Monday, September 24, 2012

Josh turns 20 on the 27th!

Josh titled his email with a quote from The Office, a TV show that we used to watch. The quote was from the boss, Michael Scott, who is a little...unaware of how ridiculous he can be. This is the quote "Do I need to be loved? No, I like to be loved, I have to be loved." Anyways, enjoy his email!

Hey fam,

What's up? Thanks for all the stuff you sent me! This week we had a baptism of three people, which was really great. It made me so happy to see them be baptized, and after they all bore their testimonies and it was so strong and so sincere, I loved it. It looks like in October we'll have a handful more. I'm with Elder Richimondg for six more weeks, then he'll leave. I'll be here at least two more transfers, maybe three because I guess I may train after my 12 weeks of training. We'll see. Great week with the baptisms.

Today was pretty crazy, so I didn't really think about what I wanted to write. First off, I have received three packages with great joy...You guys literally sent everything I could want. It's like you know me really well or something! I love the thermal top you sent me, perfect perfect. I haven't opened everything yet because I want to save some for my birthday, but what I've seen, I've loved. I'm saving Captain Crunch for Thursday, I figured I may as well wait for my birthday. Thank you so much for the packages. The assisants said they've never seen anything like the packages you guys send. I opened one in the office to put the stuff in a bag since three boxes on the bus is tough. I got letters today to, basically I made bank today. Thank you so much. I don't need to but food for like a month, which probably means about a week there.

Can you believe that I'm gonna be 20? That's really weird for me, 20 years old. It seems like just last year I was turning 19. Thanks for the messages and birthday wishes. I'll buy something special for lunch on Thursday to celebrate, but surprisingly, no one here has put a fiesta together. How rude! But I'll have a good day, turn 20, and the world will keep on turning. 20 years, wowza...

  Physics seems to stop working in the buses and trolleys here. Two objects cannot occupy the same  space at the same time. Yeah right. Come here on one bus ride, and I will prove physics wrong. Someone will leave in front of me, and somehow someone else is still there. One law does exist still here in buses, an object at rest wants to stay at rest. Here, we refer to them as the eternal sitters. You get on the bus, they're sitting, you get off, they haven't moved. All I want is a seat. They never move...

The fires keep roaring, but far from me and high up in the mountains. I can see them, but they're nowhere close to me. Today winter started, as it has been raining and storming all day, which I love. Hopefully the arrival of winter will keep the fires down. Also, we have a granadía tree and a blackberry bush in our yard, and they'll start growing fruit soon with the rain that will come. Hurrah!

I'm really excited for these next six weeks, I feel like I finally have my feet set a little better and I feel a lot more confident. I have a lot of things that I need to improve on, and I'm gonna work really hard to be the best that I can be. I 'm getting to know the people here more, and beginning to get unique with the ways I teach each family.

I really miss basketball. I saw one today and really wanted to buy it, but I would never use it. I did buy Monopoly Deal in Spanish to play in the house, which  will be fun...  

I can't think of much more to write. Thanks for all of your love and support so far. I appreciate it all and love you all...   I love you all, and will write better next week!
Con amor, 

Elder Thomas

Here's a picture of Josh at the baptism he talked about in his email. He's on the far left (if you couldn't tell), the two men to the right of him are missionaries (those two missionaries and the man to the right of them, I'm thinking, are the ones who baptized the three lovely women in the middle dressed in white) and friends and another missionary are on the far right.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So sorry that I'm posting this later than usual (also sorry if you tried to read this earlier and the font was really + technology=not good)...Josh is fine as far as we know from his letter we got yesterday (for any who heard about the fires in the area he's in)

¿Qué tal familia?
I came prepared this week. I have the list. I have my cords. I am ready. Game time.

First off, I feel bad that I've forgotten to give my condolences (is that how you spell it) to our cousins over the loss of their daughter. I've prayed a lot for them and hope that they are doing okay and that the Lord is blessing them.

The cold isn't as bad right now, only in the nights now it's pretty cold. I guess in December when the rain starts it gets just miserable. Constant rain, constant cold, so that'll be fun. Maybe in a few months you could send me come stuff for the rain, I think I'm fine now, but rain every day could change that, we'll see. Right now I really want rain, it's rained one day since I've been here. There are fires all over the place, you can see them for miles and miles. Tons of them. So right now I want rain, but if I'm here for six months, I doubt I'll want it then. Also with the rain comes mangoes, so that's a win. I've heard you can buy 100 for 8 bucks, so I'll be eating many a mango soon. 

Absentee ballot--no worries, I don't think it'd get to me in time, and I don't think it's worth the hassel. If you want to send it, go ahead, but I have the patriotic attitude this round that my vote doesn't matter. Keep me updated on the race, also, why did no one tell me about iPhone 5?? Come on people, I have access to that kind of news never, and even I know that there is an iPhone 5 announced and some of the specs about it. I live in CHILLAGALLO ECUADOR, where technology like that doesn't exist. Step up, fam.

I eat a lot with a spoon. Usually for lunch we have a soup then a plate of rice and something, usually chicken. The soup is always delicious, then they take away the bowl and have us eat with a spoon. The rice is easy to eat with the spoon, but the rest of the food is not, especially if it's meat on a bone. They put the plate in front of me, I think, "challenge accepted," and proceed to somehow eat the meat with a spoon. I am leveling up fast in this area. My eating with a spoon skills with be off the charts when I get home, so watch out world.

The apartment is getting better and better. Just so you know, I feel bad that I've used so much home money, but almost all of it is for cleaning stuff and peanut butter. I bought a bath mat for the bathroom, which makes it look a lot less bacteriay. Hopefully today we have more time to clean, but we`ll see.

GenCon, I think we watch in in English as gringos, but there is a chance that we just listen to the Spanish, which is fine but weird to hear different voices for the speakers. My district is good, my zone is good. Elder Pande is one of my zone leaders, and I love him. He's really great and really helpful. Trevor and Heather, he says he thinks he's met you, you went to his brother's house for a football game or something? No sé, you guys may know him/his family.

We built up a garden this week for an old lady in the ward. It was really fun and the garden looks great, but it's super dry. I think she's just waiting till the rain comes for the stuff to grow. It was really fun. After, she made us rabbit and bananas on a grill outside, and Elder Pande said, we will all get sick from this, then started eating. It was funny, because it's true, we eat even when we know it'll make us sick. Luckily this one didn't do me in, and I'm still a-okay. Only the cow stomach has the power to ruin me.

This Saturday at 4 I'm starting an English class to try to get to know the ward better and to find new people. We're going to teach every Saturday at 4 as long as people come. Wish me luck! I'm excited and I think a lot of people will show up, but we'll have to wait and see! We're really pushing to work with the ward more, to get to know them and let them know that they can trust us and help us. Be really good to the missionaries in your ward. The help of the members makes a huge, huge difference. Here the culture is a bit different and it's hard to get the members to work with us. We're improving our relationship with them every day, and we'll see where we can get with them...

 I love you all, thank you for the letters and the support. Keep it coming, as always. 

Spanish is good, getting better every day.

Bastante amor,

Elder Thomas

Here are some the pictures he sent!! He also sent some video recordings, which are awesome..I'll try to attach those soon

Monday, September 10, 2012

And update on Josh...and his stomach

Josh just keeps doing better and better! Enjoy!

Hey all,

I have a bit more time to write this week than last week...This morning we went to the Teleferiqo, which was awesome and I have great pictures, but no cord, so next week I'll send them. We were super high up, maybe you can google it. It was really cool to see the whole valley, really pretty...

Now, one thing I've wanted to write home about for like 3 weeks but I've always run out of time. Remeber when they made Trix into circles in the US and no one was happy and screamed out injustice? Here, we have Trix with shapes. Here, we have happiness in cereal form. What a happy day it was when I poured my first bowl of Trix and was greeted with fruity shapes...

I can't really remember what else I wrote that I wanted to write haha, I'll bring the list next week... Slowly the house is getting cleaner, I have the kitchen pretty much under control. Gatorade is super cheap here, which is a blessing, yogurt is cheap and good too. I have two bowls of cereal and a pb and j sandwhich every morning for breakfast, and I read a general conference talk while I eat. I've kept up Ab Ripper, so that makes two years now of doing it nonstop. I doubt I've gained weight, if I have it's muscle from walking so much...

We have some good investigators that are progressing well, and hope to have a baptism before our first transfer, but we'll see what happens, we won't force anything too quick. Two groups in particular that I want to talk about quick are Pedro and the Tito family. Pedro has been inactive for 7 years, and we ran into him completely on accident after an appointment fell, and now he is coming back to the church. We've had some powerful, tearful lessons with him, and I'm so proud of the progress he's made. His family wants to learn more, and one day, if all goes well, they can be sealed in the temple. The Tito family is getting married in a few weeks, and then they'll be baptized. They've grown so much in the past month. We show up to appointments, and the father shares spritual thought with us, this week he taught us about Elder Scott's talk about receiving revelation. Very cool, and I'm honored to be in these peoples' lives.

Que mas, que mas... Spanish is coming along fine, I've been creating my own ways to teach things, and I'll send pictures of this next week. I love personal study, I'm about two-thirds of the way done with the Book of Mormon in Spanish. All you who speak Spanish should go through and read the Book of Mormon is Spanish, I love it... Anyways, this week was busy, but good, and unfortunately I don't have all the things that I wanted to write with, but that's okay. 

Cow stomach time. Monday and Tuesday were absolute agony. Dear me. Monday at 4, 9 pieces of pizza, Monday at 7, 0 inside of me. It was like my body was saying, "Was that a good decision? What were you thinking you idiot? It was the stomach of a cow, and you put it inside of you!" I can assure my body that it was no intention of mine to put that in my mouth, but duty called...

Spanish is really coming along great. I have few problems communicating my thoughts now, but there are still words I need to learn, and still some people that I can't understand, but it's getting better and easier every day. what else....


 I love you all so much, and will talk to you again in a week! (or during the week if something terrible happens and I need to call before I die.=))

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

Here's a picture of the Teleferiqo