Well how are things going with all of you this week? I just have to say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" to dad real quick... I can`t believe it is October already!!! Dad, I hope you have a great birthday and that you get a rhubarb pie for dessert... (Well rhubarb isn`t in season so maybe a chocolate torte with the raspberries on top!)
Things here in Ecuador are going just fine!!! I am speaking more and more Spanish every day and my companion is really helping me and correcting me all the time and that is exactly what I need so things are going great in the language department. When I come home at night I find myself completely exhausted mentally and I figure it is from concentrating in a different language all day. But it is interesting, when I am reading something in Spanish and have to write something I find myself thinking in Spanish. It is really really interesting how our minds work. When I count it is in Spanish, when I sing it is in Spanish, when I talk it is in Spanish, when I think it is in Spanish! So basically I am progressing, and it is great!!! The only problem is I can`t roll my "R"s. I don`t know what I am doing wrong but it is really hard for me to say simple things like guerra, or perro, or carro. It comes out like gueda, pedo and cardo.... So if anyone who has any suggestions on how to get my tongue looser to be able to roll my Rs please let me know.... I have been working on it for 7 months and nothing is working....
This week we had a baptism. His name is Angel and it was a great experience! We have only been teaching him for a month and he accepted a baptismal date the first lesson so in other words this guy was prepared!!! It has been such a great experience to see him grow over the past month. He had a problem with the Word of Wisdom but he set a goal to quit his habits as soon as he read the Word of Wisdom pamphlet. It was pretty amazing to see how willing he was to follow through with the commitments we were giving him and everything!!! It was really great! He got baptized by his friend Wladimir who is a recent convert in our ward. But the next day when we were getting ready for church we called Angel to remind him about his confirmation that morning... Well he didn`t pick up and we called and called again but there was no answer. We took the bus to church kind of sad thinking that he was not going to make it but when we walked into the chapel there he was in a blue suit and a white shirt and tie. I couldn`t believe it! He went to church ALONE, and he was waiting for us when we got there! He had a big smile on and you could tell that he was filled with a happiness that only the gospel can bring.
This is probably my favorite part of being a missionary. Watching the change that the gospel brings into people`s lives. It is amazing and I honestly can`t believe that I am playing a part in this great work! I love watching the small changes in people's lives and seeing the satisfaction in our investigators eyes when they realize that they are receiving blessings from the Lord in exchange for their sacrifice. I am experiencing a joy that I have never felt before in my life. And I know that this joy can only come through bringing souls unto Christ!
This week we also had a little reunion with President Amaya. He talked just to our zone about everything from baptism agendas to how to work with the bishops in our wards. He really is a great Mission President and he always knows just what to say to us. After this little reunion we all had interviews. When I went in with him he asked how I was and I said really good! Then he was quiet for a minute, I guess he was waiting for me to say I am doing horrible and bawl my eyes out or something because he didn`t seem to believe that I was doing so well. He asked how my companion and I are doing and I was pleased to tell him that we are doing GREAT!!! (You know a mission is really hard... but having a difficult companion on top of all of the stress makes a mission 10 times harder so I am just really really grateful that Hermana Paasaca is my companion).
He then took a few notes and then asked how I am doing with the language, I told him that I understand almost everything and I am doing better with my speech but it still is a struggle. He smiled and said "Don`t worry, I understand you much better now than before!" (I don`t know what it is, but compliments from your mission president are like a million dollars they just fill me up and make me feel like I am flying!) I almost started to cry hearing him say that because....... I am going to say it... Learning Spanish is harder than I ever thought it was going to be... Learning a language stinks! I don`t think people who have never learned a language before understand how difficult it is but you almost lose your personality. You have to show your emotions in other ways and it is dang hard!
He then asked if I had any difficulties, I told him no. He then sat there again waiting for me to spill my guts but really I am doing great in the mission. I told him that I was happy and he then said something that I will never forget. He said, "Hermana Welch, you don`t know how many Mission Presidents just want to hear that their missionaries are doing well and that they are happy. I am glad to hear that you are doing so well." (That was a rough translation but you get the point.) Being a Mission President must be really hard but he doesn`t let it show that he is stressed or anything so that is really good. Being a Mission President is probably one of the hardest callings in the church.
Well sorry this email was so short. Nothing really happened this week. We are just walking, and sweating, and teaching and sweating, and talking and sweating, and teaching some more and sweating some more and baptizing and sweating some more. So things here are normal.... I know this church is true and I love you all like crazy!!!!