Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 76 Move over Santa, the missionaries are coming to town, PICTURES.

 
New Member of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Congratulations!

 
Another new Member of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Congrats again :) !

 
Making Christmas treat bags

 
Scrumptious cake 

 
Our Christmas Dinner at midnight!

 
Breakfast with the hermanas of Otavalo

 
Apparently Missionaries will do whatever it
takes to get into a home down in Ecuador... Hahahahaha.
Getting ready to go down the chimney, anyone!

Week 76 Move over Santa, the missionaries are coming to town!

Hey friends and family!

Merry Christmas!!! Feliz Navidad!! I got a "white Christmas" after all! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas! It was a little bit of a sad Christmas but a Christmas to remember. My last Pday was fun. We went to Cotacachi and played volleyball in the house of some Texans who are living here. 

Tuesday
We gave my last training and talked about how we need to put goals that are realistic. It went fairly well. At least one of the hermanas said thank you for the training. We played a game afterwards in English where some of the companions were blindfolded and the others had to give directions in English. Hna. del Rosario made me trip a few times. We took some groceries to Jenny because she did not have anything in her house. She was crying with joy to see them. Later, we visited Andres, our other investigator with a baptismal date. He loved going to church and is so excited to go on Sunday again. Richard is super excited for his baptism. 
Wednesday
We visited Rosa and I know I say this everytime but I love her so much. She is a super funny old lady. Andres was eagerly waiting for us outside his house. He keeps talking about how he loves how he feels now. We gave him his own Book of Mormon and his eyes shone so bright and he promised that he will read every day. It has been super cold here in San Pablo lately and I am dying of cold. We visited Gabriela and we did not want to leave because it was so cold. She just laughed at us. 
Thursday
So last week, we did divisions with the hermanas from Rumiñahui. Today, we got to do divisions with them again. Kathy and I went and visited some recent converts. Later, we met up with Hna. del Rosario and Tania to go celebrate with Jenny for her birthday. I made banana bread and we had fun for a little. We divided again and talked with the ward mission leader to get the baptismal clothing. We met up with the hermanas again and swapped back. Hna. del Rosario and I went to visit a recent convert who was sad to hear that I am going home. She kept saying that she was going to miss her "chuspicita" (fly in Kechwa). It was cute to listen to her pray about how much that she would miss me. 
Friday
No one was home!! We looked everywhere but everyone had Christmas programs in the elementary and high schools. We ended up going to Otavalo to make sure everything was ready to go in the chapel for the baptisms. We ate lunch with Kathhy and Tania then headed to watched the peeps in the church. Of course, everytime that there is a baptism, there are always problems. Richard got there super late. He has oxygen and part of his oxygen difuser broke and they tried to fix it with hot glue. He made it and Francisco, his brother (a recent convert), baptized him and Jenny. Even though Francisco was nervous, it was still an amazing experience to listen to the testimonies of Jenny and Richard afterwards. Jenny talked about how she was converted for the BOM. Richard talked about how he feels so very different now. I am so grateful that I was able to be part of both their baptisms. Afterwards, we went to the Fam. Antamba and helped put together goody bags.

Saturday - Christmas Eve!
This was another crazy day. We chatted with Jenny and she said that she was so excited and felt so much better. She has been through so much and I am so proud to see how far she has come. We went up to eat lunch with Digna. She finally got her revenge (after waiting 3 months) to smash my face in a cake. It was pretty funny but the cake never came off! We chatted with Fam. Pachito and talked about the traditions of members of our church. We visited Andres and read a little bit in the BOM with him. We chatted with the Fam. Antamba. For our Christmas eve, I made 2 batches of brownies, a batch of banana bread, caramel popcorn, and mash potatoes. Hna. del Rosario made the chicken, washed her clothes, and cleaned the floor. I wanted to go to bed but celebrated Christmas, Peruvian style. We had our table set and everything. I went to take a nap then we ate at midnight. I was dying but Hna. del Rosario wanted to celebrate Christmas her way, so we did it. It was fun. We exchanged gifts. I gave Hna. del Rosario finger nail polish, my favorite picture of Christ, makeup, and a bag. She gave me chocolate and a sweater. It was hard to sleep because behind our house there was a wedding going on. Here, the weddings are insane and go until 5 in the morning... 

Sunday - Christmas day!
Today was a day that I did not want to come. We went and ate breakfast with some hermanas from our district. It was so much fun. During church, I had to give another final testimony. I could not stop laughing. It is really weird because before, I was crying all the time. Now, I am fine. They gave us a bag of cookies and candy. We ate lunch with Klever and Isaura. Later in the afternoon, I had to have an extremely tearful goodbye with Jenny. She was so upset that I was going but something she said (and I have heard it before along with many other missionaries) that we were angels in her life when she really needed us most. That is something that every single one of us can hear if we stop thinking about ourselves and go help someone. I really am so grateful for having the opportunity to have met Jenny because I learned a lot about how the simple acts of Christ-like love can really make a difference. Sometimes, we cannot do a lot of things or we do not have the resources. One thing that we can always do is give someone a little bit of our time, a hug, an encouraging scripture, or listening ear. It is the simple things that make the biggest differences. We went over and spent Christmas with Fam. Antamba and was seriously the funniest Christmas ever. We go to talk to our families and just like Mother's day, we had to skype on a phone. Thankfully, Francisco was kind enough to let us borrow his phone. While talking to my family, everyone wanted to see what snow looked like, so I had my family take the computer outside to show them the snow. It was so funny because everyone got so excited. We made pizza from scratch and it (thankfully) turned out awesome! We took goofy pictures and then had another tearful goodbye. Hna. del Rosario and I got home and I finished my packing.
 
This is my last letter. A few people came to the terminal to say goodbye. I traveled with two other hermanas that were finishing the mission too. I am now heading to Quito, where I am going to visit some of my converts. Tuesday, I have my last trainings, an afternoon in a huge museum of Quito, and dinner with Pres. and Hna. Murphy. Wednesday, I will be on my way home. I know this gospel is true and amazing. It changes lives. I have been changed. I love my mission and the opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to be here in Ecuador. 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Monday, December 19, 2016

Homecoming for Hermana Megan Duff

Hermana Megan Duff is coming home December 28, 2016, and her plane will land at 8:13 pm at the Boise Airport.
Megan will be giving her Homecoming talk on January 1st at 1:00 pm and the Paramount East Building located on 5501 N. Meridian Rd., Meridian, Idaho. Her home ward is the McMillan Ward.
Megan will be returning to BYU Idaho on Tuesday January 3rd.

Week 75 Pictures

 
Christmas with the Murphys!

 
Sharing a Merry Message

 
Practicing English by playing hangman

 
Sharing all the fun the mission will be
with a new Sister from the CCM (aka MTC in English)

Week 75 Flashback to the CCM! That is the Spanish version of the MTC...

Hey friends and family!
It was a super stressful week but a week of miracles all the same. We were asked to participate in a mini MTC so we had a flashback to the good ol' times... I got to go out on divisions with an hermana named Kathy. She was super awesome to work with.  

Tuesday
We headed to Quito for Christmas! It was a lot of fun. On the way there, Hna. del Rosario taught me how to crochet a little bit. We got to Quito and had a little Christmas zone conference with Pres. and Hna. Murphy. We presented our little skits to everyone. Ours was pretty great. If you remind me, one day I will show you them. Lunch was super good. We got turkey, so it was kind of like a late Thanksgiving dinner. I helped clean up the messes while waiting for my interview. Guys, there was progress, I did not come out of my interview crying. It is so weird to think that it is finally all coming to an end. We got home around 9:45 and quickly went to bed because we had gone to bed late and had gotten up early. 

Wednesday
We had a fun district meeting. Afterwards, we went to eat with Hna. Liliana and her daughter. We talked about the importance of giving referals. She promised to be on the lookout. On our way out of her house, we contacted one of her neighbors, Andres, a cute old man, who accepted a visit. We taught him about the plan of salvation because his wife died 13 years ago. He was so happy to hear that he could see her again. We prepped Richard for his baptismal interview and helped finish the lessons of Jenny. I helped with some English homework, then we were introduced to an hermana that said she would be happy to receive a visit! 

Thursday
Richard passed his interview! All he had to do is go to church one more time and everything would be set... We visited Andres and he was patiently waiting for us. We invited him to church and he was so excited. We finished Jenny's lessons and her interview was set for Saturday. One hermana who came with us was awesome! She always wanted to be a missionary but could never do it. Oooof! She would have been a powerful missionary. After Richard's baptismal interview, we took the elders to give a blessing to an hermana who was sick in our sector. She was so happy to receive a blessing. One of our recent converts also got to participate in the blessing and he was so excited. Later, we visited Geovani and he is getting closer and closer to baptism, he is just missing one thing. 

Friday
We quickly visited with Geovani before heading off to Carabuela for divisions. I went with Hna. Jueschke again. We had a fun time chatting about all the miracles that we have seen in our mission. We visited a partial member family and a recent convert. Then we went to the plaza in Otavalo with the Imbaya zone and sang for an hour and a half while other missionaries contacted. It was pretty fun other than Hna. Jueschke and I have been a little sick so our voices were horrible. 

Saturday
We got the chapel in Rumiñahui and were given "trainees". I got a sweet girl named Kathy. Of course, all of our appointments fell but we were able to talk about how awesome the mission is. She is so excited to turn in her papers in January. We visited Rosa and she is doing awesome. After lunch, we hurried to get Jenny for her baptismal interview. She passed!!! She is going to be getting baptized on Friday!! Yay! Later in the evening, we visited Geovani and he asked if he could be baptized... Sayyyy whaaaaaat?! Yeah! I was pretty excited. 

Sunday
We went to get Andres for church and he was so excited to go. We found out that he went to the ward activity the day before with our ward without even being invited... It was pretty funny to find that one out. Richard almost was not able to come to church... He did not have oxygen to travel. We got pretty discouraged but with a lot of prayer and faith, he came to church. Officially he and Jenny are going to be baptized on Friday! I was crying because we have put so much work into this happening. We ate lunch with Hna. Berta and she was bummed to find out that this was the first and last time that I would eat with her. We caught the bus and visited Andres. We planned the baptisms then headed to Gabrielas's house. Jannik turned 13 so we celebrated with them a little bit. It was fun. 
It was a crazy, emotional week. My goal is to not spend this whole week crying. Wish me luck! I hope you have an awesome week and can you believe in a week, I finish this crazy, amazing journey that I started a little over two years ago?? 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 74 Pictures... different foods...

 
Merry Christmas

 
White beetles: fried
 
 
Megan up in an avocado tree picking avocadoes.

 
Anyone for fried chicken feet?

 
Dinosaurs can be friendly too :) 

Week 74 The weird food that I ate this week...

Hey friends and family!
So last week, I sent the picture with Richard, right? Where we always teach on the doorstep if his mom is not home? Right... So this week, we got attacked a ton by dogs trying to get in and out! It was a pretty interesting week. 

Tuesday
We helped an hermana set up her Christmas tree. It is always funny because they all use pine trees here, just like in the states. Her son asked why they use pine trees and she said, "I don't know. They do it in the US, so we do it too." We got to the F. de la Cruz and they were playing around with gatsos (a white beetle). People here really love eating them fried with tostado (kind of like corn nuts). Yes, I tried gatsos about a month ago. No, I do not like them... We talked to them about the importance of family prayer. 

Wednesday
Richard, our investigator with a baptismal date, always had the idea that he was going to be baptized in the waterfalls of Peguche. We had to break the news to him that that could not happened. He was a little bummed but still really wants to get baptized. We visited a few recent converts and it was pretty funny. One family, F. Casco, finally answered our prayer to give service. We always ask if we can do anything for people but are always rejected. Today, we got some homework- teach them how to have a family home evening. It was cute because the mom said "Yes, I do have something that you can do for us!" We found a new investigator named Vicky. She is a funny lady. We will see how she progresses.

Thursday
We got lost on our way to lunch. The other week, we changed up our mamitas, so I am a little lost as to where some live. They gave us "molleja" which is chicken liver. It was a very interesting experience... Later, we helped F. Antamba pick avacados from their giant tree. Yup, I got to pick avacados in Ecuador. It was pretty fun. We went up to Cajas and visited a family and they gave me chicken feet... In the evening, we were talking to some other investigators and they tried to convince me to get over my cough with goat milk... 

Friday
We chatted with Rosa Elena to see how she was doing. Oh how I love her. I told her that I had printed off her pictures of her baptism but that I would get them to her the next week. She told me that it was an excuse and that I have terrible memory (I told her a month ago that I would print them off.). We finished Richard's lessons, so he is all set and ready to go! We just need to plan his interview and he needs to come to church twice to be baptized! After leaving Richard, we went to Estela and she told us that she thought we had forgotten about her because she had not seen us in over two weeks... I felt so bad! We have a recent convert named Mercedes who is close to completing a year as a member and she is pretty funny too. I know a few words in Kechwa, so I use them with her. I said "chuspi" which is fly in Kechwa and she could not stop laughing. Her daughter told me that she tells everyone about what I said. 

Saturday
Planned service projects fell through but we still had a good day. We planned some visits for the next week with members. A lady started talking to me and offered to let us help her make humitas! Yes! We visited Cynthia, a recent convert who's baby is super cute! Such a temptation! He is a little chubby thing. Next week, I will have to send a picture of him! We had our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader and coordinated how we are going to do things with the ward activity and baptisms. 

Sunday
Richard came to church! Jenny and her kids came to church! They all have a baptismal date! It truly was a blessing to see them at church and so happy! Jenny has been going through a lot of things since we started visiting her but she is going strong and is super excited for her baptism! The bishopric gave us new glasses for the house. After lunch, we were sprinting out the door to catch the bus to go to San Pablo. It was pretty funny because I ran out the door without my bag, so there was Hna. del Rosario, running behind me carrying all the things as I tried to stop the bus. It was quite the sight, they told me. 
This week, we have our Christmas luncheon with Pres. and Hna. Murphy! I have my final interview tomorrow. Time is flying by way too quickly! I hope you all have a great week! Find ways to give service! 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 73 Pictures of all sorts of good friends...

 
A new take on the Nativity scene...
is that a crocodile?

 
Our Christmas Tree



 
Friends losing a loved one going home;
Megan is on her way in 21 1/2 days!

 
It's a good thing that they are not related.


Week 73 Hello, My name is Hugo Montoya, you came to zone conference, prepare to be edified!

Hey friends and family!
This week was quite the interesting week! We had a visit from El. Montoya and his wife. I lost the keys to our house. I was basically Ariel because I did not have a voice. I learned how to make "papa rellena". I do not have parasites. The sky is still just as blue here in Ecuador as it is in the States... I really do not want to go home...

Tuesday
During our district meeting, we practiced singing Silent Night and played hangman. Everyone got super competitive. I almost died laughing. We found one of the recent converts who we had lost today! It was miracle! We chatted with her and she thought that the missionaries and everyone had forgotten about her. We were able to share a scripture with her and she is excited to come to church! Our investigator, Richard, continues to progress little by little to his baptismal date. 

Wednesday
I made lunch then we headed to visit Dayana and Jordan. Later, we visited Richard and watched a talk by Pres. Monson about decisions. It is funny because when Richard's mom isn't home, we sit on his door step to teach him and his brother, Francisco. 

Thursday - 17 months in the mission!
We read a little bit in the BOM with Rosa then helped wash her clothes. Later, we took Jenny, an investigator, to an hermana who is going to beauty school to paint our nails. It was a fun night to just sit and chat. Jenny opened up more and more about her needs and how she really likes to listen to what we are teaching. She told us that she knows that the church is true! She is closer and closer to baptism. 

Friday
I woke up without a voice. The bad thing was that I had to lead the music in the meeting with El. Montoya and I was part of the choir. Hna. del Rosario could not stop laughing at me because I was coughing so hard every few seconds. We talked about the inciative for Christmas this year. We really are focusing in on giving as much service as we can. During the luncheon, we got to chat with El. Montoya's wife. It was such an amazing experience. All afternoon, we showed the Christmas message to everyone and gave cards to hand out. Geovani and his family took a bunch and were so excited to start sharing. 

Saturday
We gave a tour of the chapel to Jenny and her kids. The spirit was so strong. I did not want to leave the chapel. She still is not quite sure but says that she is close. We contacted for a little bit and set a few appointments. Later, we chatted with Richard and his family about his baptism. Richard is so excited. The only challenge is that he has a heart condition and is on oxygen which makes church attendance a little difficult. We are working with ward counsel to fix that.

Sunday
The ward counsel was revising the ward mission plan and we gave a few ideas to help them keep progressing as a ward. We ran around the second hour giving everyone the Christmas inciative card. Later, we ate lunch with Geovani and his family then chatted with Jenny. Richard could not come to church so we had to change his baptismal date but he is still going with his excitement. We helped an investigator was dishes before heading to Gonzales. I lost the keys on the way to Gonzales but thankfully, our land lady did not get mad. We just need to make copies... We helped a convert fold her laundry. The Christmas devotional was awesome as always! "Not only because he was born but that he lived, died, and resurrected for us."

We had a district activity today and watched The Best Two Years. Hna. del Rosario said that at the very end of the movie, it describes our relationship perfectly... I hope you all have an awesome week! 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 72 Pictures... Thanksgiving?

 
Happy Thanksgiving

 
Where's the beef (turkey)?
Eh, we had chicken.

Week 72: How to Properly Contact a referral: Throw up at the end of it... Oops!

Hey friends and family!
Happy Thanksgiving (a little tardy...)! It was a pretty quiet week but a fun week!

Tuesday
We had our district meeting then had to hop on a bus to Quito for a doctor's appointment for Hna. del Rosario. She did not want to go but we went anyways. While there, I got to chit chat with a bunch of random people while waiting for Hna. del Rosario. Afterwards, we got KFC and hung out in the nurse's apartment because they would not let us travel back to Otavalo that night... Horrible decision right there...

Wednesday
We had to get up at 4am to get everything ready to head to Ibarra. We had a meeting with Pres. Murphy and it was ridiculous! We were first told that it was at 10:30 and that we had to be there at 10. Then the night before, they told us 9:30 and that we had to be there at 9... We got to Ibarra at 8 because the bus went speeding and they told us that they would come find us in the terminal at 8:50. Our zone leaders got there a little bit after us and were confused as to why we were there so early. Come to find out, it started at 10... We talked about #LighttheWorld and about how we will not be working as much in reactivation. The area presidency said that we need to be focused more on finding new people and that the wards need to be working with their less actives. Makes sense, so we're going with that. 

Thursday
We did a couple of visits. Hna. del Rosario and I made lunch at home for Thanksgiving of chicken and mashed potatoes. She was pretty excited. We have an investigator named Richard, who is the brother of a convert who wants to be baptized. His only problem is that he has an oxygen tank and it is a little hard to carry around. We are looking for ways to help him so that he can attend church every Sunday. We read in the Book of Mormon with Estela then talked about repentance with Luis. The funny thing is a bunch of our investigators that are close to baptism do not accept a baptismal date because they tell us that they want to go through the whole process of repentance. They are going to be awesome when they finally decide a baptismal date!

Friday
We did a ton of running around again. Only this time, my stomach was hurting all day. The day was pretty quiet until the very end. We went to go contact a referral that we had received. We sat outside (thank goodness...) talking about our purpose for visiting and all that jazz. The whole time I was dying... Hna. del Rosario invited the woman to pray but she said that she could. Hna. del Rosario said that was fine and that I would pray. I told her no and she got really confused. I turned around and puked. Hna. del Rosario told me that the poor woman looked so scared when I did that.... I was so embarrassed... We went home and I went straight to bed. Hna. del Rosario dies of laughter every time I tell the story to people.

Saturday
I still felt sick but we went out to visit anyways. Geovani told us all about how he no longer has desires to smoke or drink and that he wants to come to church every Sunday from today until forever. I will not lie, I was thoroughly shocked. Hna. del Rosario keeps saying that I have parasites because what better way to finish the mission than with parasites, considering that I have never had them... I said no and she offered to put a bet on it... One day, I will get tested for parasites to prove Hna. del Rosario wrong.

Sunday
We revised our ward mission plan in ward counsel and they all told me that I have a month to complete all the ward's goals... Yeah... We later had a family home evening with Geovani and his family. Yes, Geovani came to church on time... I again, was thoroughly shocked...
Hope you all have a great week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 71 Pictures... it just keeps getting funer & funer in Ecuador!

 
Having too much fun with the little ones!

 
Congratulations to our new member...

 
Yet another P-Day outing.

 
The gang is all here, hoorah!

Week 71 Que le pasa???

Hey friends and family!
This week was a crazy week for us! We were running around and also had to go to Quito for Hna. del Rosario's baptism. Hna. del Rosario's favorite thing is say to me is "Qué le pasa, hermana?" (What's going on or passing with you?). It is pretty funny because she says it all the time so I name all the things that are passing us and all she can do is laugh. 

Tuesday
We had quite the busy day. We did some quick visits to Marleny and Geovani. We did visits with Janet, a recently returned from the mission. Some appointments fell but she introduced us to a bunch of people. She only did it because I promised to teach her how to make chocolate chip cookies and to help prepare her for her English test. She's a funny one. We took a recent convert, Francisco, with us to visit a lady we had contacted Monday and that was a mistake. It was a pretty intense lesson and I felt so bad afterwards because Francisco asked if he said something wrong. I told him no but I don't think that he believed me. We went to visit Luis and he received us a lot better this week. We decided that we need to take it a little bit slower with him and he is responding positively. I knew that we couldn't lose hope on him because he told us that he started reading the BOM again (he told us that he did not want to anymore). 
Wednesday
We ran here to there, back over to there, and then in circles. We met Patricio and Viviana, a new couple that we started teaching. Patricio is the brother of the high priest assigned to our ward and he was excited to hear that we were going to start teaching his brother. They happily received us. While waiting for them to have time, we played on the swings and the little girl was helping push me. It was pretty cute. It's pretty brutall with Hna. del Rosario because we spend all night talking. During our weekly planning, we had to put a rule that we are not allowed to talk after 10:30, no matter how interesting the story is. 
Thursday
We got curtains for our house! It's the little things that count... I love our mamita, Hilda, because she always thinks that if we do not show up at 1:30 on the dot, we probably got lost or are never going to come. The buses have ben a struggle here because they are fixing all the roads. We took Hna. Hilda's son to do a visit and it was awesome. He was so nervous at first, but as he started sharing, he light up and kept going. It's so much fun to take out future missionaries to do visits because they are so nervous at first. Then, they realize that they do know what they are talking about and shoot off like a rocket!
Friday
We took out another future missionary and he had fun in the visit. I am so glad that they are really enjoying the visits because they will be doing it for a long time. We hiked a mountain to look for a referral but never found it. Basically, we hunted for one girl but I forgot her number at home. Later in the evening, I look in my planner and realized that we were saying the wrong name... Hna. del Rosario and I had a pretty good laugh about that one. 
Saturday
We had a crazy adventure to Quito... We got to Quito just fine and made it to the chapel for Hna. del Rosario's baptism. I chatted with Hna. Alvarenga about my old sector in Quito. Ooof how I wanted to go back so bad! We left and got home super late... Like 11:30 late because the bus took a different path, there were problems with the road, and crazy fanatics walking to Quinche for some weird religious thing that I am still not 100% sure why they do it. The most important thing is that we got home safely. 
Sunday
We had a ton of investigators at church and half of them weren't even ours! I didn't want to send the referrals but had to do it... They were super awesome too... Oh well, it's the same work everywhere. We made lunch at home then headed to visit a few people. It was a pretty quiet evening until we got back to the 4th of July here in Gonzalez. They were still celebrating the virgin of Quinche... This time with fireworks and a huge party... It was interesting to watch.

https://www.mormon.org/christmas/light-the-world <-This is the church's social media blurb for Christmas. Hna. del Rosario and I have put goals for what we are going to do everyday. You guys should too! It's awesome! Have a great week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 70 Pictures: A goodbye & a New Last Mission Companion

 
Our Awesome District

 
Goodbye Sister Cruz

 
Hello Sister del Rosario

Week 70 El Fin Se Acerca....

Hey friends and family!
This week was quite the week... Let me first start off by saying I feel like the Grinch because I do not want Christmas to come. It is so weird to think that I have come to my final transfer. All the members are planning my funeral... I mean my farewell... Hna. Cruz and I had a fun last week together and now she is in Quito getting ready to go home. Hna. del Rosario, a fairly new hermana, is my last companion. Also, Pdays are back to Mondays... Sad day...

Sunday
Dayana was confirmed a member of the church! Yay! It was so cute to watch her. I am so excited to see what the future has in store for her! About 5 minutes before sacrament, we were asked to teach Relief Society... It was a rough lesson but because there was a funeral, everyone left church early, so we only had to teach for 25 minutes. Digna was our mamita because our plan, back up plan, back up back up plan fell through... We basically crashed the first part of a YSA activity because you know, we can do that kind of stuff... We had spent all of Saturday night looking for a cake for Dayana to celebrate her baptism but because we could not go to Casco with her, we sent it with her and her brother. One of our investigators, Gabriela, gave us each a giant bag of corn. She told me that I have to take it home to the US... We will see how that one goes. 
Monday
Our investigator, Geovani, has a welding shop in Espejo right next to the Elder's Quorum president of the ward Punyaro. It is pretty awesome because everytime we go to visit Geovani there, his neighbor is always sharing with him. We had an awesome conversation about making decisions. Later, we visited Rosa and contacted a few referrals that we had received. 
Tuesday
We celebrated the last district meeting of the hermanas with cake! It was a fun meeting but a little sad to think that the end was so close for them. Our mamita for the day happened to be in Otavalo so she picked us up from the church and took us to her house. She is making us some skirts that are going to be awesome! We went up to Cajas to talk to the High Priest assigned to our ward about his brother, a potential investigator, then headed to visit Estela. Note: Every time that we go to Cajas (the two times we have gone...), it has been raining like crazy! We got to Estela drenched from head to foot in a manner of seconds in Cajas... I was dying of the cold while we chatted with Estela. Her daughter prays constantly that we will always come to visit. 
Wednesday
There was a miracle in Cajas... It was not raining. I told that to Hna. Cristina and she almost died laughing. Her husband thought it was pretty funny too. She gave us this awesome "colada morada", the typical drink for the day of the dead, and it was so good that I have the recipe. I will most likely be attempting it when I go home. We visited a few converts then visited Geovani. He actually read the whole chapter we had assigned him! His progress is slow but he does progress. Now we just have to help him quit smoking... 
Thursday
We set up a "quit smoking and drinking" schedule with Geovani. He has stopped smoking and drinking a lot but we are going to help him kick the habit completely! We contacted a referral from a recently returned missionary and she is awesome. Her name is Jenny and she was listening to missionaries about 5 years ago but never got baptized. She happily received us even though she has been having a lot of family problems. At the end of the visit, she could not stop saying that we were angels sent from heaven. I am so excited to work with her! 
Friday
I got my last agenda set up for the next transfer and organized the area book while Hna. Cruz fixed up her suitcases. We visited Jenny and she told us about how 2 years ago, she had finished reading the whole Book of Mormon. We talked about the plan of salvation and she is so excited for church. We contacted some more referrals then had dinner with Geovani and his family. It was fun because we talked about eternal families and why he needs to quit smoking. We watched "Together Forever" and Geovani was crying in the end. 
Saturday
We went running around finding all of Hna. Cruz's stuff that were with members. We finished the lessons of F. Velasquez, so they are officially reactivated! For lunch, we waited for the bus to go to Casco and 3 buses passed us by. We celebrated Jessica's birthday and there was cake... ;) Someone got their face smashed in the cake... And they are all excited for my last day to smash my face in a cake. Oh how I love these people... We visited a ton of our converts today to help keep them going. One of them, we taught through the window because his sister had not gotten home yet. It was quite the sight...

Sunday
We went to F. Velasquez and they helped us put on anaco for Hna. Cruz's last Sunday. We took a bunch of pictures and after taking the sacrament, we headed to the terminal. 3 hermanas from our district were finishing their missions, so the companions (Hna. Sandoval, Hna. Perez, and I) got to be in a trio for the day. We ate lunch with the old stake president of Otavalo then headed out to visit. We visited a few less actives, converts and investigators. I found myself with some of the members from Imbaya and Cotama. We got home and were completely exhausted because we had walked from one end of Otavalo to the other and back again.

This week was a crazy week but I am so stoked for what lies ahead! Hope y'all have a great week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Week 69 Pictures :)


 
Baptismal time... hooray!

 
Baptismal time... again... makes 2 :) ... awesome!
 
 
An interesting loaf of bread...
It is a bread child... Tradition!

Week 69 Feliz Dia de los difuntos!

Hey friends and family!

Yep, it was the Day of the Dead here in good ol' Ecuador and it was a pretty crazy week. The bus system refused to work with us and we spent hours waiting on the side of the road... But! We still got work done and saw tons of miracles along the way! 

Sunday
We had a bunch of members introduce us to their nonmember friends that they decided to bring to church. All of them really liked church and are excited to learn more about the gospel! Rosa was confirmed a member of the church! YAY! It really was an amazing experience to work with her because for her baptism, we invited all her kids. Some are not active but to see that their mom decided to take the step to be baptized motivated them to come back to church. One of her grandsons who is not a member wants to be baptized and to serve a mission! We took a cake over to celebrate with the family. They were all so excited that they are one step closer to being an eternal family! Rosa just has to complete one year as a member and all 8 (three have passed away) can be sealed for the eternities! 

Monday- Happy Halloween!
It was a difficult day with the buses. They were not my friends. We waited forever for them to not come and were in the rain... Not fun but hey, we have a super cool investigator. His name is Luis and he was a reference from our Elder's Quorum President. He told us a lot about how he wants to change his life and feels that the gospel can really help him. His friend gave him a Book of Mormon and this kid is already in 1 Nephi 15! He just started the other week. He kept apologizing that he had not been reading that much... Seriously?? That is pretty fantastic how much he has read! Anyways, he excitedly accepted a baptismal date for next Saturday because he has come to church twice. 

Tuesday
We found out that our investigator's, Dayana, brother came home from the military for a week and he was the one that she wanted to baptize her. Thankfully we had finished all of her requirements last week for baptism, we just needed a signiture and an interview. It was a little rough putting her baptism together but we pulled it off. I was so sad because one of our families of investigators promised to teach us how to make wawa de pan (bread child) but they never showed up... :( We ended up going to Luis a little early and when we got to his house, he was eagerly waiting by the door saying that we were not going to show up (we arrived 15 minutes early...). He was so excited to invite his sister to listen to us too. The whole time we were there, Luis kept telling his sister that what we were teaching was true and that he knew it was a good thing for the whole family. It was funny but awesome because he is so excited to learn. 
Wednesday- Happy Day of the Dead!
All our appointments fell, including lunch. Thankfully, Hna. Lucia loves us enough to give us lunch! We got permission from Dayana's parents for her baptism!  We had to deal with a few of Luis' doubts but he was able to resolve them!
Thursday- Happy Birthday Dad!
Today, I really disliked the buses... We waited 45 minutes to get out to our lunch appointment and 45 for a bus to get to our interviews with Pres. Murphy. Thankfully he was running a little late with the other interviews... Afterwards, he gave us a wawa de pan! Dayana had her interview and we quickly put together her baptism for the next day. We asked Luis why he wanted to keep some of the commandments that we taught and he said, "They are commandments. I know that they might be hard to keep but the blessings will be worth it." Boom! This is why we keep commandments people! We may not always understand why we have them but the blessings will come if we are faithful in fulfilling every single one of them.

Friday
We had a super long meeting then went to set up the things for Dayana's baptism. It was hectic. First, we did not have a member from the bishopric (we still do not have a bishop...). Then, our ward mission leader did not show up (he showed up an hour late)... Then, the baptismal clothing that our ward mission leader had sent with his son never showed up (it showed up 10 minutes after the ward mission leader)... BUT! The baptism still went over very well. Dayana was so excited that her big brother baptized her! The spirit was so strong! Dayana will be confirmed on Sunday and their family will be one step closer to being an eternal family!

Saturday
So next Saturday, I will not have Pday, it will be the following Monday. Today, we did a ton of shopping for Hna. Cruz so that she would have things to take home for her family. It was exhausting!! 

I hope you all have an amazing week!
Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Week 68 Pictures

 
Wild, it looks like this lake has a tide.
Maybe that it just the seaweed?

 
Sister Cruz with Sister Megan's
overworked expression!

Week 68 Running... Around... In... Cirlces...

Hey friends and family!
I know... I know... You guys are sick of me saying that I am tired... So... I am exhausted! This week has been insane: arranging things for a baptism, finishing lessons, finding new peeps to teach, and making pancakes.

Sunday
We had a super busy Sunday like always. Running around getting everything ready, we found out one of the members had brought a nonmember friend but unfortunately we did not have time to meet him. After lunch, we walked to Casco (about 35 minutes walking down and up a ravine) to visit people only to find that they were not there. We went contacting in a part of our sector and I found a family from Imbaya! It is so fun to keep running into everyone. We did a little noche de hogar with a few families in Pijal. 

Monday
We contacted references and then headed to a new mamita's house out in Cajas (the farthest part of our sector that we never go to...). It started to rain like crazy right as we were getting off the bus and we were soaked within 2 minutes of being outside. Lunch was fun to get to know the hermana and her husband who is the High Priest assigned to our ward. Later, we went to Casco to visit Dayana and she is officially ready for her baptism, only she lacks her interview which will be this next week.

Tuesday
We got to our mamita a half hour late and she said that we were never going to come. Story behind her: Everytime that we were suppose to have lunch with her, either we had an unplanned meeting or she bailed on us. During lunch, she repeatedly told us that she thought that we would never come. Well, we proved her wrong. She gave us a referral for her nephew. We visited Rosa and she is so excited for her baptism. She kept asking her daughter when we were going to come to visit so that she could tell us how excited she was. We planned a noche de hogar with a less active family that we are working with. Finally, we found Estela again and took popcorn to watch Finding Faith in Christ. Her brother stole the popcorn! Later in the evening, we visited a lady and her daughter that we had contacted the night before. She was so excited to hear what we had to share with her and happily accepted a return appointment.
Wednesday
We read a little bit in the Book of Mormon with Dayana. She is doing super good. She is now in 2 Nephi! We visited another family and watched Finding Faith in Christ with the wife while we waited for the husband to get home. They loved the movie so much that they asked if they could have it. 
Thursday
I got a ton of bug bites while we were visiting Marleyny, our investigator. She was telling us about what she had been reading in the Book of Mormon and loves to read it. After lunch with Hna. Luz, we visited Rosa and did finishing touches for her baptism. After Rosa, ALL our appointments fell, so we went to Lake San Pablo to meditate for a little bit of what we should do. While sitting, an hermano called saying that he saw us walking past his house and wanted to give us some referrals. We went with his and his wife to Gonzales (really, we just wanted to go to the main road to visit an investigator at work in Espejo but he ended up taking us all the way to Gonzales) and told us about his friend who came to church and how he really wanted us to visit him. After we got out of the car, we quickly hopped on a bus and headed back to Espejo to have the noche de hogar. We made pancakes and watched a Mormon message about faith. The pancakes were horrible but they liked them all the same. 
Friday
We. Ran. All. Day... After our weekly planning, we ate lunch with F. Mendoza and chatted about random things. We went to visit a family of less actives but they were not home. We caught a bus to Casco and read a little bit with Dayana and her brother Jordan. Then we ran up the hill to visit a family of recent converts for a few minutes. We had to cut it short to catch a bus to San Pablo. We got to San Pablo and they were having a huge party for the birthday of San Pablo. We visited a family of investigators and are going to make wawas de pan on Tuesday for the Day of the Dead! Afterwards, we met with another recent convert then with our ward mission leader to arrange things for the baptism. We went to Gonzales and visited Luis, the friend of the hermano. He was so excited to see us and told us that since coming to church, his friend gave him a Book of Mormon and he has read 2 chapters everyday since. He is so excited to come to church on Sunday. Later, we went down to visit Erica, the lady that we had visited Tuesday. She told us that she wants to come to church on Sunday so that she can see what it is like! On our way home, I told Hna.Cruz that I was way too tired to walk up the hill back to Gonzales and that if a taxi passes by, that we would take it. I also said that I only wanted to pay $1 for the taxi. Right as I said that, a taxi passed by and took us home for $1! My prayer was answered! Hna. Cruz just laughed at me...

Right now, we are heading to go to the baptism of Rosa, so I will send pictures next week. This upcoming week, we have interviews with Pres. Murphy! It was a crazy week but a good week. I hope you all have a great week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Week 67 Pictures

 
White pineapple... one of Megan's favorite foods!
 
 
Congratulations Sister Cruz


 
Sister Cruz is officially English speaking proficient,
now she may be allowed to study at an American college...
I think?