Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mission Specific Questions with Sister Dennis

Once the new mission president and his wife got settled into Guayaquil and their new home, I wrote Sister Dennis and asked her a few mission specific questions. If you have any that you would like me to ask please let me know and I will email her personally.

Do you recommend a backpack or shoulder bag? The packet says no back packs but I have heard this is mission specific. 

The missionary department has asked that missionaries start using shoulder bags instead of backpacks to give a more professional appearance--not so much student-like.  Of course, not all the missionaries that have backpacks now will be able to change right away (or at all if they don't have the money), but all the new missionaries that go out are asked to use shoulder bags.

Can sisters wear sandals? If so, what are the requirements? 

Only closed-toe shoes to protect your feet when you are out working, but on P-days you are free to wear sandals.

Do you recommend short sleeve cardigans or longer? I have heard it gets chilly at night.

Yes, I would bring some long sleeve sweaters as well.  I was very surprised that it can be chilly at night and in the morning.  In some of the areas along the coast, it get pretty chilly even during the day so a jacket is a good idea, too.

Are rainproof boots required? Do you think I would use them with the humidity and how hot it gets?

I really don't know what to tell you about boots.  I haven't been here during the rainy season yet, but the sisters tell me it rains a lot and that in some areas they are walking through water halfway up their calfs, so boots might be a good idea.

Are ped socks okay? I have heard that tights are required in this mission...but that may just be a rumor. :)

Peds are fine. However, I have asked our sisters to use stockings or knee highs to go to church, and on the occasions that they are able to go to the temple, to show respect for the Lord's house.

What is the weather really like?

Right now it's alot cooler than I thought it would be.  It's still humid and warm, but not awful like I thought it would be year round.  It's very pleasant right now--high 70's or low to mid 80's during the day.  High 60's at night with a cool breeze.  So far it's mostly been cloudy which is nice because on the days that it's been sunny it's felt alot hotter.  However, I hear that come November and December, the heat and humidity are awful and when it rains (and it pours), it just makes it worse.  It's like a sauna.  That lasts until March or April, so I've been told.

Are the wattage and outlets the same as the US?

Wattage and plugs are the same; however in some of the missionary apartments you 
might need the little adapters that can use the plugs we have up there where one prong 
is longer than the other.  Here alot of them are just the same size.

Tips from Sister Dennis on preparing to become a missionary:

Tips:  read the Book of Mormon in Spanish and study PMG as much as you can.  Also be 
very familiar with the missionary handbook -- obedience brings great blessings but exact 
obedience brings miracles, just as with the stripling warriors who obeyed every command 
with exactness.  We want our missionaries to be protected and be able to teach with power 
from the Spirit and see miracles in their missions, so we ask all of our missionaries to obey
with exactness. But to be able to obey with exactness, you need to know the mission rules.
They are in the missionary handbook. Just do all you can to be led by the Spirit and you 
will be a successful missionary!  You are going to love your mission, even with the trials 
and difficulties that will come.It's all good!!

Other things I have found out from friends who have served in Ecuador before and also from people who have traveled there are:

  1. Tampons are only available in the big cities like Quito and Guayaquil but they are expensive so take enough to last your trip.
  2. Take garlic pills so you do not get eaten by the mosquito's.
  3. Don't drink the water at all unless it comes in a bottle. (Don't worry the MTC gives you a nice water bottle with a filtration thing)
  4. Invest in shoes, the streets are cobble or dirt and your feet will hurt and the shoes will break down if you do not invest.
  5. Bring your own sheets, bedding, and pillow (the ones in the missionary apartments are bad).
  6. You can eat the fruit if it has a skin on it.

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