This week has been simply amazing! But my oh my ohhhhhhhh so awful at the same time! hahaLets begin with the awful...First off my companion is driving me INSANE. Like to the point of tears. She gets so frustrated when I don't understand her. It's gotten to the point where if I don't understand she just pretty much says, "Whatever, it doesn't matter"...uh yes, yes it does. So finally I lost it... okay not what you guys are thinking, I didn't completely crazy Morgann lose it. I just said "NO hermana! It does matter!" and "I want to understand so please have some patience with me and explain it again!" she rolled her eyes and explained it until I understood. Well, again with not being able to understand she was explaining a place where we could buy toilet paper that was close to our house cause we didn't have much time. From what I understood she was talking about the bakery....? So I asked "the bakery?" And she rolled her eyes and said "Noooooo" in a voice that was imitating a stupid person. I just said "Wow hermana forgive me for not understanding", walked into the bathroom and shut the door. And she continued to say "What hermana? Really?" I stayed in the bathroom for about 10 minutes so I could gather myself... so no blows were thrown. After I came out she said "So explain to me what happened." And I said "It doesn't even matter hermana its over." (there was really no point in explaining cause she was still pissed and being rude so there was no getting through to her). She continued to complain about how I always give her dirty looks and she never says "Wow hermana" or "What hermana" *note that all of these quotes are in that same voice imitating me as a stupid person and mocking me for confronting her. I just took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes and said "Well then maybe you should ask what happened, cause clearly I'm upset or a reason." She just looked away and we went off to buy toilet paper. When we got back to the house she tried to act like nothing happened. It's so hard. If you know me, you know I'm not the type of person who is afraid to confront someone or talk about a problem. But she's so unapproachable!! And the Spanish makes it harder for me because I can't really express how I feel. And she ALWAYS has to be right. But I'm pretty sure in 2 or 3 weeks we will be split up. So with lots of prayer and serving her I know I can make it.Another rough moment:So we had three baptisms this week, I'll share those details in a little bit. One of the men being baptized is a little bit bigger than the rest, and we didn't have white pants that would fit him. we searched ALLLLL OVER the town for a place to buy white pants for men in a large size and couldn't find them anywhere. Finally at the night before the baptism I bought white fabric and took it to a seamstress and asked her to make a pair of pants! She said she could have them done by the next day. The baptism was at . So the next day at we return praying they came out okay... well, $25 and a lot of faith later we had the perfect pair of pants! Struggle one: check!
So we go to see the man who was getting baptized and he tells us he isn't ready, he has all these doubts, and isn't going to be baptized............... what? So we sat with him and talked with him and answered all his questions. Still a little fragile and unsure I said O-----o! We have something for you, and continued to take out the white shirt and pants we had for him and for his son J---s too. His eyes LIT UP! They both tried on their clothes and were completely glowing. And BOTH so excited for their baptism!
Secondly, because they were all so special and come such a long way to be baptized I really wanted to make the service special. So we called all the members we knew to come to the service and I bought stuff to make a cake for afterwards! We don't have an oven so we had to do it in the house of a member. So we are teaching the sister of one of the members we are close to. So while the cake was baking we taught her. It was perfect! So after the lesson we went to check on the cake, as the girl was taking it out of the oven, what happens? It falls. Yup. Cake batter everywhere. The cake was ruined. I literally started tearing up. It just sucked. I spent the last money I had on the pants and the initial stuff to make the cake and I was trying so hard to make this baptism perfect... and I felt like everything was just falling apart. I was at my wits end. I didn't have any money to buy a cake or the time to make a new one. I just wanted to cry. And my companion had no care in the world. I felt so alone. But I told myself that the fact that they are taking the step to become closer to our Savior through baptism is so special in itself. I prepared a song and sang it at the baptism. The spirit was so strong and all three were baptized without any doubts!
Okay so my favorite tender mercy of the week!We were walking in the street and I hear someone yell "How are you!!!"(in English) I quickly turn around and see a sweet old man waving me down! So I walk towards him and he continues to speak in English to me and asks what am I doing in Ecuador. I replied loud, proud, and for the first time in English "I am a missionary!!! for the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints!" The feeling that over came me is indescribable. Something so little like that just changed my whole day around. We continued to chat and he told me how much respect he had for me and for what I was doing. That he knew how hard it must be to be away from home for such a long period of time, that he admired my faith and what I was doing. It was literally exactly what I needed. He didn't even know me but he expressed how much he appreciated what I was doing. Such a tender mercy and such a precious moment for me.
Okay so the three baptisms! Yay!!!!!!!!!
So one day we came out of our apartment and as we walk out the door a man stops us and says "sisters! I need to talk to you! I've been praying for light and happiness in my life and I wanna know if you can help me".........…UH YES WE CAN HELP YOU! He continued to explain how his wife left him for another man about 4 years ago and ever since then has been trying to really find a church to attend and find the light of Christ in his life. He wasn't even supposed to work that day or in that location but someone asked him to cover for them and he said it was by the grace of God that he found us. We continued to teach him and his 9 year old son J---s. Two weeks later they are both baptized and confirmed members of the church! Well O-----o wasn't confirmed, he had to work on Sunday. But this Sunday he will be confirmed!!!
And next R----r:
We have been teaching R----r for a looonnngg time now! And during his whole process he really struggled with knowing if this was the true gospel of Jesus Christ. He was attending an Evangelist church and really felt that both gospels were true. We encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon and to pray specifically for his answer. One night he told us that he received an answer that he knew the Book of Mormon was true. And we asked him how he felt about his baptism, he said he felt cold and didn't think he should be baptized. Such a sad moment but I knew that eventually he would receive his answer that this is what he needed. I just didn't know how long that would take. I invited him to pray again specifically about his baptism. The next night when we visited him (three days before the baptismal date) we asked him again how he felt.... he replied, "good, calm, and happy" WHAT. OMG. TALK ABOUT A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I literally just shouted "R----r I could cry right now!!!!" although in my head I really wanted to shout CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH! He giggled and we planned the program for his baptism right then and there. The next day we brought him his clothes for the big day, he tried them on for us, and was simply glowing. You could see the light of Christ pouring out of him! I honestly didn't think I would personally see the day when R----r was baptized. Little did i know... tender mercies...tender mercies...
Me and R----r at his baptism!
Witnessing these three men put their faith in the Lord has really strengthened my testimony! I think with all of us who are members of the church or who are learning more about the church, sometimes we don't know everything, we don't understand everything, and some things just seem plain crazy to us. But I KNOW even though I don't know everything and some stuff is mind boggling to me, I know that this church is the true church of Christ. Never have I ever come across another religion or church that has every single answer we need, in details! Even though I don't know all the answers I KNOW that they are there. And I know that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are strengthened.
Soooooooooooooo I taught the lesson all by myself in Sunday school on Sunday!!!! Completely in Spanish with no help! Planned it all by myself too! And the lesson was on our talents. I had everyone in the class right down their own special talents and explained how we all have them! And how we need to better them daily and share them with others! Well, the tender mercy part, during my lesson my mission leader rose his hand and said that he would just like point out that while we are talking about talents, this sister is here from the USA and didn't know any Spanish before she came. She's only been in Ecuador for almost 3 months and she already is teaching the lesson in class with confidence and great Spanish. This is a great demonstration of her talents and how she is sharing them with us.
It really was such a sweet moment!I almost forgot!!!!! this week we also had a ward activity "a night of values" and me my comp and our ward mission leader were in charge of a value. So we chose charity or otherwise known as the pure love of Christ.
I did the make up on our mission leader to make him look homeless. He wore grungy clothes and brought a card board sign. We had him sit out side of the church right next to the entrance reading a pamphlet about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The object was to see who reached out to him, showed him love, and invited him to join our activity. Every person that tried to show him love received a red paper heart during that hour that he sat outside the church while the members entered. Most walked right past him, only two young men stopped to reach out to him. Both whom are preparing for missions. The first young man brought him out two hot chocolates and some crackers and the second young man sat down and started to invite him inside. (still didn't even recognize it was a member of the branch until after they received their red hearts.)When the activity started we brought our mission leader inside and the branch was shocked when he revealed himself. Later when it was our turn we talked about how every person no matter how they look, who they are, or where they are, needs the love of Christ in their lives. And because we have that love and have a testimony it is our responsibility to share it with the world. I did most of the talking... I was pretty impressed with myself. Haha but it really was so spiritual and it really hit home for a lot of the members. Such a success.
There's only una via or one way we should follow! And that's God's way!
I want to end this email with my testimony of something that has been heavy on my heart lately, the plan of salvation. I want to testify to you that I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us. That he knows us all personally. I know that after this life, there is so much more. I know that this life is preparation, a time to learn, and to grow and to try our best to be like our Heavenly Father and our savior Jesus Christ. I know that we are preparing so that one day we too can obtain exaltation, an exalted being, becoming exalted beings just as a Heavenly Father is. I know that our Heavenly father created not just this world but many worlds, and that one day we will too be able to do the same. Although I don't completely understand how, or understand the concept completely, I know it is true because I know that this Gospel is true. I know that if we understood it all, there would be no purpose in having faith. I know that it is when we don't understand or are mind boggled, is when our faith is most important. I know that God loves us. That Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve, and to bring the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to lives of many.Amen.