First off, thanks for the advice about the popcorn, mom and dad. Now we know that we need to put oil in first. I´m sure you guessed that we didn´t do that . . . . . . yeah. The pan is clean but it still smells like smoke, and all my clothes that I took to Loja also smelled like smoke. But we just laugh about it now.
So Loja was fun, very different from Cuenca because the people there are ridiculously Catholic but they´re still working with some pretty cool people. I got to go to a wedding too . . . . . somehow this couple got baptized 7 years ago without getting married. No one knows how they did it, but this past friday they FINALLY got married and it was super cool. Even though for having gone to the wedding I ended up coming back to Cuenca really late and by myself-but it was worth it. I didn´t even get in trouble!! But I did feel bad because the other sisters ended up having to wait in the terminal for me for like 5 hours. But we did try to call them. But it´s all good now. Loja is a fun place to visit it, but I don´t really want to work there-I missed Cuenca too much!!!
Anyway, something really super awesome happened while I was gone. I dunno if I´ve ever mentioned Camila. She´s 15 and lives with her mom who was baptized two changes ago, when HNA Wise and HNA Barker were still here. Her mom´s name is Blanca and she has epilepsy and has attacks pretty frequently. The missionaries had been teaching them for a really long time, like a year or something, but they never wanted to get baptized. Finally when HNA Wise and HNA Barker came, HNA Blanca decided that her time was running out. She turned to Camila and said, look, did you hear what they said?? We can be together forever (Camila´s dad doesn´t live with them, I have no idea where he is), we´ll never be separated again. I´m not going to be here with you forever, I´m sick and I don´t have a lot of time left, but with the gospel we don´t have to worry about that. I think we should be baptized. What do you think Camila??? You know what Camila said?? NO. HNA Wise said that it was awful, that she and HNA Barker started bawling and HNA Barker said, your mother just said that she wants to be with you FOREVER and you said NO!!! How is that even possible?? Blanca was really hurt, but she turned to the hermanas and said, I didn´t want to have to do this, but I will. I can´t wait for her, I´m going to be baptized. So she was baptized. When HNA Castillo and I came, Camila still wasn´t a member, but we were talking to her about it every time we came until one day Camila got mad and kind of yelled at us. Right after that we decided to back off, which is just when HNA Wise left. So we´d still been visiting them but we left the whole baptism thing alone. Well, this past week HNA Castillo went to visit them with HNA Coy and she said that they were about to say the closing prayer and she felt that they should ask again, but she had HNA Coy do it bc she wasn´t sure what was going to happen. You know what Camila said?? YES!!!! HNA Castillo said that Blanca jumped up and said, my daughter!!! You want to be baptized?? Camila said, yes mami, I´m ready. She said that everyone started bawling their heads off, and when they called me that night to tell me about it I couldn´t even believe it, I was so shocked!!! I was sad that I couldn´t be there to put the baptismal date on her but I know that HNA Castillo followed the Spirit and it was the right time. Camila will be baptized this Saturday-and now we both know why we´re here in Cuenca. And I´m happy to say that we´re still here!!! Changes were last night and I was nervous all day-I was terrified that President would do something weird and I was not okay with leaving Cuenca. In all my other sectors I´ve felt ready to leave-even in Bolivar, I was ready for a change. But here, I don´t feel like my work is done yet. There´s something else I need to do, someone else I need to find, someone else I have to help. I don´t know what it is but I know that it´s not done yet and so I´m still here. HNA Castillo is still my companion and we´re relieved b-c can you imagine how awful it would have been if Camila had finally decided to be baptized and then one of us left before her baptism??? How awful!!!
Oh yeah, Leonel was confirmed yesterday too. He was very happy. What had happened is that one of his friends asked him to go with him to get a pair of shoes or something, and Leonel was like yeah okay, but you have to bring me back at 9 because I´m being confirmed today. Well obviously the friend didn´t bring him back in time and Leonel felt really bad, but we told him not to worry about it, it wasn´t really his fault. But he did get confirmed, and next week he should get the priesthood-which means he´ll be able to baptize his little sister, who has a date for October 16.
Things are fantastic. This is the happiest I have ever been in my life. The people are great, the atmosphere is great, my companion is great and we are working really hard. I love being here and I love being a missionary. This is the church of Jesus Christ, the only one. He directs it through a living prophet. He wants our families to be together forever and through His gospel and His Atonement, we can do that.
Les amamos todos. Sigan adelante y guarden los mandamientos!!!