HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREA!!! Today she is four. Wow. That’s a big number. It’s a really big number when you consider that she was still two when I left. I have not been able to get that thought out of my head this week. She has had as many birthdays without me around as she had with me around. I also hit my one full year here in Ecuador this week so that was a pretty big marker as well. Back in my Babahoyo days Elder Mitton always used to talk about how that’s when you have “ecua-blood” because after a year all of your blood cells have been completely replaced.
And I had one more big marker pass this week because we had a baptism! My companion’s first baptism, of course, but it was also my 30th baptism. I don’t know if you guys have been counting but that’s where I’m at. I’m not the highest baptizing missionary in the world but I think that’s pretty good. I got dad beat anyway. Ha ha. I’m proud of the baptism too because it was an “eternal investigator” that most people in the ward thought would never commit to baptism. Her name is Bella; she is about 55 years old and when the members here found out she was getting baptized they were kind of in shock—I kind of am too. I was surprised when she finally said she was willing to commit. She came to General Conference and that is when she started to progress. A while after that we finally got her to commit to going to a baptismal interview (which Elder Elwood did right before he left) with a goal of getting baptized in December, but when she came out of the interview she said, “I’m getting baptized Saturday,” and she did. So overall it’s been a rather big week for me. Work wise it was a little slow because we were stuck trying to manage two sectors this week and didn’t get as much time in my sector as I would have hoped. Part of that was because I had several baptism interviews to do, and of course Saturday was pretty much completely consumed in making the baptism happen. Most of the problems we had were direct results of the fact that Elder Elwood had to go and get himself assigned to the office.
Elder Barrientos still doesn’t have a new companion; he may or may not get a new one tonight, but when I asked the assistants about it yesterday they didn’t sound too promising. Other than that, things are humming along. I’m not anticipating any baptisms this Saturday but the next two are solid. We are teaching this one guy, his name is Wilfrido, and he used to live in the United States. He likes to read—nobody here likes to read—but he does; it’s amazing. He has already read most of the Book of Mormon and we only met him a couple of weeks ago. I have got to tell you, I have been here for a while now but I have never met anyone as cool as this guy. I don’t think I stress enough the lack of desire to read that most Ecuadorians have. He came to church yesterday for the first time and everything went well. He showed up in a suit, which I thought was funny, because he was the only one there in a suit. The rest of us just had a white shirt and tie. My companion is doing well; his Spanish is really coming along. He is teaching two or three principles in each lesson now, and he finished memorizing the scriptures from the first mile in the “maestro” this week as well. He is in better shape than I was when I had his time that’s for sure.
Health-wise we are both doing well—if you don’t count the occasional crazy guy trying to kill us with his car. Mom asked what kind of progress I have made since coming to Ecuador a year ago. As far as Spanish goes, I am still learning for sure but when people talk, I know what they say. And when I talk, people know what I am trying to say. It’s funny though because sometime when I talk to people they don’t even realize that I’m a gringo but other people tell me that my accent is so bad they can’t understand me. That doesn’t happen too often but it does still happen every now and then.
I have been learning that I talk in my sleep a lot. I guess my companion is a light sleeper and he says I talk in my sleep a couple of times every week. The funny part is he says that every time I’m talking it’s in Spanish and I’m teaching a lesson. I think that’s funny. If it was every now and then that would be something, but he says that it’s always in Spanish and I’m always teaching someone. So I guess I’m a missionary 24 hours a day! The weird part about the whole thing is that I never can remember what language my dreams are in; I may remember what was said in my dream but I never can remember if it was Spanish or English.
I don’t think we are going to have any big plans for Halloween this year. Last year Elder Fuentemavida took me out to pizza for dinner the night of Halloween; I think I may do the same this year. I’m still holding off on the thanksgiving plans because I don’t even know if I will be here for Thanksgiving. It’s not looking good though. I’m pretty sure either my companion or me will get the boot next week. They grow up so fast *tear*. But regardless of where I end up, I intend to celebrate Thanksgiving. And the very next day I’m putting up my fake plastic Christmas tree! Oh how I love that tree! I will probably use it in college too.
Well, that’s the news from eca-war (does Andrea still say that?). I will write you guys again next week. From where, I don’t know. Who my companion will be, I don’t know. But I will write.