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 LDS.org 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
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