How are you all doing? good i hope! This first week in ecuador has been crazy!!! its sooo different here! I never imagined it would be like this. My first area is on the coast in a city called esmareldes. Its super hot here all the time! like around 90 everyday. let me tell you about my living conditions. mom, if you thought the budget inn was bad you would die if you saw where I live. Its horrible!!! Its super dirty and gross! the windows are basically just holes in the wall so bugs fly in and crawl in all over the place. we have to sleep with bug nets so we dont get bitten. but at least we have lizards too to eat the bugs. no joke! my house is basically a small jungle! haha. I went to pour some cereal this morning and it was full of dead ants. i tried to keep it in the refrigerater to keep bugs away but aparently the bugs are in the refrigerater as well. The bathroom is pretty gross as well. get this, in ecuador they dont flush the tiolet paper, they just throw it in the trashcan. and since theres not a solid wall between the bathroom and the rest of the house it makes the whole place smell really bad. the only plus about the bathroom is that I never have to wait for the shower water to get hot becuase theres no such thing as heated water here. so basically i take a freezing shower every morning. But I definitely have no room to complain because compared to everyone else I live like a king. Most the ppl we teach dont have furniture so we always end up sitting on plastic stools or chairs. and a lot of ppl dont even have showers. one lady we taught only had 3 walls on here house. and we visited one family that lives in a wooden shack that is less than a quarter the size of my room back home. Theres wooden shacks and huts everywhere and almost everywhere we go we walk on little dirt roads. a few people have cement walls and some couches and maybe a table or something and we taught one family that had a computer but most of the people have nothing.I never imagined it being this different! These people need the gospel soo bad!!!!! Finding people to teach is never a problem. almost everyone will let us teach them. its not like the states where missionaries spend all their time looking for investigators. All we do is teach. My companion is a native from Peru. his name is elder larrea. He doesn´t speak any English but i can understand him pretty well. Its super hard to understand everyone else though. They talk super fast here and drop a lot of letters from their words so its super hard to tell what people are saying. The only time I ever understand is when we´re talking about gospel things. I can ussually catch the main idea in other things but I miss a lot of details so I´m confused a lot.
Anyways, these first few days have been pretty rough. Its been hard to adjust to everything and its frustrating to go all day barely understanding anything. I wake up everyday depressed and have to force myself to go to work. It ussually gets better once we leave the apartment and go to work. please pray for me as much as you can! I need all the help I can get! This is definitely the hardest thing i´ve ever done!!! Hopefully i get used to it soon and ill pick up the launguage quick. Once that happens i´ll love it for sure!
now i´m going to write in bullet points so I don't have to organize my thoughts.
-Driving here is crazy! pedestrians don't have a right of way ever so cars never slow down for people. A lot of times we´ll just cross a street and barely miss getting hit by a car or bus going 70 mph. but thats normal and every is just used to it so its no big deal. they dont have speed limits here either. theres police but they dont do anything. my companion told me that the police like to drive around looking fro pretty girls and then give them rides on thier motorbikes! haha
-we walked by an orthodantists office the other day and the othadontist was just sitting in his office without a shirt
-a lot of people here claim that they have dreams/visions here or claim that they´ve seen spirits before and apparently thats normal.
-we were suppose to have a baptism on friday and I was going to baptise the guy but he didn´t show up (for the second time). we have another baptism this friday and i´m pretty sure this girl will show up.
-The ward i´m in is tiny! there were around 30 to 40 people their on sunday. We met with the stake president afterwards and he said that we need to try and build it so it doesn´t get demoted to a branch. he said that president sloan said that he was going to send 2 of his best missionaries there becuase it was struggling so much. which makes no sense becuase we are definitely not the best missionaries. i´m new and cant speak the launguage yet and my companion has only been here for like 4 months. And apparently this is one of the hardest areas to be in.
-the food here is way different! they only eat like 1 meal a day for lunch and its always massive amounts of rice with beans or meat and soup. the soup is like chicken broth with potatoes and a chunck of meat thrown in. I sware they just cook the chicken whole, chop it into huge peice and throw it in the soup.. bones and all! Ita ussually not to bad though and I can ussually eat it. But i think i've already lost wieght since we only eat once a day. i dont know how they do it! My companion never eats breakfest or dinner and he never drinks anything all day except for like one cup of juice at lunch. i drink water all day becuase its so hot and i try and eat something for breakfest and dinner. but sometimes i dont have time to eat breakfest or dinner
-being on time here doesn´t matter at all. you can be an hour late and its no big deal. people are really laid back and don´t have schedules. a lot of people just sit at home all day and do nothing
-pretty much the only thing that is keeping me sane right now is when i get to see people from my mtc district. luckily there are 4 of us here in the same zone and we get to see each other once and a while. we´re all struggling right now trying to adjust to everything
-as far as my address goes, i dont have it with me right now but i posted it on my blog before i left so check that. or if people want to send letters it might be easier just to do it on dearelder.com or to use the pouch servive. ask lindsey about that if you dont know how to use that.
anyways, I love you guys so much and pray for you everynight!! please email me back and tell me how your all doing! pray for me!
i think i made it sounds worse than it really is so try not to worry to much! i´m sure i´ll get used to it soon. if you ever send me packages make sure you follow the directions in the letter that president sloan sent. if you dont have that letter look on my blog.
thats the mission blog. check it out if you have time. i haven´t looked at it yet.
i´ll send pictures as soon as i can. i´ve only taken a couple so far.
I love you Dad, Mom, Lindsey, Jason, Desi!
Cuidese (take care)!