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!!!!