Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week Seven in Ecuador - Happy New Year

Dear Family:
I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures.  When we went to Guangora last week, we realized that it was too late to take a bus back and so we were afraid we would be stuck 30 minutes away from home, but we found a taxi heading to Loja and he gave us a ride for one dollar so we really really lucked out!!
Ok now I'll tell you about this week as there is a lot that went on :)
New Years was crazy and it is extremely different here than in the United States. For instance they make these paper mache dolls that are life sized and they make them to look like different people like family members or celebrities and the ward made one that looked like my companion.  Also, on New Years Eve the men dress up as women and stand in the streets and ask for money. I didn't understand why but if you don't give them money they will, to put it nicely,  bother you. At 12:00 a.m. they light off a ton of fireworks and light all of the dolls on fire, so it was really cool. 
Then on Thursday we had "intercambios" which is just when we work with a different companion. So, at first I was with Elder Huamani who is one of the Elders who lives with us. Everyone thinks he isn't the most obedient but only because he isn't so worried about the rules. Anyway,  at first I was thinking, "Oh no, I wonder how this is going to be." But, it turned out amazing!!
We were in a member's house and we were just talking to them like normal people and I wasn't worried about everything I was saying and we were laughing and enjoying ourselves. Then I shared a scripture and Elder Huamani shared an experience relating to the scripture and it was amazing!! The spirit was so strong and we worked perfectly together! So I realized that is how missionary work needs to be; it needs to be normal because we are people but then have a spiritual side too. So I was so happy that I had that opportunity to see that!
 So then after that I was trying to do the same with Elder Castillo and it sort of worked but I realized that out here I just need to be myself and joke and be happy because when I am happy I want to work and share the gospel :)  I think that is the key and I have been doing so much better this week!!!
 On Saturday I was given a free banana from a street vendor so of course I ate it.. worse decision ever!  It absolutely destroyed me.... My stomach was gone it was the worst pain of all time! So lesson learned...... don't eat the bananas from the street vendors! 
Then Sunday was the greatest day of the week this week :) We have three investigators that have baptismal dates and all three of them were in church on Sunday.  There was a mom and her son and another guy and it was fast and testimony meeting.  I bore my testimony which was sweet because I said a lot of stuff that I didn't know that I could say but I did :) Then our investigator wanted to bare his testimony and talked about how he liked the church and wanted to learn more about it. And then after him the woman, Maria, wanted to bare hers too!!! She talked about how she knew the church could help her with her trials and how she believed it was true!!! So hurray!!! It was awesome and the spirit was so very strong. It was really cool and I think it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had here so far because the investigators did it all on their own!  Also, the mom and her son have a baptism date for this week so I think I am going to get my first two baptisms this Saturday!!!! I am so excited!!

That picture you sent is hilarious of Jacob...the one where he was asleep on the kitchen floor after doing so much homework!  While I was studying this week I found a good scripture for him that he can use for Christmases and birthdays. It's in Matthew 7:11. 

And lastly, yesterday night we were at the house of our mission leader and we were just talking to him and then he told my companion that he should watch what I do because he could learn from me and I was amazed.
Love you all,
Elder Lignell

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