Monday, April 1, 2013

"What else floats?" "Rain! Apples! Very small rocks! Churches, churches!" "A duck!"--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Happy Monday! Josh was so excited to get more emails. Also, I'm going to start putting Josh's email titles as each post's title. Enjoy!

Hey all,

So they don't do anything for Easter, anywhere. It was a big let down. We didn't sing one Easter song in church, and none of the talks even mentioned anything about Easter. But, that's okay, it was a lot like Christmas. I brought the Ensign from March 2008, where every article talks about Christ, which was a big help. I just whipped that out and read it whenever I had a spare moment. It's always different being in places away from home for holidays, but it's good to see how other cultures celebrate, or don't celebrate, holidays that take up a big part of our lives in the states.

We went bowling today with Sister and President Ghent, and it was a lot of fun. It was pretty much the first time for all of the Latinos, and it was really fun to see the different bowling styles. Elder Paz? His first time up to bowl, he gets a strike, and gets the highest scor of any of us. Hableme en serio. But it was a lot of fun. We thought about proselyting in bowling shoes, but President didn't seem to agree on that.

I did not have to eat the Fanesca this week, thank goodness. Elder Nelson had to eat two bowls of it and he said he just felt bloated for 12 hours, and the next morning was not pleasant. So, crisis averted there. What did you guys end up doing for Easter? Ham and that jazz? And who won the perfect plate contest this year? I hope I was awarded some kind of honorary prize, maybe best dressed or something along those lines.

We received a lot of references this last week, which was really great. We got nine, and one family had us over for dinner to get to know their neighbor and invite him to General Conference this next weekend. He's really great, and I hope he keeps listening to us. I'm super excited for General Conference this weekend. It's honestly better than Christmas or other holidays in the mission, because we don't work, we get spiritually uplifted, and we don't get trunky. Plus, we'll be with tons of gringos and they're bringing food for us. There is a burger place nearby that an American runs, has root beer and all, so we're going to eat there as a zone after the Saturday morning session. What are the odds of President taking us out to pie after the Priesthood session?

I did divisions with the Zone Leaders this week to do an interview for them. It was a pretty unique interview. The person came in claiming that all the prophets of the Old and New Testaments were Catholics. We spent a while talking about how they were all Jewish until Jesus came and started Christianity. I had never heard that before. The person said that the Catholic church was as old as Adam, so we had a brief little history lesson. It was really interesting, and was a testimony to me of the scripture that talks about how many people don't have the truth because they don't know where to find it. It's a great priviledge to be here helping people to understand the Gospel as Christ taught it, purely and without any changes.

I really love Spanish. Every day my Spanish gets better and better, and I just love it more and more. I mean, English will always be my native language, but a lot of things are getting easier to do in Spanish than in English now. It's funny talking to other North Americans in English, because we say all the church words in Spanish and all the other words in English. We say things like, "did you hear he got bajared (demoted)?" I just love learning how to say new things in Spanish, and it makes me appreciate languages even more. I want to study more languages when I get home. A teacher in the MTC told me that Italian is really easy to learn after learning Spanish, so maybe I'll give that a whirl. It's cool becoming fluent in a language, because you really understand how it works, if that makes sense. Before, studying in high school, I'll always try to find an exact translation for the things that I wanted to say. Being fluent helps me see that for a lot of things, there just isn't a translation. You have to really learn how to weave the words in the languages to say what you mean to say. For example, here they say, "Qué les vaya bien," which would literally be, "that it goes well to you," but you wouldn't say it like that in English. I just love learning how to say everything in two languages, and really mastering how people can use Spanish. Languages are awesome. If I ever go to Otovalo, I'm gonna do my best to learn Quichua. They're opening up like 6 new sectors there. The church is very strong in Otovalo. They are sending out 80 sister missionaries and 40 missionaries in the coming months, all from one little city. Very cool to see the Lamanites accepting the Gospel, and seeing all the promises for them in the Book of Mormon being completed.

We have changes next week, and I could stay, but I think that it is more likely that I will leave and Elder Paz will stay here to train a new missionary. We finished March strong, and April is looking good too, so it would be a great environment for a new missionary to work hard and with excitement. I'd like to leave Quito, but whatever happens, happens. This is my 6th change in Quito, same goes for Elder Nelson, and we'd like a change of scenery and get to know other parts of Ecuador. I think he and I are the missionaries with the most time in Quito, at least it sure feels like it. So, if I don't write much next week, it'll be because I got transferred. I wouldn't mind staying here another change, but I wouldn't mind a little more to leave.

I had a dream this week that I was Batman. I was coming out of retirement after a few years, and was really excited to beat people up again. I trained, put on my suit, and scaled a big building to scout out any wrong-doers. I found them, so sprang from the roof, and tried to spread out my cape to glide...and I started falling...and falling... and faceplanted in the pavement. Everyone pointed and laughed at me, and I felt very stupid. Turns out that I forgot my gloves that put an electric current into the cape to make me glide...amateur mistake. I was pretty embarrassed.

Oh, and I ate a Cinnabon today. So, so bad for you. But oh, so tasty. $2.20, worth every cent. I'm gonna take out a bit of money for General Conference, because we are going to eat a lot. Not too much though, because the package that you sent to the Dowlings is ridiculous. That is a lot of food. I'll bring it to Conference on Saturday and it'll disappear quickly. Thanks for sending it, it made me remember that Easter still exists in some parts of the world.

...Thanks to everyone who wrote to me this last week, it means a lot to me. Sorry if I couldn't respond today, I'll do my best to respond in the coming weeks. I hope you all have a great first week of April, and that you learn a lot at General Conference. I'm calling an Elder Oaks talk in Priesthood Session... I love you all tons, have fun this week!

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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