Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It was a looooonngggg week.

Hola a todos,

It was a looooonngggg week. Don't really know why? 

We had lots of days without many citas. Um appointments? Not sure what that word actually translates over to. But we are working hard. Maybe not as hard as I would like to work but we are trying. 

There was lots of rain this week. And once again, we are out of hot water. Meaning the water heater is just plain broken. But showers for dayyysss. Its really not that bad. And it is so environmentally friendly, Rachel would be so proud! One day we were walking to Hermana Rosario's (member) house to teach Cristobal (her cousin), and it started to rain. We both forgot to bring our coats and umbrellas, and because the sun was so strong that morning, we didn't think it would be a problem. But the heavens opened and the water fell in sheets. We went running to her house, and seriously in the 2 minutes we were in the rain, it looked like we'd jumped in the pool. She gave us towels to dry off when we came knocking on her door. 

We had a slight problem on friday when the secretaries called us and said that the house we were going to move into wasn't going to work, so we could keep searching if we wanted to or just wait and see. Okay? So we worked as normal on Friday, until Friday night when Elder Moreno, our district leader, called us and said, hey we found you a house, its in La Martinez, and were signing the contract right now. So we started freaking out because La Martinez is part of our sector, yes, but it is a bus ride away from EVERYTHING and we have to wait 30 minutes for the bus to come. AND theres a dangerous street that we would have to walk every single day to get home and i don't even like walking that street in daylight because of all the whistles and catcalls. So luckily we convinced them to stop signing the contract and just wait. So on Saturday we left earlyyyy from the house and just searched and searched for houses. We found a few really good options and now we are just waiting for the secretaries to tell us which one we will be living in. Sigh. Crisis averted. 

This week was good. A little hard. Sometimes I feel like I'm just not very good at being a missionary. Not teaching very effectively or not planning effectively or not being as diligent as I should. It's discouraging to see nobody come to church, after all the hours we spend inviting people to church and trying to help them resolve their doubts and helping them see that its more important than anything else they can be doing. It's discouraging to reach my 6 month mark still without having had a single baptism. Am I not in South America? Sometimes I wonder haha. 

Today we had zone conference, which means tomorrow we have p-day until lunch. Zone Conference is always fantastic because we get to eat Hermana Christensen's brownies. Oh, and we learn a lot too :) I leave very inspired, and with a long list of things to improve. Little by little. We will get there. I am a good follower and learning how to be a good leader, because it's not my strong point. 

Sorry this email was short! We are hoping to have a couple baptisms this week, and if not this week, then next week! I will send pictures next week, I promise. Press forward, Saints, with steadfast faith in Christ! 


Hermana Hasleton

Monday, April 17, 2017

How long have I been here?

Aloha familia y amigos! Que tal? 

Mom, you will be so proud of me, I haven't opened my birthday present yet. I can wait! I can do it! 

So i feel like I say the same thing week after week.... Lemme know if I'm getting repetitive, please and gracias! 

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, was interesting in Ecuador. Why? Because everyone seems to celebrate it, except the mormons! People were walking around with palm leaves and tree branches. People were congregated at mass on every corner, with the music blasting. We could hear it from our house while we were studying. Hermana Jimenez recognized a few songs and was singing along. #hilarious. Do people still use hashtags anymore? How long have I been here? Haha. Anyway. They draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. It is a very, very good description of the culture of Ecuador. I really enjoyed this week, though, because as a part of my study I was reading Jesus the Christ starting with Palm Sunday and reading what happened each day until the Resurrection. Even though I wasn't home to study with the family I was still able to do it here! 

One fun thing was a contact called us and asked us to help he and his family pick green beans in their fields. We had to call President and get permission, and he gave us one hour (I made Hermana Jimenez call him, its actually really intimidating to call President!) I didn't have on long sleeves, sorry Dad, so i got hives allllll up and down my arms but it was really fun! That contact is a little odd but we started teaching his parents and all his sisters, so #worthit (am I making Sydney cringe with the hashtags? #missionaccomplished)

We had a fun surprise this week! That was that a new investigator named Elizabeth ACTUALLY READ THE RESTAURATION FOLLETO. uh pamphlet? We got there and asked if she had any questions for us, and she said, "Hmm not really. I thought it was really interesting what the page of definitions said at the back. I didn't know there were two different Priesthoods!" Thats when the hermanas drop dead from shock. I've never seen someone actually read and want to know like she does! Unfortunately she has been on maternity leave but just went back to work so she's going to be impossible to find from here on out. We'll see what we can do with her. 

The food this week has been interesting. In Ecuador in Semana Santa everyone eats Fanesca and Dulce de Higo. If they can afford it. On Friday we ate fanesca, and I really loved it! Google it, its a soup with 12 grains. Maybe I will make it for you when I get home... next april :) We ate it on Sunday as well. Dulce de Higo is figs, really sweet and soggy figs, served with a slice of cheese, all drenched in a sweet syrup. And by sweet I mean wayyyy too sweet. We had to eat it twice on Sunday. Another funny thing was that Hermana Flor gave us a huge helping of this weird vegetable called melloco en español but I have no idea what it is in english. I don't think it exists? Hermana Flor turned her back for a few seconds so I hurried and put all the vegetables from Hermana Jimenezs plate and put them on mine because she hates melloco and Hermana Flor knows it. We laughed and laughed because Hermana Flor didn't realize. 

We have taken over the teaching of a recent convert who the elders weren't visiting. He only got baptized so his wife would move back in with him, and he has nothing of a testimony. It's really sad. We are going to do our best to help him to gain one. 

We found a new investigator this week named Erika. She received the missionaries 7 years ago and said she couldn't understand either one of them very well. Hope that isn't the case this time around! But it was very sweet because she was explaining to us that she is a nurse, but she works cleaning houses so she can spend more time at home with her kids. The hard part is that she and her esposo aren't married. Like the rest. We found 3 other full families this week, none of them married. Sigh. But that's okay! Part of the crying repentance unto this people! Hey, you need to get married! In some cases, it's, you need to get divorced from that guy so you can marry the guy youre living with! Welcome to Ecuador. 

This week was House Hunters Ambato! We finally found a house and the secretaries are coming to sign the contract on Friday, so we are moving in on Saturday I think! 

On Sunday, Silvia had some sad news. She is the investigator who is SO ready to get baptized, she just has been waiting on Carlos to come back from the coast so they can set a date to get married. Well, he came back with the news that he is moving permanently to the coast... and she is staying in Ambato. When she told me, she burst into tears. It was really sad and hard to watch, but all I could do was hug her. We have a visit with her as soon as we are done writing. It is hard, but if he doesn't want to get married, then they need to separate if they want to live the commandments of God and receive blessings. I hope we can help her see that it is better to be obedient. I love her SO much. I know through baptism and the blessings of God, she and her three daughters will be able to be happy. 

Well, mis queridos, that's about it this week. Last week was all Lesson 1 so maybe this week will be lots of Lesson 2 and 3! 

Hope all is well on the home front. Sure appreciate all the love and support. Hugs and prayers being sent your way! 


your favorite missionary! 

Hermana Baylee Hasleton

Monday, April 10, 2017

Rain, Sun, Sometimes both at the same time......

Dearest familia, amigos, hermanos, etcetera 

Today begins Cambio 4! I am grateful to be in Ambato Recreo with Hermana Jimenez for another cambio, grateful I didn't get transfered! Although we do have to look for a new house and move out before the end of abril, that is stressing me out just slightly, but life here is good! Rain, sun, sometimes both at the same time. Spanish is great, the food is normal -- rice and soup -- and the work is progressing. Maybe not as fast as I'd like it to, but it's just teaching me patience :)

Well, first of all, we didn't have baptisms this week. People can have the attendance required at church and have all the lessons, but if they lack faith, repentance, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then they are not converted and are not ready to make covenants with God. Actually we tried to teach that family every day last week, but they were all really rough lessons. They didn't even come to church on Sunday, they went to mass to ask the father why he never taught them about the word of wisdom or 10% tithing haha. When we told our district leader that's why we decided they shouldn't have their interviews, he was like oh yeah... thats bad.... so that's what happened with that family. I think we will try to teach them one more time this week and see what happens. 

This week I was a little discouraged. I pray to be able to contact the right people to be able to find the right new investigators to be able to baptize the people who are prepared. People keep giving me the speech about sowing seeds. Don't get discouraged, maybe youre not here to baptize, youre just here to sow. I gave the same speech to Hermana Adams a couple times. Now I regret it. I am not here to sow. I am here to harvest! I have a hard time seeing the good. We dropped Silvana, an investigator who has been getting the lessons since December. She is still reading the Book of Mormon every single day, but she doesn't come to church. Her dad died, and he was very catholic, so she just feels like she can't change religions because her dad wouldn't want it. We told her we would come back and teach her when she came to church. When we left her house, I cried the whole walk home. I love these people so much and I just want them to be happy. I want to see the changes in their lives, see them come unto Christ. But Satan just gets in the way. One of my favorite quotes is "The Lord is building His kingdom quietly through His faithful and humble servants, with little fanfare, toward its glorious millennial future. It takes the Holy Spirit to see the growing grandeur." I think it's by President Eyring. I am praying to be able to have more of the Spirit to be able to see the fruits and be able to have the patience necessary to keep working every day with a smile on my face.  

We have one investigator named Angela. I think I have told you about her. Her life is absolutely awful. She works so hard to smile and be happy. We found her on Saturday. She let us in her gate and we asked her if she had gone to the doctor yet for her cavities and tooth pain, but she just burst into tears. "I don't have time to go to the doctor, I have to find a new place to live by tomorrow or the owners are throwing us out on the street." She sells fruit on a corner for a job. Her boyfriend doesn't work. She wasn't able to pay the $30 rent of her house, literally one tiny room. She sobbed and sobbed. We just hugged her and cried with her. She and her kids are always so dirty. She just kept saying how she didn't want her little kids to have to sleep on the streets. She didn't want to have to sell her TV because she worked so hard to be able to buy it.  (It is tiny and looks like its from the 90s.) And her bunny died this week, and her sons bike was stolen. She can't afford for him to take the bus to school so he walks every day. He is 7, and the school is a couple miles away. She sobbed that the has worked so hard her whole life but she has just suffered and suffered, and she is tired of living. I left that little visit with her so worried and so upset. There are times when I literally can do nothing to help people. We can pray, and we can talk about Jesus, but we can't pay rent or feed her kids, we can't find her a new place to live. Angela tries so hard to smile and be happy. We don't know how long we will be able to keep teaching her, because she isn't married, her job is illegal, and she doesn't come to church. Three large obstacles for baptism. When I get upset about something, I think about Angela, and I just ask Heavenly Father why I ended up where I did and why she has to suffer so much. Life is hard for everyone but for some of God's children it is purely miserable. 

On a lighter note... I got two packages today! My easter package and I assume my birthday package? I didn't open the birthday one, don't worry, I stowed it on the top shelf of my closet :) Thank you mom for being the best Mom in the whole world! 

This week was heavy. Lots of burdens of lots of people. Investigators, members, missionaries. I am grateful that the Atonement is infinite and covers ALL of our sins, even after we have already make that mistake and repented and fallen again. It is infinite. He will never say sorry, you already had your chance. He just accepts us as we are, the instant we turn to Him. He can calm any heart, shoulder any burden. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Turn to Him. He loves you! I know it and I testify of Him with all my heart! 


Hermana Baylee Hasleton

i love this picture with hermana flor. She feeds us every tuesday. she has been a member for 12 years and runs her store which is on the other side of this wall, but she spends all her free time indexing and reading books of the church. Love this sweet sister! She calls me "la grandota" haha

friday food is the besttttttttt no soup or rice! Its almost tex mex! 

blurry zone foto sorry! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Eating Organic Cow Udders and Such........

Hola familia! 

Hope yall had a grand old time on the beach! 

This week was so, so good. For lots of reasons. Here are just a few:

I absolutely love having Hermana Jimenez as a companion. She laughs a lot. She is an excellent teacher. She is loving but also bold, and I am learning how to be the same. We have lots of fun together and work really hard. We have actual transfers this coming week so who knows if I will get to stay with her longer. But these two weeks with her have been fantastic!

Directing a sector has given me the opportunity to take charge. Very stressful the few days because it was so new to me, but it has let me see what I am capable of. Starting and ending lessions, giving and verifying commitments, changing what we'd planned to teach on the spot if necessary, leading daily and weekly planning, hopping on buses and running around Ambato. The Lord knows me and answers prayers. When I pray to be able to progress sufficiently, He is going to give me the opportunities to do so! 

Oh I forgot to tell you last week in my rush to write! I had to eat the inside of cow udder. That was lots of fun. Really chewy, in case youre wondering. But the member who fed it to us assured us not to worry, because her cows only eat from the pasture, so its organic meat. 

We climbed a huuuuuuge hill to find an inactive family. The hermana was out working in her field when we found her, and immediately started to give us alll the reasons why she couldn't meet with us. We tried pretty hard to persuade her to give us a few minutes, and she wasn't having it. I was all ready to give up and try another day, when Hermana Jimenez said, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ, and if you refuse to listen to us, you refuse to listen to Him." The sister led us grumbling and stomping all the way up her hill to the house. It was pretty hilarious. But by the end of the lesson, she was asking us to excuse her behavior and thanking us for coming. My heart was touched. The gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ really does touch hearts and change lives. 

Several nights this week I woke up in the middle of the night and was unable to go back to sleep for a couple hours. I had too many people on my mind. Investigators, less actives, members, recent converts. So many people I am in charge of. Sometimes my brain doesn't know how to stop planning lessons and just relax. 

We are teaching a woman right now. She lives with her abusive, alcoholic boyfriend. She is very sweet and has desires to learn and change, but there are so many things that would have to change if she wanted to get baptized. Her job is illegal. She sells fruits on the corner and if the police come by she has to stop selling for the day. She has two little kids who have different dads. I left her house this week as she sobbed and sobbed about her situation with her boyfriend, and my heart ached for her. I wondered, not for the first time and not for the last, how in the world I got so lucky, or blessed I guess, to end up where I did in life. I want so much for this sweet sister to be able to experience one tenth of the life I have been given. I want her to use her agency to kick out the scummy boyfriend, find a legal job, and join the church. But I don't get to choose for her. That's the hard part! 

Random note, according to Hermana Jimenez some things I say are Peruvian. Thanks, Hermana Echegaray! I am very happy to see my Spanish progressing. I don't have to think about what I want to say, I can just talk. It is fantastic. Some people from the coast I still have a hard time understanding, and some people from Colombia. I have to ask Hna Jimenez to repeat herself sometimes before I understand. But it is so much better! 

One of the stressful parts of the week but also so exciting is that we have baptisms this week!!!!!!!!!! Narcisa, Cristian, and their 8 yr old daughter Casandra. Cristian is Italian. I am slowly progressing in being able to understand his very italian Spanish. They are a very interesting family. They have absoluetly no money, and have had a very hard time finding jobs. I always leave lessons with them exhausted, because Narcisa never stops talking so we have to work hard to keep control. Their life is very hard, but they are learning that when they obey, they get blessings! And they have a baptismal date for the 8th! Their interviews are on Wednesday, so that is when we will know if we have a baptism! On Saturday, we taught them about the Word of Wisdom. Cristian was not super excited to have to give up coffee, but he reluctantly handed us what he had left in the house. We happily took it off his hands. It spilled allll over my bag, so that was fun to clean out of my scriptures, but so worth it! But one thing amazing about that lesson is that Cristian told us when we started that he had been outside washing the laundry, when he felt like something touched his heart and he KNEW that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the church was true. That made it SO much easier to teach the Word of Wisdom because he got the answer we have been talking about! Our only struggle is to try to teach them every single day so they can get all the lessons necessary before they get baptized. It will be a fun, crazy week! God knows me, my desires, and my goals, and He has been with my every step of the way so I can reach them!  

Can I just say conference weekend is my favorite weekend of the year? There were 6 american missionaries in the stake so we got to sit in a separate room and watch it in English. The Spirit was strong and my heart is full! Lots and lots to work on! Lots to study! Mom and Dad, I Wish I could compare notes with you guys.... send me your thoughts! Kids, you too! 


Hermana Hasleton