Yep, you read that right! Only our house did not burn down completely. Note: It was not our fault.
For our district activity, we celebrated that the district had been progressing with their English. We celebrated with ice cream, KFC, and extremely competitve UNO. It was an simple but awesome activity. Afterwards, an hermana painted my nails for me for my birthday.
While teaching Carmen, our less active, her chicks were running around, fighting over a cockroach. Hna. Ccoycca could not focus because she was freaking out about the cockroach. I was dying of laughter. We did divisions with two hermanas in the ward who are preparing for missions and by the end of the day, we had taught over 15 lessons! I was exhausted!
I ended up celebrating my birthday 3 times this week because I knew with my birthday being the day after transfers, I would not be able to celebrate it. Today was number 1. We had a general missionary broadcast (there has not been one in over 10 years! I feel cool!) and an hermana in my zone gave me a raincoat because I accidentally left mine back in the states. Hna. Mariela decorated her house with balloons and bought me a cake for my birthday. It was super sweet. She also gave me a shirt for my birthday.
Thursday (The day of the disaster! Bum bum bummmmmmmmmm!)
Well... What started out as a normal day took a turn for the worst. We had our weekly meetings and two missionaries, El. Tituaña and El. Risco, completed their missions so they bore their testimonies and we ate cake! Always a good day when cake is involved!
We went home to drop off a bunch of stuff but when I opened the door, black smoke came out of our house. I went in several times to open windows and grab our phone. We called the fire department and our zone leaders. Fire departments here in Ecuador and in the states work very differently but hey, it is all good. Turns out the reason why there was a fire in our house was because of our fridge. Something happened and it exploded causing a fire. The wall is ruin and the ceilings are black from the smoke. The owner of the house was not upset with us; she was upset with the elders because they stayed for a little bit then left. She kept telling them that they had to stay and take care of us hermanas (we were tough girls though).
We ended up taking all our clothes and dividing them among members to wash them. The elders took us to the hermana´s apartment out in Atacames for the night until we could figure out our living situation. It was scary but I am ok, Hna. Ccoycca is ok, our clothes are ok, and the house is going to be fixed up.
We came back to the house and talked with the hermano that is going to be fixing up the house. He said it would take about a week to get everything fixed. We talked to the secretaries for living arrangements and we were put in the house of the elders. Those elders were moved into the zone leader´s house until the house it fixed up. They showed us where the house was and spent sometime cleaning it before we entered. Some of them apologized for the house and left. We ended up spending 4 hours that night cleaning the bedroom so that we had somewhere to sleep.
We got up early and began cleaning again. We cleaned almost all day minus lunch and arranging our laundry. In total, we bought 7 bags of laundry detergent to clean our clothes and the house, 2 light bulbs, and a bunch of oreos. It was insane. After 14 hours, we can say the house is clean. The elders told us that the house had not been cleaned in over a year! I can believe that from the amount of grease and dirt in the kitchen, the bottles under the beds, and the millions of spiders and ants.
Church was good and for lunch, we celebrated my birthday again! This time with the family Avila. They were all excited to celebrate and were even more excited about the cake. We made a couple of visits, took a bunch of laundry home, and then went and had even more cake! We finally received the calls for transfers at almost 11pm! I was to be going back to Quito! I am now companions with Hna. Rojas in Edén (funny coincidence that I left one Edén to go to another).
I got all my stuff packed last night and as we got ready to leave, it had been raining heavily all morning. We had a river outside of our house. All my stuff is soaked and I might have to buy a new Book of Mormon but I made it to Quito safe and sound. Hna. Rojas lent me clothes and helped me put my clothes out to dry.
What have I learned from this week´s experience? Yes, Heavenly Father gives us trials. Sometimes, he gives us lots of trials but he always provides a way. I will not lie, I wanted to give up. I wanted to sit down on the sidewalk and cry (thankfully I didn´t do that...). I was extremely blessed that through all of this, there were many people willing to help. Members and an investigator washed all of our clothes, the mission secretaries arranged the things for the house, and everything worked out in the end. There are always angels looking out for us, even if we cannot recognize them. Sometimes, all we can really do is wipe away the tears, put a smile on our face, and get to work because there is always someone who has it worst than us. Keep moving forward and do not focus on the bad! Have a great week!
This has been quite the week! We had a baptism and we had the opportunity to listen to a 70 (one of the big guys!)!
We had our weekly meeting this week and it was pretty funny. We ended up doing a lot of practices and it was super hard to be serious because the elders were coming up with some of the weirdest situations. We decided to go visit an investigator who lives probably freaking forever away in Winchele (the outskirts of our sector) and she is doing super good. She just has to get married so that she can get baptized!
Our mamita, Mariela let us come to her house a little early so that we could eat before traveling to Quito. We also chatted with our ward mission leader to make sure he talked about certain people that we have been visiting in ward counsel. He then took us to the terminal to head to Quito. Bus rides are killing me! We ended up getting to Quito around 8 and headed to the nurse's apartment to spend the night.
It was a super good to see a bunch of my friends from before I went home and my CCM buddies. A bunch of the elders from my first zone said stuff like "Hermana Duff, you're back from the dead?" and "Hermana Duff is resurrected". It was super funny.
Ahhh! El. Godoy was awesome! It was awesome to hear him tell his conversion story. His wife talked about what it is like for people who do not have the gospel. She had us write on a white board all of the things that were brought to light with the restoration. I was feeling really good as we filled the board but after we finished the board, she slowly started erasing the things. It was sad to see all the good things be erased and it felt like the room got a little darker. That is exactly what it is like for people who do not know the gospel, just a little bit darker. We got done early with El. Godoy which meant that we had to travel back Esmeraldas today. We got lost on the way back to the nurse's apartment to get our stuff but finally made it to the terminal with 5 minutes to spare! Hna. Bosse ended up coming back with us and Hna. Silva went to Otavalo for another meeting. Basically this whole transfer we have been in a trio.
In the evening, we went to the baptism of the Elders serving in our ward for a man named Roberto. While they were changing, we taught a little bit about the restoration. Roberto was super excited that he could finally be baptized and bore his testimony about the fact that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. How perfect was that?? We taught about the restoration and he testified for us. Boom! Afterwards, we all went and got salchipapas! No! Just kidding, we went and got food afterwards and while we were leaving, the elders showed up.
We were visiting Carmen, a less active and Hna. Ccoycca was playing with one of her chicks. It pooped on her and we were dying of laughter because it was so funny! We went to the church and waited forever for everyone to come. Thankfully, Brithany was able to be baptized without problems! She bore her testimony about holding onto the iron rod and it was super funny because she read from the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes very slowly (because she is only ten).
Today was a super good day for missionary work. Our less actives have been assisting and are really loving it! We had 2 show up that had never came before in all the time that I have here in Esmeraldas. It was truly a miracle. Also, Jesús, our less active, he came in a white shirt and tie (last time he came in a tshirt and jeans)! It was truly amazing to see the little changes he is making in his life! Also, Carmen did not come to church because she was super sick. We sent some bretheren to give her a priesthood blessing and guys, the priesthood power is real! We passed by a little later in the evening and she was doing 10x better! Boom!
That is pretty much it for this week! We are having transfers next week! No! I am most likely being transferred but we will have to wait and see! Love you all super much!
I seriously cannot believe that the week came and went (I know I have said that before and I will continue to say it because I am still in shock). We got a lot done and were super busy preparing Brithany, a little 10 year old girl, for her baptism this Saturday. Along with that, we have been helping reactivate 3 families this week. It was a crazy week!
Since Hna. Silva went to Quito again, her companion, Hna. Bosse, spent a couple of days with us. It rained a ton so it was super muddy. Hna. Bosse and Hna. Ccoycca were slipping and sliding and falling. Word to the wise, cheap shoes are never the answer. They just do not have the traction. I will not lie, I almost died laughing.
We went to go get Hna. Silva and I was expecting the next day to do divisions with Hna. Bosse in Quinidé but Hna. Silva said that we were going to have special training on Friday, so we could not. There were tons of meetings planned that we did not know about so we had to cancel a lot of appointments.
We talked in our meeting as a zone that we want to change the culture of our mission to one of where missionaries focus more on teaching repentance. This will help so many people feel that it is right to be baptized and that we won´t have as many inactives. We focused heavily on 3 Nephi 9 and 11.
We had 6 hours of training! Ahhh so hard to sit still for 6 hours. Thankfully they fed us! We talked about overcoming temptations and verifying committments. Afterwards, we dropped Book of Mormons off to people and continued to prepare Brithany for her baptism.
We visit a man named Jesus who has not come to church in over 5 years. He has been struggling with several personal problems and always told us that he did not want to come to church. The other day, we asked an hermano in the ward to go visit him and give him a blessing. Today he told us that he planned on coming to church!
Jesus came to church! And a bunch of other less actives! It was awesome! After church we ran around making visits and went to the church so that Brithany could have her interview. She is getting baptized this Saturday! :) Her whole family is less active but we have been working with them and they are all super excited for her baptism!
This week, we get to travel to Quito to listen to El. Godoy! How cool is that??? I hope you all have an awesome week and I hope to hear from y´all soon!
Happy New Year!? 2016!!! Woooo! What are your goals for the new year?
We went to teach a lady that Hna. Ccoycca found the week prior when we did divisions and she did not seem all too excited. We started focusing more on her mom and her mom accepted the baptismal challenge. The only problem is that she does not live in our sector/district/zone. Dang it! Oh well, the other missionaries can teach her. We are all on the same team, right?
We made a ton of copies today for all of our informes that we had to give to our zone leaders (it was ridiculous how many copies we made). Later in the evening while waiting to have correlation with our Ward mission leader, we left to make copies and to call him. He told us that he had been waiting at the church for a while (he got there right after we had left). Today was the first time that we had Ward counsel and correlation in over two weeks due to holidays.
New Years Eve! We visited with Carmen, a less active, and her daught Gina, who gave us super sugary jello to drink. It was kinda really gross because she added sugar. Later in the afternoon, we passed by our ward mission leader and he told us that we should probably go home a little early because everyone was drinking heavily (there were people drinking at 10 in the morning! Ridiculous!). We were suppose to be in the house at 5 but we came back a little early because in our sector, there were way too many men out drinking. Our neighbor above brought us turkey and potatoes and showed us her muñeco. Here in Ecuador, they do two things to celebrate the new year. One, burn paper mache manequins at midnight (muñecos) and two, single guys dress up in black dresses called viudas ("widows") and run around collecting money for beer. It was quite the sight.
We ate lunch with the family Angulo, the hermano that we recently reactivated. It was fun to chat with them but they were super exhausted from the neighborhood party they held the night before. Later in the evening, we were having a lesson with the family Tul. They are less actives and we are currently working with them. They have the cutest, rowdiest kids ever. The spirit was so strong when we were talking about Joseph Smith and the Restoration.
We ended up eating and being stuck at the family Avila´s house because it was raining so hard. We were wet all day long. We taught Katherine and Enrique, a Young couple who we are working with to get them married and Katherine baptized. They are doing awesome and finally were able to put a date on their wedding for the 24 of February!
We ran around all morning trying to help get less actives and investigators to church. After church, we went and ate lunch. Hna. Ccoycca was not feeling well so we ended up coming home after lunch and she was throwing up for a good portion of time. She fell asleep so I organized the house a little bit and made brownies (I finally have a good récipe!). She is doing a lot better today!
For Pday today, we went to the centro and goofed off. Then we ate schwarma. I have decided that I really like schwarma.