Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Hello all, 

I got another package from you yesterday!  Wow.  You must be busy sending me stuff all the time.  The office elders are starting to think I am high maintenance.  But, don´t worry, I thought a lot about what you said, and after a lot of debating in my mind, I shared my American chocolate with them... It was tough, but I am getting better at sharing.  Hna Morris says that I am too nice when it comes to giving away stuff, but I have a lot, so it isn't anything.  Thanks again for sending that stuff, I only had two iron pills left - I would have died from the lack of iron, seriously.

It was great hearing about your Thanksgivings (or lack of Thanksgiving, I should say).  The night before Thanksgiving was a little tough because I thought I knew what exactly was going to happen the next day (how wrong I was).  I actually had a great Thanksgiving (I guess I should say that I had a great day, because Thanksgiving doesn't exist here).  But, it started out with our district/zone meeting (the leaders brought Colombian cookies, not pie) and then Hna Morris and I ran off to do some of her nursing stuff before lunch.  While doing that the other hermanas called us and told us that they had a present for us waiting at the house.  When we passed by the house, there was a little homemade pizza waiting for us.  Apparently they were under the impressing that the Day of Thanks means that we eat food 24/7.   Which, I mean, they are right....

So after tasting the pizza, we ran over to Hermana  Ocarez's house for lunch.  She is the best.  It was good - chicken and mashed potatoes.  She is from Chile, so she doesn't load us full of rice, it is nice.  Then all of us hermanas went up to Cochapamba to contact.  It was so much fun.  I love the hermanas in my sector right now.  It is going to be hard to live in a house with only one other person.  So while contacting, Hna Morris had to make a phone call, so we sat down on the side walk.  After sitting here for a while a police officer walked over to see if we were lost.  We weren't.  But since he started talking to us, we decided that he deserved to hear both the first and second lessons of the gospel.  It was probably more than he bargained for.  

The family Bayas is doing great, but Evon is nervous to change religions because it almost caused a divorce the last time they switched churches.  We are going to have to get the husband to listen to us...  We just don't know how.

Andy is doing great.  His family has not come to church, and honestly, I don't think they will be interested in the church for quiet a while.  But Andy is set on going to BYU and going on a mission, so hopefully when they see all the sacrifices he is willing to make, they will want to know more.  That kid just amazes me.

Joel is also doing well, and his family will actually listen to us, although sometimes I don't think they want to.  Dominica, his little sister is adorable and wants us to teach her 10 minutes of English every time we come over.  Now that I think about it, I think the only reason their parents will listen to us is because Dominica loves being around us so much. 

This week has been a little slow because of all the nursing stuff that Hna Morris has had to do... But we are surviving.  And, we are all a little sick, but that is okay too...

I really am at a loss of things to write today, we are going to go shopping after we write our emails and my mind is kind of on all the cool stuff I want to find.  Do you want me to send home some stuff, or do you want me to save it all until I come home (IN LESS THAN A YEAR!!!)?  Where in the world is the time going?!  It scares me.

Let´s see... my awkward stories from this week are:

1. One night, we saw the young guy that works at the restaurant down from our apartment.  He stopped to talk to us for a second and then introduced us to his friend.  He introduced me as some word that I had never heard before, and I made a note to look it up... But never did.  Later, we were at a doctor's appointment with some elders, and they were talking about someone getting married and I heard the word again.  Apparently, this Ecuadorian restaurant boy had introduced me as his fiance. 

2.  One day, Hna Morris and I were walking, and Hna Morris got really upset and said to me, "Does it not bother you that all these people stare at you?!"  I told her that I didn't see anyone looking me.  She then said "People glance at me and then just stare at you."  I think it is because I am so tall...  I don't know.  I don't notice it.

Speaking of being tall, my idea of height has changed.  I keep seeing people who I think are so tall, and when I ask Hna Morris how much taller they are than me, she tells me that they are barely taller.  I am going to be so weirded out when I get back to the states and see all this tall, white people.

I hope your Thanksgiving dinner goes well tomorrow!!!  I appreciate the invitation, but unfortunately, we are teaching a new family we found this week during the same time.... But thanks anyway!  Next year I will come.

I love you all!!
Hermana Ellis

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Andy got baptized!

Andy got baptized today!  And it was wonderful!  His Bible teacher from his school came and asked us a lot of questions and said that he would love to have us over for dinner and meet his family.  After the baptism, I asked his teacher if he had any questions.  He said that he had many, but first, he started with this one:

Bible Man:  From the talks during the service, I got that as soon as Andy sins so many times the Holy Ghost leaves him?
Me:  No, not exactly.  If Andy is sinning and living an unworthy life then the Holy Ghost will not stick around with him.
BM:  Oh, that is a lot of pressure you are putting on him, you know, to live a worthy life.
Me:  Yes, we believe that we should all try our best to follow the example of Christ and live good lives.
BM:  Oh, and so as soon as someone sins they do not have the Holy Ghost anymore in their life?
Me:  We also believe in repentance, so if someone sins, they can repent and have to Holy Ghost in their life again.
BM:  OHHH, so what you are saying is that you have to be worthy to have the Holy Ghost?
Me:  Dave, I am so glad we are on the same page!  That is exactly what I mean!!

Then I heard him go off and talk to other non-members about why we have a large safe in the church (to keep the TV and other electronics).  ALSO!  when I asked him if he had questions, he said, "Yeah, I want to know what they did for twenty minutes after the baptism."  He said it with so much disgust.  When I told him that they were just changing, he laughed and said, "Right."  He thought we took him back and had like a secret service or something.  Haha the man is crazy.
I think he found Hermana Morris and I super annoying because we kept it so simple and he wanted us to expand and be caught in his loopholes.  Little does he know that we are missionaries of the true church of Jesus Christ.

I love seeing people progress.  Both Andy and our other convert, Joel, want to serve missions!!  That is amazing, huh?

So, I am going to tell you this, please refrain from freaking out, okay?
Last Sunday, Hna Morris and I were walking, it was a kind of dark and two young men across the street towards us and one lifted up his shirt and pulled out a gun and yelled in Spanish, "Your wallets!  Your wallets!  Give us your wallets!!"  I just stood there, this little punks were trying to rob us.  I just guess I wasn't scared because he was so short.  Then, I just had this thought come into my mind walk across the street now.  now.  you need to walk across the street now. So, I just looked at the young men robbing us, and walked across the street.  I didn't even look to see if any cars were coming, which was stupid.  And as soon as I got halfway into the street, a car came speeding by.  It would have hit me if I had waited another second wondering what I should do.  When I got to the other side of the street, I looked back and they young men were standing there, looking a little bit confused.  Hna Morris and I walked fast and calmly back to our apartment.  It was a crazy situation.  I know we are so blessed here.  I never feel like I am ever in real danger and I have faith that the Lord is protecting us.

My eye is swollen.  I don´t know why.  Well, it is going down.  So, don´t worry about that.  My eye just was swollen when I woke up a morning or three ago.

Holy cow.  I thought Quito was rainy a few weeks ago, but, wow!  It has only begun.  Earlier this week, we met the other sisters in our sector at a lunch appointment, it was pouring rain outside.  We had our umbrellas, so we were fine, but they were soaked.  Oh my goodness, they were drenched!!  The new sister in our mission, Hna. Orralla, went to wash her hands and came back from the restroom with the reddest eyes from crying.  She was so sad about the rain, about the first weeks of her mission, and everything.  So we went around the table telling her all about the first months of our missions.  Everyone had a hard time.  Missions are hard!!  But, really, they are so worth it!!

I love you all so much!!
I hope you have a great week!!

Hermana Ellis

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 10, 2012

Hello, everyone.

THANK YOU for the packages!!  I got two of them on Friday and I didn't have to pay customs fees.  And, I didn't have transfers, but Hna Cantos and Hna Cubilla did.  So now, in our sector, we have Hna Morris, Tellez, me, and a brand new missionary who Hna Tellez is training that I don't remember her name.  Spanish names are the hardest!!!!!  And I am just a horrible person.

Okay.  Let´s see.  Let´s first start by talking about a man named Santiago (that means James in English).  Okay, one night, Hna. Morris and I were walking home.  It was dark and this man kept looking at us while he was walking... Finally, he walked towards us and asked what church we were from.  We talked and he said he wanted us to visit him.  We took down his information and went home and told our Latina companions that we didn't feel comfortable visiting him and they should go in our place.  When the day came, we all were so busy with other things that we didn't call and confirm the appointment and so we didn't go.  A while later, like a week or two, I was at El Jardin (a mall here in Quito) with Hna. Cooper (she is from Texas and is the best) and we were in a store and I looked out of the glass window to see a man staring at us.  I brushed it off because a lot of men stare at gringas here in South America.  We walked out of the store and the staring man walked towards us... He said, "Hola, hermana" and I said hola back while I continued to walk away from him, but I kept looking at him.  Finally, i realized it was Santiago and stopped to talk to him.  He asked why we didn't visit and that we can visit him this coming Tuesday.  I don't know... I still don't really feel comfortable visiting him, so I told our Latina companions that night that they need to go this Tuesday.  Hopefully everything works out.

Oh, I just wanted to tell you that those Snickers you sent me, the same bag here in Ecuador costs $7.29!!  Yes!!  That bag of Snickers goes for over SEVEN DOLLARS here!!  That is like more than a Cafe Rio meal, I think.  Man, I miss Cafe Rio.  Hna Morris and I are saving those Snickers for a special occasion.  I even had to lie to the office elders about not having candy so we wouldn't have to share.

And the scarves.  Of course I could tell who picked which one out.  I am wearing the one Cheyenne picked (or that I am assuming Chey picked out right now.)  The other one... Well, it isn't really my style, but at least you remembered by favorite color was blue, right?!  I will wear it sometime, I am sure.

I saw Hermana Umphenour this week!  It was good seeing her, she was my trainer, and she is training again!  Good for her!  She was a good training - listening to all my health problems those first horrible months of my mission.
So, with being the companions with the mission nurse, sometimes we are stuck in the offices all day.  I get so bored and do all the work that the office elders and the office secretaries don´t want to do.  One day, I was working on something and when I was done I was explaining what I had done, I did this and this and this.  And saved this here on the computer, and this didn't make sense so I changed this and organized this. The office Secretary, Sister Thomas just looked at me so amazed and asked, "Who trained you so well?"  And really, all my wonderful office skills (not that I even really have any) came from working at WECC.  Hna Morris and I were trying to fix a document on the computer and she stopped at one moment and looked at me so frustrated and said that she wish she could have my computer skills... And I just have to say thank you to Maggie at WECC for all of that.  She was so helpful to me!!  Man, look at me, proud of my COMPUTER SKILLS!!  I hope I don't come back all dorky.
I don´t know what else to say.

Wait... I don't know if Jess is still using her church email address...  Would you please find out what email she is using and sent it to me?  Thank you.

Love you all, 

Hermana Stacia Ellis

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I miss Declan, Eisley, Cohen and Jude

Can I just say that I miss Declan, Eisley, Cohen and Jude so much?!  I was thinking about Cohen yesterday for his birthday, and I just miss them all a lot.  Do not let them forget about me!!

Okay, we had a baptism!!  AND we have another one this Sunday!!  This is the life.  So, Joel got baptized, but he showed up an hour and forty five minutes late to his baptism because he was playing volleyball... On a Sunday.  But, he was so happy, and we were happy, and I think the rest of his family is going to follow in his footsteps soon.  This Sunday, we have Ana Fuentes getting baptized, her husband is a member and Ana is so sweet.  We love her so much.

Let´s see... I have a story for you all.  One night, we were at the Family Bayas´ house, teaching a little lesson, when Hermana Morris got up to sit on the other couch by Evon to read a scripture with her.  As she was walking back to sit by me, Jonathon started talking about how we are all brothers and sisters and that no one needs to be embarrassed...  We were so confused UNTIL I SAW IT.  I could not stop laughing, and my face was bright red.  Hermana Morris kept asking "What´s wrong?  What did I say?"  Jonathon told me to tell her in English.  I leaned over and whispered that her skirt was unzipped and that she needed a lesson on modesty.  I cannot even describe how funny it was, and thank goodness it happened with the family Bayas of all people - they are the coolest.  One night, we came for a visit and Jonathan and his mom, Evon were talking to us about how he needs a girlfriend.  We told him that he could pray for the opportunity to meet a nice girl, and then asked if he would say the opening prayer.  My goodness, that pray went on forever about how he wanted a girl to hang out with, talk with on the phone, and eventually marry, and he didn't care if "she was from Africa, Ecuador, or even Utah."  We told him to hold on to his dream of finding a girlfriend, taught him about the Law of Chastity, and kindly reminded him that missionaries do not date, then went on our way.  He sounds a little crazy, but this family is amazing!!

One night, we were walking, and I saw some kids playing jump rope, and I turned to Hermana Morris and said, "I just want to play with the little kids!!"  And she said that she didn't think we would have time.  After begging her, we finally stopped to play with the little kids.  It was fun.  We actually got a contact of a family of ten from that little adventure.

Okay, I am going to tell you this story, but do not freak out, okay?  Last P day, we were leaving to go preach the gospel, and we started walking around from house to house of people we thought we could visit, but no one was home.  We contacted a few promising families, and then started walking again.  I stopped and told Hermana Morris that I had a bad feeling, and she said that she had a bad feeling as well, but we just got done with our P day, and we didn't want to go back home, so we started walking further away from our house when we stopped a cute little family of three.  We talked to them for a little while got their address and phone number and then they asked where we lived, we pointed in the general direction, and the lady said that we should go home, that is was dangerous being out late.  We have never had any problem, so we said goodbye, and started walking, in the opposite direction of our house.  While walking, we both stopped, and talked about how strange it was that we both had bad feelings and that lady had told us to go home.  We ended up turning around and walking home.  As soon as we got home, we felt relieved.  As we were studying, planning, and getting ready for bed, we heard a gun shot but didn't think much of it (even though we never hear gun shots), and then a little bit later, we heard more gun shots and police.  I am not sure if we would have been in danger if we would have stayed out, but I am glad we went home without having to find out.

Transfers are coming up Monday!!  You have to send me emails, because if I have to leave Iñaquito, I might just be super distraught.  Seriously, I am so scared of leaving!!!!  So, yeah, if you get an email from me on Monday, then you will know I am sad in Ecuador.  The other day, Hermana Morris suggested that we pray they we are both still here and both still companions.

So, six months in the mission!!!  My release date is mid-November 2013, so I only have a little over a year left!!  Where is the time going?!  I still cannot speak Spanish, but this experience has been such a great one!!  I will probably write you a letter with all the most important things i have learned because I don´t want to do it right now.

And finally, Doctor Henderson, they mission doctor, was in Quito last week.  Hermana Morris had to go met him, and being her companion, I had to go with her.  Dr. Henderson worked a lot on my test results and such, so I wrote him a thank you card.  When I saw him, I thought to myself, there is no way I am giving this arrogant doctor my thank you card, he would not appreciate it and think I am this stupid little girl with no better way to spend my time. So, I didn't give it to him.  Then as we were leaving, I told Hermana Morris that I didn't give it to him and I didn't want to anymore.  She made me run after him and give it to him, thanking him for all he had done for me.  He responded by saying, "Wow. Thank you!  This makes me feel so good!"  After he said that, I felt so bad for judging!!  Man, I am a horrible person!!

Let´s see, what do you want to hear more about? Less about?  Tell me... 

I love you all!!

Have a good week!!

Hermana Ellis