Monday, September 24, 2012

me gusta la playa‏

Hello, Family!!

This week has been amazing!  Up until last night, I thought that today I would be in Quito writing this to you, but I am still in Atacames.  They have banished me to the coast until they figure out "what to do with me".  Which, hey, I am not complaining about that.  I feel pretty great here, and, hello, I get to see the ocean everyday.  I just feel like a huge burden that they have to deal with here.  This week has been super busy.  I finished my 12 week missionary training.  And we taught over 30 lessons this week!!!  I have not been a missionary long, but that is the most I have ever had in my mission.  The people here on the coast are so wonderful.

Hermana Quispe is my new best friend.  She is from Bolivia and is the funniest girl I have ever met.  Yesterday was transfers and Hermana Tellez left, and a Hermana Rodrigez is coming here.  I am so glad Hermana Quispe is staying here with me!!  They have helped me with my Spanish so much, even though it is still horrible.  But the members here say they can tell a difference in the week that I have been here, so that is nice.

There have been a few times this week that I have been at lunch at a member's house and I have no idea what I am eating.  That sounds horrible, yeah?  But most the time I am very thankful, because somethings I do not want to know.  They made me eat squid or octopus... I am not sure which.  I have pictures and a video, but they are not uploading right now.... Dang.  But, all in all, everything is good... Except the food.

We had a baptism!!!  Hermana A... was baptized on Thursday.  She is a little old lady who I cannot understand when she talks because she does not have teeth.  Who knew that teeth were so important when it comes to talking?  The baptism was beautiful.  She is a very special lady.

I think that they reason they do not send North American sisters here is because the health care?  And the men?  I do not know.  A lot of guys that I have met have asked me if I am committed to anyone back at home, if I want to live in Ecuador after my mission, and if I want to marry a man from Ecuador.  At first, I thought it was just a normal conversation topic that they have down here.  But then I started getting creeped out.  I feel really safe down here though, especially with two Latina companions.

Everything is wonderful for the most part!!
I love you all!

Hermana Ellis

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I am on the coast

So, I am on the coast, and it is so hot and humid!!  But, everyone assures me that this right now is nothing compared to what it could be. Yikes.  I am with two Latina sisters, Hermana Tellez and Hermana Quispe.  They are so great!  I just love it here.  For our P day today, we studied, slept, and went to the beach.  It has been the best P day ever.  We are not allowed to step on the sand of the beach though....  I did accidentally.  My companions acted like I had stepped on a bomb.


So, my first two days here on the beach were the best.  I felt so good.  I just really was having a great time serving here.  And then, this morning, I started blacking out again, and my hands and legs were going numb.  It is kind of embarrassing.  Everyone here knows that I am here for a week because I am like sick or whatever.  When I got of the plane, the Zone Leaders were here to pick me up, their first words were "Hello, Hermana Ellis!!  You are the only missionary I know that has ever taken a flight from Quito down here."  It was either a thirty minute flight or a seven hour bus ride, and president did not want me riding the bus all by myself.

The area I am in is called Atacames.  It is beautiful!!!!
 
I am safe here.  My companions know where to go, and in the sector there are a lot of tourist, so all is well!

I love you all!!

Hermana Ellis

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Little Flight Down to the Beach

Good morning!!

So I am about 1/4 of the way done with my mission.  Whaaat?!  That is crazy.  And to celebrate, I am taking a little flight down to the beach...  Okay. That sounds extreme, but it is kind of true.  I spoke with President Ghent yesterday, and he said he is sending me to the coast for a week to work with the sisters down there and see if I feel better in a lower elevation, because for the past months I have been just slightly physically miserable...  But in the best way possible.  I mean, I am a missionary in Ecuador, my life is pretty great.  So, I am not sure when I will get to write you next, but just know that I am safe in Ecuador on the coast.  I expect I will write you next week sometime, but I am not sure.  I will be back in Iñaquito with Hermana Morris in like a week though.  My talk with President Ghent went really well and I really respect him.  Him and Hermana Ghent are the best ever.  I have a feeling somethings might change soon, but I think I am ready for whatever the Lord needs me to do.

I have so much I want to tell you all, but my flight is leaving in like two hours and I have to go to the airport, so next week I will fill you in hopefully.  And since it is coming to the end of the transfer soon, some missionaries are going home to the states and I can send letters home with them.  Thank goodness.

Will you post on my blog that I got some really interesting emails from people this past week, and I wish I had time to respond faster, but that a response will be coming, just to relax.

I love you all!!!
I am really feeling fine too!

Thank you for everything!
Hermana Ellis

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hola!



Guess what.  We now have a full hour to email our families!  ¡Que milagro!  We used to only have a half hour, so this is great.

So this week was really slow in the work, but we found a really great family, the Familia C.  They are a family of 5 who attended church this past Sunday, and we have another appointment with them tonight.  In this family, there is a little girl named Dominica, she is eight, and she is so funny.  During lessons, she just touches my arm, or my hair, or draws pictures of me.... I think it is because my white skin and my knowledge of the English language, she is learning English in school.  They are a great family, and I hope they can really start progressing.

And, of course, we are continuing teaching Andy.  Lessons with him are the best, probably because they are in English, and he is really just so great.  In his pray this past lesson, he said, "Thank you, Lord, for the knowledge you are giving me though your missionaries."  It was the best.  After four months of feeling like I cannot communicate with anyone clearly, hearing him say that was really comforting.  I am so impressed with him.  I hope I am here when he gets baptized, he wants to wait for his 18th birthday in November because his parents are kind of really Evangelistic. 

We have a few other families and investigators that are progressing slowly but surely.... Well, I hope they are... Sometimes I cannot understand what people are saying during lessons.  Sometimes I can speak/understand Spanish, and other times I have no idea what is going on.

And, this past week, we got rejected.  Big time rejection.  It was the worst feeling in the world.  A family of four told us they did not want to hear anymore about the church.  My companions just stood there trying to convince them, but they could not really care less.  One thing Elder Holland said when he was down here, was that if people cannot accept that there is still revelation today, we need to excuse ourselves from the house and search for others that are ready for this message of the gospel.  It was tough and kind of depressing especially because they would not even pray!!  Hello, just pray!!  One day they will come around.

This week, we also spent a lot of time trying to support Hermana Morris in her calling as Mission Nurse.  I say try because I cannot really do anything because I do not know a ton of Spanish or medical stuff... She just had a lot of stuff to do, so I basically read the Book of Mormon a lot.

¿Que mas? ¿Que mas?  Oh, Hermana Morris and my favorite past time right now is trying to pickpocket each other on the buses.  Neither of us has ever stolen anything from the other yet, but we are getting pretty good.  I can only imagine what is going on through the Ecuadorian's minds when they see two gringas trying to steal things from each other and laugh about it.  Hermana Morris has been nearly pickpocketted twice since we have been companions, and both times I have seen it and told her that she was getting robbed, and then she just starts talking loud Spanish about how rude people are.  It is really kind of funny.

I added a few pictures of my and my companions, they are horrible pictures, but my companions are so great!!!





Thank you for everything!!  I love you all!!
And I am so thankful for all the letters and email!!

Hermana Ellis

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How soon can I be baptized?

Hello!!

I have an awesome experience!  We have been teaching this young guy named Andy this past week, and in the first lesson, he asked, How soon can I be baptized?  He is amazing!  And the best part?!  He speaks ENGLISH!!!  And like no Spanish.  I love lessons with him.  Right now, we are teaching him and he is working towards a baptism after his 18th birthday in November.  He is so great and he understands everything we are teaching him so well.  Before our first lesson, he had downloaded the Book of Mormon on his ipad and Section 89 of D&C came up and he asked us to clarify and said that he wanted to make changes in his life and start brand new as he was becoming of adult age. 

The other day, all our appointments had dropped and we had no idea what to do, so we prayed and then Hermana Morris said she wanted to make some phone calls so we all sat down on some steps and made phone call after phone call.  Nothing came of it, and before we left, we figured that we might as well contact the door of the steps we had been sitting on.  Inside, we found a family of four, and Erica, the wife/mother of the household, let us in and we taught them.

Another experience was a little run-in with a crazy lady who said she was Catholic, but I have been to Mass before, and Catholics are not as insane as she was.  She was telling us stuff about ourselves by our birthdays.  She told me that sometimes I get angry and that I love God a lot.  And then she went on to say that we should always carry around our own forks and spoons, and ended by inviting us to a little exercise party in the park on Sunday, but we have a little prior commitment called church.

Missionary work with Hermana Morris and Hermana Cantos is so much fun.  They are the best and we are teaching some really great people and families right now.  I mean, it is really hard.  Missions are hard, but so far, it has been really rewarding.

Oh, something else... I have myself a little admirer who works in a restaurant by where we live.  One night, we stopped by to get some food.  This was back a while ago, right after I got my MRI, and he was standing across the room, and he was mouthing a word to me over and over.  I had no idea what he was saying, but after a minute, I realized that he was mouthing the word, "guapa" over and over again.  Guapa means like beautiful, good-looking.  My goodness, so awkward.  Then, today, he followed us into a little shop. Here in Ecuador, they greet people by kissing on the cheek, but we only greet the same sex like that because we are missionaries, right?  Well, today, he went in to greet me with a kiss twice.  Luckily, extending my hand to a hand shake deferred him.  Then our little stalker said that he wanted to marry me before he left the shop.  I thought I was getting away from this kind of stuff when I came to Ecuador...  I was mistaken.  I have actually resorted to elbowing men on the bus when they get too close to me.  I hate buses here.

Everything here in Ecuador is great!!
I hope you are all having a great time in Utah, or Grenada, or Canada!!

And, Mom, I got everything in the package.  Thanks!
And my health is better.
And some of the pictures are of my favorite people from Ibarra.

I love you all!!

Hermana Ellis