Monday, November 30, 2015

New Area, Wall of Humidity, Turkey for Thanksgiving


Well we got transfers and I got transferred far! We got the transfers yesterday and Bum Bum Bum I'm in a new sector today. I got transferred to Santo Domingo which is the coast of the mission. I am in a place called Bomboli. So we are about 3 to 4 hours bus ride from Quito.  Quite honestly you need to be a missionary to understand the importance of transfers and of how nerve racking it can be. Still it wasn't too bad. I never thought I would go here but I am here in my second sector with my fourth companion. Getting here was rough but I had no trouble packing last night. You know me, shove and push and hope it zips shut. It worked really well.

This sector does look a lot different. I am glad to be here as it is a new opportunity. The changes for the other missionaries from my sector were weird as one person who just finished his training is going to train. So they will have fun in Argelia. This change should be a lot different as I went far. Still I am looking forward to it and it should be a good experience.

The weather here is really humid. I got off the bus and ooooof I was hit with a wall. It is modernized but has a lot of jungle as well so it is weird here. The problem is it could be 50 outside right now and it feels a lot hotter. I am starting to adjust bit by bit and hopefully I get used to this place. My companions name is Elder Paul (gringo).

Well last week was harder and we had some activities. The numbers were the worse ever and I just did not get along  well with Elder Lopez.

The Thanksgiving here was pretty good as the Pday before the Thursday we got invited to a members house to eat turkey. I completely forgot Thursday was Thanksgiving as it doesn't happen here. Christmas is important here so I will notice that happening and we will do a lot during that time

Since the transfer, I may never get the packages.  The problem is that people only go once a month and there is too much stuff and not enough time. The secretaries aught to send it but they don't apparently.  But, I am smart so I will find a way to get my package if I can. I just have to be in the offices long enough the day beforehand as we have to go a day early for the day of Christmas dinner. It is a three four hour bus ride. My plan is ask for permission to pass by the offices the day beforehand but it depends on what time we get there. If I do it right I should be able to get one package. It just will be hard as they don't send packages like they are supposed to and the pouch (all the stuff that is supposed to go to Santo Domingo) normally never is sent so it piles up with stuff. But I will get you photos don't worry. I just have to figure out how.

Also, it looks like they might be cutting my mission one week short (and the missions of everyone) as the church is planning on changing the MTC time for native speakers from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. Due to this change, one of our changes will be 5 weeks and so I believe I could be going home as early as May 23rd as the changes normally put people two weeks before they hit two years. Now it is three weeks.


Elder Throop

*Mom's Note
Here's the mission map with a close up of Santo Domingo and the Bomboli ward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Changes Coming?, Trek Sister News, No New Foods, Struggles in District, Mission Pres Interview


Well today we have an activity where we are going to a dinner with a counselor from the stake presidency so I will tell you about it next week and what happens with the changes. Unfortunately our apartment is a lot dirtier ever since the emergency changes.  We do have space with a room for us to sleep, a bathroom, a small kitchen with a fridge, and a room to study and that is our apartment. With changes close I don't know what will happen with my companionship. I believe it is a very real possibility that I could get changed and if that happens I don't know where to. I could stay in Quito or have a really long bus ride to who knows where but we receive the changes this Sunday.

Well I have some funny news my trek sister managed to track me down and she is in the mission field! She she sent me an email (pokie or mikayla for your information) What a surprise!
Apparently she is serving in South Carolina so she gets lots of cool stuff (ipad, car, computer, nice phones, etc) That would be cool to hear about her.

Well I don't necessarily need a hat or gloves but those things aren't necessary as it doesn't drop too cold. That is awesome to hear from Ben and I completely agree with him on the point of transition. The transition wasn't so rough for me as I was less a month from school then, Bam! Elder Throop. Still that is intense seeing him in the MTC. Must be close to Christmas and Thanksgiving break for you guys now huh? Yeah, thanks for the emails about the other Elders as that is extremely cool

As for this week no new foods. The weather is cooling down quite a bit and I need that long sleeved sweater most days and sometimes my rain jacket and umbrella so we are headed to colder times.

I don't think we will have any baptisms this change and quite honestly I feel it is a trial to see if I will be patient and wait the blessings of God in my life. I mean I had one baptism with Elder Goodfellow but then nothing. We kept teaching and I strive to be obedient and diligent, but it is quite the test of patience to have no results after so much work. Maybe I will get sent to Santo Domingo which has a lot of people from the coast and baptize a lot there as coastians are more sincere apparently. This sector has been hard and some of the investigators we had just don't want to repent too much. For example the familia Maldonado, the young paraja don't have many desires to get married as Javier (the man) fell into word of wisdom problems. I am really worried we will lose them as they kind of are hiding. We will have to drop a few people for not going to church and continuing to sin. So this is a harder sector. Still it is my first and I will remember it well.

We recently had our interviews with President Christensen which went well for me. I don't know how often interviews are as this is my first interview but I think every 3 months more or less depending on the transfer and what happens. He asked us to share a lesson of 5 minutes about the Book of Mormon and I think I did well enough and he said my accent is improving which is really good news for me as I have been striving to improve my accent and my grammar knowledge. He commented that when I came to the mission I had quite a bit of grammar knowledge thanks to the four years of French but I have improved which really cheered me up as it has been hard for me sometimes as I remember I had a great French accent. (Maybe I lack a bit in communication but Elder Lopez feels I talk too much. Highly ironic as Elder Goodfellow said I didn't talk enough.) We then shared a scripture we had meditizied (Mom's note-is this the Spanish version of Ponderize?) and our comments and anything we could improve on. I mentioned I had some problems with pride and being humble and he gave me some great counsel. President Christensen is great and very intelligent and helps out a lot when I need it.

Well with this next week I am kind of waiting for the changes as we are kind of mas o menos right now.

Lots of love,

Elder Throop

Skype home coming soon, Elder Lopez, Accent good, but Still Look Gringo, More Weird Food


That play of Daniel's sounds cool and I find that interesting with everything happening there. It must be nearing Christmas break for everyone and that also means the Skype home is coming up quick. I will hit 6 months and just the week after I get the Skype home. The first Skype home for the family but not the last.

I think thanksgiving could turn out great but I don't know what we will get for Thanksgiving. I will get food of course and be in this same sector but I don't know what we will do.

Elder Lopez is interesting as a companion. Unfortunately, it can happen in the mission with people with 18 months get really trunky as it is 4 changes left. Normally people get trunky their last change as it's basically been 2 years time to go home. I hope we can communicate better as we lack a bit in communication.

Today we went to the telefeleco for my second time and we got farther this time. I actually dressed appropriately this time so I didn't get too cold. I think my accent in Spanish is improving I just can't hear my accent as well as I did with French as I had a pretty good French accent at the end of my school. Still I have improved my grammar a ton and practiced a lot. So I should sound more and more Latino but I still look gringo every day. I do look forward to hearing from Ben as he is starting out and I can remember very clearly what it was like to start.

Oh one thing I forgot. Weird food story time! We did divisions with the zone leaders recently and we got to eat meriande with their pensionista. And we got to eat the tripas of a baca. You want to know what that is in english? Good I will tell you. I ate cow intestine that day. It wasn't too bad (as you freak out reading this email) it was really chewy and I had too swallow it. It tasted kind of like bacon. Have fun thinking about that (we didn't eat too much and the were in small little round pieces.)

 I hope you guys do well and wish you my love and a fun time with Star Wars.

Elder Throop

New Companion, New Food, Imperfect Subjunctive and Pluperfect


Well, Elder Chambi has regressed to his home in Bolivia. He did go home on Saturday and I now have my new companion. My new companion is named Elder Lopez. He is from California and has Latino heritage and has 18 months in the mission so it has been a little interesting with him.

We have done well in the sector and I believe we could have some baptisms this change. We just need to make sure the costs for their marriage are low or non-existent so as to ensure that they can get married quickly. The weather can vary depending on the days but we have had sunnier days.

Yesterday, we did have kind of a weird food day. We had ceviche (a type of soup made with tomatoes and other things) of mariscos (seafood) among that seafood was octopus I believe. I am not sure if this type has octopus but I have had this type of ceviche before. It also had fish and other sea food. So that was weird food. I am still in the same area to answer your question. I am confirmed to stay in this area until the end of this change but I have a feeling president wants to transfer me out I just don't know to were. So next change I might be in a new area for Christmas. But I do get to stay in this area for Thanksgiving but I don't think Latinos celebrate thanksgiving. Still Christmas is next change.

I am definitely looking forward to the Skype home but of course I don't know how that works. It will be nice to have the Skype home right after my 6 month mark as I should have a better accent in Spanish. Apparently, I am improving and I don't know if that was from 3 weeks straight of Spanish and or the fact that I keep trying to learn more in Spanish every day. Trust me I never knew what pluperfect subjunctive was (as in French we only did subjunctive) but I got here and found out that not only is there subjunctive but there is an imperfect subjunctive and a pluperfect (imperfect subjunctive of the Spanish word haber with the past participle) so I learnt quite a bit. So that was what was interesting.

We didn't have any activities for Pday so slightly boring but restful. On Saturday it was hectic with Elder Chambi packing his bags and during the mornings on most days he was in his bed because of how sick he was. Well that was my week and look forward to next week.
Elder Throop

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Daily schedule, Elder Chambi going home?


That's cool to hear about Halloween there. We do sometimes get the Liahona but it's not like the missionaries get a regular subscription. You just have to ask for one that isn't going to anyone in particular. As for a normal day I will give you the rough layout.

We get up 6:30 shower, eat, exercise and at 8:00 we start studies. We start with personal study one hour. Then 9:00 is companionship study one hour. Then if we can one hour of language study. With me and Elder Chambi its 30 minutes English and 30 minutes Spanish. That lasts til 11:00. Then we leave. If we can we try to get citas (appointments) at 11:00 and 12:00. 1:00 is lunch which can last a while. Then we have citas between 2:00 - 2:30 and 6:00 which is merienda (that means afternoon snack its like dinner) then we try to get two more citas at 7:00 and 8:00. At 9:00 we have to head home unless we have a cita then the latest we should be at home is 9:30. Occasionally it can happen where we arrive a little later than 9:30 but not often. Then we do nightly planning. Do things we need to do in the night (like fill in the area book) and at 10:30 at the latest we sleep. Now this doesn't always happen. On Thursday we have district and zone meetings were we recieve different trainings. That starts 10:30 (in the morning) but we have to leave around 10:00 to get there on time. That lasts til lunch. On Friday is weekly planning which can vary in time depending how many people you have and how many problems happen between you and your companion. That starts at 10:00 and can last til lunch depending on what you are doing. If you are used to weekly planning it can take less time. Sunday is church which starts at 8:00 so that day is weird as well. Then you can have conferences with 70's and other random things that mess up your schedule. P day itself is studies until 10:00 then Pday until 6:00 then you have citas. That is what our normal week can look like. This pday we went to Mr Joy again which was funny as our ward mission leader came with us. That was basically our Pday and we ate lunch together as well.

I do have some unfortunate news. It looks like Elder Chambi might be going home early for health reasons. I don't know when exactly but it should happen during this week. It has been hard for him and it has stretched my patience sometimes. I kind of am worried as this means I have to teach someone else the sector and the people as I don't know if I am gone at the end of this change and that gives me 3 weeks. That was really the bad news.

We have some investigators really close to baptism but oh no marriage and paperwork. Quite honestly I am ready to tell them to lie about the kids and say all the kids are from one man so they can just pay and get baptized. Abraham lied (for a good reason) just an idea of course but maybe. So that was really what is important. I'll try to ensure to talk about weird food to freak you out and man I can't believe how close Ben is to his mission.

Love you all and look foward to next week,
Elder Throop

Still have a Gringo Accent, Potential Investigators, Weird Food


Well this week was interesting with my latino companion. We are doing pretty well and he is pretty funny. I am still waiting on a camera to take a picture of him to send to you guys. We had a slightly harder week in terms of those we taught but we have to endure to the end and keep trying to find new people. I am speaking about the same amount of Spanish (maybe a bit more) with Elder Chambi then I did with Elder Goodfellow. Towards the end and really all of last change to be honest I spoke lots of Spanish. I still think my accent is the same which is disappointing really. I know quite a bit of the vocab and am doing better with conjugations but all the time I still have an accent I believe. I mean I speak it so much but still accent. I don't know why I can't get the accent. I mean I had a good French accent towards the end of French claswhen I was still taking French.  Still with practice and time hopefully I will get it down.

Today was a little harder as we had to go to the offices as Elder Chambi had a medical cita and so we missed the zone activity of football and I just wish I had had the opportunity to do that activity. Still life goes on. We have some investigators doing well and I believe we could have a baptism or two this change. There is this couple that we have been working with that lack marriage to be baptized. The man of the house had a word of wisdom problem but he is doing a lot better. We talked to them about a marriage date and they are considering the middle of November around the 12th.We will verify that today and help them get to this goal and then baptize them. They will be awesome members. There is another lady that has the chance to get baptized. She just needs to obey the law of chastity and then she can get baptized. She has a powerful testimony. Those are people with lots of potential we have.

Well I guess its time for weird food stories to gross mom out. First really strange thing I had here was chicken liver. Not too strange but it tastes weird in my opinion. I have had that twice. Then there's chicken head. It actually has quite a bit of meat to it and doesn't look too bad when there are no eyeballs. It was hard to tell it was head but when I saw the bones afterwards I realized I had just eaten the meat off a chicken head. I've had that once. I probably might have more stories about stuff like that as this really rich lady has offered to give us food basically every Sunday (one Sunday per month a lady from the coast will give us food) and this rich lady who is a recent convert likes giving us lots of food and nice food (for Ecuador) so that should be fun.

We have gotten some rain here although it is a little infrequent. I really don't know when the rainy season proper will hit.

Well I hope you all do well and wish you all love and a Happy Halloween,

Elder Throop

Empindas de verde, New companion, Finished with Training, Investors issues


I don't have any photos for this P day unfortunately but once I can I will get you some pics. I just need a camera (Preferably mine). As for my favorite food one really good one that I like is called empinadas de verde (a type of banana if I remember correctly) con queso. Those are really good. They are kind of small and a little harder for people to make but so good. They are a favorite here and you won't find them in America.  I still have a gringo accent (I think) when I speak Spanish but I know quite a bit which is really fortunate considering what has happened.

Now for the big news. We got changes and Elder Goodfellow is gone. He went to the north (as district leader). I recieved a Latino named Elder Chambi who is from Bolivia so for the next 6 weeks I get to speak lots more Spanish and also help him in the sector. He is the compaƱero mayor but the problem is that he doesn't know the sector too well. I will help him learn the sector and the people in the next week. So for a while I get to be like the compaƱero mayor (senior companion). Our district didn`t have too many changes except another Elder, Elder Leonard is now district leader. He will be starting his fourth change now so after this change he will most likely be going as his trainee is finishing training this change.

I have now officially finished my training which is a little strange but it is nice as now study time will be different (unless I ever train) I will try to get you a photo of my new companion sometime. In case you were wondering we still are in the same sector so I know everyone that I need to know. As for last week we did pretty well. I have some personal goals for the sector for things to do in this next change.

We had a very interesting week in terms of investigators going to church. We had an old lady and her son who we have been working with. They have gone before but they go infrequently. This time they went on their own after we invited them which is awesome. Her daughter didn't go and her daughter, Lupe, is someone that needs to obey the law of chastity to get baptized. What was really neat was her sometimes really drunk brother showed up. He has major problems with the word of wisdom but we told him you need to go to church. And he went. He looked unwell but he seemed to get a lot out of it and he might be baptized someday. Another really strange thing happened. We had this investigator family who are golden. All between them now and baptism was marriage. Like he had a word of wisdom problem and didn't want to get work. Then he got work stopped drinking smoking both read the Book of Mormon daily went to church as a family accepted the message well etc. Well we had a cita with them on Friday. A cita fija as we say (a cita guaranteed to happen more or less). They didn't show. Next day we meet him semi drunk smoking in the calle. He seemed off. What was weirder was her. She was acting different and was dressed inmodestly and just watched him. So we set up a cita to see what happened. No show. They didn't go to church and it was a nightmare more or less. Then today he called me to set up a cita and give me his number. So obviously they fell and want to repent which is great.

Well today was a little longer. Elder Goodfellow had to pack last night which was funny as his bags were basically empty. I have some stuff out with what I need but it wouldn't take me as long as he did (I hope) to pack. Then we left at around 8:00 to head to a nearby terminal called Quitumbe where transfers happen with missionaries (they receive companions coming in or head out themselves) It is the spot in Quito where you go if you are getting a non new missionary (training) or heading out. I ended up being there until like 1:30 because my companion came in from Riobamba which is far south and also he left around 10:00. Elder Goodfellow actually got his companion before I did and his came in from Santo Domingo. I think that guy left earlier. But I basically spent most of my day sitting in a terminal talking and getting really bored. Still now I have him and we still managed to buy a few things and he managed to unpack. That was my day and the important things that happened. I hope you guys do well and wish you all love,
Elder Throop