Monday, March 27, 2017

Taking A Bucket Shower......

Well here we are, another monday! 

Things I learned this week:

never, ever, ever assume anything about transfers EVER
my bag is water resistant, NOT waterproof! 
Taking a bucket shower is not nearly as bad as Ive thought my whole life
I have the best mom in the whole world (already knew that, but got some more evidence this week) 

So yeah, Tuesday rolls around. Hermana Adams and I are coming from a couple visits to lunch, when the phone rings. Who is it? The assistants. In case you don't know, its never a good thing to get a call from the assistants. They ask me if I have anything to write on, and proceed to tell me that Hermana Adams is being emergency changed to Turubamba to be an Hermana Lider and I am receiving Hermana Jimenez as my new companion. WHAT?!?! We cried and cried. I totally feel jipped out of my last three weeks with Hermana Adams. Nobody will ever be able to top her diligence and obedience. But I love my new companion! Hermana Jimenez is from Colombia. She is 20, has 9 months in the mission, and we get along just fine! My spanish has definitely gotten back up to speed fast! 

Hermana Adams gone means I am leading the sector. I am in charge of planning all the citas and getting us where we need to be. And that is not easy. I feel a ton of pressure to help our investigators who have a baptismal date keep that date. We will see how it goes. My life went from being blissfully stress-free to um, okay, bring it on! But I love it, because I feel like this will give me the opportunities I need to progress more than I have been. 

We loaded Hermana Jimenez's luggage in a taxi and headed for our house. She asked how much he would charge us, and he said 5 bucks. Um no, sorry, the taximetro (The thing that counts the distance, I don't know what its called in english) charged us 1.60 to get from our house to the terminal. I was not about to let the mean taxi driver charge me 5 bucks. He said fine, 10 dollars. Okay, leave us here then, we will find another taxi. Fine, 3 dollars. No. 2 dollars or leave us here. .... needless to say, stubborn Baylee surfaced and it was not very pretty. I need to learn to not get angry, but I have to admit that I did. Also a bus driver ripped me off pretty good too. That was only 50cents so I let that one go. Sigh. It's not easy to be a gringa sometimes! 

On Thursday at our meetings, the zone leaders said,  "so half of the pouch today is for Hermana Hasleton..." Truth! Got my valentines package and three letters! THANK YOU MOMMY! Seriously, anyone reading who thinks they have a better mom than mine, it's actually not true, sorry! ;)

On Friday, we had TORRENTIAL RAIN. I have never seen so much rain in my life. The streets were actually rivers. The buses stopped running. After the 2-minute walk to the bus stop, i was wringing out my skirt and dumping water out of my rainboots. It literally didn't stop raining for over 12 hours. 

Andd.... with the rain came another adventure! The next day we woke up to no hot water. Because the rain ruined our water heater. Hopefully someone will come fix it tomorrow, but hey just boil some water and grab a bucket and youre fine! I'm tellin ya, my expectations of life are just so much lower than I used to imagine possible. As long as I can be asleep by 10pm and have some sort of hot shower, I'm good. Oh, I appreciate it if someone, recent convert or menos activo or investigator or SOMEONE we have been working with comes to church. Those are my expectations in life. 

Well folks, that is all for today. Sorry to all those I didn't get to respond to! Next week for sure! 

Love you! Have a fantastic week! 

Hermana Hasleton

valentines package got here! THANKS FOR THE NEW DRESS I LOVE IT! 

my new companion Hermana Jimenez! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

"I love love love love love being a missionary"

hola querida familia,

this will be short and sweet! today we went to Cotopaxi and it was a blast! I will try to send lots of pics of that. the best part was.... SNOW. Yes. That's right. Snow on the equator. Snow on the ground. Snowball fights. And it even started snowing HARD. AH it made me want to go skiing so badly, but hey, I can wait two more years for that! Glad I got my fill of snow for awhile! We went as a whole zone, which makes activities and roadtrips a party. Don't worry, missionary-appropriate party. 

This week.... last pday feels like yesterday but this week feels like a month long. Make sense? Nope. Not to me, either. We started working with an old family that elders taught a year ago. During the first lesson, the Spirit was strong. It's definitely hard to tell for certain from a first lesson if people will progress. But I could picture them in white, in the temple. That is my goal for EVERY SINGLE FAMILY, and even though I know it just won't always happen, I love being reminded of my purpose here. I love love love love love being a missionary. Even though it's hard. And I'm hard on myself. And I have so much to improve. And sometimes I still don't feel like talking to people. And sometimes it's hard to walk into stranger's homes and try to make them feel comfortable. I LOVE IT. 

There were a couple days this week when we had 7 citas. In case youre wondering, that's a lot. And our sector is so huge, we were running alllll over the place, taking taxis and buses when possible. I hit my bed at night and fall asleep in seconds. 

Oh one day this week I stepped in dog poop and I didn't realize it until I got home. "Ew, what's that smell? Oh...." That was lots of fun! 

A fun thing I ALMOST had to eat.... So one Hermana that gives us lunch doesn't actually like cooking, so this week she took us to a restaurant, ordered, paid, and left. At first I was like, uh, okay? But then I was incredibly grateful. Why? Because the soup was not chicken soup, but animal intestine soup. Too small to be a cow, but too big to be a chicken. Maybe it was pig. Anyway, I tried it and promptly knew it was not for me. It took me back to my anatomy lab days... we weren't allowed to eat in lab...  The soup was followed by rice, my not-so-favorite TOUGH meat, and a bright neon purple vegetable. It was an interesting experience! 

On Saturday, we ate breakfast, then after a little bit of weekly planning, we left the house running for a cita. They also fed us breakfast. Second breakfast. (first they tried to give us coffee, had to explain that we don't drink coffee, not always fun in a first lesson.)  After that we literally ran up the street to a menos activos house. That family fed us lunch. After that, we went to lunch with that family's brother's family. Second lunch. We had some studies and more planning, then we ate a bit of dinner because at that point we were hungry. Bad idea. Because that night we also got fed dinner. That was a fun day. 

We have an investigator named Vilma. i think I told you about her last week? She lives in Quillon Loma and is amazing. Doesn't understand too much, but she has childlike faith and wants to learn so badly. It was so cute, we asked her how her prayers and Book of Mormon reading were going, and she said, "I prayed just like you told me to, but I just don't know why I didn't get an answer!" It was adorable! We explained a little bit more about the Holy Ghost, and she said that she believes it is all true. We taught about the Sabbath Day, and when we went to teach her Sunday night, she said that she was sorry she couldn't give us bread and hot chocolate like she does every other time, she was keeping the Sabbath day holy! Warms my heart! She has a baptismal date for April 8th. We are very much looking forward to that Saturday. 

We taught a new girl named Evelyn this week. She had two friends in high school who were mormons and both served missions and have both been married in the temple. She talked about the inner peace they had, and how she didn't know where it came from, but she wanted it too! Kids, always just be examples. You never know who you will touch! 

Sunday was a fantastic, see-the-fruits kind of day. Sitting up on the stand (because I have to play piano) makes me so happy. I watched a whole family of investigators file in, late of course, and then one of our recent converts who hasn't come to church the whole time I've been here! Sitting in the gospel principles class, which is made up of just the missionaries, investigators, member friends of investigators, less actives, and recent converts. The room was full. So was my heart. 

Well. That's about all, folks. Guess that wasn't actually too short. Hope you're all studying and praying every single day! Sending my love and my prayers! 

Love, Hermana Hasleton

Off to Cotopaxi...the volcano

another great view from atahualpa! and one of Chimborazo (i think?)

we thought this was really funny once we got to the top of the hill dying, because yeah, a right angle is not exaggerating! 

en camino to cotopaxi!


view from cotopaxi, just below the cloud level

literally up in the clouds! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Quillon is the Promised Land

Dearest Familia, 

So this week was AWESOME! And long. Like, not longer than normal, but I feel like what happened a week ago was months ago. yeah, mission life. 

This week was hard because we dropped Tatiana. We have been working with her for so long, and she shows so much potential, but at the end of the day, she doesn't want to believe. She wants to know. She wants her answer before she does anything else. And that, plain and simple, is not faith. I have been feeling for a couple weeks now that it just isn't her time. And I have been selfish, and not a very good instrument in the hands of God, because I ignored the prompting and I just told myself that if we had enough faith and kept working with her she would come to church, she would get her answer, she would progress. But no. It is not her time. That doesn't make it any easier to leave behind people that you love so much, that you just want to be happy. But such is life. Agency is a booger. 

We had lots of members come with us to lessons this week! We have some great investigators who just are brim with potential. If Satan would take a break long enough for them to come to church, we would see some great progress! 

The couple we are working with are just so close to getting married. Sylvia has all the lessons. She reads the Book of Mormon more than most members. And has been living the Word of Wisdom for years because of her daughters. She just needs to get married already! We took the bishop with us to visit them. He is a convert of 7 years, also from the coast, and also was unmarried before he joined the church. He told them his conversion story and how he finally decided it was the right thing to do to get married. They got married on a thursday and baptized on saturday! And that is what we need for Sylvia and Carlos! Grand hopes. 

Wednesday was an adventure day. We had tons of lessons. We had a family that insisted on giving us food after, so we were late for a lesson up in Quillon Loma.  But our lesson was with Vilma. This girl came to church last week with Irma, a member. They both have two little kids. And so, when you get member references, you follow up because member references are gold! Takes forever to get up there to Quillon because there aren't many buses, but we eventually made it. PS it is always freezing up there, i have learned that if you go to Quillon, you put on tights. Anyway, we go running up to Irma's house (that's where the tomato trees are) and it was already late at night. And we follow her to Vilma's house. We started out on the main road with street lamps, and Irma is talking a hundred miles an hour and we are following her and freezing all the way. Irma is like a 10 year old in an adult's body, and I absolutely love her. She turned off the main road and we walked down a dirt road in the dark for awhile, and then she turned off the dirt road into a corn field. Yup, that's right. We walked on the side of this narrow little irrigation canal, in between the corn and a huge greenhouse. You know me and balance, I was blessed to not fall and get my feet all wet in the ditches. She was going so fast too, it was all Hermana Adams and I could do to keep up with her! We wound through crops for awhile, listening to pigs snorting and trying not to smoosh people's crops. I probably looked like a dork with my arms out to keep my balance and the biggest smile on my face because I loved every second. We got to Vilma's house in the middle of nowhere and taught her about the Restauracion. And I am telling you, she is so prepared! Very humble, very kind, and very sad. She has had so many difficult trials in her life, and she is finally finding out the way to be happy! Hermana Adams and I have decided Quillon is the promised land. All our recent converts live there, all the member references are there, and if they have enough members pay their tithing they are going to have their own branch. I love these people so much! 

Thursday and Friday weren't super duper productive lesson-wise, but they were great days! We had a mini zone conference and then zone conference! I'm sure Hermana Christensen put pictures on Facebook. We also had interviews on Saturday. And Stake Conference on Sunday. The fun thing was how many investigators came to stake conference alllll the way in the stake center! Making life fun and crazy for the Hermanas of Recreo to try and keep track of everyone when the whole stake is there! Our part-italian family came, so that was cool. We are just a tad bit worried now that they are only interested in the church because they want financial help.... We're gonna see what happens with that :) 

Yep, that's my week. We went to Latacunga for p-day today because Hermana Barraclough used to be there and she got a super cute haircut there, so Hermana Adams wanted to go to the same place. I slept for the hour bus ride, that was pretty awesome. Next week we will have a zone activity and the next week we FINALLY will go to Baños! We've been waiting for this our whole 2 cambios together! Lots to look forward to, lots of fun here in Ambato Recreo. 

Love you guys lots and lots and my challenge for the week (watch out this might become a regular thing) is to study Alma 32 personally and as a family! And if you want, Ether 12 and Moroni 7 too. All about faith! Keep up the emails, I love you guys! 

Hermana Hasleton

tomate de arbol. That means that these are tomato trees. yes, tomatoes DO grow on trees! This is in Quillon Loma at Irma's house. I will get to some stories about Irma in my letter

we had to climb this hill to find a less active family... we followed the bishop yesterday afternoon. hiking up on the little trails between the crops. that is looking down on Ambato. GORGEOUS! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Day in the Life

My dearest familia, 

Does it feel like an eternity since I have written? Yes. Yes it does. Carnaval was great. I mean, I much rather would have been out and about and working, especially since everything from my window was so calm, but the only time we left the house on Monday or Tuesday was to open the gate for the pizza delivery guy.The only hint i caught of a party was the neighbors blasting music alllllll night on Sunday. I still fell asleep instantly, don't you worry. I actually probably wouldn't have left the house much on Monday anyway, since I was dashing to the bathroom every ten minutes or so... Took some medicine after a few hours of that and I'm all good now haha. The joys of Ecuador! I had two days straight without rice or soup, hardly knew what to do with myself! 

One thing I did on Tuesday was gave myself a haircut. Yes, in the bathroom mirror with paper scissors. Don't freak out Mom, I just barely took off my dead ends and I'd say I did a pretty good job! (Rachel would be proud of me, she cuts her own hair all the time. Yes, I know hers is curly, I still used to be so amazed she'd cut her own hair.) Hermana Adams wants a haircut, but she still doesn't trust me to cut hers haha. I don't care what mine looks like right now, I just want it to stay healthy and I can get it looking good in a year when I come home! 

It has been a hard couple weeks on our emotions. The zone is pressing really hard for baptisms. And I WANT to have them, so badly! We have a goal to have three in the month of March and 4 in the transfer. We fasted on Sunday to be able to meet our goal. But nobody came to church, so once again nobody has a baptismal date. That Sunday morning we woke up to a text from an investigator that we were SURE would come, but her son never came home the night before so she went out to look for him instead. Another investigator got really sick. Another one, her husband would't let her come. (Sometimes I still get frustrated with that aspect of the culture here. Hermana Adams and I are learning to deal with it.) But faith can move mountains, and I trust that God will help us to meet our goal! I don't know how, but the Lord's ways are not my ways. There are several ways it could still happen. I am not frustrated or worried. I just feel peace about it. 

The last couple Sunday's we have been going up to Quillon Loma again. That's the farming community that takes forever to get to. But 3 of our 4 recent converts live up there, and they're struggling. They need us! We visited with a young man, he has almost been a member a year, he and his wife have a little baby. Their house is literally a small, dark, damp cement box. It has one window and one lightbulb. Nothing on the walls. The wife wears the pants in the family, and he doesn't understand much of anything. It was a very simple but powerful lesson. They know what is right, and we just need to help them to do what they know. Read the scriptures. Obey the word of wisdom. We want them to be able to go to the temple. So many members we are visiting too to help them have a goal to go to the temple! Working with the bishop and ward council is an important aspect of the work. The bishop tells us who he wants us to visit and what they need, and I love feeling like I can help him a little to take care of this huge ward. 

One other thing that was really hard this week was Tatiana. She is our investigator that we have been working with since before I even got here. She is amazing, and I have so much love for her. I want her to get baptized so badly. But she hardly has been reading and has only come to church once. She has a lot of doubts, and doesn't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or living prophets. I was struggling for several days because I felt like we had to drop her. If she isn't going to change and she isn't going to keep the committments, we can't keep working with her. But we are giving her a few more days. We have been visiting her with members and she is doing better. We are going to have a FHE with her tonight with a family that lives in our Conjunto, Familia Pastuña. They have two little kids like Tatiana. I hope this will help her to get on board and have faith. 

The weather this week. One day it was so hot and i got FRIED one morning because I forgot my sunscreen, and then when we left lunch it was cloudly, and before long it was raining buckets! Oh, Ecuador. I used to think Utah was bipolar. Ecuador is worse. Of course, the temperature only changes a total of 10 degrees, but we are so close to the sun that it always feels like so much more than that! 

One day this week was fantastic. It started with a morning lesson with new investigators, and my plastic chair collapsed out from under me just as I was starting the First Vision. The day ended with a dog chasing me down my own street, smacking its lips and wanting to eat my bread. In other words, just another day in the life of Hermana Hasleton. That morning lesson was very interesting though. The wife is in her 50s and the husband is in his 30s. He is Italian! They got married when they met there. The husband closed the lesson with a recited prayer in Italian, which was definitely cool to listen to, but was a little like "u-oh" because we had just spent 5 minutes explaining to him how to pray. The wife repeated to us that Joseph Smith saw God, and even though he was a normal man, he was chosen by God to be a prophet and prophets can receive revelation from God for all people. Um, yes! She understands! And then she goes off about how all churches worship the same God and theyre all branches on the same tree. Um, no. It was a very rollercoaster lesson. Day in the life. 

This week another investigator we have been teaching awhile, Silvana, had a problem with 1 Nefi 4 and 5 when Nefi kills King Laban. I haven't ever considered that being a stumbling block for anyone before, but Hermana Adams and I after were like, Cmon Nefi, did you have to put that in there? Haha I know the power of the Book of Mormon and I know that if she keeps reading and asks God to help her understand, she will be able to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was just a amusing lesson. 

We also taught a first lesson to a cute girl named Gloria. We could tell right from the beginning that this would not go anywhere. We still taught the Restoration and invited her to be baptized. We were not invited back, to put it nicely! But we would prefer being told upright so we don't waste time trying to set up a second appointment for weeks on end, because this is what happens often. 

So, that was my week! I am finding myself more and more involved in the work. When I first got here, I didn't really want to work a ton. I was tired. I was confused. I was selfish and distracted. Now, I hate wasting time! I don't have enough time in one day to teach everyone who needs to be taught! I can't wait to hit the pavement and contact, to get into houses and to open my mouth and teach. We may talk to 100 families, and maybe 10 of those families will let us come teach them, and maybe one of those families will actually progress. But that's okay, we are spending each and every day looking for the Lord's children who are prepared and ready to hear the gospel! We are not hear to convince every person we pass on the street to join the church. We don't have time for that. We are searching for the ones who are truly prepared. We are planting seeds for the future, yes, but the field is white, ready to harvest, not brown ready for planting. I love the work of the Lord and I love my time as a missionary! 

My challenge for everyone this week is to have as many prayers a day possible on your knees! 

All my love, 

Hermana Hasleton