SEMANA UNO EN ECUADOR!!!
Hola Familia y Amigos de mi distrito maravilloso en Ecuador! Específicamente, la ciudad de Babahoyo!
Today was my first P-Day in the wondrous, extremely humble city of Babahoyo! Even though the Spanish here is WAY different than in the Mexico CCM, I still enjoy each and every minute that I get teaching, and preaching, and learning here. Now, onto answering some questions.
My trainer, Elder Aguilar (shown in some pictures he took of us), is from Honduras, and he's AWESOME!!! I feel extremely lucky to have him, and not just because he already knows how to speak English (in addition to his native language of Español). He's taught me SO much already, and I'm so grateful for the amount that he gives me each and every day that he is my companion and trainer.
The food here is really interesting, but really delicious. Almost every dish (if it isn't a delicious soup, I've noticed), is served with LOTS of rice. The first time my trainer took me to eat at a member's house, I could hardly put a dent in the plate, because of how much amazing food they gave us, along with a TON of rice. For those that plan on visiting Ecuador, just know that almost EVERYTHING that you will get the chance to eat here comes with a hefty, yet delicious serving of white rice.
Any mail that gets sent to me will take AT LEAST 2 weeks to get here, I learned. I guess that's why they call it "Snail Mail" in the Mission, haha! Any mail that gets sent to the Mexico CCM with my name on it will have to be delivered here to my Mission President by missionaries preparing to serve here. The time for packages will vary, because they will have to be re-directed from Mexico to Ecuador. Also, concerning packages, if they weigh too much, then they will have to go through Customs before I can retrieve any of them.
On my first week here, my trainer, Elder Aguilar, took me grocery shopping. There, I bought Frosted Flakes (for Breakfast), Orange Juice (Gotta have that Vitamin C), White Rice (a must-have in Ecuador), Tuna, and supplies for sandwiches - specifically, I bought bread, lunch meat, queso (Mozzarella), Mustard, and Mayonnaise. All in all, I spent a beautiful $20 on groceries for my first week.
There are quite a lot of mosquitoes and other little buggers around here, but thanks to my careful habit of applying Bug Repellent every day, I haven't been bitten yet! Good thing too, because the Enfermeras (the Hermanas in charge of the Medical Clinic for our Mission) let all of us Gringos know that the Mosquitoes here do carry the disease Dengue, which is beyond awful, and will leave you bed-ridden for a whole WEEK with some of the most pain that you will ever have the misfortune of.
If you plan on doing a lot of walking in the streets here in Ecuador, be sure to pack some REALLY comfortable, durable shoes, I learned. The streets here are nowhere near as smoothly paved and clean as the ones in the United States. Here in Babahoyo, especially, because this is one of the more poor cities in my mission, there's TONS of stores, vendors, and trash.
The weather here is pretty consistent, humidity and all. I'm not gonna lie when I say that I sweat a TON through my shirts and clothes each day that I'm out proselyting. Despite my efforts to apply lots of deodorant, as well as other precautions that I've tried taking, but there's just no way to dodge the heat here, unless you're practically used to living in this humidity and heat without sweating as much as I do, haha!
For my first week here, I've literally had ZERO time to personally study my Spanish/Castellaño, because we've had LOTS of appointments with members and investigators. I've had a couple of chances to try out my Spanish through teaching and some practice with my trainer, but my Spanish here is NOWHERE NEAR as good as it was in the Mexico City CCM. I need a lot more practice, a lot more time, and to take the time to understand that, even though I am here to proselyte, I am also here to learn. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: "The first convert that you will ever have as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is yourself."
I love each and every one that has shown their love and support for my serving a mission, friends and family alike. I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to serve here, and I pray each and every day for how grateful I am to be on this mission, and devote this time to my Lord and Savior.