Monday, December 23, 2013

#9 Letter From Ecuador

Due to our Christmas call  from Natalie tomorrow evening, she only sent pictures this week.

Foto 1
Me and my beloved compañera Hermana Chil outside of the temple. I look like a giant.

Me and my companion with Elder Gray from Australia. He does this hand gesture and says Success! and me and my companion have adopted it. I´m just sending random stuff now because I don`t know what to say...  

Monday, December 16, 2013

#8 Letter From Ecuador

I forget it's Christmas because Holy Hannah it's a scorcher out there. Yesterday, it was very likely that I would die. But all is well!

I absolutely adore my companion! This week we went to the temple! We traveled to Guayaquil Wednesday night (and ate Pizza Hut what what) and then went to the temple early Thursday morning. (It was cool because they've finally translated the new presentation into Spanish and so most of the missionaries were seeing the new presentation for the first time. My companion included. We had a lovely whispered chat in the celestial room about how great it was).
After the temple, we had a capacitation with Presidente and Hermana Amaya, and then after that each zone (ours included) performed a short christmas themed skit that has to do with the obra de salvacion. I played a curtain.... yeah... 

Anyway while we were there it was pretty apparent to me that our zone lacks the same amount of unity that the other zones had, and this could be why we are one of the zones that has the most trouble meeting it's goals. Me and Hermana Chil got to thinking about this and decided that if we weren''t unified as a zone, who better to start fixing things than us?! So that's exactly what we're doing haha. We have prepared little things to give each companionship to brighten things up at our lately dismal district meetings, and this morning, we requested a meeting with the zone leaders to discuss our other ideas on how to unify the zone more. Let it be known that no, we have no leadership callings in this zone whatsoever, but we decided to not let that stop us. So we met with the ZLs this morning and told them what's up and they were really thankful and I believe we're going to implement some things in the meeting tomorrow, so I'll let you know how that goes. I love that she's a go-getter. If something isn't working, we as a companionship aren't going to sit idly by and hope it gets fixed, we're going to request a meeting with the ZLs! I love that I'm starting to feel more like myself in Spanish haha. 

What else what else.....
I got packages and letters! From Padre Rust, Dan and Em, Aunt Silvia, Uncle Spencer and a letter from CTR 7! I don't know if I should wait until Christmas or what but I'm excited! I smell essential oils in Aunt Silvia's package.... :)

I don't really know what else to say. We're working hard, but waiting to see the fruits of our labors haha. We're trying to figure out ways to get the members more involved.

I spoke in Church yesterday. In Spanish.
Like, a real talk. In Spanish. About the obra de salvacion. In Spanish.

I made it through pretty well I think until the end when I could for the life of me remember how to say "I say these things" to say amen and then I got really flushed and David Torres started laughing at me so up until that point I think it went pretty well.

Yeah. I don't really know what else to say so I'll start sending the pictures and add bits and pieces if I remember something to say
Love you all!

This is from three weeks ago, me and the only Ecuatorian taller than me, Irwin Ordoñez

THe noche de hogar from a few weeks ago. I love all of them!

One of my favorite pictures. There are I believe 5 very funny things happening here. See if you can spot them all.
Friendly reminder that no one reads English too well here.... :)

The conferencia por la Navidad. This is all the hermanas in five zones with Hermana Amaya. Hermana Chil (Mi querida compañera!) suggested this pose and surprisingly (to me at least) Hermana Amaya was all for it haha.

My zone with Presidente y Hermana Amaya.
Hermana Chil asked if we could do a funny picture, and the asistentes told her that they´ve never seen Presidente agree to a funny picture. He didn´t do anything funny, but still it was surprising. Milagro is famous for it´s pineapples, which is why me and Elder Maddock are making pineapple signs with our hands. It´s a little something I invented that has spread like wildfire with the youth in my ward. They all know how to say pineapple jaja.
Elder Lizana just says I am pineapple whenever we´re speaking in English and he doesn´t understand anything. It´s swell.
The time is far spent. Love you all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

#7 Letter from Ecuador

Oh my goodness I love my companion! I was so excited to email and say that things are going just swell companion-wise. She is so fun and bubbly and we are already basically best friends. I was worried that my Spanish would suffer because there`s such a strong temptation to speak English, but I`ve found that it`s easier to speak Spanish with others and not be afraid to make mistakes in front of a good friend.

This Wednesday will be my three month mark since I reported to the CCM. Whaaaaa¿? I feel like it`s been two days.... Time is funny.

Here`s more great news, my zone going to the temple Wednesday! We`re also spending the night in the temple apartments which means I get one night with a warm shower! 

I think a Cambio was exactly what I needed, and Hermana Chil is exactly what I needed. When Hermana Diez left, I was freaking out because I still didn`t know my sector very well and I was pretty sure I was just going to fall apart. Buuuut I didn`t! I had to really step up and now I know how to get places and I talk to taxis and I haven`t even had one try to rip me off too bad yet! I also had to be the one to talk to the members and remember names and introduce my new companion and now I feel even more at home here. I`m really glad I`ll be in Milagro for Christmas! 

We have had some issues that have slowed things down in our ward. Every once in a while, the members or the youth will have references, and without fail, they live in the elder`s sector of the ward. Basically, right now, we don`t have anyone progressing.¨

We received permission from the parents to baptize Jairo and Allan, but we`re not sure if it`s the right thing to do, because their family refuses to listen to a word from us, and we`re not sure it`s a good idea to baptize these kids.... I mean, if they have a real testimony, then it would be fine, but we`re worried that they`re only attending church and all these other things because they like the activities and they like my hair, and those aren't good enough reasons to make a sacred covenant... so we`ll see. I`m trying to not let my monthly goals motivate me to push someone towards something they`re not ready for.

Did I tell you about Digna? I think I did, but anyway she didn`t attend church and her husband won`t let us talk to her more than twice a week... He`s a little bizarre.... He`s super catholic but he likes reading the Book of Mormon and we`re just not really sure what to make of him haha.
Since we don`t have many investigators, we have had to resort to contacting (which any missionary I`m sure agrees is the absolute worst thing ever). It`s not great because you can talk to a contact for half an hour and they`ll say thanks for the conversation, it`s all interesting and I like that you talk about Jesus, but please don`t come back again. Ehhh what can you do? So one day we were out contacting, and I swear everyone on that street was ticked off about something. We were getting ready to call it quits and head somewhere else, when Hermana Chil looked up and saw a guy on the second floor of a house just looking out the window. So we called up to him and started talking to him. He couldn`t leave his house right then because he shattered his leg in a motorcycling accident and he was hooked to an IV thingy, and we couldn`t go up because he was home alone, but we fixed an appointment to meet up with him and we would bring a member with us. We went and he told us that he had been in the hospital for a long time, and that he vowed to change his life for the better. We`re excited to see where that will lead
We need more people to teach! Contacting just doesn`t work! Right now, we`re really focusing on rescuing. We are looking for the home of the less active families and teaching them, as well as recent converts. Elder Mestre said in the training meeting that the more we rescue, the more we will baptize. We`re putting that promise to the test! We were able to finally meet with one family that before always refused to meet with me and Hermana Diez. We were just walking in the street when we saw their grandson, who always likes to call out and say hi to us. I just felt like we should ask if his parents were home, and they were, so we went, and through some miracle they agreed to sit and chat with us. Me and Hermana Diez always tried to talk to them, and they always had their kids tell us that they weren`t home. Miracle I tell you!  We`ve met with them twice, and we`re not really sure why, but they are just not ready to come to church (well, at least that`s what they feel. We know they`re ready). But we stopped by after church and met with them again, and part of their family came to the Christmas devotional last night! Also, we invite everyone to church and we invited tons of taxi drivers etc. to the Christmas devotional, and one of these contacts actually came! We don`t know how he felt about it yet, because we had to skeedaddle because the devotional ended an hour after we usually are supposed to be at home. But we`re going to try and meet with him too and see how he liked it and hopefully teach him more.

I don`t have too much to say right now, but I have pictures that I wanted to send last week and one or two for this week, so yeah, I`ll send those. I love you all!

Wait hold up I got the most bomb package from the Notoez! I was so excited! If there`s food in the packages, we can open it during the district meeting, so my ZL opened it up and took out the candy for me, and I shared with everyone and it was great. Also, I loved the knee-highs. It`s nice to have knee highs that are actually knee high haha. So please tell them thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU! Muchìsimas gracias. I will try to send them a letter, but I don`know when I`ll be able to, because as of right now I do now know where the correo de ecuador is.....

Yeah I love you all, thanks for the prayers and the emails!
Hermana Rust

Apparently I picked the one computer in this cyber that doesn`t have a USB port...
Guess you`ll get three weeks worth of pictures next week...
Ergh. ´

Monday, December 2, 2013

#6 Letter from Ecuador

Transfers came. Last night I went to bed relieved because they call Sunday nights to inform us of transfers. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to a call from my Zone Leader. He asked how things were going with my companionship, and I told him they were great and that I love my companion, and then he asked if I would still love her even if she left... I just groaned and got really not happy.
So we had an hour and ten minutes to pack her stuff up and go to the bus terminal this morning. I am so sad, and boy am I nervous! My new companion is Hermana Chil. She`s from Florida if I remember correctly. But Hermana Chil is really happy and I can tell that I can learn a lot from her. Anyhoo... I`m nervous because I still don`t know my way around this sector!

Elder Remington, one of the APs, told us to take the Ruta Milagreña back to Milagro, and so we did. Well this bus doesn`t stop at the bus terminal like Expreso Milagro does, and while we were on the bus I had no idea where we were. After a ridiculously long time on the bus, we asked where  we were and when we found out we were a long ways from where we needed to be. I felt so bad because poor Hermana Chil hadn`t eaten all day and oh boy I felt so dumb! A man on the bus really helped us out and after 3 hours, we succesfully completed what should have been a 1 hour trip. Also, I couldn`t find the right cyber to email in, so right now we are in the dumpiest cyber with the slowest internet ever. Also the keyboard sticks so I might not write too much today.

This week was good though! Last monday, we had a fantastic FHE, and the elders were able to get some great new investigators, but this week the jovenes didn`t have anyone for us. I think I already told you about the kids, Jairo y Allan y Humberto y Vicente? Yeah well anyways they love talking to me and I love talking to them. They love trying to say "Rust." Jairo especially likes to be taught, and he enthusiastically participates in our lessons. We have permission for Jairo and Allan to be taught, but we haven`t talked to Humberto and Vicente`s parents yet, but they love going to the youth activities. Every Tuesday they play basketball and soccer at the church and on Thursdays they meet up at the Pasmiños house to ride bikes. The Pasmiño`s house is the happening place, there`s always youth gathering there. On Sundays, Alex Pasmiño takes his truck around and honks outside the youth`s houses whose parents either aren`t members or aren`t active and dozens of kids and teenages pile into the back of his truck to go to church, and then he goes back and picks up his own family. I absolutely love how dedicated these youth are, even though they don`t have examples in their own homes to follow.

This sunday was testimony meeting, and you best believe that the youth took the majority of the time giving real testimonies, not just relating stories or giving shoutouts to their friends. It was swell.

I completely forgot about Saturday! Saturday, Milena was baptized, and her recent convert brother, Ronaldo (my second baptism I believe) baptized her. Steven referred Ronaldo, her brother, who referred Milena, who invited some of her nonmember friends to her baptism, who are not being taught by the elders. All of the references lately live in the elders` sector....  I`m trying to attach pictures but this dumpy little computer isn`t working with my camera! Also it`s making a beeping sound and I`m not sure what`s going on... I had a lot of pictures to send this week too darn it! Anyway....

Yeah I`m going to need lots of prayers this week .I`m expected to introduce her to our investigators and get her caught up to speed so we can start working, and I`m not entirely sure how to do that but I know it can be done!

Yesterday, Emelec played in the championship and won. The streets were a mess. Tons of drunks. The second the game was over everyone left into the streets to form a caravan with the team flags and horns blaring and all sorts of noise, and then everyone got drunk, so that happened.  Honestly this week was a blur and I`m trying to remember things.

Hello I`ve almost been gone three months. Whaaaa? The spanish is off and on, one day I`ll understand almost everything, the next day I won`t understand a thing. I`m not sure why this happens, but oh well, it is what it is.

They have been celebrating Christmas here almost since I got here. It feels so weird to see a Christmas tree or blinking Christmas lights when it`s swelteringly hot outside. It doesn`t feel one bit like December. I completely forgot about Thanksgiving, and in our companion prayer, Hermana Diez remembered the it was the Dìa de Accion de Gracias, and she felt so bad that she didn`t do anything for me for Thanksgiving, because I was probably so homesick and so sad that I was missing Thanksgiving and so on and so forth. I told her I didn`t feel like I was missing anything because it feels like July still. She made me pancakes the next day anyway so I could have some American food for my American holiday :) I thought of Grandpa Skousen that night though and our past Thanksgivings with him. I love that picture of him and Grandma and N&E outside of the temple, I keep it on my desk.

I seriously refuse to believe that it is December.

Mommy, I hope you have a great birthday this week. I love you very much and I hope you think of me every so often haha. I sing loud and proud in all meetings (they don`t call on me to lead, but I do anyway with my voice from my pew...) and I think of you. My zone has to prepare a performance (not a musical number, an entire performance - songs, actions, storyline etc.) for Christmas and I`m trying to figure out how to put myself in charge.... I love you!

The time is far spent.
I love you all, thanks for the prayers!
Hermana Rust