I'll be serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months in the Ecuador Quito Mission. I'm leaving my family, friends, and familiar surroundings behind to teach the message I have to share to bring others closer to Christ and help families be together for eternity.
Ya I am not in Guaranda anymore, after 5 weeks, because this change was a week shorter, I got changed again! Now I am in Ambatom still outside of Quito, and I am going to finish the training of Hna Stoneking, and she is from California! So now I am going to be a stepmom! :) haha A bit of a change, but I am excited to be here and get to work.
Now the reason for miming, is because I basically have no voice right now. I have an infection in my throat, so my throat hurts and my voice is very quiet. A nice change for those around me I am sure ;) I am just hoping for a quick recovery, luckily I can keep working, because my companion can talk fine! Hopefully she is confident with her spanish!
Easter here in Ecuador is quite different from home, they don`t really celebrate easter, but focus more on the Good Friday, because everyone is Catholic and they put a lot more emphasis on the death of Christ then on His resurrection. I am so grateful that we realize the why He died and the importance of his resurrection that we are able to look at the more positive side of things. I am so grateful for Christ and His atonement for us and the strength we recieve, and I am so grateful he was resurrected so that we too can be resurrected and live with Him, our Heavenly Father, and our families for forever! They do have a couple of traditions here that you can`t eat red meat thursday, friday or saturday, so we had fish two days. And they say that if you eat red meat you will turn into a fish...They also say that if you go swimming these two days you will turn in to a fish as well.. Also they have a traditional soup, that`s called Fanesca, and it is so interesting. It is a bunch of different types of beans, with fish that usually isn`t deboned, and a hard boiled egg (see picture). Not my favorite, but got to try new things in a new country!
We found a new family this week that are so awesome!! They are really prepared to hear this message and want to really guide their kids down the correct path. Even though I won`t be there anymore I am so happy that they are starting to listen and I know they are in good hands with Hna Varney. It is quite weird leaving an area only after 1 change, but I did what I was supposed to and I gave it my all. Now I am ready to do what the Lord needs me to do here in Ambato!
This week I took pictures of some typical ecuador plates so enjoy these photos!
llamingachos (my favorite ecuador meal, and Ambato is famous for it and everyone says they have the best here, so I am so excited!!)
Rice, egg, and avocado
My fish was going to eat me
I love you all and I hope you have a truly amazing week!
Well, first off this week went by pretty quickly, because we didn´t get a lot of working time in our sector. First off tuesday I got sick and so I had no energy so I basically slept all day, first time in the mission, but it was a one day thing and I was all good ready to work wednesday. And wednesday we did divisions with 2 members so that we could get more visits in, and we ended up getting a lot done. But, thursday we stayed in Riobamba after our district and zone meeting because we had divisions with the Hermana Leaders so we were there all day with them and then friday we had a zone conference with President and Hermana Christensen, and we finally got back to Guaranda at 9 that night. Then saturday we had a service project till 1, and then sunday we went to church and then worked. So a pretty crazy week, but we are excited to get out and work this week.
A sad thing that happened this week is that Marly, who was an investigator that was progressing and loving the church and everything. Started ignoring us this week and avoiding us as well. We do not know what happened, but we are going to let her go for now and hopefully a little bit later she will come back and be stronger. The opposition that people have to accept this work is crazy, and sometimes people are still really weak and don´t want to fight the resistance. We always need to keep strengthening ourselves so that we never find ourselves on the other path. Stay on the path of God it will lead you to eternal life. Even though that this path is the hardest thing we will find "estrecho y angosto.. que lleva a la vida eterna", read in Matthew 7:13-14. It was a hard thing that we faced this week, but we found some joy in the work with Angel and Victoria! They are an older couple that loves this message, they are reading the scriptures and Victoria was able to come to church yesterday! Angel wasn´t able to, because he had work, but next week he will go to church! They are reading in the BOM everyday and really what they are learning. And they are reading a lot on mormon.org also, which is helping them answer all of the many questions they have! It is the best when we go and they always have a ton of questions that we find ourselves telling them we will get to the answer another lesson, because we didn´t have time for all their questions and the message that we were sharing that was answering their other questions. It is pretty great! Everytime we are teaching them we feel the spirit so strong and I know they can as well! Hopefully we can keep teaching with the spirit to really help them to progress!
For divisions this week I was with Hna Gardiner, who was in the MTC with me! It was so awesome to be with her for one day working and learning from her. It really put things into perspective at how far I´ve come in the last 10.5 months. I remember being in the MTC confused all the time with spanish, and going out contacting with Hna Brimhall and not understanding anything. Yet this time around with Hna Gardiner, we were in the streets of ecuador contacting and understanding everything they said and really finding ourselves really comfortable. Boy was that a reality check, I have come a long way in the mission! Also it was cool to be with Hna Gardiner for a day and to catch up and see how our missions have been different. Also with her I got to have Polaca again. It is this delicious drink that they have here made from oatmeal and milk, but delicious. It has the texture of like eggnog. And you can´t find it here in Guaranda,so I was pretty happy to have found it and I could enjoy it again. This is something that the states lack!
Today for pday, we decided we wanted to go and get to know Salinas. It is a little town about 30 minutes away from Guaranda, and everyone says that we need to get to know it and buy there chocolate. So we went down there to get to know it, and when we got there we were very lost and confused. As far as we could see it was just a town, and nothing different then Guaranda, and we couldn´t even find where to buy chocolate. But, after we circled around the block, we asked someone where to buy the chocolate and they pointed us to the factory. But, this factory is just a room with some chocolate, that is only 5 cents cheaper then in guaranda... so we bought some and left. We were thinking that we were going to be able to find things to buy, like some souveneir stuff. But, as far as we could see there wasn´t anything. But, after about 20 minutes more of wandering around and people giving us weird looks, we found a shop that had some things to buy! So I bought a poncha and a native doll :) It was a slightly weird adventure and not as exciting as we thought it would be, but we enjoyed ourselves!
I hope you all have an awesome week and know that I love you!
Well, I was finally able to watch the video for Easter, and I loved it! If you haven´t had the chance to watch it yet, watch it! I am really excited to be able to be promoting this as a missionary and to really help people to have a better relationship with Christ. He really can be our shining light in this life and through Him, we really can find a new life. I am so grateful for this time I have on the mission to be learning and to be becoming even closer to my Savior and Redeemer and to really realize the power he has in my life.
This week we worked really hard trying to find new people and to help this area to start progressing. We ended up finding 10 new investigators! But, sadly none of them were able to come to church. But, Sylvia came to church! We were going to drop her, because she hasn´t been progressing and we were really direct with her and told her that she needed to come to church if she wanted come closer to Christ. We had left the lesson with her telling us that she wasn´t going to come, but she came! We were really surprised! And she was able to stay all three hours! Also Marly is still doing awesome and progressing really well, just wasn´t able to go to church yesterday, because she was sick. We were really bummed, because that pushes her baptism date to after this change, but I am just happy that she is still progressing!
Today we had a zone activity and we came to Riobamba and had a picnic in a park we cooked hotdogs and hamburgers on a fire and had chips and juice. Such an american thing to do, it´s probably because my Zone Leaders are both gringos. Hahah. As we were waiting for the bus to go to Riobamba, an old man that had no teeth was talking to us, and I didn´t understand anything, but he made me so happy because he was just smiling and super happy, and he was really happy to say hi to us. That made me so happy! I don´t know there are so many native people here, that are really old, but are still working harder than anyone I know. I have alot of respect for the native people here.
Fun fact, I live an hour from Chimborazo. For those who don´t know it is the second highest mountain in the world. The only one higher is Mount Everest, and not much higher :) I thought that was cool, and every week as we are traveling to Riobamba we have a cool view of Chimborazo. This week I am going to try to take a good picture to send to you guys! :)
Sorry no photos this week, there isn´t a lot of time!!
So I have a funny story for you. Well its pretty obvious as we are walking down the streets here in Guaranda that we are two gringas, we are both tall and we are both white and I am blonde. So yesterday we were contacting, and we just started contacting this one lady in front of her house. But, like 2 seconds after we started talking to her, this old man started talking to us, he asked where we were from so we politely answered him and then that started a conversation up with him. He started out by telling us how beautiful we were (keep in mind that this is like a 65 year old guy) and then he asked if we have the Holy Mass in our church, when we responded no he was shocked. We said that we are a different church so we don´t have mass. Then he started asking if we had the bible and we said yes that we always have the bible with us. Then he asked if we could have a bible. We said that we didn´t have any bibles to hand out to people. He then started saying how I could give him mine, but then I said that it had my name on it and that he wouldn´t want it. He then said, well I would like to have something to remember your name so I don´t mind. But, I then tried to return to the lady that we had been contacting, but she then said she had to go inside and said goodbye to us. Then this old man was trying to convert us to the catholic church. He said "I have a proposition for you guys, just join the catholic church, it´s really pretty." A good argument, but I think that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints has a prettier ring to it :) He then insisted on keeping talking to us, no matter how many times we tried to leave and stop talking to him. Then he invited us to join his church again, and then started talking about how we need to pray for him so that he might come to our church next week. And then he kept telling us how gorgeous we were and that we are missing out not going to the catholic church. It was a very interesting conversation and the old man here just love us gringas :)
We have a progressing investigator here now in Guaranda! Marly is doing awesome and came to church yesterday! She is reading the Book of Mormon and really feels that this church is the true church! She has a ton of faith and has really been prepared to hear our message! Hopefully we can keep helping her to progress and to understand the importance of baptism and what it means :) She was telling us again yesterday that she feels like we are her answer to change and to follow God more. She just puts a bright light in our week. Also this week we found a family and started teaching them and they seem really interested and really want to know the truth! One problem is that they weren´t able to go to church, because he had a soccer game. That is a big problem here in Ecuador, because people love soccer, and a lot of the time the games are on saturday. Hopefuly we can help them to understand the importance of this gospel and help them to have a desire to keep the sabbath day holy, and hopefully he can find a new team and start playing on saturdays.
Here every thursday we have a district and zone meeting. But our meetings are in Riobamba and Riobamba is a 2 hour bus ride away. So every thursday we have to leave by 7:30 to catch the 8 bus to Riobamba to be there by 10 and then we usually leave Riobamba by 2 and get back to Guaranda by 4, so we usually lose a lot of our thursday. But I have learned to love the bus ride and use it to catch up on my book of mormon reading and to sleep :) A cool thing though is we go up pretty high to cross mountains and when we are high up we are passing through clouds so all you can see is white outside of the bus windows. You can´t see anything more than 5 feet away. It is pretty spooky, but cool :) I love it here in Ecuador, it is so pretty!!!
Today for our pday we hiked up to a indian statue that they have here in Guaranda, I think it might represent the natives that started Guaranda or something. But, it has a really pretty view of Guaranda as well and it was a fun little hike. It was good to get out a do something.
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!