"Would you like a Book of Mormon?"
Monday, April 18, 2016
Week #90 - Comité Del Pueblo, Ecuador - April 18, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
So today was transfers and to my surprise, I was transfered back to
Quito! I was
sure I was going to go somewhere I haven't been before. In fact, more
specifically, I was transfered back into the Calderón stake
again. I was in that stake a year ago but this time I'm not in
Vergel, I'm on the other side of the stake in a place called Comité del Pueblo.
Comité del Pueblo is infamous for being dangerous with criminals all over
the place. Actually when I started the mission, Comité had 2
companionships. But later I heard that the second companionship
in Comité was closed for a number of reasons, but one of them
was because the house they were living in was haunted!?! President
Richardson had to go bless the house. He also told the missionaries to put Book
of Mormons in every room and leave them open but there were still many
other problems in the sector, so they closed the second
companionship. Rumors or stories? I dunno but still pretty crazy! But now
today, there is still only one companionship and that would be us now!
I'm excited to see some of the members and people I knew in Vergel again, but it probably won't happen unless we have a stake conference or some kind of combined meeting with all the wards. Vergel had to be by far one of the best wards I have served in on my mission!
Saturday was pretty interesting. We were in the middle of a leccion with a family who's been investigating the church for a while. If I remember right, I think I just finished teaching one of the points in my leccion and asked a question when we started to realize that the ground was moving! It started off softly then got harder and harder. I was kind of stunned and didn't realize what was happening. It was a good minute or minute and a half until it started to die off. Everyone began freaking out! We saw and heard people running around in the road completely terrified. When it was over, Elder Vail and I just looked at each other like, "Ok, as we were saying..." as if nothing even happened. In Otavalo, there really wasn't much that happened at all. The most damage it did was take out the electricity to several of the neighborhoods, but that was all. The earthquake actually happened on the coast of the Guayaquil North mission in a place called Manabí and that is where the majority of the damage was too. Most of the coast of
was affected, including Esmeraldas, Guayaquil,
Manabí and other parts of the coast. Otavalo is in north central Ecuador,
so we were pretty far from the epicenter, although it's crazy that we felt the
On Sunday, the stake president of Otavalo President Vega was showing us pictures of everything that had happened and the damage. It's pretty sad that lots of people got hurt and lost all their possessions. It reminded me a lot of what
was talking about when he was speaking to the Zoramites. He said that
people are blessed when their life experiences begin to humble
them, but they are even more blessed when they willfully humble themselves
in spite of their trials and afflictions. We were able to see that a lot.
We actually saw a lot of different attitudes
towards the devastation that the earthquake caused them. Many
people were humbled because of this experience. But we also saw the other side
of it. Many surrounding countries lovingly volunteered and gave
people food, water, and other supplies. They also came to help find
and rescue missing people. And we would see some people feeling entitled
to this help. We saw on live television many people express their
frustration that they didn't get more help, like, "Why didn't the U.S
come faster to help us?" Or, "We need more help from rich countries
because we aren't rich." It was pretty sad to see that side of it. The
earthquake is a very humbling experience. It was a wake up call to me,
telling me that our Heavenly Father is the one in charge here! It's
disappointing to me when people don't recognize that and instead feel they
are entitled to blessings. It reminds me of the Nephites at the end of the
Book of Mormon. When terrible things were happening to them, decided
to curse God and wished to die instead of humbling themselves and
repenting of their sins, as Mormon described. Hopefully we don't fall into that
salvation destroying pattern. Anyway, lots of lessons to be learned from all
Have a great week everyone. Stay safe and thanks for your prayers!