Monday, January 11, 2016

I Killed a Pig This Week

So this week was pretty interesting. As you will recall from last week's episode, they took my companion out after being only three weeks with him and put me with Elder Vargas. So I had three weeks to learn a super gigantic sector and now I'm expected to lead it. It actually hasn't been too bad - if only for all the mistakes we made in my first few weeks here, especially missing buses and whatnot, I managed to learn the sector more or less quickly. There are still really big holes, but we haven't fared poorly, and the week went pretty well. The good thing is that Elder Vargas already knows what he's doing, he's got a good bit of experience already, and we already knew each other from being in the same district for two changes in Lago Agrio, so at least on that side the transition was pretty fast. But it hasn't helped that we're not teaching hardly anyone here in this sector and our efforts to find are still on-going. We've found one or two people though that seem like they could progress.

And one of my more favorite experiences this week was that of the pig slaughter. There's a less-active couple here we've been teaching and the wife has a kidney problem (there's a specific name for this but I don't know it in English) and has to have a dialysis every day - and it's not exactly cheap. So, they decided to do an activity to raise a bit of money - make fritada, a typical dish here. It's pork, mote (a kind of corn), potatoes, and a bit of salad (what they call salad at least, which is just tomatoes and onions in lime juice). And they were going to kill a pig of course to make it. When we found out we offered our help immediately.

So we helped kill a pig, gut it, and chop it up. I will spare you the details and the pictures for now because there are small children who might see that, but I'll be more than happy to show them to you when I get home.

On the spiritual side, there's a quote that's been bouncing around in my head a lot this week because of the way the sector's been behaving. I don't remember who said it the first time, but I saw it because Elder Holland cited it in a talk called "For Times of Trouble."

"Trouble has not necessary connection with discouragement - discouragement has a germ of its own."

I like that a lot because it's helped me separate getting down on my self and the sector from the fact that yes there are problems. But that doesn't have to affect my mood! I can keep moving forward perfectly fine in faith and hope - two qualities I've learned a ton about these past few months. I really liked something we read yesterday in church during the 3rd hour from the President Hunter manual:

All of us have seen some sudden storms in our lives. A few of them … can be violent and frightening and potentially destructive. As individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, even as a church, we have had sudden squalls arise which have made us ask one wayor another, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”[Mark 4:38.] And one way or another we always hear in the stillness after the storm, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” [Mark 4:40.]

None of us would like to think we have no faith, but I suppose the Lord’s gentle rebuke here is largely deserved.

We will all have some adversity in our lives. I think we can be reasonably sure of that. Some of it will have the potential to be violent and damaging and destructive. Some of it may even strain our faith in a loving God who has the power to administer relief in our behalf.

To those anxieties I think the Father of us all would say,“Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”And of course that has to be faith for the whole journey, the entire experience, the fulness of our life, not simply around the bits and pieces and tempestuous moments. …

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John16:33.)

As I read this and listened also to some of the talks in sacrament meeting I realized how true it is! The matter of fact is that if we follow Christ the sun will always come up again. I'm not sure how to communicate this little pearl I've found, but the point is I know things will always get better. That knowledge is now a bit more than an ethereal concept, but something that motivates me to keep moving forward.

For instance, this week we had another small miracle. We got to church a bit early because we had a meeting to go to and we found someone outside we didn't know. Turns out he was an investigator who has a friend in Quito that invited him to attend church. And what do you know, he's from our sector!

The Lord will bless us, if we show him we deserve it! Love you lots everyone!

Pig stage one.

Stage Two

Stage three (my personal favorite).

A pic of me. I hate the way they cut my hair this week, by the way.

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