7 weeks in Ecuador

Como estan mi familia y amigos?!?! Les extraño muchisisimo!!!! This week we had a Family Home Evening with the Cardenas family. It was so much fun and really spiritual too. After we taught the lesson, the family started a game. We played hot potatoe and whoever ended up with the hot potatoe had to do something in front of everyone. Hermana Alva had to act like someone on a bus trying to sell food. haha, there are a lot of people here who hop on buses, tell pity stories, and beg people to buy their food. It’s pretty sad, but it is also very well recited, so i don’t know how much i believe half of them. Anyway, so that was funny. Then I had to go outside of the house and yell”El chanch sea muerto!” Three times. It was so funny. This family has a little girl and boy. They’re like ten and eight so they were laughing like CRAZY. Gosh. I loooove little kids. They’re so perfect. They are ALWAYS excited to see “las hermanas” (that’s me, b t dubs), and they are so patient with my spanish. ahhaha my spanish isn’t bad. but it isn’t superb. When the little kids start talking SUPER fast, I CANNOT understand them. haha so i always just look super confused and go “COMO?!” and they start laughing but then they talk slower for me. They’re so sweet. always.
AHAHA! Okay, also this week, hermana alva and i were buying some food off the streets before one of our contacts because we were starving. So, we started talking to the cook about her food and the gospel and all, and out of no where this drunk guy pipes in and starts yelling at us saying he wants to pay for our food. He started whisteling and like knocking over chairs…it was weird. We told him it was okay and that he should calm down. Everyone was laughing…then he got really close to me and almost grabbed my arm but i moved and told him to please not touch me. Then he said like ten times “tranquila” which is similar to “calm down” or “no worries”. Then i whipped out one of the Word of Wisdom pamphlets and handed it to him. hahaha I told him that he didn’t have to pay for us and that we actually had a present for him and that if he read the pamphlet, that he would be a lot happier in life. Then he drunkedly thanked me and laughed and tried to hug me so Hermana Alva and i BOOKED it out of there. haha aw man. I wish I knew what happened when he came to and found that pamphlet in his hand.
Also this week Hermana Alva and I gave a tour to some of our investigators and it went really well. The spirit was really strong. And at the end, one of the investigators, Mercedes Galarza, came up to me. I was so excited because i thought she was going to say something about the church but then she straightened up my back and told me to have better posture. hahaha AHHH Mom. You ALWAYS told me the same thing, and now it’s like since you’re not here with me, other moms are taking your place. hahah I told her how you alllways tell me that and that i am working on it but it’s hard and then her daughter, Carolina (she’s 24…) said how Mercedes does the same thing to her. haha So SHOOT. I thought i got better at that, buuuut apparently not. But, I WILL have good posture when i get home. It’s just hard because i alllllways have a backpack on and it hurts less when my shoulders are forward. But whatevs. First world probs, i’ll get over it.
Something else quite amazing i realized this week is that we have eyelashes. And eyelashes block out dust. But when stuff DOES get in our eyes, our eyes water…to push the stuff out…hahhaha okay but seriously, how cool is that?! Heavenly Father is ingenious!!! That is seriously amazing that our eyes know to water to get the stuff out…stop laughing. I’m being completely serious. Because here in Ibarra there is dust and dirt evvvverywhere that’s always flying in my eyes haha because there are so many trucks that bring that stuff to the streets and just….yeah. well you get it. Eyelashes and tears are gifts from God. End of story.
Something funny that Hermana Alva ALWAYYYS does, is when she sees a white person or a white couple she yells “hermana Dunne! Sus parientes!!” or, “Sister Dunne! Your parents!!”. The first time she did that, like when i first got to Ecuador, i FREAKED out. I was like “no. nonono…they can’t be here…there’s no way. how did they know i was here?!” but uhhh, yeah. I was pretty let down when i saw two Europeans walking down the street. Whatevs.
So another thing that people are aaaalways telling me is that i’m going to get sick. Here the weather is pretty crazy, like Oregon. It will rain when it’s sunny out or it will be super hot one moment then reeeeally cold and windy the next. I usually just wear short sleeve shirts because i get hot walking around and i bring a sweater for when it gets colder at night. But all the investigators and members are so concerned for my health. Buuut i think that’s a wivestale! You don’t get sick from the cold!! I mean, maybe if every day and night I wore short sleeve shirts and shorts when it was thirty degrees outside…yeah, i can see the logic in that. But, i haven’t gotten sick yet and i never FEEL cold. I dunno. I guess i will test it out more, but up till now I am totally fine.
So, our goal this week for our district was to invite people to be baptized the first contact we have with them. A contact is just when we talk with a person about how we are missionaries and we talk about the gospel. It’s hard to do that on the streets because people are usually busy and the cars and trucks are soo loud. But we are trying to reach that goal when we contact door to door. We usually don’t knock on doors because it takes up too much time and usually is not successful. But we are trying to teach more families also, so we have been doing a lot more of that. So, we knocked on this door and a woman answered and we talked to her about our message and asked if we could talk a little more about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She let us in, and we taught her that lesson. Then, we invited her to be baptized. The spirit was so strong! And I am so much better at teaching more in simple terms and explaining things clearly so i thought it went really well! She said she wanted more time to think about it and talk it over with her husband, which is fine, but i was so happy because we have never been able to teach someone the first lesson the first contact. It was cool.
I also taught about the Restoration the first contact with this taxi driver this week! Hermana Alva wanted me to do it all by myself so i could learn better and have more confidence…hehe…so! I started talking to the driver about his life and stuff and then i began to tell him how Jesus Christ truly restored His church on the earth again! And that we have a living prophet once again!! He was really intruiged, so i taught him the whole first lesson! I talked about how when Jesus Christ died, and his apostles died, no one else on the earth had the priesthood. And that some people tried to remember the gospel of Jesus Christ and started their own churches based off of what they remembered, and what they liked in the Bible, but they also changed a lot of really precious things in the Bible and changed ordinances like baptism. Then i talked about how Joseph Smith in 1820 wanted to know which church was true…I talked about the first vision, the answer he recieved, and how he received the Priesthood that Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles had and that through that power, he was able to translate the book of mormon. AH. Hold on a second. How amazing is that?!?! God is so merciful. He knows we need this gospel. He knows that Christ’s gospel is PERFECT. And He knows that through this gospel, we can live with Him again…we NEEDED this restoration. We weren’t progressing. We needed it. Okay, i will bear my testimony about the restoration another time…so this taxi driver was SUPER interested and amazed! Unfortuantely, he doesn’t live in our sector, so he’s a reference for the elders. But i really hope that everything goes well with him.
There are so many times that I wish that i was a convert. To see how amaaaazing it would feel to hear about the gospel for the first time. To find out that CHRIST CAME TO THE AMERICAS when i had never known that before. To know that we have A PROPHET once again on the earth. That he truly receives revelation for us…that he guides us. That the gospel has been restored again in the EXACT same manner that Jesus Christ established His church. What a miracle. How great would that feel to hear of that hope for the first time in my life. It is such a blessing to have known about this church since i was old enough to comprehend what church is, but gosh would it be amazing to see how my life was before I heard about the gospel, and then see how much my life would change after. Crazy stuff. This is what keeps me going. People HAVE to hear about this gospel!! This gospel brings people out of depression. It gives people hope. And it provides people with the ordinances, or promises, NECESSARY to return to live with God again! How great is that?! Everyone HAS to hear about what this gospel offers. There are too many people living with depression, guilt, sorrow, anger…they need hope. They need REST from these feelings. Spiritual rest is what brings us true happiness, and I NEED to find the people that are ready and praying to hear about this gospel.
Isn’t prayer amazing?! I think i have already said this, but how INCREDIBLE is prayer?! We have a way to communicate with God almighty. The Lord OMNIPOTENT. And he ANSWERS our prayers. I just can’t believe that we have the blessing to be able to speak, to pour out our souls, to the God who created the forests that surround us. Who created our bodies so our souls would have somewhere to dwell. Who created music so our spirits can feel the love of God pulsing through our bodies. Gosh, i can’t even express what prayer means to me. I don’t know how i could only take a minute or two to pray before my mission. My prayers never last any shorter than 15 minutes now. There is so much to be thankful for. So many people to pray for. wow.
The Holy Ghost truly helps us be stronger. Resist satan’s temptations easier. Feel more at peace. Feel comforted when we feel sad or alone…the Holy Ghost helps us learn and grow spiritually. What a gift.
Something else that we learned during district conference was that if we run errands, and watch tv, and hang out with friends, and do whatever else first and then tell ourselves that we’ll read the scriptures later and pray later…we will never read or pray. But if we pray and read first, we will ALWAYS have time to do the rest of the things that we want to do. And if we aren’t reading or praying…we aren’t progressing spiritually. And if we aren’t progressing spiritually, we are regressing. I have seen that to be true in my life, sadly, and i feel so blessed to have the sacred time in the morning to be able to study and pray and ponder what I am learning.
As missionaries, we always invite people to read passages in the book of mormon, and to pray…because that is the ONLY way they can know for themselves that these things are true. It has never been that “the mormons” try and “push” their religion on others. They KNOW that this gospel brings TRUE, ETERNAL happiness. And they KNOW that it would bless their friends’ and families’ lives immensely. immensely. “Mormons” invite their friends and family to read and pray about these things because they know they are true, and they truly–from the depths of their soul–want their loved ones to feel and KNOW of the same happiness.
I really hope all is well with everyone still and that you can feel the spirit through my emails. I feel the spirit very strongly as i write, and I want everyone to know…all my family and friends…that this gospel is true. And I hope with all my heart and soul that you can take the time to investigate this church. To learn more about what it is, how it is, and if it’s true. I pray for you all day and night and I know that you all will be blessed if you do take the time to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love you all and can’t wait to talk to you next week! 🙂 Take care, and stay strong in your faith. Know that through prayer and reading the Bible and Book of Mormon you find true spiritual rest and comfort. Never forget that God loves you and has provided you with these means in order to be happy in life. Love with all my heart, Hermana Dunne! 🙂

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