Hello!!!! I am back in Quito as of Tuesday evening, and it is pouring down rain every evening and I am in love (with the rain).
First of all, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes!!! When I got on my email today, I just started giggling like a little school girl and could not stop saying ¨"I am so happy!!" This week has been the best!! I got the package with the cayenne (Thank you!!), the other package you sent in actually in the coast right now, I hope I can get it within the next week or so. And Kristen Holman, tell her thank you so much for her package!! She is the best!!
The night before my birthday, I was talking to Hermana Morris and I told her that the thing I was going to miss the most about my birthday was waking up to a Happy Birthday text message - so pathetic. The morning of my birthday, we woke up, and Hermana Morris and I were talking about a dream or something when her phone made a buzzing noise. It was a member from the ward here asking Hermana Morris to tell me happy birthday from them. My goodness!! I should have wished for something better than a text message the night before!!!
For my birthday, my companions, there are 5 of us sisters in the house right now in the Iñaquito sector, made me a cake and sang happy birthday to me in Spanish and English. They are the best!!! Then we had a Zone Conference and more singing and treats came from that. After the conference, an elder from St. George came up to me and said, "Hermana Ellis, do you have a coin purse?" I told him that I did, and he asked if I wanted another. Uh... Before I could answer, he took out his nice leather coin purse, emptied out all his money and gave it to me. I told him I could not accept it, but he refused to take it back. This elder is the best, we bond over our homeschooling experiences.
And then my night ended with the BEST missionary experience!!!!
The night before my birthday it was pouring rain and it was time to go home, and my companion, Hermana Morris was talking to a Catholic man about our religion, but I missed the first part of the conversation and I was not following so I was just standing in the rain with my umbrella smiling like I sometimes do. I know, I am a creep. Anyway, this young man (21 years old) walks past, and says something about God. I started talking with him, and he happened to be the biggest flirt and said he was interested in the church. I had my doubts, and usually when guys flirt with me, I do not take down their information because I do not want to visit them. But I felt that I should this time, so I did.
The next day, my birthday, all our appointments fell through, so we were sitting down on the sidewalk thinking about what we should do when Hermana Morris says, "We should call Jonathan." So we called him. He told us that we could visit in 30 minutes, so we contacted along the way to his house. When we got there, he was alone, so we sat out on the porch teaching him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as it was getting really cold outside, his family came home, and we finished the lesson inside with all of them. At the end of the lesson, we extended a baptismal date and THEY ACCEPTED!!! It was such a good lesson. His mother is such a good person. The whole family is amazing. I am just so impressed. His mother told us that he night before, Jonathan came home and told her that he met some happy North Americans and they wanted to visit their family.
As we were walking home, I turned to Hermana Morris and said, "A family has a baptismal date because I contacted one young guy." And then I realized that I had not even contacted him, he had contacted me. The next morning, Hermana Morris woke up and said, "Hermana Ellis, I am so thankful for your smile." I thought she was being sarcastic because, let´s face it, I am not a morning person, but then she added, that because of it, we have a family with a baptism date. Smiling like a creep pays off here in Ecuador!!
Now, before I forget, before I left the coast, a member, her name is Marisol, served us fish and shrimp the last day I was there. I had no idea how to eat it because we aren´t really a fish eating family, because of you, Mom. And so I told her that. At the end of the meal, she told me when I am done with my mission that I need to come back and stay with her and bring my whole family and she is going to make fish for you, Mom. Marisol is the best!! She is actually about my age, just married, and lives about two blocks from the beach. So, just plan for that, okay? Fish dinner at Marisol´s house in like 13 months. And the fish was good. The shrimp I could have lived without.
And, now about conference.
This morning, Hermana Morris and I went over to the apartment of Hermana Thomas, a senior sister missionary here and had a real conference breakfast. It reminded me of home. It was so great. And with conference, we watch it IN ENGLISH (thank goodness) at the chapel here. The announcement about missionary work was so shocking!!! Eighteen for boys and nineteen for girls?! I think that is amazing!! I think missionary work is the best!! And I love that they lowered the ages... But now I feel old. I love conference.
Andy, our English speaking investigator came to conference and loved it! Andy is the best. He is so strong and is a missionary already! He invites his friends to church and says that even though he does not have plans to get baptized until November, he feels a responsibility to share this message that brings him so much happiness and joy with others. I wish everyone in the church was like Andy in that aspect.
Let´s see... What else do you want to know?
I am going to try to send letters home this week. I have not really sent any actual letters since I have been here in Ecuador.
Everything is great!! I just love it here.
I hope you all have a great week!!!