Monday, April 29, 2013

"Daryl, were you ever in a gang?" "Yeah." "What are we talking, Bloods, Crips...""Both." "Wow. And what would you do if your homeboy just dissed you in front of everyone?" "We would give them something we call the fluffly fingers. You just go up to them and you tickle them, then you hug it out and go to church together."

Hey all,

I AM SO SWEATY. I got out of my cold shower this morning, and I was sweating within 30 seconds. There is no escape. The humidity will find you, and it will kill you. It is a tough battle, between sweating and me. You have to stay hydrated, or you get grumpy. But, hydration means sweat, which only invites the enemy. This battle is eternal, and I don't know if it will ever end.

I met this really ugly animal this week, I think you spell it "guatusa," and it looks like a rodent of unusual size from The Princess Bride.

No new foods, but soon I think that I will have to eat these worm things, the ones that he ate in Bizarre Foods, the grub things from trees. Woo!

There are many large bellied men here who sit around shirtless and get drunk. I feel like I'm at a Packers game sometimes.

This week was another tough one. We got investigators to church, but tons of the members didn't come. It's like the experience you shared with me, Dad, about how investigators came to church, but no members. We have to be in 4 places at once on Sunday. We have to go swing by our investigators, I need to be there on time to play the piano, two of us need to bless the sacrament, usually one of us talks, we do a special musical number, we teach, we watch the kids, one of the Elders is the executive secretary, lots of work to do. But, I love it. I feel like we're helping the people more than I did when I was serving in a ward with lots of members. Here, you get to know everyone a lot faster and a lot better, and it's just easier to feel like you're making a difference. It's busy, but it's always better to be busy than to have nothing to do.

With our investigators, it's a little frustrating at times. Here, it is fairly easy to find new people to teach. In general, the people here are very open and very nice. The problem is, there is no other church in the city that requires committments. In the other churchs, you just show up, sit down, listen, and leave, and you're good for the week. Here, the Church is young, so first off hardly anyone has heard of it. Second, our Church requires committment, and a lot of it. So, we're tyring to figure out what to do to help investigators progress well, and develop testimonies. We need strong members, and to have them, we need to teach well and they need to cumplir con sus compromisos. One thing that really seems to work is the Book of Mormon. No one has even heard about it, and when we teach about it, everyone is like, "Hey! That makes sense!" We're thinking of really focusing in mainly teach three things about the Book of Mormon: what it talks about, how we have it, and what it means if it's true. We've been teaching in that way for a few days now, and it's helping a ton. It's a very simple way to teach people about what is different between our Church and the other churches, and why it is important to complete with their compromises. We are also thinking of giving everyone that comes to church a free pet monkey, but that's if nothing else works.

This Saturday, we're having an open house of the building to help people know that the Church is here. If it goes like the branch activity that we had on Saturday, we'll have a whopping 5 people show up! But we made fliers and stuff like that, so we're going to really focus on getting people to come to that this week, and we hope that we can at least open up a few new doors with some people, and that the community knows where our chapel is. We're hoping and praying that it will be a success, and if it isn't, we'll think of something better to do in the next couple of weeks. Here, we can't get down or disheartened, we just gotta keep going and the Lord will help us out.

I'll probably be finishing the New Testament in Spanish this week. There are some versus that I like better in Spanish, and some that I like better in English. I've decided that my rule with reading things here is that I have to read it in Spanish before I can read it in English. So, I'm starting to go through the Book of Mormon in English, and when I finish the New Testament, I'll start that in English too. The Book of Mormon is way better in Spanish. English seems to have the ability to use a lot more words, like more variety of words meaning the same thing, and Spanish is at times limited in that sense. Comparing the two, sometimes the Spanish version uses one word, and in English, the word is way more powerful and has a better significance. I love Spanish, but English wins.

When I started writing this letter, it was raining and cool(ish). It has stopped raining and I am now dripping sweat. The absolute worst part of the day is lunch, when they give you the hot soup. What are they thinking?!

The Zone Leaders are going to Quito tomorrow and will get back Wednesday night, so we have to cover two sectors and visit their investigators, our investigators, and basically all of the members. We'll have a busy week. But, we're really excited to keep working. I really hope that I stay here for a long time. There is so much to be done, and I'd be honored to be able to help out. I just feel like what we're doing can make such a difference. We're excited to work hard this week, and we hope to be able to see the fruits of all of our efforts.

I don't have too much more to inform you all on this week, next week I want to have more. I feel bad during the weeks where I don't write a lot, but oh well. This week was a lot of walking, sweating, and teaching. I ate a lot of BonIce. I want to start sharing more about the things I studied during the week. I love talking about the people I work with and who they are, and will continue to do so, but it's hard to say everything I want you to understand about them, because you aren't living with them. So, I want to start talking more about the things I study during the week, because that is stuff that anyone can easily understand without having to be in a certain location with certain people...

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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