I have writers block and don’t know how to start my letter this week so I figured I would start by telling you about this nasty case of writers block that I have going on. Pretty creative way to start a letter huh? Yep, I’m lame, now moving on to my achievements and other weekly activities. First off, zone conference. It was good. The Seventy, Elder Gavarret, only made me feel mildly uncomfortable in my zone leader status. which is to say, he made me and my comp stand up while we analyzed the zone’s efforts here in Portoviejo and he asked us all sorts of stuff about the other missionaries’ baptisms and other such things that I didn’t have a clue about. So then he made us ask the missionaries and district leaders until we could piece together the data he wanted out of us. I got two things out of this experience, first off, we really should be more familiar with the efforts of the missionaries in the zone and the people they are teaching and baptizing, and second, if we work with our district leaders we will be way more efficient and effective. It was a really good zone conference all in all and I learned a lot.
Carnival came and went without anything particularly interesting happening. Thanks to President Gamboa keeping us in the house all day during the week, we didn’t have to face the armies of kids and drunk guys that would have normally soaked us. In fact I never got wet once. It was weird because a few times we walked past people that I thought would hit us for sure, but then they thought about it and changed their minds; so that was a blessing. It also helps that Portoviejo isn’t like Babahoyo—they don’t throw water the whole month here in Portoviejo and they almost always use clean water. So that’s good. And thus ended my last carnival in South America.
Oh yeah, and I hit a year and a half a couple days ago. So that’s weird. It wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be. At some point in the afternoon I remembered that that day I was hitting a year and a half and I said, “Hey Elder Fonseca I hit a year and a half today,” and he said, “That’s cool,” and then I forgot again because we went to a lesson and had other things to think about. But I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
In other news…I’m broke. I have been constantly broke since I got to Portoviejo. Last week I started the week with $5.33 and we had to go to Chone to do a baptismal interview and it cost 3 dollars to go to Chone and back. Now that I see it written I realize that 3 dollars isn’t very much money for you guys but it is a lot of money for me. It’s funny how your perspective of the worth of a dollar changes when you don’t have very many. So anyway, I ran out of money. We had to call President Gamboa and ask permission to use a part of our reserve cash in order to get through the week. Every missionary here has 40 dollars reserve in case of emergency that can only be used with President Gambia’s permission. So I ended up spending $7.75 of my reserve to get through the week. Part of the problem was all the travel we have had to do the last couple of weeks because we had to go to Manta for zone conference and we have to use a lot of money in taxis to get around here in Portoviejo. So needless to say, I didn’t buy much food last week. In fact, I pretty much just bought bread. Yep, I was living on bread and water this week. It was awesome. I could, of course, dip into my personal cash and take out some money so that I could afford rich people food (like milk) but I prefer to live on the $80 that we get every two weeks. In the MTC I remember that they said if we did we would learn a lot and we would be blessed so I’m sticking to it. Today we got our money so I’m “rich” again. For some reason only $75 came for me this week, which is annoying. I could use the 5 bucks that they stiffed me but oh well. I also need to replace the money I spent from my reserve so I still can’t buy much food this week, but I think I can get my reserve back up to $40 in the next couple weeks. Oh yeah and we have to go back to Chone again to do another baptismal interview on Wednesday. It’s annoying but I’m glad that they are baptizing so I don’t complain. We are also planning on doing an interchange with Bahia de Carraques soon, that’s another city that like Chone is far away and requires a long bus trip that we also have to find a way to pay for. I’m thinking I may go on an oatmeal diet. I did that in Babahoyo for a while and it was a pretty effective way to save money because oatmeal is cheap. But I’m not a big fan of oatmeal. The Quaker instant stuff is good because it has flavors but I don’t like just plain oatmeal. I’m sure that’s a direct result of the days when we lived in Tennessee and we ate it for breakfast every day.
So that’s the story of my life these days. Interesting stuff. Sunday we have to give a training meeting to the ward mission leaders and ward missionaries in the stake. Should be interesting. I imagine it will be interesting anyway; I still don’t know what we are going to talk about. We are also going to try to apply some stuff we learned in zone conference and from other sources in the next couple of weeks. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out but once again, should be interesting. That’s all this week, talk to you next week familia.