Monday, October 25, 2010

I Am Sooooo Happy in Cuenca!


First of all, FELIZ CUPLEAÑOS DAD!!!! Sorry I forgot last week!!! Whooooaaaa, 51 huh?? Eres un viejito ahora!!!! Chendo . . . . jeje.

This week was awesome, of course, because every week in Cuenca is awesome!!! We found people, we're gonna baptize people, we got stuck on the top of a mountain, we milked cows (kind of), we went to Giron and we basically just rocked the sector of Alamos.

So the sad news is that we wanted to have 3 baptisms this month but we're not gonna have any (unless some kind of miracle happens, and it could!!) however we will be having 6 baptisms next month!! The Flia Chuchuca is doing so good!!! We went to their house on Thursday to do service for HNA Rosa, except that here in Cuenca, people don`t really understand the concept of service, so really what we did was go around all their property and play with their animals. We played with the dogs, fed the chickens, chased the cuyes (guinea pigs, the ones that people eat) and "milked" the cows, except not really because HNA Castillo was scared, so we just took pictures pretending to milk the cows. But every time we asked her what we could do to help her she was like, oh nothing!!! Sigh . . . . . . okay. That night we were going to go up with the bishop, but he called at the last minute and told us he couldn`t make it. AHHH!!! We have to get up there!!! So HNA Castillo, HNA Afrania and I hopped the bus and rode to the entrance, where HNO Morocho was waiting for us. Then we walked half an hour to their house-uphill. In the cold. But we made it!! And they were waiting for us. They loved the plan of salvation and HNA Rosa told us that HNO Luis went to watch soccer that past Sunday which is when he usually drinks, but that this time he came home completely sober. When she asked him about it he said, no, I promised the sisters that I wouldn't drink and I didn't!!!! Cool. So then we walked down the hill for another half hour in the cold and right as we got to the entrance we saw the bus go by. The last one. This was at about 8:50ish. Uhhh . . . . what do we do now?? There's no bus and we don`t have enough money for a taxi!!! After waiting on another bus for awhile we finally decided to call a taxi and see if they'd take us for the money that we had. They agreed and then we waited for another 10-15 minutes on the taxi, which finally came and took us all home. We got home super late but we were still glad we went!!!

But then we called them on Saturday night and HNA Rosa had gone to the hospital with her arthritis. So they couldn't come to church that day, obviously, but right after lunch we went to Giron (another city close to Cuenca that's still part of the ward . . . . . the limits are HUGE) with the bishop and his family to give her a blessing. She was really happy to see us and said that she should be getting out on Tuesday but if she doesn't we're going to go see her again. But I know she'll get better soon-she has a lot of faith!!!

Another cool thing that happened is that we found a reference that we've been looking for forever. President gave the reference to the zone leaders about a month ago, he's family to a General Authority but we're not sure what. Anyway we went with the zone leaders a month ago to look for him but we never found him. This week we were in our house and HNA Castillo was like hey we should call Gabriel's cousin to see if he can give us more information (we had the cousin's number but not Gabriel's.) So we called him and he was like Hermanas!! I've been praying to find your number so that I can call you and tell you to go find my cousin, and now you've just called me!!! Gabriel's been reading the Book of Mormon, he's just about to start in Alma, and if he could he would get baptized tomorrow. Woooooooow . . . . . . WEIRD!!!! He gave us Gabriel's number and we went that same day. He lives with his grandma who completely supports him and years ago was almost baptized herself, but something happened and she didn't go through with it. Gabriel is AWESOME-a little shy but super intelligent. We brought him to church on Sunday and he and the other Young Men hit it off like crazy. Today he went to seminary. He's getting baptized on November 13 with the Flia. Chuchuca and is way excited. He could get baptized this Saturday, because president told us that we could baptize him when he came to church one time, but we want to teach him good so that he feels prepared (for some reason all the people who are really prepared always say that they're not prepared. Hableme en serio.) But he's super excited and we are too because he and his grandma are totally awesome and his grandma is totally going to get baptized too, she just doesn't know it yet.

I am sooooo happy in this sector and I never want to leave. Changes are next week and we don't think we're leaving but you never know with President. Everyone who reads this, pray that we don't get transferred because we need to be here with these people that are going to be baptized. I know that the Lord sent me here to Cuenca to be with these people at this time and if I get changed now I know I'll cry from Cuenca to whereever I`m going and then for days on end afterwards. Pray hard that we don't get changed!!!!

Les amo todos!!! Comportense bien!!!!

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 18, 2010



Well this email will be a lot longer because this keyboard is way better. Why?? Because we didn`t go to the same internet cafe that we always go to!!!

Anyway, we just came back from Guayaquil again, because HNA Castillo had to go get her censo renewed. We left yesterday, had a family home evening with all the members from Bolivar, and stayed with HNA Wise and her companion HNA Perez, then the next morning we went straight to the immigration office and from there we went straight to the terminal. The rest of the day was spent on the bus, which for some reason, decided not to go back to Cuenca through Cajas and took the long way through Cañar-which meant that we were on the bus for five and a half hours instead of the usual three and a half or four. Needless to say, we never want to get on the bus again, but unfortunately next month we have to get on twice, because I have to renew my visa and my censo. Why couldn`t we just do it today, you ask?? I'd like to know too!!! But it's cool. At least we get to visit people when we come!!

Anyway, this week was AMAAAAAZINGG!!!!! The familia Chuchuca, that we found last week, is going to get baptized!!! November 13 is their date and they are SO excited. The HNO Luis has a few problems with alcohol and smoking, but as soon as he started listening to the gospel, he started to quit, Yesterday right after church we taught them the Word of Wisdom, and he was like, yes hermanas, I am going to quit it all so that I can be baptized on November 13 with my family!!! It was so awesome-this family is incredibly special and they need and want the gospel so badly in their lives that they're already making changes. I think that's my favorite thing about being a missionary-seeing the changes that the gospel of Jesus Christ makes in people, through the Atonement. There's no blessing greater than that, and that alone is a testimony to me that this is the true church. Seeing people get on the path to being eternal families is worth every single bad thing that we have to pass through on the mission (sidenote-I only have one pair of undestroyed shoes left . . . . . ) and I'll always be grateful that the Lord sent me here, to these people, to teach them the plan of eternal happiness!!!

But before that happened, we had a super cool/funny experience. Cuenca isn't as dangerous as Guayaquil, but there are a few parts that aren't so great. Well, we found this guy who lives in one of those parts, except we didn`t know it was dangerous, so we set an appointment with him . . . . . at night. We asked HNA Florita to go with us and when we came, she was waiting in the Feria Libre (it's like a flea market but at night it's also dangerous) looking like she wanted to run away. When we got to her she said, Hermanas!! I was just about to go home-do you know how dangerous it is here??? We knew that the Feria was dangerous at night and I had already been feeling like we should leave, but as we got further into where this guy lived, that feeling intensified. I was praying the whole time, please Heavenly Father, don't let anything happen to us!!! Finally we got to the clinic that's there and we just happened to find the police. We asked them how to get to this guy's house (he lives by the Escuela de Trabajo, which we didn`t know at the time, is basically juvenile detention. Great.) They were like, oh you have to go further in and up, but don`t go because it's really dangerous. Hey, do you want us to take you??? At first Florita was like no we can't!!! So they started to drive away, which is when we realized that there were a bunch of sketchy looking teenagers staring at us. AHHHH!!! COME BACK!!! So they came back and we got in the squad car and drove away. We still couldn`t find this guy (although we felt much safer in the back of the squad car, they turned the lights on and everything) so one of the policemen got on the microphone and started saying, IVAN, IVAN!!! THE HERMANITAS ARE LOOKING FOR YOU!!!! It was kind of embarrassing, but at the same time really funny. But then I thought wait, how are we gonna get out of here??? We can`t walk out bc we`ll totally get robbed!!! Which is when the policeman said, hey do you want us to come back and get you guys??? YES!!! YES PLEASE!!! And they did!!!! As soon as we finished the lesson we called them and within 5 minutes we heard, HERMANITAS!!! over the microphone. It was awesome and they even took Florita to centro to help her dad out. Just another way that the Lord helped us out when we needed Him!!!!!

Speaking of the Lord's help, I had a cool experience the other day that helped me see how important we really are to Him, even in the little things. We were packing to go to Guayaquil and I couldn't find my hairbrush, no matter where I looked. I was getting a little frustrated because I'd already bought one hairbrush here and I didn`t want to buy another, plus I knew it was in the house somewhere because I had used it, obviously. Finally I was like, Heavenly Father, can you help me find my hairbrush?? I felt kind of stupid for asking about something so little, but the first thought I had was, look in the trash. What?? Why would it be in the trash?? But I looked anyway, and it wasn`t in the trash-but it was right next to it on the windowsill!!! I was a little bit blown away, not gonna lie. Heavenly Father helps us with whatever we need, even lost hairbrushes. I was thinking about that just now and about how many times I don`t really care about little things-I'm pretty sure that when people ask me if I've seen something of theirs, I'm just like Nope!!! but I don`t offer to help them look for it. But even though I know that there are people praying for things a lot bigger and more important than my lost hairbrush, Heavenly Father loves me so much that he answered my prayer immediately. Nothing is too small for Him-and if it's important to us, it's important to Him too!!!

Anyway, that's the majority of the cool stuff that happened to us this week. We also put another baptismal date on HNO Juan Pablo Morocho, the brother of the friend of Flia Chuchuca. It was awesome bc when we tried to put it on him, he was like ohhhh I dunno, maybe later on (come on man, you've been coming to church for 2 years, how much more time do you need??) But HNO Luis was like, no Pablo, you gotta take this date so you can be baptized with me and my family!!! Just go for it!!! Yeah. He accepted the date. I love prepared, awesome people!!!!

Estoy muy feliz. Sé que estoy trabajando en la obra más importante que cualquiera otra. Sé que Jesucristo vive, que El es mi Salvador. Sé que Thomas S. Monson es Su profeta hoy en día, y que Jose Smith fue un profeta de Dios también. Sé sin ninguna duda que el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios, y si vivimos los principios que se encuentran en el, vamos a volver a ver a Padre Celestial y Jesucristo, a vivir con ellos y nuestras familias.


Ustedes saben que es verdad-yo sé que es verdad.

Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sticky Keyboard=Short Email

First a note from Ellen's mom-if you happen to write to Ellen please beg her to send more pictures. I'm not having any luck getting any out of her. She keeps promising... I know her purpose in Ecuador isn't to entertain me (though she does a great job of it through her emails), but I'm hoping she'll throw me a crumb, so to speak, every now and then. Thanks!

Hoooola . . . . .

Okay sorry everyone but this email is probably going to be really short. Why?? Because this keyboard sticks and is driving me absolutely up the wall. Next week I am so not sitting here, therefore the email will be much longer!!!

This week was awesome because we found a really amazing family, the Flia Chuchuca (isn´t that the coolest name ever?? Just say it-Chuchuca. Awesome.) The only problem is that they live like an hour up the mountain, so we can´t go visit them unless someone takes us. Fortunately our ward is incredible and there are many people who are willing to take us. This family came to church with another member for conference, loved it and wanted to hear more. We went up to teach them that week and invited them to church, which they said they were coming. When Sunday rolled around we saw their member friend walk in without them and were hugely bummed out-for about 10 minutes, whic is when we saw the HNO and his son walk in by themselves. The HNA was sick and couldn´t make it, but her husband said that next week without fail she'd be there. They stayed all three hours and loved it, and we´re positive that they´ll all be baptized. We´re really excited!!!!

The day before this was really hilarious-we walked literally all day and NO ONE let us in. By the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted and a little bit discouraged-I don´t usually let stuff like this get to me but at the same time, I don´t usually have days like this and furthermore, we found out about some tough stuff that´s happening with some of the converts and investigators, so it was a little difficult. At around 5 we were absolutely dead on our feet. We got on the bus to go to our next appointment and fell into the seats. As we neared the stop, HNA Castillo said, I don´t want to get off, I´m so tired I can´t even get up!!! I just want to let the bus come back around and then we´ll get off...........we looked at each other and said, let´s do it!!! I know that it was a shocking display of indiligence, but we really were extremely tired. The bus went all the way up to Baños and back but we got to rest a little while. But afterwards we felt kind of bad, so we probably won´t do it again. And our appointment wasn´t home, probably a punishment for our laziness. But it was funny. And the next day was much better.

I´ve been read the Alma 30s chapters lately and they´re awesome. I´m learning a lot that I hadn´t thought about before. I´m learning how incredible the Book of Mormon really is-how it can answer any question and help any person with any problem. Pretty awesome. Alma is one of my favorite prophets in the Book of Mormon I think. I love how he can go from "hey good job for being righteous Helaman and Shiblon, here´s some guidance for the rest of your life" to BOOM "Hey you need to repent Corianton, you messed up big time!!!!" Awesome-I hope I can be like that with my kids someday-or at least that I marry someone who will be like that with our kids!!!

Hmmmm, sorry this email is kind of lame. I can´t really think of anything else to say and I´m about ready to throw this keyboard across the room. Les amo muchisimo, sigan adelante siempre, nunca dejen de ser obedientes!!! Es la clave a la felicidad!!!!


Hermana Chamberlain

Monday, October 4, 2010

Conference, Temples, is great!!!


So I´m sure you all heard about the political uprising here in Ecuador and yes, we had to be in the house all day, yes even here in tranquilo Cuenca. Not a single missionary in the country went out to work that day, but I`ll talk more about this later because there`s something else I want to address first . . . . . .


Okay this is like a really huge deal and it goes way back to a year ago when I was watching the conference in the MTC. President Monson was going to announce 5 new temples and I had the strongest impression that he was going to announce a temple in Indiana. Of course he didn't and when he had announced the 5 temples and none of them were in Indiana, tears came to my eyes. I had been sure that I was going to hear about the Indianapolis Indiana temple right then and there. As I was sitting there feeling bummed out, a thought came into my mind, very clear-soon, very soon. I felt a lot better, knowing that even though we had to wait a little bit longer, the Lord would put a temple there really soon. So this past weekend we went to the Saturday morning session of conference and President Monson started talking about the dedication of the Cebu City Phillipines temple, and the thought came again-he's going to announce a temple in Indiana. I was like, no he won't!!!! That's what I thought last time and look what happened!!!! Just then President Monson said, we continue to build temples. This morning I am pleased to announce 5 new temples. Hartford, Connecticut. INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. I didn't even hear the rest of the temples. I gasped and then proceeded to start bawling my head off. I'm not kidding, I was literally BAWLING. HNA Castillo was a little bit embarrassed and everyone was looking at me like I was crazy but I didn't even care because I was so happy and grateful to Heavenly Father for all the prayers that on this day were finally answered. It was the best feeling ever, even though afterwards my eyes turned black from the smeared mascara and everyone was like what the heck are you crying about??

So yes mom. I did hear that they're building a temple in Indy. Ha.

Anyway, on to the part that everyone wants to hear about-the POLITICAL UPRISING. So Thursday morning we were on our way to downtown to do some service for HNA Blanca. We walked out the door and saw HNA Guaman, a less active member who lives below us. She asked us where we were going and we said we were on our way to centro (downtown). She was like, DON'T GO DOWN THERE!!! There's no police and they've just robbed a bank!!!! Ummmm . . . . what?? We didn`t have any way to get ahold of HNA Blanca so we went anyway. Yeah yeah, not very smart but what else could we have done?? On the bus, the driver had the news on and from what we heard, the police were on strike, something about Correa not paying them enough or something. Great. Ecuador is the absolute WORST country to have the police go on strike!!!! As we got further into centro, we noticed that almost all the shops were closed and that there was pretty much nobody outside. We were like oh man, what is going on?? Blanca hadn't heard anything about it, but we did our service without any problems and afterwards we headed up to San Pedro, a place really high in the mountains, to have lunch with our ward mission leader and his family. When they saw us they were like what are you doing here?? We thought you weren`t coming!!! They had the news on and it was showing a protest in a park. At first we thought it was Quito but then we saw the words Gobierno del Azuay (Azuay is the province where Cuenca is) on a building and realized that it was happening here and that we had just been down there. The Flia. San Martin was like, you guys need to go home right now. Just then HNA Barker called the cell and I asked her what was happening. She told me that they were stuck in the office and that no one could leave, that it was a lot worse in Guayaquil and that the whole mission was supposed to be in their houses. Ummmm . . . . we hadn't heard anything about that!!!! So we called the district leader who was like uh yeah I've been trying to call you guys, you need to go home like now. So we went home and it was like the most boring day ever, but it was a good thing we did because everyone we talked to told us that it was crazy. No police=people do whatever they want, and people were taking advantage like none other. Gothy told us that the Feria Libre was full of robbers and HNA Celia, who we have dinner with every Thursday, told us not to leave the house for anything. That night we figured that we could probably go visit the family that lives right next door, so we went out and visited them, and when we came back we had 5 missed calls from the zone leaders . . . . and the assistants. Great. HNA Castillo called them back and explained that we had just visited the family that lives right there and that we hadn't gone anywhere, and Elder Garcia, like everyone else, told us not to leave the house for anything and that he wasn't sure if we'd be able to go out tomorrow either. Super. So then I was like, I want to know what's happening in Guayaquil, so I called HNA Barker. Oh man. It's a good thing we weren`t there. Just in case HNA Barker's mom reads this, I`ll save the details of what she told me for when I get home, but it was insane. And Quito was even worse. We went to bed praying that we'd be able to go out the next day. It was cool because I distinctly felt that night that we'd be able to go out tomorrow, but when we got up the next morning I wasn`t sure again. But one of the members, HNA Afrania, called and told us that everything was fine again, that the police were working and people were opening their shops and everything was back to normal. Then Elder Smith called and told us that we could go out that day but that we had to be in at 8. And since then, it's all been back to normal. Nothing terrible happened to us but when we were in centro that day we had the distinct feeling that we should just go home-it was pretty scary. But we're fine, everyone's fine and it's all back to normal now. YAAAAY!!!

Other than that, the week was pretty uneventful. We are teaching this really cool lady named Carmen that we found in a tienda one day. She agreed to come to conference with us the last session and really liked it. I told her that I loved conference because it was broadcasted to the whole world, so even though my family wasn`t here with me, they were watching the same things and receiving the same counsel that I was in this very moment, and that made me feel closer to them. I think she liked that thought a lot. She's a very special lady, she understands really well everything we teach, and we're pretty sure that she'll be baptized, although right now she says she's not prepared enough. Of course she isn`t, she just met us 2 weeks ago!!! But she's progressing really well and we're really excited. Leonel and Evelyn's mom says that she wants to come to church with us next Sunday. She's gonna get baptized too, she just doesn`t know it yet.

Well I dunno what else there is to say. I loved conference-I think it was my favorite one of the mission so far. Did you all notice the emphasis on following the prophet?? I did!! And I know that it's important-he is the person that God has chosen to lead us on the earth, and if we don't do what he says, we're not doing what God says. I love this work, I love being here, political uprisings and all (come on, how many people are going to come home from their missions saying that they lived through a political uprising??? It's a great story!!!)

Obey the commandments. It is the ONLY way to true happiness!!!!MUCHO AMOR!!!

Hermana Chamberlain