Josh's title this week was "Chip chip chip chip chip chip chip chip, NANNY!" from the Three Amigos (sorry if you don't know that reference, if you don't that quote probably scared you a little bit..) Enjoy!
I was thinking a lot this week about what I could write to you all. Writing is really tough. I have an hour to use the internet, and I need to use about 20 minutes to do things for the mission, another 10 to read you letters, and about a half hour to write all the things that I want to write. I never, ever write everything I want to write, and I want to do better, especially expressing my gratitud for everything that you guys do for me. I was reading a talk that Dad sent with his prayer talk research, and I loved what Elder Bednar said. He said how every once in a while, we should give a prayer of gratitud, nothing else. We don't ask for blessings, help, nada. We just express our gratitud. Today, I have a lot of things that I would like to talk to you all about, but today, I'm gonna take Elder Bednar's advice and apply it to weekly letter writing. Entonces.....
The Letter of a Debtor
By Elder Thomas
With Dwight Schrute
First off, I want to express my gratitud to each member of my immediate family.
Dad, thank you so much for all the support you have always been willing to give me throughout my life. Be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial support, you have always been there to help me out. I use your example in a lot of my teachings, almost every day I talk about you to my investigators. Whenever someone doesn't want to accept a baptismal date, I always use the example of when I was about 12 and really wanted to get serious about basketball. You were with me in the church gym whenever you could be there with me, helping me practice and get better. We focused on many different things, and soon, I could see a difference in how I played, and now I can say that I play well. They like the analogy, and usually accept the date afterwards, when they see it as a goal that we'll work towards together. You are a very selfless person, and I love and respect you so much. I cannot thank you enough for all that you've done for me, and I will always consider you to be one of the best friends I could every have.
Mom, you rock. Of course you are the Stake Relief Society President. Look of, Salt Lake, here comes Mama Thomas. You are such a wonderful, loving person, Mom. You show this love to every person you talk to, and everyone can feel your love. You care about and visit people that probably don't deserve love or a visit, and you do so happily. I am so grateful for your example. I teach a lot of single mothers, and I encourage them all to try to be like my mom. We read scriptures about the power of a mother in a person's life, and always give an example of my wonderful mother. I have learned so very much from you about how to love and how to treat others, and I use these skills daily. You love and care for me, and do all that you can to help me, even when I'm half a world away. I love you for that, and hope that you understand how much it means to me.
Erica/Andrew, you are the best oldest sister that I've ever had. I feel bad for not being around to get to know Eliza, but I can tell from all the pictures/videos that you are a wonderful mother, and Andrew is a wonderful father. You two are such a great example of how to love your spouse. You treat each other as complete equals, and Andrew, you will do whatever you need to to take care of Erica. You have a very cute baby, and an awesome little family. Erica, you've been such a good oldest kid for all of us, always being the one to try things for the first time. That takes courage, and I am grateful for your example to all of your siblings. Andrew, you've grown to be an excellent friend to me over these few years. I know that I can always talk to you when I need advice or just need to talk. Thank you for being there for me. I love you both tons, and thank you for your letters and support as I've been out on my mission.
Natalie/Alex, Jack is a chunker. I love seeing pictures of him, and can't believe that he's grown so much in just six months. Thanks for sort-of remembering me every week. I love your letters and advice, and seeing pictures of all you guys. You were a great support to me when I was out at BYU, the year would have been tough without you guys. You continue to be a great support to me here in Ecuador, and I appreciate everything that you've done to help me out here and keep me animated to work. Alex, you're a great friend to me, too, just as Andrew has grown to be. Thanks for spending time with me and playing basketball with me, those are some of my favorite memories from BYU. I'm sure you're the man at work, and rocking it as EQP. Natalie, I can tell from the pictures that you, too, are an awesome mother. Keep teaching Jack they ways of Batman, but maybe focus more on Robin since I'll fill the Batman seat. Thank you for being a good friend to me, and helping me to learn how to laugh when times are tough. I love you both tons, and keep up the good work.
Heather/Trevor, you guys are just rocking the celebrity couple world from what I hear. (My source is a Latino that has never seen technology). So first, congrats on that. What's the next big movie for you two? It better be good. You guys know how much you both mean to me. I was probably with you guys almost daily in some area of BYU, and somehow you never got sick of me. Thank you for being my friends at BYU, and helping me to stay focused in my studies, and not pull a Nick and Karl and live in the living room for a month. Heather, you've always been my buddy, and I have many fond memories with you. You are such an outstanding person in every way, and never doubt that. The Lord has big things in store for you, just keep on keepin' on. Trevor, thanks for always playing basketball with me during the week and helping me with homework (thanks to Heather for this, too). You are wicked smart, and I love playing basketball with you and just being around you. You two are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful people, and keep up the good work. I love you guys, and thank you for writing and supporting me every week.
Nikki, how are you a Senior? I hope you are loving your Senior year. Have lots of fun, and just enjoy it. I should have enjoyed high school more, you just have so many opportunities to do super fun things with fun people. Go to New York City, if Mom and Dad let you. You'll be fine with the homework, you're a Thomas after all. You have a wonderful ability to think of other people. Few people truly can do this, really consider other people more important than their own selves. You love and serve, much like Mom. You have a wonderful brain, too, Nikki. Be confident, you rock every test you take. You are a beautiful, intelligent young women, and shouldn't ever talk to boys. Remember to have fun during the day. I can have two horrible days in a row in the mission, but they can feel completely different depend on how I choose to feel. One day, I may feel worthless, and the day seems awful. The next day, the same things can happen, but I find that if I smile more, I enjoy the day more. So be happy, love each day. Thank you for your love and support, and for all the things that you do for me.
Amber, stop growing up, stop talking to boys. My goodness. Are you best friends with Puff yet? First off, Amber, thanks so much for always being willing to help me out when I ask for different things from you/the family. It means a lot to me, although I may not always say it. Time is always short, so I'm saying it now that every week that I ask for something, I'm always grateful for your efforts to help me. Remember to study hard. Enjoy high school, but get good grades. It's possible, it just usually takes more work than we want to put in. Put in the work, it's always worth it. Have good friends that you can keep for the rest of your life. If they'r gonna be a bad influence, don't be friends with them. You are a wonderful baby of the family to all of us. We all love you tons, and know that you're going to do great things with your future. Thanks for putting up with all the stuff the baby of the family has to put up with from the older siblings. Don't be too spoiled by Mom and Dad when you're all alone. Study lots, in school and in the Gospel, and you'll be blessed. I love you tons, Bam, and keep up the good work. Thanks so much for all you do for me.
Dash--Woof, woof, woof, woof. Miss you, buddy. Don't forget me, and lose some weight for Pete's sake.
Eliza-- Druel, druel, druel, liiiiiiiiigggggggggggghhhhhhhh
ttttttttt...whoa. Keep on being cute.
Jack--Food, food, food, Batman! Keep on chunkin'.
I'm grateful for America, and the freedoms that we enjoy there. I'm grateful that I can be in Ecuador for two years to preach the Gospel and help people to have a better life. I'm grateful that I can now speak two languages fluently. I'm grateful for technology that allows us to keep us connected instantly. I'm grateful for the people that I've met here, and for the influence that they've had in my life. I'm grateful for Quichua, it is a super cool language that I'm trying to learn. It has Hebrew roots, and many of the names of people in the Book of Mormon have Quichua roots. Sounds like the Book of Mormon is awfully true. Dios pashimit quilcascha fangacuna means Bible.
I'm grateful for food from America. I'm grateful for Chicago deep dish pizza. I'm grateful for Chipotle. I'm grateful for Captain Crunch.
I'm grateful for all the friends that I have in the States and for their love and support. I'm thankful for all the love and support of my extended family and friends, and all the things that you've sent to me.
I'm grateful that I have an hour every week to stay in touch with you guys, and hear about things that are going on in your lives. I am thankful for many things, that I don't have time to write. It's tough, probably impossible, to write everything that I'm grateful for.
And most of all, I am grateful for my Savior. I am honored to have the opportunity to talk about Him every day to people half a world away from my home. He is a person that is difficult to comprehend. He voluntarily gave His life for a world full of sinners, a world full of people who don't deserve what He did for us. He is the best friend of every person on the earth, whether they know it or not. He is always fighting for us, always willing to help us. I will love Him forever for that. He died for me, suffered for me, and continues to live for me. I bear testimony that He is the Savior of the world, and that every person in the world can find more happiness in life if they can find ways to grow closer to Him. Jesus is the Christ. Everything that happend in His life was designed to help us grow to be better people, and one day, through His efforts, we can become perfect, just like Him. I know that He lives, I know that He loves me, and I know that He blesses our lives in ways that we cannot fully comprehend.
I love you all, every single person that reads my letters. You are all wonderful people, and I love and respect all of you. While we all may be wonderful, we can become even better through Christ, and I invite you all to find ways to be a better disciple of Him. Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support, and please keep it up. I appreciate it so much, and hope that I can find ways to repay you all. You all rock, keep on being awesome, and find ways to be more awesome.
Con amor y gratitud,