Not necessarily in that order, of course.
So La Bota! I think I mentioned this already, but our sector is one of the smallest in the mission, I think. I haven't had to take a bus once, and I've only tried to take a taxi a few times, when I thought my bladder was going to explode...but we'll get to that. It's called La Bota because, if you can do a quick google search, yes, it looks like a boot. And so that's that! There are two main streets, one of which is La Bota, the other being Wladimir Lenin, which I think is appropriately misspelled. From the street "La Bota" I can actually see my old sector - I'll send pics next week, once I finally get my Christmas package opened (yay!). (His Christmas package arrived, but his Zone Leader picked it up and he won't get it until Thursday. I'm not sure what's in the package that will help him post pictures?)
The people here are a bit quieter, and a bit more cautious, because apparently this place has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous parts of Quito. I'm not sure where that comes from because although maybe I've seen one more drunk than usual, nothing has scared me yet. In fact, for me, I feel more comfortable here than in my old sector.
Also apparently it might have something to do with the fact that the guy who handles most of the local drug traffic (so I've been told) apparently really likes missionaries. If he sees us in the street he'll cross over and give us hi-fives, calling us his "guaguas" (babies). I haven't progressed into the him hugging us phase, but apparently that happens to. So, yeah. It's pretty great here.
And what's funnier is that there are FOUR gringos here. Me, my companion, and the district leader and his companion. Of course, only one of us actually looks gringo, but it's loads of fun. I'm seriously already dreading changes.
The ward is teensy, too, and there aren't a TON of baptisms, but the work continues, the same, and it'll be great.
Oh and I DID get sick from something but I'm better now. I think it was some milk an investigator serves us. She serves us food literally every time we come and talks our ears off but it's great. It was pretty rough in the middle of last week because being sick I just couldn't eat anything and of course it is a crime punishable by death here to not finish your plate so...it was a struggle. But my appetite is back, so todo esta bien.
Incites His First Wedding Proposal
This will forever be one of my favorite things I've experienced on my mission.
We have a couple who are less-actives and of course for them to be "rescued" (receiving all the lessons again, attending church, and an interview with the bishop) they have to get married. And so my first night in La Bota we tried to help make that happen. We got the husband to agree to do it, and even think about a date, but the wife insisted he propose officially. After much tomfoolery (I spent most of this time getting distracted by their kid who kept piling all of his toys on me), he finally got down on his knees and did it. My first, maybe last, experience as being a witness to a wedding proposal in Spanish.
Can you tell why I love this sector, yet?
The Book of Mormon
This week of my training has been focused on Revelation Through the Book of Mormon, and that's been a great experience. I've been able to reevaluate and rediscover what the Book of Mormon means to me and should mean to my investigators. What should it mean to you? Let me share with you the second to last paragraph of the Introduction:
"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)"
Whether you are a member, an investigator, or somebody who's never even heard of our church before, the invitation is the same. All men are invited to first: read it. See what it has to say. Second: ponder about it. Think about what it teaches, why it teaches it. Put in practice what you've learned. And then finally: pray about it. Ask SPECIFICALLY to God that you will receive an answer, that you can know if this book is true.
I've done this test. I've had questions, I've hungered, painfully, to know what is truth, who I am, if God is real, what my purpose is here in this life. I read this book and began to discover that EVERY answer to EVERY question we could have is in here. I started putting the principles of faith, repentance, love of thy neighbor, service, and more in my life, and saw the change and happiness I felt. I knelt down and prayed about it, I asked God if it's true. I know that it is. I know that this book has more power to change your heart and your mind than any other. All you need is that desire to search, the desire to find, and to put your faith, even if it may be little, in something you haven't tried before.
"Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah."
I know that promise is true. I know you can find happiness that you've never felt before by doing this, no matter who you are or in what circumstance. Test it out! :)
Hmm I think that's all for this week. I had a great one and I hope you did and will, too! Love you all!