So transfers have come and gone. I got transferred. I was shocked. So now I’m in Portoviejo, and I’m a zone leader. That was the most shocking part of all. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but somehow President Gamboa decided that I should be a zone leader. Surprised? I was. I was feeling a little overwhelmed and very under qualified at first because I don’t feel that I’m the best option, but I’m starting to settle in. Sadly, I got transferred Friday morning instead of Monday so I didn’t get to see Elder Mitton but oh well.
So the zone leaders called Thursday night and told me I was getting transferred and that was surprise number one because I was only in Balzar for 6 weeks and was really looking forward to spending the next change in Balzar because the last couple of weeks we started teaching some really cool people and things were starting to go well. Plus we had a cool new apartment to look forward to. I was also sort of hoping that I would be training again this change. I never did get to move into the new apartment. We took care of all the contracts and worked everything out with the office, but we had to wait until Wednesday to receive a contract signed by president Gamboa to terminate the rent in the old house. So the zone leaders called and said “Elder Walke, you are getting transferred to Portoviejo, to the Andres de Vera sector. Do you know what that means?” I didn’t. But as it turns out, that’s the name of the zone leaders sector in Portoviejo. The best part is that I was on the bus a long time to get to my new sector. I had to leave Balzar at 4 in the morning in order to be in Guayaquil around 7:30-8 am. And of course I had to pack. I wasn’t told I was being transferred until almost 11 pm and didn’t finish packing until 3am. I take forever to pack. I was afraid that it would do more harm than good to only sleep for an hour, so I spent the last hour before I had to leave writing letters. And then I ended up sitting around in the terminal. When I got there I ended up talking to the other missionaries for 2 hours until the assistants finally gave me the all clear to leave for Portoviejo—a 4 hour bus ride. Of course, I was unable to sleep at all during the entire trip, so I got to Portoviejo very, very tired. Then I met my new companion, Elder Fonseca, of no relation to our next door neighbors as far as I know—unless they have distant relatives from Bolivia. Although Elder Fonseca says he has family ties to Brazil and Paraguay as well so who knows?
There turns out to be a lot more to being a zone leader than I originally thought. The good news is I no longer have to teach district meeting every week. But unfortunately it doesn’t mean I don’t have to do a lot of teaching, because next Sunday we are supposed to give a two hour presentation to train the bishops and other stake leaders on how to create a ward mission plan, how to apply the new “Perry Plan” in the stake, and a list of other missionary related stuff that Elder Fonseca and I are working on. Then in February we have another similar meeting to train the ward mission leaders and ward missionaries in the stake. Plus we have a monthly coordination with the stake president to make sure everything is running smoothly in Portoviejo. And that’s just the stake level responsibilities.
Saturday we did inspections of the missionary’s apartments that we are supposed to do at the end of every change and that burned a lot of cash because we had to take a lot of taxis to get to all the houses that morning. Then Saturday night we had a baptism and the bishop asked me to give a talk the next day in sacrament meeting because one of the speakers wouldn’t be able to make it. My talk went pretty well I think. It was a pain to do, especially because I didn’t have time to write it Saturday night so I ended up preparing it 5 minutes before sacrament meeting. Luckily I was the second speaker so I only had to talk for 10 minutes. Then after sacrament meeting I went over to the gospel principles class and as it turns out, our ward has no gospel principles teacher. I forgot to mention earlier but we have two wards in this sector, so my companion went to the other ward while I managed things in Andres de Vera. It’s like Jipijapa when we had to do splits every Sunday to cover both branches. So anyway, the bishop told me I was supposed to teach the gospel principles class, gave me the manual, and left. That was an interesting class, but I got through it. It was a hard first Sunday but I think it went a long way towards gaining the bishops confidence, and the members got to know me a lot quicker because of my talk.
But the fun doesn’t stop their, because in a week and a half we have to go to Guayaquil for the zone leader conference with president Gamboa that happens the second week of every change. So I will be traveling for 8 hours round trip that day and once again not get very much sleep. And seeing as how Monday is still the official change day, we had to receive changes. Even though my companion and I didn’t have changes we still had to get the other elders from the zone on the bus to Guayaquil in the middle of the night. So I’m tired. Very tired.
I do have a few elders in my zone that I know. Our two district leaders are Elder Goode and Elder Cruz (Elder Cruz was my companion in Babahoyo my last change there). There are also a couple of gringos that came into the mission a couple of months ago who knew who I was. That’s still weird. And when I was in Guayaquil another gringo came up to me and told me he had read my blog as well. Oh speaking of Guayaquil I saw Elder Muhlestein there. He got transferred to Duran. He seems to be doing really good these days. I think his Spanish is improving a lot. I also saw Elder Frye. I sort of just assumed he would be there because he always seems to show up when I am in Guayaquil. I didn’t see Elder Elwood but I will see him for sure in the zone leader meeting anyway. So I don’t know what else to say; I probably didn’t cover everything I should but I can’t think of anything else to say. Have a good week guys.