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.