Well, turns out I’m here in Ecuador! Ha ha, this country is nuts. I made it safely with a 2 hour flight from Peru, there were about 10 of us that all flew together. We arrived and I was already sweating. The humidity here is crazy, but I´m about used to it! But wow am I in for a treat come the hot season, it´s already fairly warm, probably 80's all the time!
We were shipped to President Gamboa's house and had a little lunch and testimony meeting with just us. I love them! He and his wife are so nice and friendly, they said I remind them of an Ex elder they had because I am very tall, very smiley, and am more than happy to eat! Haha, we then went to the mission home and met our companions! Mine is Elder Añorga from Peru and he is great. He is really nice and loves to work. I get a little impatient cause he´s a little too nice and explains things a few times too many for me, but it´s a blessing! They all were amazed at the Spanish I can understand. What a blessing the CCM of Peru was for me! I still have issues understanding and speaking, but what a jumpstart that CCM was for me.
We slept that first night in the mission home cause me and my comp had a 4 hour drive to our area! We are way out there and I´m the ONLY North American in our zone! Haha, it´s great. We have our own apartment, the other 2 elders there moved out Saturday for elsewhere. And as for a good welcome... we get on our big bus and as we´re heading I look out the window. I see a taxi going really fast, a man going really slow, and put those two things together makes a nasty hit and run! The very first thing I saw, welcome to Ecuador Elder McGinn, was a hit and run! The taxi windshield got rocked! The man was okay, not good at all, but okay. Wow.
So here´s a summary of my experience so far. Roads - it´s a battlefield and lanes don´t mean a thing. Bus - very large, lots of people, don´t let you get situated before they zoom, I crouch in nearly all of them, if I sit, the seat in front of me is not at my knees but at my chin! Haha. As for the animals, just in teaching lessons I´ve had a frog, a group of chickens, a few cats, and many dogs go mosey-ing around me! Dinner - my companion doesn´t believe in it haha. We haven’t had dinner much, maybe once or twice, and the only meal yesterday for fast Sunday was lunch. I asked him why and he said we only eat if we have time... rats haha. He is always full and I am always hungry, but I sure love it here! I am North American, lots of people come to me. They talk fast, they talk loud, they ALL want MY attention and I am just lost!
Haha, it is so great here and I know that Peru was the biggest blessing, cause many elders (N.A.) have said that they weren´t that way till a few weeks or months in and My latin companion said the same about North Americans. Here are a few pictures too, I´m mad cause I had a bunch (of the MTC's too) but I was working with the Memory card last night to fix a problem and WHAM there went all my pictures, what I´m sending is what I have haha. Oh well.
This first Sunday was testimony meeting and it was amazing. I will never complain ever again back home, cause here the kids and the noise don´t stop. It was nuts and really frustrating! ha, but that´s okay. I felt like I needed to bear my testimony, so I did, and it was amazing. The WHOLE chapel went quiet, all eyes on the North American babbling in some odd Spanish as he´s hunched over the mic, but what a spirit. I simply broke down. Tears and the whole show, but the spirit was uncontrollable. I KNOW I touched at least one life, mine. Always bear testimony of the Savior, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, of Prophets. Always follow the spirit. I know Christ lives, I know he´s my savior, and I will support these afflictions like a faithful soldier of Christ, for he suffered and he sweat, and he bent, but he also conquered. I will conquer, 'The Lord is my light, then why should I fear?' I love the work and the gift of tongues is real. It is a gift, you need love, you need faith, and you need to trust the spirit.
In one lesson I was able to understand everything, bear testimony to a family of the truth of this gospel, that Joseph Smith did indeed see God the Father and the Son! The man asked what the difference was between our church and his church, the two are so similar and he can´t find the difference. Boldly, but with love, I testified of prayer. God answers prayers and we have prophets here to guide us. That is the difference. We have prophets, we have the priesthood, we are the restored gospel of Christ! I don’t know if this makes sense, all I know is that the Lord is on my side, I can do miracles. I love this mission, it is hard, real hard, but it is great, real great.
Love the Lord, Love your testimony, and ACT in that love by lifting, serving, smiling, doing. Christ lives. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We have prophets here today, and I wouldn´t change that for the world! I love you all so much and pray for you daily. Please pray for me, but don’t worry, cause if you´re praying and you believe God hears them, He will take care of the rest!
As for next week!!! Oh and we have a Mamita, the first night she made chicken, rice, and those plantains! YUM!!!
Elder Griffin McGinn