Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Monday! Josh's title was a classic Dwight quote from The Office..the quote is from an episode where there's a bat in the office and Jim pretends to be turning into a vampire to trick Dwight. "If there was a vampire in the States, it would make sense for it to come to a PENNsylvania."

Hey all,

First off, I need to talk about my experience with arguably the dumbest North American that exists in the world today. We were walking to lunch on Wednesday, and a car came up to us and asked for my help. They said that there was a North American wandering around, couldn't speak a word of Spanish (why is he here?) and very clearly lost. We hopped in his car to go talk to him and help him. After about 10 minutes, we found him, and I went up to him with Elder Sanchez to help him find his way. I went up to him, and with a smile, said, "Hello, I understand that you're a little lost and could use some help." He looked at me with such hope in his eyes, then saw our missionary plaques, and said, "No, I'm okay." I wanted to punch him right in the face, very Christlike of me, I know. He walked away before I could say more, but I stood there thinking, "Dumb man. There is not one other person anywhere close to us that could help him. I speak Spanish and English, and have lived here for six months. I could literally get him anywhere that he needed to go." Stupid. But, all things happen for a reason, and the man who drove us in his car and his family are getting baptized the 9th, which was a cool experience. He turned out to be the brother of a member, and they were really excited to listen to us. So, long story short, dumb American, great family that we ended up finding.

My time here is coming to a close. Week 24 here, holy cow. That's a long time to be in one sector.I've learned and grown so much here. My first two changes were so difficult for me. I wasn't very happy, and I never really felt like my efforts were doing anything. In these 3 months, I grew so close to the Lord, and learned to depend on Him in everything that I do. I was humbled, and progressed a lot in my relationship with my Savior. I learned to understand the significance of the Atonement more in my life, to understand how often Jesus Christ helps me in everything I do in my life, and what it means to be truly be converted. I learned to work hard, and to keep working, when nothing seems to be going right. I learned what Heavenly Father truly wants for me as a missionary, and what He wants me to do to help other people understand their purpose in life.

My last 3 months here were complete opposites. We had great, great, great success, and I know that it is all thanks to the Lord. We've been able to help many people not only be baptized, but to become converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every convert we have is at church every Sunday. We don't have to call or pass by their house anymore, they come on their own. They have friends and faith, which will keep them coming to church for years and years. Sonia is now the Young Women's secretary after having a month in the church, and is so excited about it. Sneider and his mom, Sonia, are already starting to save up for Sneider's mission, and are faithfully paying their tithing and seeing the blessings from doing so. The Ponce family is struggling as the father left and the mom is struggling to find work, but they are receiving help from fast offerings and serving well in the church. Pamela, one of the daughters, is so, so, so smart. She knows so much about the church already, and I don't know how. She is faithfully attending seminary, and is the smartest student in the class, according to the teach. The Santos family is doing well, the son, Dennis, received the Aaronic Preisthood and now passes the Sacrament. The Morales family (brother of the man from the first story) is doing well. The wife, Veronica, gave a great talk in church this Sunday, and she and her husband plan on going to the temple this year. All of the recent converts are going to the temple at the end of March to do baptisms for the dead with the bishopric, and all are very excited to go. I understand how Ammon feels in chapter 26 in Alma. I just wanted to shout out how happy I feel seeing these people having such happier lives. I feel so blessed to have been an instrument in the Lord's hands, and to have been a part of the conversion of these wonderful people. It is going to be very, very hard to leave this ward. The bishop expressed his appreciation for me, and wants me, Mom, and Dad to come visit him when the mission ends.

99.999999999% chance of me leaving in a week. I hope that I end up going to the coast, because the seafood is super good there, and people say that the rice isn't bad. Plus, there are a lot of black people, and they speak Spanish a little differently. They say "diga" and "b" at the end of almost every sentence, and drop all of their s´s. If I go there, I am going to learn how to talk "thug" Spanish. Also, if I do get sent there, I may not be able to write, just a head´s up. The farthest away sector in the coast is 8 hours away, and if I go there, time may be tight. So don't freak out if I don't write next week. Diga.

I finally got the blanket. Soft? Yes. Warm? Yes. Gigantic? Yes. Wolves? Absolutely. I love it, it rocks, and it howls, too. Those are some pretty fly wolves on the blanket. Please be sure to thank J.P and his family for me.

I got one package, today there wasn't another one in the offices, so they'll get to me eventually when they come if I do leave Quito. I got some letters today, a handwritten one from Dad and some dear elder letters. Trevor, I loved the story about the kiss cam. Classic kiss cam/old people moment. Remember the episode of Modern Family when Gloria and Phil were on the kiss cam? Great episode...

There is this 14 year old, Michael, who I think I've talked about before, that is just a stud. We have 4 investigators with a baptismal date all thanks to him. He's given us so many references, and we just go out and work with him, and we talk with his friends together. Every reference we gave him was at church this Sunday, and they all are super excited to get baptized. I'm a little sad that I'm leaving, because in the next cambio, a lot of our investigators will get baptized. But, I know that Elder Sanchez and his new companion will take care of them and see everything through. I'm going to miss everyone here that I've grown to know and love over the last six months, and I really hope that I'll be able to see them again someday.

That's about all I've got today. I think that there was more that I wanted to say, but I'll probably remember those things in about an hour. Remember, if I don't write next week, I'm okay, just traveling far away. I love you all tons, thanks for all that you do for me. You're all the best, and we'll talk to you soon. Oh! And I bought a Book of Mormon in Quichua, I'm gonna learn a new language. Halla!

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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