In front of the chapel in la Padera. Looks like Ellen's got at least a foot on her companions!
At the Guayaquil Temple. Que lindo, cierto?
I fell asleep while planning and didn't wake up until Hermana Laime took a picture.
When the lights get turned off in our area we can't leave our house because it isn't safe. This is us being sad because we can't go out and teach the gospel.
Feliz Año Nuevo everyone!! I´m sure you´re all dying to know how New Year´s in Ecuador goes down, and don´t worry, I will tell you. In a minute. First of all, BOO to the news about Boomer!! I was totally rooting for him to make it until David got home. But if he was in pain I suppose it was better that it happened like it did. And of course he is in doggy heaven, because really where else would he go??
Yeah, entonces, I made it through my first change in the mission!! (They call transfers changes here, BTW). That´s the good news. The bad news is that I´m down one companion!! Hermana Laime was transferred to Loja today, which ironically is where Hermana Lopez was before she came to Huancavilca. However, we are also getting another companion from Loja tonight, Hermana Moran, who was one of Hermana Lopez´s companions when she was there. Hna. Lopez thinks that Hna. Moran needs to be here because she has problems with the circulation in her legs and needs to be closer to good medical care. But Hna. Lopez also says that Hna. Moran is "muy muy buena" and I know we will have a great time together teaching the gospel!!
Time for the good news about our people!! Rolando recommitted to be baptized on the 23 of January and said that he really wants to make it to this date this time. However, this weekend we went to visit him and he wasn´t there. So we went back in the night and he was like, oh yeah, I had to leave because my aunt died!! We were like . . . . are you serious?? So I forgave him when he didn´t come to church the next day. And none of the other ones came either but I didn´t get super discouraged like I usually do, so I´m getting better at that!! And Familia Pino came like always. OH GUESS WHAT??? Fam. Pino is most likely getting married and baptized this change!! They should be getting the divorce on 15 January. It turns out that they had been paying this lady for almost a year to get it taken care of and she hadn´t been doing ANYTHING!! So they hired a lawyer and he´s taking care of all of it for them. YAY!! They are so good and so ready. I am so excited for this change. I think that every new missionary needs a wake up change first so that they can see how it is in the real world out of the MTC. But now I´m excited for this change and ready to help change the world!!
Entonces, New Years aqui en Ecuador. I can sum it up in one word . . . . . LOCO. Trying to go to bed was pointless, so we just laid around until midnight, then got up and watched the fireworks and muñecos burning outside our house. There were fireworks right outside our window and they were amazing!! Then we sat under the table and ate grapes, one for every desire that we have for the new year (Peruvian tradition) and made hot chocolate and ate bread. Era muy muy bueno y divertido!! But the next day we were really tired. I took a video of it and I also tried to take a video of us lighting off sparklers inside our house (PS: Craig, Eric, Curt, James, Uncle Morgan, Daniel, Travis, Zachary and Tyler, don´t you even think about trying this) but my camera quit working which was probably the Lord telling me that I should be obedient and not take videos on my camera anymore. But the video of the burning muñecos is pretty awesome. The next day there were ashes EVERYWHERE, the remains of the muñecos. The bishop´s family made one of Optimus Prime that was taller than me, so of course they referred to it as my "novio" (boyfriend) and we took lots of pictures of me pretending that Optimus was my novio and that I was very sad that the bishop´s family was going to kill him off that night. Sidenote: EVERYONE asks me if I have a novio here, it´s ridiculous!! I just say "no lo tengo porque no lo necesito" (I don´t have one because I don´t need one). I don´t even want to get into my dating history, it´s too complicated to explain in Spanish and moreover it´s nobody´s business. So I just smile and tell everyone I don´t have one.
What else happened this week. I don´t even remember!! I´ve been so tired lately, I´ve started to fall asleep during my prayers at night and in the morning. It´s terrible but I´m just really tired!! Oh. I did have a cool experience yesterday. We have a recent convert named Stephany who told us the other day that she´s thinking about not going to church anymore because she´s the only member in her family and her grandma doesn´t like us and she feels really alone at church because her family doesn´t come. Also the Young Women in our ward aren´t very nice to her (sidenote: I´m not super pleased with the YWs in our ward right now because they´ve been doing the same thing to another girl who was baptized a year ago and I really wonder how they expect people to stay active when they don´t feel welcome or accepted at church. Okay, done venting.) Anyway, we talked to her about it and the next day we wrote her a card. I was writing and all of a sudden this scripture came into my mind, John 14:18. It´s very short and in English it says "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. I wrote it in the card and then looked at it in Spanish. The Spanish translation is, "No os dejare huerfanos, vendre a vosotros." Guess what huerfano means?? Orphan, or fatherless. It was PERFECT!! Another manifestation of the brilliance and realness of the Spirit of God. Cheverissimo, no?? It´s moments like that that make my mission.
So I´m kind of sad that nobody answered my question from last week, so I´ll ask again what´s the dumbest reason you´ve ever heard for someone not coming to church. I haven´t had one that topped the one from last week yet but I´ve still got 15 months left here so who knows what people will come up with?? But I can honestly say that I love it here. I love the people in Huancavilca and I´m pretty sure that when I have to leave them I´m going to cry my eyes out. I love doing what I´m doing and sometimes during lessons I think "This is the best job in the world!!" It´s hard, sure, but it´s awesome too. Grandma, you wanted to know what my days are like. I get up at 6:30 every morning, pray with my companions, and shower and eat breakfast. For breakfast I usually eat cereal with either milk and a banana or yogurt. Then we have personal study for an hour and companion study for an hour, and I´m supposed to have 30-60 minutes of time to study Spanish but a lot of times I don´t get it because we have to go visit people. But if I do, after that we start visiting our investigators, our recent converts and the less actives in our barrio (ward). We have lunch at 2 with the mamitas (that´s what they call the ward members who feed us), and it usually consists of chicken or beef, some kind of vegetable and a small mountain of rice, and it´s ALWAYS good. I don´t think I´ve had a meal that I didn´t like here. And they always give us pop or juice to drink, never water, which is kind of weird. After that we go back out and visit more people, as well as talking with people in the street. We don´t usually eat dinner because a lot of times people that we teach or visit will give us food. And whenever we´re at the house we´re eating, it´s kind of sad but the food is really good!! We come back to our house at 9 or 9:30 and plan for the next day and then we fall into our beds at 10:30 and die for 8 hours.
Then we get up the next day and do it all over again!! On P day we go to the mall, write our families at the internet cafe, eat at the food court, buy groceries, and if there´s time we go do something fun. Today we´re finally going to the faro, or lighthouse, and I´m super excited.
Other things. Mom I got like 15 letters last Tuesday and the zone leaders made fun of me but I know they were just jealous. I loved getting all that mail!! It was awesome. Plus I really missed Dad´s letters. Dad, I´m sorry to hear about your mission president. It sounds like he was a great man and did a lot of great things. I have not gotten any other packages since the first one with the facewash and sunscreen and all that, but I´m looking forward to getting them, especially since you say that I´ll be so excited about them!! Plus, Elder Irwin, the zone leader, tipped me off about customs forms. He said that you can just write "missionary supplies" and that works, and then I won´t know before I open the box what´s in it. Awesome right?? Can you send me some American candy?? They don´t have Hershey´s bars, Reese's, Milky Ways or Tootsie Rolls here and it´s really sad. I know you´ve already sent a lot of boxes so it doesn´t have to bee soon, but whenever you feel like it, I wouldn´t mind them :).
Yay for Aunt Jenny being cancer free!! Anthony Duckett has a kid?? Yay for Purdue Men´s Basketball, Tyler´s mission papers, Ryan Septon in the MTC for the next 3 months (Have fun with that!! The food´s going to kill you!!), and Craig going to early morning seminary. He´s going to love it. He doesn´t know that yet, but he´ll figure it out soon. I´m so glad my family and friends are being so blessed. It helps me a lot when I´m discouraged or things aren´t going the way I´d like them to to know that my family and friends are being very blessed because I´ve dedicated 18 months of my life to the Lord. It´s very comforting, more comforting than you think it is, so please tell me all the good things that are happening in your life!! Por favor!!
Well family and friends, I love you and miss you but not too much ;). Be good and read your scriptures and pray and go to church and be nice to the people around you and especially the new members of the church and the missionaries, and work hard and pray for the Lord´s help in all things and He´ll give it to you, I promise!! MUCHO AMOR!!