Monday, September 27, 2010

Surprise Trip to Guayaquil

Hola todos!!!!

So lots of fun stuff happened this week!! As far as the work goes it was a little difficult, we didn´t find very many people and no one came to church, but some weeks are like that. I´ve learned to brush them off and keep going, because if you let them get you down, you won´t get anywhere right?? Plus even though no investigators came, a lot of the converts did and that made me happy. So anyway, a quick overview of the week-surprise trip to Guayaquil, Camila´s baptism, and we accidentally baptized a minor without the permission of his parents. Yeahhh . . . . don´t worry, I´m going to tell you all about everything!!!

So first off, on Tuesday we had planned out our day, we were gonna go visit a ton of people and we were super excited. Then at about 9-45ish we got a phone call from Elder Guerrero, the secretary. Everyone knows that we´re really afraid of phone calls at night now, due to what happened with HNA Wise, but we answered anyway. HNA Castillo was like oh I have changes, but I didn´t believe her because Camila´s baptism was that Saturday and if she was really being transferred she would have been bawling her head off. What really happened is that HNA Castillo had to renew her visa and the both of us had to be in Guayaquil the next day. We were really excited, because we had been wanting to visit our converts there and now we were going to be able to do it!!! I was especially excited, because with the surprise change I hadn´t gotten to say goodbye to anyone. We packed our bags and hopped the bus to Guayaquil the next day. We arrived around 4-30ish and visited some of HNA Castillo´s converts and then headed off to visit the Flia. Criollo. On the way we saw two people in skirts ahead of us, with a younger guy walking next to them-one gringa and one latina. I saw an opportunity too good to pass up and took off running, leaving HNA Castillo trying to catch me up. When I got to HNA Barker I jumped on her back, threw an arm around her neck and said, DAME TODO!!! (Give me everything!!!!) She of course thought I was a mugger and screamed bloody murder, then turned around, realized it was me and threw her arms around me saying HERMANA!!! VOY A MATARLE!!! (I´m gonna kill you!!!) Hermana Montenegro was also very freaked out, but the guy with them turned out to be Eduardo and he was laughing his head off, just like me. It turns out that they were on their way back from Eduardo´s baptismal interview!!!!! Yes you read right!!!! Eduardo was FINALLY getting baptized!!!! We ended up changing plans and going to Flia. Mendez first. Eduardo took us to his house and told us to hide on the side of the building while he went up and told his family that he had a surprise for them. Then HNA Castillo jumped out with me right behind her, and the looks on their faces were priceless!!! They were so happy to see me it was incredible. HNA Anna told me that when the sisters told them that I had left, Annabelle (the daughter) started to cry. I couldn´t believe that in such short a time I had such a big effect on them-and they´re not even my converts!!! We visited with them for awhile and they are doing so good-HNA Anna has like 3 callings and Eduardo´s getting baptized and everything is just awesome with them. So then we left and went to visit the family that I had been dying to see the whole time-the Flia. Criollo. For some reason I was really nervous when we got there, I dunno why. I knocked on the door and as always, Erika popped her head into the window to see who it was. When she saw me waving at her her eyes widened and she said, HERMANA!!! She opened the door and just stared at me in shock for a second. I gave her a big hug and said podemos pasar?? (Can we come in??) Sí sí hermanas pasen!!!! (Yes yes come in!!!!) Then HNA Lourdes saw me and said HERMANA CHAMBERLAIN!!!! So I gave her a big hug too. Wow, you guys cannot even understand what it´s like to see your converts after a long time-and to hear that they´re still going strong in the gospel. HNA Lourdes said that a member of the Seventy had come to visit barrio Bolivar and that the whole family got a picture with him!!! And she has a calling!!! Then HNO Jorge came out and when he saw me, he grabbed my hand with both of his own and shook it hard. He told me that the missionaries only come about once a week now, and I loved his explanation why, he said, "they need to go find new people, and we´re very strong in the church." Ahhh, so incredible to hear that!!! I felt like I could go back to Cuenca in peace, knowing that everyone was doing what they should be doing and that they were receiving blessings. I then told them that I was sorry that I didn´t get to have more time with them, that I hadn´t known I was going to be changed. HNO Jorge looked very serious and said, Hermana, you leaving was a hit that we didn´t expect. Wow-I knew that I missed them but I didn´t know that they missed me too!!! It´s so incredible to see the impact that we have on the lives of other people-even when we don´t realize it!! They promised me that they would write to me and send me a copy of the picture of them with the Seventy (that´s definitely going on my bulletin board fo sho!!!) and we left to visit more of HNA Castillo´s converts. It was so awesome-and the best part is that we have to come back in a few weeks to get HNA Castillo´s censo, so I´ll get to see them again!!!!

So then we came back to Cuenca and finished getting Camila ready for her baptism. We arrived just in time for her interview, but when we got to the church Elder Smith and Elder Fletcher asked us, hey is there another man here??? Uhhhh-NO. So Elder Smith, our district leader, looked around, saw some random guy walking in the other direction and took off running, shouting HEY EXCUSE ME SIR!!!! HNA Castillo, Elder Fletcher, Blanca and Camila and I just stared in amazement for a second, then Elder Fletcher smiled and said, "that´s my companion!!!" and went to join him. The guy ended up coming in to accompany Elder Fletcher while Elder Smith was in the interview, but it was just really funny and random. Then this past Saturday she was baptized and it was incredible. She cried through the whole thing, start to finish, but tears of happiness obviously (and I can´t really judge because I was crying too). Blanca was so happy too, she´d been waiting for a long time for this moment and it had finally come. The next day Camila came to church in a skirt that she had bought especially for her confirmation. So even though no investigators came to church, the confirmation of Camila made it a very happy day.

Buuuut . . . . we messed up with Leonel and we could have been in HUGE trouble if his mom wasn´t so cool. So when HNA Wise and HNA Barker first started teaching Leonel, he told them that he was 18. When we asked him, he also told us that he was 18. And when Elder Freeman, the old district leader, interviewed him, he also thought that he was 18. But he wrote the date 15 March 1993 on the baptism record, without realizing that this date meant that Leonel was SEVENTEEN. Well we didn´t figure it out either until last week when the zone leaders called asking for the baptismal permission slip. I was like, what are you talking about?? He´s 18!!!! (Sidenote-I was hugely grumpy because when they called we were in bed and it was almost 10-30, plus Elder Sanchez kept referring to Leonel as "her" until I finally said IT´S A MAN!!!!! So it´s possible that Elder Sanchez might hate me now, but I´m not hugely concerned about it.) Anyway, the zone leaders said that the office was calling asking for the permission slip and we were like well we don´t have one because he told us he was 18, and furthermore why is the office calling at TEN THIRTY???? (Other sidenote-the zone leaders ended up calling twice that night, once at 10-23ish when I was lying in bed and then at 10-34ish when I had gone back to bed. This means that I had to get out of bed twice and as I was very tired, this only served to make me more grumpy.) We finally told them that we would figure it out the next day because obviously there was nothing we could do about it at that moment and I went back to bed, fuming. The next day we called HNA Wise, who told us that Leonel told HER that he was 18, and then we asked Evelyn, Leonel´s little sister, and she said he was 18 and about to turn 19. So then we were like okay we´re gonna ask his mom. Fortunately we had met his mom the week before and talked to her and she´s totally cool with us. She came out and told us that he actually really was 17-which means that as I mentioned earlier, we had accidentally baptized a minor without the permission of his parents. But she was cool with it, she signed the permission slip although when we asked her to do it she looked confused and said, but he was already baptized . . . . . We were like we know but if you don´t sign it we´re gonna be in a lot of trouble!!! Oooohh, can you imagine how much trouble we would have been in if Leonel´s mom hadn´t been cool with his baptism?? I don´t even want to think about it!!!

But other than that, it was a pretty uneventful week. My one year mark was great, because I was in Guayaquil and then we had Camila´s baptism, although I STILL haven´t tried cuy because every time something else comes up and we have to cancel with Flia. San Martin. Hopefully this week or next week. It´s completely weird to think that I´ve been out for a year, it went so fast that I didn´t even realize it. Fortunately I still have 7ish months left to be here in Ecuador preaching the gospel!!! I don´t even want to think about how weird it´s gonna be to come home, I´m sure I´ll be completely freaked out and cry all the time and not even be able to go to the bathroom by myself without someone coming with me and what the heck am I gonna do with the rest of my life?? I have to figure that out and get a job and maybe go back to school and date and it´s just gonna be so strange and I´ll have to speak English all the time and it´s hard enough to write these emails without throwing in random Spanish words and plus there will only be white people around me and that´s just gonna be so WEIRD.

Yeah. Thank goodness I still have 7ish months!!!!

Well, love you all. Do everything you should be doing!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

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