Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Tough Week


This email might be pretty short, because . . . . ESTOY CHIRA!!! That means I´m broke!!! But I´ll try to get everything in. So this week was . . . . . REALLY TERRIBLE!!! I´m not even kidding, we faced a ridiculous amount of opposition. First off, Hermana Foster has been having some issues with dental pain so we´ve been spending a lot of time out of the sector and in the dentist´s office, which hits us hard because we already aren´t in the sector all the time anyway and to have added time out really hurts us, so we were both a little bummed out about that. We also have been having a lot of struggles with our investigators. We still can´t find Yoconda and Catalina has disappeared on us too, which is weird because she´s ALWAYS there in the evenings. But everytime we´ve gone, she either hasn´t come to the window when we called or her mom says she´s gone out to do something. We don´t know if she´s hiding from us or if it really is just killer opposition, but either way we´re both pretty worried about it. Eduardo is being himself still, although we did tell his family that they need to chill out because his behavior is typical of 17 year olds everywhere, and in a few years he´ll look at other 17 year olds and say, I was NEVER like that. We also told them that a good way for them to grow closer together was to look for the good in each member of their family instead of focusing on the bad things. We told them that that´s how missionaries manage to get along with their companions, whom they have to be with 24-7 sometimes for months on end (sidenote-this really is true). Hopefully things start getting better between them all. Eduardo really is a good guy, he´s just a normal 17 year old. We´re always like, at least he´s not out doing drugs or getting people pregnant or stuff like that!!! They need to count their blessings!!! But we have some other plans in mind for how to work with Eduardo, so we´re going to put them in effect soon. We´re just a little bummed because this is the last week of the change and the week before that wasn´t so great either, but we´re just looking forward and hoping that this week is just a trial of our faith and that something amazing is going to happen really soon.

I was thinking about it just now and it´s really amazing how much I learned in my first sector, Huancavilca. It´s very difficult there and they don´t have a lot of baptisms. We used to have weeks like this back to back there and I used to get REALLY discouraged. But now here in Bolivar, we´re having one of those exact same weeks and you know what I´m doing??? I´m just laughing it off!!! I really am!!! Somehow I´ve managed to keep a stellar attitude about this whole thing (Hermana Foster´s the depressed one now, but she´ll snap out of it quick, don´t worry). I just KNOW that something awesome is going to happen in this coming change, because Satan is really angry and for that he´s sending all this opposition our way. But we´re going to be fine. You all just wait and see....something incredible is going to happen, really soon.

So the assistants told us something interesting that happened to them today. They said that on Thursday they were teaching this guy and all of a sudden he says, I have to tell you all something, but you might think I´m crazy (always a good way to start, right??) So he´s like, I see visions-I know that Jesus Christ came here and walked in Ecuador, I know that there were people here and that they were baptized like Jesus Christ was, I believe that there are prophets today, and . . . . I knew that the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti were going to happen and that there will be one here in Guayaquil and the whole city will be destroyed. (At this point Hermana Foster and I were like, wait, WHEN???) Elder Coba said that they asked him what it would mean to him to know that the Book of Mormon was true and he said, that I´m not crazy after all!!! So they put a baptismal date on him right then. Crazy huh?? Why can´t we find someone like that??

Ohhhh, what else. President and Hermana Johns are leaving on Wednesday, and President and Hermana Montalti are coming that same day. This is Hermana Foster´s last change and she´s getting a little anxious (and really trunky but I´m helping her out with that, no worries).  I have no idea what´s going to happen this change with the new president but I´m pretty sure we´ll be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. It´ll be crazy but it´ll be awesome. I loved the whole thing about Craig at EFY, so hilarious. I just knew he´d have all the girls following him around, they always are. Craig, you be good when you turn 16 and don´t go around breaking all the girls´ hearts!!!!

Well that´s about it for now. Pray that next week will be awesome for us. Sorry that this letter was a little bit of a downer. I really am okay, I´m trying to keep my positive attitute and just muscle through it. By the way, who can believe that I´ve been out for 9 months already??? That is just really insane to me, I can´t even believe it. The time is going WAY too fast!!! Well, hasta luego y sean buenos y lean sus escrituras y oren cada día y SIEMPRE guarden los mandamientos!!! Realemente es la unica manera para tener felicidad!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ups and Downs


It´s been a week of ups and downs. Ups first, obviously. Jorge baptized Erika last weekend and he was really nervous but everything went fine. She was confirmed on Sunday and now every member of the Fam. Criollo that can be baptized is. YAAAAY!!!! We went back to Catalina this week to see how she was doing, and she let us in, told us that she had been reading and praying and that she KNEW it was true. So we put another baptismal date on her for July 3rd!!!! YAAAAY!!!! And once she gets baptized, it´s only a matter of time before Ester and her mom get baptized too. She`s the one that has to do it first and then her whole family will follow. But she´s FINALLY going to get baptized after I don´t even know how many months of working with her. That´s going to be a sweet baptism for sure. We also went to Jacklin and Judi one day this week, we had set the appointment for 11 but for some reason she thought we were coming at 9. When we showed up she told us that Judi`s dad had been waiting all morning to sign the baptism permission slip and that he had left 5 minutes before we came. AHHH!!! But we were really excited because it means that he definitely is going to sign. The rule is that if the parents are living together, whether married or not, they have to have the permission of them both. If they don´t live together, the just need the mother`s permission I think. But yay!! He`s going to sign!!!! This is one battle that we don`t have to fight!!!

The downs now, but not too many. First of all, Yoconda came to church with us last Sunday, stayed all 3 hours and loved it, except at the end she said she was really hungry, haha. We met her mother in law and made another appointment to come and visit them both and she looked really excited to see us and have us come back and we were very happy. So that night I was thinking about her and how she was progressing, and all of a sudden this thought came into my mind, "If her boyfriend gets out of cocaine rehab early and comes back, that could really mess things up!!!" WHAT?? Random, but not too much because I had actually thought of it in passing a few days ago but didn`t think anything of it, just brushed it off like, oh that won`t happen, he`s got a whole year to go and he`s only been in there for a month. This was different, it was like I knew it was going to happen. I talked to the other hermanas in the house and they were all like no no, don`t think that!!! I didn`t want to, it just popped into my head!!!! But I tried to forget about it. The next day we went to visit the Criollo family and they told us that her boyfriend had left rehab that SAME DAY and came back. We were like . . . . . . WHAAATT?!?!?!?!?!?! I was absolutely dumbfounded. How did I know that was going to happen???? Hermana Foster said it was because I thought of it but I´m pretty sure it was the Spirit warning me of the obstacle that was about to pop up with her. I´ve had lightbulb moments like that before (remember when I firgured out why HNO Balarezo was the way he was???) but that was insane. The sad thing is that now we can`t find her. Everytime we knock on her door, she`s left with her boyfriend. HNA Lourdes said that they`re like a just married couple right now because they haven`t seen each other in so long. I was like, a month isn`t very long!!!! Long would have been if he`d stayed in rehab a whole year like he was supposed to!!!! But despite this, I´m trying not to get discouraged. I know that Yoconda will get baptized and maybe her boyfriend and mother in law will too and that`s why he got out of rehab now. This is just a temporary setback (although now that he`s out, she`s not living the law of chastity anymore. Dang. Oh well, now we know what the next lesson will be!!)

The other big down is that Eduardo decided to change his baptism date AGAIN and now he wants to be baptized the day after his birthday, July 8. I guess this isn`t a huge down, just frustrating because the longer he waits to get baptized the longer his family has to wait to get sealed all together, plus we have our change goal and we`re at 5 and we want 6 (yeah yeah, selfish I know). RIght now we`re focusing on strengthening his testimony-he says he prays and prays but doesn`t get an answer (although he told us he was going to share the gospel with his athiest friend and we were like that`s super but you know that means you think it´s true because how are you gonna share something with someone that you don`t think is true?? Duuuuhhhh.) I left him a really good article to read in the Liahona about it and the book of Enos to read too. Plus we`re visiting him pretty much every day and we`re gonna take him to a baptism tomorrow of a family. I think that will help him a lot. So right now he kind of has two dates-one for the 26th of June and one for the 8th of July. We`re shooting for next Saturday but who knows what will happen. I just know that we`ll get him there. Right??? Right!!!

Other stuff that`s been happening-we had lunch at President`s house today with all the other office staff. Hermana Johns wanted us to show a talent so we replayed the time we went to that chifa with the crazy chinese guy who told us that we couldn`t speak Spanish very well. They all thought it was super hilarious. We had hamburgers and hot dogs and banana splits-I kind of felt like I was at a 4th of July picnic de verdad. But it was super fun. Then we went to the mall to go grocery shopping and we were walking around the food court just to see what they have and all of a suddent HNA Foster goes, is that SUBWAY?!?!?!?! It was!!!! We were SOOOOO excited-neither of us have EVER seen Subway here!!! Immediately we decided that the next time we have to come to President`s house for something, we`re eating at Subway. I haven`t even eaten there in a year!!! That`s insane!!!!! Crazy how time flies, can you believe that in 4 days I´ll be halfway done with my mission??? I cannot even wrap my mind around that!!!!! It seems like I just got here!!!! My mission can`t be halfway over already!!!

Wow. Okay sorry that this is so short but now I´ve just blown my own mind with thinking about how fast the time has gone so I can`t think of anything else to say. So be good and love the Lord and keep the commandments!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Near Death Experience X 2


Erika is getting baptized today!!! And Jorge is going to baptize her!! YAAAAAY!!!! I don't know why, but it's always a fight to get our people baptized, but they always do in the end. Anyway, we had successfully convinced Jorge that he could baptize her despite the fact that he's got a bit of a strong character, but then he got scared again and was like AHHHH I'm not prepared!! So he wanted the bishop to do it. Well next thing we know, he was like, I'm going to talk to the bishop tonight. Ummmm . . . . okay. Next thing we know after that, the bishop calls us and says, Jorge's gonna baptize Erika. Ummmmm . . . . Okay!!! Cool!!! We talked to the bishop later and he said that their whole family came in for the interview, not just Jorge. He asked Erika, why do you want to be baptized?? And she said, because I believe that this is the true church. So he didn't ask anymore questions. Haha. He didn't need to!!! I'm still not sure how he convinced Jorge that he could baptize her, but I knew as soon as Jorge told us that he was going to talk to the bishop that he would be doing it. Because I knew that if we couldn't convince him, the bishop could. Our bishop is pretty much amazing.

Other news is that Eduardo will be getting baptized the last week of this change!!! It's been a fight with him too, but finally he's gonna do it. We brought the zone leaders to a lesson with us, and when they got there the first thing they said was, Eduardo, do you like barbeque?? Of course Eduardo said yes. Then they said, do you want to come to a barbeque with us right now?? So then they took off with our investigator!!! We were like uhhh . . . . we wanted to have a lesson with him!! So after our other lesson we went to the barbeque too and the elders told us that Eduardo had told them that he wanted to get baptized in 2 weeks!!! We were like . . . . WHAT??? Okay!!! But then they were like, uhhh . . . . . and he's got pornography on his phone. AHHH!!!! We just taught the chastity lesson a few weeks ago!!! So we talked to him about it the next day. We asked him when he wanted to be baptized and he said 26 of June. So we said okay. There's 3 things you need to do before then. Read 3 Nephi 11, pray about it . . . . . and take everything that´s bad off the phone and off your computer. HNA Foster just said it straight up-if you have things like that on there, you can't feel the Spirit. Then she was like, so do you have things you need to take off there?? He goes YES!!! YES!! It was so funny, although I did kind of feel like a bishop at that point. But he told us that the next time we saw him, he would let us look through his phone to be sure. So, vamos a ver!!!

So THEN (it's kind of been a week of miracles, to be honest) 2 days ago we saw Jacklin and Judi in the chapel, just randomly. Jacklin is the less active that's recently coming back, but she's married to someone else and living with Judi's dad, so she's got some work to do, but her daughter wants to be baptized. Judi walked right up to us with Jacklin and she said, Judi's getting baptized the 24th of July, and her dad said it was okay. We were like . . . . WHAT??? Okay!!! So we've got a pretty set in stone baptism for next change, although her dad could change his mind, but we'll keep praying that that doesn't happen and working hard.

We're still teaching Yoconda, Jorge's niece. Usually we teach her in her mom's house but one day this week we went to her own house, where she lives with her mother in law (yes, the prostitute) and her daughter. This house, I'm not kidding, was probably the size of my bathroom back home-it was so small that I almost couldn't believe it. There were two mattresses on the floor, a tiny TV, and a toilet sitting in a corner. I didn't see a stove or a shower or anything like that. I kept looking for another part of the house but I couldn't find it because it wasn't there!!! I was like . . . . wow. I thought I had seen poor, but this is the absolute poorest I have ever seen in my life. It broke my heart to see her in that situation. So we were teaching her about the priesthood, and I thought we were coming to the end, but HNA Foster stops and looks at me!!! I was totally caught off guard because I thought we were done, so I´m like I have no idea what to say!!!! Then I thought, oh, I should ask her to be baptized!!! Oh no I can't!!! No no no!!! Then I had a thought, clear as day-JUST DO IT. So I did. She said that she's not prepared still, but she didn't say no!! I was kind of bummed that she didn't say yes straight up, but HNA Foster said that EVERYONE says that they're not prepared at first and we'll work on a actual date later, so then I felt better. So then she's like, oh by the way, my mother in law wants to meet you guys. Sooo . . . . we're gonna teach the prostitute!!! And we're really excited about it!!! Family at home-please don't freak out, we'll be fine (Katie I know you're loving this, haha-maybe you can help my mother start breathing again) and wouldn't it be cool if she changed her life and got baptized??? Right??

So that's all the spiritual stuff. Now for the funny/crazy stuff!!! It is true that a volcano exploded in Quito a few weeks ago and the ash was pretty heavy for about a day but I didn't hear anything about the end of the world. It was fine the next day. Anyway, we've had a lot of near death experiences in cabs lately. One day this past week, we were in a cab going back to our area and the driver stopped in the middle of the intersection. I was sitting on the right side and I looked out the window and saw the METRO coming straight at the cab!!! I was like AHHH!!! HERMANO!!!! Literally I thought we were going to die-it was coming straight at us and stopped right outside the window, I'm talking RIGHT outside. Then it started honking at us. I about had a heart attack, de verdad, we were SO scared. Our taxi driver was like totally not paying attention and was like, oh whatever, we're fine but we were terrified!!! Then the next day the same thing happened with the bus!!! I'm seriously sick of the crazy driving here-it's making me have mini nervous breakdowns I think!!!

So then last night our stake had a going away party for President and Hermana Johns. They invited recent converts from all the wards in our stake, so we were there with Fam. Criollo and HNA Mendez and the Fam. Suarez, who was baptized in September. The first part was very spiritual and nice, HNO Suarez bore his testimony and President and Hermana Johns did too and we sang Each Life That Touches Ours For Good and we all cried and it was just very bonito. Well then we passed over to the dinner part and while they were serving we had musical entertainment. It was all fine until they announced that Ninoska Suarez was going to do a flamenco dance. Well I'm sure you can imagine how the elders felt about that-I've never seen our zone leaders look so uncomfortable and the table with the office elders all turned around and refused to watch. HNA Foster and I laughed our heads off the whole time because Elder Harris and Elder Jackson just looked like they didn't know what to do. It was the funniest thing ever.

Oh so THEN, we went to this barbeque with the zone leaders on Monday and we walked into the chapel to find something and as we walk in we see this man with his back turned to us who's hands are apparently very busy with the crotch of his pants. We were like uhhhh . . . . what?? Then he turns around and we see him tugging on his zipper!!! We were like, uhh . . . hola hermano, and ran to the safety of the gym where we burst out laughing. Unfortunately there were people in the kitchen there and they were like HERMANAS!!! WHO ARE YOU HIDING FROM??? Thanks so much. But it turns out that he didn't hear any of it. Although I am curious as to what he was doing with his pants . . . . .

Well thats about it for me this week!!! Don't worry, weird things happen every week, so I'm sure I'll have some more weird stories next Saturday. Take care, be good and don't do anything stupid!!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Weirdest Things Happen Here

Hola Familia!!!
Maria and Nayely are being baptized TODAY!!!!  YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!  We´re going at 6 with the Familia Mendez to be there early so we can take pictures (not that baptisms ever start on time here, but that´s a whole other subject.)  They were going to be baptized next Saturday but the elders told them that they were ready so they didn´t need to wait.  This is partly because they hang out with Fam. Mendez all the time, so we´ve taught them like half the lessons.  Anyway, we are super excited, even thought we found out that the chapel isn´t really too far into Guasmo, so we don´t get to see it.  It´s okay.  We´ll find a way. 
Anyway, this week´s been sooooooo good!!!  (Teen Girl Squad, anyone??)  We´ve taught a bunch of people, put a baptismal date on Erika, convinced Jorge that it´s okay for him to receive the priesthood and baptize her even though he´s got a very strong character (we left him D&C 121 to read, haha) and we´ve found some new people who are very good.  One of them we just knocked on her door yesterday, and she let us in and told us to come back on Monday so that she could hear more!!  We have been teaching YoConda, Jorge´s niece, and she´s so good.  Her circumstances just break my heart-her boyfriend´s in rehab for cocaine, she has a little 2 year old daughter with him, and she lives with her boyfriend´s mom, who is (mom-don´t freak out, we don´t teach YoConda in her house so we´ve never met her BF´s mom) a prostitute.  But she´s very very receptive, and we know that she believes that the Book of Mormon´s true, but she has doubts about the whole baptism with authority thing.  That´s one of the most common questions here-people think they´re good because they´ve already been baptized but you can´t just be baptized by anyone!!!  Even Jesus Christ looked for John the Baptist because why???  HE HAD THE AUTHORITY.  But we´re working with her and she´s going to get baptized too, I just know it.  It´s just been a sweet week, and the baptism at the end just makes it even better.  So what could possibly go wrong??  Well, we woke up this morning and there was no running water in the house.  That means, no shower, no toilet, no washing dishes, no nothing!!!  And no filling up baptismal fonts!!  Fortunately all the chapels have reserve water, but the other hermanas in our ward have a baptism today so they were a little worried.  And this no water thing is supposedly all of Guayaquil, so we called the elders in Guasmo and told them to go fill up the font while they were still sure that they had water, just in case it went out later.  We fortunately have a little faucet outside that always has water, so I filled up one of our pots with it and had a sponge bath, more or less. 
What else.  Eduardo still wants to be baptized but he wants to wait till he turns 18, which would be next change.  I was a little bummed but then I was like, you know what??  If that´s what he wants, I´m okay with it.  The point is that he gets baptized, right??  Even though his family will have to wait longer to be sealed now, I guess it´s still okay.  We´re bringing our zone leaders to a lesson with him so that he can meet elders-he´s never seen them up close before (okay I know I just made them sound like wild animals or something, haha.)  His family really wants him to get baptized because they want him to change-in other words, they want him to stop acting like he´s 17.  I feel like he´s pretty much the same as every other 17 year old I´ve met-fights with his mom sometimes, thinks his parents don´t know anything, would rather be with his friends than his family.  I was like that too when I was 17, I just want to tell them all that it´s NORMAL and that he´ll eventually grow out of it and realize that they really do know what they´re talking about.  But everything will be fine.  And baptism and having the Spirit with him will help him out a lot.
Uhhh, what else.  I got my hair cut today for the first time ever in Ecuador, so I don´t have a horse´s mane now.  It´s a lot shorter though, a little shorter than I actually wanted but it´s still pretty.  We had a weird experience in a department store today, this guy came up to us and started talking to us about how he writes these pamphlets about following Christ and gives them out to people.  We asked him if he´d ever met with missionaries and he said yes, so we asked him if he´d ever read the Book of Mormon and he was like, no, I´m good with just the Bible, that´s all I need.  The BOM is confusing, the bible´s very clear.  We were like . . . wow, if you think the BOM´s confusing, obviously you haven´t read it!!  So we just said thank you and we went up the stairs.  Well then, we turned around and he had come up behind us and was holding something in his hands and he goes, Hermanas, I paint!!  So he´s showing us these thing´s that he´s painted and we´re like, oh those are pretty, so then he goes, which one do you want??  HNA Foster´s like I don´t want to buy one!!  and he goes, no no, I want to give them to you!!!  And he did!!!  After I left I looked at HNA Foster and I said, this has just been the weirdest day!!!  Very random!!!!!  I´m not kidding, the WEIRDEST things happen to us here.  Seriously.
Well, I think that´s about it!!  Love to everyone and be good and read your scriptures!!! 
Hermana Chamberlain