Monday, January 14, 2013

Josh's title this week was "It's time to CHAAANNG your point of view."--Senor Chang..That's from Community, just fyi..enjoy!

Hey all,

This week was a pretty good week for us. There is a 14 year old, named Michael, who gave us 4 references this last week, and they're all progressing investigators now. Two need to get married, but they all came to church and loved, loved, loved it. In my experience, if you can get an investigator to church one time, it's golden, because everyone talks to them, welcomes them, and they just feel really good and want to come back. Especially with references. I love references. Every reference that we've gotten that we've been able to contact with the reference-giver has progressed and most have been baptized. It makes such a difference when they know someone in the church. Plus, one of the references has a ton of family that are members, and she said she's always noticed something different about them, and wanted to know why they were so happy. The Lord really does prepare people.

I am sorry to hear about Bro. Marklevitz. He really was a wonderful, wonderful man, and was truly converted to the Church. I learned a lot from him when Dad and I home taught them, and I hope all will be okay for his family.

We had two awesome guys that were gonna get baptized last Saturday, but they had to move last minute to the coast, which was a bit of a bummer for us. But, we passed along the reference to the missionaries out there, and they should have been baptized by now. It's tough when things like that happen, but it's a good reminder that all the missionaries are on the same team, hoping to help people to have a better life, and that you can count on missionaries anywhere to do their job and help out everyone. They were really cool and really black, and really fun to be around. But, that's how it goes sometimes!

We had interviews with President Ghent this week, and they went really well. He told me, paraphrasing, "I'm really happy with everything you're doing. All the reports that I hear about you are great, I just want you to keep doing what you're doing. I think about you a lot, but never worry about you, which is probably the best thing a mission president could say to you." He's a great president, a great man. I don't interact with him too much, but every time that we talk, I feel like we know each other 100 times better. I'm excited to continue to build my relationship with him. Sister Ghent is great, too. Every time that we have a reunion, she always tries to give a talk. She's not very good at Spanish, but everyone loves and respects her so much for giving it her all to let us know that she cares about us and the work. Great people.

Question. I never got a Young Men's medallion. Someone in our ward got one this week, and I was thinking, " off! I never got one?" I did the Duty to God stuff, is there any way I could be rewarded a Post-Humous Young Men's Medallion? They look really cool in Spanish, and if something looks good in Spanish, it's gotta look good in English. My cardboard cutout can go to church and receive the medallion on my behalf, or Dash.

Thanks for walking Dash and taking care of him. I forgot to mention that last week. It means a lot to me that you're willing to do that, and I know that he loves it too. If you met one dog here, you would all think that Dash is an angel. His barking is nothing. I officially named one dog here my enemy, and anytime that I walk by, he barks so ferociously at me. I pelt him with a rock. My hope is that before I leave, my rock makes him fall off the roof, and he dies. I do not like dogs here, they are the worst.

President Ghent asked us to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning as a mission, and to note all the scriptures that have to do with obedience. We had interviews on Thursday when he asked us to do that, and in four days, I have found almost 100 scriptures that talk about obedience, and I haven't even finished 1 Nephi. Nephi was a very obedient guy. Examples of his obedience are as simple as an angel telling him to look, and he looks. He was and is a great example of obedience. I'm excited to get to learn more about obedience as I read through the Book of Mormon again.

We finally got the Liahona from Novemeber on January 13th. A little delayed, but that's okay. I've downloaded the talks onto the mp3 player, and listen to/read at least on talk every day. I love General Conference. The session in April will be here before we know it. Those men and women are truly called of God, and I feel so happy and enlightened after re-reading their talks again. We have yet to receive the Liahona from January.

Lorenzo Snow was the man. I feel like I can relate to him really well. I didn't know that he was so big into studying and learning. We should all be more like him; we should never feel like we're done learning. I loved the examples in the manual where it talked about him being 86 and at the end of a conference talking about how much he had learned. What a stud. I love learning, too. I'm glad that I have been blessed with an analitical mind, and have a knack for learning. I honestly wish that we could have more study time during the day--there is never enough time to study everything that I want to study. We get home at night, plan, and I get reading as fast as I can. I have 10 new goals for 2013, I'll send you them next week because I don't have them with me, but a lot of them are about study habits. I want to really use my study time as wisely as possible to get the most out of it.

Thank you for sending a new camera and for sending the recipes. I will not be in this zone two weeks from today. I have no idea where I will go, although I hope that I go to the coast. If I'm out of Quito, they send packages and mail every Thursday, so it won't be delayed by too much more. I will go to the offices next week just in case I leave Quito, and it'll be my last time there for a while to see if I have anything waiting. I got the Jensen family Christmas card, you guys look great, although I don't believe that Quincey's smile is real. Thanks to all who write me, and sorry that I can't write back personally to each one of you. There is not enough internet time, and I don't know how to get letters to the US that I write. The letter from September still hasn't arrived. Know that I love and cherish each letter and package...

I should probably close up shop. Love you all tons, thanks for writing me and sending me stuff, you're all the best. Thank you for all that you do to help and to support me. 

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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