Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 14 - Green Christmas (Get it? Because it's green here, not white... Nevermind

Merry 88-degrees-fahrenheit Christmas!!! Before I begin with the blog entry, I just wanted to say that I am BEYOND excited to be able to Skype home this week!!! Honestly, these past 7 weeks have felt more like 77... It's been slow as molasses, and as discouraging as dropping an ice cream cone. Despite both me and my new trainer's efforts to hasten the work in our new area, it's been excruciatingly tough this past week. So in other words, we could really use a break as grand and fantastic as a Skype call home to our families.

So just a brief recap of this past week, last Monday was my extremely sudden Transfer Day, so I'm not proselyting in Babahoyo with Elder Aguilar as my trainer anymore. I'm now proselyting in Guayaquil with my new trainer, Elder Pagoada (from Honduras, and has 14 months in his mission, just like my other trainer). Like I mentioned last week, he is also the Zone Leader, and shares that title with his "other companion", Elder Tingey (from Las Vegas, who has 11 months in his mission). According to Elder Tingey's new companion, Elder Martinez (who is from Puerto Rico and has 17 months in his mission, but is just a regular missionary like me),  it's this unique idea by Mission President Riggins to pair up a trainee (like me) or any other normal missionary with a Zone Leader, and have that Zone Leader still have a Co-Zone Leader, in addition to his companion or trainee. It's confusing, I know, and it barely makes sense to me too, even though I'm the one participating in it... My point is I'm in Guayaquil now, not Babahoyo, and have a new trainer, who is also our Zone Leader, even though I'm not a Zone Leader, and just a trainee (for now, haha).
Like I said, this week has been UNBELIEVABLY slow, in terms of the time going by, and in terms of our efforts to hasten the work. Yesterday was especially slow, because they had this gigantic futbol (soccer) game between the two biggest teams in Ecuador, Barcelona and Emelec. This made it nearly impossible for us to contact, or even visit any of our appointments. Then again, yesterday was a day that, in Ecuador, is almost more anticipated than Christmas. So basically, yesterday was like trying to go proselyting during the Super Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and the World Series combined into one, in terms of the United States. I just hope we can have a little more of a chance to teach in the future, especially because last week was both my trainer's and my first week in this sector (I came from Babahoyo, and my trainer came from another city in Ecuador, called Ventanas).

The people here aren't as nice and humble as the ones in Babahoyo, but at the same time, it's so much greener and the food is so much nicer (looking), especially because there are TONS of Cangrejals (Seafood Restaurants that specialize in cooking Cangrejos, or Crabs) here. However, I can't go to any of them, because Elder Pagoada is allergic to Shellfish, so that's a bummer for the both of us, especially here, haha. Even so, it's REALLY pretty here, and there are plenty of bright, new opportunities to find new people to teach, and have some awesome new adventures.

Because it's technically Christmas, I want to take this time to give some super specific shout-outs. Thanks SO much for the love and support from my family, especially my parents, that I'm privileged to have for my serving on a mission, and I can't wait to see and talk to them when I Skype Call home. I want to give a shout-out to Elder Steve Siddoway, my Young Men's Leader, and the boss of the boss of my old boss of my old job (try saying that 5 times fast), as well as his family, for the fantastic Christmas card that they sent me. I want to give a shout-out, yet again, to my old home teaching families, especially those cute kids of theirs that I was glad to be able to teach before I go. It's going to blow my mind the next time I see those kids, and how much they've grown (physically and spiritually).Thank you so much, again, for everyone, for the love and support that I am able to feel, even if I am here on my mission in Ecuador. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and can't wait to write again and hear about all the awesome news next week. May God be with you all!!!

Con Sinceridad,
Elder Conner Duane Parke

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