How you doin? I’m just peachy. Life here is busy as always; I guess it has been a little more eventful than usual. I didn’t get to work as much in my sector as I would have liked, though; this week we had to go to Chone on Wednesday and Bahia de Caraquez on Friday and Thursday we had a baptism (Bladimir got dunked, hurrah!) and a ward activity, so after all is said and done, actual teaching this week was rather lacking. I guess I will start with the Chone trip in chronological order. The main reason for our trips to both Chone and Bahia this week was because of baptismal interviews. Normally when we have such needs we do interchanges with the elders of the aforementioned sector in order to keep the work moving in our sector, but Elder Cruz’s companion was sick so both Elder Fonseca and I had to go up there, do the interviews, and come back the same day. Chone is a constant headache for us. The interviews are not a problem; I wish that the elders in this zone baptized so much that we never have the chance to see our sector because of all the interviews we have to do. Chone is a headache because there are so many problems with that house. They rarely have running water and there is a random $4,000 dollar light bill that the electric company is constantly trying to make them pay, so the company comes and cuts the power every few days and they have to fight to get it back and we are stuck in the middle trying to fix it all. I have managed to prove that they can’t make us pay more than $400 of the bill, but it’s still way high. Every time I have gone to Chone I have to help them out with it all. The main issue is that we really just need to get those guys out of that house. It’s a really ugly house anyway. I think they finally found a new apartment but the problem is that it’s being renovated and it’s hard to find an apartment in Chone that meets the church’s requirements, so they are stuck waiting for it to be done.
So Wednesday after the interviews, they took us over to the apartment so that we could decide if it is going to work. It seems OK but the people are taking forever to finish the renovations, so while we were there Elder Cruz told the owners that I was there doing inspections and how I was their leader and such to try and get them to finish the apartment faster. My part was to act like I’m actually an important leader and that I know what I’m doing (I have to do that a lot actually) and it worked because I guess they have picked up the pace on the repairs. Other than that Chone is good, other than the fact that the city is half flooded right now because of the rain but that’s just life.
Thursday was our baptism. It was good; I saw part of the Cantos family so that made my day. I asked them for references because they have a lot of family here in Portoviejo. They gave me a few and promised to send a list of their relatives along with addresses, soon so hopefully they won’t forget. Right after the baptism there was a talent show. I don’t know why they did it because my baptism was planned way before their darn talent show but it happened anyway. The elders quorum chose to sing a few Latin songs and invited Elder Fonseca and me to join in on the last one. It was “La Bamba”, and I dominated. I may decide to be a Latin rock star after my mission. One of the members recorded it so I will have to try and get a copy for you guys because it was funny.
Then Friday we went to Bahia—that was an interesting trip. First we had to take the bus to Bahia (2 hours) then we did an interchange and Elder Fonseca stayed in Bahia with Elder Mitchell and I left with Elder Quinde to continue our journey on to a very small town called Coaque (I think that’s how you spell it). That was an adventure. First we had to cross the bay in a small boat. Then we hopped a bus and traveled 3 hours until we got to…nowhere. Even people living in small towns in Nebraska would laugh at how small this town is. It’s pretty impressive…and sad. I really felt bad for the people there, not so much because of the poverty (and yes, all of them are very poor), but because of the way of life they lead. There is little to no education available in an Ecuadorian town so small and so far from everything, and apart from that in the short time I was there I saw that many of the people are just not very nice to each other or to their families. I have learned a lot since I came to Ecuador and I have learned that its amazing how much people can go without and still lead happy lives, but one thing people (and especially kids) should never have to go without is a family that loves them. It is a very beautiful place up there though. The bus from Bahia to Coaque follows the coast most of the way so we had the Ecuadorian wilderness on one side, blue ocean on the other, and the occasional small town every now and then. It was like something out of a movie, definitely the best 3 hour bus ride of my life. I really was blessed to get to get to serve a mission in this part of the world. I wasn’t smart enough to bring my camera but luckily Elder Quinde brought one and we took a few pictures. On the way back we were waiting for the boat to come and pick us up so we could cross the bay and the sun was setting over the city and it looked so cool we couldn’t resist taking some pictures. It was pretty goofy because the whole time we took shots with us looking off into the distance or sitting on some steps looking contemplative and mysterious. A couple of the pictures turned out really well. I was pretty pleased with my amazing picture taking skills. Sadly, it wasn’t my camera so I can’t send the pictures until I get the disk from Elder Mitchell that he is going to burn for me.
So all of these trips we have been taking cost money, money which we do not have. I’m pretty much flat broke right now and we don’t get money until Saturday. Chone cost me $4, not bad. but Bahia cost $2 to get up there, $0.30 to cross the bay, $3 to get to Coaque, and then all of those prices again in the return trip plus one taxi ($1) in total Bahia cost me $11.60 pus $4 from Chone equals $15.60 just for those two trips. Plus we have interviews with President Gamboa today in Manta and zone conference tomorrow, also in Manta. That’s another $6 total for those trips. Minus the $7 that I have to pay the mamita to wash my clothes over that same two week period and when you put it all together you can see how the $78 I started with last week isn’t quite covering all the expenditures I have in my own sector.
Luckily, I got mom’s package this week! Hurrah, I won’t starve! (This week). The new ties are sweet. I really like the green, black, and blue one. I really like green ties in general for some reason. Anyway, that’s the tie I’m wearing right now. I figured it would be a good one for interviews. Tomorrow I’m going to wear the other one for zone conference. I sure like getting new ties. I get sick of wearing the same ones every day. Yep, I’m easy to please.
Oh yeah, we also had an interchange with Elder Sanchez, one of the assistants, yesterday. I have no idea why; they just showed up Saturday night and told us that Elder Sanchez was going to hang out with us for a couple days. He left this morning but it was good I guess, sort of random though. The last time I had an interchange with an assistant was when Elder Bryan came to Babahoyo with me and Elder Fuentemavida and a couple weeks later Elder Fuentemavida was made assistant, so I have a theory that my companion is going to be in the office soon, but I don’t want to scare him so I’m going to keep it to myself and see what happens. Plus I will look like a fool if I tell him he is going to the office and then he doesn’t go. After all, my predictions rarely turn out to be correct. Last night I kept having to call everyone in the zone because the office kept changing stuff about the interviews (what time they will be at, what to bring etc.). So last night I kept having “nightmares” about interviews today. It was really dumb. At one point I dreamed that President Gamboa told me that all the elders would need to bring a glass of water to interviews. So I was running around trying to find cups and water for 16 elders. When I woke up I was still thinking, “Where am I going to find 16 cups?” And then I realized it was a dream and felt stupid.
Well, that’s the news from Portoviejo. General Conference starts Saturday! I am stoked. Pray that we can find a way to get all of our investigators to conference this weekend. Have a great Easter!