I'm still getting used to my new sector, but my companion and I get along really well, and I'm excited to work here. It's my first sector that isn't really in a city. Now I'm walking in dirt and mud... something new for me in the mission. The sector is super big, but only a few places where people live, and less places where there are members. We focus the majority of our time in the city of Triunfo, but we also visit Bucay and Cumanda, both about 40 minutes away. My new zone is only 12 missionaries, 4 in each branch in the district. Our Branch has an attendance of 150 (more than any of the wards I've been in) but this week very few members because of the holiday. I think all of Ecuador goes to the beach during this time. I played the role of the new gringo who had just arrived from the US with some members this week and it was pretty funny to see their reactions when we got to church on Sunday and they realized I wasn't a new missionary.
This where I am now. It's what I thought the whole mission was going to look like... Good stuff.
This is what New Years looks like here. pretty interesting.
BURN BABY BURN!
Fireworks and music woke us up about 1130 pm and things didn't finally calm down until almost 2:00 am
The only person in the mission with a car is President Riggins. Cars really aren’t necessary here. There are buses that only cost $1.50 to go to Guayaquil (90 minutes) and a taxi to wherever you want to go in the city is $1.00. We don’t go to the other cities in our sector too often since it’s not very efficient, but when we do go, we go in bus. We just wait on the main street and the bus passes by quick. My companion Elder Carlisle got here in Ecuador at about the same time as I did. We’re getting along well.
This week I ate something called Cuyi, you can look that up to see what I ate. It was kind of weird because I knew what I was eating, but it really tasted pretty good, maybe like a small chicken.
There are a ton of people here that are willing to listen, so we’re always busy. There are some challenges that didn’t exist in Guayaquil, but it’s a really good sector. This week we went to Guayaquil for a meeting with President Riggins so we lost 2 days of work, but we still had a good week.
My Christmas package got here. Thanks Santa Claus! He got a little lost, but he finally made it to El Triunfo! Good stuff
I also got a late Christmas Present from Duran... Thanks Hna Piedad!
This week I didn’t work in my sector much at all, which was weird. I only worked with my companion Elder Carlisle on Monday. On Tuesday the assistants to the President came and we did divisions, on Wednesday the same, on Thursday my companion went to Guayaquil with another missionary and I stayed and worked with Elder Accordino and Elder Llanque, on Friday we had an intercambio with Naranjito, on Saturday more than anything we were in meetings, and on Sunday we did divisiones with the ward leaders. It was a strange week.
Even with all that we found a ton of new investigators and it was a really good week. We didn’t have many at church, but next week we should have more. We got blessed with a free baptism. It is a 10 year old who comes to church every week, but who never got baptized, so he talked with President Henry and said he really wants to get baptized... good stuff!
I think I just about burst on food this week. On Saturday people fed us 4 times, 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner, and 3 of those meals were rice and chicken, once for breakfast (first time I’ve eaten rice and chicken for breakfast). Then on Sunday we ate 3 dinners because everywhere we went people wanted to give us food.
This is real lasagna... It was the first time I had eaten it in a long time... It was super good!
We had a mission conference on Wed. There was nothing ground-breaking, but it was still a good conference. We were reminded of things Preach My Gospel teaches, and as I applied those things during the week I had some cool experiences.
I had intercambios once this week, and on the intercambio I did 3 baptism interviews. The people live super far away from the chapel, so I just did the interviews in their house, which was weird because it was the first time that I had done baptism interviews outside of the church. It was a family where the mom has been a member since she was 8 (her parents were some of the first Ecuadorian members) but her husband and kids aren’t members. They were really well prepared for baptism! The whole family has been coming to the church for a while, but they were just recently able to get married. That’s something that is seen a lot here in the zone. We’re working to marry a couple of families so that they can get baptized.
We have an investigator who says she is 80% sure she wants to get baptized and we have really only taught her about repentance, baptism, and a little of the restoration. Now we just need to help her get a testimony, but with her desire to get baptized that shouldn’t be hard.
We also went to Bucay this week. We visited an old investigator who was going to get baptized a couple months ago, but something happened and he got discouraged. We talked to him and invited him to church, and he said he couldn’t come this week but he would be there next week, so we’ll see if he gets excited again.
When I was on the intercambio in Troncal we went to the gym in the morning during our exercise time and that killed me, hasta el día de hoy (until this day) I’m still sore... and the intercambio was on Thursday. Also the rain is finally started, it’s cooler here in Triunfo, and when it rains its almost cold... almost.
We’ve been in a trio with Elder Suarez for the past couple weeks, but this week he is leaving. Elder Suarez is a really good missionary and he´ll be missed.
This week we made cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and cinnamon dougnuts in the house and it was all pretty good. But this branch definitely keeps us well fed, so we don’t have to cook much. It’s a good little branch! It’s actually bigger than the 3 wards I’ve been in, but the district isn’t big enough to be a stake, so we cant have wards. That would be the long term goal of the district, but we need to open up 2 more branches and we have to baptize and rescue a ton of sacerdocio (priesthood).
Noche de hogar with the family Nieves!
There's lots of kids, and those kids also have kids, so they're a huge family.
This is Bucay. It's part of my sector that doesn't look like any other area of the mission. It's getting toward the mountains, so it's really different. Sadly it's about 45 minutes from where we live and go to church.