Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm in the Office Now

Hola familia, muy buenas!!

Well, this will probably be pretty short, but I have the opportunity to write you all today so I'm going to do so. I have been transferred to the office, and am officially one of the mission nurses now. My companion is Hermana Foster, from Tenessee, the second oldest of 8. She is muy muy buena and is helping me out a lot. I kind of feel like I just got to Ecuador again because there's lots of new things to learn and be introduced to, but at least I can more or less speak and understand Spanish!! As of right now, I don't really know all of the things that I am doing as the nurse but at the end of this week when I write again I will let you know because I know you are just dying to find out!! The last week in Huancavilca was pretty much the same as the week before it, but for the most part it wasn't as discouraging as the other week. Hermana Foster was actually in Huancavilca before I came and she said that it's a pretty difficult sector, so I felt a little better after knowing that. I am overwhelmed but happy to be here in the office, and really excited to get to know my new area. Hermana Foster told me that we have a family that already has been to church twice, and we're going to put a baptismal date tonight. I'm so excited!! Also, Hermana Montenegro and Hermana Castillo still live in my house, and Hermana Glanzer is coming back to Garcia Moreno, my zone!! She won't be living in my house or be in my district but I'm still really excited that she'll be here. I was sad to leave my companions but I know that this is going to be a really exciting change for me. More later. MUCHO AMOR!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nadie Nos Quiere=Nobody Loves Us!

Well this week was super frustrating. We worked SO HARD-I´m talking walked for miles, contacted like crazy, set lots of appointments, stayed out till 9:30 every night with appointments, were obedient . . . . . and it didn´t get us ANYWHERE. Nobody wanted to talk to us, people gave us a lot of fake addresses, most of our set appointments fell through and then all of the backup plans for our set appointments fell through too. And of course, everyone bailed on us for church, plus a lot of the recent converts decided they didn´t need to come to church either. (although Fam. Romero did come-this makes me feel somewhat successful.) Plus we found out that the girl that was going to be our miracle baptism actually doens´t live in our sector after all-or even in our zone. UGHHH!!!! It was SUPER frustrating and SUPER discouraging, so last night I blew off the steam of it all by cracking a lot of jokes with Hna. López. Because really, it was really sad but also kind of funny. But it was also frustrating because they always tell you that if you´re obedient and work hard, you´ll have success. Well we were doing all those things, and we got NOTHING!! But Hna. López was reading Mosiah 23 and found a pretty awesome scripture that explains why the Lord decides to try our patience sometimes-but she doesn´t remember the reference and we don´t have our scriptures with us so I dunno which scripture exactly. But read Mosiah 23, it´s awesome. And 24 is awesome too. And there were a few pretty good things that happened this week, for example, Roxana, one of our investigators, came to a ward activity that we had, and also Carolina, another person we´re teaching, finally read the chapter in the BOM that we left for her. So that´s something. And even if nothing else happens this last week of the change, I will consider it a success because Fam. Pino finally was able to be baptized. That makes all the struggles worthwhile.
Anyway, enough of the Debbie Downer. Interviews with President Johns were this past week and I was talking to him about all the things that are going on with the family right now. He told me to read D&C 100:1. After I did I felt much much better about everything. I hope that Tyler is getting better and can go back to school soon, and that Aunt Jenny has found a doctor that she not only likes, but loves and will take amazingly good care of her. President also pretty much told me that I´m leaving Huancavilca this change, which happens this Sunday. I actually already knew this because Hna. Montenegro, who we see every Monday, lives with the nurses and told me that Hna. Lecates is leaving the office this change, and since I´m the only nurse in the mission right now that hasn´t been in the office yet . . . . tag!! I´m it. So it´s possible that you all won´t be hearing from me until next Saturday, the 3rd of April, because the office missionaries have P-day on Saturday, and I´m not sure if I´ll be able to write on Monday the day of transfers. I´m letting you know now so that Mom doesn´t freak out and think that I´ve been killed in an earthquake or something. (It could happen, there was apparently a tiny earthquake on Saturday, but none of us felt it. But we all know that I slept through the earthquake in Indiana, so it could just be me.)
So we´ve learned this week that our sector is a lot more dangerous that we thought it was!! Everyone´s been telling us that we can´t go to certain places in the nighttime because it´s dangerous. I´m talking places that we´ve always gone to at night and never had any problems. We had to do divisions the other night because we had a lot of people to pick up for our FHE, so Hna. Morán and I took a shortcut through a soccer field. On the way we passed 3 guys sitting on the ground, who said “Buenas noches” but didn´t do anything else. Well when we got to Fam. Romero´s house, Hna. Margarita told us that there are 3 robbers that always hang out in that section of Huancavlica and that it´s really dangerous. We were like ummm . . . . I think we saw them!! Nice to know that the Lord protects us!!

This morning we played kickball with other hermanas and then we went to the Bahia, which is an outdoor mall, more or less. All the hermanas here wear housedresses everyday, and I wanted one because they look totally comfortable and it would be funny, so I was looking for one of those. Well I found an awesome pink one, and Hna. López decided she wanted one too, so now we have matching grandma dresses. I´ll send you a picture, but it´s totally awesome. And the best part is that it was only 3 dollars. Aunt Meg, I want you to know that I consider the money that you sent me for Christmas used for my grandma dress. And if I don´t get a chance to send you an email, muchas muchas gracias. I know I´m terrible because I´ve said nothing about it but I really am grateful, even if it seems like I´m not. Love you!!

Welllll . . . . don´t really have anything else to say. Hopefully this week is better. Hope everyone is doing well. Sorry this isn´t longer. Love you all and chao chao until next week!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaching My Companions Important English Words, Like 'Gross' and 'Awkward'


Well this week wasn´t very exciting, to be honest. We taught some lessons, we walked a lot, I ate humitas for the first time, (they´re gross) and only fam. Balarezo came to church again. But other than that, it was pretty boring. Although something cool did happen. We made a goal to have 3 baptisms this change, and so far we´ve only had two. Well I´ve been praying and praying for awhile that we could have another one and reach our goal, but no one is really progressing. It was totally frustrating. Well, yesterday, we went to church and one of the members had brought a friend to church, Stefany. She was really interested in learning more about the church, and said that her friend had told her the story of Joseph Smith and it had had a huge impact on her. PLUS, she lives in our sector!! We´ve been finding a lot of great people lately that don´t live in our sector, so this was really exciting. I´m hoping that she turns out to be the answer to my prayer, but the only problem is that she works all the time so she doesn´t have a ton of time to have us come teach her. But I´m going to have faith. She´s really cool and I know that if we can get to teach her, she´ll progress really fast. Pray for us!!

So guess what??? Today is a great day for you all because I´m sending PICTURES!!!   (Pictures are below this post.)  Yes!! I finally remembered to bring my connector cable so that I could upload some pics. So you all get to see the marriage and baptisms of Fam. Pino and Marcos, pics from our trip to the zoo and bowling, and the Guayaquil temple. It´s awesome. You´ll love it. Ecuador is awesome. It´s definitely better than the Dominican Republic. Just kidding Katie and Jimmy. Please don´t kill me.

Funny story. In our zone conference President and Hermana Johns announced that all the natives (excuse me Eric, indigenous peoples) were going to learn English. Well you can imagine that all the gringitos were really excited about that!! It´s been incredibly hilarious. Hna. Morán already knows a lot of English (and Hna. López does too but she pretends like she doesn´t) but helping them study is seriously a riot. I´ve been teaching them a lot of words that will not help them whatsoever in the work, but are still useful. Their favorites so far are "gross" and "awkward" although I still haven´t really been able to explain the definition of awkward to them. I don´t think it translates directly into Spanish, but they´re starting to get the hang of it. Aren´t you proud of me for teaching them such useful English words??

Oh yeah, another funny story. We started teaching this lady named Rosio yesterday and she´s seriously hilarious. She was really receptive, accepted committments to read and pray and all that, and then said to me, so have you been a Jehovah´s Witness your whole life?? I had to work really really hard not to laugh, it was too funny after having taught her the ENTIRE lesson and talking to her about the Book of MORMON, that she thought we were JWs. So so funny!! But like I said, she was really receptive and wants us to come back and talk to her and her "husband" (they´re not married bc she´s still married to her first husband. When I heard that I was like . . . . hableme en serio!! NOT AGAIN.) So yeah. We´ll see what happens. Also we finally told Christian that if he wasn´t willing to keep his committments we weren´t going to keep teaching him, and I felt kind of bad bc I didn´t feel bad about leaving him. I felt like I should have felt worse about it, but I was kind of relieved. It was really frustrating to go day after day after day and find that he STILL hadn´t read the Book of Mormon. Seriously 3 Nephi 11 is like 2 pages. NOT THAT HARD. So yeah. We´re not teaching him anymore and I´m more than okay with it. Does that make me a bad person?? I hope not.

Bueno. I don´t know what else to say. Oh yeah!! I haven´t put up my shoutouts!! First off, I KNEW Daniel would get engaged as soon as I saw the pics that Katie sent me. ¡Cheverissimo pues!  Mom, please take out a dollar from my bank account for Craig´s pants. They´re so awesome that I´ve got to contribute to the cause. Well, can´t think of anything else to say for real now, so be good, read your scriptures, pray, be nice to the missionaries and always look for people to share the gospel with. Remember that if you want to see your besties in the Celestial Kingdom, they have to get baptized first. MUCHO AMOR!!

PS: turns out it takes 10 years to upload pics in this internet cafe, so you´re not getting all the pics that I said you were. You´ll have to wait till next week. Also, yes, Hno. Pino is a lot older than Hna. Pino. No wisecracks please, we´ve gotten enough in district meeting. Also, I need Craigo´s email again bc I lost it and I want to write him. But now I really have to go. Chao chao!!

Hermana Chamberlain
The baptism of Hermana and Hermano Pino
Hermanas Moran, Chamberlain and Lopez in front of the Guayaquil, Ecuador Temple
The Wedding of Karen Sanchez and Eduardo Pino

Hermano Pino, Hermana Moran, Hermana Chamberlain, Hermana Lopez, Hermana soon-to-be Pino

Monday, March 8, 2010

Put Your Pants on Please!

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

Familia Pino was finally baptized this past Saturday!! It was seriously the best baptism I´ve ever been to. It was the first one I´ve had where nothing bad happened. The Pinos showed up on time, the font was full, we had white clothes for every one involved in the baptism, and half the ward showed up to watch. It was amazing. The Spirit was way way strong. I had to give a short talk and I had no idea what I was going to say, but I ended up talking about miracles, and I´m pretty sure that the Spirit was talking through me because afterwards everyone said it was awesome. During the baptism I knew that the angels in heaven were cheering like crazy, and that Jesus was in that room with us. It was the most amazing feeling ever, I can´t even explain it. They were also confirmed on Sunday and are now fully and legitimately members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think this might be the crowning moment of my mission so far. It was so AWESOME.

Something else awesome. Familia Romero, the less active family that we´ve been working with, FINALLY came to church yesterday!! They´re the ones that we´ve been really frustrated, because they´re always talking about how they want to do the temple work for their family and that they´re really sad about all their less active friends, and always give us references, but never come to church. Well yesterday we went to their house to remind them about church and no one came to the door and their car wasn´t there. As we were walking away, I thought, hey maybe they´re already at church!! But I brushed it off as too ridiculous to even consider. Well. Imagine how I repented of this thought when we got to the chapel and saw their car outside. CHEVERISSIMO!! We have a lot of work to do with them still, but I know they´re going to be okay in the end.

We also brought a family to church yesterday in the morning, Familia Pineda. They´re the ones that when we taught the first lesson, I was totally having issues speaking Spanish, until the First Vision. Well they really liked church, but they still haven´t read the Book of Mormon. (It seems like our issues have switched now, we can get people to come to church but we can´t get them to read and pray. Frustrating.) Hno. Roberto is always really attentive and listens really closely to us when we teach, but Hna. Carolina always has to take care of her kids during the lessons so she´s a little less attentive. Plus we can only teach them on the weekends because they both work during the day and come home really really late. But we´ll keep working.

So on Saturday, the day of the baptism, we literally had the weirdest day ever. Seriously so many random/funny/weird things happened to us!! First off, we were walking down a street in Guangala and all of a sudden I stop dead because I´m pretty sure I´ve just seen a live tiger in a window. Closer inspection revealed that it was actually a life sized stuffed tiger (sidenote: I´m still not sure if it was a stuffed animal or a stuffed tiger that had been alive at some point) but it was just so random and funny that I had to get a picture. I seriously thought there was a live tiger in the window, it was so weird!! So then, we´re walking to another appointment, we get to the house and I look in the window and see a silhouette of a man. I think, "hmmm . . . . I don´t think that guy´s wearing pants." Then after a double take I was like "wait . . . . I don´t think that guy´s wearing anything!!" And sure enough, after getting shut down by the lady we were supposed to teach, Hna. Morán, who had apparently gotten a better look, poor thing, told me that he was, in fact, only wearing a pair of briefs and nothing else. It took us a long time to quit laughing at that one. So then we went to visit Christian to try and convince him to come to our baptism that night, (he said no. SHOCKING.) and as we´re leaving, I see a clown riding down the street on a motorcycle. I´m talking clown outfit, clown facepaint, and I didn´t see his shoes but I wouldn´t be surprised if he had the clown shoes too. Now you all know how I feel about clowns, but this was just SO random. How many times do you see a clown on a motorcycle?? And I was the only one that saw him too. So of course I cracked up laughing, and my companions were like, what is so funny?? And every time I thought about it that day I just laughed and laughed. So THEN, we were walking down another street to visit Familia Pineda, and all of a sudden we here someone yelling, "hermanas hermanas!!" We were like, oh cool, someone we know, or someone who wants to hear about the gospel!! So we all turn around and see this guy with no shirt on standing there waving at us. Okay, pretty normal. Lots of people don´t wear shirts here. So Hna. López asked, ¿Quien es? (who is it?) Hna. Morán replied, "No sé, pero tengo miedo" (I don´t know but I´m scared.) Well as soon as she said that I started feeling a little creeped out too. Well, this guy started walking towards us, and as he does so he sticks his hand down the front of his pants. We were like, uhhh . . . . time to go!! and we took off down the street, not exactly running but walking very fast. The whole time I was like, please let us in Fam. Pineda please let us in!! Fortunately they did. After it happened it was pretty funny, but at the time we were pretty creeped out. Fortunately the Lord protected us!! (Remember, all this stuff happened in the same day. So weird.)

Well family, I don´t really know what else to say. It was really super hot this week, we were literally sweating all the time. Like dripping wet sweating. It was super gross. I was sad to hear about Andy York´s death. I remember seeing him when he was sick and on all those steroids, it was so sad. I´m glad he´s free from that pain. Love the story about Jensen and dinosaurs. I need to look for a dinosaur to send him, but it would probably cost me an arm and a leg to send it to him, so he´ll have to wait till I get home to have it. Oh, random thing, the mall that I´m in right now was playing old school gangster rap today while we were eating. It was so funny. Well, be good, work hard, read your scriptures and pray, go to church and always do good things!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

They're Finally Married!!!!!

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

So this week I was smart and typed the email in Word first, and good thing because there was a computer malfunction of some kind.

Okay, so who freaked out when I didn´t write yesterday?? (Mom, don´t lie, fess up.) I´m sure you were all very sad to not have my email brighten your day, but we went to the temple this morning, so we had to have district meeting yesterday, which meant that our P day is today. So hopefully no one was too traumatized by not being able to read my fantastic emails until today.

So I was glad to see all your sad face emails about Familia Pino. But really the way I reacted to them was with . . . . . LAUGHTER!!! Because, my family and friends, I have buenas BUENAS noticias for all of you. Last week, on Thursday, February 25, Eduardo Pino and Karen Sanchez became, legally and lawfully, Señor and Señora Eduardo Pino. Yes. THEY GOT MARRIED!!!!! I don´t know how they did it or what went down, just that we got a call at about 11:30 in the morning on Thursday from the bishop´s wife, saying that they were getting married that day. We called them to confirm, then hopped in a taxi and went to a spur of the moment wedding, totally ditching our plans for the rest of the afternoon. Probably the best day ever. And yes, they are being baptized this Saturday. It will probably be my favorite baptism of my whole mission. And now, more than ever I have a firm and strong testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Because even though Fam. Pino had told us that they couldn´t get married for another year, I went home and prayed hard. Really hard. All that next week. And well . . . . look what happened!! There´s a parable in the Bible somewhere, don´t remember exactly where and am too lazy to pull out my scripures and look, but it´s about the unrighteous judge. Basically what happpens is that there´s this judge that doesn´t fear God or anyone else. This widow comes to him and wants him to avenge her of her enemy. For awhile he won´t, and then he says, even though I fear not God or man, I will avenge this widow, lest by her continual coming she weary me. The point is that if the unrighteous judge eventually caved to the widow, how much more likely is it that God, who is righteous, will give you the righteous desires of your heart if you just keep asking??? This parable gave me a lot of comfort when I was praying for Fam. Pino all this time. I´ll be sure to send some pictures soon!!

So yeah, this week was awesome. We found some new people to teach. We found another less active family and have been working with them. The hermana has read the Book of Mormon and knows it´s the Word of God . . . . . but is Catholic. I cannot even tell you how frustrating those words are. Seriously, when I hear the phrase yo soy catolico(a) I just want to roll my eyes. Most of them don´t even go to church, they´re just Catholic because it´s tradition.  Anyway, we´re going to work with them and hopefully little by little we´ll get the hermano back to church and the hermana and the kids baptized. Just need some faith that´s all.

We also have this guy that we´re teaching, Christian. He´s had some pretty traumatizing experiences with religion, for example, his dad was an Evangelical minister but then ran off with some chick from the church, so he´s pretty anti-religion. Which I can understand, but it´s frustrating because at the end of every lesson he asks us when we´re coming back again to teach him, but he refuses to do ANYTHING. Won´t read, won´t pray, won´t come to church . . . . . and we have to teach him outside of his hardware store, so there´s cars driving down the street and making a ton of noise and people coming and going to buy stuff from him and really we just can´t have the Spirit at all because the environment is totally non conducive. So we´re really frustrated with him and we´re thinking about leaving him, but then we feel bad because he obviously suffers and needs the gospel but refuses to do anything about it. So yeah, who knows what will happen with him.

So on Sunday I gave my first talk in church!! In Spanish!! It was pretty awesome, everyone said that I did really well. I´m pretty sure the Spirit helped me out a lot bc half the time I felt like I had no idea what I was even saying. But everyone said it was good, so I guess I must be doing something right!! Although in the middle of it I started laughing because Jimmito Balarezo ran up and started tugging at my skirt and saying HOLA!! HOLA!! I tried to ignore him but at the end I just couldn´t help it anymore. Oh well. It was funny.

Well I don´t really know what else to say. I laughed pretty hard at the story about Craig and his girlfriends. Hard to believe he´ll be 16 by the time I get back!! He´s already a heartbreaker, how hilarious. Well, be good and read your scriptures and remember that Heavenly Father loves you and listens to your prayers!! Chao!!