Monday, August 20, 2012

Week One in Ecuador

Josh has been in Ecuador for almost a week now! His first few days in Ecuador have been challenging for him, but he has such a great attitude about it, as you'll notice in this letter. Also, Josh will be emailing us every Monday (for now), so that's when you can expect a new post each week.

Hey all,

I'm in Quito, Chillogallo Stake, GuamanĂ­ ward. When it is sunny, it's pleasantly cool, when it's cloudy, it's super super super super super cold. At night I put on tons of clothes. Wowee, I need to buy more sweaters. I guess there's a guy in the ward who makes good sueters, so I guess I can get some from him. Now, to tell the tale of my first week.

Wednesday morning, we arise, all freezing cold, and go to a big chapel in the main part of the chapel. We learned all the rules and such together, then met our trainers. His name is Elder Richimondg, no idea how that spelling happened, and he's from Guayaquil. We eat some lunch together, then take a bus to our area after saying goodbye to all the guys who came with me. We arrive in our apartment, and it is RANK. I don't think it had been cleaned for weeks, maybe months. There was garbage (is that how you spell it?) everywhere, and the dishes and fridge and everything were filthy. We're getting tons of cleaning stuff today to work on it.

I was gonna tell this like a story, but I don't really want to anymore haha. Anyways, the first couple days, actually still every day, I've felt totally lost. Our area is gigantic, and I have no idea where we are when we walk. I'm able to communicate more or less, but I'll always have more spanish to learn. I guess Elder Richimondg's last companion wasn't very obedient, and that that is a problem in the whole mission. President Ghent had all the new guys promise that we'd teach all of our companions to be obedient and follow all the rules. President Ghent and his wife are awesome. Super awesome. They're happy and inviting, and I'm excited to get to know them better and better.

We haven't had too much success yet, we don't really have anyone to teach. I guess two months ago, the zone lead the mission in baptisms, and this month their numbers plummeted. So we're working hard to find people to teach, but so far with little success. We have a few appointments with new people in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully those lead to good things. There's one family in particular that we ran into that we're going to visit tomorrow morning that I really think is going to accept the Gospel. After talking to the mother for a little bit, I really felt that she and her family needed the Gospel. TodavĂ­a I don't know if that was hunger or the Spirit, but I'll find out tomorrow I suppose.

Our ward seems great. There aren't tons of members, but the members that attend Church are strong and faithful. I'm excited to get to know them all... One thing that's gotten me some street cred with the members though is my blue eyes. It's like I have wings or something. Almost everyone has commented on my eyes when they meet me. The mamitas in the ward are awesome, and the food is great, but I need to buy more food at the store today to eat. The food is great, but for me the servings are puny. I finish my food in like 3 minutes, and just sit there thinking about more food. The food is great, just not enough for me. The avacados are unbelievable here, and I plan on eating as many as I can every day. The bread is great too, I can just pop into a shop and get fresh bread for like 5 centavos. It's difficult, but fun to adjust to this new culture. I still feel super out of place, but with time I'll feel better.

I saw the volcanoes yesterday for the first time, and they are beautiful. Until yesterday, it has been cloudly. Yesterday was perfectly clear, and I could see 4 volcanoes, the coolest one is Cotopaxi, and I guess if we're good as a zone we'll be able to go there one P-day. Today P-day ends at one... we are doing that so that everyone in the mission can come listen to Elder Holland, even the people who live 8 hours away. I'm super excited to hear him speak. It'll be tough, but awesome.

I need to start bringing my journal when I write these letters so I can remeber everything that I've done this week, and give the letters more flow, like a poet. I studied patience and revelation this week for personal study. I need to have patience with myself as I adjust to this new life. Nothing could have prepared me for this. This has been the hardest week of my life I think. But it's worth it. I'll be more patient with myself as I learn how to teach, talk, and learn in a new culture. I've been blessed to be able to understand pretty much everything said. What I need to work on is opening my mouth and talking. Part of recieving revelation is doing stuff, and if I want to know what I need to say to investigators, I need to say stuff. Revelation is key to everything in life--to know what we need to do to grow closer to God. I love study time, and know that it'll help me to have a stronger testimony in the Church and to be able to better help people learn about the Gospel.


I should probably get going, we have a lot to do... I love you all and wish you luck and happiness in the coming week. Next week's letter will be a work of art, I promise.


Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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