Monday, December 31, 2012


Hello!!!

I am so happy to write you and hear from you today!!  This past week was a nightmare!!  For the past two weeks, I have had a hard time sleeping.  I know, right?  Me having a hard time sleeping?  Yeah, then these past four days, sleeping has been nearly impossible.  Really, I cannot sleep during the night or day - I have tired both.  One morning, my companion woke up and asked how I slept, I said that I slept just fine, and she said, "Hermana Ellis, I heard you up all night tossing and turning."  I finally had to call Hna Morris and beg her to recommend me a sleeping pill.  She told me to get a blessing and just relax, and that she didn't want me to take a sleeping pill yet.  I was at the point of a migraine and just emotional crazy when we went to the bishop for a blessing.  While waiting for him to arrive, his mother-in-law determined that the sleeping problem and the migraine were due to stress, she then said, "I have something that will take the stress right out of you" left the room and came back with essential ointment spray.  She made my companion spray it all over my head and then she started massaging my head - I don't know what is up with all the old people in this country and wanted to massage my head.  But, soon the bishop showed up and after the blessing, my pain went away instantly, but i was still dead tired. So we went back to the house.  Yesterday was miserable and...

To make a long story short - I had to drug myself with allergy meds to sleep last night.  I am hoping tonight I will be able to sleep naturally.








The bag of candy I am holding without makeup on - everyone gives those to each other.

These dolls are like scarecrows that people here burn at midnight to forget the old year and bring in the new one.  We helped our investigator, Yolanda, make them to sell.

 


Hey, thank you for the package!  I love the blue stripe shirt - 

Dang it - I am on a horrible computer and I just lost the whole message I wrote you.

Okay, I am learning to be patient...

I am excited for Andrew and Julie, take lots of pictures and send them to me!!

I am thankful that you sent me another preach my gospel.  I wanted to give one to Hna Tellez, but I didn't have another one, but this morning I gave it to her and she loved it.  It is like the best gift to give my companions when I leave them.  I am thankful for the new clothes!!  I wear that blue shirt too much.  And also all the candy.  I wasn't going to give the Twix to the office elders, but I remember you telling me that you bought them for all of us to share.  So I gave them the Twix this morning and Elder Vega said, "Elders!  Look what Mama Ellis sent us!!"  Then he told me to tell you that you are the best.  But, I think he meant to say I was the best because I was the one who actually shared with them.

I am sorry.  I am tired and cannot think of anything else to say...

I hope you all have a great week!!

I love you all!!

Hermana Ellis

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

Hello, Family!!

So, like I told dad, I had TWO transfers last week.  But, I just have to tell you, when I was with Hermanas Cooper and Harris, people just came to us wherever we went.  It was crazy.   But it only lasted for about two days, because President sent home another sister, and that left Hermana Quispe without a companion.  Do you remember Hna Quispe?  I was companions with her in Atacames.  So, here I am, in a little sector called Calderòn, with a Latina companion, and I realize just how horrible my Spanish is... 

But, along with that, I have a quick story.  There are two sets of missionaries in this ward here in Calderòn, elders and hermanas.  Well, an elder who just got transferred out of here, a gringo, had 13 months in his mission and could not speak Spanish like at all.  So, when I came here, with only 7.5 months in my mission, everyone was amazed and said my Spanish was amazing.  I appreciated it.  I am very thankful for that elder.

My first day here, it was Hna. Quispe, the sister who went home, and I and we all went to grab something to eat before we took the sister to the airport.  I was the last one to leave the house, so I locked the door... But later I found out that I wasn't supposed to lock both locks, and we were locked out.  So, that meant that I had to climb a ladder through one of our windows (we are on the second floor) in my skirt!  It was alright, I am alive, but there is a church across the street from us, a "Skate Church" but really it is just a skate park that holds a Sunday service.  And when I climbed into the window and looked down at my companions, I realized that a bunch of people from the park were watching me.  It was embarrassing.

Also, another embarrassing story...  We had a ward activity where members acted out Christ´s birth.  Well, before it started, the bishop asked me if I would lead the opening and closing song.  I said yes, and when it was time for the opening song, I asked Hna Quispe if I needed to say "uno, dos, tres" or just start singing (because we didn't have music).  She said just to start singing and people would follow.  So I went up there, and raised my hand to lead the music and started singing.  Well, not one person started singing with me.  So I stopped, laughed to myself a little bit and then said "uno, dos, tres" and started singing again while waving my hand to lead the music.  Well, not one person started singing again.  Well, Hna Quispe did.  So, I was standing in front of most of the ward, SINGING A FLIPPING SOLO while waving my hand like an idiot.  It was horrible, Hna Quispe was trying to get people around her to start singing, but it didn't work very well.  Everyone just sat there and smiled at me while I made a food out of myself.

The other day, we were walking to an appointment, and an old man yelled something at us.  I am not familiar with people in this sector, and I have previously mistaken members for people I thought were creeps before, so I told Hna Quispe that we should go talk to him.  When I walked up, I saw that he didn't have teeth and I realized I wouldn't be able to understand him.  Neither could my companion, though, so whatever.  But we did get a few things from him.  First of all, he kept asking me why I was here in Ecuador.  He was kind of hostel about it, and I thought he was racist.  But then he went on to say that he was single and he lived alone and just weird stuff.  We ended up cutting it short and walking away.  Hna. Quispe said that the old man wanted to marry me.  And while we were walking Hna Quispe looked back and told me that we needed to walk faster.  I looked back and the man was following us!!  We made it to the corner, turned and ran for a little bit.  We made it to the house that we were going to, but the mother of our investigator told us that she wasn't home.  The man was getting closer and closer to the house so we asked if we could come in because of the man.  The lady let us in and we saw the man walk up to the gate of the house and stand out there for a while and then leave.  We taught the family a little bit and then left.  

Here, we don´t have a lot of investigators, and with it being the holidays, no one has time for us, so we have been getting to know the members, and they are the best.  I love Calderòn!  The ward is the best I have seen here in Ecuador.  The members are so nice.  And the family who we are spending Christmas with are the best.  So funny and they live in a beautiful house - it is really nice, like USA nice.  It made me a little homesick when I walked in...  But I am better now.  It really doesn't bother me being away for the holidays this year. - it is my first and only one.  I am kind of excited.

Yesterday, we were out caroling with some members, and we went to a house of a member family - the mother and a little girl were sick with a fever.  We sang and then the Stake President shared a little message and then said, "Has the little girl received a blessing of health?"  The parents kind of looked at each other and said no, then the president said "Then let us do right now what Christ himself would do..."  He pulled out oil, they brought the little girl to him and he blessed her and the mother.  It was really simple, but our president here is so powerful when he talks and when he acts.  It is amazing.

We also met with a lady who lost her husband about 18 months ago.  I don´t know how he died...  But while we were there, she started crying.  And I don´t like death, so I started crying.  Then, my companion was talking about the temple and eternal families, and her parents aren't members, so she started crying.  We were there for a long time just crying together.  It was worse that the movie Charly.  I just cannot give comfort, especially in Spanish.

Let´s see... What else... 

I am so excited to talk to you all tomorrow!!!  Not only talk, but SEE.  Hermana Quispe thinks I am trunky because I am so excited.

I love you all!!  
Have a good Christmas Eve!  I will see you tomorrow!

oh, side note:

I have to be in my apartment today at 4:00 p.m., tomorrow at six, and New Years Eve at six as well.  I think I will spend this time sleeping...  And writing letters, of course.  And during that time, we can go over to a members house for an hour each night.  That will be fun.  The family that I am using their skype tomorrow says they have presents for us.  Oh, and I have pictures I want to send you, but this computer doesn't have a place to plug in my memory card.  I will show you tomorrow.

I am so thankful to be here in Calderòn with Hna Quispe!  I love being a missionary and working all day (I loved being with Hna Morris too, but this work is a lot more fun than being at the hospital).  And I love this time of year.  I am thankful for this gospel and for the Savior, that He suffered for our sins so that we can repent and become stronger and better people.

And I am thankful for all of you!

I will see you later!

Hermana Ellis

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Transfers

Hey, so I just wanted to let you know that I am transfering from Iñaquito to a little sector called Ofelia.  It is actually the sector that has the Middle of the World tourist attraction in it.  It will be fun...

Also, I am going to be in a trio again - story of my mission.  It is actually really weird, all these transfers.  I will be with Hermana Cooper from Texas (she is so funny), and Hermana Harris from the Provo area.  Hermana Harris actually went to high school with Hermana Norton and they were friends.  Hermana Morris is so lucky - she get to be with Hermana Giles!! and Hermana Rodrigez.   We were a little shocked that there are so many trios, but I have heard that President closed some sectors due to disobedience in some of them...  Yeah, it is a wild story.  Really disappointing, actually.  

Hey, I am so excited to talk to you guys for Christmas!!!  Seriously, I really cannot wait!!  I really think we will be able to Skype without a problem (everyone Skyped with their families last year without a problem), but to make sure, I will look into phone cards if I have time.  I want to Skype though.  I will probably write you an email on Christmas Eve and have all the info for you then.  Make me an account and add your account to it´s contact´s list, yeah?  Thank you.

Also, CeCe asked me if I wanted to come live in Grenada the January after I return home from my mission... I said yes.  Please tell her that if she is just joking, I will be very mad.  

Well, I have to go travel to my new sector.  It is only like 40 minutes away.
So, my p days are going to be changing back to Mondays.  Write me.

I love you all!!!

Have a great week.
Hermana Ellis

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Time in Ecuador


Dear Family,

It was so good to hear from you about what is up in Utah and Grenada!!!!!  I love the family pictures of CeCe, Isaac and the boys - they look so good.  And Cheyenne is thinking about going on a mission?  Let me just say that it is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life (and I thought I had done hard things), but it has been the best experience ever.  Remember last week how I was saying that we didn't have a whole lot going on except some sick missionaries?  I was hoping and praying things would get more interesting in the way of missionary work, and that landed me a little babysitting job.  Some sisters are here in Quito for various reasons, and Hna Morris and I get to babysit them.  What joy.  It has been really hard, but I am confident that one day I will be a better mother because of this.


We have been caroling a lot lately and sharing messages of Christmas, and it is the best!!!  This is my favorite part of my mission so far - talking about Christ in a time where everyone listens and has a soft heart.  We went around singing as a zone, and while singing to some investigators, a lady who lived a few doors down came over and asked if we could come sing to her and her family. It has been great here in Ecuador during this time.

A few days ago, we were eating with one of our favorite families, and when she brought us out the food (here in Ecuador they prepared the plates for you, unlike at home where we pick what goes on our plate and how much we want) and she had prepared us four types of meat with a huge pile of french fries, salad and broccoli.  How horrible.  It was a piece of chicken, a chuck of beef, a hog dog, and a huge sausage.  I am getting really good at controlling my gag reflex.  Although, the grossest thing I have to eat in my mission is canned tuna fish.  I would eat octopus/squid any day over that. (did you put that video on my blog?)

The President has been having different zones over to his house for Christmas dinners, and last night, while Hna Morris was at the hospital with one of the sisters that is staying with us (she has fever) I when with the other sister to help with the Christmas dinner (my zone´s Christmas dinner is next week).  It was a lot of fun.  I saw Hna Umphenour and she is doing great!  After one elder said something to me, I replied by throwing my hands in the air really dramatically and saying something back to him, and Hna. Umphenour said, "Hermana Ellis.... You still talk with your hands." Hna Umphenour is super observant and always pointed out weird stuff that people do.  I don´t even notice that I talk with my hands.

Changes are coming up Monday.  Man, time is just flying by.  I don´t want to change, but I think that I probably will since I have been here for three changes with a brief two week assignment on the coast.  But I think I am okay with changing...  We´ll see how this goes.

I am just really thankful to be here, meeting new people, learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If I didn't know the Church was true, I could not do this - it is hard!!  But I have been so blessed and I am thankful that I get to be out here bringing the message of the gospel to the people here in Ecuador.  I am thankful for our Savior - this time of year puts things in perspective.  And I am thankful for all of you and your support!!  I love getting emails, letters and packages.  You all are the best!

Okay, that is all for this week.
I hope you are all enjoying the snow back home!  I am thankful to be spending a year without it.

I love you all!!

Hermana Ellis


PS
That picture of me in my running shoes with the skirt was what I wanted to wear out one p day.  Two of the four sisters in my house said it looked fine, and the other two said I was committing a huge fashion mistake.  I changed...  to a pair of Toms.  Don´t worry, Mom, I am still classy.

Oh, p.s., Brother Bott sent me an email, and I am going to write him a letter, but please, just tell him that while he may of received a hair cut, that is it not short enough, and to stop correcting my bad grammar.  Thank you.






Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holidays

You know, I forgot to say in that last email that I love being a missionary.  I love this church.  I am so thankful for this Christmas season and that the Savoir came to earth and suffered for us that we all might return to our loving Heavenly Father.  I have felt a lot of support and strength through hard times here on my mission and I know I am doing the right thing out here.  I love you all and wish you the best during the holidays!!!

Con amor, 
Hermana Ellis

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Slowest Week of My Mission


This is where Stacia is currently living.
Okay, so Christmas time in Ecuador...  It does not feeling like Christmas, but all the houses are decked out inside with splashes of decorations.  They are really proud of their decorating skills here.  You know, after seeing the Christmas Devotional and the lights of Temple Square, I kind of got a little homesick....  And this week has been really rough because of all the sick missionaries that Hna Morris has needed to take care of, but we are working though it!!  I am trying to be positive.

So, back to Christmas, a lot of the people we meet here are either Catholics, Evangelicals, or Jehovah´s Witnesses.  It is interesting to see how people from each religion act alike.  You can pretty much tell which religion everyone is just by talking to them a little.  Luckily, everyone is super nice to us... We think it is because we are white... Who knows? So, aside from the J.W.s, a lot of people celebrate Christmas here.  It is nice, but it just is not Christmas to me... Which is probably for the best.  The President and his wife are putting on Christmas dinners for all the missionaries at their house, so that will be fun.

We have a new senior sister, Hna Platts who works in the mission offices with Hna Thomas now.  She is so great!  She reminds me of Char from my old job.  We get along really well and I am so thankful for her!!  Since Hna Morris and I have been spending a lot of time at the mission offices lately, I have talked a lot to Hna Platts and she is just an amazing lady.
This is my new scarf - I love it.  It has pockets for your hands.  Genius.

Let´s see.... I just have some little stories for you...

One night, we were at a recent convert´s house, Raul.  We had asked him to say the closing prayer, and so he started saying/mumbling it when his huge horse-like dog came in and started bothering him, so Raul, being this older man started fighting with his dog and stopped praying.  Hna Morris and I had no idea what to do, so Hna Morris whispered to me, "On the count of three say amen... one... two... three...."  We then told Raul that we could see he was busy and excused ourselves.  It was weird.


Secondly, we were at the hospital, just getting out of a medical appointment, and there were two nuns sitting in the front office area.  When they saw us, they started mumbling stuff and using their prayer beads.  I had no idea what they were doing, but an elder told me that they were praying for our "lost souls."  I guess it is better than trying to curse us, right?

Oh, and finally, I have a parasite!  It is miserable!!  One elder who had this parasite what in the hospital for a week because of it.  We just decided that it is because elders are weak.  But, seriously, this parasite messes with your stomach, you have painful body aches, crazy dreams, and headaches, just to name a few things.  And the horrible thing is that we cannot take any medicine for it for three more days because we all have to get rid of it together or we could get each other sick again, and we have to wait until Hna Morris is done taking an antibiotic.  So, with this and the fact that we haven´t been able to teach a lot, it has been a little rough.


Last night, we came home and were getting ready for bed when we heard this loud BOOM and then the lights went out.  Apparently, some fuse from a huge electric wire in front of our apartment complex blew which caused our power outage (for the second time this month).  But it is okay, we took scary shadow pictures (like the one attached) and scared our Latina companions.  It was a good night.  And we just saw them working on the electric line, so we should be up and running soon.


This past week, I did got out on splits with Hna Tellez.  She is so fun.  It was a great day.  She likes to teach lessons, and I like to contact, so we just had the best time doing both - missionary life is good when you are actually doing missionary stuff.  I am so thankful for Hna Tellez, she was one of my companions in Atacames as well, and she is the best missionary I have ever seen (besides Elder Russ who was a missionary in Salt Lake when I was like 7 or 8 - he was cool.  Do you remember him?)  I have learned so much from her.

So, transfers are coming up on the 17th, and we all think I will get transferred.   
Oh, Christmas, I will probably call sometime between 2:00 - 4:00 my time, so like noon - 2:00 your time on Christmas, but I am not sure yet, I will not know until December 17th.



One day, in the hospital, while one elder had an appointment, his companion was drawing Hna Morris and I while we were not looking.  When we found out what he was doing, we asked to see the drawings, and the pictures attached are what we look like to this young man.  Haha... I hope he is wrong....
Have a great week!!!

¡Les amo mucho!

Hermana Ellis

Sunday, December 2, 2012

DECEMBER!!

First of all... Mike's birthday was this past week, yeah?  And Dad 's and Jessica Sweat's are coming up this week.  Happy birthday to all!!  Secondly, what ever happened with Tiggy and her baby?  I have heard nothing about that...  And finally, if you want to send me some stuff.....

So, today, Hna Morris and I gave into a major addiction and bought some tres leche cake (I hated that stuff before my mission but now I cannot get enough).  We were walking to a market eating our cake when three dirty kids sitting on the sidewalk came over to us and started pointing to our cake and saying something.  I couldn't understand them.  But I felt bad for this poor, dirty little kids, so I just stood there looking around not knowing what to do, took a huge last bite and gave them my beloved cake. I only had half of my cake left, and Hna Morris says she had a bite or two left of hers when she gave hers to them.  We felt good about that and decided that we can keep buying it every so often as long as we are continuing to be good people.

Speaking of food.  This past little while, I have been starving like all the time.  I just keep eating everything and guess what - I am losing weight!  I love Ecuador!!  So I am pretty sure this means I have a parasite or something... I just don´t want to go get checked for one though.  Don´t worry...  I probably will!  It is just that I have been checked for parasites twice in my mission already and I always come back clean so I have my doubts about spending my time doing it...  Ha, and on the other hand, Hna Morris is so careful about what she eats and everything and unfortunately, nothing.  I hope I don´t have a parasite and this is just my life now... We´ll just have to see.

I love contacting.  Which is good because we need new investigators.  This past Sunday we were contacting and we rang this apartment intercom door bell thing and a lady answered and said that she couldn't come out because of the sun.  We thought it was just a lame excuse, and honestly, we have heard better.  But maybe she was being serious because she stayed on the intercom with us for the entire first lesson.  We are going to go back when her husband is there.  Maybe he isn't scared of the sun.

The other day, Hna Morris and I were going to our lunch appointment, and we saw a man on a motorcycle ride by and loose keys from his pocket or something.  We picked them up and started running to catch up with him.  I was a little bit in front of Hna Morris and at one point I looked back to see she had stopped running and had a look of horror on her face.  I ran back to her and she said "I... am... having... an... asthma... attack..."  I had no idea what to do, but luckily there were three men standing close by watching  the whole thing go down and one ran over to see what was happening, they bought her some water and made her sit down and stop crying before they let us continue on.  It was pretty scary!  But luckily, there are good people here in Ecuador.  There are actually a lot of guys that work around our apartment as like security guards or work in little cafes and shops around us that take care of our well-being.

Also, we went shopping last week and today, and I love it.  I love bargaining with those people.  Mom, you would be so proud of me, I am so good at it.  And you all should be happy to know that when I got home I realized that I buy more for all of you than I do for myself!  At least I think I do.

The other day on the bus there was a man with a boom box rapping for money.  It was awesome.  He was making up the rap on the spot about people on the bus.  It made my day.  Hna Morris told me not to smile, but I couldn't help it, guys that can beat box and throw a rap down are my weakness.  And then he started rapping about me, the white girl by the door...  Heavenly.

Oh, this won't mean much to you, but someone who might read my blog might be interested to know that Hna Morris has been singing David Archa... Whatever his name is.... "Crush" song...  It weirds me out every time.  But whatever.  Speaking of my blog... I have been thinking and I don't know if I want you to put on my letters anymore... Maybe just a part of them...  I will think about it.

I don't know what else to say, so have a great week!!

I love you all so much!!

Hermana Ellis

P.S. Elder Vega, an office elder was in shock that I didn´t get a package this week.  He said that he probably gets more excited that I do when I get packages!  So thank you very much for all you have sent me!!!!