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.

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. 

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.

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.
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. 
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. 
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?

Week 67 If I die eating this, then I die happy...

Hey friends and family!
I hope you all had an awesome week! This week involved a ton of food! I know, I talk a lot about food but that is because I live for the food here! ;)
It was a busy day of meetings and church stuff as usual. We still do not have a bishop and the first counselor keeps telling everyone to be calm that we will have a bishop soon. They are so funny here. After church, we ate lunch with a family of recent converts then went to visit another recent convert. Later, we went to Rosa and had a little noche de hogar with her and another hermana. We visited one hermana with the Relief Society president and her husband so that he could give a blessing to an hermana who has a little baby that is pretty sick. It was funny because earlier in ward counsel, the Relief Society president's daughter had offered that her dad give the blessing.

We got a call saying that we were going to be doing divisions with the hermanas of Carabuela. Pres. Murphy changed the way that we do divisions: now we go work in the hermana leader´s sector both sets of hermanas. It was a little weird but still a lot of fun. I was Hna. Jueschke's first division as an hermana leader. All of our appointments fell, so we did a ton of contacting. We found some super awesome people for them to teach. We also visited an hermana who her husband had passed away over a year ago. We talked about the plan of salvation and she was so excited because she has the opportunity to see her husband again! We also did a noche de hogar with a recent convert and some members. It was a fun, simple way to end the evening. We went home, talked about goals, and ate cookie dough before crashing and burning.

Being English tutor, I have to bribe my English students (all the Latino missionaries). I told them that I would make them brownies if they get passing their English tests. I said the word brownies and they all got super excited and talked about how many modules they are going to pass (this is the key to success: bribery). We visited a few of our less actives today. I love visiting them because they are so sassy, especially Amalia, one of our new less actives. In Gonzalez, there is always a farmer's market every Tuesday. We usually go to contact. While contacting, I found white pineapple! (Story: One mamita in Yaruqui gave me white pineapple and since then I have been searchign for some but have never been able to find it! Until now!)

So... I was a little mean to one of my mamitas... I almost died laughing though... We always call our mamitas in the morning to confirm that we are going to eat at their house. Well, today, our mamita was Hna. Rocio. Usually when we go to her house for whatever thing: whether it is to drop things off, pick things up, or tell her husband to go pick up one of our investigators, I always call the house phone saying that we are outside. I called her at 9am (note: we do not leave our apartment until 11am) and said that we were outside. She said that she would open the door and hung up. I waited two minutes then called back. She said, "Are you freaking kidding me hermana?! I am not going to give you lunch... I will see you at 1pm." When we got to her house, she explained that right as I called, she was getting into the shower and had to put her clothes on to come answer the door only to not find us there. Then the thought came into her head that we cannot leave the house until 11... She said that she would give Hna. Cruz lunch but not me. We all had a good laugh. 
We talked to our investigator with a baptismal date, Geovani, who is having family problems. We talked about how he could fix everything with the gospel. He was too tired to really want to listen so we said that we would visit later (We visit him about twice a day- once at work and once at home). We finished Rosa's lessons for her baptismal interview and she was so excited. Later in the evening, we helped Geovani's daughter with her high school project of making an Inca outfit for who know's what... Geovani was still pretty upset so we left a little early. 

Our trainings are always really long... Today we talked about the importance of baptism, the Atonement, and repentance. Hna. Murphy talked about how there are two extremes about the Atonement: I don't need it or I am not good enough to be helped. The mission nurses gave a training about emergency kits and situations. We switched out all the food in the emergency kits. Hna. Cruz received a cake for passing her final English exam. She got intermediate!! Yay! All her hard work paid off. After our meeting, we reviewed the baptismal questions with Rosa then headed to Gonzalez. Estela is doing super awesome. Little by little, you can see her prayers are changing. She is slow progress but progress nonetheless!

We forgot everything! After lunch, we had to run home to get a baptismal record sheet for Rosa. On the way to pick up Rosa for the interview, we realized that we had left her teaching record at home... Thankfully, El. Unzueta still did the interview and he did it in Kechwa! Rosa speaks and understands Spanish but things are more clear for her in Kechwa. El. Unzueta is from Peru where they speak a different form of Kechwa but it is still very similar. Rosa was pretty excited. Rosa passed her baptismal interview! She will be baptized next Saturday by her son! Yay! Later, we visited Estela and even though she did not accept a baptismal date, she did accept the invitation which is even more progress. We changed Geovani's baptismal date for 5th of November. He seemed a lot more comfortable with the date. 

Today, we went all the way to San Pablo just to buy monzarella cheese. Hna. Cruz and I made lunch at home and bought some super good pork. We made macaroni and cheese. Guys, it was pretty fantastic. Later, we went looking for things in the market that Hna. Cruz to take home as souveneirs. It was funny because we kept running into one guy that was selling belts. He at first said that they could be for us. The last time we saw him, he shouted in English that we could buy them for our boyfriends... Ummm... Tuku rishka... Hna. Cruz and I just looked at each other and laughed.
Hope you all have an awesome week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Week 66 Tender Mercies

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Week 65 Pictures... oh my goodness!

My shoes: Mosiah 15: 15-17

Food: My mamita loves me so much that she gave me the heart ;)

My old district. San Pumbe!

Week 65 PDay? Saturday? Say Whaaaat?!

Hey friends and family!
Officially we changed our Pday! Ok, well just here in Otavalo! Every Saturday, people head to Otavalo to sell and buy things. That leaves every single sector in Otavalo empty. We talked with Pres. Murphy and he talked with the stake presidents and we have all come to the agreement that it would be better that we work a full day on Monday and have Saturday as Pday. It is just temporary right now to see how it goes and at the end of the transfer, we will have a definitive answer...

It was a fun district meeting. We are 12 in our district! Basically, we have the entire zone minus the elders from Cayambe. After our meeting, we went to eat and I found my jacket! The hermana had mistaken my jacket to be someone else's but brought it back. We then went to visit a new hermana named Rosa Elena. She is the mother of one of our mamitas who gave us the referral for her mom. She is a cute 70 year old. She cannot read but smiles everytime we come to visit. We told her that even though she cannot read, that she can look at the pamphlets. As we were arranging things with her daughter to take her to church, she was busily looking at the pictures in the pamphlet. She also accepted to be baptized at the end of this month!

We visited our investigator, Marleyny, and she is hilarious. We got to her house and she said that we were absolutely terrible. We asked why and she told us that it was because we did not visit her last week. We explained that a bunch of things happened but that we were always praying for her. She laughed and told us to come in. She told us it was better that we did not come last week because her husband was home and he is convinced that his son got sick because of us. She told him it was impossible because we can't hold babies (even though the temptation is very great). She says she wants us to keep coming to visit and is reading the Book of Mormon little by little! She also has been praying and has been having dreams about going to church with us. 

We went to our mamita who is the daughter of Rosa Elena and she seems so much happier now that we are visiting her mom. Today, we had to talk to Rosa about her fears of baptism. She told us that she did not want to be baptized because she was afraid of falling (she fell 2 times this morning). We told her that her son from Quito could baptize her and that put her worries at ease. After Rosa, we headed to Gonzalez and the bus we were on got a flat tire! I have no clue why but I could not stop laughing. Heavenly Father did not want us to go to our appointment, I guess... We watched a movie about Joseph Smith with a family of investigators. I love the movie of Joseph Smith because it shows what he went through so that we could have the restored gospel. 

Today we had a meeting where we were told that our Pdays are now Saturdays in Otavalo. Afterwards, I made a pretty funny joke to my zone leader. He is from Chile and Chile lost last night in soccer to Ecuador (everyone was screaming in the streets with joy... I was scared...). He was asking every so often if anyone had a joke and I said that Chile lost. Everyone lost it. After our meeting, we headed to Quito because I had been stomped really hard earlier in the week and given an ingrown toenail. I got to meet the new mission nurse and she is from Canada! Another Canadian in the mission! 
Today was so weird to have as Pday but oh well... Tomorrow morning we are dividing the stakes!! There will now be 3 stakes in Otavalo! OH HOW THE WORK IS PROGRESSING HERE! Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana

Monday, October 3, 2016

Getting trunky just a little...

>3 months OR
12.28 weeks  OR
86 days

Until Hermana Duff is home! You can choose how you want to count it down. Her official paperwork showed up for her to fill out today. She asked us to help, but it is in Spanish. Go figure; her Mission Office has done it to us once again by sending information in Spanish.

December 28, 2016

A very Merry Christmas gift :) !

Week 64 Mis Ultimas 12 Semanas

Hey friends and family!
When a missionary starts their mission, they start their first 12 weeks which can really describe how their whole mission will turn out. Then at the end, everyone says that they are in their final 12 weeks, which shows how your mission really went. Goal: Finish strong! Things to help: Conference was actually a really good start...
We had our monthly meeting with President Murphy today! It was super long but worth it. We talked about Zion's camp where people passed for a lot of trials and after they finished it, they came out stronger, more faithful members of the church. Pres. Murphy says that our mission is our own personal Zion's camp and that we will pass for many things but if we serve faithfully and diligently, our reward will be great in heaven. He also gave us a new study journal and the challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 3 months while writing down all of our thoughts and feelings as we read the Book of Mormon. At the end of the 3 months (Christmas day), that is our gift to the Savior. I am so pretty darn excited! I have goals of my own like finishing the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Preach my Gospel before coming home. If you want, you are all invited to do the same!

We went and celebrated one of our ward missionaries' birthday. Digna turned 22 and it was a pretty fun time. I made her brownies and a funny birthday card. I got to smash her face in her cake but promised that when it is time for me to go home (if I am still in the ward), then she can smash one in my face. Her aunt, Maria, told me that we are no longer allowed to visit her unless I bring brownies.

We basically spent all week telling everyone how awesome conference was going to be. They just looked at us like we are super crazy... But hey, conference is important. Our district leader had given us a referral for a family that supposedly lived near our house. We spent 3 nights looking for the family to no avail... It was pretty funny because everyone was like, "I think they live over there". We walked all of Gonzalez looking for this family... One day, we shall find them!

It rained and rained and rained... Then rained some more... Normally it is not so bad when it rains but lately, it has been so cold here that the rain was unbearable. The members looked at me shivering and said that they will make me a hat (1. that takes time and 2. it does not solve the problem in the moment but it is the thought that counts). They are so funny here. In Ecuador, rain equals death and sickness (they over exaggerate...). We visited Maria's daughter, Amalia, who is less active and her husband. They are so funny, I feel like we could be friends for life. We invited her husband to baptism and he accepted. I felt prompted to ask why he accepted and he told me that he wants to be baptized so that he can receive the priesthood so that he can be a blessing for his wife and son. This is why people should get baptized! The gospel brings so many blessings into not only our lives but the lives of our loved ones. We need to learn how to share this joy with others!

Conference!! Woooo! It went by way too quickly! It just so happened that every speaker, every message, had exactly what I was needing in the very moment! Heavenly Father knows how to help in times of crisis. We ate lunch as a zone. One of the gringo elders was shouting all the time, "Ya! Gringo room!". Thankfully, every conference, we have the opportunity as English speakers, to set up a room to listen to conference in English. It truly is a blessing. Here are some of the things that I loved from conference:
El. Hales- Conversion: filled with the Savior's love
Sis. McConkie: Pray for the strength to endure
El. Uceda: When you pray, are you really praying?
El. Andersen: Each of us is a piece of the puzzle. You are IMPORTANT!
El. Cook: Stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones.
El. Stevenson: As you look to the book, you look to the Lord.
El. Christofferson: Divine love can transform a willing heart.
El. Yamashita: Be ambitious for Christ: be motivated, dedicated, focused, faithful, diligent, humble...
El. Oaks: Trust in the Lord, He knows His sheep.

The craziest thing happened in conference today. We were setting up our room to listen to conference when the stake president came in saying that we were going to be in a different room so that there was space for more English speakers. I thought it was odd but we helped anyways. The 1st counselor of the presidency of the Guayaquil temple and some of his family were visiting Otavalo this weekend and came to listen to conference. We introduced ourselves and it turns out that I went to high school with his granddaughter who is now married. I have decided from this day on, I will not let anything surprise me because of all that has happened... (I will send a picture next week). We were invited with several other missionaries to eat in the stake president's home. His wife told us that she always makes a ton of food because she knows that a lot of mamitas fail us. It was so fun to chat with them. Here is more of conference that I liked:
Pres. Monson: The greatest gift that we have is the great plan of happiness!
Pres. Nelson: If we focus on joy, what can we overcome?
El. Meurs: What will I do to participate more actively in the Sacrament?
El. Davies: True worship transforms us.
El. Robbins: The way your treat them (kids, family, friends, investigators, etc...) is what they will become.
Pres. Eyring: Sometimes, we can't see the effects of our service.
El. Bednar: True faith leads to action.
El. Cook: The opportunity to serve is a blessing! (I testify of this one with all my heart!)
El. Rasband: No mistake or sin will take away His love. (He basically spent the whole time talking about the scripture on my missionary plack: Helaman 5:12)
El. Schmutz: The pain can be swallowed up in the eternal gospel.
El. Nattress: It's about one... One prodigal son... One lost sheep... One woman at the well...
El. Renlund: Who sells the eternities for the sake of a toy?
What was your favorite talk? 
Conference was such a good boost to keep me going! Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement! I get to stay in San Pablo!! Yay! Hna. Cruz will be finishing with me. She goes home this transfer. Today, we took her English exam! Hope you all have a great week!

Until next time,
The Strawberry Blonde Hermana