Have another new word: Chee-con-goo-yah. I also have no idea what it's spelled like, so that's the phonetic version. Chee-con-goo-yah is this baina that's been running around here in Ecuador and more specifically Esmeraldas. It's some kind of virus transmitted by mosquitos that apparently first came from Africa and made its way here and everyone's freaking out about it. The symptoms are bone aches, fever, chills...doesn't sound like any kind of fun. The name is so absurd I can't help but laugh. I think they made it up just to make it sound scarier.
But I guess it's really no laughing matter because I swear every time we visit someone we hear about another person who got infected. Thankfully I haven't heard once of anyone dying from it - it just seems like it really, really stinks to have it.
In fact, two women from the Ministry of Health came to church yesterday and talked to us about it after sacrament. It's that important. They explained the mosquitos usually stick around in dark places and only bite in the mornings and evenings - in other words, they get you if you're at home. So we basically don't have much of a chance of getting it because we're always running around outside in the sun, working.
There is a missionary who got it about a week ago in the other zone here and so the next time we see him we're going to bug him about it so much.
It reminds me of something I once heard. Tragedy is when you break your leg. Comedy is when that other guy breaks his leg.
But I have had the opportunity to give more health blessings than in all my mission I think!
My Week, Arvanitas-Style
I've gotta say I love the format of Nick Arvanitas's e-mails (another guy I know serving in Mexico!). Somehow it's a perfect description of what happens in missionary work. Everything and nothing happen so often and at the same time. Here is a brief description of the things of this week:
-Finally discovered that when people call their oatmeal drinks "Quahker" it's because they're saying "Quaker" (as in the oats brand) with a Spanish accent.
-Fell asleep in a couple lessons.
-Got rejected hard by an old investigator.
-Woke up 6 in the morning to bring less-actives to church.
-Found a new family. Maybe they'll progress if they want to get married.
-Got contacted by three girls. We gave them pass-along cards and sent them on their way.
-Got a little sick from apples bought off the street.
-Taught hilariously semi-frustrating lessons to our kid with a baptismal date. He's got just too much going on in his head.
-We do have people progressing. Mostly less-actives. They just don't want to come to church. Why's it so hard?
-Need to find new people.
Well, really, we've been doing well. We were going to have baptisms this week but the kid we're teaching didn't come to church yesterday and we have no idea why. He's actually just here on vacation but his mom wants him baptized here because where they live a little bit more to the south they live faaar from the chapel and it's hard for them to attend regularly. So we're working against the clock, but it should turn out fine. He's just easily-distracted, that's all.
Oh, I always forget to mention that one of my favorite less-actives here raises chickens. For cockfighting. He's a great guy, he just hasn't come to church yet! We're not exactly sure why - well this past week it was probably because his nephew had the chee-con-goo-yah. Stinking virus.
The Power of Faith
Our Zone Leaders shared this message with us and I'd like to share it, simply, with you. It has to do with the cycle that starts with faith.
If you have faith, you're going to realize you can do it. You can really understand your true potential. You'll have animo (uh in English something like encouragement or enthusiasm) because of that belief you can have the focus to know what you want to get done and the vision to do it. With that you can get to work, with diligence. Diligence brings blessings, and you'll be more obedient. They end result? Humility and happiness, the kind of happiness the Gospel brings!
But what happens if you don't have faith? When you have doubt? You're going to get discouraged, feel like you can't do it. You getdistracted and start doing other things - any thing other than live the Gospel - because why do it in the first place? It won't bring blessings - who knows that? You start to lose focus and stop working. You get tired of it and stop living the commandments, become disobedient. And without those blessings, without the vision of what the Gospel does for you, why bother with any of it? You just give up and stop believing.
Pretty crazy huh? It's amazing what faith can do!
I realized I've never left my testimony here in Spanish, so here's a short one.
Yo sé que el Señor vive! Yo sé que el evangelio es el único camino que trae la felicidad que queremos en esta vida y que por medio de él podemos vivir con nuestras familias para siempre! Es la bendición más grande que podemos recibir. Yo sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero y que necesitamos leerlo cada día! En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen!
I know that the Lord lives!! I know that the gospel is the only way that brings us the happiness that we want in this life and through Him we can live with our families forever!! This is the greatest blessing that we can receive. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and we need to read it every day! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Huh. For the first time spellcheck isn't going nuts.
Just one pic - us and an awesome recent convert family!
Conference Snidery Answer Key (See "The Jowls Strike Back"):
1. "The Music of the Gospel." Awesome talk.
2. "Stay By the Tree," by Elder Pearson. Just watch the talk.
3. Elder Zeballos. Chileans have the hardest accent to understand ever.
4. Elder Andersen explained that temples are chosen because the Lord knows the people there will use it well. I guess that Pittsburgh just isn't saintly enough yet for a temple.
5. The Young Single Adults choir.
6. Elder Packer's talk.