountains of Ecuador.
I guess I`ll start at the beginning. The Flia Chisaguano finally got back from Quito on Tuesday or Wednesday and we went over on Thursday, but it was really depressing. They were all really sad because HNA Glanzer had left, like bawling their heads off about it sad, which of course made us sad and then they were like, ohhh we don't know about baptism, we have to pray about it and think about it. Sighhhh . . . . okay. HNA Bravo was really upset about it, obviously, because she'd worked with them for so much more time than me, but I also felt really depressed because they're a great family and everyone had worked so hard with them. We decided to give them a couple days before going back, and when we returned we watched the Emma Smith movie and it turned out to be AMAZING. Emma Smith passed through some really tough stuff, just like the Flia Chisaguano, so they were really affected by it. By the end of the night they were all smiling and saying see you in church tomorrow!!! But the next day they got a call from their family in Quito and apparently HNA Silvia's dad got worse (he'd already been sick) and so they didn't go to church and when we passed by afterwards there was no one there and worse, the phone was turned off. Soooo . . . . we're not sure what's going on. But we will find them. If it takes the rest of my mission and kills me, we will find this family and baptize them.

The Flia Ushca is doing really well, but they're afraid to be baptized. Bueno, HNA Sandra says that she was already baptized but that she's going to pray to know if she should be baptized again, and HNO Angel says that he's afraid to be baptized because what if he fails God afterwards?? We were really frustrated afterwards, but what do you do when all else fails?? Call in additional reinforcements!!! Tonight we're going to go with the zone leaders to have a family home evening and we're going to teach the Restoration with emphasis on the apostacy and how the authority of the priesthood was lost and then restored. Then the zone leaders are going to put a baptismal date on them. It's gonna be awesome, I just know it. Yesterday they didn't come to church, and when we went over afterwards they apologized for not coming!!! That's never happened to me before!!! It gives me animos to keep on truckin' with them.

So then, in the third family that we're working with, HNA Monica and her son Richard are pretty much ready to be baptized, the only problem is that Monica's not married, she just lives with HNO Ramiro and he doesn't want anything to do with us, although he is friendly. Plus they're having a lot of problems and I don't think she even wants to marry him (I understand, I probably wouldn't either, but it is necessary so that she can get baptized so we're working on the whole chastity issue.) Anyway, this Sunday Monica and Richard came to church with us and we asked her about HNO Ramiro. She was like, oh he's in (insert name of random city two hours away from Loja, don't remember the name but it's long and hard to say.) Oh, cool. Well afterwards we went to teach her a lesson and she started telling us about all the issues she was having with him, that he gets jealous and sometimes hits her and all kinds of stuff, and then she was like, uhhhh I lied when I told you he was out of town, he's actually in jail. Apparently debtor's prison still exists in this country, who knew?? But we felt really bad for her, because she's so awesome and comes to church every Sunday with us and reads the BOM and prays and she's got all this lame stuff happening in her life and now her lamesauce boyfriend's in jail and can't get out until she pays the money. I thought about telling her to just leave him in there but decided that wouldn't be hugely tactful (although if I was in this situation, it's possibly what I would do. Not important to the story.) But she is living the law of chastity now, so I guess we'll see what happens, haha!!!

So this week was pretty difficult for us. We worked incredibly hard but had some ridiculously difficult challenges to face with all our investigators. Last night I was thinking about why were having all these issues, why the opposition was working so incredibly hard against us. I've never felt so clearly that Satan has put a picture of me and my companion on his dartboard in all my mission. Then it came to me: We're working with three families, three really awesome families. Think about what's in a family: the priesthood, something that Satan will never have, a marriage, something else that Satan will never have, children, something ELSE that Satan will never have, members of the Relief Society, Young Men's and Women's, Primary-something that Satan will never be a part of. Love, charity, respect, happiness, and the hope of being an eternal family, living together with the people we love most of all for all time: and with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. All these things are made possible when a family gets baptized together-and it ticks Satan off. A LOT. As I sat there thinking last night, I realized that this was why it was so incredibly difficult, why the devil was working so hard against us and why we were feeling it. BUT-that the powers of evil will never defeat the power of God (another thing that ticks Satan off!!!!) One time I was listening to a John Bytheway talk and someone had asked him, if Satan knows he's going to lose eventually, why does he still try so hard??? John Bytheway said that it was because he wanted to take as many of us with him as possible when he lost. Or something like that-I don't remember exactly.

But my point is this-don't EVER let Satan drag you down to where he is. He may tell you that everyone's doing it, that the commandments are out of date, that no one will know, that no one will get hurt. He may tell you that the church isn't true, that Joseph Smith was crazy, that he made everything up. He may tell you that God doesn't exist, and that if He does, He definitely doesn't love you. He may tell you that you're not worthy or able to pray, or that if you've messed up you'll never be able to fix it. NONE OF THAT IS TRUE: Satan is the father of ALL LIES. If you let him drag you down, people will get hurt, and not just you but everyone who loves you. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. He restored the true gospel on the earth. The priesthood of God resides in it, and the people chosen by God to lead us also. You are worthy to pray, and if you've messed up, there is always a way back through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Him we have joy and peace. Though Satan, all we have is misery.

Heavenly Father loves you. You are His child and He wants nothing more than for you to come back into His presence-together with your family. Work as hard as you can to get there-it's the reason we're here on the earth. And be thankful that you already have the gospel in your life, because you have no idea how hard Satan works to make sure that Heavenly Father's children who don't already have it don't receive it. But I know that every single one of these families will be baptized-it might kill us, but they will be able to receive the blessings of the gospel.

Les amo muchisimo. Oren por mi y por mi compy, por favor. Estamos trabajando durisimo pero necesitamos toda la ayuda de los cielos que podamos tener!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Am His Daughter


This is the song that I mentioned a few months ago that I said I would post the words but I never did. If you want you can put it on the blog, but I thought you would like to know that the words have comforted me and helped me a lot in the mission.

I Am His Daughter

The photos in the magazine
Don't dictate who I'm supposed to be
The world can't recognize all that I am inside
But I know in His eyes I am a part of the bigger picture
There's so much more to me
He helps me see that I have so much to offer
I am His Daughter
He loves me the way I am
He's my strength when I stand
He is my King and my Father, I am His Daughter
The people on the TV screen
The leaders, rulers and queens
I watch them shape the world, and though I'm just a girl
I still know for sure I am a part of the bigger picture
There's so much more to me
He helps me see that I have so much to offer
I am His Daughter
He loves me the way I am
He's my strength when I stand
He is my King and my Father, I am His Daughter
And when I'm feeling small
And wondering if I'll ever
Find courage to stand tall
Through His love I remember
There's so much more to me
He helps me see that I have so much to offer
I am His Daughter
He loves me the way I am
He's my strength when I stand
He is my King and my Father
I am His Daughter

We Have the Best Family Evaaaaah!

Ellen sent the following email in response to something her sister Abby said. First is the excerpt from Abby's email (sorry Ab, Ellen said to put it up), then Ellen's response.

Grandma and Grandpa Chamberlain were in town, so we all ( Grandma, Grandpa, Hillary, David, Sarah, me, Peter, Amy, and Christopher) went out to dinner on Saturday night, and then we also had dinner at Peter and Amy's on Sunday. It was fun, and when we were driving home on Sunday (belting Christmas songs at the top of our lungs), I realized how GLAD I am that we belong to the Chamberlain family and not some other family. I decided that there are two main criterion to being a member of the Chamberlain family:

1. Quirkiness

2. An appreciation for GOOD FOOD!

Keep those in mind when you get married, please. We don't want anyone throwing off our groove (wouldn't it be so sad to belong to a family that didn't have an equal number of desserts and people at Thanksgiving Dinner??). Anyway. I love being a Chamberlain. We have the best family evaaaaah!

We really do have the best family evaaaaah. I realized that when I read this email. I miss you all but not enough to get trunky (yet, haha chendo). But although it kills me to think about coming home, a part of me is really excited for the next Thanksgiving dinner and 16 different desserts. Our family is, without question, really awesome.

Love youuuuuuu


This Home Is Catholic, Thank You For Respecting Our Faith


You guys are lucky, the zone leaders almost told us that we had to wait till next week to write but we managed to convince them that we should be able to write today, haha. Anyway, hopefully nobody was too scared by my last email, because I do feel a lot better now. I still miss Cuenca a lot but I`m beginning to develop a love for the people here in Loja too. We`re working with a lot of cool people and especially families!!! My favorite!! So I am doing better, and despite what everyone might think, I`m not going to throw myself off a bridge or even sneak on the next bus to Cuenca. I`m good.

So yesterday we finally got back from Guayaquil at 10 at night. We had to go to renew my visa and in 3 weeks we have to come back to renew my censo. Why couldn`t we just do it all at once??? Elder Guerrero and I would really like to know that too. Ecuador is a red tape country for sure. But to make a long story short, the bus ride from Loja to Guayaquil and back is generally 9-10 hours long, although sometimes you can make it in 7 and sometimes it takes 12. I'm really hoping I never experience the 12 hour ride, that would be horrible. Sunday night we went all night long and got to Guayaquil at 4:30 in the morning. Uhhh . . . . Now what do we do?? We ended up hanging out in the terminal for a few hours and then went to the office, waited another 2 hours even though we got there on time and FINALLY went off to renew the visa, except we also waited there forever. But I did see my first district leader in the mission, Elder Cruz, so that was fun. He's going home in the middle of December, isn't that crazy??? Time flies when you're serving the Lord (Jacob 7:26). Then we had about 45 minutes to shoot off the quick email to our families, go back to the office to pick something up and fly back to the terminal. We thought when we got on the bus that we had just barely made it, but we ended up sitting on the bus for 15 minutes. Hableme en serio. We totally could have gone to McDonalds like we wanted. And THEN, when we were an hour outside of Loja there was a traffic jam and we sat there for another 45 minutes. I was just like you've got to be kidding me!!! Finally we got home and threw ourselves into bed and died for about 7 hours. It was really terrible and the worst part is knowing that I have to do it again in 3 weeks!!!

Anyway, enough Debbie Downer. Loja is very pretty and there are a lot of cool people here. We are working with 3 families and having a lot of fun. My companion is really funny-she loves to take pictures and videos and we just have a blast with it. One time we came to a door for an appointment, rang the doorbell and no one answered. We rang a bunch but still nothing. So we decided that we were going to have some fun. We now have a video of me ringing the doorbell obnoxiously and banging on the gate, then noticing the sticker on the door that says, this home is catholic, thank you for respecting our faith. Not to be deterred, I kept ringing and knocking, and finally HNA Bravo says, it looks like they're not here, and I said, it looks like they're catholic!!! It's a hugely hilarious video, not gonna lie. And we have many more. So I am having a great time with my companion, and also with getting to know the people here. The Flia Chisaguano is still AWOL although we heard that they're coming back soon from Quito and I just know that they'll be baptized this month, I don't know how but I know it. We're also working with the Flia. Ushca, who reminds me a lot of Flia. Criollo except they're a little bit more tranquilo. But the HNO Angel and the HNA Sandra are both really smart-they pretty much teach themselves and they have an 11 year old son named Orlandito, and a 1 year old named Erick. This past week they were going to go to Riobamba and not be able to go to church, so we prayed all week that they wouldn't go and that they'd come to church instead. On Friday we went to their house for an appointment and HNA Sandra said, ahh, I have to go, Orlandito's in the hospital!!! We of course offered to go with her and called someone to give him a priesthood blessing, shared a scripture with them and everything. When we left I looked at HNA Bravo and said, guess they're not going to Riobamba!!!! Haha, oops!! On Sunday Orlandito was still in the hospital but much better, and his parents were like I dunno if we're gonna be able to go but we'll try. We went to the hospital to pick them up and only found Orlandito, who said that his parents had gone home. By this time we had 10 minutes before church started. HNA Bravo was like, if we run we can get to the house and call them . . . . are you willing to run??? Of COURSE!!!! We booked it to the house and called, they said that they'd be late but they'd make it. All through sacrament meeting I was praying that they'd make it, and imagine the happiness that we felt went we saw them peeking through the door and waving-both of them!!!!! It was the best feeling ever.

Prayer works. It works in mysterious ways but it works. PS: Orlandito is all better now, he got out of the hospital yesterday on his birthday.

Anyway, I'm doing good. I'm getting used to my new place. I'm having fun with my companion and the other people in my district and zone. Elder Garcia is my zone leader and Elder Caro is here in the other district-sometimes after district meeting we reminisce about the good times in the office but we're all super happy that we're not there anymore, hahaha. And I have a couple of new favorite scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants (sidenote: I wish I had more time to study D&C, it's AWESOME). D&C 9: 6, and D&C 63:57-58. I'm learning what it means to really align your will with the Lord, and that if you do, He'll show you all the things that you should do-and bless you incredibly.

Les amo muchisimo. Amigos-ESCRIBANME POR FAVOR

Yo sé que vive mi Señor
Consuelo es poder saber
Que vive aunque muerto fue
Y siempre Su amor tendré

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Quickie From Guayaquil


Well this is gonna be really short because we're in Guayaquil and we have to hop a bus in half an hour to go back to Loja. Just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive and I even feel better than I did last week, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief. I´ll be writing more tomorrow so don´t worry, but right now we have to run back to the office and then book it to the terminal, or we´ll be pulling another all nighter on the bus and we don´t want that!!!

Mucho amor, les amo todos y gracias por sus palabras de amor y apoyo.

Hermana Chamberlain

Friday, November 5, 2010

She Sent PICTURES!!!!!

Finally, we got some pictures via snail mail. They are posted on the Photos page. Sorry they aren't in chronological order. Blogspot is a bit of a pain when it comes to posting pictures so I didn't mess with it too much. Let's hope the internet is faster at the cafes in Loja! Here's the note that came with the photos.

Hola Familia!

So I accidentally printed doubles of all my pictures, and I was like, what the heck am I gonna do with all these pictures? And then I thought hey, I'll send them to my family, they are ALWAYS asking for pictures! So here's some pics of Cuenca, one picture in Loja and some other random stuff. I know this is relatively unconventional (wow, I can't believe I even remember what that word means) but the internet is so slow here that I'd rather eat glass than send photos by email. You'll have to do a little more work to get them on the blog, but at least I sent them! love you lots. I wrote descriptions on the backs. I'll keep looking for the magic internet cafe--fasting and prayers would be appreciated!

Les amo mucho!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, November 1, 2010

Missing Cuenca

Hola . . . . .

This is going to be an audience participation email-we're going to use our imaginations. Imagine that you're in a beautiful place, and working in the best job that you've ever had in your life. You love your coworkers, you love the clients, and you love the place that you live in. And you're especially happy because a lot of your clients are about to make the best deal of their lives, one that will bring them a lot of happiness and allow them to progress a lot in their lives. You've worked hard, put in a lot of effort, and even cried over some of these people, but seeing them make these decisions that will bring them so much joy makes it all worth it. You are the happiest that you've ever been in your life.

Then one day, your boss calls you into the office. He thanks you for the work that you've done with these people, and then tells you that he needs you to go to another branch of the company, in a place that's still pretty but not as pretty as the place you're in now. You'll have new coworkers, you won't know the area or any of the clients, and you won't even know if you have clients. And . . . . . you won't be able to come back and visit this place that you love, and the people that you've come to love like your own family. You won't be there to see the results of all your work.

How would you feel at this point?? Like your heart was breaking??

If you answered yes to that question, then you know exactly how I felt last night at around 9:30 PM.

Last night the district leader called and told me that I was being transferred. At first I thought he was joking, in fact I was waiting for him to say HAHA, just kidding Hermana Chamberlain!!!! But even though I asked him about 6 times if he was joking, it wasn't a joke. At first they told me that I was going back to Guayaquil. I absolutely couldn't believe it-why on earth would I be going back there?? Elder Forero could hear how upset I was and said all the consolation things, don't worry everything's going to be fine you'll have a lot of success blah blah blah. All I said was uh huh, uh huh, yeah okay chao. I hung up the phone, buried my face in my pillow and began to cry. Hard. For a really long time. HNA Castillo started crying too-we had worked SO HARD for these people and we wanted to be there together when they all got baptized. Then the zone leaders called. I picked up the phone and said, I hope you're calling to tell me that the transfer call was a joke. Elder Johnson said that unfortunately it wasn't but that he was calling with more details about the transfers. Then he told me that I wasn't going to Guayaquil at all . . . . I was going to Loja. And that they were going to divide Alamos into two sectors-Hermana Glanzer was coming to be in one part and was going to train, and Hermana Castillo was going to take the other part and also train. All the people that we have that were going to be baptized in this change, that we had worked so hard and given up hours of time and energy to be able to go visit them . . . . I wasn't going to see them be baptized. It was too much for me to handle and I started crying again, and Hermana Castillo was bawling her head off right along with me. We sat there crying for so long that I didn't even start packing my bags until 10:30. I managed to quit crying while I was packing but when I got into bed I started crying and even though HNA Castillo gave me her Pooh Bear to hold and told me not to cry and that everything would be okay, I couldn't stop. I don't even know when I fell asleep-all I remember is crying and crying and feeling like my heart was breaking. I know that that sounds cliche but my heart literally was hurting. And it wasn't just for the baptisms-I really love the people in Cuenca, the investigators, the converts, the members, all of them. There were so many that I didn`t get to say goodbye to, and I felt like my time there was too short. If it sounds like I'm complaining or murmuring, that's not my intention at all. But I think that there have been very few times in my life when I've felt such profound sadness. In fact, I have tears in my eyes right now as I'm typing this. I know that everything is going to be okay-I know that I'm here in Loja for a reason, because when we got to the terminal, Elder Forero said that President wanted me to go to Loja to help lift up the sector that I would be in. But the thing is, I don't really do anything different-I just work hard and try to do what Heavenly Father wants. I don't know what President thinks I can do but I'm going to try and figure it out and do the best I can. Hopefully the heartache that I feel goes away soon.

Anyway, I'm in Loja now, in the sector called Jipiro. My companion's name is Hermana Bravo, she's from Nicauragua and is really sweet. I know we'll get along just fine. I'm excited because we are working with two families that have a date to be baptized, although I'm sad because I've been reading HNA Glanzer's blog and she worked so hard with the family that's getting baptized this Saturday, and now she won't be able to see their baptism. I feel like she deserves to be there more than me. But although I haven't met them yet, I already love them and I'm excited to get to know them and help them progress in the gospel. I know that everything will be okay, and it's not that I feel like I shouldn't be here or that I'm angry or anything . . . . I'm just very very sad and I miss Cuenca and all the incredible people that I left there. But the people here are great too and I know that I will be okay and that I will figure out what the Lord wants me to do here and that the heartache will go away. I know that the reason I feel this way is because I did what missionaries are supposed to do-develop a pure love and desire for the salvation of all the people in Cuenca.

I love you all so much. Thank you for all your love and prayers for me. Sorry this email was such a downer and that I didn't tell any funny stories or incredible spiritual experiences. Next week should be better. And despite everything, I love the Lord and I know He loves me, and that he will help me here in His great work.

Les amo muchisimo,

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Am Sooooo Happy in Cuenca!


First of all, FELIZ CUPLEAÑOS DAD!!!! Sorry I forgot last week!!! Whooooaaaa, 51 huh?? Eres un viejito ahora!!!! Chendo . . . . jeje.

This week was awesome, of course, because every week in Cuenca is awesome!!! We found people, we're gonna baptize people, we got stuck on the top of a mountain, we milked cows (kind of), we went to Giron and we basically just rocked the sector of Alamos.

So the sad news is that we wanted to have 3 baptisms this month but we're not gonna have any (unless some kind of miracle happens, and it could!!) however we will be having 6 baptisms next month!! The Flia Chuchuca is doing so good!!! We went to their house on Thursday to do service for HNA Rosa, except that here in Cuenca, people don`t really understand the concept of service, so really what we did was go around all their property and play with their animals. We played with the dogs, fed the chickens, chased the cuyes (guinea pigs, the ones that people eat) and "milked" the cows, except not really because HNA Castillo was scared, so we just took pictures pretending to milk the cows. But every time we asked her what we could do to help her she was like, oh nothing!!! Sigh . . . . . . okay. That night we were going to go up with the bishop, but he called at the last minute and told us he couldn`t make it. AHHH!!! We have to get up there!!! So HNA Castillo, HNA Afrania and I hopped the bus and rode to the entrance, where HNO Morocho was waiting for us. Then we walked half an hour to their house-uphill. In the cold. But we made it!! And they were waiting for us. They loved the plan of salvation and HNA Rosa told us that HNO Luis went to watch soccer that past Sunday which is when he usually drinks, but that this time he came home completely sober. When she asked him about it he said, no, I promised the sisters that I wouldn't drink and I didn't!!!! Cool. So then we walked down the hill for another half hour in the cold and right as we got to the entrance we saw the bus go by. The last one. This was at about 8:50ish. Uhhh . . . . what do we do now?? There's no bus and we don`t have enough money for a taxi!!! After waiting on another bus for awhile we finally decided to call a taxi and see if they'd take us for the money that we had. They agreed and then we waited for another 10-15 minutes on the taxi, which finally came and took us all home. We got home super late but we were still glad we went!!!

But then we called them on Saturday night and HNA Rosa had gone to the hospital with her arthritis. So they couldn't come to church that day, obviously, but right after lunch we went to Giron (another city close to Cuenca that's still part of the ward . . . . . the limits are HUGE) with the bishop and his family to give her a blessing. She was really happy to see us and said that she should be getting out on Tuesday but if she doesn't we're going to go see her again. But I know she'll get better soon-she has a lot of faith!!!

Another cool thing that happened is that we found a reference that we've been looking for forever. President gave the reference to the zone leaders about a month ago, he's family to a General Authority but we're not sure what. Anyway we went with the zone leaders a month ago to look for him but we never found him. This week we were in our house and HNA Castillo was like hey we should call Gabriel's cousin to see if he can give us more information (we had the cousin's number but not Gabriel's.) So we called him and he was like Hermanas!! I've been praying to find your number so that I can call you and tell you to go find my cousin, and now you've just called me!!! Gabriel's been reading the Book of Mormon, he's just about to start in Alma, and if he could he would get baptized tomorrow. Woooooooow . . . . . . WEIRD!!!! He gave us Gabriel's number and we went that same day. He lives with his grandma who completely supports him and years ago was almost baptized herself, but something happened and she didn't go through with it. Gabriel is AWESOME-a little shy but super intelligent. We brought him to church on Sunday and he and the other Young Men hit it off like crazy. Today he went to seminary. He's getting baptized on November 13 with the Flia. Chuchuca and is way excited. He could get baptized this Saturday, because president told us that we could baptize him when he came to church one time, but we want to teach him good so that he feels prepared (for some reason all the people who are really prepared always say that they're not prepared. Hableme en serio.) But he's super excited and we are too because he and his grandma are totally awesome and his grandma is totally going to get baptized too, she just doesn't know it yet.

I am sooooo happy in this sector and I never want to leave. Changes are next week and we don't think we're leaving but you never know with President. Everyone who reads this, pray that we don't get transferred because we need to be here with these people that are going to be baptized. I know that the Lord sent me here to Cuenca to be with these people at this time and if I get changed now I know I'll cry from Cuenca to whereever I`m going and then for days on end afterwards. Pray hard that we don't get changed!!!!

Les amo todos!!! Comportense bien!!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 18, 2010



Well this email will be a lot longer because this keyboard is way better. Why?? Because we didn`t go to the same internet cafe that we always go to!!!

Anyway, we just came back from Guayaquil again, because HNA Castillo had to go get her censo renewed. We left yesterday, had a family home evening with all the members from Bolivar, and stayed with HNA Wise and her companion HNA Perez, then the next morning we went straight to the immigration office and from there we went straight to the terminal. The rest of the day was spent on the bus, which for some reason, decided not to go back to Cuenca through Cajas and took the long way through Cañar-which meant that we were on the bus for five and a half hours instead of the usual three and a half or four. Needless to say, we never want to get on the bus again, but unfortunately next month we have to get on twice, because I have to renew my visa and my censo. Why couldn`t we just do it today, you ask?? I'd like to know too!!! But it's cool. At least we get to visit people when we come!!

Anyway, this week was AMAAAAAZINGG!!!!! The familia Chuchuca, that we found last week, is going to get baptized!!! November 13 is their date and they are SO excited. The HNO Luis has a few problems with alcohol and smoking, but as soon as he started listening to the gospel, he started to quit, Yesterday right after church we taught them the Word of Wisdom, and he was like, yes hermanas, I am going to quit it all so that I can be baptized on November 13 with my family!!! It was so awesome-this family is incredibly special and they need and want the gospel so badly in their lives that they're already making changes. I think that's my favorite thing about being a missionary-seeing the changes that the gospel of Jesus Christ makes in people, through the Atonement. There's no blessing greater than that, and that alone is a testimony to me that this is the true church. Seeing people get on the path to being eternal families is worth every single bad thing that we have to pass through on the mission (sidenote-I only have one pair of undestroyed shoes left . . . . . ) and I'll always be grateful that the Lord sent me here, to these people, to teach them the plan of eternal happiness!!!

But before that happened, we had a super cool/funny experience. Cuenca isn't as dangerous as Guayaquil, but there are a few parts that aren't so great. Well, we found this guy who lives in one of those parts, except we didn`t know it was dangerous, so we set an appointment with him . . . . . at night. We asked HNA Florita to go with us and when we came, she was waiting in the Feria Libre (it's like a flea market but at night it's also dangerous) looking like she wanted to run away. When we got to her she said, Hermanas!! I was just about to go home-do you know how dangerous it is here??? We knew that the Feria was dangerous at night and I had already been feeling like we should leave, but as we got further into where this guy lived, that feeling intensified. I was praying the whole time, please Heavenly Father, don't let anything happen to us!!! Finally we got to the clinic that's there and we just happened to find the police. We asked them how to get to this guy's house (he lives by the Escuela de Trabajo, which we didn`t know at the time, is basically juvenile detention. Great.) They were like, oh you have to go further in and up, but don`t go because it's really dangerous. Hey, do you want us to take you??? At first Florita was like no we can't!!! So they started to drive away, which is when we realized that there were a bunch of sketchy looking teenagers staring at us. AHHHH!!! COME BACK!!! So they came back and we got in the squad car and drove away. We still couldn`t find this guy (although we felt much safer in the back of the squad car, they turned the lights on and everything) so one of the policemen got on the microphone and started saying, IVAN, IVAN!!! THE HERMANITAS ARE LOOKING FOR YOU!!!! It was kind of embarrassing, but at the same time really funny. But then I thought wait, how are we gonna get out of here??? We can`t walk out bc we`ll totally get robbed!!! Which is when the policeman said, hey do you want us to come back and get you guys??? YES!!! YES PLEASE!!! And they did!!!! As soon as we finished the lesson we called them and within 5 minutes we heard, HERMANITAS!!! over the microphone. It was awesome and they even took Florita to centro to help her dad out. Just another way that the Lord helped us out when we needed Him!!!!!

Speaking of the Lord's help, I had a cool experience the other day that helped me see how important we really are to Him, even in the little things. We were packing to go to Guayaquil and I couldn't find my hairbrush, no matter where I looked. I was getting a little frustrated because I'd already bought one hairbrush here and I didn`t want to buy another, plus I knew it was in the house somewhere because I had used it, obviously. Finally I was like, Heavenly Father, can you help me find my hairbrush?? I felt kind of stupid for asking about something so little, but the first thought I had was, look in the trash. What?? Why would it be in the trash?? But I looked anyway, and it wasn`t in the trash-but it was right next to it on the windowsill!!! I was a little bit blown away, not gonna lie. Heavenly Father helps us with whatever we need, even lost hairbrushes. I was thinking about that just now and about how many times I don`t really care about little things-I'm pretty sure that when people ask me if I've seen something of theirs, I'm just like Nope!!! but I don`t offer to help them look for it. But even though I know that there are people praying for things a lot bigger and more important than my lost hairbrush, Heavenly Father loves me so much that he answered my prayer immediately. Nothing is too small for Him-and if it's important to us, it's important to Him too!!!

Anyway, that's the majority of the cool stuff that happened to us this week. We also put another baptismal date on HNO Juan Pablo Morocho, the brother of the friend of Flia Chuchuca. It was awesome bc when we tried to put it on him, he was like ohhhh I dunno, maybe later on (come on man, you've been coming to church for 2 years, how much more time do you need??) But HNO Luis was like, no Pablo, you gotta take this date so you can be baptized with me and my family!!! Just go for it!!! Yeah. He accepted the date. I love prepared, awesome people!!!!

Estoy muy feliz. Sé que estoy trabajando en la obra más importante que cualquiera otra. Sé que Jesucristo vive, que El es mi Salvador. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es Su profeta hoy en día, y que Jose Smith fue un profeta de Dios también. Sé sin ninguna duda que el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios, y si vivimos los principios que se encuentran en el, vamos a volver a ver a Padre Celestial y Jesucristo, a vivir con ellos y nuestras familias.


Ustedes saben que es verdad-yo sé que es verdad.

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sticky Keyboard=Short Email

First a note from Ellen's mom-if you happen to write to Ellen please beg her to send more pictures. I'm not having any luck getting any out of her. She keeps promising... I know her purpose in Ecuador isn't to entertain me (though she does a great job of it through her emails), but I'm hoping she'll throw me a crumb, so to speak, every now and then. Thanks!

Hoooola . . . . .

Okay sorry everyone but this email is probably going to be really short. Why?? Because this keyboard sticks and is driving me absolutely up the wall. Next week I am so not sitting here, therefore the email will be much longer!!!

This week was awesome because we found a really amazing family, the Flia Chuchuca (isn´t that the coolest name ever?? Just say it-Chuchuca. Awesome.) The only problem is that they live like an hour up the mountain, so we can´t go visit them unless someone takes us. Fortunately our ward is incredible and there are many people who are willing to take us. This family came to church with another member for conference, loved it and wanted to hear more. We went up to teach them that week and invited them to church, which they said they were coming. When Sunday rolled around we saw their member friend walk in without them and were hugely bummed out-for about 10 minutes, whic is when we saw the HNO and his son walk in by themselves. The HNA was sick and couldn´t make it, but her husband said that next week without fail she'd be there. They stayed all three hours and loved it, and we´re positive that they´ll all be baptized. We´re really excited!!!!

The day before this was really hilarious-we walked literally all day and NO ONE let us in. By the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted and a little bit discouraged-I don´t usually let stuff like this get to me but at the same time, I don´t usually have days like this and furthermore, we found out about some tough stuff that´s happening with some of the converts and investigators, so it was a little difficult. At around 5 we were absolutely dead on our feet. We got on the bus to go to our next appointment and fell into the seats. As we neared the stop, HNA Castillo said, I don´t want to get off, I´m so tired I can´t even get up!!! I just want to let the bus come back around and then we´ll get off...........we looked at each other and said, let´s do it!!! I know that it was a shocking display of indiligence, but we really were extremely tired. The bus went all the way up to Baños and back but we got to rest a little while. But afterwards we felt kind of bad, so we probably won´t do it again. And our appointment wasn´t home, probably a punishment for our laziness. But it was funny. And the next day was much better.

I´ve been read the Alma 30s chapters lately and they´re awesome. I´m learning a lot that I hadn´t thought about before. I´m learning how incredible the Book of Mormon really is-how it can answer any question and help any person with any problem. Pretty awesome. Alma is one of my favorite prophets in the Book of Mormon I think. I love how he can go from "hey good job for being righteous Helaman and Shiblon, here´s some guidance for the rest of your life" to BOOM "Hey you need to repent Corianton, you messed up big time!!!!" Awesome-I hope I can be like that with my kids someday-or at least that I marry someone who will be like that with our kids!!!

Hmmmm, sorry this email is kind of lame. I can´t really think of anything else to say and I´m about ready to throw this keyboard across the room. Les amo muchisimo, sigan adelante siempre, nunca dejen de ser obedientes!!! Es la clave a la felicidad!!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 4, 2010

Conference, Temples, is great!!!


So I´m sure you all heard about the political uprising here in Ecuador and yes, we had to be in the house all day, yes even here in tranquilo Cuenca. Not a single missionary in the country went out to work that day, but I`ll talk more about this later because there`s something else I want to address first . . . . . .


Okay this is like a really huge deal and it goes way back to a year ago when I was watching the conference in the MTC. President Monson was going to announce 5 new temples and I had the strongest impression that he was going to announce a temple in Indiana. Of course he didn't and when he had announced the 5 temples and none of them were in Indiana, tears came to my eyes. I had been sure that I was going to hear about the Indianapolis Indiana temple right then and there. As I was sitting there feeling bummed out, a thought came into my mind, very clear-soon, very soon. I felt a lot better, knowing that even though we had to wait a little bit longer, the Lord would put a temple there really soon. So this past weekend we went to the Saturday morning session of conference and President Monson started talking about the dedication of the Cebu City Phillipines temple, and the thought came again-he's going to announce a temple in Indiana. I was like, no he won't!!!! That's what I thought last time and look what happened!!!! Just then President Monson said, we continue to build temples. This morning I am pleased to announce 5 new temples. Hartford, Connecticut. INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. I didn't even hear the rest of the temples. I gasped and then proceeded to start bawling my head off. I'm not kidding, I was literally BAWLING. HNA Castillo was a little bit embarrassed and everyone was looking at me like I was crazy but I didn't even care because I was so happy and grateful to Heavenly Father for all the prayers that on this day were finally answered. It was the best feeling ever, even though afterwards my eyes turned black from the smeared mascara and everyone was like what the heck are you crying about??

So yes mom. I did hear that they're building a temple in Indy. Ha.

Anyway, on to the part that everyone wants to hear about-the POLITICAL UPRISING. So Thursday morning we were on our way to downtown to do some service for HNA Blanca. We walked out the door and saw HNA Guaman, a less active member who lives below us. She asked us where we were going and we said we were on our way to centro (downtown). She was like, DON'T GO DOWN THERE!!! There's no police and they've just robbed a bank!!!! Ummmm . . . . what?? We didn`t have any way to get ahold of HNA Blanca so we went anyway. Yeah yeah, not very smart but what else could we have done?? On the bus, the driver had the news on and from what we heard, the police were on strike, something about Correa not paying them enough or something. Great. Ecuador is the absolute WORST country to have the police go on strike!!!! As we got further into centro, we noticed that almost all the shops were closed and that there was pretty much nobody outside. We were like oh man, what is going on?? Blanca hadn't heard anything about it, but we did our service without any problems and afterwards we headed up to San Pedro, a place really high in the mountains, to have lunch with our ward mission leader and his family. When they saw us they were like what are you doing here?? We thought you weren`t coming!!! They had the news on and it was showing a protest in a park. At first we thought it was Quito but then we saw the words Gobierno del Azuay (Azuay is the province where Cuenca is) on a building and realized that it was happening here and that we had just been down there. The Flia. San Martin was like, you guys need to go home right now. Just then HNA Barker called the cell and I asked her what was happening. She told me that they were stuck in the office and that no one could leave, that it was a lot worse in Guayaquil and that the whole mission was supposed to be in their houses. Ummmm . . . . we hadn't heard anything about that!!!! So we called the district leader who was like uh yeah I've been trying to call you guys, you need to go home like now. So we went home and it was like the most boring day ever, but it was a good thing we did because everyone we talked to told us that it was crazy. No police=people do whatever they want, and people were taking advantage like none other. Gothy told us that the Feria Libre was full of robbers and HNA Celia, who we have dinner with every Thursday, told us not to leave the house for anything. That night we figured that we could probably go visit the family that lives right next door, so we went out and visited them, and when we came back we had 5 missed calls from the zone leaders . . . . and the assistants. Great. HNA Castillo called them back and explained that we had just visited the family that lives right there and that we hadn't gone anywhere, and Elder Garcia, like everyone else, told us not to leave the house for anything and that he wasn't sure if we'd be able to go out tomorrow either. Super. So then I was like, I want to know what's happening in Guayaquil, so I called HNA Barker. Oh man. It's a good thing we weren`t there. Just in case HNA Barker's mom reads this, I`ll save the details of what she told me for when I get home, but it was insane. And Quito was even worse. We went to bed praying that we'd be able to go out the next day. It was cool because I distinctly felt that night that we'd be able to go out tomorrow, but when we got up the next morning I wasn`t sure again. But one of the members, HNA Afrania, called and told us that everything was fine again, that the police were working and people were opening their shops and everything was back to normal. Then Elder Smith called and told us that we could go out that day but that we had to be in at 8. And since then, it's all been back to normal. Nothing terrible happened to us but when we were in centro that day we had the distinct feeling that we should just go home-it was pretty scary. But we're fine, everyone's fine and it's all back to normal now. YAAAAY!!!

Other than that, the week was pretty uneventful. We are teaching this really cool lady named Carmen that we found in a tienda one day. She agreed to come to conference with us the last session and really liked it. I told her that I loved conference because it was broadcasted to the whole world, so even though my family wasn`t here with me, they were watching the same things and receiving the same counsel that I was in this very moment, and that made me feel closer to them. I think she liked that thought a lot. She's a very special lady, she understands really well everything we teach, and we're pretty sure that she'll be baptized, although right now she says she's not prepared enough. Of course she isn`t, she just met us 2 weeks ago!!! But she's progressing really well and we're really excited. Leonel and Evelyn's mom says that she wants to come to church with us next Sunday. She's gonna get baptized too, she just doesn`t know it yet.

Well I dunno what else there is to say. I loved conference-I think it was my favorite one of the mission so far. Did you all notice the emphasis on following the prophet?? I did!! And I know that it's important-he is the person that God has chosen to lead us on the earth, and if we don't do what he says, we're not doing what God says. I love this work, I love being here, political uprisings and all (come on, how many people are going to come home from their missions saying that they lived through a political uprising??? It's a great story!!!)

Obey the commandments. It is the ONLY way to true happiness!!!!MUCHO AMOR!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, September 27, 2010

Surprise Trip to Guayaquil

Hola todos!!!!

So lots of fun stuff happened this week!! As far as the work goes it was a little difficult, we didn´t find very many people and no one came to church, but some weeks are like that. I´ve learned to brush them off and keep going, because if you let them get you down, you won´t get anywhere right?? Plus even though no investigators came, a lot of the converts did and that made me happy. So anyway, a quick overview of the week-surprise trip to Guayaquil, Camila´s baptism, and we accidentally baptized a minor without the permission of his parents. Yeahhh . . . . don´t worry, I´m going to tell you all about everything!!!

So first off, on Tuesday we had planned out our day, we were gonna go visit a ton of people and we were super excited. Then at about 9-45ish we got a phone call from Elder Guerrero, the secretary. Everyone knows that we´re really afraid of phone calls at night now, due to what happened with HNA Wise, but we answered anyway. HNA Castillo was like oh I have changes, but I didn´t believe her because Camila´s baptism was that Saturday and if she was really being transferred she would have been bawling her head off. What really happened is that HNA Castillo had to renew her visa and the both of us had to be in Guayaquil the next day. We were really excited, because we had been wanting to visit our converts there and now we were going to be able to do it!!! I was especially excited, because with the surprise change I hadn´t gotten to say goodbye to anyone. We packed our bags and hopped the bus to Guayaquil the next day. We arrived around 4-30ish and visited some of HNA Castillo´s converts and then headed off to visit the Flia. Criollo. On the way we saw two people in skirts ahead of us, with a younger guy walking next to them-one gringa and one latina. I saw an opportunity too good to pass up and took off running, leaving HNA Castillo trying to catch me up. When I got to HNA Barker I jumped on her back, threw an arm around her neck and said, DAME TODO!!! (Give me everything!!!!) She of course thought I was a mugger and screamed bloody murder, then turned around, realized it was me and threw her arms around me saying HERMANA!!! VOY A MATARLE!!! (I´m gonna kill you!!!) Hermana Montenegro was also very freaked out, but the guy with them turned out to be Eduardo and he was laughing his head off, just like me. It turns out that they were on their way back from Eduardo´s baptismal interview!!!!! Yes you read right!!!! Eduardo was FINALLY getting baptized!!!! We ended up changing plans and going to Flia. Mendez first. Eduardo took us to his house and told us to hide on the side of the building while he went up and told his family that he had a surprise for them. Then HNA Castillo jumped out with me right behind her, and the looks on their faces were priceless!!! They were so happy to see me it was incredible. HNA Anna told me that when the sisters told them that I had left, Annabelle (the daughter) started to cry. I couldn´t believe that in such short a time I had such a big effect on them-and they´re not even my converts!!! We visited with them for awhile and they are doing so good-HNA Anna has like 3 callings and Eduardo´s getting baptized and everything is just awesome with them. So then we left and went to visit the family that I had been dying to see the whole time-the Flia. Criollo. For some reason I was really nervous when we got there, I dunno why. I knocked on the door and as always, Erika popped her head into the window to see who it was. When she saw me waving at her her eyes widened and she said, HERMANA!!! She opened the door and just stared at me in shock for a second. I gave her a big hug and said podemos pasar?? (Can we come in??) Sí sí hermanas pasen!!!! (Yes yes come in!!!!) Then HNA Lourdes saw me and said HERMANA CHAMBERLAIN!!!! So I gave her a big hug too. Wow, you guys cannot even understand what it´s like to see your converts after a long time-and to hear that they´re still going strong in the gospel. HNA Lourdes said that a member of the Seventy had come to visit barrio Bolivar and that the whole family got a picture with him!!! And she has a calling!!! Then HNO Jorge came out and when he saw me, he grabbed my hand with both of his own and shook it hard. He told me that the missionaries only come about once a week now, and I loved his explanation why, he said, "they need to go find new people, and we´re very strong in the church." Ahhh, so incredible to hear that!!! I felt like I could go back to Cuenca in peace, knowing that everyone was doing what they should be doing and that they were receiving blessings. I then told them that I was sorry that I didn´t get to have more time with them, that I hadn´t known I was going to be changed. HNO Jorge looked very serious and said, Hermana, you leaving was a hit that we didn´t expect. Wow-I knew that I missed them but I didn´t know that they missed me too!!! It´s so incredible to see the impact that we have on the lives of other people-even when we don´t realize it!! They promised me that they would write to me and send me a copy of the picture of them with the Seventy (that´s definitely going on my bulletin board fo sho!!!) and we left to visit more of HNA Castillo´s converts. It was so awesome-and the best part is that we have to come back in a few weeks to get HNA Castillo´s censo, so I´ll get to see them again!!!!

So then we came back to Cuenca and finished getting Camila ready for her baptism. We arrived just in time for her interview, but when we got to the church Elder Smith and Elder Fletcher asked us, hey is there another man here??? Uhhhh-NO. So Elder Smith, our district leader, looked around, saw some random guy walking in the other direction and took off running, shouting HEY EXCUSE ME SIR!!!! HNA Castillo, Elder Fletcher, Blanca and Camila and I just stared in amazement for a second, then Elder Fletcher smiled and said, "that´s my companion!!!" and went to join him. The guy ended up coming in to accompany Elder Fletcher while Elder Smith was in the interview, but it was just really funny and random. Then this past Saturday she was baptized and it was incredible. She cried through the whole thing, start to finish, but tears of happiness obviously (and I can´t really judge because I was crying too). Blanca was so happy too, she´d been waiting for a long time for this moment and it had finally come. The next day Camila came to church in a skirt that she had bought especially for her confirmation. So even though no investigators came to church, the confirmation of Camila made it a very happy day.

Buuuut . . . . we messed up with Leonel and we could have been in HUGE trouble if his mom wasn´t so cool. So when HNA Wise and HNA Barker first started teaching Leonel, he told them that he was 18. When we asked him, he also told us that he was 18. And when Elder Freeman, the old district leader, interviewed him, he also thought that he was 18. But he wrote the date 15 March 1993 on the baptism record, without realizing that this date meant that Leonel was SEVENTEEN. Well we didn´t figure it out either until last week when the zone leaders called asking for the baptismal permission slip. I was like, what are you talking about?? He´s 18!!!! (Sidenote-I was hugely grumpy because when they called we were in bed and it was almost 10-30, plus Elder Sanchez kept referring to Leonel as "her" until I finally said IT´S A MAN!!!!! So it´s possible that Elder Sanchez might hate me now, but I´m not hugely concerned about it.) Anyway, the zone leaders said that the office was calling asking for the permission slip and we were like well we don´t have one because he told us he was 18, and furthermore why is the office calling at TEN THIRTY???? (Other sidenote-the zone leaders ended up calling twice that night, once at 10-23ish when I was lying in bed and then at 10-34ish when I had gone back to bed. This means that I had to get out of bed twice and as I was very tired, this only served to make me more grumpy.) We finally told them that we would figure it out the next day because obviously there was nothing we could do about it at that moment and I went back to bed, fuming. The next day we called HNA Wise, who told us that Leonel told HER that he was 18, and then we asked Evelyn, Leonel´s little sister, and she said he was 18 and about to turn 19. So then we were like okay we´re gonna ask his mom. Fortunately we had met his mom the week before and talked to her and she´s totally cool with us. She came out and told us that he actually really was 17-which means that as I mentioned earlier, we had accidentally baptized a minor without the permission of his parents. But she was cool with it, she signed the permission slip although when we asked her to do it she looked confused and said, but he was already baptized . . . . . We were like we know but if you don´t sign it we´re gonna be in a lot of trouble!!! Oooohh, can you imagine how much trouble we would have been in if Leonel´s mom hadn´t been cool with his baptism?? I don´t even want to think about it!!!

But other than that, it was a pretty uneventful week. My one year mark was great, because I was in Guayaquil and then we had Camila´s baptism, although I STILL haven´t tried cuy because every time something else comes up and we have to cancel with Flia. San Martin. Hopefully this week or next week. It´s completely weird to think that I´ve been out for a year, it went so fast that I didn´t even realize it. Fortunately I still have 7ish months left to be here in Ecuador preaching the gospel!!! I don´t even want to think about how weird it´s gonna be to come home, I´m sure I´ll be completely freaked out and cry all the time and not even be able to go to the bathroom by myself without someone coming with me and what the heck am I gonna do with the rest of my life?? I have to figure that out and get a job and maybe go back to school and date and it´s just gonna be so strange and I´ll have to speak English all the time and it´s hard enough to write these emails without throwing in random Spanish words and plus there will only be white people around me and that´s just gonna be so WEIRD.

Yeah. Thank goodness I still have 7ish months!!!!

Well, love you all. Do everything you should be doing!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, September 20, 2010

This is the Happiest I Have Ever Been in My Life!


First off, thanks for the advice about the popcorn, mom and dad. Now we know that we need to put oil in first. I´m sure you guessed that we didn´t do that . . . . . . yeah. The pan is clean but it still smells like smoke, and all my clothes that I took to Loja also smelled like smoke. But we just laugh about it now.

So Loja was fun, very different from Cuenca because the people there are ridiculously Catholic but they´re still working with some pretty cool people. I got to go to a wedding too . . . . . somehow this couple got baptized 7 years ago without getting married. No one knows how they did it, but this past friday they FINALLY got married and it was super cool. Even though for having gone to the wedding I ended up coming back to Cuenca really late and by myself-but it was worth it. I didn´t even get in trouble!! But I did feel bad because the other sisters ended up having to wait in the terminal for me for like 5 hours. But we did try to call them. But it´s all good now. Loja is a fun place to visit it, but I don´t really want to work there-I missed Cuenca too much!!!

Anyway, something really super awesome happened while I was gone. I dunno if I´ve ever mentioned Camila. She´s 15 and lives with her mom who was baptized two changes ago, when HNA Wise and HNA Barker were still here. Her mom´s name is Blanca and she has epilepsy and has attacks pretty frequently. The missionaries had been teaching them for a really long time, like a year or something, but they never wanted to get baptized. Finally when HNA Wise and HNA Barker came, HNA Blanca decided that her time was running out. She turned to Camila and said, look, did you hear what they said?? We can be together forever (Camila´s dad doesn´t live with them, I have no idea where he is), we´ll never be separated again. I´m not going to be here with you forever, I´m sick and I don´t have a lot of time left, but with the gospel we don´t have to worry about that. I think we should be baptized. What do you think Camila??? You know what Camila said?? NO. HNA Wise said that it was awful, that she and HNA Barker started bawling and HNA Barker said, your mother just said that she wants to be with you FOREVER and you said NO!!! How is that even possible?? Blanca was really hurt, but she turned to the hermanas and said, I didn´t want to have to do this, but I will. I can´t wait for her, I´m going to be baptized. So she was baptized. When HNA Castillo and I came, Camila still wasn´t a member, but we were talking to her about it every time we came until one day Camila got mad and kind of yelled at us. Right after that we decided to back off, which is just when HNA Wise left. So we´d still been visiting them but we left the whole baptism thing alone. Well, this past week HNA Castillo went to visit them with HNA Coy and she said that they were about to say the closing prayer and she felt that they should ask again, but she had HNA Coy do it bc she wasn´t sure what was going to happen. You know what Camila said?? YES!!!! HNA Castillo said that Blanca jumped up and said, my daughter!!! You want to be baptized?? Camila said, yes mami, I´m ready. She said that everyone started bawling their heads off, and when they called me that night to tell me about it I couldn´t even believe it, I was so shocked!!! I was sad that I couldn´t be there to put the baptismal date on her but I know that HNA Castillo followed the Spirit and it was the right time. Camila will be baptized this Saturday-and now we both know why we´re here in Cuenca. And I´m happy to say that we´re still here!!! Changes were last night and I was nervous all day-I was terrified that President would do something weird and I was not okay with leaving Cuenca. In all my other sectors I´ve felt ready to leave-even in Bolivar, I was ready for a change. But here, I don´t feel like my work is done yet. There´s something else I need to do, someone else I need to find, someone else I have to help. I don´t know what it is but I know that it´s not done yet and so I´m still here. HNA Castillo is still my companion and we´re relieved b-c can you imagine how awful it would have been if Camila had finally decided to be baptized and then one of us left before her baptism??? How awful!!!

Oh yeah, Leonel was confirmed yesterday too. He was very happy. What had happened is that one of his friends asked him to go with him to get a pair of shoes or something, and Leonel was like yeah okay, but you have to bring me back at 9 because I´m being confirmed today. Well obviously the friend didn´t bring him back in time and Leonel felt really bad, but we told him not to worry about it, it wasn´t really his fault. But he did get confirmed, and next week he should get the priesthood-which means he´ll be able to baptize his little sister, who has a date for October 16.

Things are fantastic. This is the happiest I have ever been in my life. The people are great, the atmosphere is great, my companion is great and we are working really hard. I love being here and I love being a missionary. This is the church of Jesus Christ, the only one. He directs it through a living prophet. He wants our families to be together forever and through His gospel and His Atonement, we can do that.

Les amamos todos. Sigan adelante y guarden los mandamientos!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, September 13, 2010

Burnin' Down the House!


Well, another big surprise!!! Guess where I am??? Cuenca?? No!! Guayaquil?? Tampoco!!! I am in . . . . LOJA!!!!!

Don`t freak out!!!! I didn`t get emergently tranferred, I´ll be back in Cuenca on Saturday. What`s happening is that President is giving a capacitation to all the zone leaders, district leaders and senior companions. Hermana Castillo and I tecnically have the same time in the mission, but she came to Ecuador while I was still in the MTC, so President decided that she was going to stay in Cuenca and be capacitated and I was going to go to Loja. All the senior companions from Loja are going to Cuenca, so we had to come down here to hang out with the people in Loja. So I´m with Hermana Montezuma, who is from Esmeraldas, Ecuador (it`s part of the Quito Mission) and we`re having a killer time. Hermana Montezuma was trained by Hermana Montenegro, so we`re getting along really well, haha.

Well, remember when I said that I was worried about the trial of faith that I knew was coming?? It came this week!!!! Leonel was baptized on Saturday, he was really excited, came early and everything. We told him to be at church on time the next day so that he could be confirmed. Well, we got there right behind the Flia Flores that lives right in front of him, who brought his little sister Evelyn. We were like, oh, Leonel must be here already!!! But when we asked her, she said he didn`t come!!!! WHAAAATTT??? We spent the next 15 minutes calling but he didn`t answer. Finally we got a hold of his mom, who said that he was sick and had just left to go to the doctor or something, but we weren`t completely sure if that`s what she said or not. But he never showed up and by the end of church we were just feeling miserable-this is the first time that something like this has happened to me in the mission. It was a huge bummer and we never did get ahold of him all that day, and then we had to explain to the district leaders and the zone leaders what happened and that we actually had no idea what was going on with him because we hadn´t been able to talk to him all day and it was pretty embarrassing, but they were all really nice about it. But I felt bad because I knew I had to leave the next day and there wouldn`t be anything I could do about it in Loja, plus I felt bad that I was leaving HNA Castillo all by herself to talk to President about it. But we really did do everything in our power, and we`re pretty positive that something relatively awful happened to keep him from coming, because he was really excited about being baptized. He`ll be confirmed next week, I know it!!!!

But we`ve been working hard, finding and teaching. We found this really cool lady in a tienda this week, named Carmen. She understood everything we were teaching her, and I was pretty much filling out her baptismal record in my head while we were teaching her. Everyone else is doing good. We`re working hard and seeing the results.

We had a HILARIOUS experience yesterday-we almost burned the house down!!! The house didn`t burn down, which is why it was hilarious. So last night we decided that we wanted popcorn, but all we had was the kernels and the stove. Okay, neither of us had ever made popcorn over the stove before but we were sure we could do it. HNA Castillo put it in the pan, turned on the stove, and I went to go pack a bag for Loja. When I came back in I said, hey it smells like it`s burning, but we took the lid off and it was fine, so we went back to packing. A few minutes later I came back and noticed that the kitchen was filled with smoke-I took the lid off and the popcorn was completely black!!!! AUGHH!!! We ended up having to open every window in the house because the whole place FILLED with smoke, it was hilarious!!!! But we were sad because we really wanted popcorn, haha.

Now for the questions-Elder Caro called me and he was able to get the package out, but I haven´t gotten it yet and will probs not get it until next week. And all the warm clothes came and I am very happy!!! It`s like I went shopping even though it`s all clothes that I already had!!!

Well I wanted to write more but this keyboard sticks like crazy and is driving me up the wall. Love you all and sigan adelante!!!


Hermana Chamberlain