Happy Monday! So Josh climbed a mountain...how awesome is that?! He sent some pictures too, but I for some reason I can't get them to load right now--I'll try again later. If you're curious, Josh titled this email : "'If we don't live together, we're gonna die alone.' My journey as represented by LOST. By Elder Thomas. With Dwight Schrute.' That is a combination of stuff from the show Lost and The Office, and he continues with a little something from The Office in his first paragraph, so if you have no idea what he's talking about there, that's why. Enjoy!
Mis queridos hermanos,
Do I seem to write with the intelligence of someone who recently climbed a mountain? If so, it would be because I did. My name is Elder Thomas, and for the next 40 minutes I'll be guiding you through the lives of Bob and Phyllis Vance. In Webster's dictionary, wedding is described as the fusing of two metals with a hot torch. We have two metals here, gold medals. Clap, clap, clap.
I hope all is well this week. This week has been very tough, but I am really happy today. I finally got to do something fun that we've wanted to do since my first week here, and I have time to write you guys. I printed off you letters this morning and read some of them about three feet from the sun. It took us 3 hours to climb and come back. Really cool. When we got up top, the clouds of the day were just moving in, and we were literally standing in clouds. Sad to say, it's not like in Peter Pan. They are not trampolines, but cold and wet. It felt so cool to be so high and see everything. Quito is so sprawled out, it's cool to see. They hike up was just like an episode of LOST. I felt so cool. It was like a jungle hike up, pretty tough. Then we got up high and saw that there was a very easy path we could have follow, but where is the fun in that? Call me Doctor Shephard yo.
One thing I've forgotten to write for a few weeks is thank you for taking care of Dash. I really appreciate it, and he does too. I miss the little buggers. Here all the dogs are either dead, sick, dying, smelly, deformed, stinky, or just plain mean. One day here, and you'll think Dash's barking is nothing. I hope he's doing well as it's getting colder.
Also I think my cholesterol is dangerous high. You wouldn't believe how salty the food is here. Dear me. Some of the rice I eat is more salt than rice, and my heart groans. I usually start eating very quickly because if the host eats before me, they'll say, "Oh, it needs more salt!" and it's just game over. If I eat first, they lose all power. Muahaha. Sorry, Dad, if your son comes home with heart problems, or if he just calcifies and never comes home. Also, I faced a new challenge this week: eating with a PLASTIC spoon. Eating chicken with a spoon was hard, put in the plastic factor, and you've got yourself a half hour fight with chicken. I definitely have leveled up in spoon eatery.
No baptisms this week. We've been having lots of troubles getting people to show up to church. It kills me when they don't show up, just kills me. But we're working hard and doing what we can to make everyone feel invited and welcome in the church. Another big problem is marriage. Lots of people aren't married, and a big reason is because they have kids from other partners, and this makes the papers really hard to fill out. We're doing what we can to help our families in this situation. Elder Richimondg is a big help because he's from Ecuador and knows the laws pretty well. When he leaves, I'm not sure what I'll be able to do. One thing you guys should do is offer to teach an investigator with the missionaries, and offer to pick them up for church. If members here did that, I would be in heaven.
I had a list of things to write, but we came here right from the mountain, so I can't remember everything. I was reading in Joshua this week. He's awesome, probably why he's named after me. After they took down Jericho like none other, they went on to take Ai (I think that's the name.). When they went, they got scared and ran away from the fight, and the whole land made fun of Israel and no longer thought them to be a threat. Joshua prayed to the Lord, and straight up complained. He said, más o menos, " We're supposed to be awesome and we're not. What's the deal, God?" and I love the Lord's response. He basically says, "Why on earth are you on the ground complaining?! Get up! You've got a bunch of sinners among you. How can I help you if you're sinning. Get up, get working, and stop your whining!" I thought a lot about this, because that's how I feel a little bit. I'm thinking, "I'm working so hard and should have success, why am I not succeeding?" and I think God's response works here for me. "Stop whining Elder Thomas, help people repent of their sins and mistakes, and then I can come in and do the rest. Get up, get working!" I'm gonna try to remember this as I work throughout the week.
How are the babies doing? Calculus yet? Hopefully soon, if not now. Erica, I think you asked me about plants here, and yes, they are different. I would give the scientific name of each one, but I think there are maybe 4 people in the world who can do that, and I doubt any of them have social lives. They're pretty though, and there are a ton of new, really tasty fruits here.
Winnie the Pooh is pretty cool. There are a lot of Winnie the Pooh things here, and it's made me remember how cool Winnie the Pooh is.
The rain is getting rainer. Right now it's raining hard. I love it, but when we have to walk in the rain for awhile it kind of stinks. Usually in the mornings hace sol, and by 3ish in the afternoon it's raining. Last week we didn't have much. Elder Richimondg says that the rain we have now is nothing and that it'll get harder and colder in the next month or so, right when he'll be leaving. December=mangoes, and I can't wait for that. I wish I could see the seasons changing in the states, here everything is getting greener right now, which is still really pretty, but I miss seeing the leaves change. The mountains are getting greener every day, which is cool to see. It smells bad here, there is a lot of poo in the streets, especially of the good old cow. People just walk their cows around until they can find grass. Our hike today was saturated with it, not good smelling for the nose.
I should probably start wrapping it up, or rapping it up, whichever you prefer. One thing that's been weird with Spanish/English is that I'm at the point where my brain automatically uses some Spanish words instead of the English word, especially with Gospel stuff. I cannot pray in English, I straight up cannot anymore, not in my head, not out loud. When I try to, I stumble and forget words. It's really cool and really weird at the same time. I love seeing my progress through things like that.