Ecua-Fact: Christmas isn´t all that big here but everybody hands out chocolates and cookies and candies. It´s more like Halloween than Christmas. You can buy pre-made candy bags and the local grocery store.
I feel like Couldn´t be Happier is becoming the slogan of my life here in El Carmen. I love it and the people more and more everyday. The best news is that after 6 weeks together my companion, Hermana del Águila, and I will be staying together for Christmas. I´m so happy and relieved to have my favorite companion for the Holidays.
Julio Cedeño is still really doing well and was able to come to church this week which is a pretty big sacrifice on his part. We are trying so hard to get him his second interview but with President Sloan on bedrest it is proving to be quite the difficult task. He finally decided to gift each of us a pair of his earrings and we are working on the other pairs. He also hasn´t been to the Discotecha in 3 weeks, I feel bad that he can´t dance but it´s better if he avoids the whole drug, alcohol, women scene because those are his biggest vices.
Gabriela Loor is also doing really well, she came to church this week on her own. We usually have to bring her, but this week she told us that she really felt that she needed to attend. We also found out why we have never been robbed in Union Popular where Gabriela lives. Turns out that Julio Cedeño and Gabriela used to be a couple and he told us that the reason nothing has ever happened to us there is because Gabriela´s brothers are pretty notorious for gang behavior. It´s pretty sweet that we have a protection order from Gabriela. Nobody can touch us in all of El Carmen. Sweet.
Henrry and Yomaira are also still doing really well and seem to be fitting in nicely in our small ward. Henrry recieved the Aaronic Priesthood this week and he seems so happy with Yomaira. They still have their ups and downs but seem to be working through things much better.
We are getting excited for Christmas here in Ecuador and hope that everybody back home has the Happiest of Holidays! Remember it´s all about Christ not the money ya spend.
Hermana Whitney Tanner
Ps. I had the most amazing Encebollada for breakfast (ie. tomato fish soup with banana chips.......yummy, in a non-sarcastic way) I´m going to miss Ecuador.