We FINALLY went out in service!!! As Elise mentioned earlier, they do not go out on Mondays or when it is raining. So our attempts for service have been squashed up to today. We almost didn't make it today even. Really pathetic story: We got locked in our apartment. The service group was meeting at 8:30 at a plaza that is 9 blocks away. We are ready to live the house at 8:10-8:15 and we cant get the key to unlock our door. We tried and tried and tried. We ran to my room and moved a giant bookcase out of the way of the other door but it was locked too! That door has a different key and we aren't sure where it is because we never use it (giant bookcase in front of it). So we run back to the other door and try the key over and over again. Finally we bang on the door until a worker passes by and sees us. She then runs to get the spare key and gets us out. She can't make our key work either but we didn't have time to figure out why. It was 8:20 so we told them that we'd deal with it later because we were very late. So we walked as fast as we could the 9 blocks to the meeting. Sucre is all hills and the elevation is 9,000ft so we couldn't run like we wanted to without dying. We texted an elder that we were coming but coming late (turns out he wasn't even out). We finally got to the plaza at 8:40 and didn't see a group. So we sat on the stairs exhausted and called a sweet sister from California and asked where the group was. She said she had a dentist appointment that morning so she wasn't out but would call around for us. So while we waited we gave Spanish tracts to whoever passed us. Eventually we got a text that said the 2 groups were just a few blocks away and we barely missed them.
We caught up with them and were assigned to work with 2 fleshly sisters (they almost sent us just by ourselves but one of the brothers realized that we have no idea what we are doing and they rearranged things for us). I worked with Monica who has been pioneering for 11 years now and is 26. She speaks a little English here or there so she was able to help me when I was at a loss for words. Elise worked with her younger sister Tatiana who is 24 and married to Erick- a brother from Santa Cruz who knows English and has helped us often with translation. We mostly observed their presentations but tried it ourselves a few times. Many people were busy but accepted tracts. The witnesses here are so patient at doors! They knock, no one comes. Knock again. Still no one. Then again and again and wait forever in between knocks. Then someone actually comes! It surprised us so much!
My best experience was one that I wasn't expecting to go well. We knocked on the door of a daycare. A woman came to the door and I introduced ourselves and told her that I understood she was working so I would just leave her a small tract. She then said (in Spanish but I will retell in English) "Watchtower right? I love reading those, do you have any?" Shocked I said yes and gave her the February issues. She then asked me to come another day and speak to the children about God and the Bible. She would like me to come once a week and do a Bible study with the morning group and then later that day with the afternoon group. I said sure! The sister with me explained to the woman the different books we have and videos for children and how I will bring them. We tried to schedule it for Monday but it is a holiday because of Carnival so we are going to go on either Wednesday or Thursday next week which will give us plenty of time to get a lesson plan together. There are children of all ages so we will have to mix it up so that all of them can get something out of it. I am hoping that once the holiday is over we can schedule it for Mondays so that when no one else goes out Elise and I still can. Too cool huh??
Monica and Tatiana
The groups stopped at 11:30 for the day (short right?) and a sister from the other group ran up to us and asked if she could feed us lunch. Of course we said yes. We ran around, picked up the food, and went to their apartment that is actually 2 blocks away from us! They are the sweetest couple ever. I think they came here in October from Switzerland and will be here until July when they will go home for a little, work, and then return. He is from Spain originally and is an elder in the hall (I think..). They speak french to each other constantly and it is hilarious. Her English is better than his so she has so much fun listening to him when he tries to speak English to us. They have great humor and we laughed constantly. They gave us a lot of advice about how to adjust here, especially after they found out that Elise has had problems with altitude sickness (she is a lot better now).
Melanie and Samuel
Did we tell you we have a place to stay for the Zone Visit?! Yay!!! We just need to book our flights now. The people we are staying with have already made our itinerary and along with the visit we will see the special tours at Bethel and go out for food at places that 'Gringos' apparently really like.We're just so happy we get to go :)