HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you all have a very happy New Year! One as good as Christmas was. Cause it sounds like Christmas was pretty fun! With the sledding and the snowmen and all that good stuff. And it was way cool seeing all you guys too on Christmas! You all look good and no one looks like they're eating too much or anything so that's good. I'm still weirded out by Jacob's voice a little. But hopefully I can get over that soon.
Umm so things are still good here in Ecuador. Just enjoying New Year's Eve right now. I don't know if I told you last year, but they have some weird traditions for New Year's Eve here in Ecuador. First, the guys all dress up like girls called viudas (or widows) and they go and dance in the street and bother people until they give them money. My companion and I already had a couple of them come up to us and start bothering us today. But we got away pretty quickly. And the second thing they do is they build like paper mache dolls and then burn them exactly at midnight. There are all sorts of dolls. They are of random people or superheroes or pretty much anything else. And they do it because it signifies the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new one. Weird stuff! But I'll try and send some pictures of some super big Viejos (the dolls things they make) that we found.
This week we also got put to work doing service. We went and helped a family build their house. So we had to get the fine nice dirt out of a pile of dirt and rocks by screening it and then later make cement and all sorts of stuff. And it was hot and I forgot to put sunscreen on so I got a little burnt and some nice blisters on my hands from working. But it's all good! And it was some fun work.
Tonight my companion and I are going to see if we can order Papa John's and eat some pizza in our house because we have to be in the house in a little bit and we can't come back out tonight.
But for this New Year, I've set a lot of goals. I feel like I've changed a lot on my mission and I've learned a ton, but I feel like I need to change more. I've set a lot of spiritual goals for this year. I want to come even closer unto my Savior before I go home and really make my mission something special. I plan to make this next year an amazing year and really become converted to this gospel.
So again, HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope all of you have a great one!!!
I had to say that first off. So I'm glad it sounds like everything is going well! And it sounds like it'll be a fun Christmas there in Utah. Even though Nate and I are a ways away. And I love the pictures. Keep sending them so I can see how life is and how everyone is doing at home.
So this week was pretty nuts. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow when we talk on SKYPE!! But I'll tell you a bit now. At first it was kinda tough again. I had to get used to the coast and all the stuff. There is a huge difference between the coast and the Mountain range. The people in the coast have a lot humbler and poorer way of life. So it took me a bit to get adjusted. But I did and now I'm loving it here again. I forgot how different it was. The people here are soo much humbler and more willing to accept the gospel. It was my first week here in the coast since I started and we managed to have 12 investigators go to church!! 12!!! That's like crazy!! And they are all great people who are progressing really well. So I missed it a lot.
It is pretty hot though. Not as hot as in Esmeraldas when I started my mission, but it's hot. And I'm not used to the heat and humidity, so I'm sweating a lot. But it's okay. Maybe it'll help me lose more weight. I doubt it though because the food is really good and I feel like my stomach is slowly growing again. But I've decided I'm going to enjoy Christmas and then next year I'm going to try and be more careful about what I eat and staying skinny. Oh and I did eat cow udder this week. That was interesting. The meat actually tasted pretty good. It was just very chewy. But I enjoyed it! Another mission experience.
Well to all my family and friends out there, MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ECUADOR!!!!! I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and can really enjoy and remember the true meaning of Christmas this year: The birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Love you all soo much!!!! And talk to you tomorrow°!
Elder Joshua Lee
PS. here are some pictures of our White Elephant district activity. I got a pair of pants. Sweet... haha
So this was a pretty crazy week. This week we had our Christmas dinner with President Ghent which went pretty well. It was fun and we just got to relax for a bit and eat some good food and enjoy Christmas time.
We also had our ward Christmas party this week which was way fun. They made me get dressed up as Santa Clause again this year. It was fun though. They also made my companion and I go up and sing a song and dance around. We got a video of it, but I can't send videos over the email so I'll have to find another way to get it to you. I got a bunch of pictures taken though so I'll send those home.
Then we had changes this week. I thought for sure I was going to stay in my sector because I had just one change there, but President decided to change me. I was soo upset at first. I was like 95% positive I was going to stay and I had made a lot of plans with the members for Christmas and all that, and then I got changed. I'm still a little upset about it. But I guess it's what the Lord wanted and I should accept it. The good news is that I got changed to the coast again. I got sent to a place called Santo Domingo. So I'm back in the heat and humidity. It's not too hot right now, but it's humid and I'm probably going to sweat a lot again. Maybe I'll get skinnier. Who knows. And one good thing is that the sun isn't as strong here and doesn't burn as much. So hopefully it'll help me from getting skin cancer. And my new companion is Elder Plua. He's from Ecuador. He's a good guy and I'm excited to work with him.
I think there was some other stuff that happened this week but I can't remember very well. Just that it was really sad saying goodbye to a bunch of members in my last ward and sad to leave Ambato. I was there for 6 months so I miss it a lot. But life'll be good here in the coast. Oh and I got pretty dang sick today. I don't know what it was but I ate something that made me very sick and then I had to get on a 4 hour bus ride to come to Santo Domingo. I was soo scared. But I made it alright.
Umm soo I'm planning on talking to you guys on the 25th and I have no idea the hour yet because I'm in a new sector and everything. But I'll figure it out and let you know next week. And I get the little 5 minute precall again so mom, don't freak out if you have a missed call from a foreign country haha. And my Pday next week is on tuesday so I won't write on Monday, I'll write on Tuesday instead. But you guys are the best and I love you all so much!!!
Wow I can't believe that Ben Rowden is already home... Time really flew by. I'm glad he had a great mission and he looks like he learned a lot and all that stuff. Send him my love and tell him to write me up if he gets a chance when he comes by for dinner.
Life is good here in Ecuador. We had a baptism this weekend!!! WHOO!!! It was the daughter of a less active member. We got the family, the Hurtado Family, to come back to church and we got Valentina baptized. She looks like she's like 15 or something, but she's just 11 years old. That was really weird. But they are an awesome family and it was awesome helping them come back to church.
Umm let's see... In other things this week, I've gotten a bit of a cold too. Looks like everyone gets a bit sick this time of the year. Nothing too serious, but some sniffling and a sore throat. But not enough to stop me working.
Oh and the sweet family that went to Miami, the Acosta Family, got back from Miami this week! Whoo!!! And they are really awesome. We weren't able to visit them before Sunday, but the husband of the family and his son showed up to church which was sweet. In church he told us that while he was in Florida he really wanted to see the temple, so he went to Orlando to check it out while he was there. I thought that was really awesome that while he was there on vacation, doing whatever he wants, he decided to go and see the temple. It seems like in the family the women are the tougher ones. Which is weird because it's usually the guys that don't want to do anything. But we're going to help the whole family out. Oh and we brought them all to the Christmas devotional by the first presidency which was sweet! They liked it a lot and we're going to visit them again today.
It also has started raining a bit here in Ambato now. It's still nothing compared to how it rained when I was in Quito a year ago, but a little drizzle here and a little drizzle there. We'll live... I hope. And tomorrow we have the Christmas dinner with President and Sister Ghent in their house so that'll be awesome!! I'll make sure and get some more pictures for next week.
Other than that, life is going along normally here. Time just flies by which really scares me. We have transfers next week too. I just really hope I don't get transferred because it would kinda be lame to go to a new sector just before Christmas. And I already had to do that last year. But I guess the Lord will decide. And thanks sooo much for the Christmas music mom!!! Any other music you can get would be greatly appreciated. Including the music from Halo 3 would be cool. You are the best mom!!! Love you so much!!!
Hey!! What`s up?? I'm glad it sounds like you all had a great Thanksgiving!! Thanksgiving was pretty normal here. We didn't do anything here at all. Just another normal day of work. But I didn't fast this year like last year. I guess that was the only difference haha. And make sure you send my love to the whole fam. I'm already getting way excited for Black Friday shopping next year. I missed that part a lot. I'll keep Stu company next year until like 4:00 in the morning.
So life is good in Ecuador. Nothing exciting. Another normal week. We did a lot of splits with the other missionaries in our zone this week to try and help them out. I like it a lot because I get a chance to get to know the missionaries in my zone better and the people they are teaching as well. It's a good way to try and help them out. Umm... I'm sorry I don't really know what else to write. We're going to Quito again today for another meeting with President Ghent and it should hopefully be a good one. Oh and the sweet family we met a few weeks back gets back from Miami today! Whoo!! So we are going to try and visit them tomorrow. Hopefully we can and we can keep helping them progress.
So that's what's going down. Life is good and everything is normal here. I love you all sooo much!!! hope you have a great week!
Wow sounds like it was a pretty crazy week and like it's going to be even more crazy with Thanksgiving and everything. Who is Uncle Stu gonna take with him to go shopping this year?? He's gonna need a partner haha. And that's cool that you only have to make one turkey. I just ate the turkey. Thankfully I haven't had to cook one yet.
Life is still going well here in Ecuador. This week was pretty chill. Not a lot happened again. Just some usual mission stuff. We did eat Guinea Pig again this week. And I tried Rabbit!! It was actually really good. I liked rabbit better than guinea pig. But they are both are really good. This awesome family in the ward gave us rabbit to eat because we hadn't tried it yet. The ward here is awesome too. The members really try to help us out and are working on the Lord´s work.
We had a training over satilite from the Area Presidency this week. They talked about the importance of the missionaries working with the members. They also stressed a lot the importance of Ward Council. We have a new thing in our Area where we have to have Ward Council every week. They have put a big focus on rescuing less active members too. In Ward council we just talk about the names of the families and how we can help them. It's actually really cool because we are seeing a change in missionary work and the members are really starting to become involved. It helps a lot as a missionary when the members are helping us with referals and giving us people to teach.
Umm so I'm also sending home pictures of a baptism we had!!1 Whoo!!! His name is Fabian and he's a way good guy. He really has made a lot of changes in his life and it was awesome to see him get baptized. He's gonna be a good convert. I'm also sending home a picture of a like mud house that's in my sector. We have a pretty poor part in our sector here and it's kinda cool.
Well that's about it for this week. I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving!!! Eat a lot of turkey and watch a lot of football for me! Next one I'll be there too! And I'll make sure and get some Black Friday shopping in next year with Stu. Tell him to get me something cool on Black Friday haha. Love you sooo much!!!
So life is pretty good here in Ambato. My companion and I had a pretty good week. We met this awesome family, the Acosta Family and they are dope. They are the family members of some members of the church and they are way cool! We met them and they came to church and they already have their answer that the church is true and everything. The problem is that on Thursday they are going to Miami to go to Disney World and visit the states. So their baptism is going to have to wait awhile, but it'll come!!
Oh and we had the scariest thing happen this week. So my companion and I got back to the house at like 930 at night and started planning for the next day. And all of a sudden we started hearing some arguing and raised voices. So we stuck our heads out the door because we thought it was coming from down the street and we found out it was coming from the floor just above us in the house. Then the people upstairs started yelling really loud and we heard things being thrown around and plates breaking and girls started screaming and it was freaking scary. And the yelling went on for like an hour and a half. I thought someone was going to end up like killing someone else or something. Then the guy who was yelling left and the girl and her parents were just there and then the parents started yelling at the girl for like another hour and a half. We were soo freaked out that we couldn't go to bed and just stayed up listening until like 1230 at night. When we finally went to bed they were still arguing. I felt really bad. Something like that would never happen in the states. If people started yelling like that someone would call the police and they'd come do something. The police don't do anything here in Ecuador. But things have been calmer these last couple days so I think everything is okay.
Oh and foolishly we thought that Thanksgiving was the 3rd Thursday of the month and so today we did a zone activity thinking Thanksgiving was this Thursday. But when I called President Ghent to ask for permission to do the activity he told me that Thanksgiving isn't until next week. I felt kinda dumb and really cut off from the world of the USA, but we ate turkey and the activity was okay so yeah. I'm going to send home a pic too I think.
Umm oh and the pics are of the way cool family we found that is going to the states and of one of my converts, Luisa, who went to Colombia on Saturday. So I gave her an Arizona Tshirt so that she remembers Arizona. That is an awesome family and I hope the rest of them get baptized soon. OH and the other one is of me in front of the Lee jeans store again. They are just everywhere here haha. But yeah things are going well! Make sure and send Rachel my love!! Love you all soo much!!
Well life is all good here. I'm actually really loving it in my new sector. I'm just on the other side of Ambato, but the new ward I'm in is great! The members are really awesome and are really trying to help in missionary work. They have given us a TON of referals this week and we have a lot of good investigators. This sector is really sweet. And Elder Russell is a great companion. Another gringo homie and we have a good time and are trying to work hard. The zone is struggling a little bit, but we're just getting started in our new zone so we are going to have more success down the road.
In this week we've had some funny experiences. We had a drunk guy contact us in the street and he wanted us to go to his house. So we started following him and he straight up started running to his house. So we had to do the same to keep up and finally we got to his house and he started telling us this story about how he was in the war and he started acting it out and it was a really funny experience.
We also met another drunk guy in front of the chapel who said he wanted help in his life and he wanted us to say a prayer with him, so he knelt down in the middle of the sidewalk by a main street and so we knelt down with him and started saying a prayer. That was pretty funny too.
But like I said we have been really blessed this week. We have found a lot of new investigators and they are progressing really well. I'm way happy in my sector. Our house really is something. I'll take a picture next time so you can all see, but it's like the house from the movie I Am Legend with Wil Smith. There are big metal like curtains that cover the door and the windows and when we leave the house or go to bed at night we shut up all the curtains like we are preparing for a zombie invasion or something. It's quite someting. But I'll have pictures for next time. Oh and I'm going to send pictures of our baptism last week with my old companion.
Umm so I think that's all I've got to say. Life is good. I hope you enjoy the email a bit more this week. Hopefully we have another sweet week so I can write more cool stuff. Love you all sooo much and thanks for everything!!!
Thanks soo much for the pictures!! I love them and especially the stories. It sounds like you all had a great time there in Nashville. I feel like I need to get to see a bit more of the States. I haven't really been around that much. But some day I'll get around and see it a little. I feel like I've been around Ecuador more than the US now. And Uncle Andy definitely won with the car burning thing. I don't think anyone can top that hahaha.
So we had transfers this week and they were pretty crazy! So basically what happened was that I got changed from my sector to another sector in Ambato. They opened another zone here in Ambato and they sent me to the other zone. Luckily it means I have to deal with fewer missionaries. That's the good part. And my companion is another gringo! Elder Russell. He's like one of my favorite missionaries ever. We met like a year ago in Quito and now we're finally companions! Whoo!!! It's gonna be sick. We are going to have a lot of fun together and work really hard.
I was sad to get changes though. I'm going to miss the sector and the members there. They are pretty great. But we did have a baptism last week! Whoo!! I don't have the pictures because my camera is broken and so my companion just took pictures and he's not my companion anymore. But I'll get the pictures as soon as I can. Umm... I don't know what else to say. I'm sorry I'm so boring this week. Not a lot else happened. But I'll try and write more next week! Hopefully I'll have more stories. Love you all!!
Hey. What's up? Sounds like life is pretty good. I'm glad the kids are doing well.
Umm.... Not a lot new. We had a baptism this weekend!! Whoo!!! It went really well. I'll send some pics too. We did our baptism with the baptisms of another ward because the sister missionaries can't baptize so I baptized their investigators as well. It was a kinda stressful night because there were a ton of people there, but it went really well.
It was a pretty calm week. Not a lot went down. We need to start finding more people to teach. We have some good people, but a lot aren't progressing so my companion and I are going to focus on that a lot more this week. And there are transfers next week. So on Monday I'll let you know what happens. If I stay or go or get a new companion. All the good stuff. Time is flying by. I kinda want to stay because my sector and the families here are awesome. But we'll see what happens.
I'm sending some pictures that we took with the Familia Osorio. One is with my last companion Elder Rogers, from a long time ago. The others are from when we cut my companion's hair. It didn't turn out so well haha. But it was a fun experience. Umm for Christmas send some good stuff for like my companions or people here, but I don't really need anything. Maybe just more shampoo, hair and body moisturizer and hair gel. But nothing else. Life is good and I'm just living it up in Ecuador.
So this week was really sad. Our mamita, the Hermana Maria Cabezas, died this week. She had surgery to fix the a blood clot in her brain or whatever is was and the surgery didn't go very well and she died the next day, this last Thursday. It was really sad because she was still pretty dang young. She was only 52 years old and she and her husband had a lot of plans to serve a mission together and all sorts of stuff. The funeral was sad as well. The family was pretty down too. But they will recover. Luckily they are a family very active that believes strongly in the gospel and in the plan of salvation. They know that whey will be able to see each other after this life. Hopefully they can recover quickly though
On a happier note, my companion and I are going to have a couple baptisms this weekend!!! Whoo!!! We have been teaching some great people here. One is Janet and the family Marge. In the family Marge, the husband doesn't want to get baptized right now. He's more hardhearted as are men almost always, but his wife does want to get baptized. Hopefully everything goes well and I have some more pictures to send home next week!
I did take a lot of pictures this week as well. I'll send as many as I can. My companion and I had to cut the grass again, but this time we at least got some bigger scizzors. here's a picture. we also both bought Ecuador jerseys and took a lot of pictures in them. And we bought some sweet sunglasses too. We've been trying to style it up a little bit lately. So I'm going to send home as many pictures as I can. Oh and the volcano Tungurahua is errupting again. There is alwasy like ash coming out of it. But it's way far away so don't worry about that still.
Yeah and life is all good! Thanks for everything mom! You the best!! I'll try and send home more pictures next week! Love You!ª!!
I'm glad the family is doing well. I have been reading the Miracle of Forgiveness these last couple weeks, (I found it in the house so I decided to read it) and it is a really good book. It really has given me a better perspective about things. And one thing that really caught my attention in that book is that it basically says if we get bad grades in school because of being lazy and not studying when we would have gotten good grades if we had studied, that it is akin to sin. That made me feel a little bad about not studying as much as I should have my first year of college, but I'm going to do better after.
Oh and finally a pair of shoes has gotten a hole. Well not a hole yet, but the sole of my shoe has cracked and it is a pretty big crack. Luckily I have 2 more pairs of shoes. And if I have to I can get these shoes fixed here. I didn't ever think my shoes would get to this point, but it finally happened.
One thing kind of sad did happen this week. Our Mamita (the person who feeds us lunch) Wednesdays, had like a stroke or something and is in the hospital. We had gone to her house on Wednesday and she gave us lunch and was way happy and doing well as always. Then later that night, her son called us and came over to our house to say a prayer for her because she had had this stroke and was in the hospital. Two days later we went to visit her in the hospital and she was still in a lot of pain. Her head was really hurting her and she can't be moved from her bed for like a week because if might happen again. When we were there though she asked me to give her a blessing. It really touched me a lot that she asked me to give her a blessing and that her son came to our house to say a prayer for her. Some of the members here really have a lot of faith in the missionaries. It makes me want to be a better missionary to earn their respect. Thankfully, she is getting better and hopefully she'll be out of the hospital soon.
And a bird got into our room yesterday. I don't now how, but we got home from church and it was flying around our room. It took us like forever to get it out too. It was another daily adventure in the life of us missionaries haha. So things are going well here. Hopefully I can send a couple pictures in another attachment. But I love you all soo much!