Well how are things in good old Las Vegas? Things here in Ecuador are pretty much the same. Nothing crazy cool happened this week, no zombie dogs were chasing us, we didn`t have to eat any creepy food either. Now that I think about it-I think I am just getting used to everything here so it isn`t that strange anymore. We were at a member`s house the other day and they asked me what is the weirdest thing about Ecuador for you, since you are from the United States? I really had to think about that question for a while because 1. I don`t want to hurt these people`s feelings and 2. I thought everything was weird but now it is all pretty darn normal if you ask me! But I ended up telling them that everything is really dusty in South America. It isn`t just Ecuador, it was the same dusty dirty feeling in Peru as well. This morning when we were sweeping and mopping our house all the dust that we swept up was black... I don`t know but I think that is something I will never get used to.
This week we had another baptism. His name is Alejandro and he is 8 years old. We found him through his grandmother, she is a member and is quite frankly a little bit crazy but she knows the church is true so that is all that matters right? Well we went to teach Alejandro and it turns out that he has been coming to church since he was little with his grandma but he counts as a convert baptism because his parents are not members. We tried to teach his mother a little bit but she wouldn`t even hear us out. I think she has drug problems so that is why the kids are not really in her possession.
We were supposed to have two baptisms but Gabriella didn`t show up. We talked to her uncle (who is in the Bishopric) and he told us that her grandmother took her to Guayaquil to go shopping. Gabriella doesn`t have a cell phone so we were up a creek without a paddle. But her grandmother is a Jehovah`s Witness so I think there was a little more to the story than what was being said. So that STUNK! But we are going to try to find her..... I don`t know how we are going to find her... But hopefully she can get baptized this Saturday.
This week we had another lesson with Byron, one of our recent converts. He is 14 years old and he is really a neat kid (he also reminds me of Cooper so he is extra cool). But he is the only member in his family and he comes to church every Sunday by himself and he wears this Futuro Misionero badge every Sunday as well. It is pretty neat to think that I helped change this kids life. But we have been teaching him about family history and he is getting ready to take a bunch of names to the temple. His father died when he was young and so did two of his older siblings so he is pretty excited. He also said that his mom likes helping him gather the names and dates of all these people in their family.
But this week we realized that we might need to teach him about keeping the Sabbath day holy again. We bumped into him riding his bike near the church and there were a whole bunch of cop cars with their lights on about two streets away. We asked him what happened and it turns out someone was selling stolen clothes in the market. We asked him what store it was and he said the one right next to the bakery where we buy the bread for the sacrament. We then asked who buys the bread for the sacrament, he then said proudly, I do! I asked what day do you buy the bread. He smiled and said usually Sunday morning on my way to church. We started laughing and he did too and he then said quickly. Don`t you want fresh bread for the Sacrament? It was pretty funny.
This week during our Sunday dinner we were eating at Bishop Villacis´ house and his son in law was over as well. His son in law Johnathan had met me when I first came to this area before I could really talk. He said that he was really impressed with my improvement in the language. He then asked me if I knew a Josh Preador. (Josh I am so sorry I don`t remember how to spell your last name) But I said YES and told him that Josh and I were in the same ward in college and we were in the same group of friends. It made me really trunky talking about college... I miss school. But John started telling me how Josh and him were companions on the mission. It was pretty neat seeing how small the world is! But we were at our lunch appointment for a little too long... We finally said that we needed to go because we had an appointment and the Bishop said, "Don`t go! We are talking to Hermana Welch!" I usually don`t talk very much because they have a bigger family and I get lost in the conversation but it made me feel AWESOME that the Bishop told us not to go because I was finally talking. haha But I told John to tell Josh hi.
Sorry this email is so boring..... but this week was really spiritual for my companion and I. As I was looking through my planner at all the things that happened this week we have seen some real changes in our investigators. We visited Flora and Marco this week. When we pulled up to their house in the taxi Marco was standing outside looking at the main road as the cars were passing by. He is about 70 years old, if we would have gone to visit them a month ago you would have found him drunk lying in their hammock. When we walked up to him we asked what he was doing outside and he said he was waiting for us!
We needed to teach them the Plan of Salvation because for some reason Marco wasn`t there when we taught Flora. As we were teaching them we got on the subject of their marriage and we asked Marco. If you had the money right now to get married, would you? He then told us yes he would. We then asked him if he was married to Flora would he get baptized... He then said he would but since he is out of work it isn`t possible. We finished our lesson and we informed them that we wished we would have been able to see them both get married and baptized but our transfers are in two weeks. They both were really sad about it and we then told them that whoever is here after us will teach them the same things and that they didn`t need to worry about a thing.
Flora then started to cry!!!! I was so shocked that she was so sad about our transfers. But to top off the night Hermano Marco said that he had a job offer last week but he would have to work on Sundays. We then were about to tell him that it was okay that he took the job and that he would find a better one. But he told us, "Hermanas, I turned it down." We both were stunned! He then told us that he remembered that he needed to keep the Sabbath day holy and that the Lord would bless him more if he kept the commandments than taking the job. Well after that we all were in tears and we asked him if he would say the closing prayer. He did and it was a pretty special night for all of us.
I would have never imagined that this is what missionaries do... They sit in little bamboo houses and teach about the Plan of Salvation to complete strangers... But over time we come to love these strangers and they love us in return. Sitting at their little kitchen table crying over this prayer that Marco offered was a tender mercy of the Lord. As we left their house I just felt so full of joy. The change that we have seen in them is a pure miracle and this change is because of the gospel. This work as a missionary is something I will never forget. I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to be truly happy.
Love Hermana Welch #1
P.S. Mom I got the package... And I LOVE the Mitt Romney badge, I wear it around the house... I wish I could wear it outside but I feel like it would kind of clash with my black name tag if I wore it out proselyting. ;)