Monday, October 17, 2016

Anything Is Possible With Christ - October 17, 2016

So after two weeks of searching under irons, in the window, vent, suitcases etc. we found the alarm that keeps going off every morning at 5am under the bed. You would think we would have looked there first? 

You know you live in South America when you start dreaming about rice.

The garbage truck in Quito drives around and sounds off a really annoying horn. In Otavalo it's a flute melody and when everyone hears it they know the garbage truck is coming. Here in the coast it's a song that says in Spanish "take out your trash take your trash right now take it out!"

This last week was a lot of those that was a lot funnier in my head moments.
                      Hey mom my package finally arrived..just what I needed more lizards!!!

You are really losing it when your Latin comp starts correcting you on your English.

Yesterday we were in a lesson and I had to use the bathroom so I asked if they had a bathroom. The woman looks at me and says "no." I was like "oh um well what do you do when you need to use the bathroom?" She literally reaches under the bed and pulls out a bowl like a plastic bowl and goes and sets it behind this table all of the sudden a guy yells "alright everybody out." And everyone starts to walk out the front door leaving me and my comp alone with this woman. The woman hands me toilet paper and then just stands in the doorway. I am looking at my comp like what is going on? Does she want me to use the bowl? Honestly, my face is like in horror and I am so confused because she is still standing there and expects me to just go behind this table where there is a bowl sitting there. My comp couldn't stop laughing! Honestly living in Ecuador is a lot of bathroom adventures I will tell you that. I’m never bored here that is for sure.

Last P-DAY we went and sat on this wall overlooking the ocean. The sun was just starting to set and as I overlooked the blue waters I thought about the story when Jesus walked on water. Sometimes it's easy to feel lost in today's world. Sometimes we feel like maybe we just don’t fit in or maybe we aren't what we thought we should be at this time and point in life and sometimes you just wonder what tomorrow holds. 

As I sat there all I could think about was possibility. That truly anything is possible with Christ. We talk about it and we talk about it and I write about it but do I get it? Do we get it? Do we really understand that with Him nothing is impossible? We spend so much time worrying!! Seriously how many hours a day do we spend stressed out about time or money or what people think or what will happen if? That "what if" I mean we all say it. We all think it. But as I sat there I just thought about it.  How important it is that people know that He lives. Like it's the only thing in the entire world that I want to do is just tell people He lives. Just 2 words that have an eternal meaning.

He understands what all of us go through but none of us understand what He went through. In this gospel we get credit for even trying. Isn’t that awesome? Like just try and if you totally face plant well GET up and TRY again! It's not over yet. The race. The fight. The journey. It's not over you haven't lost yet just get back up. Tie your shoes and get going. You might start out real slow but that's okay. He is there. And He is mighty to save.

I guess this is what I have been thinking about all day. That I am not perfect. I have a lot of weaknesses and things that I am still trying to get better at but the point is I am trying. And with Him I have a future full of possibility. People to love and help. People to tell that He lives. As I looked over the ocean all I have taught this last year or so became a reality that in this life we are never alone.

You are never alone.

Con amor Hermana Israelsen
Hna Israelsen taking a picture of her name tag.  Her name tag she LOVES that bares the name of Jesus Christ

Monday, October 10, 2016

“THE BEACH ISN’T OVER THERE!” October 10, 2016

I've come up with a new theme song for my mission it's the song by One Republic called “Paradise” except I have changed the words to "Para Para Parasites oooh oh ooh."
I left the home of the Lamanites (Otavalo) that I loved to come here to Africa.

Me: *Falls asleep on the bus and wakes up in Africa*
Seriously I woke up and thought what???? When were we on a boat and why are we in Africa? I don't feel like I am in Ecuador anymore it's like Ghana and Fiji had a child and their child lives here where I am, except everyone still speaks Spanish.
                                                         Gabi in Ghana, Africa in 2014
When we got to our house last Monday we discovered that we live by this bridge and if you cross this bridge it's a really dangerous area so everyone yells at you "The beach isn't over there!" Apparently some people tell tourists that if you just cross that bridge you will find a beach but actually what you will find is guys with machetes so don’t worry mom I am safe because now I know that the beach isn't over there :)
My sector is one of the only sectors in our mission with the beach. We can't touch the sand but I can LOOK at it! And it looks really pretty. I am also in earthquake central.  Let's just hope there is no tsunamis because my feet are swollen from traveling and I can’t run very fast.  Who are we kidding they are swollen probably from all the food they feed us here.
Nothing is more comforting than seeing 4 year olds walking around with machetes.
I was on a bus for almost 24 hours this week because we went to Quito again for a reunion. On one of the bus rides someone was in the bathroom and this little kid had to go so bad the dad just grabbed this plastic bag attached to this elder’s chair and just let him do his business right there. So that was a fun 7-hour trip!!!
Honestly this place is an adventure! It's hot, did I mention that? Well I should because it's really hot it's like you are constantly showering :)
During a lesson the other day this guy walks over and started acting out the story of Moses parting the red sea.
There are not many members here.  Our church is a little apartment building for only one branch. Yesterday it was the primary program and there´s only like 6 kids and 3 of them are from one family.
At 5 am every morning an alarm goes off in our room but we have no idea where this alarm comes from? We have looked everywhere and it's not the phone or our clocks it's like this hidden alarm that Satan put in our room that wakes us up every morning at 5 am.
Honestly, I wish you guys could see this place it's my dream come true. I really do love it! We keep all of our dishes in the fridge and food because if not rats come.  My comp and I were screaming last night while trying to kill a big cockroach.  Yesterday I was doing a little jig in the street because there was a bug or something in my underwear and well that was awkward to remove in public.
It is humbling to meet people whose lives were destroyed in a matter of minutes last April because of the big earthquake. Some people live outside finding shade under trees and sleeping in hammocks. I can't put into words how much I love this place. Sorry family but I have extended my mission to forever because the joy that comes from teaching the restoration of the Lord’s gospel to these nice, humble, beautiful, welcoming, loving people who don't slam the door in your face it's like is this real? Are you all real? Your dogs don't want to eat us?
I LOVE to testify every day that Jesus Christ will come again that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. It's a beautiful life to be a missionary, but more than that it's a beautiful message of HOPE to a world that sometimes feel hopeless.
I testify Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I testify the Book of Mormon has answers that even google can't find. I testify that there is only one true church upon the earth and that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.
I believe it's after the trial of your faith, after long bus rides, after long nights and tired mornings, after endless worrying and paralyzing fear that miracles do happen! So don’t stop believing just yet. The only disability in life is a bad attitude. He lives. I testify that He lives.

Con amor, Hermana Israelsen

"Sometimes it’s not a bad day, sometimes our heart is in a bad way."