Monday, May 31, 2010

Fences and Barriers

Dear Family and Friends,

My Week: Sorry, I didn't have anyone to  "Shout Out" this week. Forgive me... I will think of one of you for next week. CRAZY WEEK! Were not going to go in order of what happened this week. We will just go as it comes to my head:

     I had an interchange in the Isla Trinitaria this week. If you know anyone from Ecuador... mention "Isla Trinitaria" and they will say "Kill Zone." I was working with Elder Freeman, my Zone Leader, in his sector. They have been having some problems finding people that will actually progress, so I decided that maybe I can help them out. When we started the change everything went great. We spent a ton of time walking around the island and we really didn't have any members to help us out. We taught two lessons about chastity. And then the day ended... really quite boring actually. The last lesson of the night: in the Catholic Church. They had received a reference for the family that takes care of the Catholic Church (or one of the churches) on the Island. The family accepted our visit... and we entered the "Great and Spacious Building." We got a quick tour, they took us up to the rafters, and asked us how we liked their church... Elder Freeman answered, "Great and Spacious." (Though it was a semi pretty building. I personally don't like seeing Christ hanging on the cross, bloody, with Saints hanging from the windows.) We taught a great lesson and they accepted everything we said. I actually thought they sounded more Evangelical than Catholic... I guess they are just catholic by tradition. We ended the lesson and left... after they gave us the second tour of the building... this time with the lights on.

     The Stake Primary had an open house this week at the Stake Center and all the missionaries in the stake were invited to bring investigators and to teach a mini lesson as groups were brought to us. We spent the morning Saturday walking around our area inviting members and investigators. Many of the members agreed to take our investigators... GREAT!!! We stopped by the house to grab a drink of water before leaving for the Isla Trinitaria (that is where the stake center is). I set my keys on the table and my companion put baptismal cloths over my keys. I grabbed a drink, dropped off some books, and looked around for my keys. Not seeing them I decided they must be in my backpack and we walked out the door. When the door shut I opened up my backpack to look for my keys...oops. TIME OUT!

Explanation: We live on the second story of an apartment building. No doors in Ecuador have door nobs... just key holes. You can't open doors unless you have the keys. All doors automatically lock. To enter our building you need keys. There is a 10 foot high fence with barbwire in front of our building... the only way out... the gate that I locked when we entered.

TIME IN! So now we were stuck: Outside of our apartment yet inside of our apartment building. We were the ONLY people in the entire building. So how do we get out? We had to get to the Island to the activity... we have investigators going! Out of ideas... we prayed. After the prayer my companion and I sat outside between the gate and our building hoping that the other missionaries would stop by before the activity... to no avail. We made the best of the situation and started telling jokes. Honestly... How pathetic can you look: two white guys, shirt and tie, sitting outside but locked inside... honestly! After 30 minutes I decided that something had to be done. I started looking for weaknesses in the fence. I will sleep great every night now... the fence is solid metal. No one is going to get in... but we aren't going to get out. I looked at the car port. Hm... it is on wheels and is set in a tract sealed above and below. After much reasoning I decided that we could remove one of the wheels from the bottom tract and crawl through a small hole created. We did it! We removed the wheel from the tract and with lots of effort one missionary can open up a triangular shaped hole so that the other Elder can crawl through.

I sent my companion through first. He is a little... hm... larger than I am. So if he can make it... I will definitely make it. He made it about half way through when he said, "Elder, my butt. It's stuck! Elder!!! ELDER!!! MY BUTT!" This series of comments made me laugh really hard. My companion is not big... but his rear is a little wide. We finally got him through and I squeezed out afterwards. He was SUPER dirty and my plack got scratched up. BUT WE WERE FREE!!! We went to the activity and enjoyed ourselves!

That night we returned with the other Elders and put the wheel back in it's tract. I don't know how we got it out because we had to use a crowbar to put it back in place. Answer: Prayer works... but sometimes you have to go to the extremes.

Chapter 2

I have been working this week with 7 de Septiembre. They have been having some major problems with their Bishop and it was getting to the point that a High Councilor was getting involved. I decided to have 2 interchanges in 7 de Septiembre to find a solution to the problem. I still don't have an answer of how to fix what is going on but I have set up a series of appointments with the bishop and the Elders so that they can plan and work together. I don't want to go into a ton of details... but there are some serious barriers between them and the Bishop. Something that is killer to the Missionary Work.

End Chapter 2

Brief Announcement: I was talking to Sister Johns last week and I mentioned something that Aunt Katrina said to me, about her inlaws, former President and Sister Gabbitas, and Sister Johns told me that the Oro Verde Hotel in Machala (the one that is by the road that leaves to Pasaje and Santa Rosa) still remembers the "Gabbitas" Presidents. Sister Johns was impressed because that was almost 12 years ago. 

Love you all,

Have a great week!

Elder Robinson

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