Saturday, July 24, 2010

Don't Worry About Us--We're Perfectly Safe


We have a baptism TODAY!!!! Yuri is FINALLY going to get baptized after having to wait almost a year for permission from her dad to do it. But she´s got the permiso and he´s even gonna come!!! Sweet, no?? Plus Yvonne and Camila are gonna come and they´re bringing their mom, who lives in Duran so she´s technically not our investigator, but we still need her permission so that she can be baptized so bueno-it´ll still be good that she comes. We´re super excited and so are Yuri and her mom Jacklin!!!

So last Sunday Alfredo came to Sacrament Meeting, which is one of the requirements for getting baptized-coming just to the second and third hour isn´t enough. So then we were waiting on Yuri, Yvonne and Camila again. About 3/4 of the way through Jacklin showed up with Yuri and Camila. Uhhh . . . . where´s Yvonne??? We asked and they said that she was all ready to go but then she couldn´t find her shoes, so she was too embarrassed to come in other ones. We thought that was pretty funny-especially when we went over to visit all three of them later that day and when Camila prayed she said, and Heavenly Father, please bless Yvonne that she won´t lose her shoes next week so that she can go to church. Hilarious!! Catalina bailed on us at the last minute, we´re not totally sure why, and we haven´t been able to go visit her all week because of some things that have been going on with the missionaries and their health. So we have no idea what´s going on with her as of right now, but we´re hoping to get over there and talk to her soon. But everyone else is super awesome-we are so excited about our people right now. These little girls, Yvonne and Camila, are really special. We talked about the 10 Commandments with them the other day and when we got to keep the sabbath day holy Camila said, um, I go EVERY SUNDAY. We were like . . . . . yes, yes you do!!! And you can´t imagine how happy that makes us!!!! We think that these girls are going to be the key to getting to the rest of their family. It´s a family of 8, so you can imagine how as missionaries we´re really excited about it.

We also found a few new families. One of them is progressing pretty well, the hermano read the Book of Mormon and really liked it, although he hasn´t prayed yet. It´s just tough to get to them because they both work late and sometimes don´t come in time for us to get over there and visit them. But they are really receptive and they want to come to church!! The other one is the lady I talked about last week, Graciela. We found out that she´s not actually married, she´s just been living with her nonreceptive "husband" for 18 years. Well we went over there to teach her the 3rd lesson which is the basic principles of the gospel (basically the 4th article of faith with endure to the end stuck on at the end.) We got through faith okay, then HNA Foster started talking about repentance. Graciela stopped us right there and said, Hermanas, I´m just living with my husband, I´m not married to him. Uhhh . . . we actually already knew that but we´re glad that you recognize that it´s bad too!! Then she started crying and saying that she wants him to leave and that he used to hit her and all this stuff. I felt so bad for her, I had tears in my eyes too. It´s obvious that she´s not happy in her situation and that she´s looking for a way out. She said that she sees a lot of families that are members of our ward all the time and they all look so happy and she wants that too. So we explained that repenting of her current situation was the only way to make things better. She really wants to and fortunately for her she´s making all the money, so if he left it wouldn´t be a problem from that standpoint. We´re going to keep working with her, and we´ll get her where she needs to be!!

Ohhhh, what else. So next week we are going on vacation!!! Okay, not really vacation, because we will be doing some work, but we are going to go on the gira . . . . by ourselves!!!! That means we´re going to 3 of the places outside of Guayaquil in the mission-Cuenca, Loja and Machala. Cuenca and Loja are in the mountains and I´m sooooooo excited to see them!!!! We´re going to see all the hospitals and doctors offices because I never went on the gira with President Johns and Hermana Foster did one time, so she´s going to show me everything and then I´ll be able to show Hermana Montalti and Hermana Barker when we go again. But I´m super stoked, we´re going to stay with the sisters out there so I´ll be seeing Hermanas Barker, Wise, Glanzer and Montenegro again!!!!! We´re leaving Tuesday on a bus to Machala, then that same day we´ll leave for Loja, stay in Loja at night with Hermana Glanzer and Hermana Velasquez, go visit the hospitals in Loja in the morning, then leave for Cuenca and stay with Hermana Barker and Hermana Wise, and then we´ll come back to Guayaquil on Thursday. It´s gonna be sweet. I got a new camera today so I´ll for sure be taking a LOT of pictures (mom the package with the card hasn´t come yet, but I put all my pics from my other card on CDs, so I´m just going to erase them all and use my other card.) I´ll try to get some to you all afterwards if I have time!!

I´ve decided that I´m going to call this part the "Scare Travis" part. I just think it´s hilarious that he wants to stay in the MTC longer now. It´s pretty unlikely that any of the things that happen to me here in Ecuador will happen to him in Oregon, but you never know. Anyway, so not a whole lot of crazy things happened to us this week, to be honest. This is probably due to our new precautionary measures-carry nothing but the BOM and pamphlets and put everything valuable down our shirts (not very ladylike, but hey, we´re in Ecuador!!!) But one night we were walking home and all of a sudden this cute little old lady walks up to us and says, I´ve just been robbed!!! Some guy just came up behind her, grabbed her purse and ran away. You know where this happened?? Not very far away from our house!!!! So even the other sector is getting a little peligroso now. So we told her where the street Febres Cordero was and kept walking (later we felt like jerks because we didn´t walk her over there-next time.) Anyway, we were walking and we saw this guy on the other side of the street and HNA Foster said, I wonder if that´s the guy that robbed her?? I said, I dunno but I don´t want him to know where we live so let´s stay behind him (by this time we were right around the corner from our house.) So we followed him around the corner and up to this tienda that we go to all the time. He stops right outside and this other guy walks up, they give each other something and walk away in opposite directions. We were like . . . . . did we just see a DRUG DEAL??? RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE??? Wow. So then the next day, we left our house around 5 in the afternoon because we had to plan. Just as we walked out the door, a group of guys walks past our house. One of them, for some reason, is carrying two puppies. So I´m standing there with HNA Foster looking at the puppies and all of a sudden I notice that there´s a lot of white smoke all over . . . . . and that these guys are passing something in between each other and sticking in their mouths. We were like . . . . these guys are smoking WEED right outside our HOUSE!!!!! WHAT???? The best part was when one guy bent over and blew the smoke right in the puppies´ faces. Wow. I´ve heard of sharing is caring but really??? Right outside the missionaries´ house???

But don´t worry about us. We´re perfectly safe.

Well, that´s about it!!! Hopefully I´ll have pictures out soon, now that I´ve replaced my camera and am going to have a card. Hopefully also that package comes soon. Ohh, here´s something weird. I´ve heard so many songs from the United States here that I never thought I´d hear. A small list is-Here in Your Arms by hellogoodbye, Barbie Girl by Aqua, a lot of Lady Gaga (which I´m very upset about-I totally thought that I was leaving her behind for 18 months), a lot of 80s music, I Didn´t Steal Your Boyfriend by Ashlee Simpson, and right now Crazy by Gnarls Barkley is playing in this internet cafe. Random . . . . .


Hermana Chamberlain

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Watch Out for the Masked Man!


So guess what lame thing happened today???? They turned off the water in ALL of Guayaquil!!! And it´s not coming back on till 5 PM today!!!! VIVA GUAYAQUIL!!!! So we've been feeling really gross all day but we just sucked it up and went out anyway. But this whole, turn your utilities off when you´ve paid the bill thing is getting old. Fast.

So this week was fun, we had a lot of good stuff happen to us and some weird things too but mostly it was a super good week. Where to start. Oh yeah-FELIZ CUMPLEAƑOS ABBY!!!! I wanted to send you a card but I couldn´t find one that I liked, so when I do I´ll send it to you. I´m so glad your party was fun!!! Anyway, so let´s start with Sunday. Sunday is always kind of a stressful day for missionaries-we´re always worried about who´s going to come to church and then we have meetings pretty much all day so it´s not very restful. Sacrament meeting is especially bad because everyone shows up late to church so we´re all jumpy and nervous until all our investigators walk in and then we´re happy again. So this past Sunday we had planned to have Catalina, Yuri, Yvonne and Camila in church with us and Eduardo said he was going with his family in Milagro. Well we went to pick up Catalina and when we got there her mom was like, she left!!! WHAT??? We went to the church and when we got there, there she was, sitting with the Familia Villacis. Know what she said??? Well, you guys didn´t come so I just thought, well the hermanas forgot about me, I´m just gonna go by myself!!! (we did get there 15 minutes after we said we would-we´re running on Ecuadorian time now!!) Ouch, but way to take some initiative Catalina!!!!!

So then we were sitting in church and HNA Jacklin hadn´t shown up with Yuri and the two girls yet. So we were getting really nervous and I was feeling bummed and I kept looking around behind me like I was checking for ladrones but really I was looking around for them. Well finally I turned around and saw Jacklin and all three of the girls there waving at me. I waved back, turned around and thought about how beautiful life is (actually what I thought was, it´s a good thing HNO Villacis talks so long or they might not have made it in time for sacrament meeting!!! But I did feel really happy. Ha.) They still come to every lesson we have with Yuri and we met their mom and we think she´s going to give them permission to be baptized. Yaaayy!!! They really are very special girls, I´m really excited to see their progression!!!

So then we came to Alfredo, who comes to church every Sunday starting at the 2nd hour but technically lives in Guasmo but is never there. We´ve sent the reference a bunch of times but the elders there can´t ever find him. So we decided we´re just going to teach him and baptize him in our ward, with president´s permission, and he´s okay with that too!!! Plus we found, taught and put a baptismal date on Luquita (her real name´s carmen but everyone calls her Luquita for some reason) this slightly crazy but super awesome lady that´s a friend of Fam. Criollo. She really is a little nuts, but you can´t help but love her. So basically, we´re just gonna baptize the whole world this change, hopefully. There´s a lot of work to do still but we´re feeling good!!!

We've also been finding a lot of good people this week. We found Luquita and her niece Veronica and HER niece Nicole, plus we had a reference from a family in our ward for another family. We got there to teach them and the husband was like a brick wall, didn´t want anything, is Catholic, blah blah blah. It was so funny, HNA Foster asked him if he wanted to know if there was a prophet in the earth today that guides and he said NO. I was like . . . . so you don´t want to be with your family forever, is that what you´re saying??? But the wife was pretty interested so we´re going to go back to see her. He just needs his whole family to get baptized and then he´ll feel left out and want to get baptized too. Ha. Anyway, so we left this lesson last night and we ran into Arreli again!!!! Remember Arreli??? If you don´t, scroll down the blog to where I talked about her. She said, why haven´t you guys come back?? We were waiting that one day!!! Dang it. We explained that we had come back but no one was there, and then we came back again and they were having a party or something and we didn´t knock. So then she said, my husband read that book you left. We were like, well, when can we come again?? We´re going back tomorrow at 6!! I am so excited because I ALWAYS wondered what happened with them, and now we´re going to find out!!!!! YAAAY!!!

So this is the part where I talk about the weird/crazy/dangerous stuff that happens in our sector. I´ve decided I´m just gonna lay it all out-I thought about keeping it all on the DL until I got home but you guys don´t worry too easily so now you´re gonna know everything!!! So this past week, we found this lady and we asked if we could come in and share a message. She let us in and starts talking about how dangerous Guayaquil is getting and how we need to be careful (thanks for the reminder) and how people will kill you for 25 cents here (at this I was like, oh come on, why did you tell me that???? As if I´m not paranoid enough aready!!!!) So then we leave her house and we start walking home and I see this guy in front of me . . . . with a mask on his face. I stopped dead and said, HNA, that guy´s got a mask on. She was like where??? Where is he, I don´t see him!!! HE¨S RIGHT THERE HERMANA!!!!! She saw him and was like, okay we´re going back the other way!!! So we turned around and started walking very quickly in the other direction, I looked back and this guy has taken the mask off and is WAVING AT US!!!!!! AHHH!!!! VAMOS!!!!! So we got away pretty quickly after that, we were super freaked out!!!!

So THEN, we went over to Jacklin´s house to teach Yuri, Yvonne and Camila. They live really close to where I was robbed the second time. So Yvonne tells us that someone was KILLED in our sector because two guys were trying to rob him and he didn´t want to let them have his stuff. You know where this happened??? The exact same place where we were robbed. You know when??? This past Tuesday at ONE IN THE AFTERNOON. AHHHH!!!! We were pretty freaked out after that one too, not surprising. I know the Lord is protecting us and everything, but that´s still just a little bit scary.

So THEN (yeah, there´s more. There always is!!!) we went over to Fam. Criollo´s house one day and were talking to them with Andres. All of a sudden this guy comes out of the house next door with a GUN in his hand!!!! I was like uhhhh . . . . hermana el tiene pistola (he has a gun!!!) She was like what!!! Where?? Then HNO Criollo´s like, he´s gonna go rob someone. AHHHH!!!! That guy was less than 10 feet away from me and he had a GUN!!!! Fortunately, we´re there all the time, so he knows not to mess with us-not that he´d get anything if he did (although the book of mormon would help a lot from an eternal standpoint . . . . . . )

But don´t worry about us. We´re perfectly safe. :D

So anyway, that was my week. I´m excited about this package that´s coming, hopefully it comes soon so that I can get my new camera. Is it too late to ask for more B day presents??? I´ve been meaning to tell you this forever, but I kept forgetting, but my iPod´s broken and has been since I got to Ecuador. I dunno what happened, HNA Mount used it in quarantine in the MTC and she said it worked fine, so I don´t know. Maybe it got the swine flu??? Anyway, if there´s an old Discman hanging around the house that still works, could you send it to me with copies of all the church CDs and EFY CDs you can find?? Plus I would like the CDs Paul Cardall´s Songs of Praise, the MoTabs Come Thou Found of Every Blessing, and one by Jessie Clark, I don´t know the album name but it has a recording of Come thou fount too. Por favor y gracias!!! There was something else but I don´t remember what it was.

Well I was going to write more people but we have to go. Chao hasta la proxima semana!!!

MUCHO AMOR!!!! HNA Chamberlain

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Photos Page

I've added a photos page.  (See PAGES in the column on the left.)There aren't very many, but they're all in one place now.  When you write to Ellen, bug her to send more home!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saved By The Book of Mormon

Well, we didn´t get robbed this week!!! YAAAAAAY!!!! I´m slowly being okay with being out in the sector again, although I still jump at small movements and am suspicious of all men who are walking alone, in small groups or look like they´re running away from something. I´ve replaced my scriptures, hymnbook and planner and found a camera that I want to buy, although mom I think it would be better if you sent me a memory card from the states because they´re ridiculously expensive here. But other than that I´m good. No more nightmares, and I´m slowly getting to be okay. You guys don´t need to worry about me, I´m not going crazy or going to lock myself in the house for the rest of my life. Anyway, this week was pretty good, although we´ve found out that president wants us to be in the office everyday now in the mornings, although it´s fine because no one is really there in the mornings anyway!! So we´ll be in the office a little more frequently but I think it´ll still all work out. Plus next week the sisters and us are going to do some interchanges. I´ll be working with HNA Castillo in the other half of the ward limits and HNA Laime will go to our sector with HNA Foster. For those of you who suspect that this is to help me get over my PTSD by getting me into the more tranquilo part of the ward, you´re right!!! Partly. It´s true that I need a break from our sector, but also it´s pretty likely that next change President will put both the sectors together, so HNA Barker and I will have the whole ward to proselyte. Well I know absolutely nothing about the other half of the ward, which is bad because most of the members live over there!!! So I´ll be working with HNA Castillo for a few days and getting to know all the members and all their investigators and converts and all that, so if we do have the whole sector, I´ll at least have some idea of what I`´m doing. I´m very excited because I´ve been wanting to get to know the other members for awhile now bc I felt like I didn´t know anyone and this is my 3rd change here, but now I´ll be able to meet and get to know all of them, which will help us a lot in the work. Plus HNA Castillo is a lot of fun and it´s been awhile since I´ve had a native companion and I miss it!!! My Spanish has taken a hit for sure!!!

Well what else happened this week. We found Yoconda again!!! She´s living over here with her ¨husband¨again, and her little girl. Her husband is actually working in a restaurant and she´s helping him out, so at least he´s being a productive member of society even if he did leave rehab before he was supposed to. We´re going to try to get over there and visit them all within the next few weeks. Catalina didn´t come to church last week because she had to go out of town on an emergency (talk about opposition!!!) but she promised us that she would come tomorrow, and we´re going to try to take her to a ward activity tonight if we can. But if she doesn´t start coming again we´re gonna have to leave her one more time, so I hope she just comes. We found two little girls almost by miracle last week. We had taught their family before and when we came back they were there but no one else was so we couldn´t go in. Well turns out they´re friends of Yuri, who´s getting baptized in two weeks, and they came over and wanted to listen to us. So we asked them if they wanted to come on another lesson where we were going to go to someone´s house and watch a video. They said yes, so last night we went to go get them and asked their sister if it was okay for them to go with us. She was like, oh yeah, I already told them they could go, they´re getting ready right now. WHAT??? Sweet!!! So we put baptismal dates on them that night for 7 of august. There´s a long way to go but we´ll get them there!!! Yuri, by the way, is still fantastic. She´s so excited to be baptized it´s unreal. Everytime we go over there she latches on to my waist when we get ready to leave and refuses to let go. It´s really funny. I guess she really looks up to me, pun intended!!!

Hmmm, what else. OHHHHH. Okay so this is like the coolest story ever. So there´s a member family that lives in our sector, the Bravo family. Romina is one of the daughters, she´s 18 and super cool and comes out with us all the time. She came with us to visit her neighbors one night and a few nights later she went over there again with her dad to pay their garage bill. The mom motioned her over, gave her the book of mormon that we´d given them and said that her husband didn´t want anything to do with it and they´re catholic and blah blah blah. So Romina went back to her house with the BOM still in her hand. She went through the gate in front of their house first and was walking back to the house when she heard someone shouting. She turned around and saw her dad standing outside the gate and another man pointing a gun at him demanding that he give him all his money, his watch, his cell phone, everything. Romina´s dad was telling him he didn´t have anything, so then the robber saw Romina, pointed the gun at her and told her to give him everything she had. She held up her hands, book of mormon still in one, and was like I don´t have anything!!! When the robber saw the book of mormon he said, wait . . . . you guys are hermanitos??? (thats what the robbers call people who belong to religions) Hermano Bravo said yes we are, and the robber was like, okay okay, just keep your dog back so I don´t shoot him, chao!! and left!!!! Just because he saw the book of mormon!!!! Is that not the coolest story ever?? The BOM saves lives, literally. (but just so you all know, this is supposed to be one of the safest parts of the sector, where Fam Bravo lives. So I´m pretty sure they´ll be closing the sector down next change. It´s just getting worse and worse!!)

So mom wanted to know what else has happened that I haven´t told her about. I´m sure you all want to know too and I´m sure that nothing I say will surprise you so I´ll just give you the quick rundown and then I´ll go into more detail next week because we´re on a tight schedule. A bomb went off in our sector 5 blocks from where we were, the fam. Criollo lives in between two gangs of robbers, 3 of which were dragged out of their house by the swat team the week after the bomb went off because they were the ones that apparently set it off, someone got robbed right in front of Fam. Mendez´s house right before we showed up, a bus got robbed right outside of HNA Jacklin´s house while we were there, we saw a robber running away from a bus that he had just held up with a woman screaming ladron ladron!!! after him out the bus window, (ladron is robber in spanish), we used to pass a group of prostitutes everyday but now we don´t go visit that person anymore, and the majority of our sector is too dangerous to visit. I´m sure I´ll think of more things or that more things will happen as the week goes on but that´s just a small taste of what´s gone down since I´ve been here in this ward. Very different from Huancavilca but more people get baptized here so I´m not complaining. Not too much. :)

Well, time to go!!! Back to babylon again (that´s what we´ve renamed our sector.) Love you all, be good and do everything you should be doing!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Really, it's not funny!

This is an email Ellen sent in response to some questions I had about the robbery.

My debit cards were not stolen, or my censo or my temple recommend. I almost never have those unless I need to get money, so they were in the house, fortunately. And about you guys coming-walking won´t be safe either. The robbers here target gringos because they think they have a lot of money-but it´s okay because HNO Criollo has a car and he said that he would drive us around wherever we wanted to go (he´s a taxista). Hermana Foster says that she NEVER got robbed with Hermana Lecates in this sector and she thinks that we get robbed now because I stick out more because I´m so tall so they´re already staring at me and then they look to see what I have (thanks so much-again, like I didn´t already feel bad enough, now it´s apparently my fault that I get robbed.) Anyway, now that we don´t carry bags with us, they can see that we really don´t have anything. I´m glad I´m such a hero to Craig, because everyone else thinks it´s absolutely hilarious that I´ve been robbed twice. One of the assistants, Elder Garcia, said that President said that I should dye my hair black so that I stick out less-to which I replied that if Elder Garcia dyed his hair blonde, I would dye mine black. Then the other assistant, Elder Coba, said that he would dye his hair blonde if I shaved my head-probably not. So everyone thinks it´s this huge joke but I actually don´t think it´s really that funny, I think it´s horrible. Whenever we go out, even during the day, I´m always on edge and the smallest movements scare me and at night it´s even worse. The other night I had nightmares of people shooting each other and I´ve got this huge phobia that someday someone´s going to rob me at gunpoint and I don´t know how I would handle that. I´m trying to trust in the Lord and know that He´ll protect us but it´s hard to have that faith when it´s already happened twice. It´s just such a huge violation of security and personal space, and even the elders who get robbed all the time I think don´t understand because they´re not women (although my old zone leader Elder Harris said that the first time he was robbed at gunpoint, he went home, locked the door and stayed up all night watching the windows-I feel better when I remember that story because he was 6th in the nation for wrestling before his mission so it´s not like he´s a wuss or anything.) Anyway, don´t worry about me, it´s getting easier to be out but I do wish people would be more understanding-but I´ll deal with it. HNA Castillo got robbed once in Panama, where she´s from, and she was like, I don´t think it´s something to laugh at either Hermana, don´t worry about it. And when we told the bishop and his wife that it had happened again, they told me the same thing, because HNA Foster was complaining that we have to move slower now because I´m scared of everything-I almost cried when she said that, but the bishop was like no hermana, don´t feel bad, it´s completely normal for you to feel this way, and his wife said the same thing. I think they could see in my face that I felt really bad about it. It´s not that I don´t want to work, I just have a little bit of PTSD. No big deal, it will go away soon and I´ll be fine. I´m just gonna keep truckin along and know that everything´s going to be fine. Right?? Right!!!

Love you mom. Thanks for all the love and support that you give me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Pilfered Picture

On the left-Ellen's outgoing mission president, President and Sister Johns.  On the right-the incoming president, Sister and President Montalti from Venezuela .  Can you spot Ellen on the missionary board behind them?  Haha, just kidding!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This is Ellen's zone when she was in Huancavilca, her last sector.  I pilfered it from another missionary's blog since she doesn't send pictures very often and won't be sending them for a while, now that her camera was swiped.  As a side note, I did not freak out when I found out she had been robbed.  It was bound to happen.  And I never thought of calling her mission president.  That would be so embarrassing!  But I do wonder what else she hasn't told me!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I´ve been putting off the real email because you´re probably not going to like it. But here goes......

Well, this is the "secrets revealed" email. I was going to wait until I got home to tell you all that this had happened, or at least until I got changed out of the sector, but now I have to tell everyone because I need some things replaced. But please do NOT freak out, HNA Foster and I are both perfectly fine and we´ve taken precautionary measures. We just need upgraded prayers for our safety and well-being.

We were robbed yesterday. And . . . it´s not the first time that it´s happened either. The first time was the second week of my second change here, the week after Linda and Andrea got baptized. We were walking over to visit them and their family and the cell phone rang, so I took it out and started talking as we were walking. I had a feeling that I shouldn´t but I thought, oh nothing´s ever happened, we`ll be fine. HNA Foster was a few feet in front of me and we were walking, I was still talking and we stopped to cross the street. A man passed HNA Foster and she thought, he´s going to rob HNA Chamberlain-he´s going for the phone!!! (She told me this afterwards-by the time she turned around to do something it was too late.) Sure enough, he walked right past her, came straight at me, grabbed one of my elbows and stuck a knife at the other one and started pushing me behind a pillar, saying, te mato te mato, dame el telefono!!!! I was so freaked out that I just dropped it on the ground and ran over to where HNA Foster was standing. When the guy bent down to grab the pieces of cell phone (it broke when it hit the ground) I saw that the knife he had wasn´t more than an inch long (but long enough to do damage, for sure) and then he stood up and ran away through the traffic. He didn´t touch my bag or HNA Foster´s bag and he didn´t hurt us, but when I figured out that I had just been a victim of armed robbery, I started shaking, hyperventilating and crying, while HNA Foster is completely calm, saying, well guess we need to go call president now!!! Then all these people came and were like, give her some water!!! Then they told us that we had to put our cell phones down our shirts, to which we replied yeah right!!! But it was super awful, the next day I was afraid to leave the house but I sucked it up and went and of course we were fine. And we´ve been fine up until yesterday.

So what happened yesterday is that we had been having a super awful day. First, I accidentally left the cell phone in a taxi, and although we called and called and called, the taxista kept turning it off after 3 rings. So we had to call in for a new one and I felt absolutely horrible about it because really, I must be like an office legend now. Who else has gone through 3 cell phones in two months?? So then we left to go out and work and all of our appointments were falling through and people were being jerks and no one wanted to let us in to talk to them and it was just super frustrating. So finally we go find the Fam. Mendez and Eduardo says I have to talk to you hermanas. Super. But it turns out that he wanted to talk to us because he feels like he´s trying really hard to do the right things but it´s never good enough for his parents, no matter what he does. He even started crying right there in front of us. It was nuts, but we were happy because it means he´s coming around, getting a little bit more humbled. Anyway so I opened my bag to get my scriptures and I saw my camera, which I thought I had taken out because only an idiot would carry around valuable stuff after already having been robbed once, and I was like dang!!! What is that doing in there?? I´m taking it out as soon as we get home. So then we went and talked to HNO Jorge, who told us that he´s not going to church and not reading his scriptures and not praying because there´s just too much opposition and his family is horrible and Eduardo is malcreado (see?? Eduardo´s got a point.) and blah blah blah. Well we spent a lot of time on that, I shared D&C 121:7-9 with him and we left him a tiny bit better, and then we went to go visit Jacklin and her daughter Yuri, who´s getting baptized in 3 weeks. Well, turned out that Jacklin wasn´t there so we started walking to Fam. Suarez´s house to tell them that we weren´t going to bring them over there. We were standing on one side of the street and I looked over and saw a man standing on the other side. He was wearing blue plaid shorts and a white shirt and looked totally normal except as soon as I saw him I thought "He´s a robber-he´s going to try to rob us!!!!" But it was so quick and he looked so ordinary that I forgot about it almost as soon as I thought it. We crossed the street and were walking and all of a sudden I heard running footsteps behind us and then he jumped, I think to scare us. We turned around and that same guy grabs HNA Foster´s arm and tries to take her bag. She resisted and I had let my guard down and was watching the whole thing (when you get robbed, you don´t realize what´s going on until after it´s happened and all your stuff is gone,) so when he couldn´t get HNA Foster´s bag, he grabbed mine before I even knew what was happening and took off down the street. Scriptures, hymnbook, planner, and worst of all, camera and all the pictures I´ve taken since I got to Bolivar-gone forever. I just looked at HNA Foster and was like, can we just go home??? This time I wasn´t even scared-I was really REALLY ticked off. I wanted to find the robber and punch him in the face and make him sorry that he ever messed with me (he didn´t have any weapons that we could see, so I was a little braver about seeing him again this time.) Seriously I still am SO angry. And it was just so awful after having such a bad day to have this happen-AGAIN. I won´t lie to you all-I cried myself to sleep last night because I was just so upset, but now I´m better. Not totally fine, but better. It was like a Jenga tower-you keep taking more and more blocks out until finally the tower falls. Being robbed for the second time made my tower fall down, and I just couldn´t take it anymore. But the Spirit really helped comfort me last night-I felt that even if they robbed me until I had nothing left, I had to keep going. There are people here that need my help and I can´t just stay inside all day-I have to go find them and help them. I just cried because I felt like I needed to-like that Hilary Weeks song. Sometimes you´ll be fine and you know it, but you just need to bawl your head off first. And then you feel better, and you can keep going.

What´s the upside of this week?? Yuri´s dad signed the permission slip so that she could be baptized. And we found Catalina last Sunday. Turns out that she´s had to stay after school almost every night this week because it´s exams, but we taught her on Wednesday and the Spirit was super strong. This fear that she has about her Catholic school is literally the only thing keeping her from being baptized. But she did say she´d come to church. Eduardo is coming around, slowly but surely-it´s huge that he trusted us enough to tell us about what was happening with his parents. Maria and Nayely were passing through problems in their ward but now they´re better. We found some really good people to teach this week and we got a lot of references from members. It really was a much better week than last week-until yesterday. I really feel that something absolutely amazing is going to happen this change-and that´s why the adversary is attacking us so hard. Who knows what it is, but something incredible is going to happen. You all wait and see.

So what are we doing to prevent ourselves from getting robbed for a third time??? Well first of all, I´ll never brush off a warning from the Spirit like that again. The only thing we´re carrying around with us is a copy each of the Book of Mormon and a bunch of pamphlets. So what do we do with the few dollars we need, and our house keys, and the cell?? (when the new one comes) Well, we´re officially guayaquileƱa now because we´re sticking it down our shirts like everyone else. Plus we´re giving anyone who even looks like they might be a robber the evil eye. (We´ve both become ridiculously paranoid-it´s kind of funny actually.) Trust me though, if this happens again, that guy is going to be sorry he ever messed with us, because I´m gonna punch SOMETHING-perferably something that hurts a lot and will help him remember that he should probably leave the hermanas alone in the future. Okay probably not, but I´d sure like to. That´s probably unrighteous of me, but then again, I´m sick of getting robbed!!!!

Sooooo . . . . . I´ve added something else to my birthday list-a new camera, or money so that I can buy one and a memory card here (that´s probably safer.) Everything else I can replace here, but I don´t want to go the rest of my mission without a camera. It won´t get stolen again, that I can promise you all-I really did think I had taken it out of my bag. If you want to make that a birthday gift, could you do it early so I can take pictures again as soon as possible?? Also, PLEASE don´t call President Montalti-he already knows what happened and we´re not sure what he´s going to do, leave us in the sector or take us out and put elders there (although elders are gonna get robbed too so he might as well just leave us there.) Please PLEASE don´t flip out and think that I´m going to die-we really are just fine and generally nothing happens to us, although Mom and Dad, maybe after reading this email you won´t want to come to Ecuador anymore, haha. But I hope you´re brave and come anyway, because that would be super cool and fun.

Well, I´m sure you all want to hear about President and Hermana Montalti but the truth is I don´t know a ton about them, really. We had a meeting with them on Thursday and there will be some changes, like how frequently we´re having zone conference and interviews and all that, and also other things, but I don´t really know what´s going to happen yet. Just know that we are in good hands, both the Montaltis are really nice and loving. When we called to tell them about the robbery they were so good to us, even though it was their 3rd day in Ecuador and already a crisis had happened (although with the number of elders in Guasmo, we probably weren´t the first ones to call and tell them we´d been robbed.) But they are great and I am excited to work with them. It will be fantastic.

Well, sorry this email was such a downer. And I´m sorry that I kept it a secret from you all, I´m sure Mom´s just ready to kill me, but I didn´t want you all to worry and I still don´t. We really are fine, and we´re going to be fine. Things are going to get better in our program, it´s just a big trial of our faith with some crazy opposition, but it´s all going to be fine. Just pray that we´ll be safe and find the people that Heavenly Father has prepared to hear the gospel and everything will be okay. This is the Lord´s work, He directs it and He loves and watches over His authorized servants. That´s me!!!!

Mucho amor!!!

Hermana Chamberlain