You don't know how much of a tender mercy it was to be able to talk to you it really helped my heart and spirits. I actually thought about how you and dad would probably be at work but no you were both home. Heavenly Father is really watching out for us.
First off...... Jaden you are one handsome young man and I am so glad you went to prom. You and Sarah both look very nice and I hope your knee is okay.
Okay well into the nitty gritty......or not.... I am serving a mission if you didn't know.... :P in Ecuador Quito Norte. And my first sector is Otavalo. Super legit right. It is so beautiful here and so amazing. It is where the indigenous are. Like the Lamanites.....like this is where the prophet said that these are the ancestors of the Lamanites. WHAT!?! I know right.....I AM SO WHITE!!!!! I say that to myself probably everyday. Okay well I got ahead of myself a bit. So last week I left the CCM in Colombia. It was hard because i made so really good friends there and had to say goodbye. Hmmm goodbyes are so dumb but you cant grow without change and if I had served my mission in the CCM I would have probably not made the full year and a half because I would have become so fat that they would have sent me home!! ;) Well I got to Ecuador and oh my goodness it is so beautiful and green and so marvelous and just a great place. I am a lot more comfortable here than I ever was in Colombia. Well i got here and met my mission president and his wife. They are so great and I am so grateful that I get to work with them. Then to a chapel where we had pizza and had a few classes to learn about health and eating and how to only drink the water through our filtered water bottles or bought sealed water bottles....if you are wondering I do now have a filtered water bottle that they gave me. Then we stayed at one of the hotels. Well not a hotel, but it is an Hermanas house that has more than two beds. So we stayed there. Then the next morning went to a different chapel to learn more. We had classes with President and the Assistants about the schedule, tools to have a successful mission, the mission manual, locking our hearts, and many other things that will help me on my mission like when to use the stress relief book. I have used it once already just reading helped me. Then we went to this place to do something for our visa. We waited for like 3 hours and had grilled cheese while we waited....you know I took for granted how good a grilled cheese tastes. Then I went to the window handed the people an envelope paid 4 bucks and was done. I was lost most of that time in understanding what was going on. Then that night we went to the mission home. We had a super good dinner, watched a few little movies about our mission and had a powerful testimony meeting. Even though it was in Spanish I loved it. Then sang some hymns and just had a good time. That night we stayed at the same house and there were a few more Hermanas there.....they were the trainers......we wondered all night if they would be ours. What freaked me out was that they didn't only speak Spanish but the spoke Quichua too.... ummm yeah.....I am already learning a language and having the opportunity of maybe having to learn another was a little overwhelming but alas I went to bed. Next morning got up got all my things together and went to the chapel. We had a few more classes on who to call if we are sick, about taking care of our apartments and such. Then came the time to know who our trainers were.....they went and did the coast first then Quito....by this time there were no more hermanas in either so I knew I was going to el campo....OTAVALO. Yeah that is right!! Haha and my ward is indigenous and does speak Quichua but mostly Spanish so right now just working on that. My trainer is Hermana Salas. She is 23 and from Lima Peru. She is awesome but get this... she is 12 weeks out....do you know what that means....yeah she just got done finished training. What??? Right I know totes legit this is. She so great and is really helping me with my Spanish. It is sometimes rough understanding each other but we get through with spanglishy something. I really don't know what it is, but most the time I understand I just cant respond very fast. Well after the meeting we had to go to the mission offices....never thought I would go there but Hermana Salas had a package and needed to talk to the secretaries about our house. Well I rode in my first taxi that day....more like two times. That was intense. Then we finally left to the bus terminal bought our tickets got on a bus and rode three hours to Otavalo. Crazy thing about buses is that they stop for people on the side of the rode and you can pay 25 cents to go wherever it is going. I have done it couple times but you just wave and they stop. Great system. Well we finally got to Otavalo and went to the house. We live on Sucre and a little apartment. It is right next to the city center where every morning people are there at 4 am setting up to sell the next day. Wow it is so cool every single day. Saturday everyone is there and it insane to go anywhere near it cause there are so many people. Well the next day we got up and studied then went to district and zone meeting. My zone a district are great!! Then we went and got ready for the next day with meeting Cindy Potosi.....well you will never guess....but Yes i already have witnessed a baptism and it counts as ours but all I did was meet her once. It was so cool though to see all that really goes into a baptism. Man it was a neat experience. Also that night we went to a different missionary house that no one is living in and found stuff to use for our house. Then Saturday we got up and ran. My goodness what a good run can do for you. We ran to this park and it has exercise equipment that we used then ran back. mmmmhhhmmmmm good stuff. Then studied. Personal study goes by so fast now. Then went to prep the chapel for the baptism. Well know one had a key to I really don't even know what we needed but we tried to smash the lock....well my comp did and to no avail so we had to switch to a whole different chapel. We finally got it all ready and then went ate some food and went back to the chapel where the other sisters who taught Cindy and a few members of the ward and other missionaries came. It was so neat to see. Then immediately after we went to a different chapel to see another 6 baptisms happen for an elder in our district. SUPER COOL. Then that night I had my first lesson. It was with the Family Gualsaqui. Alex, Paola, and Mete. They are so great. Alex is a non member and Paola is menos activo and Mete is there two year old. They oh my goodness I know I just met them but I love them so much. I really felt the spirit that night and really really just want them to be an eternal family. Oh my they are so great!!!! It is funny though in the first bit they talk and talk about me and Ii understand they were talking about me but I couldn't respond....haha good times, being so okay with being confused. That night I was so exhausted that I went to bed earlier and woke up in the exact same position as I fell asleep in. Then Sunday, we got ready and went to ward council. Super great. The ward really wants to help in the missionary work. Oh one really cool thing. So my ward is indigenous so most of the members wear the indigenous clothing. Men wear white pants and a white shirt with a blue poncho and a hat but they take the hat off. They all have the most beautiful long black hair that they wear in a braid down their back. Then the women wear a white blouse with beautiful embroidery and a black or dark colored skirt with a shawl and necklaces and bracelets. Then they all have these shoes.... just look it up they are hard to explain. Super cool. Then sacrament meeting. I got to bear my testimony. Man, I felt so unprepared because I can't say what I really feel in Spanish but I felt the spirit and even though it was simple it was good to express my love for the gospel. After church we went to the Males Campos for lunch. Okay here we have what is called mamitas. We have a different one each day that is willing to feed us lunch. It is so cool. Lunch is also the biggest meal of the day. The Males Campos are super kind and have four little boys. They are in the terms of here well to do because he works in Portugal some of the time. They are super great and we left them talking about general conference. Then contacting. We met some super great families that we have appointments with and I am super excited to get to know them. Here in our mission we really are focusing on families. I love it because that is what I wanted to focus on because family is so important to me. Then we had another lesson with a recent convert. It was good. Then to the house and to bed. We got up this morning and it is pday!!! Well we cleaned the house and studied and then went to a most beautiful waterfall with a few other missionaries and just adventured. Today was really hard this morning. I really got homesick missing you and dad and Jaden and Jasmine and Jordan and Becca. Last night we saw stars out which was such a blessing to see them but also got me thinking about home and different times we had outside in the back yard. Mmmmhhmmm good things but it made it kind of hard, but adventuring today was helpful to keep my mind off things. We went to this waterfall and climb up the side to the top and there was this little cave trail to another little fall. then we climbed up another crazy trail and just went around exploring. It was great!! Tomorrow Presidente is coming here for a meeting from 2 to 8. It will be long but I am excited. Also another crazy thing about living here is that there are volcanoes. So we have an emergency plan for that. Who would have thought I would live somewhere where there would be volcanoes..... :)
I know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know he lives and loves me. I know that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. I know that the El Libro de Mormon is the palabras de Dios. Yo se que podemos ser familias por eternidad. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and answer my prayers. I know that this is going to be hard but will be worth it and will help my testimony and will bless my life but I have learned that it will bless the lives of you at home and my future investigators.
I love you so much and am so thankful for your letters. Mom i love you!!!
And everyone else please write me!!! I love hearing from you and I do have 2 hours to write so yeah!! I love you all so much.
Have a great week
PS Thanks so much for the package!!! Also I did get the cards too!! Sorry it took a while to let you know!!!! :) Love you!!
PPS Pday is Mondays!!!