Choclo is corn on the cob in Spanish. I have taken so much corn off the cob this week like the Ecuadorians, I could almost be from Otavalo now! We helped people de-cob a ton of choclo and they also gave us tons of choclo to eat.
Right as I get here, we have an amonita (house inspection by the hermana leaders). It was super fun because Hna. Mortera is my hermana leader! :) Afterwards, we ate lunch with the bishop and so begins the mountains of rice. Here in Otavalo, the normal plate contains a giant mountain of rice with giant boulders of potatoes. I don´t mind the potatoes but sometimes the rice becomes a little too much. We hopped on a bus (our bus trips are a minimum of 20 minutes) and visited a lady named Rosa. She went on a rant about how her son in law is LDS and mistreats her daughter. We tried to explain that everyone has their agency but she did not want to listen.
We went and did visits with our recent convert Mauricio. We hike up and down a few mountains here and there and let me just tell you, I am exhausted... Our sector is out in the middle of nowhere! With giant mountains! It is actually quite pretty. When I have batteries again, I will take pictures. We got to little dirt villages that are probably about a mile apart. Also, can I just say, elders ain´t got nothing on us hermanas. We hike mountains... in a skirt!
We did visits with our ward mission leader, Geovanni, a recently returned missionary from Mexico. It was super funny because no one was home. Also, we got a reference for a less active family and at first she said no to us visiting and then as we started to walk away, she yelled that she would let us visit. They stopped coming to church because they had been offended. It is really sad some of the reasons why people stop coming to church. We talked to the family and they accepted another visit, so that is good. Also, I have learned that the Otavalians are really good at holding grudges so don´t cross one if you know what is good for you! We visited another less active family named Family Cabascango! It was so cool because I just had reactivated the daughter, Hilda, back in Quito! It is a small Otavalian world after all!
I went from a zone of almost all gringos to a zone of almost all Latinos! I actually really like my zone. They are all awesome. One of my zone leaders is El. Copa! (He was in my district in the CCM!) We talked about how we really have to listen to the people that we are teaching to help them. In our zone meeting, we talked about how we need to have faith that we are going to see miracles. It is so very true! After the meeting, we went and did a visit with our district leaders when we took corn of the cob. We kept saying how we were turning white from corn exploding on us and one of the elders handed me a super white corn of cob because I am so white, it would help me become whiter. Hahaha it was a super funny visit. Then we waited forever on top of the mountain to go home.
We found a less active who said that this is what she had been missing. She thought that the members had forgotten her but we were able to help her feel the spirit. It was an awesome experience. We tried visiting a few people but they were not home and ended up at the Fam. Potosi´s house. They have been inactive for 6 years and have a Book of Mormon from 1991! It is so cool to see how much the tools for learning the gospel have improved!
Sunday I am in a indigenous ward where it is a mixture of Kechwa and Spanish. My brain is so tired from trying to understand Kechwa and Spanish that I all want to do is take a nap in Relief Society. We had an hermana bring a friend to church! It was so cool and we have an appointment with her for this next week! Member power! We had a ward noche de hogar and it was super fun! We played games and ate food in a recently reactivated hermana´s home. We got home to our neighbors above fighting (probably very drunk). This morning we learned that our other neighbors had called the cops on them twice in the night! Crazy! Thankfully, Heavenly Father protects his servants and they did not come crashing through the ceiling!
That is pretty much it for this week! I am loving Otavalo! An hermano made me read a scripture out of the Bible in Kechwa and he says I pronounce things very well! He is going to get me a Bible in Kechwa this week so that I can start practicing and is helping me translate my testimony from Spanish to Kechwa so that I can share it on Sunday! Yay! Kechwa is super cool to listen too!
Yep, you all heard right, there was a huge earthquake here in Ecuador (along the coast). No need to panic, I am alive and breathing! It was a 4.0 where I was at but Esmeraldas was a 7.8. All the missionaries in Ecuador are ok! Thank you for all of the prayers! Also, I got transferred! I am now in Imbaya! It is in Imbabura, a little part of Otavalo! I finally came to Otavalo!!! I was super torn about these transfers...
It has been raining a TON here! We bought a bunch of tortillas from an hermana in the ward because we love ourselves some quesadillas! Hahaha it was pretty great when I had to call my district leader and he told me that we were crazy for buying food right before transfers. We told him that he did not understand how many quesadillas we can eat. Later in the evening, we watched the Restoration with a few less actives.
We did our weekly planning and then headed to our mamita. She forgot that we were coming (we called the day before...) so her emloyee made us popusa! It was so good! It is like an arepa but with cheese and beans mixed in! It is a very popular food from El Salvador where she is from. We went and watched the Restoration with the Familia Añapa but got some sad news. Nelly is planning on going back to the coast at the end of the month and Mikal is going to go work in Cumbaya... Sad day...
Remember how I had gotten the request for making banana bread for the zone? Well... It was a disaster! We had received permission to go cook it in the other hermana´s house but they weren´t home. We ended up trying to cook it at the church but the stove was not working... We started our meeting worrying about the other hermanas in our ward because we had not heard from them all night. Turns out, they went to get one of their visas... El. Wheelwright said that we had a crisis because the banana bread was not going to be cooked, then the hermanas showed up, and then El. Wheelwright said that we still had the crisis of the banana bread. Hahaha oh elders and their banana bread... Later in the night, my head started hurting really bad. I almost passed out and a member, who is a doctor, asked if I was anemic. We ended up going home and I went straight to bed.
While I was dying on my bed last night, Hna. Thomas had called the mission nurse and told her that I was not doing good at all (I had gone to the doctor last week...). She set an appointment and we almost did not make it on time because the rain was so ridiculous! It has been raining so much these past few weeks. Dang winter... The doctor poked and proded me for a few seconds, gave me a prescription, and sent me on my merry way. On our way home, we bought hamburgers.
Day of the earthquake! Bum bummm bummmmmmmmmmmmm! It was a pretty calm day. We spent the morning knocking doors trying to find the people that we had called from our area book. It was quite funny because we just got rejected a ton and could not help but laugh. We visited with an hermana that is going to complete one year as member in a few weeks. We love eating lunch with her and her husband because he starts telling us the do´s and don´ts of the mission. He said, "The Preach My Gospel" videos are a lie for south American missions because "how many of your apartments have looked like that? None? Exactly my point!". It was so funny. We then went to Zambiza and were visiting Hilda, a less active, when the earthquake hit. We were all calm and sitting then everything began to shake. It was quite the experience. We did not know how bad it was until we got home and our neighbors were freaking out about how we were... It was really sad to hear about Esmeraldas...
And because of the earthquake... we cancelled church?? Apparently because of the earthquake, many of the church buildings in Ecuador and some in Peru were not considered safe to go to. We were told to watch the stake conference from home but we decided to study instead. We ate lunch with the Relief Society president and then said goodbye to a ton of members. I do not know why, but I always know when I am getting transferred... It was so sad to say goodbye because they started to cry... It breaks my heart.
I am in my new area now! I am with Hna. Carrasco! She is from Ecuador but from the southern part of Quito. I am in a ward where they do all the reunions in Kechwa. I guess it is now time to start learning some Kechwa!
Kaya kama (until next time),
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana
PS. Shout out to Katy who got her mission call to Taiwan! (She´s in El Eden ward)
The picture of the dog is a random dog that is always walking up and down our street where we live. I have determined that he is my pet and his name is Mufasa ;) just kidding, he is not mine but his name really is Mufasa because I say so :)
guinea pig or rabbit... you decide
Wilton cake decorating classes paid themselves off here.
This week was a pretty awesome week! All the members were a buzz with the announcement of the new temple. I also had the cool experience of finding someone that I thought was lost forever. Also, the church was restored on April 6th, many years ago. We had little challenges all week while trying to teach the Restoration to investigators, converts, and less actives.
While I was out in Esmeraldas, we had a recent convert that had almost completed her year named Juliana. She dropped in December and I prayed that Heavenly Father would help her to change her life around. Hna. Thomas and I were looking for a lady that we had contacted the previous day but were not able to find her. In fact, we got really lost. While walking up a road, a girl asked us if we were missionaries. She told us that she had been praying to find the missionaries since December. Turns out, it was Juliana. We talked and she is progressing very well. She has introduced us to a lot of her family and has been giving service to one of the members that lives near her. She has met a lot of the members that live near here and are now looking out for her. I know that it was the hand of the Lord and her faith that lead us to her.
Oh and a random note, we celebrated Hna. Egas´ birthday today and had lunch with her family. I can now say that I have eaten guinea pig... and rabbit... It was quite interesting... The rabbit was pretty good but the guinea pig (cuy) was tough but still good. I made Hna. Egas a cake and she was so excited. It was super fun!
Wednesday We have had this investigator who has been investigating the church for the past year and has not quite gotten to the point where he feels that he needs to get baptized. His wife is an interesting case. She tells us everytime since I have gotten to this area that she is Catholic and that she will die Catholic. Well, since coming to this area, she has had a little change of heart every time that we come. The other week, she had received a Priesthood blessing from our zone leaders (the Priesthood power is very real guys) and when we asked about it today, she said that yes, she still had pain but she was doing so much better. She said that she would not pray with us... wait for it... today because... wait for it... She still was not quite comfortable with the way we pray. This is a huge step that she said that because she was always saying that she would never pray! Little by little, she is changing!
Thursday We had our mini zone conference and my zone leaders asked if I would make banana bread for the zone for next week to celebrate all of the birthdays in our zone. Those silly goobers are always asking for banana bread because it is hard to bake down here in Ecuador but I have figured it out.
I know that missionary work is a team effort and that we are all just trying to help people to come unto Christ but it still sucks when you have to pass off an investigator that is progressing really well to other missionaries... We had to give an investigator to the other hermanas in our ward. It makes me sad to hand them off but happy to know that they will continue to progress.
Saturday We had our house revised by the hermana leaders again and got a really good compliment! They said that they thought our house was the cleanest house in the zone! (Just took two transfers to get it cleaned up...) Our hard work is showing! We were super busy teaching and finding people. It was great day! We had several people tell us that they did not want us to change their religion. I told Hna. Thomas as we were walking away that we would not change their religion but that they would change themselves. That is the great thing about the gospel. It is never an obligation and if people open up their hearts, they will change themselves. Something funny that I just have to include: sometimes men just do not understand that we are not here to date. They are always hitting on us. Hna. Thomas is really funny because if she catches on that guys are trying to flirt or sometimes that is just how she starts conversations, she tells them straight up that we do not date during the mission. She had to say that quite a few times today.
Sunday We were fed quite a bit today... We were given cerviche by Familia Flores, quimbolitos by Familia Jimenez, and chicken enchiladas and chocolate cake with Familia Cruz. It was a lot of food! We stashed a bunch of it in our fridge as emergency food for when we don´t have mamitas. Oh how I love this sector!
That is all that I can really think of for this week! Hope y´all have a great week! Keep me updated on your lives! :)
To start things off... QUITO IS GETTING A TEMPLE!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Words cannot describe my excitement!! I knew Quito was soon to get a temple ever since I started the mission but it was made more apparent when El. Holland came to Quito and was here for a week and a half. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Also... I hit my 9 month mark!!! Who would have thought that it would have taken so long to get to this point... BUT! I finally did it! So to celebrate, we went to the Mitad del Mundo (Center of the world) with an hermana from the ward who´s birthday is tomorrow. It was super fun and I balanced an egg on a nail! How cool is that?
We had the hermana leaders show up at our gate in the morning to study with us and see how we were doing. It is always a little awkward when the hermana leaders come over... Anyways... It has been raining like crazy this past week because of it starting to be winter. That being said, we get soaked within 5 minutes of being outside of the house. We went to Nayon and hid out in Hno. Lopez´s shop until the rain lightened. We were not able to visit many people or talk to many people in the street because Ecuadorians are convinced that if you go out in the rain, you will automatically get sick.
I am so very much done with cleaning this house that I am living in... This week, we found mold and had to clean the curtains of the house. The hermana that we dropped them off with was laughing because she asked what next of this house I was going to clean (she cleaned our sheets the last time...). She told me that the curtains were absolutely filthy... Welcome to the big city full of pollution and dust! Yuck! Hahaha oh well... It started to rain and she did not want to let us leave because of the rain. The only way we escaped was the fact that I had left the windows open in our apartment to get air moving. Later in the evening, we went to visit the family Añapa and they are doing awesome! :) They are reading and praying together!
We were finally able to visit Joselyn after forever! She has been so busy with senior year that she is always working on homework or catching up on sleep. It was so sad not to see her for two weeks but we finally got to visit her! She is still doing awesome! She is learning how to balance her schedule so that she can get all of her homework done, read the Book of Mormon, and go to church.
Today was a slightly frustrating day because all of our appointments fell so naturally we go contacting. We tried to find a few of the really good contacts that we had contacted the previous weeks but never found them! We talked to over 40 people in less than 2 hours trying to find these people. You could say I was exhausted! We visited with Nelly and she was reading when we got there! After chatting with her, we went and had a meeting with the bishop to figure out a few things. Hopefully soon we will get another ward mission leader.
Conference!!! Wooo! It was such a good conference! I got so much out of it! I really liked the talk by El. Hallstrom where he talked about our divine potential and how the most simple but most forgotten truth in the church is I am a child of God! Everyone needs to remember this! We are all beloved sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father! He is always looking out for us, making sure that we are ok and well taken care of. I am so grateful to have this knowledge and know that in the end, everything will be ok! :) After conference, we went and watched Finding Faith in Christ with Nelly. It was a good way to end the night.
QUITO IS GETTING A TEMPLE!!! :) Oh how you should have heard the missionaries yell... Actually... Oh how you should have heard the members scream and shout for joy! There are currently 150 operating temple and by the time they get all caught up on temples, there will be over 170 temples! OBVIOUSLY it is an important thing to go to the temple! I cannot wait until I can go to the temple again!
That is pretty much all I can think of right now... What were your favorite talks from general conference? Send me the name or the speaker! And if you did not watch conference, repent and go watch it! It is full of good stuff! I do not want to wait until October for the next one!!! Ahhh! Have a fantanstic week!