Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I am moving...

Back to my old blog. 

Just this time, it is going to be private.
So, let me know if you want an invite to read. 
Just leave a comment with your email or something like that...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

we are sending you back to the united states...

That definitely was not something I was expecting to hear this past week. 

I know some of you are wondering what exactly happened... I am wondering the same thing.  But, here, I will tell you just how the past few days have been.

Wednesday, I got a phone call from my mission president, saying that I was going home.  After nearly a month of every day migraine headaches to the point of not being able to stand or sit up strait along with a few other things happening, and the doctors in Ecuador wanted to do some risky exams, the decision was made to send me back to the United States to get everything figured out.  I called my mom to tell her exactly what was going down and she said, after she had sent some of my results to my doctor here in Utah that, "Stacia, you are sick and you need to come home and get better."

Thursday was a full day of travel.

Friday, I met with my Stake President and was released as a missionary, and then had a doctors appointment shortly after.  When we got to the doctor, we started talked and then she asked, "What are you doing here?  You need to go the ER right now."  So I was promptly driven to the ER where they did some blood work and a spinal tap and confirmed that I did not have spiral meningitis or cancer (two things that some dramatic doctors thought that I may have had).  And, after that, I was brought back to my house wondering why I am in Utah and not in Ecuador.

We have some other doctors appointments lined up, and hopefully can figure out what is going on.  Right now, I am thinking that I just have some horrible parasites?  That is what I am hoping for at least...  We will see. 

Right now, I have no idea what I am doing with my life.  Maybe I will go back out on my mission once I am healthy.  Maybe I will run away to Grenada.  Maybe I will stay here and continue with my life.  I am just not sure at the moment...  We will see what the doctors say.

But thank you so much for everything you all have done for me!!!  I really appreciate it.  I have been so blessed with such great family and friends.  And I really have seen miracles in my life during this time.  Everything is going to be okay.

I will keep you posted. 

Mucho amor,
Stacia Ellis
(It is weird saying that)

P.S. It makes it all worth the blood tests, spinal tap, and doctors appointments to hear my niece say that she is glad that I am home. She is the best.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stacia is coming home.  She'll arrive in Salt Lake at 11:05pm tonight.  She'll meet with President Kenison tomorrow morning at 8:00am and then she's off to the doctor to find out what's wrong.  She doesn't want anyone to know yet, so please don't say anything.  If you want more details, call Susan at home.

Below is the final version of the travelers’ itinerary, please review as there is a possibility of schedule changes.  Any changes made to a scheduled flight between now and departure time will result in an email stating the specific changes.
*** This is a NON-REFUNDABLE TICKET; cancelation or change fees may apply. 
*** CHECKED BAGGAGE FEES MAY APPLY PLEASE BE PREPARED TO PAY - Please request your bags to be checked to your
CHURCH TRAVEL CWT                          DATE 27MARCH13
TELEPHONE: 801 240-5111                    ELLIS/STACIA PAIGE  286221-RMD
FAX      : 801-240-5115
SERVICE               DATE  FROM           TO             DEPART  ARRIVE
_____________________ _____ ______________ ______________ _______ ______
AMERICAN AIRLINES     28MAR QUITO          MIAMI FL       915A    225P
           NON SMOKING      BREAKFAST                     NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         4:10 DURATION
                  AIRCRAFT: BOEING 757
                            SEAT 27F NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
           NON SMOKING      FOOD FOR PURCHASE             NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         3:25 DURATION
                  AIRCRAFT: BOEING 757
                            SEAT 33B NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
K ECONOMY                                  TERMINAL 1
           NON SMOKING      FOOD FOR PURCHASE             NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         2:45 DURATION
                            SEAT 28E NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
     ETKT:AA/001 7242194429

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I am so thankful right now.  I have seen in this past week how much I have grown and I have all the trials to thank for that.  It has been rough, but I can honestly say that there is no other work in the world that I would rather be doing right now than missionary work right here in Calderon, Ecuador.  I am also thankful that Hermana Norton is my companion.  She is so great, and, let me just tell you, that even though we are not native Spanish speakers, we have some of the best lessons that I have ever taught together.  She is really such a great missionary and just a wonderful person.  We just love the people we are teaching so much and want them to progress so when we are sick, it is not only hard physically, but mentally knowing that we are losing so much valuable time to be with the people of Calderon.  I am so thankful for the Gospel in my life and the knowledge about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation.  I would not and could not make it through this whole experience if I didn't know, with everything I have, that the Church is true.  That Joesph Smith was a prophet.  And that the Lord is our Father and wants us to return to Him.  I want to be a missionary the rest of my life!!... But, at the same time, the idea of November and American food sounds really good right now.  

Thank you for all your support!!  
I love you all so very much!!!
Hermana Ellis

Monday, March 11, 2013


Family, hello!!!

This week has gone by so fast.  Hermana Norton and I have been a little sick, so we had to stay in a little, but I am going to tell you some things, yeah?  Yeah.

First, Hermana Norton and I have been having an easy time getting into houses, we were talking about it the other day, and we came to the conclusion that it is because we are both happy, smiling people.  Not that our old companions are unhappy people, but they were really serious.  So we have been having more success in that way.

Yesterday, in church, there was a member who was motioning to us to come out of the sacrament meeting.  We went out and he said, "there is a young man over there who doesn't want to enter with me, he wants one of you to come and be with him." it was one of our investigators, P.  He is A´s brother and is 13 years old.  We went out and spent like five minutes trying to convince him to come into the meeting... By "convince" I mean we spent five minutes pulling him into the meeting.  He is progressing along just fine.

We are also teaching a young girl named R who is really great, her mom, uncle and grandmother are members too.  She knows that the Church is true, but with her schooling, it is hard for her to have time.  They do school activities and stuff on Sunday here. 

We also had a lesson with a girl named M.  She is really funny and really passionate about religion.  In the lesson, there were a few times that things got a little awkward and heated.  She is Catholic, but doesn't believe that the Catholic church is true because she says it has a lot of things that go against the teachings of Christ.  But, at the end of the lesson, she told us, "Regardless of if I join your church or not, will you guys continue to visit me?"  And of course we will.  We also made friends with her mom - she is very Catholic too.

Let's see... What else.  Sundays are the worst day in the mission.  But I love Calderon so much and the people here that I just love going to church in this sector.  It is still stressful trying to get all the investigators to church, and disappointing when some of them do not show up, but I just love the members and the feeling in this ward.

I don't know what else to say.
I love you all!!!
Have a wonderful week!

 Hermana Ellis

Monday, March 4, 2013

March already!

Hey!!  Family, how are you?!

So, this week has been good.  Apparently, two gringas is just what Calderon needed.  We started the week with no progressing investigators, and now we have a few investigators with baptism dates.  Wow.  I am just so impressed with Hermana Norton.  She has grown so much and is just such a good, organized missionary.  She really is the best and the people here just love her.  We laugh too much and joke around with all the people, and I think that is what brings them to us.  I had forgotten why I wanted to be here on my mission, it was just so hard and horrible for a while, but now with Hermana Norton I remember how excited I was in the MTC and it has just changed everything.  And I even think my Spanish is getting a little better.  That is weird.

I am thankful for your emails and letters!!  I just like getting mail sometimes.  I don't know what is wrong with me, but I hate writing letters lately more than ever.  I just cannot think of anything to say.

Bueno, yesterday, we called Ana and she said, "Hermanas, please come by tonight at eight, I really need to talk to you."  We were freaking out a little.  We showed up and she told us her story.  Her husband has been in Spain and he just got back because his sister just died.  Well, apparently, he has another lady in Spain and they are expecting a baby and he wants a divorce.  She was so broken up about it and just needed someone to talk to.  You know, I am so thankful that we found her when we did and that she has the gospel in her life at this time.  I don´t know how she feels, but I know it is hard for her.  And I also know that it is for the best.  If he isn't going to follow the teachings of Christ in his life, she is better off working towards the temple with someone else.  

Man, all my mission I have seen the effects of marriage. And now I just realize how extremely important it is to marry the right person, in the right time, and the right place.  Your whole life depends on it.  There are so many good women and men who love and live the gospel and their spouses don't and it kills them.

I love you guys so much and I pray for you all the time.  I am so thankful for the gospel in my life and that I have a good family.  Hna Norton and I were talking about this, we both just have such great families.  We have seen how the family is being attacked down here and it scares us, but we know that everything will be okay because we were raised in the church where families are important and where we have programs to protect them.

Uhmm... What else can I tell you?  We have really good leaders here in Calderon.  Our district leader, Elder Russell from Sandy, Utah is really great other than the fact that he makes fun of my Kearns background.  During the week, we had some awesome, hard worked days, and he would just said, "Hermanas, you are doing so great!  You are beating us all out every night."  We were super proud of that... But then some stuff came up that made us slow down.  But everything is good.  We are going to have a great transfer.

What else is going on at home?  Give me details.  I have heard of some engagements.... My goodness everyone is getting married!!!  Ha, and everyone keeps reminding me of how much time I have left.  Stop it.  I am so scared to come back into the world - I have actually already talked to President Ghent, and we decided to extend my mission.  So I will be coming home just before Christmas instead of early November.  I hope that is okay with you guys.  I just like being out here so much. 

Everything is great here in Ecuador!!  Everyone keeps telling me how happy I look this past week.  I don't know if I looked miserable before or what.   So, everything is wonderful and I am loving being a missionary.  I love seeing the change in people's lives and I just am really excited for the next few days and weeks.

I love reading Chey's emails because she sounds like a little high school girl in love.  If she really wants to see some Latin dancing, send her down here. 
How are Erica and Jaren doing?

Well, I love you all!!  I hope you are all doing well!!!

Hermana Ellis

Monday, February 25, 2013


Hello, family!!
This whole week I was worrying and and dreading changes, because I felt like I was going to get a horrible companion... But Sunday night comes, we go meet with the elders in our zone and they start announcing the changes.  "Hermana Ellis, you will receive Hermana Norton."  I freaked out a little bit. Maybe that is a little bit of an understatement.  The elders thought I was insane, but I couldn´t help it.  I am companions with Hermana Norton again!!  This is going to be a good change!  We are already having success - the guard of our conjunto (apartment building) does everything for us... 
So, I heard that they are creating a lot more missions and dividing my mission...  So, later this year, I could have a different mission president.  That is weird to think about - President and Hermana Ghent are the best. 
Alright... Let´s see...  I don´t know what to say...
It was sad to say goodbye to Hermana Quispe, she is really great.  But, she is off to Ibarra, where Hna. Norton just came from.  And that is where Hna Quispe wanted to go, so I hope she has success and loves it up there.  I know all the members are going to miss her here.  And I am excited for all the members to meet Hna Norton, they are going to love her.  Yesterday, I was thinking that I was for sure going to have a Latin companion, because I have had North Americans almost my entire mission.  But this change is going to be a good one.  I am really excited.
Right now, we don´t have anyone with a baptismal date, but we are working with two families that we are hoping will progress.  They are really great and have met missionaries in the past.  I am so thankful for all the past missionaries that prepared the people here - it has made my mission just a little bit easier.  We have great members in this ward and we are hoping to get them a little more excited about missionary work and helping the new converts.
This past Sunday, our ward mission leader didn´t show up to teach the Gospel Principles class that the investigators and new converts go to every week.  The elders taught the last time this happened, and so they told us it was our turn.  We taught about the creation and I was just so impressed that the new converts were talking, sharing, and testifying about everything that we were learning.  The people who were visiting for the first time felt welcomed and all said they want to continue and learn more and follow the example of Jesus Christ.  Wow.  How amazing that these people who only have a few weeks/months of knowledge of the church can have such an impact.  It is because the teachings of Jesus Christ are simple and should be easy to understand if we are teaching them right.
The time doesn´t change here, we don´t have daylight savings - I think only the US does that?  I don´t know...
And my poor black car - that looks horrible.  Sometimes I wish we had cars here in this mission, but really in the buses and on the streets is where we met some of the best people.  And people here in Ecuador drive like crazies.  It isn´t as bad as Peru, though.
What else is going on back at home??
I love you all so much!!!
Hermana Ellis

Monday, February 18, 2013


This past weekend, we were expecting one baptism, of L S, but instead, we had three.  

We met with A this week, and asked her why her baptism date fell through the past Saturday, she told us her story and then we asked her if she would like to be baptized February 23, and she asked us if she could be baptized February 16 instead.  We said yes... Of course.

After the baptism, the three gave their testimony and all said how grateful they were to have the gospel in their lives and thanked Hna Quispe and I by name... It was so sweet.  It was a really special day.

Yesterday were the elections here in Ecuador, and they only hold Sacrament meeting if that. Then after sacrament, we had to go straight to our apartments and not leave the rest of the day.

This week was a little uneventful... I don´t really have anything to tell you guys about.

Well, I better go.  Have a great week!  I will be fine and happy!!
Thank you for everything!!!
Hermana Ellis

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hello Family!!

We had a baptism!!  We were expecting three, but a half an hour before the baptism, two of our investigators were m.i.a., and that was hard, but we are over the sadness and hoping that they can still progress maybe this week.  If they do, we will have 3 baptisms this week!!  We are working with some great people here.  I will send you a letter with more details about the baptism and stuff in like two weeks... But maybe you won´t get the letter until like May, who knows...
Oh, funny story.  Thursday, during lunch, I was having thoughts about an earthquake.  Strange... I don't usually think about earthquakes in my free time.  I told Hna Quispe about it after lunch and she told me that I was insane and then we talked about the earthquake we had while in Atacames.  Well, guess what.  Saturday morning, I was walking around the house, I stopped in the doorway to talk to Hna Quispe, and we both stopped... The doors were shaking...  I thought the windows were open and the wind was doing it, but no, they weren't... Then the ground started to shake!  Earthquake number FIVE in my mission.  Luckily they all have been small.
So, the packages.  THANK YOU so much!  I opened the one from my friends first... I could not stop laughing.  They send me chocolate covered pretzels and muddy buddies, I told Hna Quispe, "These are from Utah, I don´t care that they have been in the mail for a month, we are eating them."  I tried a bite of the muddy buddies and it burned my throat.  Haha, thanks guys!!!  And Kristen, thanks for the picture.  My companion was worried why you were so serious and had a dog on your head... After I was done opening the package, she said, "Hermana, now I know why you are so crazy."  She thinks I am an unruly American.  And thank you so much for your packages, Mom.  I needed everything in there.  After I was done opening them up, I split up the stuff and gave half of it to Hna Quispe - I feel weird only getting stuff for me.

I learned how to make arepas, they are so easy... Even Andrew could do it.  Don't worry, I will teach you all when I get home.  Also, a lady in my ward taught us how to make empenadas.
I am going to send more pictures in a second.
Hermana Ellis



This is how we keep our feet warm during our studies.
 No, we don´t have heat.  None of the houses I have been in here have heat, except the rich people.
This is how we get baptisms - Hna Quispe is really aggressive.

And this is little Diego and his brother and sister. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Three Packages!

First, I got THREE packages today.  Thank you friends and Mom.  You are all the best. 
Second, I got a letter... from Madeline Newhouse.  I forgot about it until I got to the bus station.  I opened it up and started FREAKING OUT when I read the words ENGAGED and ALEX CASEY.  It was like the time that Kristen told me that her and Steve were engaged.  Everyone was looking at me like I was insane, but I could not stop laughing and saying "oh my goodness."  I tried to explain everything to my companion, but all my Spanish left me.  Madeline, I am so happy for you!!!  And I am going to write you asap - do not worry!  And do not burn my invitation!!!
Okay, we have some baptisms coming up - this Saturday Ana, Nageli, and Diego.  Ahh, we are so excited!  And then the next week we have some too. 
Yesterday, we had a FHE with a less active family.  The little boy, he is 6 years old, kept saying that I was his favorite missionary and that he only wanted to sit by me.  The little girl is adorable, she is 4 years old, and for some reason reminds me of myself when I was little.  This morning, Hna Quispe and I were talking, and she said, "That little girl is so cute, but so loud, insane and disobedient."  That is when I realized why she reminded me of myself. 
I have pictures to send you... But I have decided to not send any pictures until you guys send me some pictures... Sorry.  Well, that and this computer does not have the capabilities.  So next week... Pictures please.  And, although it breaks my heart, I want you to send me a picture of my car...  And know that would never have happened when I was driving.  How did it happen, anyway?
The other day, we were eating lunch with the bishop's family and his little boy, who is about 8, asked me how old I was.  I told him 23, and he said, "Really? You could pass for 20."
Carnival is coming up and people are already getting into it.  Apparently it is a huge water/food fight for two days, Feb 11 and 12.  We kicked of the season by having a car drive by and spray us with this soapy water.  We are preparing ourselves for the next time with rocks.
I am going to write the mission president and then write a little more.
Mucho amor,
Hermana Ellis

Monday, January 28, 2013

Transfers 1/28/13

Yesterday was transfers...  and Hermana Quispe and I are still together.  We are pretty excited because we have some great investigators right now.

We have Ana and Nageli who have baptism dates for February 9, and they are really great.  They went to church for the first time yesterday, and the young women´s leader came up and asked us if Nageli (who is 12 years old) was a member because she knows how to use the Book of Mormon really well.  We have been teaching them for two weeks.  Ana is the mom, and her husband lives in Spain for work.  But, she has talked to him, and he wants to listen to the lessons when he comes back.  He is probably coming back in the next few months because his sister is in a coma.

This past week was kind of hard. my companion is great, but gets really sad and down really easily... So whenever I was having a hard time, she made it seem like her life was five times worse... Which is okay, I don't mind trying to be the strong, positive one, but sometimes it is hard...  On Tuesday, we saw Hna Morris, and when she first saw me, she stopped and said, "Hermana Ellis, what is wrong with you, you look horrible."  How sweet, I know.  But things are good here.  Hermana Thomas called me the other night just to see how I was doing... Everyone here is really kind.  But, really I am fine.  It was hard, but now it is alright.

One day, Hna Quispe and I were waiting for a bus, joking around and laughing, and I saw a girl to works in a bakery watching us... I turned to my companion and said that we needed to go to the bakery.  Hna Quispe said no, but I told her that the lady needed us... and guess what... she did.  She is pregnant and separated from her husband and works all the time and is unhappy.  She said we could meet with her.  We have been praying a lot for help to recognize the people who are ready for the Gospel, and this little experience proves to me that the Lord always hears our prayers and allows to us to be blessings to other people.

We found some great people this week, and we are hoping they can progress!!  Two of them are young girls who have little babies.  Younger than me!!  17 and 20 - I cannot even picture having a child right now.  They need this gospel.  This past week, I have been really emotional in our lessons... It is so weird.  I just tear up so much.  I was talking about it to Hna Quispe and today we are teaching about death and the spirit world... I am going to try to control my emotions... But I cannot make any promises. 

Mucho Amor,

Hermana Ellis

D&C 31: 2    Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your afamily, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tough News from Home

So that news hit me hard.  I was walking through the streets of Ecuador crying, but it worked to my advantage because everyone in the street was super nice and caring.  Maybe they don't see a lot of tall, white Americans walk around crying... I don't know.
Yesterday, I had to give a talk in church.  I figured I would give the talk I wrote about prayer two months ago for the last area I was in... Until about 30 minutes before Sacrament started.  I ended up writing another talk because I felt like I should talk about Covenants and how when we make and keep our covenants, we will be the most blessed and the most happy that living any other way.
Yesterday, we met with Luzdary M, she is Whitney´s future mother-in-law, but Whit doesn't know it yet.  She is the member who lost her husband 18 months ago and we cried with her in our first lesson.  Well, we asked her how her prayers were, and she said that she stopped praying because she didn't feel that the Lord was listening.  I know some times we feel lost, alone, and that the Lord isn't there for us.  But, family, I testify that He is - I have seen it so many times in my life here on my mission and in the lives of others.  He hears and answers our prayers.
I am not sure the situation or what the feelings are back home right now, but something that came to my mind this morning as I was thinking about it all was something that the bishop here said to me when I first got here in Calderon.  If we want to have success, we need to pray, fast, and fight.  I know with those things, we can overcome everything.  But, I want to point out that when we fight, we fight on the Lord's side without judgmental and selfish feelings.  I don't know your thoughts, but I know how people can be at times, and I invite you to step back and let go of any judgmental feelings you might have.  They won't solve anything and they will only allow Satan to gain power over us.  We pray and we fast because we have faith, but we also need to act and fight for what we know to be right.
The Lord is here and He knows what is going on, what is going to happen, and He will make sure everything works out for everyone in the end.
This past week, my companion and I got poisoned.  Okay, maybe the lady didn't mean to poison us, but she did.  One of our investigators, who is a little crazy, asked us to eat lunch with her after a lesson.  Worst mistake ever.  As we were walking away from her house, we both felt horrible and went home and could not get up until the next day.  My companion is still sick.  The day after, we visited the lady again, and she asked "How did you feel yesterday?"  My companion and I took that as her checking to see if her poison did us any harm.  But then, maybe she is innocent and we are the crazy ones.  I doubt it.
We have a family here, Ana is the mother, her husband lives in Spain, and she has two girls, ages 7 and 13.  They are so sweet and sincere about the church.  They have a baptism date for Feb 9, 2013 and whenever we say goodbye, they always say, "Please don't forget about us!  Come back tomorrow."  Ana said that before we started visiting, she had depression and could not sleep because they felt something evil in their house, but thankfully it is all getting better.  They are really special to us.
I love you all very much and hope that everything is going well back home.
Take care and I will write next week.
Mucho amor, 
Hermana Ellis

Monday, January 14, 2013

Garada y su Libro de Mormon‏

When defending ourselves from dogs, we pick up rocks...

And everyone makes fun of me for the size of rocks I choose.  I don´t know... If a dog is going to attack me, it will be the last thing he does...
First of all, one year ago this week, I got my mission call!  One year ago today, Dad had no idea I was going on a mission.  How crazy!!  I cannot believe where I am and what I am doing!  I am speaking Spanish all day, preaching the gospel IN ECUADOR!!!  My life one year ago was so different.  I am so blessed to be here and to have experienced all that I have... Even if it was a little hard in the beginning.  I love it.

I cannot believe how fast time is going!!  I only have two more weeks of this transfer, and I just cannot believe it.  And the next transfer is only a 4-week transfer.  It stresses me out a little.  We wake up, get ready, study, leave the house and then it feels like only minutes later it is dark and we are walking back to the house.  What in the world?  I am thankful that Hna Quispe and I get along so well.  It really makes a difference.  But, really, I have been so blessed with all the companions I have had.

This past week, we had interviews with President Ghent.  I was telling him about my frustration with Spanish, and he said, "Hermana Ellis, you cannot base yourself on the curve.  Your first months were rough and you received other opportunities, the Lord will make up for the lost time."  We hadn't been able to study language a lot at the time, and that night, when we walked out of an appointment, Hna Quispe started to laugh.  I freaked out and asked her what I said wrong.  She said, "Nothing.  I just think it is funny that when we don't have language study your Spanish is so much better."  One day I am going to get this Spanish thing.  But really, I don't think I will ever be happy with my Spanish....

Hey... What is going on at home?  I woke up one day this past week with a horrible feeling that something was going to happen.  I am doing fine, but I feel like there is something really off and I am not sure what it is...  What is up with you guys?  Everything is great here.

We had an interesting lesson this past week with an interesting person.  Her name is D... and when we asked if there was anything she wanted us to ask for in a prayer, she said, "Yes, a car."  Only the rich people have cars here, and it was so off the wall.  She is really nice, but there is something about her that we don't trust.  Our other investigators are doing great.  We have been busy and loving it.  

While we were at the interviews, we saw Hna Tellez who gave us a letter.  In it she said that she missed me and I was the happiness of the house.  Haha can you believe that?  Neither  can I... I have a major attitude.  She is just really nice.  She also told me all about my old sector - it was good to hear how everyone is doing.

Oh, also, there are a few elders here who offer Hna Quispe and I $20 for our little Preach My Gospels... Silly boys.

Hey, mom, if you can find an XD memory card for cheap, will you send it to me?  Hna Quispe doesn't have a memory card for her camera and it is an XD card type and we cannot find it.

Hermana Ellis
Hermana Quispe makes a huge deal when we are giving away Books of Mormon - photos, ribbon and all.  I love it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello family!!

I miss you all.  This past week I was thinking a lot about you all - it was torture!  But, at the same time, I love it here in Calderon!!   This is how I celebrated Andrew's wedding.

I told Hna Quispe that if we didn't buy cake, I would die.  I wasn't even hungry, but the cake was good.

Whenever I get home, I put my hair up like that.  Whenever I have my hair like that and I tell Hna Quispe to take a picture of me, she always tells me, "Hermana Ellis, do your hair right!"  I tell her no, we take the picture and she always comments that it would be better with my hair normal.

For New Year´s Eve, we went to the offices, got some shopping done, and then had to be in our house at 4:00 p.m.

When we got home, I started washing my clothes, Hna Quispe told me that I needed to take a picture to send to you because she thinks I am high maintenance...  And then she made me clean the house with her saying something about "if our house is disorganized at midnight, we will have a disorganized year."

After cleaning, we made goals for the new year - ironic that one of mine is to not eat after lunch and I am eating Doritos in the picture.  Then we tried to stay up until midnight, but at eleven, we were so tired and told each other that we could sleep for 30 minutes.  I was out the rest of the night, only waking up to hear some fireworks and Hna Quispe running around our house trying to see which window she could see the fireworks best in.  We were going to go up to the roof, but, like I said, I was out.

This week was really good - tough, but good!  When we were doing our weekly planning, we took inventory of our companionship and one of the questions was "What are your strong points as a companionship?"  Hna Quispe and I are really hard on ourselves and we could not think of one thing... Finally, Hna Quispe said, "Come on, we have to at least think of one thing..."  And I said, "Really, the only thing we have going for us is your Spanish and my blue eyes."  She ended up telling everyone that day that was our strong point.  And really, it is true.

Yesterday, Hna Quispe told me that she has more success with Gringas.  I think it might be easier for Gringas to get people to let up in their house at first, and then the Latinas teach the gospel the best in their own language.  Hna Quispe said that her Gringa companions are more spiritual than her Latina companions.

Last week, in our zone meeting (there are 8 companionship's in our zone), we were talking about our investigators, and there are 15 people here in our zone who have baptismal dates - 1/3 of those investigators with baptism dates are investigators Hna Quispe and me.  The zone leaders asked us if we want to have a competition of who could get the most baptisms, and Hna Quispe said, "Elders, I was reading in Preach My Gospel this morning, and these people are not just baptisms..."  She tells off the elders whenever we are with them.

The other day, we went to visit one of our investigators, Garada, and she wasn't there.  We prayed that we could find someone who needed our message.  We started walking and while walking, we found Garada walking home.  In that lesson, she accepted baptism and is really ready and excited.  She just has to get married.  Her husband has a hard heart and so we will see what happens.

Another one of our investigators, Graciella, is really special.  We got the reference from one member in our ward, and when we first met with her, I just felt a strong connection to her for some reason.  She is so patience and when I get frustrated with my Spanish and look to my companion to bail me out, Graciella always says, "No, go ahead, continue."  She is the greatest.  At the end of our first lesson, she said that I remind her of a missionary she met a long time ago.  

When I first got here, Hna Quispe told me that there are people here who need me specifically, and we found a lot of people in our first weeks together.  And then we were talking to a member and Hna Quispe said with her old companion, they didn't have much success in a certain area of our sector, but that is the area that we are teaching most of our investigators now.

I am just so thankful to be here in Calderon with Hna Quispe.  My Spanish is getting better, although it is still bad.  And my teaching has improved so much!!!!  I love it here!!!

Hermana Ellis