Wow opening a sector here in Otavalo = really great stories!
We were in the middle of a prayer the other day when I heard something behind me I peeked to see what it was and I thought it was a cat that ran by so I asked after the family we were teaching after the prayer, "Do you guys own a cat?"
So we continued with the lesson and then the lady yells “look!” I turn and there is a mouse running by us and the woman just has a huge smile on her face :) my companion and I just looked at each other and slowly moved our feet away like oh how lovely :)
We can only contact indigenous people here so every time we knock on a door or contact someone on the street it's like, "hi are you Indigenous? No? Oh.." We share our sector with other missionaries who teach all the Latins and we teach all the indigenous because in our ward they speak Quichua well more like Spanchua (Spanish/quichua) it's all very confusing. It's kind of like playing where's Waldo but where's the Indigenous? Basically we've been told, "only contact the men with pony tails."
My first thought here was wow I have never seen so many men with such beautiful hair seriously they could have their own PATENE commercial or something.
You know I came on the mission without really any fear of dogs but I shall come home with a fear of anything that has more than 2 legs. My comp and I also have a brilliant idea of how we are going to make lots of money after the mission. So here at night they sell "salchipapas" which is just a small plastic bag of french pies and hot dogs drenched in mayonnaise and ketchup and it's like heaven basically..
We were contacting some guy who was selling oranges but he started doing like charades and we thought oh maybe he speaks quichwa "ñuka shuti mikan ñañagu Israelsen," (we learned how to introduce ourselves). But then he started acting out something? And saying Water! Water! and I was like "flood?" Then he stared acting out an earthquake and so we were like "oh okay uh thank you enjoy your oranges and come to church this Sunday."
This little old lady lives below us and everyone calls her "La Abuelita!" which means "the grandma." Anyway the first day she comes and knocks on our door and she has like no teeth so we were trying to understand but then she grabs my face and starts kissing my cheek I was just like "uh comp uh help what is she doing?" Now I have learned that’s just how she greets everyone so every day we get a nice sloppy kiss from the grandma haha she really is adorable though.
So we have had one week here in our new sector. We learned that these people really are descendants from the Lamanites because wow I have never been rejected so much in my life. I give it to the older people here they are RIPPED seriously they are so strong and a lot of them don't use shoes.
Quichua sounds like shatipukulo Jesucristo tapapashudola bautismo patukiki. Really it sounds a little like gibberish but I am way good at speaking gibberish so sometimes I just make noises and hope I accidently said a word.
Every time I show someone a photo of my family before the mission they always say, "Which one is you? The one on the left. No! But you were so fat? What happened to your fat?" And they start laughing and talking in quichua haha oh man it really is another world over here but I have never been so happy. Today I started getting emotional about how much I love my mission. I never knew I could fall in love with a place that has brought SO many trials. But I guess that's kind of how life is it's the things you work for, the people you fight for, the moments you feel like you can't go on anymore are the moments that bring you the most gratitude and with gratitude comes joy.
We have gotten down on our knees in the middle of the street praying for angels to guide us to know what to do. A little down syndrome boy passed me the sacrament dressed all in white in his traditional clothing and I truly felt like I was being passed the sacrament by an angel. There is a special spirit here and I have a testimony that angels still minister among us but it's up to us to recognize it. I have fallen in love with my mission kind of a weird phrase to say but it's true. I love Ecuador. I love Imbabura. But most of all I love the name on my name tag the one below mine which is my Savior Jesus Christ. So take the time to get on your knees this week even if it's in the middle of the street just make sure there are no cars or demon lion dogs and I promise you peace will come.
You are never alone.
Cayacama, ñañagu Israelsen