Monday, June 22, 2015

Esmeraldas Grab Bag‏

I used to have these e-mails so neatly laid out. I don't know what happened. But here's a jumble of stuff that happened this week!

First of all, we're teaching some clowns. Yes, that's right, clowns. It's a less-active family and the dad is a professional clown. It was actually pretty cool - he taught us some magic tricks using coins. I need to practice a bit more. And the son-in-law is a potential investigator. He's a Spaniard so he has a hilarious accent (People from Spain pronounces all their "s's" like "sh."). We'll see what happens there!

Saturday we went on divisions and I stayed in the sector with one of the zone leaders. It maybe wasn't the best day, but he really helped me to understand what a joy it is to invite people to come unto Christ. That's our missionary objective, after all. That's all we're here to do, invite people to come unto Him, ultimately through baptism. And more than anything we just do the inviting and the Spirit does pretty much all the rest. So probably the best appointment we had that day was when we found Lourdes and her husband, who isn't a member (Yet. Muahaha)! We didn't have much time but we had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. I definitely felt the Spirit during the lesson so that was a great experience for me. Read it, people!

Which reminds me of HOLA. It's an acronym we use here in the mission that means "Hay que: Orar, Leer, y Asistir." In English, "You need to: Pray, Read, and Attend church." It's to help us to remember the commitments we usually extend to everyone - and they're the canned seminary answers that build testimony and families. I've realized that it's dangerous to stop doing any one of these three things and especially as a family. Gosh why is it so hard for people to read scriptures as a family? It's something I've wanted to focus on more recently. People really need to get into that habit. It's hard for recent converts especially I think. So we've been trying to help people to do it here in the sector. I just know that if we read the Book of Mormon in our families we'll get the families we want! It's so simple but so important. Read this talk by Pres. Benson. At the end it lists that promise.

Oh, here's a cool experience we had. Our zone this month has as one of its focuses praying when our appointments fall through. We need the guidance of the Spirit in every moment! So we went to an appointment we had set and the family wasn't there. We started to walk away, nowhere in particular, when I suggested we pray. So we turned around the corner to find a bit of privacy and my companion said the prayer. We open our eyes, we turn around, and there are the parents, running right past us to their house in the rain! They let us in and we start to teach. I didn't really know what to teach - next up on the list was Word of Wisdom and we'd planned to just to keep going with that, but it'd been a while since we'd taught the family and so I wasn't sure if that was right. I prayed to know what we should teach in my mind. We start off with Word of Wisdom and like normal we first talk about the Spirit and how we need to feel it (because then we lead into why we need to keep our bodies clean to feel it, yadda yadda). I ask the teenagers (they're our focus in the family) if they know what the Spirit does and how it works. They give me blank stares. Then I realize that with my other companion we had never checked up on something really important. "Have you prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true?" Blank stares. Well. We had a good lesson about that! Follow the Spirit! It's the only thing that'll tell you the true needs of a person - yourself included.

Attendance in church was light because of Father's Day (People here will look for any kind of pretext to goof was hard to sleep Saturday night because of the music and drinking outside the apartment.) but we did have one of our less-actives we've been working with for a while come to church for the first time, Hermano Rangel! That was awesome. He's a great guy and we just want all of the family to be there. The wife and kids are always there, we were just missing him. And it was great seeing the ward helping him feel at home.

We also learned a little bit of cha'pala, the language of the natives from the coast here, the chachi. Here's some phonetic spellings: oora kepenéne (good morning), ia Elder Scanlan (I'm Elder Scanlan), na-nai-yu (how are you). Pretty neat. We've got a less-active chachi. Of course, she speaks perfectly fine Spanish too.

The other day a Jehova's Witness contacted us. That happens a good bit. First time it's happened to me in the street. As my companion explained, there are only two types of people that will come up and talk to you: the prepared people, and the Jehova's Witnesses. She quizzed us on how many books the Bible had, what language "Yawheh" is in, and how old she was. I didn't answer right once. She turned 80 recently! My companion asked her how her birthday was, which was fantastic (because, you know, they don't believe in birthdays). She was actually really nice though.

And I've been reading the New Testament in Spanish. It's so much more understandable, believe it or not. I've really enjoyed it. I'm beginning John, now. The other day I saw that one of the APs walked around with just the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. That's awesome. I'd love to do that. Sometimes it's a pain lugging all 4 standard works around...

Well there's my week. Hope you have a good one, too! I know this church is true, I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that Christ lives!

The river! I don't know what it's name is. But this is part of the river we cross to get to the island in our sector. Where it passes through our sector it's much smaller.

People like to put their kids/spouses/Homer Simpson on every decal possible here. Sometimes the results are terrifying.

I was trying to figure out a pose for the picture and my companion took it anyways but I like how it turned out. Esmeraldas!

This is a zapote eating selfie. It basically tastes like cantelope, but it's stringy.

This is zapote, just one of the many fruits I've only found here. No they don't normally have anime faces.


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