I feel like Crocodile Dundee except without crocodiles and I don’t even know what Dundee really means but wow every day really is an adventure! Turns out our sector is a lot bigger than we thought it was. There is a very pretty mountain that we've been looking at and admiring this entire time but only recently did we discover it was a part of our sector :)
We went to explore this lovely mountain that took us on random trails where we saw lots of pigs, goats, lamas, talking to old ladies who don't wear shoes and don’t speak or understand the tiniest of Spanish, there were more lion demon dogs ready to attack us so that was good.
We went to contact these people playing volley ball and there is just this lama like chilling with them walking around the court as if it were playing too? Truly I feel like I am on a TV show. Or at least it should be one.
I am pretty sure there is like a secret club here where every woman named Maria and every man named Jose meet up a few times a year to get married and then name all their kids Maria and Jose as well.
Me: *talking to two older women* Oh are you braiding her hair?
One of the ladies: No I am taking all the bugs out :)
Me:Oh, ok umm good keep doing that I guess?
Only in Ecuador do they feed you potato soup, followed by a pile of rice with spaghetti on top. Mom don’t worry about me not having enough food just pray I will walk down the escalator when I get home and not roll down it.
We walked into a house yesterday with cement walls and floors a very humble home but when we turn the corner there's a sports car just like parked there? We were like "wait? How does this? Where did you get? Huh?" I would tell you what kind of car it was but I really don't know anything about cars. All I know is that it was really white and shiny with cool mirrors and stuff.
Quote of the week, "Sore but happy!" Really I have never walked so much in my life. I have never been so sore and so exhausted! This week I got rejected more times in one week than I have my entire mission. We waited for the bus for an hour and a half the other day to go visit this family who lives in the boonies we kept telling ourselves it's worth the wait they are important to God so they are important to us. After waiting for forever and asking every bus that came by if they were heading to this area the right bus finally came! We were waving our hands and doing a weird dance because we were so excited then it just passes us... doesn't even stop apparently it was too full. My comp and I were so shocked like jaw dropping moment. "Did that? Really? It just passed and what?" We start walking towards our church and we tried calling the family to tell them we weren’t going to be able to make it, when our saldo (or idk how to say in English the money you use to pay to make phone calls) was gone. We were so defeated after a really long week we just fell to the ground and started laughing. Like hysterically laughing.
Then last night after crossing a piece of log over a river at night to try and visit someone... anyone we got nothing. We were in the middle of this dirt road with lion demon dogs all around us. We got down on our knees to pray. But in this prayer we didn't ask for anything we just said thank you. Thank you for the scary dogs, the piles of rice, the rejection, learning another language, walking, climbing, running, laughing, falling, crying, the disappointments, the heart ache, the mission, and for our Savior. We just thanked our Father in Heaven and decided we were going to fast, but it was a fast of gratitude. A fast where you go without food and water for 24 hours to just say "THANK YOU."
I don't write this to say HEY LOOK AT ME IM A GOOD HUMAN BEING. No I write this because as I was kneeling last night on this dirt road dimly lit by a few lamp posts, surrounded by dogs that scare me more than I like to admit, because I felt this need to praise God. I know with all my heart that I want to come home a different person. I want to change, I want to grow, I want to be someone who testifies of Christ at all times and in all places. But I won't become that person by baptizing all the Lamanites, speaking 3 languages fluently, eating pizza with apple juice every day. That growth comes from sweating, and walking, believing and testifying that HE lives. Because He does live. And I know with all my heart that He loves you. He loves you.
"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" This life isn't a race. It's not a competition everyone who WANTS to get to heaven can. No one is stopping you but you. We don't say our prayers at night to say amen. We don’t buy a fresh out of the oven box of pizza just so we can stare at an empty box with bread crumbs. We don't save up to go on trips just so we can come home and unpack our suit case. We listen to music to enjoy the melody. We go on a walk to see the green leaves, the flowers blooming, and if you’re like my dad to count all the deer you see. But we do things to have JOY. So why do we focus so much on the finish line of life? Why do we get so caught up on wanting right now to be tomorrow and tomorrow to be 3 years from now when we will have all the money in the world to buy that shiny white cool mirrored sports car?
We can't fail to enjoy the journey. It's about getting up every time you fall. It's about saying thank you more than saying please and laughing at the "no way that just happened" moments. It's a journey. But more than that it's a journey with Christ walking beside you.
You are never alone.
Con amor, Hermana Israelsen