March 7, 2011

Posted on 12:10 PM by Elder Messer | 0 comments

Ali Chishi familiataika. Imanaisha takangichi? Na cani maki faki.This place is absolutely crazy!!!!! This has definitely been the craziest/funnest week of my whole mission. We live in a small town about 2 minutes from Otavalo called Cotacachi. So far I love it. It’s a really nice/clean town. We live right next to a really nice park and have a cool view of a huge catholic church on the other side of the park when we look out or kitchen window. Otavalo and Cotacachi are huge tourist places and there are a ton of Americans that do business down here or that come to do humanitarian aid. There is an elderly couple that lives right around the corner from us that are from Nauvoo. They are called the Howell family. They are members of the church that just came down here to help the indigenous to raise there standard of living. They are really nice and fun. They give us nice home cooked American food whenever we want it. Yesterday we had taco soup for dinner and it was delicious. They are only 2 of the American people down here though. On Saturday we went to eat in a restaurant and some guy from Ohio walked in and was like “Oh you guys are down here too”… then another American guy sitting there said, “of course they are. They don`t let them back into Utah until they have saved enough souls”. It was kinda funny. We talked to them a bit and one of them ended up giving us 5 bucks to pay for our lunch and asked us to say a prayer for his granddaughter that has a brain tumor. Just barely when we were walking to this internet cafĂ© we ran into 2 professors from Utah State University that are down here on an agriculture project. They were members. Anyway, it’s basically like a crazy mix of tourism, latins, and lamanites (Indigenous people). Sometimes I get confused when I here people speaking English, Spanish, and quichua at the same time.
Our stake is a quichua stake so we only teach people that speak quichua. It’s kinda difficult because there are a lot of Spanish speakers here but we can`t teach them and baptize them because they wouldn`t understand anything at church. If we find Spanish speakers we are supposed to refer them to the sister missionaries in the Otavalo zone but my companion says that they never come to cotacachi because they have their own sector and ours is kinda far away. We are going to baptize a latin this week though because he has been attending church in a Spanish ward in Ibarra. But he has been being taught here and is friends with the Howells so he counts as our baptism.
So Monday through Wednesday we were in Quito for some meetings. I first got to Cotacachi on Wednesday night so I had my first experience with teaching here on Thursday night after district meeting. Our sector is Cotacachi and a bunch of little villages in the mountains that surround us. Most of the indigenous people live in the little villages so we have to go teach them there and it takes a long time to get to some of them. Anyway, we went to visit a family on Thursday and we couldn`t get a member to go with us so we tried to teach them in Spanish. Most of the indigenous people now at least a little bit of Spanish. They speak about as well as I spoke when I had been in Ecuador for about a month. So we tried to teach them in Spanish but it was kinda rough because they didn`t understand very well. All I could think to do was try to help them feel loved and not focus so much on teaching the doctrine. I figured that love was something that you can`t misunderstand. We`re definitely gonna try and go with a member to translate next time. There are actually quite a few indigenous people that speak Spanish so its not always that hard. But its definitely an adventure out here.
I bore my testimony yesterday in church. I started of saying “Ali punja whyki kuna y pani kuna” (Good morning brothers and sisters) in quichua and I think I got a smile out of every single person there. It must be funny/cute watching some white kid try and learn their native language… haha. Speaking of church…..I was soo lost…. 3 hours of quichua was quite an experience.
All the men here have pony tails and I`m not really sure how to describe the dress of the woman. Just look up Otavalo on Google and I’m sure you can find some good pictures of the way they dress. Its hard to tell the difference between little boys and little girls because they all have pony tails and look the same.
The food here is pretty gross. Its usually just rice and potatoes without any type of flavoring and a piece of chicken. Its hard to eat it all when its all so plain.
The people here are literal descendants of the lamanites. Its pretty cool that I am actually fulfilling book of mormon prophesy when I teach and baptize them. Check out some scriptures that my companion showed me that talk about the lamanites …. Alma 9:16-17, Helaman 15:1-16
Its carnival this week so everyone is throwing water on each other outside. Luckily we haven’t been hit yet. Its relatively calm here compared to how crazy it was in Esmeraldas last year.
Happy birthday Desi!!!!!!!!!! Are you really already 12?! Crazy!!!!! Like I say everytime someone has a birthday… I`ll bring you a present in 6 months! Love you!
I can’t think of anything else to tell you so if you have any questions just ask and I’ll try and answer them in my next letter. I love you all. Thanks for everything. Thanks for the letter and the pictures Lindsey! They were pretty gnarley…. I hope I never have to get staples in my head!!! I`ll talk to you all next week!!!!

Love,
Brandon

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