Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 29 Welcome to Gringolandia

Hey friends and family!
Another week has come and gone and guess what! I am in Gringolandia! Basically that means that I am with a bunch of Americans! It is really weird! About a third of the ward I am serving in is nothing but gringos (Americans). It is kind of cool but also really weird. I have only eaten rice twice this week. The reason why there are so many americans is because we live near the American embassy (how cool is that? Exploration time? I think yes!). 
I am old! Yay... Hna. Rojas made me breakfast and then we went to a member´s home for lunch. We ate chicken make with coca-cola and ice cream to celebrate my birthday with them. Later, we tried visiting a reference from a member but she went to the hospital... We ended up eating dinner with the Family Cruz, a family from the states who Hno. Cruz is an ambassador. Hna. Cruz had made banana bread and Hna. Rojas told her too that it was my birthday. Hna. Cruz told us that she was not planning on baking that day but had a feeling that she should. She said it was meant to be that we were there! After dinner, she drove us home. 

A new experience for me is that we do not live in our sector... We live (minimum) 20 minutes from the edge of our sector. We take about 8 buses everyday depending on if we go to different parts of our sector. In the evening, we met with our investigator named Joselyn who is planned to be baptized on the 13th of this month! She is 17 years old and has the testimony of a someone who has been a member for years and years. Joselyn told us that she loves the gospel because it gives her peace in her life and it is so true! We can always find peace with the gospel because it gives us hope. 

We had our usual meetings but here it is a little different. Usually we have our meetings in the Iñaquito chapel but since the new missionaries were there today, we ended up having our meeting in San Carlos. My zone is awesome! I am in La Zona Quito Oeste with all the leaders like the assitants, secretaries, and the nurse (don´t worry, I am in good hands). We did a little scripture chase but I was not putting forth effort. They would read the scripture and we had to find the reference. Winning team got ice cream. One of the scriptures they read was in Omni 26 and the only reason why I knew that was because Pres. Richardson had shared the scripture with me. It talks about how we need to offer ourselves as a sacrifice to become closer to our Heavenly Father and to help others to find the gospel. 
Later in the evening, we had a Ward Family Home Evening in the chapel. We are using this activity to help investigators and less actives to make friends in the ward. It is so much fun. Our ward mission leader did a little activity where we thought about our favorite prophet from the scriptures and why. Then he said that the only difference between them and us was that they were acting and we are usually lacking in the acting. It was a super fun activity and of course afterwards, we had refreshments (the best part of any activity).

Seriously, being with gringos is interesting. Our mamita today, Hna. Rasmussin, gave us salad, grapes, and tortillas de papas. I am eating so healthy. You all would be so proud of me (so much freaking salad... blehhh!). Later in the evening, we went to a part of our sector, Zambiza, to visit Joselyn and a few other people. Unfortunately, Carnival is near so everyone is starting to get ready for parties and such. This means that with the huge street parties, less and less people are in the house but great for contacting! ;) We broke our healthy streak for the day by getting pizza (I had been craving pizza for weeks! It was awful!).

We had our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader. He misheard what I had said and was super confused. I had said "hermanadores" or people who become friends with our investigators/recent converts/less actives to help them feel comfortable at church. He heard "Hermana Doris" and was wondering when an Hermana Doris had moved into the ward. It was super funny.

It is always interesting to visit people and to have them open up to us by telling us their stories of their lives. We talked to one less active named Cristina who has not come to church in years because of what has happened in the past with her ex husband. This is why I am so grateful to have this gospel because it helps us move forward past the fears and worries when we understand the doctrine. 

Later in the evening, we got home and while I was calling in our report for the day´s work, Hna. Rojas was making herself one of my hot chocolate packets. She did not understand how it worked, so she put the package in the microwave (it was lined with aluminum) and it started to spark. In the middle of my call, all my zone leader could hear was "Qué está haciendo?? Va a quemar la casa!!!"... It was pretty funny to think about it after the incident... (I was talking to my zone leader who had been my zone leader in Esmeraldas when the other house was burned...)

Church was fun. I had to introduce myself and bear my testimony. It was cool because I ran into one of the hermanos from the Yaruquí branch. We gave a tour of the church to Joselyn and she told us that the reason why she liked coming to church was because she felt safe and loved by Heavenly Father. That is what we should always feel when we go to church. 
After church, Heavenly Father answered my prayer! I had been craving all day bread but because it was the Sabath, we could not buy bread. We went to visit an investigator named Estephania and she works in her dad´s bakery. She gave us bread! Then we went to go eat lunch with our mamita but right as we got there, she was leaving to go to the coast for several weeks and gave us a bagged lunch. We took the lunch and ate it at the Cruz´s house. They also gave us pizza and cake from the birthday of their daughter, Breanne, who celebrated her birthday 2 days after mine. 
Today we got to go pay our energy bill and go to the offices so that I could get an agenda. We went to the Otavalian market to look at all the fun stuff. We have a bunch of Otavalians in our ward that are willing to sell us the same things but cheaper. They are awesome. We then ate lunch at a Colombian restaurant because Hna. Rojas is from Colombia and was missing her food. It was a simple but fun p-day!
That is pretty much it for this week. What have I learned since my last birthday? We can plan all we want but in the end, Heavenly Father puts us where we need to be and you know what, I am ok with that now. Have an awesome week and hope to hear from you all soon!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

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