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