Monday, September 1, 2014

¡Los Chillos Norte!

First week (kinda) in Ecuador: DONE! I have so much to tell you all and not a ton of time or a large English Literature backround--so pardon the hecticness of this email. But here I go.

My companion is Elder G, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He turns 20 on Thursday and has been out for 8.5 months. Hes a homie and has real good Spanish, especially for 8.5 months! We get along great and are connecting with the members and people in our area super bien!

We are opening a new sector in the Los Chillos Norte Zone. Basically the Ecuador Quito Mission is split into 12 Zones, spanning 250mi X 400mi. And with in those zones are districts, and within a district is a handful of sectors. My district is only 3 sectors, so 6 Elders. But there are about 22 Elders and 2 Hermanas in our Zone.

 Panoramic of Quito with the statue Panicio on the hill in the middle {click to make it larger!}

ANYWAYS, we are about a 45 minute bus ride outside of Quito, on the side of a mountain that seperates Quito from Conocoto. Our sector/where we live is a small area called Montzerrat. Our sector is super poor, but the people are super generous and freindly and a ton of people we meet are really open to hear the gospel. The members here are great too! We have a mamita (a women/fam who cooks us lunch) every day except Pday! Our ward is Vista Hermosa (about 120 members), and is at the top of this mountain that seperates us from Quito. 2 of the Elders in our Zone (A and T) are at the top, near the chapel. And then the other 2 elders (Cr and Caj), are below us. We see these 4 guys a ton (and live with Cr and Caj for now).

 View from our kitchen window

We live in a cool apartment with 2 other Elders. Elder Caj was just companions with Elder G before this, and he has 13 months and is from Lima, Peru. And Elder Cr has 8.5 months, and is from Paraguay, he speaks Spanish and Guaranese (an Indiginous language). He spent most of his mission in the Oriente (Jungle) before now. He has some sweet stories. They are both sick guys and force me to practice my Spanish all the time when we are with them. (Not that me and G dont usually speak spanish...its just nice to speak a lil English when we can haha). The 4 of us get along way well...our apartment and set up is dope.

The climate: The weather here is perfect. During the heat of the day it gets a bit hot because we are like 9500 feet closer to the Sun than in Davis...but its not bad at all. On a clear day we can see 4 Volcanoes from our Kitchen window.....its beautiful. Our casa/sector overlooks the valley that Conocoto and San Rafael. Just about half a mile from our house houses end and its just massive Ecuadorian mountain and trees. Every direction there is a dope view. All the Elders I have talked to said I am way lucky to be starting out here, everyone says Los Chillos is awesome--and so far I agree!!!

 Pano from out living room window

Food: Food here is bomb. We eat at our Mamitas house for lunch every day, and walk down to the Paneria / Frutaria most mornings to get some AMAZING pastries and fruit (for like 15 cents a piece of fresh bread and 5 cents a banana). We can't drink tap water so we buy big jugs of water (we have a little make shift stand with a open/close spot for a 5G water jug) and then we drink lots of juice and soda. We also eat cold oatmeal with milk and granola for breakfast...really whatever we want that is relatively cheap. The milk and yogurt comes in bags, and almost nothing here needs to be fridgerated which feels strange--but we keep all ours cold after buying. Dinner isn't a thing here...people eat breakfast and then lunch at 2 and maybe a little tiny meal or snack at night. So we don't eat until walking home or till we get home at 9, and usually are still full from the massive plates we eat during lunch. I really like everything I've had here.... Especially the bomb!

We walk a lot but also take a ton of busses. The bus system here is crazy big, and FAST. The rides are crazy...literally feel like were on the bus from Harry Potter most of the time. They barely stop for people to get on and off (unless its a small child or old person). No matter how far you bus its 25 cents. So we can take like a 40 minute bus ride into a town and it still be 25 cents...pretty nuts. Because we live right in our sector, its really not that much walking because its all relatively close. But there are some gnarly hills and other than right next to our appartment there arent a ton of nice roads. Most are dirt/rock. Some shortcuts we take feel like I'm straight up in Lord of The Rings cutting through these hills with houses scattered about. I love it...everything here is still so new everything seems exciting/interesting.

 Pano of the Valley of Conocoto/SanRafael from an investigator's house, about 5 minute walk from our house

There are TONS of wild homeless dogs. Like hundreds. One night at like 8:30 we were contacting and while chatting with a family at there door about 12 dogs were going crazy barking and all around us, so I manned the dogs as Elder G taught. All you have to do to keep a dog from coming after you is quickly reach down like you're picking up a rock...even if there isn't one....and they all jump back or stay away. Its so sad...they're honestly everywhere. The kids here aren't phased by them will be playing soccer at like 9 and dogs going crazy but they don't even notice haha. Different lifestyle out here for sure.

Well...thats all I have time for / mental capacity for right now. Make sure to check out my blog (that KT is running awesomely!) to see pics and stuff.

Love you all!
Elder Sorensen

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