Called To Serve

Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission. August 2014 ~ August 2016

Thursday, December 18, 2014


This week we watched the Christmas Devotional thing. I'm still not used to the whole lips don't match up with words and not hearing the voices of the apostles and such, but it was pretty fun. Each time the MoTab came on we played a little game. How many pairs of glasses can you spot? How many this or how much that. It was pretty fun. Then we had a meeting with President Riggins to do a little verification on what we learned in the meeting with Elder Uceda. 

There was supposed to be a baptism for the other Elders in our ward on Saturday... until the person getting baptized didn't show up. That was a bummer. There was a baptism for a different ward though, so we stayed for that. 

We had an Amigo Secreto (Secret Santa) with the YSA in our ward. All 4 of the missionaries got ties, but that was a fun thing. This past week has been pretty hot.. and that's NOT very fun. I've been sweating a lot more than normal. But yeah... it's whatevs. 

Almost forgot, yesterday we had some interesting things happen with the meals. We ate lunch with a family and last time we ate with them Elder Ulloque didn't finish his food, which is pretty much rude here. So this week after I finished my first plate they asked me if I wanted more, and I said yes and I got seconds. The only problem was the hermana put way more food on my plate than the first serving. I really struggled to finish it, but I did finish it! I was just super full. Then for dinner I wasn't hungry like at all, and I could barely finish the dinner. But then we got dessert too... doughnuts. I didn't have any trouble eating 3 of them. They were very good for home made doughnuts. 

A normal week really, and I don't think I have much else, so yeah!
Much Love, Elder Roberts

This past week a Subway opened like 2 blocks from our house! Its pretty expensive, we're talking 10 dollars for a footlong, so I just went with a 6 inch for 5 dollars. But yeah it feels bit like home and its really good. The owner of the Subway is from Guayaquil but he studied in Canada and Miami for 8 years so he speaks like perfect English and is super cool.

This my Secret Santa. She's the bishops daughter and is a missionary for the ward, teacher of Gospel Principals, and a seminary teacher! Crazy!

This week we had an activity in our ward. We played futbol with our Elders Quorum and some menos activos and investigators. I'm getting a little better at futbol, not a lot, but a little. It was pretty fun, but we played with the hardest ball of all time, so my foot hurt a bit. Then right after futbol we did a service project where we were in the sun for hours and I got nice and burned, so that was fun...

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Some experienced missionaries say it doesn't quite feel like lunch if they don't eat rice. I kind of doubt I will ever feel like that because we eat so much rice that I look forward to every meal without rice. On P-day we go to the mall and eat Carls Jr or something like that and those are amazing lunches.

 Estafany and Jesus moved. They were living with the sister of Estafany, but now are living with the father of Jesus. Since they live in a different ward we can't visit them during the week, so that's a sad thing. They still come to church on Sundays though. We haven't visited Dora in a while because more than anything she just wants to sit and talk with us. She will talk about her family and just about anything for like 45 minutes, but the minute we start talking about what we're going to teach, she says oh I have to do this or that... so yeah it's been a while since we went there. That's the case with a lot of people here. Everyone loves to talk, but not a lot of people love to listen to our message.

This week we shared a video called "El es la Dadiva" a lot. In English it's something like He is the Gift (in spanish Dadiva is a pretty specific word) So we've been talking a lot about Christmas lately. We visited quite a few members and shared this video. It's pretty cool.

Toward Christmas we're going to have a special Christmas Show. All the missionaries from Quevedo are going to sing a couple of songs, and there are some other performers, and it's going to be a really big event that should be fun. So we've been working on that this week. One more fun thing, our President of the Area visited us this week. He had a capatacion (sorry I forgot the English word for capatacion) for us Saturday in the morning. It was really focused in the retention of new members. It was pretty fun. There were missionaries from about 1/3 of the mission there. Yeah... that's pretty much it this week.

We celebrated Elder Arnells birthday in District Meetings with a cake and cola. This is him trying to avoid the tradition of taking a bite of the cake and then getting your face slammed in the cake. Luckily we had Elder Mecham to pull him off the wall and slam his face in that cake!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Answers e-mail first... In all likelihood I won't be transferred for a few months because I'm probably going to train in a couple weeks, but we'll see. 

I finally got the package with my bedding today, and I also got Christmas packages from Mom & Grandma. So that was cool. No cards from Mom yet, but I have received a few cards, letters, and Dear Elders from other people. They come about a month to a month and a half after they were sent on average. I need to write like a ton of letters! I should have sent them out before now so they could get there by Christmas, but I think that time has passed now. :( 

The new Star Wars is already coming out? Ahh! Yeah, that's on the list to buy so I can watch it when I get home! 

MMMMKAY. So this week we had two interesting high tech service projects. The first one we were whacking termite homes with a broom, and the next one we were pulling weeds and getting bit by a million ants. Really, it hurt how much the ants bit us! 

Other than that, we got sung to by a contact. We were just talking outside his house and all of a sudden he was like, hold on I'm going to go grab my guitar. He ended up singing like 3 songs for us. He's pretty decent, but that was super interesting for sure.

I'm trying to think of other stuff that happened this week, but honestly there isn't much. I went on inter-cambios with Elder Gomez and they have these annoying roosters that are super loud from like 5 in the morning all the way through study time. It's pretty awful. I also had inter-cambios with Elder Meacham this week. They were pretty normal days though... just working in a different sector or with a different companion, but same sort of stuff. 

Oh! Today we saw President Riggins at the mall and he wasn't wearing church clothes. It was really weird to see him out of a suit and tie. I suppose that's how the members feel when they see missionaries in normal clothes. 

So this is what we did for Thanksgiving. The missionaries from my ward and the ward next to us went to a burger place for dinner. It was way different from a regular Thanksgiving, but it was super fun anyways. The interesting thing is that on Thursdays we have a member that makes food for us to take home to eat, so after burgers we went and picked up a second dinner but we just saved it until the next day.

We found Elsa this week! In Ecuador they have this crazy tradition of lighting this "doll" type things on fire. I dont know, my English is already struggling, so I cant think of the word for it. But yeah, so for New Years Elsa will be lit on fire. There are other cool little "dolls" on the streets and it's kind of weird to think they will be burnt in about a month.


I think we need a bigger tree since I got the packages from Mom and Grandma. So yeah, pretty much we're ready for Christmas in the apartment except that the tree is too small. There was a lot of stuff there... pretty crazy.


 Yeah... this is just a picture. There's no fun story or anything. I just felt like taking the picture.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I don't have much to report this week since we pretty much lost two days worth of time because we were in Guayaquil on Tuesday & Wednesday for a capatacion from the president. 

 We thought we were going to stay at a hotel right across from the temple and have nice hot showers for the first time in 3 months, but instead we were at the house of the assistants and they don't have hot water either, so that was sad. We did have a lunch without rice for the first time in a long time. That was interesting.

We went to the temple Wednesday morning and I understood a lot more of what was going on than I did the first time I went. That's good since the first time I went was on my second day in Ecuador. Then we had our meeting from president. Then we got right back onto the bus to Quevedo. We were in a bus for 8+ hours in the span of 24 hours.That was fun.

We did a service project here this week. We helped one of the families that give us lunch a lot move stuff from their old restaurant to their new one. 

Oh yeah, and we're getting ready to do a little Christmas concert with all the missionaries from Quevedo. We had our first practice Sunday and the song we're singing is an arrangement that David Archuleta did, so I started the rumor that David Archuleta was going to come sing with us, and so many people actually believed me... it was super funny.

So my camera is actually living, sort of, it's really messed up though. It doesn't have flash, and the screen to see what you're taking a picture of doesn't work, so I still need a new one, but I did get a few pictures. 

This is Mateo. We call all the hermanas that make us food and do our laundry our mamitas, but Mateo is our papito! This guy is super cool. He used to be the Ward Mission Leader, but now hes a big shot, he's the Stake Mission Leader. He always makes sure we're taken care of. We have lunch with him every other Sunday, and this Sunday he gave us big ol' hamburgers and it was awesome. It was his birthday this week so we planned a little surprise party and it was super fun.

Elder Arnell and I were playing tic-tac-toe on the window with socks. This is his face when he realized that he lost. Elder Arnell was on cambios with Elder Maggy.

So we found this tree in the apartment. I'm pretty excited. I was going to have to buy one, but luckily we already have one. 
Merry Christmas!


Monday, November 17, 2014


First answers to some questions…

There’s 6 missionaries in my district right now, 4 Elders and 2 Hermanas. Well, really there’s 8, but 2 are zone leaders so they aren’t involved in district meetings. They’re usually preparing for zone meetings. There’s 16 missionaries in my zone, 10 Elders and 6 Hermanas, 8 are gringos. In the mission there’s something like 250-ish missionaries. It's fairly difficult to keep track of people. There’s a lot more rumors about transfers than anything. Like oh yeah, I heard this Elder is here or there, but nothing is really for sure. My companions from the MTC are just outside of Guayaquil los dos. I only know that because they emailed me. The other two Elders from my MTC district are fairly close. One is just a zone over from me so we see each other at the mall sometimes, and the other is about an hour away from me. He’s in the middle of nowhere, but I've still seen him 3 times.

It is super hot right now, but from what I've heard I’m in one of the most mild areas in the entire mission and I arrived during the coolest part of the year, so pretty much I think I have 2 straight years of sweating ahead of me. We live in a flat in an apartment building. We have 4 rooms and 4 missionaries, but we use one room for sleeping, another for studying, one for storage, and the last one is a little relaxing room. We walk pretty much everywhere, or when its a long walk take a taxi. Taxis are super cheap here. I’ve only paid more than $1 like twice. The church buildings are pretty much the same except they don’t have carpet. Nothing has carpet here. That’s one strange thing I miss. The only place I’ve been with carpet is the temple.

Pretty much I hear nothing of the news down here. The only thing I know is that the new Hunger Games movie is about to or already has come out, and that’s because I saw an ad on a bus. So yeah... that’s the answers to your questions. 

On to my letter from this week, but I have no pictures to send you… broken camera. :(

This week we made some French Toast! I was super excited, but then I was super disappointed because the syrup here is really not good. Pretty much it’s flavored water. So that was kind of disappointing.

We also started teaching about Christmas this week. That was super strange. No Thanksgiving here, so we pretty much got right into Christmas after Halloween. We have a cool lesson with a story about a little ceramic nativity scene and a two year old who rearranges it to put Jesus in the middle. Its pretty cute. In truth this week was pretty slow though.

 The ward had an activity this Saturday. There was a little thing where each class made a plate of food typical from Ecuador. There was a lot of rice! But the missionaries also made food. Elder Ulloque made empanadas, Elder Magallones made some sort of salad stuff with a super delicious dressing, and I made Rice Krispie Treats. Elder Badham didn’t have anything to make so we split the R.K.T. I was glad I remembered something I didn’t need a recipe for. So yeah. That was a really fun thing.

There was also a Talent Show after the food. It was interesting. Pretty much all the talents were dancing to a song. There were some interesting choices that I’m not quite sure were Church appropriate... There was one kid who showed some real talent. He sang a song and he was super good. The Young Single Adults did something pretty funny. They did a skit that was like a Dr. Phil type thing. Not exactly Dr. Phil. Its was like one of the shows that have the couples who come out and then just fight about something. I currently cant remember the name of one. I’m having a really hard time remembering names of any shows and I’m pretty much sheltered from all that kind of stuff. Anyway, it was funny. We performed a song about missionary work. It was really fun and pretty much one of the best acts of the night if I may say so myself.

So last night we were absolutely stuffed with food. We had three different dinners. We had a Noche de Hogar with one family and they gave us food, then we went to our usual dinner appointment, then we were given dinner by a menos activo family we’ve been working with. So yeah 3 dinners. That would always be awful, but what made it worse was we were running late so we had to eat super fast! Yeah.... That’s my week.


Editorial Note: Tanner sent this letter last week like he was supposed to, I just forgot to post it. 
Oops, sorry!

Starting off... my companion got called as District Leader. He’s super young to be District Leader so its pretty cool. He has his first baptism interview tomorrow. In our zone we got 5 new missionaries. 3 Elders: Elder Alguerra, Elder McMinn, and Elder Badham. Elder Alguerra is the new Zone Leader, McMinn and Badham are babies straight from the MTC, and then there are two new hermanas. Pretty fun stuff. The new guy in my apartment is Elder Badham. He’s from Utah, so yeah, another Gringo. He got here Wednesday really late at night and we have had a pretty busy week this week, so in honesty I haven’t had much time to get to know him yet, but he seems nice and all. 

This Thursday there was a baptism for a kid in the ward who turned 8. Elder Magallones, Badham, Ulloque and I went to it and it was funny because they asked us to sing a special musical number. We sang himno 181 in the Spanish Himnario but to the music of Come Thou Font and if I may say so myself it was quite good. There was also cake there which was super nice :) 

On Saturday we went to the temple with our ward and it was super fun. We had to get up at 3 in the morning to meet at the Bishops house at 4 and leave Quevedo by 4:30. So interesting story, Elder Badham and I realized we forgot our temple recommends, so we had a mad dash back to the apartment then back to bishops house to the bus, except the bus wasn’t there anymore! We called the other Elders and found out the bus was like half way across our sector and we had to run all the way over there to catch the bus. Yikes! Pretty much everybody slept on the bus, but for some reason I couldn’t so I just looked out the window, and I swear we drove for like 30 minutes with nothing but banana trees. Insane. The temple was pretty relaxed. We did a session then helped a member from our ward who doesn’t have legs get around. It was nice to have a relaxing day. We also saw Elder Gray there. He is like 6 minutes from the temple now so he came to see a family that he worked with who came with us. Yeah.

For P Day today we did something super cool. We went to Siete Cascadas (Seven Waterfalls) as a zone. It was crazy cool! The "bus" we took was super sketchy and the road was super bumpy but it was still super fun! We were way back in the jungle and we only saw like 3 or 4 other people all day. It was so green there it was crazy. We didn’t get to see all 7 waterfalls because that’s a really long hike and we didn’t have time, but we saw 3 of the big ones and a couple more small ones. We trekked up to one of the waterfalls and took some pictures, ate some food and had a little testimony meeting. When we went back down the mountain we went a super insane way and a ton of people fell a lot so that was a little scary. I fell in one of the little pools at the base of a waterfall. I was totally fine, just a little wet, but my camera was in my pocket. Luckily the memory card and battery are fine but the camera is dead. So yeah. Whoops. I want to send a lot more pictures but I’m out of time. We need to find a better way to send pictures because I was really afraid I had lost all of them today when my camera got wet.

This is transfer day and we went to the bus station with Elder Gray. There were about 30 Missionaries there. Craziness!

Picture from Temple trip 

Siete Cascadas

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 Happy Halloween! So Halloween wasnt much of a holiday for me this year, really just another day. When we got back to the apartment we could hear a ton of people going to parties, and we have a bar right across the way, so that was pretty loud. The big holiday here is the two days after Halloween though. Its called Dia de los Muertos. Pretty much its two days that everybody goes to the cemetery to visit and to remember their relatives that have died. We have a cemetery in our area so we walked by and it was absolutely insane, there were so many people! But it was a slow week for us. We had very few lessons because many people left town. Also, we had like no one at church on Sunday cause they were all at the cemetery.

We did bring one person to church. He is less active and his name is Angel. He has some major physical disabilities and has a hard time getting there, so my companion and I helped him. We practically had to carry him up the steps from his house to the main road. He was really excited to come, so were going to try to set up a member to go pick him up on Sunday Mornings.

To answer a few questions...  Im not really in the jungle at all. Thats why I was so excited to find some forest and had to take that picture. Im in a big city. My area is in the middle of the city, mostly apartment buildings and buisneses, and then a little bit of the middle of nowhere. The people dress pretty normal, its a lot of shorts and tank tops cause its so dang hot.

Elder Gray got transferred today. he was a good friend and I was sad to see him go. He was packing and found an Australian and American flag that he had forgotten about. So yeah, we took pictures. Its exciting though because his companion Elder Magallones is going to train a new missionary. They should arrive here Wednesday night. Yeah thats about all the news this week.

Oh yeah. We got facials :)

Monday, October 27, 2014


In District Meeting this week we talked about helping our investigators overcome addictions. In order to better understand the position they are in we each gave up one thing we do or eat a lot. I gave up oreos. I eat so many here. Im fairly certain its because when we go shopping thats one of the few things I recognize. Im like, AHH OREOS! Ive eaten those before! So yeah, its been a long week without my oreos.

Also this week we helped a different companionships' investigators get married. The couple was selling hamburgers to make money. So like the Servants of the Lord we are, we each bought 3 hamburgers. :)

Then we had buscanado Miercoles. One thing annoying is that almost everybody here is willing to listen to us, and they want to talk and talk and talk, and even discuss Jesus, but hardly anybody is actually interested in our message. So yeah thats a little bit difficult.

So this week we talked to the sweetest lady on Wednesday, and she invited us over for lunch the next day. Her name is Dora and she lives by herself. It was honestly the best lunch Ive had here. We started with cerveche with shrimp, and then went to another soup whose name escapes me right now, and then chicken. Yeah! A full 3 course meal. It was super good. Sadly, I think she might be more interested in our company than in what we have to say. We have an appointment set up with her next week to give her a lesson, so we will see how that goes.

On Saturday we had a baptism! Estafany and Jesus. We have been teaching them since I got here, and it was really exciting to finally have them "ready" to be baptized. However, right after the baptism the hermana asked a question that definitely should have been answered before the baptism. Personally I have been mas o menos lost since the moment I stepped foot off the plane, and I just assumed she was prepared. But thats not all. The next day they were late to Sacrament Meeting and we were worried they werent going to make it. I was freaking the freak out. Thank goodness they walked in, about 20 minutes late, but our Bishop still let them get confirmed members. That was scary though. But there is still more. That night our Mission President gave a lesson to all of the misisonaries, ward missionaries, and mission leaders about how we need to make sure our baptisms are ready. Heres a quote (minus the fact that I cant really translate very well) "If the people arent ready to get baptized, but are, the bishops can put the salvation of the baptisms in the missionaries hands." It was a lot more powerful the way my president said it. So yeah... were going to have to bear down and reteach them the lessons really well now.

On our finding people day we went on a little spirit guided journey through the jungle. And can you believe it? There was actually a house in the middle of nowhere! We talked to the people, but they werent very welcoming, so I was dissapointed. However on our way back to our normal appointments we talked to a person who agreed to have us back to his house, and then we iinvited him to church, and he came. We're going to keep teaching him next week, and thats super awesome. Heck yeah!

This is me in the middle of the Jungle! Crazy cool!
This is Elder Gray holding 3 dollars worth of bananas. I can't really think of what else to say about it. Just wow... 3 DOLLARS!

Okay so this picture is funnier than it first looks. You have to know the back story. So here we go... There are hermanas that live across the street from us behind that window, and one of them is about to go home. So a couple of days ago we posted a nice little countdown until she leaves on our window, and everyday we have been changing the number. Currently the count is at 7. So in exchange, they put this little gem up on their window for me last night. I think the number is a little high, but yeah, more or less. So pretty funny.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Hey so sorry, this week I dont have much time. We are running late. I dont really have any stories from this week anyway... just a full weeks worth of work.

My Spanish is coming along okay. I have yet to dream in Spanish, but some of the phrases I say a lot just kind of come out in Spanish and then I have to think about what that meant in English.

This P Day we had a zone party and we cooked up some meat (which is pretty rare down here) and played some games and just had some fun. One of the games involved flour, and after the game was done there was a massive flour fight, and it was awesome.

Oh, and this week we had attack of the rats in our apartment... Freakinrats

Sorry, this is so short. Hopefully next week I will have more to report and more time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


My week this week... first the mission president came to town! I think it was on Wednesday. He had all the missionaries from my zone and another zone meet together and he gave us a little missionary lecture thing. Sadly I didnt understand much of it, but it was still cool.

Alright so my interesting story. We were in our first appointment of the day at a members house teaching one of his friends. After the lesson the member brought out this juice type drink, which is super common here. Theres juices Ive never heard of that come from fruits that dont exist outside of Ecuador, and usually they're super awesome. So I start drinking this one, and it is absolutely awful, like really bad! My train of thought was that the faster I drink it the sooner its gone, so I pretty much chug the whole thing. When the member asked if I wanted more I said no thank you (thinking HECK NO!). Then my companion took one sip of his, asked a question, it was answered, and he set his cup right down. He looked at me and whispered, "alcohol." Wonderful... so yeah, I went through the next couple hours of the day feeling just a little off... that was interesting.

A fun thing that happened this week was that we had a movie party for P-Day! We watched The Passage to Zarahemla and just lounged around for a while. This has been the first P-Day that has really been relaxing. I'm glad we have a Mamita that does our laundry because if we had to do our own laundry that would really cut into our time on Mondays.

Also I got my birthday package! Thank you so much! It actually felt a lot like my birthday just because I had presents to open. The package with my bedding is still mysteriously missing, but thats all good.

It actually happened to be Elder Grays birthday today. He turned 23, the old fella. He got his package on time because his family loves him. Just kidding. But yeah, he got a ton of stuff from Australia. 

He has been awesome and has helped me out a lot, but hes getting transferred next week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I will try to remember everything that happened this week as best as possible. Its crazy how time goes by here. First my birthday got celebrated another two times, if Im not mistaken that brings the count to 5. Also this week we went on exchanges with the zone leaders, that was a ton of fun. I went to the San Camilo ward, which is across the river from Bolivar. I went with Elder Cuberos. Hes from Colombia but his English is really good. Hes really funny and is a great missionary. Basically we just had a normal day. We visited some less actives and one investigator. One of the ladies we were teaching wanted my little vial of  CA beach sand that Cammi sent with me. I told her no and then she tried to trick me by speaking Spanish. HA! Nope. It was pretty funny though.

I forget which day, but this is a parade we saw. It was celebrating the oldest person in Ecuador, shes like 100 something, and everyone in it was an old person. They had a little procession of those bicycle rickshaws at the end for the old people who couldnt actually walk in the parade, and then there was an ambulance following the parade! 

Another thing that happened this week was I got sick. Pretty fun that. It was out of nowhere, just one day I had a fever of 101 and a massive headache and I was super sick. Elder Ulloque and I had to stay home and I literally slept 20 hours and then the next day I felt fine. 

Conference is the only other exciting thing that happened this week. Sadly, we couldnt get conference in English, so I pretty much have no idea what anyone was talking about. It is so much different watching without the voices of all the speakers. There were translators for everyone and it was weird. Elder Scott did his own translation. That was interesting. He sound very much gringo.

This is Familia Cruz getting ready to go to General Conference! I gave Jesus a tie because he had a white shirt and a little suit but no tie and I have like 30 ties. He was pretty excited about that.

Elders waiting for conference

This is a picture of us and one of our menos activos who came to conference. He actually surprised us. We went in the morning to pick him up but he didnt answer his phone or his door so we figured he was bailing on us. When we got to the church we was sitting there in the front row ready to listen. It was awesome. Hopefully he stays this excited to go to church every Sunday.

Ugg, Elder Gray is currently throwing up. Were sitting in the cyber and hes in the bathroom. I hope its not food poisoning because we ate all the same food today. 

Also I have yet to receive either of the two packages you sent, but thats OK because everything here is so cheap. Ill be fine until the stuff gets here. Sorry I dont have much to report this week. 

Editorial note:
Packages were mailed on 9/11 and 9/15 and tracking shows that both arrived in Ecuador and cleared customs on 9/25. Unfortunately there have been no updates since then, and shipping status still just shows "in transit." 
I don't know if it's just bad luck on these particular packages, or if trying to get things to Tanner is always going to be iffy. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


 the first week in the field has been insane! On Wednesday the twenty-some missionaries who arrived at the same time (most from the Mexico MTC) went to the temple in the morning and then got our companions. 

My companion is Elder Ulloque. He is from Colombia and he doesnt speak a lick of English. 

After we got our companions we headed out to our areas. I am serving in Quevedo, which is a 4 hour bus ride from Guayaquil, and is one of the farthest areas from the mission home. We got to our apartment at 10pm and I met the other two Elders that live with us and serve in the same area. Elder Gray is from Australia and Elder Magallones is from Peru.  Thank goodness they both speak English. We had pizza the first night, which is expensive here, 13 dollars for one pizza.

That night there was some sort of holiday for Saint Mary. There was a parade right outside our apartment with a float and fireworks. There were so many people... crazy!

The first actual day in the field our schedule was to wake up at 630 and work out, prepare for the day until 8, study from 8 till 12, then work until around 9. The first day was really rough. Everybody in our lessons spout endless Spanish, then look at me to respond to a question they apparently asked me, and I just look back at them blankly. It is so hard to have nothing but Spanish for an entire day. For the most part I dont really know whats going on and I have a tough time communicating with my companion as well. 

Luckily, an awesome family was our last appointment. Familia Cruz. They are 7 and live in this little house, but they are the happiest people in the world. They are so awesome and they slow down a lot so I can understand whats going on.

The second day was amazingly awesome. On the second day, I got my feet wet and baptized 14 year old Jorge. 

Most of the time the rule in the mission is that we cant baptize youth who dont have a member parent, but Jorge had been coming to church all by himself for months, so President Riggins gave us permission to baptize him. He is such a cool kid! So on the second day in the field, I got my first baptism. (Elder Ulloque let me perform the baptism, which was really nice of him.) 

Then we went with our ward mission leader and another member and got hamburgers and serbece or something like that. Pretty much all the members here are the best. They are very strong in the Gospel down here and everybody, even the less-active members, want the missionaries over for lunch and dinner.

My first Sunday, AKA my birthday. Church on Sunday was really weird because I truly had no idea what was happening for the most part. It was a struggle to stay awake because I was dead tired and it was hard to stay focused since I didnt know what anyone was saying. It is also weird because there arent nearly as many members here so instead of having separate classes for different age groups for preisthood, its just one big meeting. 

This first Sunday we got Familia Cruz to come to church with us, and another family we talked to on Saturday too, so that was super cool. After church we went to lunch at Mateos house and that was awesome. Mateo is a ward missionary and we had an awesome lunch with him. He went on a mission to the Phillipines and we talked about his experiences for a while and ate some awesome food. 

That day we celebrated my birthday two different times. Once at our correlation meeting with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries, and then again at dinner. I took part in a couple of different birthday traditions. Elder Gray has one from Australia which wasnt much fun at all. They whipped me with a belt 19 times. The other tradition was actually from Ecuador. At dinner we had a cake, and as I was blowing out the candle, Elder Magallones shoved my face in the cake. I got chocolate up my nose. So yeah that was my birthday. Oh also, Familia Cruz got me a gift. They got me an awesome little robot guy that lights up, a little cake bread type thing, and some pens (theyre the best). 

This is the family that made a cake for me. 
This is pre-Ecuadorian tradition:

This is post Ecuadorian tradition:

So yeah thats just about it. Its been rough but Im hanging in there and hopefully soon I will get a basic idea for what people are saying. One more thing, Im not sure how to make the little symbol for contractions on this weird keyboard so thats why my grammer is technically a little off. I havent forgotten English quite yet, just cant work technology.

Elder Roberts