Sunday, March 18, 2012

Faith is not a perfect knowledge - 12 de marzo 2012

Hola familia, amigos, queridos,

Where to begin? I received a call last night from Elder Jativa
(ha-te-ba) saying I had two packages waiting for me in the Correo de
Ecuador in downtown Guayaquil. He gave me the codes and everything to
go and retrieve them today. Normally he goes and gets them, gives them
to the zone leaders, and I receive my packages during district meeting
once a week. This time the packages required my personal information
so I had to go get them. I went to downtown Guayaquil and waited in
line only to find out that I did not have two packages but only one
and it was in a town in northern Guayaquil called Urdesa. Hermana
Reyes and I hopped on a bus and spent an hour and a half retrieving
this package. I thought it would be the package with my sheets and M &
Ms (the only package I have received is the second one with all the
probiotics and clothing). Nope, Dear Elder had sent me a package with
all kinds of goodies, but I spent most of my Pday retrieving it. Well,
it was an adventure, but now I am going to talk with Elder Jativa
about the package with my sheets, AND why he would send me all the way
to Urdesa to retrieve a DearElder package. Dear Elder needs to get
their act together to send it to the RIGHT PLACE, gosh darn it!
Hahaha. P-days are precious time to waste because we have a lot to do
to prepare for the rest of the week.

Now I will tell you about the trial of my faith that I have been
withholding from you these last few weeks. The past few months I have
had increasing amounts of pain in my right knee due to the increased
amount of walking we do in my sector. I told the mission nurses and
they have had me go to doctors and take medications to relieve the
pain. Last Wednesday, I had an MRI in downtown Guayaquil. The results
indicated everything was alright, that my ACL reconstruction is intact
and the meniscus scope is fine. I should not be having any problems
except for some inflammation. Nevertheless, I called President
Montalti to inform him of the information. He is having the area
doctors look at my MRI results to review them in case the doctors I
saw missed anything. The doctor who reviewed my results told me that I
will need to wear an orthopedic brace that has bars down the two sides
and go through physical therapy. The thing is I just did this two
months ago in the MTC - physical therapy and the brace. I do not want
to repeat this again this time and then in two months from now. I told
this to Pres. Montalti. I expressed that if the pain continues, I need
to cease walking. The only way to do that is to return home and
recuperate there until they reassign me to a mission with a car. All
options are being reviewed, but I am still having excrutiating pain in
the knees. I thought I should let you know. I didn´t want to tell you
before because I knew you would worry about me. I want to keep these
emails positive and upbeat. However, the situation has advanced that I
feel you should know. They take really good care of the missionaries
here so I do not want you to worry or send personal emails to the
President of the Mission. He is doing all he can.

Now, for the good stuff.....I have great news. After weeks and weeks
of delays, Mario and Teresa are getting married this Friday! We had
the venta or sale of food and raised close to a hundred dollars. She
was able to buy her government paperwork and pay for the wedding. She
even has a little left over to buy a nice shirt and skirt for the
wedding. Then, the couple will be baptized this Saturday at 7 pm. I am
so excited because this is a miracle. They have been what we like to
call eternal investigators because they have been investigating the
church since last July. Hallelujah!

Also, on Sunday, a husband of a member who has been putting off his
baptism for over nine months now finally accepted to get baptized this
weekend. His wife is such a faithful member of the Church. She has
begged him for nine months to change and get baptized, but he wouldn´t
have it. Now he is taking the next step. His name is Ricardo Chaglia
and his wife is Christina Caceres. These two families, after the
baptisms this weekend, will be complete families and can get sealed in
the temple a year from this weekend. What a blessing!

We have a few other prospective investigators, but there is no more
time to write.

I call this email a trial of my faith because when I talked with the
mission president about my knee, he asked me what I want to do. I told
him plainly that I want to return home to heal. I couldn´t take any
more of the pain with my knee. However, after that phone call, I have
seen how much I have come to love the people here. I cannot see myself
leaving my mission early. If it comes to the fact that I have to leave
early, I will for my health´s sake, but I will leave knowing I did
everything in my power to bring the gospel to the people here in

I love you all. Please read Alma 32 and 33 on faith. That has helped
me to keep going in this great trial of health.

Take care,

Hermana Melanie Forbush

05 de marzo 2012

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Whoa! Has today been crazy and unexpected. Many things have occurred, but I will not go into all the details with the limited time I have. It is better to focus on all the really good details such as the baptisms that are coming up and the success we are having in our sector.

To begin, the family that we really wanted to get baptized, Mario and Teresa, did not end up getting baptized as originally planned last weekend. There was just too many things that needed to happen for them to get baptized. They needed to raise the money to purchase a government paper, get married at the civil registry, and a few other things. Of course all of this requires money, money, money. What else does this world revolve around? My sixth grade science teacher once told me bugs are what make this world turn, but that is a different story all together. Anyway, my companion Hermana Reyes and I organized a sale where the ward would contribute ingredients to make plates of rice, menestra, and meat, with a side of patacones. We were planning on selling it last Thursday, the couple would get married on Friday, and the baptism would be on Saturday. Unfortunately, however, the father´s birthday was on Saturday and he wanted to go drink alcohol with his buddies. Thus he avoided us all week long. Then, the sale of food didn´t happen, the wedding was postponed, and they didn´t get baptized on Satuday.

However, yesterday, we met with the family once more to see where they were at. The father, Mario, was very repentent. He knew what he did was wrong and that hiding from the sister missionaries was not a good solution because he only felt more guilty. This led him to choose to spend his birthday with his family and not drinking with his buddies. So he didn´t break the Word of Wisdom after all! I was so happy to hear that.

Now, the sale of food is going down tomorrow. The mom, Teresa, will make the food in her house, we as missionaries have a list of 54 consumers at two dollars a plate, and plan to distribute the food tomorrow evening. The sale of food is still going to happen. Yay! Their new baptismal date is March 17. I cannot wait to see the family become members as a whole. Then, a year from now, they can get sealed in the temple. This is their ultimate goal. It is so beautiful. Is it not?

We are also teacing two sisters ages eighteen and nineteen, Eunice and Lisset respectively. They have baptismal dates for March 25. What is so awesome is that they are neighbors to a recent convert, Christian Layedra. He is 23 and planning to serve a mission after his year is up as a member in the church. You have to be a member of the church for a year to become a missionary, to enter the temple, etc. However, transfers are March 20. Coming up! I hope that they will stay on the straight and narrow and get baptized even after we are transfered, if I am transferred. It is more likely that Hna. Reyes will get transferred because she has been here for six months in this very sector. I only have two transfers here.

Well, that is all for now. I love you very much! Please take care of that foot, Stephanie. Do not push yourself to fast to heal with three little monsters running around. Nathan, how did you celebrate your birthday? Write me and tell me all about it.

Lubka, please tell me what you plan to do! I heard the news from my Dad. I pray for you so much. More than you know.

As my friend, Cicely Chipman, who I got a letter from this week, always says, what can I pray for you?

The Church is true and it is going forth in Ecuador so fast. South America is God´s sacred treasure and I love the people here. Especially my companion.

Take care,


Melanie Forbush

Trial of Faith - 27 de febrero 2012

Time is flying by fast! Do I say that every week or what? Yesterday
was my four month mark in the mission since I entered the MTC. I
cannot believe it.

We had two baptisms this week -- Juana del Carmen Lucas Ramirez (we
call her Juana or Carmen) and Eduardo Israel San Pedro Gomez (we just
call him Israel). Juana, who is 66 years old, sacrificed a lot to get
baptized such as her place of residence. Her daughter is very
Evangelical, a controversial religion down here, and swore that if she
got baptized, she would disown her. Now she is in the process of
relocating. It is rather sad, but I am glad she chose the Lord. She
will receive so many blessings from her decision to get baptized.
Israel is 18 years old. His whole family loves to hear from us.
Unfortunately, his Mom, Ana, doesn´t want to get married to get
baptized. She is rather comfortable with her lifestyle, but she is
such a wonderful person. We love them all and visit them regularly to
teach Israel and his little brother Joel. All in all, it was wonderful
to have two baptisms in the same day. We have been working hard this
month with relatively little success until Saturday. (We normally only
have baptisms on Saturday here).

We are working with a whole family, yay a whole family finally, to get
baptized. The son, Jonathan, who is 9 or 10 years old, is already
baptized. Now the parents, Mario and Teresa, need to get married and
baptized. We finally convinced them to get married about a month ago.
Ever since we have kept daily contact with them to keep them excited
and committed to getting married. However, this last week they were
really hesitant saying they will wait a little bit longer. They have
been seeing the missionaries since last July. Each time they make
excuses not to get married. Now we are pushing for the wedding this
week. The ward keeps telling us that we are pressuring them, but if we
don´t they will never have the blessings of an eternal family. We just
need to help them raise 54 dollars to pay for the civil registry.
Please pray that they will exercise their faith to follow the Lord´s
commandment. I really want them to get baptized because they are such
wonderful people. Now is the time!

Funny note, at Israel´s baptism, the white jumpsuit was kind of small.
He wore these white socks with tiny red footprints. It was like seeing
a person with white underwear and red hearts. What a funny sight. I
guess you had to be there.

Nathan, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am sorry I haven´t got a card in the mail,
but one is on its way. I promise.

I love you all. Please know that I am working hard to bring others to
the knowledge of the Gospel that blesses our family so much. Please
stay strong in the faith and move forward with action. This Gospel is
true. I know it with every fiber of my heart.

Take care. Until next time,

Hermana Melanie Forbush

Carnival - 22 de febrero 2012

I can imagine Mom sending an email to President Montalti asking why
she didn´t hear from me on Monday like she did the day I arrived to
Guayaquil and didn´t receive a phone call from me at the airport.
Well, the answer to all this is that Monday and Tuesday all the
businesses in Guayaquil were closed because all the people were
celebrating a holiday called Carnival. It is basically a holiday that
allows people to take time off work to enjoy themselves in water
games. Many flock to the beach. I got hit in the back with a water
bomb or water balloon after two girls chased us down the street with
it. They cornered me, I turned around with all hopes that they would
have pity on me, or maybe that an angel would come down from the sky
and warn them not to touch a servant of God. But none of those things
happened. They threw it right in my lower back. I was not a very happy
camper for the rest of the day with a wet shirt and skirt. Haha. It
was all fun though.

To update you on the missionary work, Israel´s baptism is back on for
this weekend. We are pretty sure it is going to go through because he
trusts us now and hasn´t broken the Word of Wisdom. Yay! Also, Juana
Lucas Ramirez will be getting baptized. She is sixty six years old.
She has such a love for the Book of Mormon. We are excited to have two
people this weekend because our zone has suffered great losses. Many
baptismal dates have fallen because Satan has worked especially hard
to dissuade the investigators. That has taught me that I need to have
daily contact with my investigators so they are consistently feeling
the Spirit and are encourgaged to perservere until their baptism. Pray
that all goes well this weekend.

To answer your questions from last weeks emails, Hna. Reyes and I are
in the same sector, in the same apartment. What it means to not be
transferred is that we didn´t move at all.

Mom, I have not received the box yet. The one with the probiotics. Not
yet. I think it will come in the next week. No worries yet. But I
would check on the one with the sheets. That worries me.

Dad, I will take the money out that you told me to. I also need to
take out fifty dollars to have an emergency fund. They encourage us to
have one here. I will take the money out a little at a time. Ten
dollars here, ten dollars there, until I have built up my fund. That
way it isn´t a huge chunk out at one time. You have to work up these
things. It is like saving money in an account, right?

Nate, expect a letter in the mail in about ten days. I wrote you in
response to your email. I love you.

Well, I only have fifteen minutes to write today. They wanted us to
write only to advise you that we are all okay.

Love you all. Take care. Church is true.

Hermana Melanie Forbush

Opposition in All Things - 13 February, 2012

Hola! Two months in the mission!

Has today been a good day or what! As normal for a P-day, we have to
study as normal in the morning with personal study for an hour,
companionship study for an hour, language study for another hour, etc.
Then we clean the house and wash our clothes by hand (my companion and
I decided this was the best way to keep really good care of our
clothes instead of pay someone to do it for us), buy groceries, and
write our families. That pretty much takes up our entire day until six
o´clock when we resume proselyting. However, I am a firm believer that
this day is sagred when you should do something really FUN because we
work really hard the rest of the six days of the week. Missionaries
are the only ones in the world, I think, that do not get to enjoy a
Sabbath day. Haha. Anyway, today my companion, Hermana Reyes, and I
made pupusas. Basically, it is a tortilla stuffed dish typical of
Central America, and yes, Central America is different from South
America. However, the pupusas are filled only with cheese instead of
meat which I have eaten before. The ones with meat are famous in Utah
among the El Salvadoreans. It was fun to eat the pupusas with her. I
showed her how to whip up some really good mashed potatoes. Yes, my
specialties are limited, but I can at least contribute with mashed
potatoes. Anyway, that is how we enjoyed our free food.
We are both strong personalities, and often fight to reach good
communication, but we always agree on food. Yum...

As for the obra misional or missionary work, it is going forward. No
one can stop the hand of the Lord in his work. I entitled this email
opposition in all things because we have seen a lot of opposition this
week. Last week, I described how we had transfers and Hnas. Meono and
Needham left. From that day onward, we worked with our zone leaders to
teach their investigators in our sector. Add our investigators to the
mix and we had our work cut out for us. We found we were trying to
teach them all, and in the process, some got neglected. For example,
we had two baptisms scheduled last Saturday (baptisms in this mission
only take place on Saturday), and both of them fell through. One was
Israel Gomez. He is an investigator that we inherited from the other
sisters. We took him last Wednesday to his baptismal interview,
thinking he would be all ready to be baptized and would pass his
interview with flying colors, but come to find out he had drank
alcohol five days before. No worries, he is getting baptized this
upcoming Saturday.

Additionally, Christina Carrascal was scheduled to get baptized
Saturday, but when we verified that she was living the Word of Wisdom,
she told us we never taught her about that. Uh-oh. That was our fault.
She loves to drink her black tea with her Korean friends and coffee at
every meal. We are working with her on overcoming this. She lives in
the northern part of our sector which is a little far, so she ended up
being one of the investigators that we neglected. Thus, we have yet to
schedule another baptismal date with her. I hope this will not change
her mind to get baptized. We have taught her for two months. I have
come to love her a lot and want to see her get baptized before I get
transferred. I am grateful that the Lord put me in this sector one
more transfer to follow through with her baptism.

As for the package you sent me, it still has not arrived. I want to
make sure you are sending them to the right address. If you look in my
call letter, it is the address to the mission office which has the
street name ¨Casilla......Guayas.¨ That is where the packages should
be sent. Not the pouch mail. You cannot send packages through the
pouch mail. I hope this clarifies things.

Mom, I was thinking about what you could put in the package. Please
send me cereal such as the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Raisin Bran
Crunch. Yum. And Dad, if you would like to send Dear Elder packages
with chocolate goodies, or cookies, or whatever, I welcome any
goodies. Plus, please send more pedis. I really need them. You have no
idea! Anything else? I am doing pretty good with getting most things
here. It is part of trying to be more self-reliant. Hehe.

Well, I didn´t get a chance to print out your emails last week and
read them, so I will do that today and respond to them next week.
Remember if you want a question answered right away, send me an email
with just that question in one or two sentences in the email. I can
respond to those rather quickly.

I love you all. Know that this Gospel is true. I wouldn´t be here if
it weren´t for the Lord. I know it is his work that I do. Joseph Smith
restored this Gospel. The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the
Gospel and with the Bible, those two books are the Word of God. Jesus
Christ lives. That is all. Love one another and take good care of one
another. Treat each other only with love and by example.

God be with you until I write next week with some more tidbits of Ecuador.

Love with all my heart,

Hermana Melanie Forbush

06 de enero de 2012 - First day of second transfer

Mom! Dad! Kelly! John! Familia y friends!

How are you all doing this fine Monday afternoon? (Mom, I am worried
because I did not receive a letter from you last week, which is
understandable from the major that weekend, but I didn´t receive one
from you this weekend either. Is everything okay?) I hope everything
is well in St. Louis, Missouri and now Colorado Springs, CO (with
Nathan´s new home). Our family is finally spreading across the North
American continent! Yay. Expect that I will visit your home when I
return since you are only a few hours from Provo, Utah. Haha. Have you
fallen in love with the mountains like Dad and I have? The west is
really something special and I cannot wait to return to school there.

Today is transfers (is it hard to believe that I have already
completed my first transfer in the mission) but I stayed in the same
sector with Hna. Reyes from Honduras. I was grateful that I didn´t
have to pack my bags at 5:30 AM. Hna. Reyes had her heart set on
leaving this sector this transfer because she has been here for six
months (she started here for her first sector, went away for two other
transfers, and then returned here for the last three transfers. She
has ten months in the mission in total). However, she is here with me
for another transfer. We talked for a long time last night about some
familial troubles she has been having, and we grew a whole lot closer
as a companionship. She admitted she never told any other companion
these things so that made me feel really special, as if I shared
something with her that no other companion had. Now I feel we can
start this transfer with a clean slate and a stronger bond.

With transfers, however, Hna. Meono and Hna. Needham were transferred.
I do not know where, but they packed there bags. Now there is only two
of us once more in the apartment. I must admit that I learned a lot
from Hna. Needham. There is a mother named Teresa in our sector. Her
son, Jonathan, is a recent convert that we have been teaching.
However, when Hna. Needham arrived, she committed Teresa to marry her
husband Mario so they can follow the Law of Chastity. After they get
married, they can get baptized. However, because Hna. Needham and Hna.
Meono were transferred, we will once more teach them. To sum things
up, Hna. Needham made all the difference to commit Teresa to marriage
and baptism that we could not do. The Lord really does put his
servants in the places where he needs them the most. I am learning
that we each have spiritual gifts that we must use on the mission.
Hna. Needham made all the difference in this woman´s life. They come
to Church every Sunday where they didn´t before. Thus I can say she
was a real example in my life.

We had a baptism this last weekend. Remember Katarine, the daughter of
Teresa? Yup, she was finally baptized, but she did not count as one of
our baptisms, even though we taught her all the lessons. She counted
as a baptism of the ward since her mom is a member. We couldn´t do
much to organize the baptism to make it really special, but we found a
beautiful white gown for her to wear on her very special day. The
family doesn´t have much, so it was the least we could do. I will send
photos next week because I only have three minutes left.

One other thing, we found a less active member named Merardo Moreyra
in our sector. He gave us a reference to teach his two sisters. The
really cool thing about it is he owns a panaderia or bakery so we get
free food. I need to watch what I eat because I have gained a little
wait with all the rice and bread that is offered to us. It is so

Well, I must go. I love you all.

Hna. Forbush

30 de enero de 2012, Wow, time flies!

Wow, the time is really flying by on the mission, but I am learning to enjoy every moment of it.

This week we had a baptism! He is a chosen spirit and was ready to hear the Gospel. His name is Lorenzo Vince, 41 years old, and the nephew of a recent convert that my companion, Hna. Reyes baptized back in May or June 2011. I remember when we first started teaching him. We were in our weekly planning session and I suggested we look into teaching nonmembers of the part member families. Lorenzo Vince came to my mind. Now he is baptized. It was one of the most spiritual baptisms that I have attended, although I have only had two baptisms in the mission.

When we went to go pass by Lorenzo´s house to pick him up for the baptism on Saturday at 6:30 pm, we were walking on the main street called Quito and walking toward us was the entire family in their Sunday best. This was unheard of because normally we have to drag them to the baptism from their house. The grandparents of Petita even came to the baptism at 7 pm after they told us they were leaving Saturday morning to return home. Obviously they wanted to support Lorenzo. I am including a picture with this email of the baptism. Maybe I will start a tradition to send a baptismal picture after every baptism. We have had a lot of success in the Bolivar sector in my first transfer.

We have a few more baptismal dates lined up for February 11, Christina Carrascal, and February 28, Catarina Flores (we found contacting yesterday). Transfers are next week or the second week of February though. I hope I can stay to see them get baptized, but I will go where the mission president receives inspiration that I should go, and with which companion I should be with. It is his work that I do, not my own. I really love the people here and labor hard to help them enter in at the door of baptism so they can gain eternal life.

On Sunday, the bishop taught the lesson in a combined Relief Society and Elders Quorum lesson. He shared the promise that Gordon B. Hinckley gave in 2005 about the Book of Mormon. He is encouraging everyone to read the Book of Mormon in our ward. He shared Pres. Hinckley´s promise that if we read the Book of Mormon every day, we shall receive a greater portion of the Holy Spirit personally and as a family. He specifically shared 2 Nephi 32:3 which says the words of Christ will tell you all things that ye should do. Wow! I can find every answer to life´s problems in the scriptures. Maybe not the exact answer, but by reading the Book of Mormon and focusing on the impressions of the Spirit, I know your mind and mine can be enlightened to receive the answer we seek. Hence reading the scriptures is the portal to receiving personal revelation, as a General Authority stated in the last General Conference. That is my spiritual thought for the week. And I know that is true!

Alright, I am using a different cyber so the picture didn´t download and I am not going to waste too much time to figure it out. I promise to send it to you next week.

Lastly, I want to share two cultural things about Ecuador that I learned this week. First, I ate cerviche at a member´s house. It is a dish that has shrimp or can be eaten with any sort of meat. I challenge you to google it when you get the chance. Maybe you can make it in your spare time to have a Latino experience like I am having down here everyday. It is very good. Second, every month there is a holiday. In January, I explained how they celebrated the new year with the munecos. In February, they have Carnival. Think the movie Rio which takes place in Brazil. From what I have heard, it is like the Tomatina in Spain, but they hose you with lots of water. Maybe you can google it and tell me more. I will let you know what I hear from the natives. I am taking lots of pictures to show you all when I get home.

One last thing, Catarina Flores which we started teaching yesterday, Hma. Chamberlain taught her when she was in this sector. Please let her know I found her again and we hope to baptize her. Her mother´s name is Blanca. It has been a year that she hasn´t had the missionaries teach her but she loves having them over to hear the word.

Please take care of yourselves. Love you all. Nathan, good luck getting settled in Colorado. Stephanie, there is a letter coming in the mail this week for you. I learned mail only takes 10 day to get to the US from here, but a month from the US to here. Strange.

Love you all,

Melanie or Hermana Forbush

23 January 2012

Hi Dad, Kelly, Mom! Familia! Friends! Loved ones!

I miss you all. I pray every day for you. I can feel your prayers in
return. The work goes forward. I hope my email two weeks ago did not
frighten you pertaining to my health. I am doing much better. I have
finished my medications that the doctors have given me and I am on the
mend. Mom, please still send me those probiotics and antiacid pills. I
need them a lot to help me continue to regulate my food. Every meal we
eat has rice, menestra (fried beans) and a type of meat, so the food
is rather greasy. But it is very delicious. I tell myself the health
problems are only a side-effect to having a cultural experience.

My language is improving a lot to with the natives with the help of
Hermana Reyes. The fact that she only speaks Spanish forces me to use
all my knowledge to communicate with her. Sometimes because of the
language barriers, we don´t communicate the best, but when we fight,
everything gets cleared up. Companionships are teaching me a lot about
patience and charity towards others, and always having a companion is
good marriage preparation. Haha.

We have two new sisters who are living with us. Hna. Meono and Hna.
Needham. In fact, Hna. Meono entered the MTC with me on October 26.
They are both from Utah. I like having other English speakers in the
house, but I them remember that Hna. Reyes feels left out, so I only
speak in Spanish when she is around. I like to have a good laugh in
English every now and then, though.

Update on the missionary work: we have a baptism this week! His name
is Lorenzo Vince. He is the nephew of a recent convert. Plus, we hope
Katarine, the daughter of Teresa can get baptized as well. There are a
few complications, too much to explain here, but I will let you know
what happens next week. Also, Karen Preciado did not end up getting
baptized on January 7. We had to drop her, which means we had to stop
teaching her and visiting her. It is sad when we have to do this with
our investigators, but if they are not progressing or doing their part
to join the church, we cannot do much more for them. Sometimes it is
frustrating and sad that we do everything we can for them to find joy
in their life, and they are so stuck on the world that they don´t want
to change. But God has given us our agency to exercise. I just
remember how patient Heavenly Father is with me. We finally got a
baptismal date from Christina Carrascal, a 17-year-old whose Mom is a
less active for 15 years. She is an incredible youth. She is very
studious of the Book of Mormon and has a strong testimony. She will be
getting baptized on February 11. Yay! Plus, we started teaching the
Manilla family. They will not accept a baptismal date until they
¨receive their answer that the church is true. Thus I pray they do
their part to read the Book of Mormon and pray by tomorrow when we go
to visit them. Cross your fingers and pray hard. Fast if you can. That
is the most powerful tool that can bring about change for our

Still haven´t gone to the temple yet in Guayaquil, but I ask the
mission president every week. Patience.

We were in a training meeting this morning and talked about how all
the gringos or North Americans are having health problems because of
the food they eat. I was grateful I was not the only one. It put my
problems in perspective. Now I don´t complain at all because some have
it a lot worse. I am starting now to put my life in order and watch
what I eat. It all starts with me.

If you could, please gather some simple recipes to send to me next
week. I am learning how to cook from my companion, but my knowledge is
limited. I can´t just go to the internet now and look up how to boil
vegetables. Haha.

Dad, I am going to purchase some really nice scripture covers, real
leather with Christ´s pictures engraved on them, but they are going to
cost 70 dollars. Can you make sure the money is in my account?

That is all I have for now. I am working on writing you all this week
with personal letters.

I love you. God bless you. I hope you find strength and a testimony
building message in this email. Please find people to give references
to the missionaries. It makes a world of difference.

Love you all,

Hermana Melanie.Forbush

P.S. I print out your emails every week, but cannot reply to them
until the following week.

16 January 2012

Hi Familia! Love ones and friends!

Another week gone by. The 12 January marked my one month in the field.
Can you believe it!

Temperature and humidity are getting easier to adjust to here every
day. It has started raining torrentiously, especially right at eight
every evening. Weird. Still too hot to wear my coat, but I use my
umbrella a lot.

Teresa did get baptized last weekend on the seventh. Yay! However, she
is now having trouble coming to church because her boss makes her
prepare the food every morning. If she cannot come, her daughter
Katarine cannot get baptized next week. She is nine years old. And she
wants to get baptized soooo bad. Please fast and pray that Teresa can
have the faith to keep the sabbath day holy.

We are also teaching Lorenzo Vince and Andy Litardo who have baptismal
dates for January 28. We continue to work with Cristina Carrascal, a
bright 17 year old girl. I hope she can get baptized before I leave
this transfer which is in about three weeks.

I received a letter from Lubka, as you might have guessed. Please let
her know that I say thank you and will write her back. I love and miss
her. She is one of my dearest friends. Dad, keep me posted and keep in
touch with her.

I wish luck to Nathan this week as he moves to Colorado, if he is
moving this week. I wasn´t quite sure. I have to read the long email
he sent me. Thank you, Nathan. And thank you, Stephanie, for the
email. Megan, where are you?

Yay, Dad, you get to work from home for Time Warner Cable. That is
great. Your dream job to work in your pajamas. Haha. Love you. Thank
you for all your hard work to support me. You are part of the reason I
am here and keep perservering every day.

I have not received the sheets yet. I received a package I sent to
myself from the MTC last week. We receive mail tomorrow from the zone
leaders in our district meeting. I hope the package comes tomorrow.

Mom, Steph, I join you in reading the BOM before Easter. I am in
Mosiah 13. Where are you at? Of course, I am trying to read it in
Spanish. I have a hard time understanding every thing though.

Mom, please keep the DVD movie you made for Gram and Grandpa´s
anniversary. I don´t have time to watch it here, even though I have a
DVD player, but I will love to see it when I get home. Keep a list of
things I need to do when I get home. Such as new released movies. That
will be a huge thing when I come home. And TEAM and LIFE books.

I bear you my witness that this Church is true and that Joseph Smith
restored the fullness of it in this dispensation. Jesus Christ is at
the head of this Church. It is through him, the modern prophet, and
apostles that it is lead.

I love you, all. Thank you for your continued support. Have a great week.

Love with all my heart,

Melanie Forbush

Sunday, February 12, 2012

January 9th, 2012


Thank you soo much for all your emails this week. I have printed them
all out and will read them as soon as I get home. Last week we had bad
luck because while we found a cyber to send emails to the family, no
one knew how to print out emails. Thus I had to print them all out
this week. I will respond next week. Word of advice, if you have a
specific question that you would like me to reply to the day I check
email, send me one email for that specific question and keep the email
short. I will respond when I check my email. But that way I know the
question and can respond rapidly.

This last week has been a trial of my health. I scraped my left knee
very badly while I twisted my ankle on Tuesday. Then, on Friday, I
went to the doctor in northern Guayaquil. He diagnosed me with an
inflammed colon and inflammed esophogus right above the heart. I am
now taking medicines and am restricted in my diet. I spent the whole
weekend in casa resting. I couldn´t walk very much.

We enjoyed a baptism and confirmation this weekend of Ana Teresa
Guaman. It was very exciting because we were actually focusing on
teaching her daughter Katarine who is nine years old. However, on
Monday evening, we visited Teresa and she accepted the invitation to
be baptized. I have attached a picture of her baptism. The man who
baptized her is our mission leader, Hno. Vera. Her two sons are Joshua
and Jordi. Plus, the first picture is one of my companion, Hma. Reyes
and I in Malecon, a huge resort next to the river Guayas. I hope that
the right picture attached. Anyway, the baptism was great. We had a
hard time getting her to church on Sunday to be confirmed because she
was working, but she showed up at the end of testimony meeting. She
was confirmed right before the closing prayer. And she brought her
neighbor that we can teach! The Lord and his tender mercies.

Please pray that we find new investigators to teach. That is the
aspect of our teaching that we lack the most.

To finish, please include in the package hydrocortisone cream. I am
getting mosquito bites up the wazoo on my legs. Plus, the probiotics.
If you see any new skirts, my size is 10. Send them my way. Lastly,
naproxen sodium headache medicine. They do not have that here. That is
all that I need.

I love you all! Sorry the letter is short this week, but I wanted to
send you some pictures. You can see what I have been up to. A baptism
always lifts my spirits and helps me perservere until the end. I have
definitely learned to think positively. That is what keeps me going
strong. Plus, I often ask the Lord to remind me of happy memories.
When I think of good times that I have had, I always feel encouraged
to keep going. I record these in my journal and they remind me of what
is most important.

Thanks again for all your emails. Keep them coming. I always receive
strength from them, although I feel bad I do not have time to respond
to you personally. But I promise to write you letters by hand and send
them to you. Isn´t that better?

Love you, everyone, so much. Please take good care of yourselves.
Share the restored gospel with someone this week. Find people for the
missionaries to teach. The Gospel is true. Read the scriptures.


Hma. Forbush

Mom, Dad, special shout out to you for all your support. I love you
more than words can tell.

P.S. I received a letter from Lubka via Dear Elder on Tuesday as well
as from Sister Bentley who is serving in St. Charles. Thank you thank
you thank you! I still haven´t received any letters from you Mom or
Dad via Dear Elder. It is the strangest thing.

P.P.S. Faith is the power. Obedience is the price. Love is the motive.
The Spirit is the key. Christ is the reason! This is a saying that
Sister Bentley taught me that I wanted to share with everyone. Thank
you, Sister Bentley!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2 de enero 2012 - Happy New Year!

Hola Familia!
It is very weird, as we were walking to find a ´´cyber´´ here, that is what they call the stores where there are computers, all were closed because no one works the day after New Years. (In Spain, they call them locutorios I remember). We only found one because a nice man who owns one was sitting outside his cyber and permitted us to use a computer. The Lord does love his missionaries!
Two people that we have been teaching are important to note for this weeks highlight on our investigators. Teresa Guaman is a single mother with three children-Katarina (9), Jordi (2), and Joshua (1). She has had a problem with the law of chastity for the longest time because she has lived with her boyfriend, a returned missionary of the Church who was excommunicated. He has since left her and she can get baptized this week on January 7. Please pray that she can be cleared to be baptized this week! Also, while visiting a less active family on Tuesday, who were not home, we contacted a girl named Emily Brand or Brown. She is 18 years old, married, and pregnant. She lives in the humblest of circumstances, and is going to be baptized on January 21. Hopefully, as we continue to teach her, that she will be receptive to the Gospel message. It is weird that you only teach two people in the MTC to train yourself how to teach, but you have 20 or more people in the field. I have a very difficult time remembering everyone´s name, definitely not a spiritual gift I was given, but my companion helps me.
For New Year´s, we were confined once more to our rooms all day from 2 pm and onward, but we had a good view from our balcony. On December 31, after all the munecos were bought and cleared from the street, at midnight, they piled them all together and poured gasoline on the pile. Then, they lit the munecos with a match and watched as they popped and burned. It seriously looked like the city was aflame. The week leading up to December 31, there was a huge carnival in the streets. Vendors sold food, fireworks, and munecos. The munecos look like cartoon characters popular to the US such as the Smurfs, Green Lantern, and Captain America. It was neat to be here for the new year celebrations. I don´t think I will get another chance to be here for them.
My roommate and I made pizza on Saturday for New Years. It tasted delicious, just like home almost. Everyday, we eat meat, mostly chicken, rice (lots of it), and a bean dish called menestra. It is very delicious. I am still waiting to eat something different or varied though. It is the same thing everyday. That is where my companion and I cook something different on the days when we are not fed by our mamitas.
In closing, I challenge you to read Mosiah 2, especially Mosiah 2: 20-21. I love this chapter because it is like a general conference where all the families gather together to listen to the words of the prophets. My goal is to read the entire Book of Mormon before the end of January. I have never read the Spanish BoM all the way through. It has strengthened my faith and testimony of the Gospel.
Finally, please pray that we can get more people to attend Sacrament this Sunday. We are trying to get more and more people to come.
I love you,

Feliz Belated Navidad - 26 diciembre 2011

For us it is a pleasure and a privilege to have your daughter serving in this mission. We have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas lunch. Attached you will find a picture of your daughter, the zone and our family. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

With Best Regards,

President and Sister Montalti

and our children


How are you all doing the day after Christmas? Did you fill your
bellie with lots of pavo or turkey and sleep it off by sleeping in
today? I wish I had that same luxury as you, but every day we have a
structured schedule of waking up at 6:30 am and going to bed at 10:30

The last two days, Christmas Eve and Day, we were limited in the time
that we could go out and share the message of the Gospel with the
people because we had to return to our apartment by 2:00 pm. The
mission president found it would be too dangerous for missionaries to
be in the streets while the people partied on the streets either drunk
or shooting off fireworks or buying munecos. It was chaos. As we
looked out our windows both nights, the constant dissonance of
honking, booms of fireworks, and yelling reached our ears. I do not
even want to know all that the city does to party, but it must have
been NUTS!

In our apartment, we had every intention of sleeping the WHOLE day to
celebrate the birth of our Saviour, hahaha, because we are just
exhausted all the time from the work we do here, but our zone leaders
called us and gave us specific assignments in Preach My Gospel,
scriptures, and a program that I do as a new missionary called the
First 12 Weeks. (This is a program initiated by the First Presidency
for incoming missionaries that was started in August 2011). All our
hopes for sleeping flushed counterclockwise down the toilet. Did I
tell you that the water flushes the opposite direction here? So that
is what we did for the holiday weekend, but the members did send us
home with lots of good tortas (cakes) and turkey. Yummm...turkey. But
the highlight was talking to you all. As I hung up, I cried with such
happiness. I miss you all very much. I do know that if I was allowed
to talk to you more though, I would be more focused on wanting to talk
to you on the phone than the missionary work, so I know that rule is
inspired by the prophet for all missionaries.

Something I read from another sister missionary in an email this week
was if we ask for specific questions in our prayers, the Lord will
answer them in specific ways, or in other words, we will receive
specific answers to those questions. That has blessed me so much this
week. I thought I would share that with you and challenge you to do
the same when you pray at night. You will be blessed more than you can

As for the work at hand, we are teaching an 11 year old named Karen
Preciado. She is so excited to get baptized on the 7 of January. The
one thing she lacks though is support from her family, especially from
her parents. They gave her permission to be baptized, but she will not
continue to go to church if her family does not take interest as well.
Please pray her mother´s heart will soften to listen to our message.

We have encountered that same fellowship problem in the ward that I am
serving. We have no problem finding people and baptizing them. The
problem is retaining them as an active member of the Church after they
have been baptized. They might have a testimony of the restored
Gospel, but if the members do not fellowship them and just stay in
their little clicks, they will not stay active. They will just stay in
their old habits. Please pray that Hna. Reyes and I can find a way to
bring this ward closer together and fellow our investigators. We are
not having the greatest of luck.

Thank you for all your uplifting words and advice in the phone call
yesterday. They went down in my journal so I can refer back to them in
times of need. I have seen an especial change in Nathan in regards to
his growing testimony. Keep it up, Nate! I love you all, my brothers
and sisters! Give my nephews a hug and kiss!

Love to all! Feliz Navidad y prospero ano nuevo,

Melanie or Hma. Forbush

12-19-2011 I Have Made It To Ecuador!!

Hi Padres!

I am not used to these types of keyboards, so I will do my best to
type without any wild mistakes.

I have made it here to Ecuador. I spent the Wednesday evening with
some sisters in downtown Guayaquil in a ward-sector called Bolivar in
the stake called Garcia Moreno. You can use to find that ward
and stake and that will show you exactly where I am at. I was told by
the mission president that the next day I would find out who my
companion was. He said because I was still recovering, yet knew the
language well, he would assign me a native companion who was short.
Funny, huh? I stayed the evening with Hna. Cochran from Alaska who has
been in the mission nine or ten months and Hna. Reyes who is a native
of Central America from Honduras and is short. I guess you can guess
where I am going with this. The next day, the APs called us and
assigned Hna. Reyes to me and Hna. Cochran was reassigned to Milagro.
She packed everything up and was gone by three o´clock. I cannot
believe that happened, because they weren´t even together for a full
transfer. Nevertheless, they did as the mission president had
instructed. Now I am with Hna. Reyes. She is an amazing trainer.

Ecuador is a poor place to live and preach the gospel. Imagine Mexico
and Ecuador is still poorer, especially being stationed in downtown
Guayaquil. It isn´t the safest place, but the people are fantastic.
Whoevers house we knock on, they let us in because they know we are
messengers of God and they want us to bless their house. Also, they
really hate to disappoint us, so even if they do not want to listen to
our message, they listen politely and say I´m sorry. But they are very
friendly people.

The work is very hard because we walk for eight to ten hours everyday.
I hated the work for the first few days. I hated the heat, the
exhaustion, the missionary work I was doing, and I did not want to
teach the people. However, each day I am working on something new. For
example, I prayed yesterday for more charity and love for the people I
taught. Although every appointment fell through, or no one was at
their door if we had an appointment with them, I was patient. I was
very unhappy, but I was patient. We decided to start contacting to
find new investigators. The area we were at was all heavily-devoted
Catholics, but we stopped and prayed for one person to teach. We came
across one student, his name was Josue who was in his early twenties
and studying to be an engineer at a local university. He and his
seven-year old sister Isabel came out to receive us at the door. He
had admitted that he had heard about our religion and wanted to know
more. I was shocked. Someone actually wanted to hear from us! He took
a Book of Mormon and accepted the challenge to read. I knew he would
receive our challenge because he was very earnest to read it. I hope
we teach him further this week, but the next we have with him is
Saturday at seven, but with Christmas eve and Christmas, we are
restricted to our apartments. We will have to reschedule with him.

I am not used to having twenty even thirty investigators. It is more
difficult to remember all their names, let alone pray for each
individually, but I am trying.

Our house is full of cockroaches and ants. There is only cold shower
water. I burned myself with a match today while trying to light our
stovetop just to boil water. We don´t have a washer like in the MTC,
so I wash all my clothes by hand. We drink water from a huge jug of
water bought in the streets. Luckily, they have plugs that accept the
American plug. Yay! That is my apartment life.

Lastly, we will be able to call our families on Christmas, but since
it is a Sunday this year and we have church from nine to one, I am
going to arrange to call you on Saturday. I am limited in my time, so
please all be together when I call. I am going to be calling you by
Skype at 12:00 Ecuador time. I will let you figure out when that is
your time, but that should be about 11;00. Everyone please be gathered
in her house to speak at that time. I will only be allowed to call one connection
of Skype during my time for about 40 minutes.

Take care. I am sorry I couldn´t write more. I will try to include
some more detail in my next email. Love you all so much!


Melanie, Hna. Forbush