Espero que tuvieran una feliz dia el 31 de Diciembre. Aunque que yo no estaba allá, espero que comieran mucha torta y participaran en hacer mucho fuego artificial.
In Ecuador the new year is even bigger than christmas. As soon as christmas ends, everyone starts parading paper maché statues on human size people with extremely ugly faces along side the street. On New Years eve, they burn all of them. Also men dress up as women and its pretty convincing. They´ll come up to you on the street and start dancing in an umcomfortable way until you give them money. We tried to avoid them. No one works this day, and almost everyone gets very drunk. It was also my birthday! Best birthday ever! At midnight there were fireworks in the neighbors yard and all the way up the hill. It kind of sounded like Quito was getting bombed. Not only do Ecuadorians burn human size clowns at midnight, but they also burn the old stuff they have accumulated throughout the year in a bon fire. We had a lot of cardboard boxes along with old clothes and supplies that previous missionaries have left in the house, so we gave everything to the neighbors to either keep or burn. It felt good to give people free clothes, and even better to clean the house!
Aside from the cultural facts, this week was great in some aspects but also slow in other aspects. I was able to do divisions with Hermana Henderson and Hermana Mantilla which was awesome. With Hermana Henderson we were able to meet some of her goals and find a lot of new investigators. Hermana Henderson loves church history and I was able to learn a lot of cool things with her! Divisions with Hermana Mantilla were also great. We contacted and talked with a lot of people, and almost got attacked by two drunk guys. They may have been following us, because we met them in the early afternoon and at night they showed back up. One of them grabbed my hand and wouldn´t let go, but with super strength I broke free and we ran. They kept saying teach us la palabra de Dios… And we were like just take the pamphlet and leave us alone! To lose their tail, we crossed a busy street, caught a taxi, and made it home safe. Who knows maybe one day they will read the pamphlet we gave them and be converted to the gospel. We hope.
It was a little bit of a slower week due to all the parties. There were a couple nights where we went home 30 minutes to an hour early to finish studies we had missed in the morning because it was impossible to contact. Throughout the day we were truly able to exercise our faith because this week the rejection was unusually high.
I feel good about this week because we were diligent in contacting all the families that we came across. We have been praying to find a family that will progress and we found and have been able to teach many families. Especially Saturday afternoon we found a special family contacting on the street, when our mamita was running late she told us to wait 30 minutes until she got home to feed us lunch. We decided to take advantage of the time and contact. Then we found William and Angelica who were later joined by Angelica´s husband, René. They accepted a visit for the next day. We taught them sunday afternoon in their home. Usually follow up visits with contacts fall through because the contacts forget and dont answer their phones, or hide. But with the family Gualonchango, they let us in and were very friendly and we were able to teach them the restoration and challenge them to baptism. They didn´t accept a specific date but are very curious and eager to read the book of mormon. We have a tour set up with them on wednesday with the branch missionaries. We are super excited for this family!
I love working with the recent converts because they just need someone to be direct with them. I love being direct. This morning I was reading Alma 34 and it is such a great chapter. It talks about how we cant procrastinate the day of our repentance and in verse 39 we are told to always be watchful unto prayer. Or in other words we should alwasy have a prayer in our hearts so that we cannot be tempted. If we procrastinate our prayers it might be too late. I want to help all our recent converts slash inactives realize that repentance isn´t something that we can forgo day tras day. We must be strong, and through the power of prayer and Christ´s atonement we can be purified and clean. That was the great lesson I learned this week. I know that Christ is our savior and through him the world was created. We are part of His fold and we have the responsibilty and honor to love and serve our neighbors and familes. I love being a missionary!