I hope that you all are doing well and that you all are enjoying your summer. Here in Ecuador it is getting cooler... But it feels like summer to me because it is still HOT!! This week was such a good week for my companion and I. Well mostly a joyous week for me because I completed my 16 month mark! I am not counting down the days till I can come home but I am excited to see you all in August!
This week we had an interchange for one day with the other sisters in our zone.. That is always fun and it was nice to be in their sector for a day. They are working in the city here in Manta and we are on the outskirts of town so the people in our sector are a lot more humble than those in the city. So being in their zone made me very thankful that we are in the country. My companion was really nervous the whole day leading up to the exchange. She kept asking me if the things she does are okay... It was pretty funny. I just had to tell her, "Hermana we preach the same things they do... It is going to be fine."
Exchanges My companion is 3rd from the left and I am 2nd from the right! Beautiful 'Hermanas!'
After we had our little interchange my companion and I rode the bus back to Jaramijo and when I walked into the house and I put my bag of stuff on my bed I saw a little note from her that said, "Happy Sixteen Months!" and I had completely forgotten that I had completed the 16 months... Well I whooped pretty loud and started doing a victory dance while punching the air with my fists and then I saw my companion out of the corner of my eye and realized that she was not dancing. So I quickly composed myself remembering that my companion only has one month in the field. But it was a happy three second celebration none the less!
This week we almost died in a little motorcycle carriage thing that people drive around here. We have to ride a little carriage thing around here in Jaramijo because they are cheaper than the taxis and since we don´t have bikes or cars and our area is so huge it is the best thing we've got! Well here in my area there are a whole bunch of huge hills that are deadly steep... They remind me a lot of 'suicide' hill in Lovell but here the 'suicide' hills are everywhere and there is no other way to go. We had to get to a house pretty quick for an appointment because we were running late so we stopped a motorcycle taxi and jumped in. This guy was driving pretty fast to get us where we wanted to go and when we were approaching the hill we had to go down I thought that this guy was going to slow down a little. WRONG! As we were descending my companion and I had to hold on for our dear lives!!! My companion started screaming and I started laughing out of the nervousness that I had. It was the equivalent of a roller coaster ride... The only difference between this roller coaster ride and the one in California Adventure was the cost was only 50 cents and our lives were in danger!!
The Motorcycle Taxi or "Risking my life for 50 cents to save 10 minutes!!"
The motorcycle taxi thing was moving pretty fast down the hill and with my companions screaming and my hysterical laughter I think that we scared the driver. He suddenly tried to screech to a stop in the middle of the hill and then he practically lost control of his motor cycle and we swayed pretty badly almost driving off the left side of the road and into a brick house. Luckily he gained control and we didn´t crash to our deaths. But it was a pretty exciting day for us.
The other night as we were walking to our apartment at the end of the day we saw a little group gathered on the side of the road with a little stage set up and there were about thirty plastic chairs set up, there was an Evangelical group singing songs and there were quite a few people spinning in circles... It was quite a spectacle... As we walked away I realized that they were praising the Lord by their spinning around and around. As we walked away my companion and I laughed a bit about that and I wondered ... How do these people become convinced that spinning around in circles like a child trying to get dizzy is a way to praise the Lord?
My companion and I went to our apartment and began our planning as we were studying we could hear the music getting louder and louder until we heard the singer introduce a man who had traveled all the way from Guayaquil to preach to them. Well when he started preaching it was pretty chill... then he started preaching more and more and he started screaming things like, "SAVE US LORD!!!" and "BROTHERS AND SISTERS REPENT!" I thought, "well this is the climax!" So we ran out to our balcony to see him preach and as we were out on our balcony watching the preacher we saw him get more and more agitated... Then he started saying things like "BROTHERS AND SISTERS DANCE AND JUMP! THE SPIRIT IS HERE!!!" and then when I thought things couldn´t get any crazier the preacher started screaming, "CORRE!!! CORRE!!!! CORRE!!!" (run, run run) and soon enough the whole congregation got up and started running around like crazies... It was pretty weird and the piano was playing some pretty energetic music...
Well the scene was pretty entertaining but it made me pretty sad to see how confused people are... I am so glad that I am in the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that he lives and that he loves us. I am so grateful to be a missionary and that I can preach and teach and know that what I am saying is true because I feel it every time I testify. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that Joseph Smith restored the church.
I love you all more than I miss you!
Love Hermana Welch (Jess)
Watching the Bulldozer destroy the road. The balcony goes nearly all the way around my apartment, from the front I see the ocean!