Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cuenca and Guayaquil

(This letter is from last week October 21, 2013)

hey mom,
Well this week happened. Wednesday was good because we got three baptismal dates HOWEVER we haven't met with either of them since then and none of them went to church so we have to push their dates back. We only have to have people go to church 2 times before they can get baptized. Yesterday, we had a meeting with a family and they are Jehovahs witnesses and Catholics. The brother that was a jehovahs witness was making this huge deal about how god is Jehovah and Jesus Christ isn't a god but he believes that he is the savior and it was all very confusing especially because i don't understand this language and i felt even worse because my companion was having to do all the work.
So about the culture.... well it's super cold. That's not really a cultural thing but its a Cuenca thing. We eat different forms of rice, beans and chicken everyday for lunch. But lunch is huge so they give us soup, which is always really good and then a giant mountain of rice and beans and some kind of meat, usually chicken. One day they gave me cow heart... that was an adventure. They didn't give it to my companion because she said she didn't like it and and i was all i don't know because i'd never tried it before! so yeah that goes on top 3 weirdest things eaten list. i haven't eaten guinea pig yet so that's super fortunate!
i dont really know what else to say....
I love you all!
Hermana whitmore

Hermana Whitmore & Hermana Ureta

Noche de hogar in Cuenca (Home Evening)

(This is the current week's letter!  October 28, 2013)

Dearest Familia,
This week was actually so much better then last week. I got transferred Monday night. They called at like 10 pm and said hey you are getting transferred, be ready to go at 8 in the morning. In the morning, we found out our that we (me and my comp) were going to Guayaquil. We got here and i got a new companion, she got new companions and we went on our way. My companion is Hermana Viloria of Columbia. She has 7 months in the mission and has been in this area for 3 months. So its really awesome, everyone knows her and she knows were everything is, super chevere :) [that's cool in Ecuadorian]. So real fast, everything here is different then Cuenca,  prices, weather, traffic, people. i already have a tan line from my shoes! awesome :)
 So we just got right to work. Our three big investigators right now are three guys. One is 15, his name is Kevin. His story is really sad because both of his parents died and his aunt didn't want him so he lives in a garage and doesn't go to school and he works with his cousin. His cousin is another one of our investigators. Jeremy he is 18 and he is super into it! He is so prepared!! They came to church!! ah! and he was paying attention in sacrament meeting and answering questions during sunday school, talking to all the members!!! Both Kevin and Jeremy have baptismal dates for 2 Saturdays from now. Then, there is their friend that actually lives with Kevin. He is 26 and is super into drugs and tattoos, the whole deal. He doesn't have a baptismal date yet because we need to commit him to the WOW(word of wisdom) first.
on Saturday, we had a baptism of a girl whose brother got baptized like 3 weeks ago. It was amazing! Her name is Jaira and she was sooo ready! Now we get to work with their other sister! one family member at a time :)
Yeah, i decided this week that i would just start new. If i think about the 16 months i have left, i start freaking out, so i just want to take this one day at a time. live it to the fullest. Everyday i ask Heavenly Father to help me learn as much as i can in that day, not to make me fluent or anything but that i can learn! i just want to be able to understand people. My biggest problem has been understanding what's going on because i'm not really afraid of talking its just i don't know when to say it! But my companion has been working with me so much. She wants to learn english so we take turns teaching the other language and it helps a lot. Also she pushes me to talk with everyone, even if its just the hi we are missionaries and then she does the rest! She is amazing :)
Yeah pues.... i think that's pretty much it! i love you all :)
Hermana Whitmore

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I survived the first week! (in Ecuador)

oh wow! What to say? well lets start with this week has definitely been longer then my first week in the MTC. OH guess what? i placed 4 BOMS on my way here. so awesome. anywho, we got here and the president took us to the temple, then we had a whole day of training and talking... most of it in spanish, then we met our new companions. My comp is from Peru and she knows exactly no english! Her name is Hermana Ureta and she is pretty great. The language barrier is a little difficult but its getting better... sort of. So we thought we were going to Machala but really we were going to Cuenca (yes the city) so we had to go get all of Hermana Ureta's things from Machala (4 hours by bus) spend the night in Machala and then take a bus at 6 in the morning to get to Cuanca (3 hours by bus) when we got here, the elders weren't at the bus station yet so we had to wait for about an hour. When they showed up they took us straight to our casa, which is awesome! Its the best house in the whole zone and everyone is a little jealous. Its new and has 2 floors, 2 separate bedrooms for the 2 companionships and 3 bathrooms, also, separate rooms for studying and a kitchen! So great. Anywho, missonary life is so different then MTC life, i dont know if this is how it always is or its just the way my comp works or what but i feel like we take forever to do things and we never make it to appointments we set up with people on the street. No se. anyways, we do a lot of contacting and spending time with people in the ward. The people here are so nice and open. A lot of them don't really care about what we have to say, but they will listen and are willing to talk to us again. so that's awesome. 

So the language barrier... yeah. I'm getting to the point that if i listen super carefully i can understand the jist of what is going on but usually im lost. ive heard that the first transfer is for learning to understand and that the second is for learning how to speak so im giving myself 3 months before i get too frustrated. This morning, my comp said i had to memorize all these points in PMG(Preach My Gospel) and so i made a deal with her that if i memorized them in spanish she had to memorize them in english and i think it helped her understand how hard it is to learn a new language. She gets a little frustrated with me when i speak in english to Hermana Clark, who is one of the Hermanas we live with, i was actually in the MTC with her so she is going through the same things right now! i love her mucho :) 

Que mas? oh my bishop is totally american so thats really nice and one of our mamitas is american too and she speaks no spanish so i am actually the one that has to translate for her... sometimes its a confidence booster and sometimes its not. So the mamitas here are just the people that feed us so we have like 7 mamitas... 

I cant really think of anything else. Ecuador is awesome, i hope i learn this language soon. 

I love you all!

Hermana Whitmore

This is the picture the mission office sent, along with a letter, to let Krista's family know that she had arrived safely in Ecuador!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They want to keep me here FOREVER!!!!

Dearest Familia,
So today has been the longest day EVER! It started off just a normal last day at the CCM, we were going to go print off our boarding passes. When we arrived at the computer lab and i typed in my confirmation number, big suprise! i dont exsist in the system. However, many a person said that this was normal so i remained calm and called the travel people. On the phone they kindly gave me a new confirmation number and then he said something strange: From mexico city to bogota to quito... WHAT? Quito?! Yeah definitely that is on the other side of the country from where i want to be going. I politely told the man this and he had the gall to say i was WRONG! Anywho... after many hours, they got me a new confirmation number and a plane to the right half of Ecuador. But as i was looking for which seat i would like to sit in, my dear Elder Dickerson noticed that his seat wasn't blocked out... strange... i go back and check and low and behold im on a different flight 8 hours later from Bogota to Guayaquil. So awesome i get to spend 8 hours by myself in the Drug capital of the world. no Bigs. Anywho, i call the travel people who recognize my voice by this point and ask if i can be changed to the flight that at least has my companion on it... yeah THEY have no available seats so im stuck in Columbia. But then they decide its probably not wise to have a sister missionary in a strange land by herself for 8 hours so they say go find some elders to switch you tickets. I thought they meant a companionship of elders so they could be alone together but when i asked Elders Whetton and Surowiec, they only changed Elder Whettons seat. This is still in the happenings so nothing is set in stone. I just checked my number and im still on the later flight but they said come back at 8 and see.... Keep your fingers crossed that someone will  get everything straightened out! Anywho that is the update on that.
Other happenings this week, oh well today, we had an amazing ... blessings meeting? with the whole district. Everyone got a priesthood blessing and it was amazing! Elder Dickerson gave me a blessing. His first ever. He did a fine job i might add :) All the elders did great! it was most of their first time giving a blessing so it was really fun to see them overcome that fear of "the first blessing" and follow the spirit. Also today, we had to pack up all our stuff and Hermana Bennett left a whole bunch of stuff so we found the cleaning lady and said she could have it. She was sooo excited but she was like you have to write a note that says i can take it. So we just wrote a note that said she could have everything in the basket. It was like a hair curler, my straightener, jewelry, books and food. So simple and she was so grateful. It was really tender!
Alright... que mas que mas? OH DUH! General Conference!! Favorite GC moments:
1) Carole M. Stephens whole talk!
2) President Uckdorf's talk... the whole thing. It is so applicable to everyone. Best quote "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" nuff said.
3) Jeffery R. Holland "Live by faith, live fast by hope, and show compassion one to another"
4) M. Russell Ballard something he said made me realize that i need to take investigators by the hand and INTRODUCE them to Christ. I cant just talk to them about him but let them know him for themselves.
5)Elder Richard J. Maynes how we need to develop spiritual strength and perserverance.
6) and of course Elder Christofferson! That guy is awesome :)
In the CCM they schedule those whole 2 days around conference so the schedule was literally: get up, eat, study, GC, study, eat, study, GC, study eat study, RS and EC repeat for sunday.BUT it was so awesome. Apparently they took pictures of us that might be in the Ensign/Liahona so look out :)
On Friday, we had infield training. It was literally all day!!! We talked mostly about working with the members and quick contacting. we also covered planning and goal setting. It was a long day and it kind of feels like we didnt talk about that much. Crazy.
Other then that its been pretty normal. just scootin along waiting to head out to Ecuador if they will even allow that to happen for me!
I love you all!
Hermana Whitmore

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 4- The ULTIMA Semana

Dearest Familia,

What happened this week? OH! I went outside the wall (the giant 15 foot barbed wire wall that surrounds the CCM). After i finished emailing you last week, we went to the clinic so i could get my eyes checked and they just wisked us away and we were gone for the rest of the day! The traffic here is crazy and it didnt help that it was rush hour. It took us 2 hours to get to the eye doctor and then she made me wear these goof-tastic glasses that looked like the ones on national treasure. I, however, do not have a picture because we had nothing with us when we left the CCM. After the optometrist figured out my perscription, she gave me one frame to choose from. I picked the blue ones because they look the LEAST giant on mi cara. Picture to come.
Que mas, que mas? This is my last week here!!!! It is seriously so crazy. I can not believe how fast the time goes here. But we have this saying that days seem like weeks and weeks seem like days. Even the head honchos know this saying. One of them mentioned it in a meeting we had on Sunday. It is was pretty funny. He also mentioned the 14th article of faith... yeah... Id never heard of it either but here it is. "We believe in meetings. We believe in all meetings, we hope for meetings, our rears have endured many meetings and have yet to endure many meetings." It goes on but i dont remember it... haha Anywho. we actually used that in a lesson we had with some other missionaries that are a week behind us. the topic was the importance of church. it was crazy. Ive never had the spirit yell at me so hard to say something. Luckily they spoke english so i could say it without having to think of it in spanish first. Also this week, my espanol has improved immensly. Its because i just read it as spanish instead of trying to translate it into english. it makes it so much better! Im not at the point were i can read the scriptures in spanish but im getting there!
My testimony has grown so much this week too! i thought i had a testimony before but compared to now it was nothing!!! I cant even imagine what my life would be like without this mission and its only been 5 weeks!!!
Sorry its short today but nothing really that exciting happened. All our native friends left so we have no one to play soccer with anymore :(
Te amo todos! and there is no place i would rather be but aqui! (That was a little language rhyming for you :) )
Hermana Whitmore

nuestro nativo amigos that play futbol with us!

the cage. this is where we play soccer!

mi distrito con  rama (branch) presidentes. our last week of church was on sunday because of GC.

They made me pay $50 for these babies because im "norte americano"... they thought i wouldnt understand spanish when they said that one :)