Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letter 16 - 6/22/10 here's the general update.

Here's how cool the robbers are here. At least the ones that aren't in gangs. On Saturday, while Elder Robinson and I are getting ready for the baptism, This guy jumps off a bus and comes up behind us and says,"Remember me? I robbed you." (way to make an entrance) so this guy is nagging us for a dollar while we're trying to go drop off our stuff at the church building. We both had our cameras on us, but we just told him we didn't have anything. I told him again that we were broke and he just yelled, three inches away from my face, "AMERICANO!!!" All I thought was, "You have a very flawed argument ,sir." so I just sarcastically told him I'm Ecuadorian. He kinda looked at me confused for a second or two and called me a liar. To show that we really didn't have any money he pulled out his pocket. The guy nearly jumped out of his skin and told us not to do that because he didn't want it to look like he was robbing us. So I thought, "Oh, so you don't like that do you? Well take this." And I just pulled out all my pockets and was like, "See? We don't have anything." He got all miffed/scared and then left. It was pretty funny.

*Side note. Along with my "Costly Apparel" franchise (all rights reserved). I´m going to open up an "Exceedingly Fine Footwear" sister company. I know, I know totally brill.

So this week I donated blood..... in a third world country. The grandpa of a recent convert in the other ward is dying and he needs a blood transfusion. The family can't pay for it so they have to donate enough blood to match the amount he'll receive. The other missionaries donated and we were asked to help. So what the heck. The mission president already said it was ok, but I don't think I can ever give blood in the US or ever donate an organ. Which really stinks because seven pounds really inspired me to do so. Sorry everyone, but believe me you may not want my kidney. When I was going through the questions with the guy in charge and I was laughing while he was asking me if I had any "relationships", diseases, drank or smoked. He kinda did a double take on the alcohol one. So I finish the questions and he said I'm not supposed to give blood, but he's going to let me because of my religion.

(strike one)
If they're willing to let a foreigner break the rules like that who knows who else's blood is there.
The place looked and felt like a WWII army hospital. When she went to put the needle in my arm she just took the bloodstained gloves she had for someone else and turned them inside-out

(strike two).
Then she took scissors and cut the tubes into an an open bin filled with other bloody tubes

(strike three).
I probably have a jungle disease, but I'll just find out when I cough up my liver. Fun stuff.

(Mom's note: Please pray for Adam that there will be no lasting effects from this!)

So to end the week was really cool. We baptized Ana Bermeo. She's so awesome. I think I already talked about her, but she has an ability to understand the scriptures that blows me away, and she's 15. It was such a privilege to teach/be taught by her. She also was asked to give her testimony after the baptism, and she was really nervous, but I told her to just say what she knows and how she felt after being baptized. She bore a powerful testimony. You'd never ever think she'd had only been introduced to the Book of Mormon only two weeks ago. She really knows it's true to her core.

There's something I've really learned from the sector. I've looked at these people for six weeks and wondered how can you allow yourself to be stuck in a life like this? Then I realized that all people are stuck like this who chose to not follow the commandments of God. Until this society chooses what is right they will forever be stuck in non-progression. It's so sad to see, but they have no value for marriage, the Sabbath Day is a joke to them, and they live under the influence of instant gratification.

(Steve's note: Sounds like a lot of Americans ...sadly.)

It's really sad, but I value obedience to God's laws even more now, and want to be able to help them understand the importance of it.

So the scripture is Jacob 4:6 I don´t know if I already shared this one. If I did than will you delete it mom? but it´s about how studying the words of the prophets increases your faith.

Wherefore, we search the prophets,
and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

So everyone search the words of the prophets
(the scriptures and the Ensign.)

I love you all, have a great week!

Friday, June 18, 2010



It was so awesome. Gosh. It was really uplifting. The Spirit was very strong at the baptism of the two girls, Genesis Cruz and Simonne Gomez. And we have another one this Saturday. It's possible for us to get one more before transfers, but the kid has to get permission. The kids are the only hope for this place. It's incredible the difference between the children and their parents. The only things is that often the kids don't get permission.

Anyway so Saturday morning we had a cool experience while preparing the baptismal font. The water just stopped filling up, and since there are only maybe two water pipes in the whole building, we couldn't figure out what was wrong. So Elder Robinson thought it might be a circuit problem. So he starting flipping the circuits. Then I heard water running, so he stopped and we waited. We listened to the water running for at least twenty minutes maybe thirty, and we could not figure out why the water wasn't coming to fill the font. After staring at it for while of sitting in silence we starting saying our own prayer. When I finished Elder Robinson called me over to help him look into the roof to see if the water was leaking somewhere else. We couldn't find anything just the two water tubs, so we supposed that it was filling up, but it should've been giving off water a while ago. So we went back to the font and Elder Robinson opened the door and said, "Hey! It's filling up now......... I guess sometimes you just gotta ask." It's so true. It was just another fun small reminder from Heavenly Father of, "Hey, how's it going? You got to this point because of me, and you still need my help. Remember that." Such an awesome experience. I really can't fully describe it but I was so happy to be able to help out in a small part of such a huge step in their progress and acceptance of our Savior's Atonement.

I finally found something hot in this country!!! It was so awesome. It all started on monday when I found jalapenos in the store. I almost broke out into my party dance, but for the sake of the missionary work here I refrained. Then the next day a missionary in my Zone gave me this habanero sauce that totally rocks. and THEN these members made me this sauce from a local pepper called aji. oh man, it's de-lish! I thought I was going to go my whole mission with out spice. I'm going to go make an offering to the spice god tomorrow. He really pulled some strings for me.

Random thought. If I live out in Utah I"m going to open a clothing store called "Costly Apparel". It's a gillion dollar idea for sure. Btw... by me saying i'm going to do it I (Adam Michael Vuinovic) hereby claim all rights and privileges pertaining to the idea, the name, and all corresponding logos. I (Adam Michel Vuinovic) hereby claim the rights to all products created, sold, or advertised by any "costly apparel" corporation, franchise, or any other group or industry that bears this ingenious name. All rights reserved.

So everything has been focused on the baptism this week so not much has happened besides that. Although I did have an awesome interchange on Wednesday. I was in my sector and had to plan and carry out the day pretty much. I had some solid help from the other Elder, but I was super stoked that I didn't feel lost anymore and I can take care of myself in my own sector. We got five new investigators that day. It was really awesome.

A side from that I forgot to tell you all that I saw a dog eating out of a dirty diaper that was in the street. And let me tell you what, that diaper was ripe. I wish I could take more pictures so you all could see what I"m trying to describe, but if I use my camera outside I'll get robbed for sure. If not that day someone will see me and I'll get mugged the next. It's so ghetto. Compton eat your heart out haha.

I don't know why milk suddenly started to hate me, but once again my milk turned into cheese curds. This time my comp said it'd be ok so I added more of a fresh milk and tried it, thinking that my trainer is all knowing in the ways of Ecuador (I'm so dumb). So I took a bite and my mouth stung from the rancid milk. Oh man, it was gross. What stunk was I couldn't get rid of it. It's like when you accidentally bite into the orange peel and the bitter taste just sits in your mouth no matter what. Oh yeah that was fun.

Ok so I almost forgot. The girl that's getting baptized this Saturday is Ana Bermeo. I think I talked about her. She's so awesomely awesome. She's accepted everything we taught her and she knows it's true. On the interchange Elder Poma and I taught her the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom and about how our body's are temples. She had a lip piercing so we told her that prophet has said that women should only have one set of earrings. She said it would be hard, but she said it'd be ok and that she wants to. The next day I saw her as we were walking in the street and the first thing I looked at was her piercing, but it wasn't there. I was so stoked!! She's so awesome. She really is someone who was born ready for the Gospel.

So the scripture is 2Nephi 27:19,20

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.

Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.

Even if you think you can't understand the scriptures we've been commanded by our Father to read it. There's is so much advice and guidance in the Book of Mormon from a Father who understands all things in the universe, especially the things that you're going through right now. Read it, and find the answers to your questions.

Elder Vuinovic

Monday, June 7, 2010

Letter 14 - 6/6/10

Wow. So I didn´t say anything last week so there´s been a BUNCH of stuff going on. We´ll start with the good stuff.

So we had a "interchange" (I don´t know what it´s called in English because it´s intercambio in Spanish) and we (Elder Salcedo and I) had to go back to La Isla Trinitaria so I could pick up Elder Robinson and go home. Elder Robinson and his comp for the day, Elder Freeman, were super late. They got back at nine thirty, the latest you´re allowed to be in the house. And that´s really not a good idea especially on the Island, It´s the most dangerous place in the country. There´s a place on the island called Nigeria. If they see a white person they will kill them. Back in that area it´s all drugs and guns. So Imagine the most dangerous area in the US next to a jungle river and sugar cane houses. Ta-dah!

Well me and Elder Robinson start to head out. But, uh-oh. There´s no buses. Why? because it´s too dangerous to ride buses at that time of night. So we´re like crap we have to walk back, and we have to go over a bridge. The people that live under this bridge wouldn´t approach us because they would like to hear a message about Christ. So we´re walking and walking then we see a bus. We jump for excitement. We hurry up and get on the bus. We´re riding aloing thinking all is well, but then maybe 200 yards from the bridge it turns around. We then scamper off the bus and watch the one bus that was behind us go over the bridge. So now we´re freaked out. We have no money to give to anyone that would try and rob us let a lone get a ride over the bridge, and we are two white guys in white shirts and ties carrying a huge backpack and another bag. We´re walking targets. WE just kept walking at a very very quick pace while singing, "Just Keep Swimming" laced with my Chris Farley style color commentary. I don´t know how (I think it was the song) but we made it back ok. But as everyone knows luck can only go so far. Wednesday we got robbed. Since it was my first one I didn´t know until Elder Robinson told me and pointed out the kife. I kept telling him I had nothing even before that. He kept saying, "give me a dollar I´m broke" I just kept saying, "Cool. So am I welcome to the club." Finally Elder Robinson gave him a dollar and I found a penny that I could give him. It was redonk. I thought I´d get by without gettting robbed, but no. Then not to forget Sunday on our way to church we almost got robbed again. This guy started yelling at us to go over to him. At first I thought he was talking to this guy on a bike, but then the guy told us with a serious face to not go and walk towards the market. I looked back and my stomached turned when I saw how close he was to us, but we just kept walking. I him we were going to church and that he should come with us. I mean seriously, breaking two of the Ten Commandments. Working and robbing on the Sabbath. He´s not even trying. So we made to the market before he got to us/pulled out his knife. The thieves here are pretty cowardly if you get to a main street or a market you´re ok.

Also we found the rat that cem to the house in Elder Estrada´s luggage. Elder Tobar started yelling that he saw tah rat run under the fridge. He took a brrom handle and started pounding it under the fridge. The guy´s a boxer so needless to say it was a pretty fierce shot he was throwing under there. after not seeing anything run out he kinda scrapped under the fridge and swiped out the rat. We thought he´d killed it but when we wer taking pictures it took a gasp for air. After Tobar finished the job we realized that previously ahd only been knocked unconcious because Elder Tobar punched it´s testicles out. The poor thing died because he junk got destroyed. I´m sorry if this is crass. Then I started freaking out beacuse it was on our kitchen floor. I kinda have a problem with the thought of rodent genetalia in the same room as where we prepare food. So I took deodorant spray and lit the tile to try and cleanse it because I couldn´t find cleaning products. It was for sure a highlight of the week.

As far as spiritual stuff goes (kinda the point of the whole two years) we met a girl named Anna, because one of our really good friends in the ward brought her to church. After met we gave her the Book of Mormon she told us she´d read it and pray about it. When we returned we taught the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" and asked if she had erad and prayed. She told us that when she had she prayed with all her faith, and that afterwards she felt so much love, and that she felt so much love for her friends and for everyone around and her and she knew that it was true. I was so excited!! It was incredible to see her really study the Book of Mormon. She highlighted things added her own book mark and really showed that she wanted and answer. She took it seriously. If all our investigators did that they´d all know it is true. So she´s getting baptized next week! I know that people who would accept this message would normally accept it with our without me, but I´m so greateful to have the oppotunity to be able to watch someone come to a knowledge of the truth like that.

As far as the adjustment goes I´m still workin on it. The food is just fine, I enjoy it. Even the chicken feet and rice. you just don´t think about what you´re eating and it´s all good. I still don´t get this culture though. They believe in Christ because it´s fashionable, and they would seriously believe almost anything you say about Christ. "oh I don´t need to pray about you´re book. I believe what you say because I believe in Christ." We´ll talk about the one true church of Christ maybe fifty times in a lesson. Then we ask, "If our this is the only true church of Christ are the other churches in Guayaquil true?" and they just nod their head lightly. We have to totally re-teach about God too, adn be really patient as people try to work out of their mental rut of what they thought God was. There´s come crazy stuff here. I never thought I would have to re-teach what God was, and it´s for sure harder than I thought.

And I´m really tired of getting creeppy looks from every gay and crossdressser here. You have no idea how many there are here. It almost ruined my day yesterday.

But on the upside I learned how to make hot chocolate from scratch and it´s the best stuff ever.

So the scripture is in 2 Nephi 30:3-5 Nephi´s like, "Hold up, Imma drop a prophecy right here" (unofficial modern-day translation). I thought it was cool because I´m totally a part of this prophecy. The gentiles bringing the record to the remnant of the seed.

Love you all, bye!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Letter 13 - 5/24/10


This week has been crazy. We had five almost seven baptismal dates this week, but we went to visit one of the families and their kids told us they don't want to be baptized. So we had to drop their date. What didn't help was that the Mom, right in from of the kids, told us that the daughter is super rebellious, lies to her all the time, and that she thinks Satan is talking in her daughter. So we're going to sit down with just the kids and talk to them about how they feel about it and their concerns, worries, doubts and such without the parents present. I feel bad because the parents know it is true and want to be baptized so badly (they're working on being legally married), and they have a huge desire to progress while their kids don't want to be baptized. We had to explain the whole thing about agency and that the kids have to want to be baptized. So we'll see what happens.

Side note. There's this kid in the cyber that's by me and he's playing a video game and keeps taking out loud to himself, with a lot of random sounds and an occasional English phrase (cuss words, I think).

Back on track.

Interesting things I saw this week were two bus robberies almost right outside our window, and a dead dog that had had it´s stomach ripped open so all of it´s vitals were just hanging out. There´s always dead animals in the street, but this one was really special. For sure a gold medal winner. It was like something out of a horror movie.

I´m starting to adjust to place and like it. I’ll never adjust to the smells, but I've just accepted it now. They have these stores that have all these religious names, probably so they feel like they can justify themselves. My favorites are "the Heart of Christ" and "The Will of God" (because of course the will of God is for them to work on Sunday and sell alcohol). Also, they really really want to pretend they´re American. For the most part it really hasn't helped them. They just have uncontrollable trash problems because they´re semi-developed. All the houses are made of cinder block, even the nicer ones, and have aluminum siding roofs, with a bunch of exposed re-bar and wires. I love it though. I´m in a third world area and on p-days I can go to the rich area and by all the American-ish products.

I think my favorite are the buses. They´re absolutely insane. They go the same speed on the freeway as they do on regular roads. They drive and stop within a foot of everything at any speed. On Thursday I had to take a bus to a busy area, and there were so many buses and it was like they were racing around each other trying to pick up people and still not be slowed down by the other buses. Imagine the video game "crazy taxi", but buses mixed in with bus-style roller derby. That´s the Ecuadorian bus system.

On a more spiritual note, there are these two little kids that we met and have been teaching, Andrea, who is 13, and Renny, who is 9. They are so awesome. The first lesson was just with Andrea and she was completely absorbed in what we were teaching. The next time we came for a check on her reading she hadn't read, but Renny, her cousin (i think) sat in. We shared a quick message and they both said they would read. I was gone on a exchange when Elder Robinson went back. When he asked if they read they both had, and Renny was able to say exactly what went on. When Elder Robinson asked if they prayed and received an answer they had and Renny said he heard a voice telling him it was true. I was so excited to hear that. When I went back to teach them the Plan of Salvation, Renny made some pretty deep comments. These are really special kids. It´s easy to tell that Andrea is so receptive to these things by nature, and Renny has an incredible understanding for not knowing anything before. It shows how much more in tune children are with the Spirit. Man, it was just so cool to be able to teach these kids. They´re two of our baptismal dates. We have five right now! It´ll be a lot of work to maintain that, but I’m stoked for it.

So I don't have a scripture again, which stinks because I've read some good stuff this week. I'll be sure to have one next week.

I love you all. bye!

Letter 12 - 5/17/10

Hi everyone!

Wow. So here I am. This is the real deal. It's absolutely crazy here. As far as the language goes I can speak fine, but I´m having a more difficult time understanding what they´re saying to me. I just kinda stare blankly and nod every now and then, hoping they only ask my companion questions. There´s normally at least one person a day who I can understand though, which is really nice. I know I have it a lot better than the other Americans that came in with me. Hooray for Mexican friends who helped teach me Spanish!

So as far as the city goes, I have a whole lot of adjusting to do. The heat is pretty bad (Saturday was the worst for sure. I can´t even describe the amount of sweat). Sanitation is.... different. You can't flush your toilet paper, and all trash goes to the middle of the big streets which gets picked up once a week, I think. So that and the heat gives us some really interesting smells during the day. Things that I hope are only unique to Ecuador. The people are nice for the most part. Nobody will say no to you, so they say they’re busy and to come back at some indefinite time (at which they will be sure not to be home). In the mornings it´s hard to contact people because they’re "making lunch". One guy was just standing on the sidewalk just staring at the ground, holding a knife. So the elder I was on an exchange with and I tried to contact him, but of course he said he was to buy to listen, so we just talked about his family. Then he saw a friend down the street and told us he had to go so he could talk to his friend. Must have been a crazy cool friend to make him forget how busy he was.

So all week people are too busy and then all weekend they party or are drunk. It´s a little frustrating. Especially when two or three appointments fall through in a row and you´re trying to find someone to teach. Because the whole city is poor (except for two houses) people don´t have much, but they almost all have these little shops/stands that they have in their house behind an iron gate. On the other side of the freeway in our sector is pretty bad. The pictures of bamboo and aluminum siding huts that you may see of the poor areas of Guayaquil is my area most likely. It´s really sad.

On Saturday I had a transfer on La Isla Trinitaria, so I went over there on Friday. My area and the island are the poorest areas, but the island is way more dangerous. Friday night as we were going back to the missionaries’ apartment Elder Solares, my exchange comp, notice this motorcycle with a cart of people turned around right after they passed us. He started walking over to this random house and I starting thinking, "Another appointment? We should've been back a while ago." He started to do a intro lesson and then whispered that there were thieves that where about to rob us and begged her to let us in. Once I realized that I started to plead too, because I only had a dollar (which for sure wouldn't be enough for them) and I didn't want to find out what happened next. Finally she let us in until they left, but I was for sure paranoid after that. Then the next night we heard gun shots. Luckily we went back early because everyone was partying/didn't want to listen, but we would've been over on that side probably if we hadn't.

On the lighter side, Friday night I went to take a shower. When I closed my eyes it looked like there was light flashing up and down over my eyes and my head was vibrating. I thought, "This doesn't make any sense. The water isn't running that hard." So I stuck my hand up and finger went numb. Then I realized my head was touching the electric heater shower head and the vibration feeling was an electric current running through my head. Yay! As far as the success of the transfer, we had two new investigators down by the ports ( super crazy poor) and I saw this family of pigs just cruising around the streets. Once lunch came no one else wanted to listen to us except one group,but I don´t know how much they were being taught.

As a whole this city wears me out, and I generally don´t like it. But that´s only until we get into the homes and start teaching. I absolutely love the teaching and it´s worth it. Especially Sundays. Being at church where everyone there wants to learn more and be edified was my sanity for the week. It´s for sure what I look forward to. Today was nice going around to another part of the city and relaxing, but church was the best. We also taught a family who´s kids are going to be baptized and the parents REALLY want to also. But they´re trying to get a divorce from their other marriages and then get married so they´re living the law of chastity. It´s redonk, a marriage is 6 dollars and it takes maybe a week, but a divorce is about 600 and takes months. They´re really struggling with this financially, but it´ll awesome to see them once they make it through. Well that´s it for now. I´ll try to send home some pictures soon. I got really good ones today with iguanas at this park.

Love you all!

Letter 11 - 5/11-12/10

May 11, 2010

Anyway. So I´m here in Guayaquil and this place is absolutely amazing. Humid, but not uncomfortable. I stayed the night on the temple grounds, which was really cool. The temple is absolutely gorgeous. This city is AWESOME! I love it. Imagine a cross between the city that Jason Bourne was in when he was in hiding and San Francisco that´s really dense, in the middle of the jungle and sprawls over these huge jungle hills, with all these jungle trees mixed into the city. It´s the best. Just so incredible. Also, there´s stores and food shops literally everywhere. The best part is that there are no street lines so you just freestyle while you drive. LA eat your heart out! You drive 45 mph down these little streets and dodge around other cars. I love this place.

When I got out of the airport and felt the air I was so pumped. It felt like the Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland when it´s super hot outside. Only.... there´s no Splash Mountain. I´m so excited and ready to get to work. This place is so cool, and before it was just another thing on the map. What a gem!

Ok, well It´s almost time for dinner with the President (such an awesome guy) and his wife (also extremely awesome) so I gotta run.

May 12, 2010

Well, here I am. This place is crazy. I´m at the very southern tip of Guayaquil. I´m pretty sure my companion, Elder Robinson, said it´s the poorest. I for sure believe it. I´m going through major culture shock still. It´s crazy to see what people are living in. Things like rusted aluminum siding, bamboo fences, cinder block houses, anything. Dogs roam everywhere and I just saw one covered in fungus, with no hair. The only way to describe how this place looks is like Jamaican-Queens (NY neighborhood), Detroit, and a splash of Camden all mixed in with a post-apocalyptic movie set. It´s crazy, but as soon as we get into the houses and start teaching I completely forget about everything and it´s great. Our house isn't bad. It´s pretty nice actually. It's just always hot. Seriously, I¨m always sweating. I was just in a phone booth and I was as wet as if I had just gotten out of the shower. The food isn't bad here. I just have to be really careful of what I eat. So because of that I´m eating a lot less than normal because I¨m pretty paranoid until I figure things out.

Anyway, I just met my comp last night. He´s a really cool guy.... elder. We've had a pretty good day today as far as I can tell. I think we´ll do some great work. We got someone to start coming back to church today. Now we have to go and get some new investigators for our goal today, so I gotta run. Bye!

PS- there´s this car going around with a mega-phone talking about these onions he´s trying to sell. Just thought it was funny.
O yeah and in the northern part of the city we saw a Peugeot , Porsche and BMW car shop. anywho. Gotta jet.

Letter 10 - 5/4/10

So last Tuesday who came to speak at our fireside? L. Tom Perry. Yeah, that's what's up. Two Apostles in my stay at the MTC. My favorite part was were he told a story about a man that worked for the Harris family. Martin Harris was a very old man at the time, and bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and that he saw and handled the plates to this boy, Willy. Willy was then the man who related this testimony to L. Tom Perry's young men's group, and he then told it to us. What was crazy to think about was the testimony of only two people separated me from Martin Harris.

The next day, Wednesday, I hosted the new missionaries. It wasn't super cool, but it was kind of a trip to see where I was only a few weeks ago. It was also really weird to watch the "band-aid method" with the families, because they would watch their missionary walk away and their look on their face at times was like, "That's it?" I felt bad, but those missionaries are going to experience some awesome things. I only wish the families knew.

Also on Wednesday it was our first day with Hermano Hidalgo. Man he is so cool! The lessons he give are things I need so badly. The regular structured lessons are great, but he gives us stuff that I really need to hear. We were talking about getting the members to help out in the work, but many are very apprehensive because they don't want to offend their friends. I was in that same boat. I really wanted to share the gospel with my friends, but I didn't know how to teach or what to do. He just said, "Ask them to go make a friend. Invite them into their lives. Show those friends how the Gospel affects your life just by example, and at times invite them to activities like basketball or homemaking etc. And eventually, if they’re ready, invite them to a sacrament service. Let them be interested in the Gospel because of how you live, and just let the missionaries do the teaching." In essence, members don't need to proselyte, just fellowship. Leave the proselyting to the missionaries, It's their job. I really wish I had known that before. So much would've been different, but I guess I can just hope those opportunities are still around. So everyone, go make a friend and be an example.

Thursday I got my flight plans!!!! AH! I'm so CVNEONroSJefuIDHFO-ing excited! (Note: Mom has no idea what this means. Adam sent no translation.) It was seriously the most exciting day yet. Ecuador feels so close now! O man, it was so great. I was so excited that I seriously yelled in the mail room because I couldn't hold it in. Then when my district got back to our room we all freaked out. O man, such a good day. I leave on Monday morning at 5, and my first flight takes off at 8:15. I have two lay-overs though. One in Dallas and on in Miami.

Hey fun fact. I found out they actually do have missionaries placed out in the Galapagos. That's be so sweet to be sent there.

Ok, so there's this thing that's kind of started in our district. One day my comp, Elder Poepelmeier, and I were walking to class and just to mess around I cut him off and yelled "Koreaned!" In reference to the dirty Korean speed skaters in the winter Olympics. Well it eventually turned into a district wide thing that we'll cut someone off going up stairs or something and yell "you got Koreaned!" or my personal favorite "Consider yourself Koreaned!" But I try and go for a clean pass which we call "Onos" and say "Oh No! You just got Ono-ed!" So Monday, yesterday, I koreaned Elder Anderson on the way back to the room and was going for a pass on Elder Eastburn. Right as we get off the stairs there are these double doors that are open during the day but closed at night. So Elder Eastburn is running through the doorway and tries to shut the doors behind him. I was still hunched a bit because I wasn't fully out of my stairwell running stance. So I was sprinting with all of my body weight forward as the door just suddenly showed up in my way. I heard a loud BOOM and it took me a second to wonder why I went from forward velocity to (literally) flying backwards, feet way in the air. So I'm laying on the ground, clutching my face, wondering if my face is open, but still laughing because I literally ran into a door. Elder Anderson walked up just as I was flying and thought I was just playing around so he walked right by me, haha. It hit my jaw just beneath the temple of my forehead, so luckily for that, but I have a fat knot. I'll see if I can get good pictures of it. Then throughout the day I was quoting Tommy Boy. "Hey do I have a mark on my face?" It doesn't hurt here. Not so much up here, but right here." Haha! good times.

So randomly on Sunday I started collecting ways to say "I believe in Christ" in different languages. I have maybe 10 right now, I'm going to see how many I can get before I leave. It's so awesome! I'm probably going to study languages the rest of my life.

So the scripture I want to share is more of an activity. So read 2 Nephi 4: 17-19 and think of all the things that bring you down in life, or feeling that you don't want anymore. Then read, out loud, verses 20-23 and 27-30 of the same chapter and think of the difference in casting off those feelings, and especially giving no place for the "enemy of your soul" and find the peace that we all deserve. It's a really powerful scripture.