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