Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Banana Capital of the World!

I am in Machala!    (Click here to find out more about Machala!)     

We got sent out here on Saturday.  We are now in the Aurora sector--which is about 70 times bigger than the sector in Guayaquil.  We are living with Elder Hickens.  It is a little strange to meet an elder and say “Hi, I’m Elder Ludlam.  My mom reads your blog.”

View from Grant's
Machala apartment
Our house is in the middle of the sector, on the fourth floor, way up in the clouds.  Just about every thing that we can see from our view is in our sector.  There is a lot bigger spectrum of economic status here.  In Guayaquil, everyone was about at the same level, living in little brick houses that are all built on top of each other.  Here in Machala, however, there are a number of members of the ward that have houses like you would see in the states while at the same time there are some members living in bamboo huts down in the mud.  It’s a pretty big range.

The ward here is fantastic.  Elder Gonzalez said he has never seen anything like it.  There are one or two young men preparing to leave in a few months on their missions who have been going on exchanges with us.  They have keys to our apartment, so they like to invite themselves over.  The ward is really supportive of the missionary effort and has given us a lot of contacts.  When they learned I could play the piano, they got real excited and said, ¨Finally, someone can play our piano.¨ I believe them when say that they have not had anyone touch it in several years because I don’t think they realized it has gone way out of tune.  After I played, I think they were all a little disappointed.  When I sat down, a ward member whispered to me, “I think the piano may be broken.”

Well, I am really excited to work with this area.  The people are a lot more open here than in Guayaquil.  We inherited a ton of investigators from the previous missionaries.  They have all said they were looking for something in their life, and they felt they found it when they met the missionaries.  It is rather remarkable how prepared some people are to receive the Gospel.  I think I will get to see more of the changes it can bring to peoples lives in this sector.
Maria Magdelena, Andres, Katty, Fabian Estacio

I enjoyed living in the office house for a little while, but it is kind of difficult to have a normal mission life, living with ten or twelve other elders, trying to coordinate who is going to meet which investigator when.  I learned that Assistant to the President only means that you are exempt from all the mission rules.  I had all the big mission home experiences: the iguana park, taxiing to all the different sectors, rat bashing, and sleeping with the air conditioning, etc., but it is nice to be able to just work with Elder Gonzalez and focus on our sector.

Well, I hope to hear from you all soon!

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