Monday, November 25, 2013

Contacting Tupac

Wow, this might be a long email. Haha a lot of funny things happened this week.

First, the picture should explain the subject hehe. Well yeah we contacted like 1 door in this street and there was a lady who was like yeah....I'm pretty busy aka I don't want to listen to what you have to say and we asked if we could do any service for her and she was like well I need help setting up my Christmas tree and we were just like uh, yes. So this year I did get to help set up a Christmas tree, not all is lost.

Speaking of Navidad, we finally broke out the Christmas music on my iPod. The day of "Thanksgiving" (seriously how did I miss that one) but I guess it's okay because that means we'll just have to celebrate it again. I'm really glad I have a companion who appreciates my sense of logic. And humor. Haha. But yeah I'm loving the Christmas music, it's giving me a great excuse to listen to J-Grobes and Elder Darchuleta. Aaaaand more Mark Geslison. Haha somebody tell him that I have like all of his CD's on my iPod I don't even know how that happened it like multiplied within my iPod or something anyways it's that for the next 13 months haha. And Lord of the Rings. hahaha.

So, a few things happened this week. Thursday we had Elder Alvaro from the 70 come!!! It was like a surprise, like I learned about it on Wednesday so we had a big zone conference with him and the Ghents and it was sooooooooooooo good seriously I'm trying to think...I don't really remember right now but I do remember that he served his mission in Bolivia, Dad!!! He talked about better ways to plan, and our purpose in why are we here in the mission, like not what do we hope for after the mission but what do we hope for right now in this very moment, and he said that we should all be thinking the same thing, to cry repentance!!! He was super cool, and his wife was super sweet, she talked about her mission and how it just blessed her life so much. Like, not in a trunky way, but I'm pretty excited for life after the mission, like I know it'll have it's trials just like the mission but I just have a feeling like I'm going to be able to see so many blessings after my mission thanks to the work I've done here. The Ghents also spoke, and they are seriously wonderful. I don't remember what they talked about though, but we got to have a mini meeting with just the hermanas with Hermana Ghent and Hermana Alvaro and they were so sweet, seriously Hermana Ghent is like my role model.

Friday...our lunch fell through, so luckily I have a companion who likes fun so we decided to probe the unknown waters of Ecuadorian Chinese Food. Well basically we couldn't read the menu so we just had to guess, Hermana Sellers scored and got some pad thai looking stuff, I have no idea what mine was but it was super gross and yeah. With luck, I'll have a companion who likes having fun for Christmas so we can get Chinese on Christmas Eve tambien (also).

Well, here's a more triste (sad) note. So remember how last week we found a billion people and I was like yeah this week we're going to have tons of success!!! nope. Haha this week was not the greatest in the number area, Saturday we did a bunch of service so our numbers were super bajo (low) and my district leader was just like, what in the world did you do all week. Also on Saturday we found this incredible lady who wanted to get baptized suuuuuper badly into our church, but she doesn't live in our sector so we wrote down her number but I wrote it WRONG. So we can't find her!!!!! And we went looking for her and found her husband and he was super rude to us and just told us that he doesn't speak English so we should leave. Grrrrr. So then on Sunday I was feeling pretty discouraged about that, and we were in the church studying because we went to another ward with Ecuadorian Randy and one of the Elders gave us a reference, of somebody who was IN CHURCH that day, like what a miracle, but it turned out the ref was for my old comps. But the trials of Sunday weren't over. After church we went to a transmission about the Work of Salvation, which was pretty cool, and then somehow right after the transmission i LOST MY AGENDA. My agenda is my life haha it has our entire world, and my money too so I was pretty sure I had been robbed, but I was like how in the world was I robbed during a meeting full of bishops and relief society presidents, but we searched and searched for like an hour, and that was about when I had emotional breakdown #2, I was just thinking why in the world is this happening, could today be any worse, but the 1st counsellor in the bishopric here, and his family, the familia G... are like the sweetest family in the ward, and they came back to help me look for my agenda, and eventually we found it in a bishop's office somewhere, and then they took me to their house and we had a Noche de Hogar with one of our investigators and they made me American food. Haha so Sunday ended on a pretty good note.

Anyways, that's all I can really think of right now. Here's my mission tweets for the week!!

oh just kidding I just found my notes of things I wanted to tell you guys. Haha. First, this is my missionary compromiso  (challenge) for you guys this week. GO TO THE TEMPLE EVERY WEEK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIIIIIIIIIIIVES seriously there is no such thing as not having time for the temple. And I'll even follow the formula in PMG for making compromisos. (Testify) I know that when I went to the temple every week before my mission, I received so much strength and I was so much happier, and I could tell the difference from the weeks that I missed and the weeks that I went. (Promise blessings) I promise you, Dad, that you'll have more capacity to handle your crazy job. And mom, I promise that you will have more strength to do the millions of school things you have to do. (verificar) Entonces, what do you have to do every week? [Go to the temple!!!] Exactly!! Bien hecho (good job).

Also, uh, there is a quote in the hobbit where Bilbo says something like "I miss my home, I miss my garden. I have a home, but you don't. It's been taken from you. And I'm going to help you get it back." Because Hermana S... and I have decided that's like our missionary purpose but I don't remember how it goes exactly and I like to put motivating quotes in my agenda, haha.

Speaking of motivating quotes, here's one I found. "You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can't count the number of apples in a seed. The harvest is the Lord's, your responsibility is to thrust in the sickle."

Also, Alma 26:27-29 is like, my life, and a super great scripture for "Talk to Everyone." and I want 3 Nephi 17: 21-23 to hang up on my wall in my home when I'm a mother.

Yeah okay now here's my mission tweets.

-One of the hermanas just told me that I should start counting my family of recent converts as one of my 5 less-active families #hasteningtheworkofsalvationprobs (and yeah about that...haha yeah not much more to say about that....)

-Doesn't know a word in Spanish- Oh it's okay I'll just wait until Monday so I can Google Translate it...nope.

-They say that the last song you had stuck in your head before your mission is the one you'll have stuck in your head your entire mission. Not really, but that's what I'm assuming, seeing as I've had the Sherlock theme song stuck in my head for 5 months.

-To the vecino who is blasting the Teenage Dream CD by Katy Perry right outside our door during companionship study WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME. -starts blasting "Come Thou Fount" like a maniac

-Well, I just had a craving for 5 guys fries so...yeah. Not much I can do about that one.

Hehe I love you all sooooooooooooo much!!! Thank you all for all your support, and love. I've been spoiled with the greatest family in the world. Love you all, until next week!!!

Love, Hermana Carter


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Week of Miracles

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamiry :D y amigos!!! :D


I got a letter from Hermana Flores!!!!!!! She was super sweet, and chuso, I miss her a lot. It´s crazy how some companions you end up developing such a strong love for, but only after transfers. Like with Hna F..., and Hna S..., sometimes I would feel impatient for no reason at all, and I took for granted the fact that they are seriously human angels. Hermana S... taught me one of the best lessons of my mission, and that was service. I still remember so vividly when I asked her, "how do you do it??? How are you so mindful of every opportunity to serve??" and she just said "I don´t always know if I´m doing something right, or wrong, but I know that every time I serve someone, I´m doing something right." And then Hermana F... taught me charity through and through, and those have been the best two attributes I´ve learned my whole mission and the ones I want to absolutely perfect. And patience, haha. Okay so that was a really long way to say I got a letter from Hermana F..., but also something this week I´ve just been thinking that I want to make the best of the companionship now, the fact that I´m not in a trio (but seriously) the fact that she speaks English, we have a bunch of similar interests, yep, Hermana S... is pretty bacansisimo. So I´m determined not to take that for granted.

I should explain the weekend of miracles part, haha. This week has been a little rough, well, number-wise...we´ve been working pretty hard but haven´t really seen many fruits from it, so Friday our DL went tracting with us and to a lesson with us, well, the lesson was interesting, I am pretty sure America is never going to speak to us again but I guess we´ll see tonight, but he taught us the importance of street contacting, which I hated doing before, but now I love it because the people can´t hide behind their doors, lying about how their cat just died or whatever. So we made a ton of contacts, and then took to practice this concept on Saturday, and at the end of the day on Saturday we had EIGHT people who accepted a baptismal date, my mind was seriously blown cuz 8 people in 1 day has never happened to me. But the next day none of them came to church so that was a little bit of a bummer, but I´m super excited to start working with them this week because some of them are seriously oro (gold). Like a couple who is MARRIED but yeah I´m super excited for this coming week.

However, it was still a weekend of miracles because we are having RAGING success with the less actives. Seriously, this week I came to the decision that my calling here in Ecuador was not to bring people to the waters of baptism, but to find and bring back to the fold the people who have already been baptized but lost their way. Seriously, I love teaching the less active members, they are so great, they all have testimonies already, we just have to help them rekindle them, and the bonus is that a lot of times there is someone in their family who isn´t baptized yet, but have been raised, at least a little bit, in the principles of the gospel, and are way receptive too. They usually have friends who are members, so they already have hermanamiento and everything. Also, with the less actives, the goal with them isn´t baptism, but it´s getting them to the point where they can take the sacrament and the best is getting them to the temple!!! That is such a wonderful goal to have in mind!! One example of a story. We found a less active family, they have daughters in young women's and everything, and we taught them one time on a Saturday night a couple weeks ago, and they´ve been coming back to church ever since, the girls are even going to young women's and the little boy was in the primary program this week! And they were inactive for 4 years!!! I´ve been saying that I haven´t been seeing any miracles, but I´ve just been looking in the wrong place. I was totally called to my mission in the right time, for the Work of Salvation. I still want to help bring people to baptism, a lot, and I have a lot of hope for some of the people we´ve found this week, and we also received a ton of great referrals, but yeah, those are my thoughts on success this week. Also on the fact that success is measured in personal conversion, it makes me so happy to think how much I´ve changed on my mission, and I´m only sitting on 4 and a half months. I know I just need to keep pushing myself harder and harder to develop all the attributes I want, haha pray that I can learn patience because the bed bugs keep biting and our hot water broke again, haha, but seriously, I´ve learned a lot, and that is way more important to me than baptisms right now.

Today was actually pretty fun, we had a zone activity, we went to the parque de la familia and played kick ball, I think I killed myself from running so much at a gazillion feet altitude, and I also got a picture of me breaking the biggest rule of the mission so far, haha we found a zip-line for 12 year olds and we were just like...well...when are we going to get the chance again to zip line in Ecuador. So that´s my goal, to still obey with exactitude and all that good stuff, but also have fun, seriously, I´m living in Ecuador, the opportunities are endless. But since Thanksgiving is this Thursday, we had a big thanksgiving dinner with our zone and the zone right next to us, it was pretty good, I had bacon so I can´t complain, but it was definitely not what I´m sure you guys are looking forward to. But some elders found a guy from Canada who makes pie for government officials so we´re going to buy some pie from him, and...yeah.  I hope your turkey burns this Thursday. Not really. But really. Also our ZL´s found a place called Waffle House that sells milkshakes so we´re going there today too...I hope.
Okay one last funny story. I´ve told you all the scariest stories of my mission, but this one right here has earned the place of #1 most awkward experience of my mission thus far, and that´s with all the times that I´m just super awkward around all the elders because I don´t even try it just happens that way, haha. Anyways, on Saturday we contacted a guy outside of his house and asked if we could come in and share a message with his family, he told us to wait one sec and went back into his house, so we waited a couple minutes and then he came back out and he was super excited, he told us that he was Evangelico and loves hearing the palabra de Dios, so I go to shake his hand, but he just grabbed me and straight up kissed me on the cheek and said "Dios te bendiga!!!" like not even a social kiss, it was the real deal, I was like in shock, I was just thinking to myself okay, let´s just teach them lesson 1 and then get out of here and never return but they all ended up accepting fecha so we´ll see what happens this week. It was super weird. Super, duper weird.

Well, that´s really all I have to report for this week, haha also my Spanish has improved tenfold, I know that´s a straight up blessing from the Lord and a resource I have to use to help my companion learn Spanish. I´m feeling really great here, I´m loving my mission, it´s so incredibly hard, but I´m enjoying myself and determined to enjoy myself even more and work super hard this week!!! I love you all so much and I pray for you every day!!!! Have a great week!!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

Monday, November 11, 2013

Battle of the ed Bugs Continue

Haaaaiiiii! Family! Fraaaaaaanzzzzzzzz!!!!!


*looks around*

Okay, so I`m going to have to work a little harder on that one...

So, Dad, you`ll think this is funny. The guy on the computer next to me has been playing Candy Crush for like half an hour and I`m dying, haha that music brings me back to the days of my addiction. Speaking of addictions, I`ve been doing better with the milk ever since I drank half a thing of expired milk and I finally got the chance to weigh myself. Haha yeah....okay so I`ve only gained like 5 pounds my entire mission which I`d say is pretty good considering the fact that I`m surrounded by food at every second and I`m fed a mountain of rice every day and I drink as much milk as a baby dinosaur. RAWR. Hehe. But yeah...that`s what happened.

So the bed bug situation is...getting worse. This morning I woke up super early with 12 new bites, I wanted to cry, haha it`s pretty ugly, I had a dream that my bishop got mad at me for how bad my legs look and how I have to cover it with makeup and everything, haha but I`m just trying to be really positive and the offices called me and said someone would come this Wednesday to take a look, so I`m happy about that. I`m going to send a picture of my nasty enfermidad because well it makes for a good mission story, haha.

So the big news, I`m training!! Wooo! So Hermana S... is from California, she was in the Mexico MTC too so it brings me back to my CCM days with Hermana S.... We speak way too much English, I`m trying to be more disciplined and speak only in Spanish, like I know that`s what I should do because that`s how I learned from Hermana F..., but I`ll keep working on it. My comp is on fire though, like she studied a ton before her mission and has a super strong testimony, and POR FIN SOMEONE WHO LIKES SHERLOCK I WENT THROUGH 5 COMPANIONS. Ahem, not that it matters, but okay so it actually kind of does. Okay so it matters because I just prayed and prayed this time for a comp who I can be friends with, who has the same interests as me and everything, and I knew it was true love when we were singing the Monk theme song together last night. No but I have to work hard not to take her for granted cuz I didn`t realize when I was in the MTC just how great of a comp Hermana Stewart was and I have to work really hard this time around to make the best of this companionship.

So as for the work, the paradox continues of the more obedient I am, the less *visible* success I have. AKA we`re killing it with the obedience...well okay so we haven`t hit exact yet but I`m still working on making sure she understands the rules...but our investigators are just dropping off the face of the planet. We still have Ecuadorian Randy, he`s supposed to get married this week, we`ll see how that goes, we fasted and everything, and we have a lot of hope...we also have America and her kids, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith and everything and has seen the difference the church has made in her life, has asistencia, but won`t accept a fecha, it`s killing me. And we have Veronica. But Dad, you have to tell me, HOW THE FETCH DID YOU HAVE 25 BAPTISMS IN A MONTH that's like impossible that's been our zone goal and we haven't been able to reach that not even close. Yesterday this guy in our ward was telling us how on his mission he and his comp had a bus that they drove to church with all their investigators because that's how many they had and I was just is that even possible. So Dad, you need to wave your magic missionary wand at me or something because seriously you are like a wizard you're having more baptisms than me right now, haha.

Anyways, that`s about it for investigators, and that`s about it for the work. Nothing super interesting happened this week, except I suddenly gained the magic power of being able to speak Spanish. Like I was reading in my journal from last week and I was saying "I feel like my Spanish is getting worse" but ever since I started training I`ve been able to speak really well, I understand basically everything and I`ve actually figured out subjunctive and today in Megamaxi I realized how Combined Object Pronouns work!!! So it`s a miracle, an absolute miracle. Don de lenguas, everyone.

Also, I`m starting to feel a lot more comfortable about being on a mission, like my brain has finally adjusted to the fact that I live and preach the gospel in Ecuador. I`m feeling good, really really good. I love my testimony, and I feel so grateful for the gospel and how much my testimony has grown out here of the restoration. This is 100 billion percent the true church, I know that with all my heart and not for the billions of evidences but because I can see so clearly how it has changed my life, and seriously I`ve changed out here so much I can hardly recognize myself, I have seen so clearly how much I am becoming like the woman who I`ve been dreaming of becoming and I`m so grateful for that, I know with a surety that this mission is going to help me to become who I need to become for my future family. The Gospel is true!!!!!

Well, that`s about it. I sent you guys a package today. Haha my one for your million. Thanks so much for all you do!!! Get ready for some sweet pictures this week. I love you all so much!!!! Keep working hard in your missionary efforts, friends AND family, you are such great examples to me!!!!

Love, Hermana Carter

p.s. this poor guy has been playing candy crush for like an hour, and I`m pretty sure he`s been stuck on the same level for the whole time, que pena. Hehe.


(Quito Edition)

I`m sorry, I just can`t compete with the Assistants when calling a taxi #iamnotworthy

This bus driver is playing an entire Taylor Swift CD so this is my life for the next 3 hours.

Transfer meeting is actually code for gigantic slumber party where we all obediently go to bed at 10:30

Sneaking out of the house with the other trainers so we can go buy magic bread at the offices.

Well I can now officially say I have wandered around Quito at night 100% lost.

(Back in Ambato)

Lunch cancels on us without notification, some people would get mad but for me that just means it's the new Magnum Menta Icecream in the park.

Tender mercy is when you're feeling frustrated and tired and you get a taxi driver who speaks english.

You know you must be serving a mission in Ecuador when you have a dream about going to Megamaxi with Peter, James, and John.

*Sees something black on bed* "please don't be alive, please don't be alive" *moves* *screams, sets bed on fire* #pulgaproblems

The everlasting joy spoken of in the scriptures is actually the same feeling of finding your anti-itch pen after thinking you left it in Quito

I just got robbed by an 8 year old so there goes all the pride I've ever obtained in my life.

And these pictures I took especially for you guys...bowling for milk, my new comp, and darn looks like I'll have to send the others in a different email. Until next week!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bed Bugs and New Comp. Not one in the Same!

Inspired by Camille: I´m going to title this email "That awkward moment when you think the 5 week battle with bed bugs is over and then wake up with 18 new bites. *throws mattress out into the fuerte Ecuadorian sun to fry*"

Yep. Thanks Camille for the subject line! Haha story of my life.

Well, I´m just going to have to start with mission tweets so I can stall longer with the companion thing. Hehehehehehehehehehe ;)

Appropriate landmarks: panaderias, schools, street signs. non-appropriate landmarks: dogs, taxis, creepy guy staring at us in the street.

Walk of shame into the mamita´s house after accidentally offending them last week. #soawk

Things I regret saying to my mission president:

1. We should street contact more so we don´t have to knock doors.

2. I´m having an emotional breakdown.

3. Sometimes I feel like a leper.

How I´m trying to learn tu form:

1. Praying in tu form

2. Talking to small children in tu form

3. talking to dogs in tu form

4. Talking to myself in tu form.

The feeling of eating all the food in the house right before transfers is equally thrilling as finishing the bottles of shampoo and conditioner at the same time.

I think it´s about time that I mention that everyone in Ecuador has the exact same car alarm. And the alarm will go off if you so much as breathe on the car.

I think a good way to describe charity is that there is a super crazy lady yelling about mandarinas in the street and I love her a whole lot.

Also here is a sweet quote I found from The Fellowship of the Ring:
"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest must be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

Yep, bacansisimo. Well, I only remember one thing from this week and it basically includes me weeping like a crazy person when we had Juanito tell us that he didn´t want to get baptized because he wanted to continue drinking and playing sports on Sundays. I´ve cried three times in my mission, and I was a little weirded out like why am I crying so much about this...but I think that´s a good thing. He came to church on Sunday, so that was pretty good. 

I had better tell you about the last 24 hours. They´ve been a little crazy. Last night we got the call and the verdict is in...I´M GOING TO TRAIN WHUT WHUT WHUT. haha my poor little hija (daughter). So I thought I was supposed to be in Quito on Wednesday, but, I got another call at 11:30 at night from the assistants and they were like hey you need to be in Quito tomorrow so...yeah. And I was like uh....bacan. Okay, back to bed. But then my ZL called me, and he was super funny about it but I basically got no sleep last night, and then at 10 this morning I was on a bus to Quito! Also I was completely alone with Elders and sitting on a bus for 2 and a half hours with an elder and talking to him is just the weirdest thing ever. Like, I know I sound like an awkward missionary here but that is just the truth.

So here´s what I think. I´m just going to have to stay in Ambato my entire mission because I can´t do Quito again. I´m going to have to have a couple more transfers in Ambato, and then BaƱos, and then Oriente (the jungles!!!) But I don´t want to return to Quito. I love coming to the offices because all the secretaries who are here on their senior couple missions are my friends, so I got to hang out with them all day haha. Also I had Subway and I bought a footlong (or 30 cm cuz I guess we´re in a different hemisphere or something) and ate it in like 4 minutes because that´s what a three hour bus ride does to you. It´s like going to St. George except you don´t have the hopeful prospect of Benjas, but American food and the Panaderia of magic are here so when you´re on a mission in a foreign land it´s just about as good. I also bought like 4 new forros for my agenda and himnario, I don´t even know why. I´m going to send you guys my old one and Dad you can use it when you visit the Spanish ward to declare the work of Salvation to them.

Anyways, I think that´s about all I´m going to be able to say today, sorry for the short letter (ha) but yeah, I´m going to send this along before I get caught for peeking at my comp. Love you all a ton!!!

Hermana Carter