Hope everyone is doing so well!

We went to the middle of the world. I am going to send pictures. Things are going well here in the mission and I am so happy to hear that you are all doing great.

Our week has been great. We have had quite a few meetings, but I always leave with a greater desire to work as hard as I can and improve in every facet of the work. I loved this month's "Leaders Counsel" and I also have been enjoying the other meetings. I have been putting in practice a lot more a training on "Rendir Cuentas" (I don't know how to say that in English) and there has been a different spirit present. Also, I am really enjoying training. It has been such a joyful opportunity to learn and serve. The 12 Week Program is what we use to train the new missionaries; it is an excellent resource.

E. was baptized and confirmed Sunday and is doing really well. Yesterday we were studying the section on "Como Comenzar a Enseñar" and one of the last points listed in the section says that as the investigators begin learning and attending church and fulfilling their commitments, they will feel a desire to make covenants with Heavenly Father. There was a lot of opposition this weekend with the baptism (it was supposed to be Saturday but the water was ice cold and he couldn't be submerged completely so we had to fix a whole bunch of things and refill the font EARLY Sunday morning... It sounds really funny now, but in the moment it was a headache. ahahahah), and throughout the whole process for E., but I could see in him that he felt a sincere desire to make a covenant with the Lord and he did all he could to make it happen. He is a great person and plans to move forward enduring to the end.

Sister Richardson gave a training this past week on "how to deal with stress." We put it into practice that same day as our appointments fell through and we were rejected by many as we contacted (it amazes me sometimes how cold some people are! My poor little companion has been so shocked. But she is doing better and better). Sister T is obedient, humble, and positive and she has been an excellent example for me. She said after every trial or challenge, "Let's give thanks! Let's be grateful!" and we did, and we could see how the Lord was willing to bless us when He saw our positive attitudes. I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 78:19. When we receive things with gratitude, the Lord can bless us more and more.

Funny that you asked if I had given talks, yesterday, five minutes before sacrament started I was asked to give a talk. It turned out good though and was perfect because I mentioned a couple things I had been studying and pondering lately and the following speaker spoke more about one of the things I mentioned. It was cool.
Speaking of church, being in the center of the capital, there are a lot of people who are not Ecuadorians and many speak English as their first language. One yesterday saw me and was like "Hey, I was doing an assignment on 'Traditional Ecuadorian Dress' and looking up pictures on Google and found a picture of you and it led me to your blog!" He was right there with his iPhone so he showed the picture he found and the entry on the missionary blog. I died. It made my day. Haha.

 Last Monday after p-day we had a few lessons and there was still some time left in the day so we contacted and found a Muslim from Syria who doesn't speak Spanish. We rang their bell and they answered on the little microphone box thing, you know? and I think they recognized my gringo accent, so they asked us to come in. He lives with his girlfriend who is Ecuadorian, Catholic, and does not want to listen to our message. She sits quietly and observes. He is Muslim and has a lot of questions about Christianity but he only speaks in English. Anyway, I am teaching him all on my own and he has a million questions and it is so interesting and complicated and I love it. Anyway, one of their beliefs is that Jesus is only a prophet, that he was not killed on the cross, etc. Everything that is going on with this investigator has caused me to ponder a lot on the Atonement. I have such a strong testimony of the atonement. I KNOW that Jesus is the Christ. I KNOW that He is the Son of God! I KNOW that He is our Savior! It has been a really interesting experience for me because like 88% of Ecuador believes that Jesus is the Christ, so I have had to take a completely different way of doing things with Alá (Not Ála because in Arabic that is God... The accent is on the second A in his name). Also, he has been mentioning a lot of what the leader of their country is doing... I am not exactly sure about all the details but it sounds awful. Anyway, it has been so interesting and just wanted to share. I am counting a LOT on the Spirit because 1) there is no conversion without Him and 2) He is my only companion in these lessons.

Mitch, thank you so much for writing! I love hearing from you!!! I miss your family so much. I loved hearing about your ward. What a cool experience. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE YOU.
Sam, I love you! Our assignments in the mission are so cool, huh? The work gets slowed down quite a bit, which is a bummer, but I realize what we're doing is so important and we help the work to keep it's pace in other sectors, right?? I hope all the missionaries out there are grateful for you. One of our secretaries here is Elder Morton and it makes me laugh because sometimes people get our names mixed up. Te quiero ñañito.
Dad, I love you. Thanks for writing! I know you are so busy but it means so much to me to hear from you. I would love to go with you to the ward prayers. What a blessing to have the calling you have! I respect you a lot Dad. I am afraid I am going to look so different when I get home. I have permanent bags under my eyes. I feel like I am aging as quickly as the President of the US with all the stress and sickness. But although I don't want to be broken and ugly, I like knowing that I am working hard and exhausting myself. I would be so grateful if you could look at some apartments for me. I would get back to you on that.
Mom, thanks for the talk. I am wondering where I was and why I didn't attend that devotional. I should have. This was something I needed a couple years ago, huh?? Thank you so much. Also, I love hearing about the work in Utah. So different! So cool. I think I was so oblivious to the importance of missionary work before. That will not be the case afterward.

Hermana Norton