Last Monday we had an opportunity to teach a member some English. Her name is Samanta and teaching her Spanish just makes me learn a whole lot more about how English actually works. She gave us this drink that tastes exactly like horchata but apparently horchata is something different here. I tried to explain it but everyone was giving me weird looks and stuff. But anyway I want to explain some of the different things they do here in Ecuador that I did’t see in the states. Often times, when a person´s hand is wet or dirty they will put out their wrist with their hand curled under their arm for you to shake their wrist. It caught me off guard the first time they did that. Another thing is how often the cars honk here. It seems like every other car is a yellow taxi or a regular person trying to give an unofficial taxi ride or sometimes the honk is just to say hello. When we are in a car, there are 2 lanes but often there are 3 lanes of traffic on the road. It is super tight many times. Crossing the street is something different, we jaywalk everywhere and the cars don’t slow down for pedestrians. Buses only stop completely for old people and children, or for a big group of people.
On Tuesday we had a Multi-zone conference and I didn’t understand everything that was said but I could tell what was happening. We had lunch there and they gave us beans rice and dragon-fruit (pitajaya I think) and lots of carrot cake. I was so full. Then I found out that we had a lunch appointment with a member in a couple hours. I thought to myself oh boy. But It was such a good lunch but I felt so bad because my stomach was about to pop after two huge lunches. It was the first time I had not finished all of my food, I left some rice. Then we had cake that night at President Monar’s home and we played Jenga for family home evening. Hermana Monar talked for quite a while about how some people think we are not Christians. Her whole conversation I understood really well! When all the words are pronounced clearly I can understand it but when it blends together in other people´s speech, then it becomes a very hard thing for me to distinguish between words.
On wednesday and thursday we did a lot of walking but not much teaching because a lot of people did not answer their doors those days. But that night Reina Mercado had her Baptismal Interview. After that, the district leader, Elder Gibbons, went on an exchange with me. Elder Gonzaga went with Elder Tafur.
I learned as much Spanish as I could from Elder Gibbons because he speaks English and guess what, he is from Arizona too! From Mesa. He is sad that the temple is going to be closed when he gets back for like 2 years I think. But it was super refreshing to get myself remotivated after having such a general struggle with Elder Tafur and our language barrier. Elder Gibbons slows down for me so I can understand, but Elder Tafur doesn’t but I think both help me. Elder Gibbons Taught me a ton. I will explain later through my experiences of actually doing the things he said.
Saturday morning, when Elder Gonzaga and Elder Tafur came to do the re-exchange, Elder Gibbons planned a video to be recorded, which I need to get. It was a video like P90X but instead of X it was P90Elder. So I recorded them doing an exercise routine in the fashion of P90x and it was absolutely amazing. Elder Zepeda, who has a hard time with accurate coordination was in the back doing half the motions. During it he got a sugary drink and started to drink it. During study that day I accidentally fell asleep and Elder Tafur took a picture of me, he has a picture of me for every time I have done that. It is awesome.
We had the baptism on Saturday for Reina, who is an abuela, or grandma, and she had such a spiritual experience. I did as well, during the hymns and the talks she shed some tears. I had the opportunity to baptize her. It was my first time, even though it was a little shaky and I stumbled on the word bautizo (by saying bautizado) I corrected it and it was awesome. At the time, we were fasting for focus and to have the Spirit of revelation with us. Her whole family showed and I could tell that they were really happy for her.
Ligia is a great asset to our ward now, she is a huge leader. She went with us for our explanation of what family home evening is to Family Galindez (with Reina), which is Noche de Hogar or Night of Home. But Ligia has an amazing ability to include everyone. I talked with one of the inactive members about programming and I could understand most of what he was saying but it was cool to actually talk about that. But ya I can tell they can feel that Noche de Hogar is something that will help strengthen their family