Family and Friends,
Shout Out: Elder Vuinovic. This is the last week of the first change that we have spent together. He is my trainee and I have absolutely enjoyed the time that I have been able to spend with him. Seeing as how this is the last week I really don´t know where I will be next week. I personally believe that I will still be with Elder Vuinovic... but I have never had a companion for more than 1 change... so we´re going to go with the odds and say that I am leaving (but we know nothing for certain yet).
He and I have had an enjoyable experience here in Independencia (Suburb of Batallon and Guayaquil). We have now had the grand total of 3 baptisms and he has enjoyed trying to learn how to be a missionary as I jump between sectors as District Leader. He has adapted perfectly to the life of a missionary and he even speaks Spanish (Castellano) casi perfecto. Él puede trabajar un poco mas con sus verbos. Though starting the mission in Guayaquil is not the easiest of experiences... we have found ways to work past that... without a program, without investigators, and with a lot of help from the Lord.
My Week: Sunday we were approached by a member that lives in 7 de Septiembre (the other ward that meets in our building). She is an investigator of Elders Estrada and Tobar. I interviewed her two children for baptism and both have been baptised... she should be baptised soon. Anyway, she asked us if we could help her Father who has cancer and has been lying in a hospital dying for the last 3 months. We told her we would do whatever was possible... and she asked us to donate blood. Now I am not a squimish person... but I am quite fond of my blood. I really don´t want to ever give it away. I thought it was bad enough that I had to have an HIV test in the MTC to come to Ecuador (it is required for all the Ecuador Missionaries). We told her that we would think about it and we went our merry way.
Wednesday: We were sitting in our house studying when we heard a call from outside (Ha Ver!) hm mm... who could be calling the missionaries? John Preciado, her son, was standing outside our house (how did he know where we lived?) and told us that they had set everything up for us to donate our blood. All they needed was for us to give them our Cedulas (Kind of like a drivers licence... or what they use here in Ecuador to keep track of people). Yeah, quick decision. We decided to give blood.
When we showed up to the hospital I was absolutely appalled at how a hospital can be a hospital in Ecuador. This is by far one of the filthiest countries I know. Mulling in terrible thoughts of staff infection my mind was put at ease as I watched France loose to Mexico in the World Cup (GO MEXICO!!! DIE FRANCE!!!) As the game ended it then became my turn to donate my blood. Me and my companion made our way to a back room and took a ton of pictures of us lounging in these old chairs getting ready to give our blood. My companion said, "Elder, If they come out with two hoses and a coke bottle... I´m running!" Fortunately for us... they used normal equipment. Yeah! I donated blood for the first time in my life. Yeah, maybe I would have preferred it if the nurse had changed gloves in between patients... or if she did not use the same bloody siccors that she used with other people... or a billion other things... but it is all in the past now. After we gave blood (5 minutes-ish for me to fill up a half liter) Hna. Preciado took us to the other side of the hospital to see her dad. This is what made the entire trip worth it. The hospital was super... um... lovely (gmuff!) and I really enjoyed all the sights, sounds, and smells. When we met her dad he was laying in a bed in a room with four other people that looked like they were just about to die. He thanked us so much for our donation for blood. Told us that he really appreciated the help we had given him and asked us to share a message. My companion and I both gave him a message about death and that everything will work out for his family. It was later we were told that he actually has no chance to live and that the blood we donated will probably have no affect on his life span or future surgery. We felt great to see him.
It was as we were leaving the hospital that I realized... I CAN NEVER DONATE BLOOD AGAIN. Now I don´t want a string of emails from my family asking me if I have HIV or some crazy talk virus... but as I remember one of the questions they ask you in the states is: Have you ever donated blood in a 3rd Word Country? Yep. I have. Sorry folks. I can now only donate blood in 3rd world countries. GO THE 3RD WORLD! I feel great. It was safe enough to do that we had permission and I have yet to hear about a missionary that returned home from Ecuador with some crazy blood disease.
Baptism: We baptised Ana Bermeo this week. She is an absolutely amazing 15 year old. She has read... not joking... about 1/4 of the Book of Mormon and is already memorizing how everything is fitting together. She was especially interested in the lessons taught by Alma and she can´t wait to be a member. We plan on Confirming her a member of the Church next week. She couldn´t come to Church this week because of family problems. (Picture 2 is Ana Bermeo). The Baptism was a complete success even though my companion and I spent over 4 hours cleaning the church because the Bishop´s daughter was married and they used the chapel as the reception hall... until 3 in the morning... needless to say their was a TON to clean.
We don´t believe we will be having ANY more baptisms this change but we are looking forward to an AMAZING family the next change. Also. I went back to look through how many baptisms my mission had in the 1 year that I have been in the mission. Something Elder Robinson (II) said from Georgia made me want to look. We have had 1300+ baptisms in my time here. Though of the missions here in South America... we baptise practically the least. There are missions that are part of our area that baptise over 600 people every six weeks. Elder Robinson (II): work hard so that your mission can get above 1000 as well. With your help they can do it.
We almost got robbed this week. But my companion and I scared him off when we found out that he did not like looking like a robber... so we looked like the robbed... and he ran off. Funny story if you ask me. I even had my camera in my bag. Bad luck for him... never go against Elder Robinson and Elder Vuinovic. Lesson learned.
Side Note: I would like to send some letters home to friends... but seeing as how it is summer... please give me a few weeks notice before you move so that I do not send letters to OLD ADDRESSES. Thanks.
That is the work and life of your favorite Elder Robinson (I)
PS: FRANCE LOST TO MEXICO. Thought you might have forgotten.
PSS: We had an amazing picture of my companion and I celebrating when the US tied to Slovenia... but my companion forgot his memory card. 2-2. USA! USA! USA!
Picture 1: Roxanna Albuja. Aunt to Ana Bermeo. She is your normal sized Ecuadorian woman. Yes, you can judge people by their size.
Picture 2: Ana Bermeo waiting for baptism
Picture 3: Josè Albuja, Roxana Albuja, Elder Vuinovic, Elder Robinson, and Ana Bermeo
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