Another adventurous week in Ecuador starts now.
: Hermana Smuin and I finished a lesson a lot later than we intended. We are supposed to be in the house at because a lot of robberies happen at night, but if we're teaching a lesson, we can stroll in at . Well, it was and we were only halfway home. While chatting with Hermana Smuin, I felt a pit in my stomach and the Spirit whispered to me, ¨You're not safe¨. I swung my backpack around my shoulder and pulled out my wallet to stick it into my shirt where it would be safe if someone grabbed my backpack. As the truck passed us and slowly rolled to a stop, a pit formed in my stomach. I turned to Hermana Smuin and said very calmly, ¨We're not safe¨. A look of horror struck her face and I said to her, ¨RUN¨. Immediately, we took off running through the parks. I heard the truck speed up to catch us while we dodged trees and swingsets through the dusty streets. After running through two parks, we stopped at a street where a group of adults were chatting. I looked to my left to see the truck waiting for us at the end of the street. In a moment of panic, I looked around and realized we were at the street of Bryan Mendoza, a 17 year old in our ward who is our good friend. We quickly walked to his house, trying to appear somewhat normal to the group of adults staring at us. We buzzed his doorbell and asked if he could walk us home. When he walked through the door to meet us, a wave of peace washed through me. The priesthood was with us and we were safe.
: Today, Hermana Silvia Moscoso came home from her mission in Cochabomba, Bolivia. We attended her little bienvenida meeting and watched her cry as she played with her name tag in her hands. She had been released from her calling as a full-time missionary and you could see the sadness in her eyes. The nametag was taken off her chest and she was left to clutch it in her hands as she hugged the family and talked about adventures from her mission. That moment seems so far away from me. Really, it is. It's a whole 17 months away from me. But this first month has absolutely flown by. And I'm just grateful I get another 17 months here as a missionary.
: Hermana Smuin tripped over air while walking in the street today and what came out of her mouth? ¨Poopy poopy gumdrops¨. Hahaha, I love that woman! While Tania had her baptismal interview, I did my best to entertain Tayra and Gianni in the chapel. Hermana Smuin gave Gianni a sucker and he was good to go...until he started touching every single thing in sight with his red, sticky hands. I let Tayra braid my hair, which felt more like someone yanking my head around, and the Elders arrived to interview Tayra. I told Tayra it was her turn for the interview and she clutched my arm and cuddled up to me. She was scared of the Elders, haha. It totally makes sense. She shows up at the chapel and she is supposed to have an interview with big, tall, official-looking men in suits? No way, Jose. She was not havin' it. We coached her through the process and told her that she would see our faces right outside the door, and finally, we went in. She came out of that interview ready to conquer the world and get baptized. It was so darling! She was so, so excited for her baptism. I knelt down on the ground and hugged her with a big ¨Felicidades, Tayra!!¨
: Tayra was baptized! Watching her come up from the water was so calming and just...awesome. Hermana Smuin and I sang ¨Abide With Me, Tis Eventide¨ at her baptism and we sang it right to her.
In that moment, the Spirit witnessed to me that the priesthood power is very real and powerful. The Spirit also showed me that God protects His missionaries. The Spirit was with me through this entire experience and I reacted so calmly. I scream when someone pops out from a corner. The fact that I responded so calmly to this whole situation shows that the Lord is with the missionaries at all times. And I am so grateful for the priesthood.
Even if that means sweating every day.
Sweating a lot.
But really, the heat is getting cray cray.
Life is wonderful.
I've got to run! But I love you all and I thank you for your support and prayers! By praying with all my heart and truly searching the scriptures, my testimony that this gospel is true grows immensely every day.
He loves you.
With a nice watch tan and a smile,