This week was another one of those weeks that... just... does... didn´t... flow well. I´m fine. Everyone is fine. But it was a hectic week trying to get everything done. Less see how it all started and ended...
So Changes were last week. As you all well know. I stayed a few days with the Zone Leaders until my companion, Elder Cruz got here from Lima Peru (the MTC) and he is from Quito Ecuador. I picked him up Wednesday in the morning in Guayaquil and then we rode to Milagro and made it halfway through District Meeting. We then dropped his things off at the house and rode to KM 26.
KM 26 is a great place. I enjoy being out in the middle of nowhere. There are lots of people to teach and everyone is willing to listen. It is fun to walk through fields, past fences, up and down highways... all the cool things that come from being in the countryside. Our day always starts at KM 26, but then we have to walk to KM 24, we have an investigator over there that is going to be baptised, then we walk to the KM 26 and up to KM 28 and trying to get to know the sector we then walked up to KM 32ish or 33 (Boliche) where there are a few more members. We then took a bus back to KM 26, walked down do KM 24, and then wandered around until we ended up wherever we wanted to go. We finish every day at about 8:15 because we have to take a bus back to Milagro. A trip of about 40 minutes (sometimes 30 sometimes 60). Its cool to work next to the highway because we can see how far we are walking EVERY day. (for example: the day I just explaned to you we walked about 13-15 KM or 6-9 miles. I personally think it is more... because this just takes into account how much we walked on the highway... not up and down all the side streets). We usually return home tired every night.
But even at night we can´t stop. We have planning at 9:00 and training a companion means that I have to teach something new every day. Easy to do but I often forget to teach things and then when he does something that is not totally correct... then I remember. President Montalti currently has the leaders controlling a lot of the numbers that are flowing around, baptismal dates, interview times, investigator problems... so it usually means that I am on the phone talking with the Zone Leaders or one of the Sectors until 10:15ish. Then I have 5 minutes to take a shower, have companionship prayer, personal prayer and jump into bed. That is if I don´t make an egg. If I make an egg... then I am late to bed.
Thursday we had Zone Conference. We received the call Wednesday night. At 4:00 Wednesday morning we got up, showered, shined shoes, and took an early bus to Guayaquil. At 6:00 we were in Guayaquil and on our way to the Salado Stake Center (the farthest Stake Center from the Terminal) at about 6:40ish our taxi stopped at a stoplight and I thought someone had turned their base up. The car was swaying... and then I noticed the stoplight was swaying as well.... and that the cars next to us were jiggling a bit. I decided not to say anything about it... we all just kind of looked at each other... the taxista changed the radio station and the news announced that Guayaquil had just had an earthquake. We felt the last 10 seconds of it. Being in a car kind of takes away the experience. Apparently it was on the stronger side... waking people up... shaking roofs... and such.
Zone Conference was killer. I learned... something. I think. It was 7ish hours long. Not planned well and most of the time off topic. I got a bad headache and have kind of had one ever since... I have never gotten headaches before in my life.
Running between the sector and the house was a usual joy. We had an interchange with Porvenir II and I enjoyed learning from Elder Lema from Uta Valo (the only missionaries in the world that can have long hair). He is a great teacher. He told me a ton about their culture and lifestyle. He lives in the city... so it was not as indianish as I would have thought... but still a super cool culture.
Sunday we woke up at 6 so we could get to KM 26 and back before church started at 10. We didn´t have any success in bringing anyone to church but it was fun to travel and see Ecuador in the morning. Porvenir is the strongest ward I have EVER seen in Ecuador. The chapel was FULL of people. About 150+. We and the other Elders work in the ward. They are planning a baptismal service for this saturday. 6 people! I have to return home early Tuesday night from KM 26 to do the Baptismal Interviews.
KM 26 is preparing to be a branch. They will break away from Porvenir at the end of this year. Starting this week they are going to have leadership meetings in KM 26 for the Missionary Work. This will save us time to travel back. They are taking the first few steps for separation. It will be a fun process to watch.
I would tell you more about the investigators... but I don´t really know them yet. Santiago Vargas will be baptised the 28th of August. He is amazing. His wife and brother will be baptised in September. His mom should be baptised around the same time.
Sorry this email took on more of an "informative" theme and not a spiritual one. We will end with a spiritual thought:
Thought: In Doctrine and Covenants I was reading the words of Christ as he spoke to some of the early Saints. It struck me as he said that he knows how to succor us through our temptations. Whenever I teach about Christ I always teach about his Atonement, how we can heal, and how we can return to a life of light after a life of sin. But I learned that Christ can succor us in our temptations so we don´t even have to enter the life of sin. It´s something obvious. It´s the little things like this that grab my attention when I read in the mornings. All should read at least for 15 minutes each day. You will learn something. To you I promise.
From the best sector in the world,
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