Starting my letters with “hola familia!” every week is getting a little old. I need a new catch phrase. Oh yeah by the way, I officially have 6 months in the mission as of Friday. As you have probably realized from the subject of this email, I am still in Babahoyo. My dreams of getting transferred to Manta have been crushed for now, but there is always next change. We only had two people go this change: Elder Hurtado and Elder Cespedes. Elder Hurtado was Elder Mitton’s comp and it was a bit of a surprise, but Elder Mitton is going to be training so it makes sense. Oh yeah Elder Hurtado got transferred to Manta. Elder Cespedes got transferred one zone over to a city called Ventanas and Elder Hynes’ new companion is Elder Adamson. Yeah the same Elder Adamson that was my comp in the MTC. What makes it really weird is that Elder Hynes was Elder Mitton’s MTC comp. So anyway now 6 out of 10 missionaries in my zone are gringos and if Elder Mitton is training a gringo, then it will be 7 out of 10. We have a very weird zone because our mission is only about 15% gringo, so I will probably never be in a zone with so many gringos again.
A few days ago I went down for breakfast and I heard a weird noise coming from the window above the kitchen and when I looked up guess what I saw? An iguana! I immediately thought of Andrea and ran for my camera; the pictures are not too great because the window was in the way. So then I opened it to get a better shot and the dang thing ran away. I did get one last shot as it started to run, but it’s kind of blurry.
This week we had a baptism — just one. The other 7 fell through. I have decided I’m not going to tell you how many baptisms I’m having because only about 1 in 8 people with a baptism date actually gets to their baptism. From now on I’m not going to tell you until I have pictures to prove it. The only one of the 8 that got baptized is a little 9 year old kid whose family are all members but for some reason he wasn’t baptized. Not that his baptism wasn’t important but it wasn’t exactly a struggle to get him there.
I did give my talk in church on Sunday. I think it went over well because several people came up to me afterwards and told me that they understood what I said. It’s a step in the right direction I guess. Maybe next time people will come up to me and tell me they like what I said as well. It was about 6 or 7 minutes long so I was pretty proud of it. My topic was missionary work (surprising I know).
I got your package this week and I’m proud to say that I have eaten most of the food already. The tape was awesome as well. You guys are all such talented singers you may want to think about starting a band. You could be just like the Jackson 5, but less crazy.
I also got a letter from Elder Goode’s mom. That was pretty surprising because I don’t even know Elder Goode very well. I know who he is and that he came down to Ecuador the same time as me, but that’s about it. Anyway it was a good letter. It’s amazing how even letters from complete strangers can make my day, but I guess I’m just easy to please. She says she reads my blog and that made me laugh. So in light of that fact I would like to say, “Hey Sister Goode, thanks for the letter.”
Carnival officially starts today which is both a good and a bad thing. The fact that it has officially started means that people will stop throwing nasty sewage water at me by the end of the week, but it also means that the next few days I will be wet pretty much all day because a lot more people will be throwing water.
Mom asked about what interviews are like during zone conference, and first off I would like to clarify that interviews are about a week before zone conference; president Gamboa doesn’t have time to do them during zone conference. Typically interviews are only 5-10 minutes per person and they are pretty basic like, “How’s your companion? How are you? How’s your Spanish?” is pretty much as deep as my interview gets. I say, “good, good, better” every time in a few more words than that of course, but I don’t have to say much, so yeah I would say that I’m able to converse with him pretty well. We do get a cookie after the interview so it’s not a complete waste of time. Although that reminds me that last time they did run out of cookies and I was the last interview so I didn’t get one. I’m still bitter about that.
Mom asked about what the bamboo houses are like on the inside so I guess I need to take some pictures. They are pretty diverse: some are smaller than my room back home and some are almost as big as our house; some are on stilts and some are not; some are well built and some are not. Most have running water and although it’s almost completely unfiltered, it’s still good for some things. Some people actually drink it. Everyone has access to some sort of toilet system, although sometimes the toilet is just a hole in the ground with bricks around it that 5 or 6 different houses share. I used one once; it was fun. I have used the water bottle that grandma gave me, but bottled water is only 25 cents a bottle, and I think I mentioned that there are little shops that people run out of their homes all over the place; so water isn’t a problem. If I’m feeling really rich I buy Gatorade. That runs you about 60 or 70 cents a bottle. And while I’m giving prices, soda is about 50 cents for every 1.5 liters. They also have several good bakeries in Babahoyo that sell bread for 10 to 40 cents a piece depending on what you get.
Anyway I’m running out of time and stuff to say, so good bye for now. And if I don’t see you later: good afternoon, good evening, and good night. Wait I think that’s taken. Ok I will have to work on a catch phrase and get back to you next week.