Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letter 30 - 11/1/10

The theme at the mall today was "Make Elder Vuinovic Super Trunky Day". Wait.... Embarassing moment... Just happened… I´m typing, ya know, doing my thing, and the key board and it´s tray just fall right out of the computer shelf in the cyber. There was no playing that one off!  It was inevitable.  I looked like a stupid gringo. Why am I always a klutz?  Anyway, let´s go back to my story . So it all started with "With or Without You" by U2 and some other good 80´s hits that made me think of Dad a lot, like "I´ll Be Watching You" by Sting. Then we went into the Mega Maxi and there was this aisle with straight Christmas stuff and Christmas music (apparently “ commercial-itis christmatus” has infected Ecuador also!)  I had to stop myself in the aisle to try and soak it up.  I know that it´s as Christmasy as its going to get for me. It was kind of tough thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to sit around the Christmas tree with you guys, but I know I´ll be alright. Anyway so what song comes on? "My grown up christmas list". One of my favorites.  So we´re (Oh btw I have a new comp. I´ll explain in a sec, but let me finish my story). Anyway, so what song comes on NEXT??? “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men. That was the limit. You don´t know how hard it was for me not to lose it and go straight mo-town on those people. Sad thing is that I´m the only person in that entire building that appreciated that song.

So my comp! Elder Márquez left. That was really hard for him, and when we told one of the convert families she started to cry and told me I was joking. I felt terrible but we both really tried to comfort her. I think we´re going to stop by to make sure they know that they still have the missionaries´ support. My new comp is Elder Hernández. He´s from Guatamala.  Guatamalans are the second most common, second only to the North Americans. He´s really awesome. I´m stoked to be working with him. I can tell he´s someone who really wants to work and have success. Luckily from this last change we did a lot to prepare, and this change we´re going to reap the harvest! haha. He has a change (6 weeks in the mission) more than me, but we´re going to be leaving the same day because of my time in the MTC. He´s someone who’s really easy to get along with and is very focused. We´re going to see a lot of success I think. I´ll have to send you some pictures soon. I was going to send pictures but I wouldn´t be surprised if this computer was straight dial up. Lame.

So this last week was pretty rough. We somehow had lessons, but we had a rough time finding new investigators. By the end of Friday we only had 1 new investigator, which is really rare for this area. I honestly think I spoke more this week than I have at any other time in my life. We worked on almost every contact possible. Situations where we normally didn´t think to contact we would work, struggling to teach someone. We would come home and just sit at our plastic table wondering what we were doing wrong. We finally found a few more people on Saturday. One cool thing that came out of our search was we contacted this guy whose eyes were crazy off axis. Like they guy from Mr. Deeds. I´m mean were talking 45 degrees off.  I couldn´t tell who this guy was talking to. (WAIT! Remember how its Try to Make Elder Vuinovic Trunky day?  Okay, "Only One" by Yellowcard just started up. Talk about a throwback! Wow..... that one brings back a lot of memories.) Ok, let´s move on. So we ended the change fairly well. I can look back and know that I did all that I really could. I really truly worked hard. We only had two baptisms. I don´t know why. We set a lot of baptismal dates and had great people that were progressing. They´re still in the program, and we´re still working with them. They´ll get baptized soon, I guess it just wasn´t their time this last month. We´ll see how this month goes.

Hey random disclaimer. I´m sending out the Christmas package next week. I bought stuff at this artisanal market where it’s almost all handmade stuff, by the natives from the Sierra and stuff. It was cool the first time I went, but this last time was SOO stressful everyone was in my face and there was just so much stuff. It felt like even the products were screaming at me. So I tried to get something for everyone. If I forgot someone or if you think it´s lame I´m honestly sorry. I sincerely tried.

So this week we had a lesson with a family of Evangelicals, they´re almost the equilvalent of Southern Baptist, but with a pentacostal twist. Anyhoo, so we sang a hymn to start the lesson, “I Am A Child Of God”. When we finished they said, "O cool. We have songs too." Out ‘no where they broke out in this song, that if I tried to describe in English would take away from how funny it was to me. This one girl went straight up Beyoncé on us and at the end the member that was with us, Bolívar Guaranda, shouted "Yaayyyy!" and applauded!  Elder Marquez and I knew he was being completely sarcastic, which made it even funnier for us. As soon as we started to talk about prophets it turned into a scripture "sharing time".  So we couldn´t even really finish talking about the Book of Mormon. After the lesson Elder Marquez and I sang that song for days. It gave us some good material for when we were getting tired.

I feel bad writing a long time because my new comp´s family doesn´t write him. So I´m going to wrap it up. I love you all so much. Hope you all had an awesome Halloween and that the Giants win the Series!!!! Wahoo!! PS- mom please give Mrs. Finley (a huge Giants fan) a hi-five and a what´s up.

Ok loves! Have a great week.
Elder Vuinovic

Letter 29 - 10/25/10

The pictures were so awesome!! Steve´s a dad!!! Wow!!!! I´m so sososososososo happy for them.  I know that they wanted kids badly. How awesome!

Elder Marquez (new comp) is from here in Ecuador. More north in an area called Esmeraldas. I didn´t get the Halloween package, but I´ll know tomorrow if it came or not. I think it should be. As far as Christmas goes I just want family stuff.  Like I said in the last letter,  pictures,  cookbook,  stuff like that.  Maybe beef jerky or stuff from our traditions.  The clothes that I need I should just buy here because it´s cheaper and I don´t want you guys to pay shipping for that.

Well this week was really, really good. We finished strong and were able to report strong numbers. First of all, I had an Ecuador moment this week. Everyday there´s this huge market produce, flea market quality toys, sandals, dead chickens with their stomachs hanging open, etc. It´s really cool. Anyway this guy´s walking around trying to sell toothpaste, but he´s advertising this stuff with only two teeth of his own. I thought, "Dude, obviously your product doesn´t work." I mean, buying toothpaste from a guy with two teeth (that are barely hanging on might I add) is worse than buying weight loss shakes from a fat guy, or taking fashion advice from the blind. "Trust me... it works".

Also something totally awesome is last week we went to the store and I saw this offer. Buy two bottles of Axe spray, and you get this free pair of Axe boxers. I thought, “sweet! I need deodorant anyway. Why not snag some awesome boxers along the way!”  So I get home and open up the shrink wrap package that had the boxers and they were these tiny male booty shorts. hahaha. So every now and then I´ll throw em on just to freak out the Latin missionaries. There´s a greenie in our house from Colombia that I’m sure thinks I´m a freak. haha!

On a more serious note: We had some awesome experiences with the Vera family. Last Sunday the dad told us that he wasn´t on very good terms, because he and his wife had been arguing, and he didn´t know if he was going to continue with us. So all day during the last p-day I was thinking about how to help them. We decided to do a family home evening with them to do something fun with them, but I was still thinking about them. Finally I thought that we should show them how we do an inventory in our missionary companionships from "Preach my Gospel".  I wrote it down on a card and brought it to the lesson. The dad Douglas told us that he wasn´t going to be continuing with us because he didn´t feel like there was support from his family in trying to progress and especially overcome coffee. The whole time they were throwing verbal punches and slides.  So, we just taught the "comp inventory”, hoping that they´d do it with love and with the intent to overcome the problems together as we had explained. Turns out they did it, and it totally worked. They were holding hands in the following lessons and the dad was much happier. We did a family home evening with the bishop,  then last night again with the bishop and his wife we set a baptismal date with the entire family. I´m so grateful for the prompting to share the comp inventory with them, not only for the baptism, but because now they are happier and have a way to resolve future conflicts.

Well that´s pretty much the highlight of the week. I´ll let you all know how that baptisms turn out. We still got a lot of work to do with maintenance and all, but everything should go well.

Love you all so much and have a great week.