Well this week was pretty good! Yesterday was my five month mark and we celebrated by doing missionary work!!! Yay for us! Haha but it was a good week and I only have thirteen months left here in Ecuador... But who`s counting anyways ;) Well we don`t have very many new investigators that are progressing so that makes the days go by pretty darn slow.... All of our investigators who really are progressing are not married........ Why that is such a big trend down here in South America I don`t know but it is so frustrating... JUST GET MARRIED PEOPLE!!! We have seven couples that we are teaching... SEVEN and all of them need to get married and they are our "golden" investigators so it is pretty frustrating playing this waiting game. But I am enjoying my time here and I hope that we find someone who wants to repent and be baptized soon!!! Haha But they have to be married!
This week was a little different, I was actually a little under the weather this week and by under the weather I mean I had a little trouble with the food that a member gave us... It wasn`t pretty and we actually stayed home for a couple of hours that day... But I am better, I am surprised I have lasted this long without getting sick. Seeing the markets and things really use to creep me out but now I am use to it... On Saturday we were walking out of a lesson and we were close to the market. We saw the Bishop`s wife and we went over to say hi to her and she had just bought two dead chickens with their feathers all plucked and their heads chopped off.... When I saw where she had bought the chickens I just tried to focus on the conversation.... Where she had bought the two chickens was so disgusting. There were carcases of dead animals hanging out in the sun. There were chicken carcases sitting on the cement counter and a woman was fanning the chickens with a little ribbon tied to a stick to keep the flies away. Every time anyone would pay her she would grab the chicken with her bare hands put it in a sack and take the money with chicken guts on her hands and put it in her pocket. But every time she did this she had to put her little ribbon down and the flies would attack the chicken. No refrigeration, no sanitation, FOOD VIOLATION!!!!
We had those two lovely chickens for lunch the next Sunday. It was tasty at least! But I really wonder how many things I have eaten that are just.... not right!!!! We are usually served some kind of sea food. It is usually just a fried and breaded fish with a mountain of white rice. But every time we pass the fish market I almost throw up... The market smells sooo sooo sooo bad and you can find the Church by following your nose. The church is right next to the fish market so sometimes on really hot Sundays you can smell the dead bloody fish that are not being refrigerated and are probably two days old wafting into the chapel. But don`t worry we bless our food before we eat it so I am sure Heavenly Father cleans things up for us.
This Sunday in church was a little different, meaning no one prepared their lessons.... In our Gospel Doctrines class we had Flora and Marco there and our ward mission leader`s lesson was on prayer. The lesson started off fine but then he suddenly started talking about prophets and why they are important. I thought oh this is just a little blip about prophets and then the lesson will revert back to prayer. Well the lesson never reverted back to prayer. So I am sure that our investigators were really confused. We found out later that our mission leader had accidentally turned two pages and was in the lesson about prophets. We were pretty mad because if he had prepared anything or even read the lesson he would have noticed his mistake and found out what had happened and finished the lesson about prayer.
Then in Relief Society the Relief Society President stood up and asked who was going to give the lesson while holding up the manual. I thought she was joking at first but then she kept asking and then started pointing at some of the sisters and asking them personally to give the lesson. I was so glad that Flora had left church early. I was so shocked that she was begging someone to give the lesson. Hermana Romero and I would have volunteered but we taught the lesson two weeks before for her and when the Bishop found out he told us that we couldn`t do that again. So she was on her own. Well a sister finally stood up and read the manual and asked the questions that are in there... I was pretty impressed with her ability to just pick up the pieces and go with it but I was so shocked that our Relief Society President didn`t just give the lesson.
This week we also had interviews with the Mission President. Well I was so stinking nervous!!!!! My first interview I don`t remember much but I just remember feeling like a retard trying to talk to him in Spanish about my "metas" I learned that meta means goal. So I don`t even remember what I told him but I am sure he was just as confused as I was. But he was polite and didn`t laugh like I am sure he wanted to. Well this time all the missionaries in our zone met up at the Stake Center and waited for our interviews. When my turn finally came I stood up and shook the Presidents hand my heart felt like it was in my throat and I suddenly forgot how to swallow! He asked me how things were, how my area was, and how my companion and I were. When the interview finally ended I realized that I understood everything... E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G that he said! I was so proud of myself and when he shook my hand again he told me congratulations with my Spanish!!! I felt like I could FLY!!!
Then it was my companion`s turn for her interview. I was sitting and talking to all the elders and my old zone leader Elder Hancock is now an assistant to the President. He was the zone leader for the first six weeks of my training, it has been another six weeks since I have seen him. He was talking to me in Spanish and he told me good job with my Spanish!!! Elder Hancock never ever compliments ANYONE! When we left the stake center I felt like I could CONQUER THE WORLD!!! In the taxi ride home my companion and I were talking all about our interviews and she said that the President said, "Your companion was speaking mountains of words!" (That phrase sounds better in Spanish "Su companiera habla montañas de palabras") He also told her that he was really impressed with my progress in just three months in the field. If I wasn`t happy before I think I was hovering about three inches above the seat in the taxi!!! My Spanish is finally coming... finally!!!!!
Well that is about all for this week... Things here are going great and I am learning and growing every day! I am so glad that I made the decision to come on a mission I would have never have had these little lessons or tender mercies from the Lord without these experiences. I love you all more than I miss you!
Love Hermana Welch #1
P.S. In case you are wondering, the #1 thing is because I am the first girl in my family to serve a mission! My Welch brothers and cousins started using it years ago and got clear down to Elder Welch #8, I thought it was pretty cool so I am Hermana, or Sister Welch, Number 1!! Chao!