Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012


So most of this week was spent in Quito.  I was on splits with Hermana Morris, the mission nurse, for a few days while my comp and her comp were in Ibarra.  Hermana Morris is the best!!!  She is so funny!  I just wanted to stay there forever.  But, poor Hermana Morris, she gets calls about all things health... The best/worst was one elder getting a bean stuck in his ear.  We thought it was super funny until we actually saw how much pain he was in.  Poor kid. 

Being in Quito, I went to both her Zone and District meetings with her.  Some Latino elders tried to convince a Zone Leader to talk to the President about switching me into their zone because I am apparently friendly and cool.  Thanks, elders!!!  It was hilarious. 
Also, an upside to being in Quito was getting a ton of mail!!!  Thank you all so much!  I was in heaven.

I was talking to my companion the other day about how my personality does not show through in Spanish... and she said that it does, especially when I am talking with children.  I love the kids here!!!  They are seriously the best, and they make me feel so awkward because they always give me hugs and hold my hands - you know how I have my personal space bubble.  Anyway, there is this awesome little boy named Brandon - we are teaching his grandmother - we chat because he can understand my Spanish.  And when I was in Quito, Hna Umphenour said that Brandon would not sit through the lesson and that she just does not have the same connection with him as I do. 

There is another member boy who reminds me of Manny off of Modern Family.  The other night, we were driving in a car to a different town and he was trying to help me with my Spanish.  He would yell Spanish words at me and I would yell them back, usually incorrectly, and then everyone would laugh at my lame Spanish.  It was so much fun.  I ended up having the biggest headache at the end of the night.

Well, I have a feeling that things are going to be insane this week.  I hope everything is going well with you all, and I will chat with you later....

Have a great week!!

Okay, I love you all!!!

Hermana Stacia Ellis

PS. I miss Carmel popcorn more than anything, when I get off my mission, I would appreciate some.  Real Carmel, not the chocolate stuff.

Feeling much better and answering questions from home

Good news!!  I do not have parasites!!  They say I have a slight kidney infection and stomach bacteria.

Are you able to eat? Yes, I am able to eat now...  All I want to eat are empanadas though. 

Do you have any energy? When I went to the doctor, they said to combat my lack of energy, eat more fats.  Thanks, doctor.  We ended up getting hamburgers.

How often do they have transfers in your mission? Every six weeks - coming up next week.

Do you work closely with the Elders? Yes, we have an awesome district.  There are only six of us, and all of us are North American except one Elder from Peru

Are there any cars that the missionaries use in Ecuador? No cars at all.

What are you eating?  Carbs.

What seems to be making you sick?  Carbs.

What food can you tolerate? I can handle mostly anything now.

How often do you get your mail?  When I go into Quito, or my Zone Leaders get back from a trip from Quito.

Monday, July 23, 2012

7/23/12 Late in the day email

Mom!  Hello!!

I am doing great!!  I gave your email to Hermana Ghent, the mission president´s wife, and she is going to email you probably in a few days and let you know how my doctor´s appointments go (I have them tomorrow, and a test results on Wednesday).  Honestly, my health is not that bad.  I just have abdominal pain and feel really tired, but I am surprised by how much I am still able to do.  The Lord is definitely with me.

I love Ecuador!!!  And I love Ibarra!!!!!  I never want to leave!!!  It is perfection.  Everyone keeps saying that it is probably super hot and humid here, but it is amazing.  I do not need a jacket, except at night, and super hot?  No, we do not even sweat - and we walk a lot.  So, Ibarra is heaven.  And the people there are so great to us, even non-members.  I feel very safe here.

Oh, before I forget, can you please send me in the package a flashdrive with tons of church music on it (Kristen Holman could help you), and my companion wants some Jerico Road on there.  Also, please include Jack Johnson songs, especially one that goes like "when your mind is a mess so is mine, I can´t sleep because...." yeah, you get the idea.  They have little systems where you plug in a flashdrive and it plays the music.  So, tell Kristen to load all the church music/soft sounds music on there, and I can delete it if I do not want it.  And.... she should probably throw all of Ingrid Michaelson on there too.
Okay, I am so thankful for everyone´s letters and emails!!  I wish I had more time to write back, but for the time being, we only get 30 minutes of internet time to email and I have had no time to write letters, but I am going to write back!!!  I promise.  Blake wrote to me, and if he could send me Jaren´s address, I want to write him.

Regarding medications, I still have some, they can last me for a little bit.  I really am doing well though.  Although, I will not lie, it has crossed my mind to see if I could get reassigned to the states, I even had a dream about it... But in my dream, I got called to Alabama, and I just like the idea of Ecuador better.

Saturday, we had interviews with President Ghent, and then afterward, Hermana Ghent asked if she could come to our appointments with us.  Of course we said yes, because we love her.  And we had a great experience.  We helped a little old lady get water from a natural spring and carry it up a hill to water her garden.  We looked ridiculous in our skirts trying to hike up the hill, and I made a comment about how we needed pictures to Hermana Umphenour, and then, right on cue, Hermana Ghent whipped out her camera.

The other day, we ran into one of our investigators, Miller, on the street.  He was drunk and asked us for money.  People here are so willing to listen to us and want to get baptized, they just do not want to give up drinking, they don´t want to come to church, they don´t want to get married, or they don´t want to fast for two meals a day.   There are some interesting people here.  But I love them so much!!  I think I might be more compassionate than before the mission.... Weird.

Okay, I have to go!!  Hermana Ghent is going to email you.
I love everyone for writing me!!  I love the awkward/funny dating stories from Jessica Raush.  I love Ironman references in the gospel.  I just love it all!!

Sometimes I wish all my friends and family could come enjoy Ibarra with me.

Have a great week!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Retry on Photo


This has been a rough week!

This has been a rough week!!!!

I may or may not have called my mission president with the intent of telling him I wanted to go home.  And he may or may not have told me and my companion to get on the 2.5 hour bus ride to Quito.  You see, I have been having a horrible abdominal pain and nothing the mission nurse told me to do was working, and I could not eat or I felt like I was dying.  So, after suffering for a few days, I could not take it anymore, and wanted to come home.  But the president thought I should see a doctor.  My first South American doctor experience begins....

I went with the mission nurse, Hma. Morris, and my companion Hma Umphenour (both from Riverton, Utah).  And the doctor, a young thug, asked a ton of questions and just made me cry a lot.  And he asked, randomly, if I had problems with my thyroid.  Great.... Even South Americans can see all my problems...

The doctor thought I could not speak Spanish because I would only talk in English to the nurse and my companion, so he talked about me, how much he thought I was scared of doctors, and I understood it all.  Joke is on him.

So, anyway, I have to take pills for my stomach.  And he wants me to come back in and have a blood test and a kidney ultrasound thing.  BUT DO NOT WORRY!!  I AM FINE!!!  I really am.  If I was really sick, I would be home already... I do not really have a high tolerance to pain, you know.  After not eating for a few days, I am so weak and tired, though... And if he could tell my thyroid was off just by looking at my throat, I am a little scared that my energy level is going to fall dramatically.... The thought of 16 more months of feeling tired like this makes me scared.... But, this will all pass, I am sure.  Like I said, I AM TOTALLY FINE!!! 

Okay, so this past Thursday, my companion and I got nearly attacked by 6 dogs on four different occasions.  My companion says in those moments you find out if you fight or flight.  She fights, looks for rocks, tried to scare them with her water bottle.  But I freeze and start yelling the word NO over and over at the top of my lungs until the dogs run off.  Then I go into this hysterical laugh/cry because I am so terrified.  It is so pathetic. 

So, I cannot speak Spanish still... Except, Hma Umphenour says I talk Spanish in my sleep.  Weird, huh?  When I am wake it is impossible.  All the lessons are a blur because I cannot speak, but I can understand a lot.  But, I had the best experience.  We met this guy named Marcelo who was getting separated from his wife, and guess what!!!  He speaks English!!!  I got to teach him in English which was the best experience of my life!!  I love English so much right now.  It was amazing.  He told me that it was exactly what he needed to hear and I was his friend.  I guess I have a friend in Ecuador. Anyway, the story ends with him working it out with his wife and him telling me he can teach me Spanish in 7 days.  Whatever.

The people here, I totally adore, they are so friendly and good to us missionaries.  And Ecuador is beautiful!!  I really love it here!!

I got your package the day I arrived in Ecuador, Thank you!!!  I do not really eat chocolate anymore, so I have a huge stash.
I print out emails in the morning and write back in the afternoon, so send me emails, I do not get letters.
And I am fine, very healthy! Seriously.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Ibarra, Ecuador

Hello!!!  My first area is a piece of the Ecuadorian countryside called Ibarra.  The same area that the guy from your work who wrote me spent some of his time.  It is beautiful here!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, we took a little 2 hour road trip through the Andes Mountains to visit a less active couple.  I was just amazed by all the sights, AND I DID NOT EVEN HAVE MY CAMERA WITH ME!!  I was really disappointed, but life goes on, I guess.  I completed my life long goal of walking on an old bridge that I could have died on!!  I am one step closer to my own TV show on the Travel Channel with Josh Gates.  I love how Ibarra has both a little city and loads of countryside in it.  It is so peaceful here.

The days here are such a blur!  I just follow my companion around and listen to people speak a different language.  I cannot remember anybody's name because they are all so weird to me, and I just feel so stupid.  People laugh at my Spanish.  Right now, I think they think it is endearing, but I am sure that will change quick and they will just want me to talk.  We walk a lot and take buses to where we need to get to.  We have a huge area to cover!!

I have never been whistled at or cat called so much in my entire life.  I thought guys here would be more respectful that the guys in Peru, but I was wrong.  I asked my companion, who is from Riverton, (so white and blonde) if it ever ends, and she said that it is not that bad... Then a few days later, she said that it was worst with me here... Apparently, two white girls walking down the street is quite the sight in this little city.  The other day, I was carrying a bunch of stuff and it got really windy, and it made my skirt blow up, and a group of guys started whistling.  It was the most embarrassing moment of my life!!!

At church on Sunday, there were 75 people, and I felt completely at home, even though it was in Spanish.  The chapel here is really nice, so much better than Grenada - sorry CeCe.  The branch president asked us to talk in church next week for 8 minutes each, I do not know eight minutes worth of Spanish though....  We will see how that goes.

My first lesson was with what my companion described as our most progressing investigator.  We sat down, Yolanda and Gaby were so sweet and welcoming.  We started singing Teach Me To Walk In The Light, and then Yolanda,s husband walked in and started yelling that he was very catholic and that he did not approve of other religions and some other stuff.  I was not sure if he was just casually telling us about himself in a loud voice, but then Hermana Umphenour started collecting her things and we left.  Her eyes started to tear up as we walked away from the house.  We are expected to have 2 baptisms a week down here, and right now, we have no close prospects.

I love Ecuador.  I love the people here.  They are so nice!!  The members are amazing to us.  They feed us lunch everyday - I really do not have to cook at all.  And they do our laundry.  Best people ever?  I think so!!

Okay, so for the downside of this experience... I cannot eat any of the food without getting sick.  Since I have been here (like 6 days)  I have had 4 meals.  I feel so weak!!  But not eating feels better than eating, so I just eat a cracker when I feel like I might pass out.... It has worked for me so far... We will see if die this coming week.  The mission nurse does not know what it might be, she thinks it is the food, but the food down here is pretty normal.  Rice, potatoes and chicken.

I am so happy here.  I love sharing the gospel even though I cannot speak Spanish very well.  I feel so inspired here!!

I love you all!!

Hermana Ellis