So this email will be nice and long, I promise. Even if it does cost me a fortune, because we´re not in our usual internet cafe today and I have no idea what I´m paying to use this computer. But it´s worth it to talk to all of you!!
So first off, last week´s highlights. You all already know that Marcos was baptized and confirmed, so I don´t need to go over that. We really did think he wasn´t going to show though, because he told us that he was coming at 6:30 and we showed up at 7ish and he still wasn´t there!! So we were freaking out and were pretty embarrassed because the elders from Marvinas had brought one of their investigators that is getting baptized and our investigator didn´t even show. So right when Hna. Morán and I were really freaking out and were trying to find an empty room to pray in, Marcos showed up, apologizing and saying that he couldn´t get a taxi (sidenote: if that´s the best Satan can do, I´m not very impressed.) Oh yeah, and our district leader played a dirty rotten trick on us too. He was interviewing Marcos for baptism, and it was taking a really long time and we were starting to get worried. So they come out, Elder Cruz looks us dead in the eyes and says in a really serious voice, "El necesita una entrevista con el presidente" (he needs an interview with the president.) If a baptismal candidate has ever committed a serious crime, participated in a voluntary abortion or a homosexual relationship, they have to be interviewed by the mission president before they can be baptized. So we freaked out, bc his baptism was in two days and moreover we had gone over the interview questions with him the day before and he hadn´t said anything about crime, abortion or homosexuality. Fortunately Elder Cruz can´t keep a straight face for very long and pretty soon he was laughing his head off. I suppose our faces were pretty funny, but I about threw something at him. But we had our revenge when he was filling out the baptism registry and wrote "Maxwell" instead of "Marcos". We´ll never let him live that one down.
Anyway, there were lots of funny things that happened last week but now I can´t remember them all!! But I do remember some of them. First off, the story about Carolina and the BOM. But first I need to give you some background about religion in Ecuador. In general, everyone is either Catholic or Evangelical, and all the Catholics have these statues of Mary and the saints and Jesus and all the other people that they worship all over their houses. Sometimes they have these little shrines set up with the statues in little cases. Now Carolina is a girl that we´re teaching, she´s 27 and has a 6 year old son named Martin. We found her through a reference from this lady that just walked up to us and gave us her name (cool). And in front of her house she has one of these shrine thingies with a big statue of the baby Jesus and a bunch of little statues and it´s all in this big glass and wood case. (If you don´t know what I´m talking about, ask anyone who´s served in a Spanish speaking country or anywhere else where there´s a lot of Catholics. I´m willing to bet it´s all the same.) Anyway, we´ve been teaching her for 2 or 3 weeks and had even committed her to be baptized, but she just couldn´t read the BOM. Every time we asked her if she read it she had some excuse for why she couldn´t. So one night as we´re leaving, I happened to glance over at the case where the shrine was, and the Book of Mormon was IN THE CASE!!! I had to work really hard not to laugh, it was just so funny and so sad at the same time. So the next time we came, we looked in the case and it was still there!! So when we asked her if she had her BOM so that she could read along with us, she went into her room looking for it, and we were just sitting on the couch laughing and trying to decide if we should tell her or not. We ended up not telling her but we probably should have, and we ended up just giving her another one. I think she said her aunt took it and put it somewhere, so she honestly had no idea where it was. But she did read it this week and hopefully she´ll keep reading. She was supposed to be baptized on 13 February but she didn´t come to church this week so now she can´t. But I was thinking that she needed a little more preparation anyway, so I´m more or less okay with it. Plus she´s really sweet and the BOM in the shrine case was just too funny.
So who´s ready for a gross story?? We went to visit this less active lady who´s in a wheelchair last week and we ended up doing some service for her. There was no running water in her house so we had to carry it in from this tank in her front yard so that we could wash her dishes. After all the dishes were done, we went out again to fill the bucket but I wasn´t sure why. Well it turned out that even though there was no running water, which meant that she couldn´t flush the toilet, she had still been using it and just dumping buckets of water down it to flush everything down. So when we brought the next bucket in, she wanted us to "flush the toilet", for lack of a better term. Which would have been fine except the toilet was literally FULL of poop. And my companions made ME dump the water down. I´m not sure if I´ve fully forgiven them for that yet, and I´m afraid to say that I did not have a very Christlike attitude about it (although I quit feeling bad about this after my companions told me that they felt the same way!!). But it was seriously gross, in fact I think it might have been grosser than most if not all the things I had to do at the VA and in nursing school combined. At least there I could wear gloves!!
So that´s about all I remember from last week. This week was kind of lame. We had a lot of people flake on us and disappear on us and tell us that they didn´t want us to come back (which was actually kind of refreshing, bc if they don´t want us to come visit them it´s much less of a waste of our time if they just tell us rather than telling us to come and then purposely not being there.) But I´m trying to be patient. We did find a lot of new people to teach, including a FAMILY!! YAY!! Hopefully something awesome happens with them. I´m trying to think of funny stories that happened this week but I can´t really think of any. Oh wait. There is one. So we went to our favorite bakery after a frustrating day, and I bought some of their budin because it´s really really good. But this day it wasn´t very good at all, and after I ate it I felt really sick. My compañions felt the same way, although they didn´t feel as sick as I did, and Hna. López said , I think there´s alcohol in this!! Not alcohol by itself, but because budin has a lot of fruit in it, when it sits out the fruit ferments and makes alcohol. So yeah, I accidentally ate boozed up budin, but I just thought of Dad and the story of the trifle with brandy and I laughed. Then Hna. Morán gave me some lime water and I felt a lot better. But I don´t think I´m ever going to eat budin from that place ever again. It´s dangerous!!
Oh I remembered another funny story!! So remember how I said that my sector is safe and there´s no dangerous parts?? I lied. Coviem is legitimately the ghetto. We pretty much never go there, and Marcos, who lives in Sopeña which is right next to Coviem, told us that we could only go there in the morning, because in the afternoon and the evening it´s dangerous. We went there this past week to talk to this lady that just moved into our ward, but she didn´t answer the door. So afterwards we were walking around, and I was like, okay this isn´t that bad, nobody´s bothering us and it just looks really ghetto but it´s not horrible (it was probably around 2 or 3 in the afternoon) but then we passed a wall and someone had written "Latin Kings" on it. So then I was like okay we REALLY need to get out of here!! Because if those are the same Latin Kings that we have in the United States, we´re in trouble!! But it was kind of fun to walk around because it was more like the Ecuador I had been imagining, with shacks and dirt roads and stuff like that. I kind of want to go back . . . . . in the morning.
One more funny story. We found this super old lady sitting outside her house this past week, Marieta, and we asked her if we could come and teach her and she said yes. So we came back and taught her, her daughter Patricia, and her granddaughter Salome. It was a really good lesson, the Spirit was strong and at the end all three of them said they wanted to come to church (sidenote: they didn´t come to church, but I´m not bitter about it). Anyway, we finished the lesson, prayed, and then Marieta asked us, ¿De cual iglesia son ustedes? (What church are you from?) I had to work really really hard not to laugh, it was too funny. And maybe a little depressing, but mostly hilarious.
Oh that reminds me of ANOTHER funny story. We were teaching Carolina on Saturday again, who lives with her mom, son and her grandpa who is 92 years old. Well her grandpa was telling us that his wife died, and I don´t know what came over me but I started LAUGHING. And I COULD NOT STOP. It was awful and I felt SO BAD but I just couldn´t quit laughing!! In fact I´m laughing now just thinking about it!! Then later that night we were talking about it and we were laughing so hard that we couldn´t even quit to say our prayers, and then when we finally calmed down enough and I was praying, Hna. López started laughing in the middle of it!! HORRIBLE. I think originally I didn´t understand what her grandpa said so I just started laughing bc sometimes when I can´t understand something that´s just what I do (but not anymore, trust me), and then once I figured out what he had said and that I had been laughing at the death of his wife, it was so terrible but so funny at the same time that I just had to laugh some more. And then my companions were laughing too. So bad.
Anyway, I can´t really think of anything else to tell you. Hna. López played a dirty trick on me this morning. President Johns called our house just to make sure that everything was okay with our apartment and if we needed anything. Hna. López answered the phone and afterwards came back to the room with her face all serious and said, President says that Hna. Chamberlain has to go with the nurses. So then I was really upset, because I don´t want to leave Huancavilca yet!! But then she started laughing hysterically and I laughed too. But I´m gonna get her back, you mark my words (evil Dad laugh here.)
So I hope this is long enough to make up for last week. I want to respond to other emails so I´m gonna cut this short, but I hope you all know that I love you and you all need to be good and do everything you´re supposed to be doing and be nice to the missionaries, because we put up with a lot!!