Every week I get here and I don't even know what to say! How in the world am I supposed to describe all of my experiences? It really isn't possible, but I hope I can give you just a little portion of the incredible Spirit I feel in the field and the small moments that make every day worth it!
So people have asked me what my daily life is like.... Let's start there!
the alarm goes off. We lay there for a few minutes to wake up and then roll to our knees in bed to pray. I make my bed, change into gym shorts and t shirt, and go downstairs for workouts. We turn on music, spread out blankets on the floor, and work out. Jumping jacks, planks, sometimes I run up and down the stairs, stretching. I get creative with my workouts. I really love that time of day.
Preparación. I shower, get ready, eat breakfast. Breakfast is usually bread, or yogurt with cereal mixed in, sometimes bananas if we have them. Pretty simple.
Personal Study! I wish I had four hours a day to do personal study, honestly. I love it so much. I study Preach my Gospel, the scriptures, preparing for lessons we are going to teach and thinking about scriptures and things that will help the investigators.
companionship study. We sing, read the handbook, practice lessons, confirm appointments,
12 semanas (the first 12 week study program for missionaries being trained) we watch the district or study in preach my gospel
language study! Hermana Adams makes sure this hour always happens which I love! I study from my hundreds of flashcards, or read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, or study my workbook, or read the Liahona in Spanish. I love this hour.
Leave the house! We gather up everything we need, fill waterbottles, grab rain jackets, etc., kneel down to pray, and we're off! Agenda in hand, we walk the streets of Ambato, or take the buses, and go to and fro. We contact like crazy. With Hermana Adams, contacting is so much fun! Because it really is like Melanie calls it, it's just making new friends! I used to want to contact but I was so scared to do it, and now I hardly give it a second thought! Lots of times we show up to peoples houses for scheduled lessons and they arent there. Sometimes we have one of the ward missionaries with us. We talk and talk all day, usually in Spanish but we slip into English more than we should haha. But every day we pick a verb, and I help Hermana Adams learn to conjugate the verb in all the tenses and give her practice sentences. She is so sweet, and wants so bad to learn the language. At 1:30 we usually have lunch in a members house, and other than that we are working the whole time!
We get home, exhausted. Actually I am always exhausted. Maybe that's one thing specifically you guys could help me with this week, is pray for me to have more energy! But yeah as soon as we get home we wash our hands (germophobe me) and then we get right to planning! We start with a prayer (we pray between every hour of study too) and plan appointments for the next day and backup plans, and then what we are going to teach them, and then we have to fill the area book to write about all the appointments we had that day, and we right down all the info we got contacting. We are still new so we're pretty slow, so some days it takes till 10 or 10:15 to finish. Then we scramble around getting ready for bed, and by 10:30 we are in bed praying. The instant I lay my head on my pillow I am pretty much asleep. Sometimes I have enough gumption to make myself lay on my back or at least get in a comfortable position before I fall asleep haha. I love sleep.
So, yeah! That is my life! Day in, day out! Now here are some more specifics about my week!
A normal day of the work, with not too many lessons. My eye was super swollen for several days, no clue why, but it's fine now I think! The highlight of this day was teaching Margarita, a recent convert. She is a doctor. We tried to have her as a member present in a lesson with Tatiana, an investigator and also a doctor, but Tatiana cancelled. Figures. And none of the 4 other investigators in her area could meet with us either. By that point it was 8:30 at night, so she drove us home and we sat in her car and taught her about the temple! It was really amazing, because she didn't know much of anything about the endowment but she has a goal to go through the temple at her one year mark in June! It was a very powerful lesson!
This day was INCREDIBLE because we had a worldwide missionary training! We watched the broadcast in the stake center, my old chapel on Quis Quis, and the whole zone was there, along with Presidente Christensen and the assistants. It was absolutely incredible! They announced a change in the schedule, which means everything I told you above is going to be changing! At least the times haha. I was SO excited because with the schedule change there is the opportunity to get a whole extra hour of sleep! How cool is that ?! Pretty sad that that's what I was so excited about! But it's the truth! Haha. After the conference, Hna Adams and I went to the Center and ate lunch at Tropi Burger and after we got gelato, and then we ran back to the stake center for our interviews with President! It was an incredible interview. This month we studied 2 Nefi 11 and 31, and 3 Nefi 11, so during the interviews we discussed what I learned, and he answered a bunch of my doctrinal questions. We talked about some of the patterns I have seen in the scriptures too! I am sad he won't be here for my whole mission but I am also excited to see what changes the new president will make!
That night we taught Tatiana, and we are just trying to get her to read the BOok of Mormon because we have taught her so many times and she just doesn't make time for it! I don't want to have to drop her! So we read 3 Nef 11 and I mentioned the scripture in the Bible where it says other sheep I have which are not of this fold, and of course when I refer to a scripture and don't know where it is she gets all excited because she wants to read it! She ran upstairs for her bible and hna Adams and I were flipping frantically through the Bible and we found it (luckily... prayers answered haha, its John 10:16 for anyone who wants to know) and she was so excited!
We had a couple new investigator lessons! One of them was a woman named Gloria who does NOT want to be called Hermana, so we are trying to break that habit and only call her Hermana! But during the lesson, she asked, So why have I never heard before that there is a living prophet and 12 apostles? Well you see, that is why we are here! Far from our families, leaving everything else behind! because SO MANY don't know! I felt the Spirit testify to me in that lesson that this work is the work of God!
Another lesson one: Fernando y Fanny. They are an older couple and live half the year in New York. and they are SO. CATHOLIC. Like during the opening prayer I gave, Fanny was whispering her Catholic prayer under her breath. They've got pictures of the Saints all over their home and they go to Mass every single week. But I cannot believe how strong the Spirit was in their home. Where everything, and I am not kidding everything, is bright orange. There was even orange carpet in the bathroom. Crazy. But I digress. Testifying of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Restauration is an incredible privilege. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God! He saw God the Father and His Son! Fernando's prayer at the end of the lesson was the sweetest thing and the Spirit brought tears to my eyes. After the lesson they gave us tea and bread, and we started freaking out a little because we weren't sure after we started drinking it that it was really herbal tea (don't worry it was haha) and they even promised to come to church not this week but this coming Sunday! It was incredible! And they set up another appt with us before we could even ask! These people are incredible. How I love missionary work!
Well also this day we both fell asleep on the bus from the chapel and the money collector was totally laughing at us! Another thing that happened Thursday morning in District Meeting... Brace yourselves... Hermana Beutler made us PB&J sandwiches... AND I LOVED IT. The first one i have eaten in years and years and years. Ecuador is doing weird things to my taste buds apparently! But Mom if you want to send me those little cups of GIF peanut butter I wouldn't object hahaha
Whew sorry this is getting to be a long email and I might hot have time to reply to anyone! Im hurrying sorry people! This is what happens when I bring my journal to remind me! Okay for lunch we had tomato soup with popcorn in it and this is by far my fave soup here! You have to pop plain popcorn, not the buttery kind, and just put a little in at a time so it doesnt get all soggy before you can eat it. try it people cuz this is one thing I will actually eat when I get home! Then we met the Hermana Lideres of our zone in the chapel for divisions. I went to Hermana Wysons sector with her! Shes super awesome, is pre med at BYU, and a fantastic missionary. We had a ton of citas, super short and to the point. We taught word of wisdom and law of chastity bunches! Divisions are awesome because I get to see an experienced missionary at work and I get to be reminded of how far I have to go to teach more clearly and briefly. Also that night in the house Hna Wyson gave me gum and that was way weird to chew for the first time in so long! Oh that night investigators also gave us hot chocolate with bits of cheese in it... Ambato specialty, apparently... really weird
We traded back for divisions after a couple hours of studies. This was one of the days when every one of our citas fell. We walked and walked and walked.... and contacted 37 people.... and i had a fun experience. i had a super upset stomach all day, and around 5:00 I knew that if I didn't find a bathroom soon I was going to have a major problem... yikes. sorry if this is TMI, just knew you'd get a laugh out of it. So I had that feeling of outright panick for quite awhile. We were 15 minutes away from home by bus, and we were still trying to find people to teach but nobody answered the door or phone. Finally the last person we could try in that neighborhood was Tatiana. I was praying with all my heart that she would be home, more so I could use her bathroom than to teach her, that's how bad my panic was!!! And what do you know, God answers prayers, because she was home and I got to her bathroom JUST in time! Oh, the joys haha. And Then we had the most AMAZING lesson with her because she had been reading the Book of Mormon!!!!!!!!!! Studying it along with her Bible, we threw our plans out the window and talked about faith, and she accepted a baptismal invitation for the first time! I am so happy she is progressing! Could you guys pray for her to read every day and have the desire to come to church? It was incredible to watch the change in her as the Book of Mormon has started to become delicious to her! Ah!! So yeah every Saturday night we teach English in the chapel. Oh our chapel is right by the Hospital Regional, google it because I think of Dad every time we walk past the emergency exit and laugh about picturing him working there. This week there was a lovely trail of blood all the way from the bus stop to the triage desk (yeah its outside) and then to the ER.... so fun!
Yesterday highlights only cuz no time, we got to serve so much! We helped Gloria, mentioned above, peel onions for almost an hour because she was too busy working for us to teach her! And we also miraculously found a new family to teach who invited us in on the spot, and they are so prepared for the Gospel and so ready, and all 6 of them that were over the age of 8 accepted baptism, and when we left their house Hna Adams hugged me and said, "I love being a missionary!!!!!!!!!!" and I feel the same way! How lucky I am to get to to talk about Christ all day, every day!
thank you for your prayers and emails and keep them coming! Sorry for all those to whom I didn't have time to respond this week! I love you!!!!!!!!!!
waiting for the bus to start moving... we were the only ones on it and it just stopped for about 15 minutes
this place is known as Quillon Loma and it is GORGEOUS! Look how cool the clouds are in this picture! Unfortunately we probably wont be working here much anymore because its too far away, but wow, amazing, right? the houses here are SO humble. its all farmland. google it!
so hermana wyson and hermana beutler (my friend from bio 100) showed up to get us from divisions and we were in matching outfits!!!!!! of course we had to take some awkward angle self timer pics