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 . . . . . .
WE`RE GETTING A TEMPLE IN INDIANA!!!!!!!
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!!!