Ok everyone I am THE WORST at updating this. So sorry. We got our second letter from Shelly in the mission field! So crazy. Here are some of the best bits. She's in a threesome with a sister from Guatemala and another from Ecuador. She'll be staying in Quito her whole mission but gets to travel to all the different areas with the President for her medical duties. She explains some of those later in the letter. They've already had a few baptisms (thank you Latin America). She is staying really positive but I know this first adjustment will be the hardest. Please pray for her, she needs it especially now! Happy reading.
This week has been so great and so hard at the same time! The thing that's hard is just not feeling like myself. But I know that as I've taught I've been led by the Spirit. My Companions tell jokes as we walk down the street and I have no idea what they're saying. Haha! I just smile and nod, and wonder when I will be able to understand. I think I understand about 75% or something. So pretty good, but there is a lot that is lost. My companions both this morning said that even though they know I can't express myself fully they can sense what my Spirit is trying to say, which I thought was really sweet.
The only tough thing I¨ve noticed is that because practically everyone down here is Christian, we really have to teach how we´re different. We have one investigator, Hermana Gabriela, who we´ve taught to so many times, and she still doesn´t get that God and Jesus Christ are different people. That combined with the fact that people are so warm and friendly makes it hard to know if people are just being nice, or if they really get what we are teaching them. The only way to know is if they keep their commitments. Not that I´m complaining, it´s so great that so many people are religious. We just have to clarify right from the beginning why we´re different.
Oh man, the Gospel is so amazing. We really are different! We have the Priesthood, and the Book of Mormon! And a Prophet! It´s so cool. The Book of Mormon is seriously the key instrument to converting people. Right from the start it is amazing. Some of our most powerful lessons have just been sitting down and reading the Book of Mormon with someone. President Sloan has us memorize 3-5 scriptures a week, and also wants us to finish the Book of Mormon in 3 months. I am in 2 Nephi 9. I´ve figured out I have to read 6 pages a day to finish in time. I love it though. Study time goes by so quickly, There is too much to do!
So, I have the cell phone and am taking medical calls now. Haha, isn´t that hilarious? I totally play doctor. I¨ve gotten calls from lumps in the back to a non-stop fever, to ¨I have parasites¨, to a twitching nerve on the forehead. It is pretty crazy. I just pray that I will say the right thing. I´ve had several training sessions with Hermana Ward, and she is great. She introduced me to the Doctors here who are fantastic, surprisingly. They are helping us with some sticky situations with medications and such, and they aren´t even LDS. But they are so kind and...speak English. But don´t get the wrong idea, I think they´re the only two people down here who do!
This week, tomorrow actually, I head to Esmeraldas and Santo Domingo for Zone Conferences. Otavalo was BEAUTIFUL. It was so fun to be there. I played my flute, and they were pretty stricken by that. I don´t think many of them have seen classical flute playing before. Probably about 75-80% of our missionaries are latin, so they usually come from part or non-member families, or are converts themselves. I feel really really lucky to be able to travel the mission with the President, and also to come from where I do.
Anyway, lots of love. Thanks for your prayers. I am doing okay I promise! It´s hard, but good. And I know it will only get better. Just pray that I will understand this language! I don´t know what I was expecting, but it´s taking longer than I wanted. Haha. I¨m so impatient.
I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For pouch letters, they can only be one page long, front and back if you like. Don't put them in an envelope, just fold the page in thirds and put a stamp right on the paper. Weird I know. But that's what they tell us....