Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nobody Knew About Wife #1

Hola queridos amigos y familiares!

First of all, an update on Nayely-we went to visit her this past Sunday and she´s completely better. She was complaining that she was hungry and had to wait fifteen more minutes to eat!! Her mom was so happy, and they both left the hospital the next day, when we thought she was going to have to stay another week. Miracle?? Obviously.

Anyway, this week has been much more tranquil than last week, mostly because nobody tried to die on us, but also because the missionaries have decided that they really aren´t that sick after all and haven´t been calling us very much. So we´ve been able to teach a lot more this week than we did last week. By Wednesday, we had already taught more lessons than we had all of last week, it was really funny. But we´re excited to keep working, everyone with baptismal dates is still in Guayaquil and is still letting us in to teach them, and even seems excited about being baptized, so I´m pretty happy about that. We should be having all of them these last two weeks of the change, unless something terrible happens but I´m exercising my faith that everything will be just fine. But I would appreciate prayers in my behalf, because anyone who´s served a mission knows that Satan works the hardest in those last few weeks leading up to baptism (and we´ve already seen the opposition working in not being able to find people to teach them and lame things like that) so all prayers in behalf of Jorge, Lourdes, Catolina, Linda and Eduardo would be much appreciated. Eduardo actually doesn´t have a baptismal date yet because we haven´t been able to find him to teach him and put the date, due to circumstances beyond our control (aka, his mom leaves so we can´t come in, or we come and he´s not there.) BUT-he goes to seminary at 5 am pretty much every morning, and he told us yesterday that he wants to be baptized after he learns more. We were like . . . . we can help you with that!! So yeah. He needs prayers just as much as the rest of them, por favor.

What else what else. OH. Ridiculous story. So this guy got baptized in January, Carlos Pacheco. Well he´s been really faithful ever since then, reading the Book of Momon, coming to church, second counselor in YMs, all that. Well we´ve not been able to find him lately and were wondering why. So then we run into Fam. Suarez, who gave us the reference of Carlos, and they tell us that he´s been kicked out of his house by his wife because someone showed up with divorce papers from his first wife that he was married to 17 years ago!!!! We were like . . . . . WHAT????? He was BAPTIZED!!!! So we had a few days of freaking out about what to do about that, because you just can´t be married to two people at a time, obviously (polygamy jokes are not appreciated here, thank you) and he was legally married to his second wife as well. So finally we got a hold of him, after a few days of not being able to, and he told us that he´s living in a different province right now and going to stay there, but that he really has been divorced this whole time from wife 1, just that they didn´t have the same system 17 years ago that they have now, so something didn´t work out in the paperwork. But that he is going to church and has his BOM and is almost done with it, but he and wife 2 are still divorcing (which is actually a good thing because she´s nuts and hates that he´s a member of the church and they were having a bunch of problems anyway and talking about separating even before this happened.) But it is in fact okay that he was baptized because he really was divorced. But it was a shocker for sure because NOBODY knew about wife 1!!!!!

Anyway, life goes on in Bolivar 1. We´re working hard, finding, teaching, baptizing, all that. Life in the office goes on too. Thursday we had pizza in district meeting to celebrate birthdays, and then the power went out until we left, which meant that the meds sheet that Hna Foster had just finished translating into Spanish was lost and we have to do it again. Lame. Funny story. Monday morning Hna Montenegro was poking me while I was sitting at my desk. I was trying to get away from her and I could feel the chair moving under me and I thought, I´m going to fall. And . . . . I did!!!!! The chair slipped right out from under me and I fell on the grown, scratching my arm on the desk as I went down. Hna Montenegro felt really bad and promised not to poke me anymore . . . . until the next day. So the next day I woke up and went to the kitchen to get breakfast. I opened the refridgerator door and found a sign in English that said, "HEY!!! THIS IS THE POKES DAY!!!! JAJAJA-GOOD MORNING!!!!!! I laughed and laughed and then took a picture. The sign is still in our fridge and Hna. Montenegro has not ceased to poke me since then . . . . . it´s a constant poke battle in our house for everyone.

So this is the part where I ask for stuff!!!! I need more of that Neutrogena eye makeup remover stuff, and some more base makeup and concealer (and if you can find something to make my face clear up from the acne attack that has not ceased since I got here, that would be good too. My face is worse than ever, it´s really sad!!) Also I need more body wash, the dove kind with grapefruit and lemongrass. Also I need more knee highs . . . . more and more get destroyed every day. And some really good stain remover would be awesome too. I drop stuff on myself constantly, it´s ridiculous. If you can´t send it right away, don´t worry about it, but just so you know. And I´m sure I´ll think of more stuff that I need as the days go by . . . . but I´ll just tell you about it when I call you in two weeks!!!! More on that later.

Well, nothing else to say. Love you all, be good, pray hard, love everyone and never forget-every single person is a child of our loving Heavenly Father.


Hermana Chamberlain

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saving a Life


This week has been loquisima!!!! (That means REALLY crazy.) It was zone conference for everyone in Guayaquil this week because Elder Pino from the 70 came to talk to us (sidenote: I got to shake his hand, and he told me that his wife knows Bloomington. Indiana is now not as lame as I thought it was.) So that was all day Thursday, but in general we get a ton of calls during the week of Zone Conference because everyone waits to see us or Hermana Johns to tell us their problems. So we´ve had a ton to do this week because of that. But also, we´ve been trying to literally save someone´s life.

So we have this family in our ward that just got baptized, the familia Mendez. Hna. Anna has a friend who lives in Guasmo (aka, the ghetto) but is always at the house with them. She was a huge help to Hna. Anna when she was trying to get the papers in order to get married so that the family could be baptized, just there for moral support and everything. So Hna. Foster knows her really well and I´m getting to know her. Her name is Maria and she has a little 8 year old daughter named Nayely. They pretty much have nothing-Maria´s husband left them a while ago and she lost her job not too long ago as well-but they are really awesome people. Well, on Tuesday we went to visit the Fam. Mendez to teach the only member of their familiy that´s not a member yet, Hna. Anna´s son Eduardo. Well Eduardo wasn´t there even though he had told us the night before that he would be there. And we had brought the Young Men´s president and another guy with us to meet him, so we were a little ticked. Well we were just hanging around and Hna. Anna got a call saying that Maria was in the emergency room with Nayely, who was having bloody diarrhea . . . . lots of it and pretty much just blood and nothing more. Well Hna. Anna said she was going to the hospital and we both felt like we should go too, for some reason, so off we went, accompanied by Andres and Hno. Bravo. When we got there, Hna. Maria literally threw herself sobbing into Anna´s arms, because she had been there for FOUR HOURS and no one had seen Nayely yet. Here in Ecuador, it doesn´t matter what you came to the ER for, only what time you came. Yeah. It´s first come first serve, even if you´re literally dying.

So Hno. Bravo went back with Hna. Maria to give Nayely a priesthood blessing and ended up doing it right there in the hallway because they didn´t have a room. Well we were waiting and I was just thinking what do we do?? What do we do?? All of a sudden, this lady walked right up to us, looked at Hna. Foster and asked, Hnas, why are you here?? I thought it was someone that knew Hna. Foster, because she just explained why were there and the lady asked what Nayely´s name was. Then she said, I´m going to make sure someone sees her. She walked right through the doors and past the guard into the ER. 5 minutes later, she came back out and said, the doctors are seeing her now. Hna. Anna asked her who she was and she said, I´m a member of the church, I work here. Then she walked away out the gates and we didn´t see her again. I was absolutely dumbfounded, especially when Hna. Foster told us that she had been praying for help, and the minute she said amen, that lady showed up. I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that we had seen a literal miracle right before our eyes!!! It was absolutely incredible!!! Then Hna. Maria came back and told us that Nayely had been diagnosed with hemorrhagic dengue, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is so dangerous that if it´s not treated within 3 days, the person dies. After we heard that, we were even more dumbfounded. Hna. Foster´s been here for over a year and has never heard of anyone having that. It was insane!!!! So the next day we went back to the hospital to find out more about how Nayely was doing, and we found that same lady that had helped us out the night before!!!! She told us that Nayely needed a blood transfusion and that she was going to get it tomorrow, but the way it works in Ecuador is that a person who receives blood has to pay it back with other people donating their blood . . . . with interest. So Nayely received 3 units of blood, and 9 people had to donate to pay it back, or the person has to pay with money. Each unit costs about 25 to 30 dollars . . . .and remember that they have pretty much nothing. Well, we rounded up the other sisters that live in our house, our zone leaders and the zone leaders and two elders from another zone to donate. It turned out that one elder and both Hna. Foster and I weren´t able to donate (don´t worry, I was just a little anemic, NBD) but it turned out that 7 people was enough. Hna. Maria was so grateful that she started crying right there in the blood bank with us and the zone leaders. So far the only thing that we know about Nayely is that she´s still in the hospital and will probably be there for another two weeks, but she´s gotten her blood and she´s not having blood in her diarrhea anymore, just normal diarrhea. But she´s getting better . . . . . and she just can´t die. There´s no way that Heavenly Father would have intervened like he did if she was just going to die after it all, right?? RIght!!!!

But how amazing!! If Hna. Foster and I hadn´t gone to the hospital, there´s no way that the lady would have recognized us as members of the church. Our nametags have a lot more power than we realize. And I have a FIRM testimony of the priesthood as the power of God on earth, and of the power of prayer. It wasn´t a coincidence. It was a miracle. There´s no other way to explain it!!!

Well, with saving a life and taking care of the other missionaries and whatnot, we have only taught like 8 lessons so far this week. BUT, even though we haven´t been able to spend a lot of time with our people, Heavenly Father has blessed us incredibly!!! Jorge and Lourdes finally accepted a baptismal date of May 8 this past week!!! After we explained the functions of the Spirit and of the Sacrament, Jorge understood that it was okay to slip up again after baptism, as long as you´re trying your best to keep the commandments and you repent frequently, and that the Spirit would always be there to help him if he did those things. So we just need to teach them the rest of the lessons and they´re set to jet!!! (It´s gonna be cake, they´re already living the law of chastity and the word of wisdom and those are the two hardest things.) Plus, we visited Hna. Catolina on Thursday night. We asked her the same question that we asked Jorge and Lourdes-after reading 2 Nephi 31, what is Jesus Christ asking you to do?? I don´t know if I´ve ever given background on Hna. Catolina, but she´s a middle-aged lady with a daughter named Ester. The missionaries have been working with her for about 5 months but have left her a few times because she wasn´t going to church. She´s a superintendent of a Catholic school and is worried that if she joins the church she´ll lose her job. But she´s so great, and she´s been coming to church and came to conference and the prophet´s talk had a huge impact on her. So we asked her what Jesus Christ was asking her to do, and she said, be baptized. Then she told us that she feels different when we come to visit her, that when she´s in her Catholic school and they´re doing Catholic things she´s thinking about what we´ve taught her, and that she can feel a difference when we don´t come. Well we asked her to be baptized . . . . . . . and she also accepted a date of May 8. There´s still a lot of work to do to help her overcome this fear that she has . . . . . but I know that she will be baptized. She told us that she couldn´t deny that it was true!!!

So even though this week has been insane, it´s also been incredible. I have never seen this amount of miracles in so short a space of time before. The only bad thing that happened was that Linda´s not going to be baptized until next week, because she didn´t go to church last Sunday because she was sick (like legitimately sick, she went to the doctor and everything.) So Bishop told us we had to wait until she came to church one more time. So she´ll be baptized this coming Saturday. And Eduardo, even though we can´t find him to teach him, he went to church last Sunday and went to seminary at 5 in the morning a couple times this week!! So we´re really excited to put a baptismal date on him too!! And the funny thing is that at the beginning of this week, when we couldn´t find anyone to teach them and were getting frustrated, we thought that this week was going to be a trial of our faith because last week was so great!! (I hope I didn´t just jinx myself by saying that.) Incredible!! I now have an even stronger testimony that this is the Lord´s work. He directs it, He knows what´s going down and everything happens in His time and because He wants it to. I know that this is true!!!

So now, my closing remarks. I´m so happy that Elder Newell is back in action. I love that we were all wrong about Trav´s mission call, but I LOVE that he´s speaking Spanish!!! When we get back, we can all have secret conversations and no one else will be able to understand us. Muahahahaha. Reading about your fun week in Utah together kind of made me sad that I wasn´t there, but only for a little bit. Don´t worry, I didn´t cry or anything. I love what I´m doing and wouldn´t give it up for a hundred weeks in Utah with the family. I don´t know if Ashley Pace is reading this, but if she is, your thank you card arrived safely in Ecuador and I loved it!! Also, Eric, your postcard from Australia arrived safely here as well, and the elder in the office that takes care of the mail asked me if I was from Australia. It was really funny. Don´t worry, I´ll be writing you again soon!!

Time to go grocery shopping!! Love you all, be good and do everything you´re supposed to do!! Remember: Miracles are real!!!!

Mucho Amor!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Near Death Experiences


First of all, Abby, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? You saw PRESIDENT UCHTDORF and you didn´t shake his hand??????? I would have been knocking people to the ground and jumping over them to get to him!!! I´m ashamed of you. The next time you see a General Authority you better not make that same mistake!!!!

Well. With that said, did everyone just love conference?? It feels just like yesterday that I was watching Conference in the MTC sitting next to Hna. Mount and Elder McGuire. Can anyone believe that this was 6 months ago?? SO weird. But once again, Elder Holland kicked Satan´s butt with his talk. So amazing. And the best part is he managed to be direct and hilarious at the same time. My personal favorite line was, " temptation will come but we do not have to throw the door open, serve it tea and crumpets and then show it where the silverware is kept!!! . . . . . You shouldn´t be serving tea anyway!!" Someday I would really like to meet him and shake his hand (yes Abby, that was another dig at you. What are you going to do?? I´m on a different continent right now. MUAHAHAHAHA.)

So we´re having a baptism next week!! Her name is Linda, she´s 13 and is the granddaughter of another recent convert. She´s really great, really excited for her baptism and the best part is that her mom agreed to sign the permission slip. That´s where we usually have problems, but it looks like, fingers crossed, that she won´t be having any issues. We are also still working with this family, Jorge, Lourdes and Erika (they have another son too but he´s only 4 so he can´t get baptized yet.) They are so ready, so prepared, they just have no idea!! Lourdes and Erika have said, I´m ready to go, baptize us!! Jorge said, I want to get baptized but I´m afraid I´ll get baptized and then sin again, or not persevere, and plus I can´t forgive my family for the terrible things they did to me when I was growing up. Common fears, and the last one is legitimate, so we´re trying to help him out with that. They come to church every Sunday and read and pray and do everything that they´re supposed to-he just has to overcome these two little things and then they´ll be good to go. Insights would be appreciated if anyone has them!!

As far as the nursing stuff goes, we´ve been having a pretty fun time. We have this elder who´s been having some neurological problems so he had to have an EEG. Well Hna. Foster decided we better go with him and his companion bc we´ve never used this doctor before, so off we went. We had set the appt. the day before by going into the office, so you can imagine how surprised we were when we came and no one was there!! Well the lady showed up after 5 or 10 minutes and let us in, and then looked at us and said, well why are you here?? Hna. Foster said, we´re here for the appt. The lady´s like, but you didn´t confirm it!!! We were like . . . . . ummmm what?? we came yesterday to your office to set the appt, what more did you want us to do?? So after a little more arguing, she finally lets the elders in, takes the one into a back room and shuts the door. Well, anyone who´s served a mission knows that that´s totally not okay, so the other elder was like, ummm, should I go in with him?? We were like, um yeah!! So he knocks on the door and the lady comes out and is like, what?? The elder says I need to come in with him, and the lady goes, WHY?? So after MORE arguing and explaining that we´re missionaries and therefore cannot be alone like EVER, she finally let him into the room, sat him in a chair and commanded him not to touch anything. Well after the door closed Hna. Foster and I just started laughing. It was too funny, this lady was totally having a power trip. But for the most part, we´re having a good time setting appts, picking up meds, taking calls from the missionaries, and having fun with the office elders. Oh, did I tell you that Elder Sandberg, who was in my district in the MTC, is the new financial secretary?? He´ll be in the office for 9 months too, so that´ll be fun.

So we´ve been having some interesting Ecuador experiences this week. On thursday President called us with an assignment to go meet this lady at the McDonalds near his house to pick up some papers from this lady so that this family in Machala could get married. Well, we waited and waited and she never showed, which was sad because now this family can´t get baptized, but while we were waiting we decided to get breakfast. It cracked us up because they have options but they´re all the same!! It´s seriously hilarious!! So then this lady never showed so we went back home. Well in the cab I seriously thought we were going to die. I know I say that every time but this time I mean it. He was going so fast that Hna. Foster asked him if he was in a hurry. He was like no, why?? and she said, because I´m scared!!! We didn´t die, obviously, but we were pretty freaked out. Then this morning, we took the bus to the mall and it was really scary. Like it was going so fast that when we went over a bump I popped out of my seat into the air. Then when we got to the cyber and opened our mail, Hna. Foster had an email from her mom that said, what were you doing at 9:45 this morning?? This is when we were on the bus!! So she told her mom and then asked why she asked. Well just now we opened our mail again and her mom had written back saying that she had gotten this overwhelming sense that we were in danger and that she needed to pray for us. Thank you Sister Foster, you might have saved our lives!!! But isn´t it cool how we can sense when something´s wrong with our families?? I just thought that was so cool.

Well, we´re going to go back and write letters now, so be good, read your scriptures, reread the conference talks and don´t do anything you shouldn´t be doing. Always live your life as if Jesus Christ was standing right beside you, because if you do that, he will be.


Hermana Chamberlain

Friday, April 2, 2010

Try Your Diarrhea Before You Call Us


This week has been absolutely insane!!!! I really feel like I just came to Ecuador over again. I´m dead tired like I was in the beginning, I don´t have a clue what´s going on, and I follow my companion around like a baby duckling. But I love it!!

By the way, just so you know, my pday is on Saturday but tomorrow is conference so we´re taking our pday on friday. The assistants said we could. Don´t worry, I´m not being disobedient ;)

So, the office. To be honest, I still don´t really have any idea of all the things we do. Hermana Lecates, the old nurse that was here before me, was here for 2 days this week to wait for the new hermana so that they could go to Cuenca together, told me that we do things that we never would have imagined. So I would guess that I´ll be here for 9 months and at the end I still won´t have a set idea of what it is that I´m supposed to do, but yeah. Anyway, for the most part, we set appointments for sick missionaries with the doctor, we talk to them about their problems and tell them what meds they can try, we look for new doctors and hospitals that we can use, we pick up results from labs and x-rays, and we do a lot of random stuff. Hermana Johns works really closely with us too. We´re in the office on Monday and Thursday and the rest of the time we´re in the field proselyting, but a lot of times we have to cancel appointments because something happens with a missionary and we have to go take care of it. They can call our cell at pretty much any time they want to, even in the middle of the night, so it´s like being on call all the time. But for right now, I don´t really do anything, I just follow Hna. Foster everywhere bc I have no idea what I´m supposed to be doing!! I felt kind of bad about this at first but Hna. Foster said she was exactly the same when she came and as I learn I´ll start doing more things. So, NBD. I was talking to one of the office elders and he said that coming to the office is like drinking from a fire hose. It´s really true!! But at the same time, it´s a really awesome opportunity, because we get to work really closely with President and Hermana Johns. Who, by the way, will be leaving at the beginning of July and the new president and his wife from Venezuela will be coming. We already know that it will be ridiculously insane. Hna. Foster said that the mission presidents come knowing pretty much nothing and all President and Hermana Johns will do is give them the keys to the house. So they´re going to depend on us a LOT. Fortunately Hna. Foster will still be here with me, because she doesn´t go home until August. So I won´t be completely on my own!! Plus, we get to go on the gira, which is where we go on a road trip with president and hna. Johns and the assistants to the whole mission. This means I´ll be seeing Cuenca, Machala, Loja, and possibly Milagro, depending on if we stop there or not. But we´re not going until next change, bummer. But I should be going at least 2 or 3 times if nothing else comes up. I´m super excited about it!!

So now I´m going to tell an absolutely hilarious story about one of my first experiences as the mission nurse. We always have to give a presentation in the new missionary orientation, and this time they put all the new ones together so we had to do it in Spanish. Hna. Foster was talking about what to do if you meet muggers and said in Spanish, if you´re going to be robbed, you should keep some cash with you so you can give it to the robbers. Well we all thought that was hilarious, including me, and I laughed inside my head about it until it was my turn to talk and I told everyone that if they had diarrhea, they have to try it first before they call us. What I was trying to say was that they need to test it to see if they have parasites or bacteria or something before they call us so that we can know what to do for them, but the word I used, probar, is used when you want to say that you´re trying food. So basically I told everyone that they had to eat their diarrhea before they called us. Well all the Latins were looking at me like, what did that crazy gringa just tell us to do?? So hermana Foster explained what I had been trying to say (because I had no idea still) and afterwards we were seriously laughing so hard that we couldn´t breathe. It was SO funny, I wasn´t even embarrassed about it. So yeah, my Spanish isn´t as good as everyone thinks. But I did meet my future companion, Hna. Barker, who is from New Albany and totally knows the Porters!! Brad and James, how sad that you didn´t write me to tell me she was coming!! Anyway, she´s in Cuenca right now but she´ll be coming to the office in about 4 1/2 months. Yay!!

Our sector, Bolivar, is BUENISIMO!!!! There are so many good people there. We´re teaching a family of 4 that has already come to church twice, is reading the BOM and Gospel Principles, and loves the emphasis that the church puts on families. The only thing that´s not so great is that the hno. works a ton so we can´t always find him to teach him. But he loves the church too and we are working hard with them. Yesterday we were explaining all the things that we have to do in this life to return to live with Heavenly Father and our families to Hna. Lourdes. She pointed to faith and repentance and said, I´m doing this right now, and then pointed to baptism and said, I´m still missing this. We were like . . . . we can help you with that!! She still hasn´t accepted a date to be baptized because she wants to talk to her husband first (yes, they are MARRIED!!! ) but we figured she would say that and we would prefer to baptize the whole family together anyway. But we´re super excited about them. I can totally see the Spirit working in these lessons, it´s so amazing. Also we were talking to this less active member Mario the other day. We asked if he´d been reading his scriptures and he told us that he had a BOM . . . . . given to him by SHERI DEW. Well, we were pretty blown away by that, so he got it out so we could see it. Sister Dew had written something in english in the front cover and he had never found out what it said. So we asked him if he´d like us to translate. It said, among other things, I hope you serve a mission and get married in the temple. Well, Mario had made some choices that made him unable to serve a mission at this point, and when we read this to him, he started CRYING!!! He said that he wants to come back and we told him we would be here to help him, and that he could start by reading his scriptures and praying. He´s totally coming back, serving a mission and getting married in the temple. He´s only 19, there´s totally time.

All in all, I am content. I am ridiculously tired, all the time. This morning I fell asleep in planning, and I have these gigantic black circles under my eyes. I look like Hna. Foster and I have been having a couple of bad companionship inventories. Mom, if you´re feeling like you want to send me a just because you love me gift, some of that eyelipex stuff from kohl´s would be awesome. But really, I am doing great. I¨m overwhelmed and underslept, but I´m a pretty happy camper despite it all. I can see how the Lord blesses us because we really don´t have a lot of time to proselyte, because being the mission nurse is our first responsibility. But we have amazing people to teach, the members help us a lot and we somehow manage to accomplish a lot of the goals we make every day. It´s really interesting-and totally awesome. I thank Heavenly Father every day for this opportunity that I have. It really is amazing to see all the blessings that come to us when we´re doing our best. At first I felt weird because I came from working really hard every day, walking and talking to people and teaching all that, to this where I do a lot of sitting and waiting and watching. It was just a weird feeling. But I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be and that even when I´m sitting and waiting for the secretary to do something for me, I´m doing what He wants me to do.

To end, yesterday was April Fools in the US, but Hna. Foster and I got a good trick played on us!! We came home last night to find Hna. Montenegro and Hna. Castillo looking very sad and all of their luggage on the floor in the main room, desks empied out, etc. They told us that there was an emergency transfer and that both of them were leaving. I didn´t believe them at first but they were so convincing that soon we both fell for it . . . . . until Hna. Foster called Hna. Johns and asked her about it. Turns out it was all a joke!! Well we laughed for a long time but I was like what!! I was actually legitimately sad!! But they´re still here for another change at least, so hooray for that!!!

Well, we´re off to go grocery shopping. Be good, read your scriptures, pray and make good choices!! Mucho amor!!

Hermana Chamberlain