Monday, September 3, 2012

Hey!!! Chikas!!

Hey family!!! 
   Well how are things back in Vegas!!! I hope that things are all going really well!  I can´t believe that school has started back up again!  It still blows my mind every time that I think about it.  But I guess that is the way life is... If you are not paying attention it just passes by... Well even if you are paying attention it still passes by whether you like it or not.  So I guess you could say that my mission is flying by...  I just received my package in celebration of my six month mark and this Saturday I am going to celebrate my 7 month mark in the mission!!!! HOLY COW!!!!!! I am really on a mission.... 

   Well this week my companion and I seem to be dropping all of our old investigators and trying to find new ones to teach... The only problem is.... Well..... it seems like no one wants to listen to us... And I don´t really blame them.... I can´t speak the language all that well and my companion is always always sad... So there you have it.  I am really trying to help cheer her up because, yeah the mission is hard... But you don´t have to let everyone know you are miserable.  (Lets just say I need to have more patience..... please pray for me....)

   Well enough about that I guess I should tell you all about the highlights of the week.... I found another drunk guy... But this experience was a little different than all the others.... The biggest difference was Hermana Romero wasn´t there to protect me.... So I was kind of on my own and my companion ended up hiding behind me... So I was really on my own.... Well what happened was my companion was a little hungry so she wanted to grab something quick to eat at the little tienda on the corner of the street.  As we approached I saw a man holding a bottle covered in a brown bag... I had the feeling to walk away, but as a missionary you have this thing called a companion and a lot of the time they don´t speak the same language you do so communicating, "Lets go to a different tienda because this creeper is probably going to talk to me" in less than five seconds is kind of difficult... Especially when you companion is kind of grumpy... So I just thought maybe if I turn around and look at the road he won´t approach me... 

   WRONG!!!! As soon as he saw me he put down his bottle and walked right up to us... My companion obviously hasn´t dealt with the drunks before because she was about as useful as a dead fish the way she hid behind me.  Well he walked up to me and the thing with drunk people is they keep approaching and approaching no matter how many steps back you take and with my companion behind me I couldn´t really back up.  So this drunken old man is right in my face talking to me like we are best friends... And for some reason... When these people are drunk they suddenly can speak English... He kept trying to talk to me in English and I kept trying to say, "DUDE WE GOT TO GO!!!!!"  But he wasn´t listening and I didn´t want to be a jerk because we were surrounded by a whole bunch of people and well I am a missionary so I can´t really go around being a jerk.  

   Well I talked to him for a while and he kept asking where I lived and where I was from after I told him I was from Las Vegas for the fourth time he finally said that he lived in Los Angeles and New York and Miami and every other big city in the United States that he could think of.  I told him that I had to go but then he kept shaking my hand and stepping closer and closer... I finally told him that I had to go but that my companion and I would come and teach him about the Gospel when he was sober.  But he wouldn´t take that for an answer... He said that he wanted us to teach him right then and there and that he needed our company.... Well about two more minutes of this I had enough and told him in the clearest Spanish I could muster.... "Señor.... Tenemos que ir.... Porfavor... suelta me!" (Mr. we have got to go... Please let me go) He got the message and quit trying to shake my hand and stepped back but he kept talking to us.  As we were walking away he yelled, "Yo trabaje para NASA!"  (I worked for NASA")  Putting his fist up in the air and shaking it in triumph like I would come back and talk to him knowing he "worked" for NASA.  I smiled and said bye and we kept walking... 

   After that day my companion and I were tracking in a different area and I heard a "Ssss Ssss Hey!!!! Chikas!"  I turned around and saw the same drunken man again.... I waved and smiled and I kept walking faster and faster.  When we turned the corner I booked it running down the street.  There was NO WAY I was going to talk to him again!!!! My companion thought it was pretty funny.... And I guess it is but why do these drunk guys only talk to me?????? sheesh!!!! 

   Well what else happened.... My Spanish is still improving... I am actually really really surprised sometimes I will be listening to someone talk and I catch what they say and respond and I just stop and think!!!! THIS IS A MIRACLE!!!!!! It still takes my by surprise when I am reading a sign on the street or my companion asks me what something means in English and I can translate with no problem.... It really is a blessing to see this progress in my language... I just wish I could see how all of my friends are doing with their language.  That is what kind of stinks about being the only North American who came to the mission during my transfer.... I can´t see if I am behind or if I am doing well... But the biggest compliment is when I am talking to someone and they stop and ask how long I have been in Ecuador... When I tell them five months they are always surprised and ask if I knew Spanish before my mission.... I love telling them no!  The Lord is really helping me and my prayers are being answered..... 

   Well the biggest highlight of the week was when Elder Christopherson came and spoke to us all!!! I had the privilege of directing the hymns.  If you want a choir to sound good just put a whole bunch of missionaries in front of an Apostle of the Lord.... It really was amazing to hear everyone sing, "Called to Serve Him"  talk about a spiritual experience... I could not hold back my tears. 

   Well we all got to the stake center in Kenedy (a beautiful building here in Ecuador) and all of the missionaries in our mission were there and some from the south mission too.  So that was pretty cool.  We waited about an hour and then the time finally came.  Elder Christopherson finally walked in.  He was wearing a dark suit and he is so tall!!! Like six feet three inches... (Well I don't know how tall he is, but he looked so tall compared to everyone here... I guess I am just not used to tall people any more!) But he looked regal with his white hair and smile.  When he walked in everyone stood up and there was a hushed silence.  As he walked to the stand I noticed I was crying... I really felt a special spirit, and it was testifying to me that he is an apostle of the Lord, and a representative of Jesus Christ... it was powerful.  

   The brother conducting the meeting said that Elder Christopherson wanted to greet everyone and shake our hands.  So we all filed up and were very excited to greet him personally.  As I was waiting in line I was reminded of when Christ called all the children to him and he blessed them all... one by one... The spirit was pretty strong but my nerves started kicking in as I got closer... When my turn came I shook his hand and said, "Hola!" then I was thinking JESSICA TALK TO HIM IN ENGLISH YOU IDIOT THIS GUY CAN SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!! But the English wasn´t coming... in fact NO WORDS were coming... I was reminded of the movie a Christmas story when Ralfy can´t tell Santa that he wants a red rider b b gun with a compass in the stalk... Luckily Elder Christopherson didn´t push me off the stand with his boot!  But he did raise his left eyebrow like he always does and asked a little confused not knowing if I can speak English... "De donde es?"  I said, "Las Vegas"  and he said, "que bien"..... then he let go of my hand and that was all... It was pretty funny how I blanked but I guess it is better than fainting... or something...   QUE VERGUENCA!!!!!!! 

  Well he spoke about a lot of things that were really awesome for us all... He also promised some pretty big blessings... One thing that he said was we need to see if God is pleased with our service as missionaries.... So he challenged us all to pray and ask if the Lord will accept our offering... He then told an experience about his first Temple session as an apostle.  He said after the session they all were sitting together and President Packer was looking at him with a surprised looked on his face.  Elder Christopherson then asked, "You look surprised to see me here President..."  Then President Packer then said, "It isn´t a look of surprise... it is a look of complacency and pleasure."  Elder Christopherson said there was no greater answer to his prayers about not being good enough or worthy enough to be an Apostle of the Lord... 

Well I am out of time... I love you all so much and I know that this church is true.  There is no doubt in my mind about it.  I am so grateful for this experience and I can´t wait to tell you all my stories in person. 

Love Hermana Welch #1 (Jess)

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