Monday, January 27, 2014


 We need more people to teach! 

We have had to knock on doors this week, just trying to stay busy, and it is the worst! We didn`t notice a few days ago when we went to knock on a door that there was a big sign on top of the house. That big sign was for an evangelical church. So we accidentally contacted a evangelical pastor who really wanted to fight it out. He started out by asking us if we were saved and we said that we have to keep doing good things the rest of our lives to be saved, and then he told us that he was already saved and that we don`t know what we`re talking about at all and we don`t know God because we don`t even know if we are saved. We ended the conversation as soon as possible. This is why we need member referrals. Knocking on doors never works haha.

  This week was a little odd though because we got contacted quite a few times. People just walked up to us in the street and asked us who we were and why we are here. We don`t really trust people that talk to us first for the most part haha. One guy gave us free chifle (fried banana chips with onion and mayo and stuff) and then we had a little mini lesson with him in the street, and in the course of our discussion Hermana Chil asked him what he wants out of life, or what is his purpose in being here. His answer was that he wants a spouse. We did not schedule an appointment to teach him more, but we invited him to church. Same thing with two other people that started the conversations with us. It`s important to note that all of the people who made initial contact with us were men. I don`t think that was coincidence.

 We did return to visit one guy who asked us why we were here (with a member). He`s a young Colombian refugee (if I understood correctly). We`ll see how that goes, but mostly we are just hoping that we get some references!

 We were out in an area called Margaritas, which is a neighborhood of casas de caña. Google it. Neighborhoods of casas de caña are more dangerous and the people are poorer than the people that live more in the city in concrete houses. Also, it`s been raining a ton all night, and most of the roads are flooded and we have walked through some of the thickest, smelliest mud ever. Anyway, because people that live in the casas de caña are generally poorer, most of them aren`t married, just living together and unwilling to make the sacrifices to get married. Also, we can`t stay out there past like 6 o clock, so we haven`t worked too much in this area. We were visiting some less active members and on our way back to the bus, we saw a guy working outside of his house, with two little kids. We were in a rush because it was getting dark, but we offered help (he refused of course) and we talked for like two minutes and went on our way. But as we left, we saw that he had a wedding ring. Anyway, we went back a few times to visit and see if we could meet his family and if they would be interested in learning more, but they were never there, until yesterday! Just the father was home again, but he saw us from his window and waved, so we stopped and he came outside and talked to us. We found out that he is legally married (rare in Ecuador in general, even rarer for people that live in caña) and that he has wondered why there are so many churches. We couldn`t sit and teach him because his wife wasn`t home, but we taught him how to pray and Hermana Chil offered to say a prayer right there with him so he could read the folleto that we left and pray about it. She asked if there was something specific that he would like her to pray for, and he said that his father had recently passed away and he wanted to know that everything was okay with him. That of course made it very easy to testify of the plan of salvation, and we told him that he was really going to like the message that we have to share, and that we know that he will see his father again. So yeah. We`re pretty excited about that. We set up an appointment to teach him and his wife and kids. Teaching families is the best, so we really hope everything works out! Plus, I like being in the casas de caña, they are way cooler (temperature wise, as well as the other way).
This weekend was stake conference, and Presidente Amaya came to speak. His talk was awesome, and he said some things I really liked, but one thing I really liked was that the Lord didn`t hasten the work by calling 80,000 missionaries, He hastened the work by calling 15 million. It was a lot more eloquent in Spanish, but you get the gist.

Yeah. That`s all I got.
Things are great, I love you all, thanks for the prayers and support!

The title of this photo is
Don`t Trust Cloudy Days in Ecuador.
It may look like dusk, but the sun is still there in all it`s fiery wrath.
It doesn`t even matter though if I put on sunscreen, I sweat it all off before I even leave the house.
I`m going to have the weirdest tan lines when I get home jaja

Monday, January 20, 2014


My health is fine. I mean, it´s not great. But I think it´s what´s to be expected when eating strange things and tons of rice all day every day.  Every day I feel a bit better though, and I´m not worried. 

I´m so excited for Janessa! I can´t even imagine what the world is like over there. And I am so proud of my missionary family! That FHE sounds awesome, now go put it in practice! I absolutely second what you said about being simple and applicable. My favorite part of PME is the quote from Brigham Young about a man without eloquence bearing testimony. I can´t really remember the quote in english but I´m sure you know what I´m talking about.

Anywhoooo on to the exciting stuff!
Saturday was quite possibly the happiest I have ever been. My beloved Betty, Amy, y Génesis were baptized, and so was the escogido of all escogidos, Edisson. We had to really work hard for all of them. Betty (the fiesty mama) was getting so much opposition from her family and friends about joining ´the Mormons´and she had no support from her husband, but she just said some fiesty little remark about how she was going to get baptized anyway to all of them, and she was so happy! She had a dress from her mom that she was baptized in, and she´s so excited to be baptized for her mom in the temple soon. Someone had mentioned la obra vicaria to her in passing and she was so excited to ask us what the meant when they had said that we can do baptism for people that had already passed away. Ahh! Love it!

 Edisson is so great too, and he had every reason to not listen to us or to let people change his mind. His grandfather is a very active testigo de jehova, and his grandpa was very vocally against us visiting him. He told us that after our lessons, his grandpa would come in and tell him about how we were just liars being deceived by the devil and that we were leading him astray, but he confided in the spirit that he felt as he read and attended the church. The youth in the ward went to the temple Saturday morning, and he went with them, even though he couldn´t enter. Him and another young man that wasn´t a member stayed outside while the Torres´ explained more about the temple to them and why temples are important. In the hours between when he went to the temple and when he got baptized, we visited with him in the street and asked him how he felt on the temple grounds. His response was my favorite, he just said {PAZ!}. He said normally he would have been so bored at something like this, but he felt like he could´ve stayed on the temple grounds forever because it was so peaceful and he just felt good. And you should have seen him smile when he came out of the water after his baptism. Ahh it was awesome!

Also, fun fact. I sang at the baptism with Jerry Pazmiño. We always sing I Am A Child of God before our first lessons with people, and Betty especially loved that song, so me and Jerry Pazmiño (who´s sixteen, how many sixteen year old boys would willing do a musical number?) sang Soy Un Hijo de Dios. He sang the first verse in spanish (duh) and I sang the second verse in English (they are all really interested when I sing in english) and then we did the third verse in spanish, and I did the high harmony part. Here´s the thing though -  we did it all a capella, and Jerry just picked a note at the start and went with it because we didn´t have a piano to tell us where to start. It was the highest key possible and oh boy while he was singing that first verse I was just silently praying that I would be able to hit those high notes. But it was really good I think! Jerry has a really nice voice and I hit the notes and Betty cried (which isn´t a very Betty thing to do) so I am good. I kinda wish I had filmed it to show you guys but yeah. It was great. 

It was a great day. We´re starting from zero now, we literally have no investigators which is a scary thought, but all is well and things are swell.  I probably could buy a good camera here, but I would rather keep fussing with my junky camera and buy some clothes that don´t show all of my sweat.
Serious. I´ve forgotten what it feels like to not sweat. The second I step out of my ice cold shower, you better believe I´m a-sweatin´. 

Oh yeah, today was a swell mail day!
I got the package from Derrick and Brittney (my lips are quite luscious right now I do believe and Molly´s notes are displayed on my desk), Eric and Noelle (I kinda hoped there would be an explanation on why they sent bandaids but one look at my legs and I think I understand)
MY SHOES! I love my shoes! I´m wearing them right now. I was so distraught because they really don´t have shoes over a size 8 here, and then these shoes came and they fit perfect and they´re totes adorbs!  I also got letters slash cards from the Gates, Barbara Christensen  and Erwin Lervit.  Anyway, tell everyone thank you! It really is the best to get something in the mail. 

In this photo we got me, Hermana Pedro Pazmiño (Hermano Pedro´s father is Betty´s godfather, so she asked him to baptize her) and then Amy, Betty, Génesis, Edisson, Jerry Pazmiño (he kinda knows Edisson, and Edisson asked him to baptize him) and Hermana Chil. I look like I´m in pain because I´m smiling so hard, but I was really happy, okay!?

Betty, Amy, y Génesis with Betty´s godparents, Abuelo and Abuela Pazmiño. How cute is abuelo?! 

Me and the chicas. Yes I am wearing the same dress, but this is not the same day. I rewear my dresses way to close together, but they are much less hot so I don´t even care! 

Monday, January 13, 2014


I didn´t get to watch the broadcast, I have far too much work to do! They might print it out in Spanish and give it to us tomorrow in the meetings.

I really really really wanted to stay in Bellavista at least two more weeks because my querida familia is going to get baptized if all goes well this Saturday!! And I think I just might be staying. There´s the slight chance that one of us will get called to train this Tuesday when the new missionaries arrive, but I am very positive that I will not be training, at least until I can understand what people are saying to me more.I don`t think Hermana Chil will be leaving to train either because she just got here. Don`t get me wrong, I can communicate myself, it´s just that they speak so fast and the accent is so muddled that it`s hard to understand what they say back to me. I hate to think how things went with Trav, because apparently Ecuadorian Spanish is nothing compared to chileno. That job sounds great for Travis, I hope he loves it.

I got packages! Right after we emailed the zone leaders called saying we had mail. Me and my compañera had a swell time opening packages from the Kims, Merciers, and you guys! Thanks to some severe stomach issues for both of us, we haven`t been able to eat the candy but we do use it as thank you gifts when member accompany us on citas.

Speaking of stomach issues.... I´ve lost weight. I´m almost willing to let whatever has been going on the last week keep going for another fifteen or so pounds though. One of the Pazmiños told my companion that she`s just getting fatter while I`m actually getting skinnier. They`re pretty open about stuff like that. But I have been adopting a diet of just white bread and these cutesy mini bananas they´ve got here and if things don`t start... getting better... soon, I might have to see a doctor. I don`t want that though, so send me some prayers! It`s been cool to see though that even though things have been not pretty, we´ve always been able to work and do what we got to do, and almost all of the times I´ve had issues with my stomach have been in the morning or at night after we`re done working.

I love love love love love the mom and daughters that we`ve been teaching, and who are getting baptized this week. It took a few weeks for me to figure it out, but she is so much like Aunt Alyssa! It took me a while to figure that out because of the whole  she-doesn´t-speak-English thing, but she has the same sassy zesty attitude that Aunt Alyssa has. I love her, and her daughters are so sweet. I also mentioned the other investigator last week. He`s progressing well, even though after every lesson his Jehovah´s Witness grandpa tells him that every thing we said was a lie. He told us that he doesn´t listen, and that he feels good about the decision he made to commit to baptism, and that he feels ready to be baptized. He went through some really difficult trials this last year, and so on new years he prayed that God would help him change his life and be happier. Three days later, he meets us! He said that normally he would have never accepted an invitation to go to another church, let alone actually attended, but he felt that we were his answer.

Cool huh!?! I just love it when someone accepts the gospel and when you can see how it really is changing and blessing their life. 

I have to keep this short, (mostly because I`m not sure what else to say) but I really hope that you take President Messer´s challenges seriously. The missionaries will absolutely love you, the people that you invite to come unto Christ will love you even more, and Heavenly Father will be so proud and happy as you accept the calling he extended to all members to be involved in the work of salvation
Holly and Beebz! Don`t make this a goal that you forget about in a week! It`s too important! And it`s easier than you think. Take advantage of the opportunity you have to share the gospel in English haha. And I`m telling you, invite your friends to a family home evening, and if they accept the invitation, invite the missionaries. The noches de hogar have helped so much because they demonstrate how the huge gospel message works in small and simple ways to bless the family. Okay. I`m done preaching to you. But seriously, do it! Sharing the gospel is the best. 

Urgh okay we came to a junky cyber and it`s not wanting to read my camera or my memory card, but I only had two pictures anyways. For the noche de hogar last week, we taught them to play ninja destruction (after the lesson of course, we didn`t just play ninja). They didn`t catch on quite as well, and I definitely would have won except I was wearing a dress, and we had to leave before they finished. Actually, I don`t really think the dress would have stopped me from winning. But the pictures are kinda funny because Manuel and Victor got all sassy with their poses in the background.

Manuel es el gordo posing. I´m not being mean by the way, literally everyone calls him el gordo.  My camera doesn`t take great pictures now because the lens doesn`t move and I can`t zoom or anything, so that´s why I haven`t taken many pictures. I did break my camera out for a bit though because I thought this was going to be my last youth noche de hogar like this.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Oh boy what a week!

The Ecuatorians know how to party. I never remember what I wrote the previous week, so I will just explain things again and if I´m repeating myself, sorry!

 So everyone has been building these paper mache figurines, some of them are small, like the size of teddy bears, and then there are giant ones (I have a picture of me and Hermana Chil and a giant Thor that I will be sending...) and they set them on fire! They work on them forever and they are super legit, and then they just burn them jaja. They´re called monigotes or año viejos. Me and Hermana Chil were pretty bummed that we weren´t going to be able to be out and about for all of the festivities, but we decided to go out onto our roof terrace type dealio to watch the events unfold. First of all... it was loud! Everyone was setting off fireworks and flares and bombs and when they lit all the monigotes on fire, the video I took could probably double as news stock footage of riotings. If I hadn´t known it was a holiday I would have thought that someone shot the president or something. It was so fun though! We went inside shortly after midnight but the parties were still going until like 7.

The day after, the entire city was shut down. There weren´t cars, there weren´t people outside, there wasn´t anything. It was kinda creepy. It´s funny that everything was open on Christmas Day, but literally everything was closed on New Year´s Day. In the late afternoon, some parties started again but we didn´t go outside because everyone was drunk, and I get way too much attention from drunk people. Also, our president told us that this was a day of rest so we weren´t expected to work that day, which was good because we literally wouldn´t have gotten into a single house. 

There was a youth activity that night in the house of a member that we went to that was so fun! The person that was supposed to give the lesson fell through or wasn´t assigned or something, so me and Hermana Chil gave the lesson. I really don´t like teaching in front of the members. When I´m explaining a gospel concept to an investigator, if I make a mistake or say something ina  way that is difficult to understand, my companion backs me up and fixes things, but I feel like I shouldn´t be speaking in front of members because they can do things so much better than me. So for me to speak in front of twenty something members, even though I didn´t teach so much as just testify and do my little bit at the end, it was progress!

This Sunday was fantastic. We have been having problems with people coming to church, and we´ve had to drop a lot of investigators just because they wouldn´t come to church. But we fasted, and every single one of the investigators who we made plans with to attend actually attended. That never happens. It was awesome. We also got a new investigator when a less active member invited him to church. The less active member didn´t come, but his friend came anyway and we had one of the best lessons ever yesterday with him. That lesson was like the lessons you see in the church movies where the investigator asks really deep questions and we answer them in the way that they need and then they say that they feel something they´ve never felt before and all that. It was seriously so cool. He also told us that he was looking forward to church next week (whhaaaaaaat?!) and that he would like to come every week. That seriously NEVER happens. It also seems really sincere coming from him. We are meeting with him again  tonight.

We´ve also been teaching a mother and two daughters. After our fifth visit or so, she told us that whenever we came over, it was always during a time when something negative had happened, and that she always felt better afterwards. She is amazing, because she´s had some trials start very recently (after we started teaching her recently) and so many people would use that as a reason to not attend church, to not read, to not pray, and instead she´s decided to continue firm in the decision she made to attend church and be baptized. I´m pretty sure that I´m going to be transferred next week, because my training will be done, and I will be really sad if I won´t be there for their baptisms!

I think I´ve just really liked this week because it´s cool to see the difference between any investigator and someone who is truly ready and needful of the gospel. Don´t get me wrong, being able to teach anyone at all is great, but it´s so amazing to see when the gospel provides that specific something that they were looking for.
I´m starting to get into the stride of things here just in time to be transferred I feel like! I reallly really reeeeealllly hope I don´t leave next week!

I love you all!

I´ve gotten packages from the Boltons (my companion was really excited for the hot cocoa packets haha and the socks have come in handy. Just  most of the time not on my feet :) )
Aunt Sylvia (I think the bugs don´t like the essential oils, so I use it liberally. Also, me and Hermana Chil just think it smells really good so we use them like perfume)
Pa Rust - Embodiment of Rust Christmas.
Dan and Em - The card is proudly displayed on my desk and the granolda is almost gone...
I really think the packages will get here, they just take a while.....
But tell everybody thanks, and that they brightened me and my companions Christmas and New Years!

Me and Hermana Chil with the family we are teaching. It was Amy´s birthday. Yes, I´m rocking a sock bun. It was hot, okay?

Our Zone! Elder Erickson made his own ghetto monigote, which is what the hermanas are holding onto. Do I stick out or what?

This is a Thor monigote. Which is now ash. Cool huh!
Also, because it is so hot, I purchase cheap dresses when available that have sleeves, no matter how hideous they are. I call this my funky grandma dress.

We have fun together.
Another recently purchased dress....
There´s a good chance I´m going to give away all my old clothes are replace them with cheap dresses. 
My goal is to have seven dresses and wear my Monday dress on Monday and so on and so forth.

My camera isn´t great, but this is one of the photos I took from the roof of the burning monigotes. We could only see a dozen or so from where we were because there are too many tall buildings, but there were hundreds. Today is the day of the magi or something, so tonight they´re going to burn all the left over monigotes. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

#10 Letter From Ecuador

Christmas was tranquil. We slept in, and I made some kickin´ salsa. Me and Hermana Chil are addicted to salsa so I´m going to make a huge batch today to last us for the week. Together, we can eat one of those glass bowl´s worth (you know, the size we usually make for the entire family) in about a week. Our favorite thing is to scoop up a bit of cream cheese then salsa and just eat it like that. We plan on getting very fat.

Christmas day we met up for a little bit as a zone because we did a secret santa type dealio. The missionary whose name I had got transferred the day before, so I had to buy something generic for someone that I didn´t know. I felt kinda bad about that because everyone else´s gifts were personalized to them, but what could I do? We played some game with two ties and one tie is a mouse and the other is a cat and I don´t know that I could explain it too well, but if the cat catches the mouse, the person with the mouse tie has to do whatever everyone else tells them to do. For instance, when I got caught by the cat tie with the mouse tie, I had to sing the national anthem in front of everyone. I don´t know why I was so nervous, seeing as only 3 other people there even knew the national anthem, but they all video taped it and it was super awkward and I was nervous laughing half the time. So just know, that somewhere out there, there are like 12 recordings of me embarrassing America. 

After that, we went and bought a few bags of candy and put them into smaller sandwich bags, and then we wrote a scripture about the birth of Christ and put that in the bags and distributed them to some of the member families and our investigators. That was nice. That night, there was a special noche de hogar in the house of the obispo. When we got there, the Pasmiños all asked us where we had been all day that day and the day before. Turns out they were waiting for us to show up all day....
We didn´t know, they didn´t actually invite us to come over and spend Christmas with them, they just assumed that we would come haha. I just love them! They told us that we are to spend New Years Day with them, so we are going to be there probably all day Wednesday.

We´re starting to see a bit more success!° I don´t really like to talk about specific people or lessons or anything, because if things don´t work out with them I don´t want to be asked about it haha. But just know that things are looking up and por fin we are starting to fulfill some of our goals.
One thing that happened this week worth noting just to explain how awesome the Pasmiños are... We´ve had two investigators talk about Grandpa Pasmiño and how he has something special, that he´s always happy, and that there´s something special in their house. And it´s so true! I think that´s why all the youth flock there, because there is so much love in their home. Grandpa Pasmiño and Hermana Petita his wife are probably my favorite thing about Ecuador. And here´s a precious fun fact: the Pasmiños are the grandpa, the son and his wife and all of his kids, and the married son of the son and his kids. Four generations living in one house. All this time I thought they all lived together because they had to, but Hermano Pedro, the son, told us that they have a house a few minutes away, but that his kids didn´t want to live "so far away" from their grandparents. It´s really only a few minutes away from what he said, but that they wanted to all live together. So they do. I don´t even know why I´m telling you this, I just love them and I feel like when I´m done with my training in two weeks I´m going to be transferred and I´m going to miss them. 

Yesterday was my first Ecuador rain! It was glorious. Me and Hermana Chil got thoroughly soaked and even a little cold. Once the rain is done though, it gets hotter. Not as fun, and today is sweltering.

Also, yesterday I got paid the highest honor and compliment that an Ecuadorian can give, and I was given it by 20 or so youth. But to set up the scene....

So all the kids are on vacations from school, so everyone´s home and they have soccer games in the middle of the street. One street even has goals that they put right in the middle of the street and if you want to drive there too bad. Anyway, me and my companion were walking past this game where 20 or so young men were playing and more were watching, and the goalie looked at me and then faced the all the kids playing and yelled STOP! (In English, which I thought was weird) and he yelled stop until everyone stopped. And then they all just watched me walk by .

They literally just stopped their game to watch me walk past. That was the only reason. I was red and a little ticked off and trying to speed walk past because hello! Uncomfortable! But Hermana Chil was just laughing and couldn´t believe that I actually stopped a fútbol game. TO my embarrasment she recounted the story to two other member families who were also very impressed.

Also, I loved all my packages!! Thank you, thank you to all of you! Mor granolda plz....

I´m going to send picture with some comments so yeah this is the end.
Love you all! 

Me and Hermana Chil at the present swap Christmas Day. I´m slouching big time. 

Our Christmas Day feast! Usually, people use Christmas day as an excuse to eat really unhealthy food, but instead we splurged on salads and gorged ourselves on salsa. Those yellow things are patacones, my favorite things here. Basically fried plantains, but they are so good!

Me and Hermana Chil with two daughters of a family we are teachings. The minion is like a giant paper mache doll. There are tons of these of all sized everywhere, Batmans, lots of minions, people just make them for something popular that year or someone that was big or something I don´t know. I didn´t understand everything, all I know is that there are tons of these everywhere. There´s a fifteen foot Batman in front of a store that I think we´re going to take pictures with today. At midnight on New Years they burn them. Some of them have fireworks inside too. I´m kinda bummed that all of this is going to be going on and me and Hermana Chil will be in the house... We´ve asked people to take pictures and record though. 

We celebrated Christmas with scrunchy side ponytails. It was glorious.
Note that I am sweating like a pig on Christmas day. 

They´re big on pineapples here. This is a giant fountain near downtown. Hermana Chil is making my pineapple gang sign. Represent. 

Elder Maddock was transferred, so we had to take a final pineapple picture with the missionaries that were in the ward when the pineapple sign was formed.