Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious." Michael Scott

Hey all,

Well, this week stunk! I mean that both physically and metaphorically. I, of course, sweated a ton, a ton, a ton, and today I shaved off most of my hair. I couldnt deal with it anymore. I looked like I had just jumped into a pool all day long. It was bad. Mom, I don't wear sunscreen. It sweats off in about 10 minutes, so it would just be a waste to even use it. I am okay though, and drinking tons. Fasting yesterday was hard, but I survived. I ate seven bananas, lunch, and drank maybe 4 liters of water within about 15 minutes to break my fast, so I've still got the stomach and the apetite of a champion. Now, the story of my week.

Last Monday, we just stayed inside all day and played Monopoly Deal. I destroyed. Then, we made shakes and headed out to work. No one was home, so we just went off walking to visit some recent converts. Then, we came home, planned, and I showered for like 10 minutes, just standing in cold water. Got out of the shower and started sweating. There is no escape. But, Tuesday was really cold and pleasant. Oh wait, nope! Didn't rain once last week, not even at night! But, we had a great week during the week. We found this awesome little family of 8, the kids are hilarious. I hope they progress, becuase they are awesome. We found two families like that, actually. But, like I said before, the hard part here is the idea of committing people to do stuff. You can't trust what people say here, which is unfortunate. We call, visit, teach, yada yada, and every always says that they'll come to church, and they rarely do. So, the downer was that just about everyone we visited this week didn't come to church, except this family of 8. We had 41 people attend church this week, which is really good. Usually about 30 show up at best, and we had 41, with most being investigators. The highlight of the week was our first baptism! It was this little guy named Justin, we found him and his family contacting our first day here. The Mom is getting baptized soon, she hasn't been in town for awhile, but the son wanted to be baptized. We went to a nearby river to have the baptism, and it was really pretty there. I got to baptize him in the river, which was cool because usually we have a font to do that. (It was the last baptism in the river probably--the font for the branch gets here this week). He was really happy, and he has become good friends with some little kids in the branch. He's a really funny little kid, lots of fun.

I finished the New Testament in spanish this week. Super true. Apocalipsis is a sweet book. Good way to end it, John. There were a few things that I didn't understand reading through, like a red-colored horse at one point. I came to the conclusion that he was unintentionally endorsing Twizzlers. I may be way off on that, but also, I could be spot on. Never rule anything out. I loved being able to read through the live of Christ and the lives of his various Apostles. There were all wonderful men and wonderful teachers, and set great examples for us. Reading through the New Testament fortified my testimony that is necessary that we have men just like them today-Apostles and Prophets--to do exactly what they did during their own time on earth. We need men like that to love, teach, and serve, but I would say most importantly, to correct. A lot of the letters were sent with the intention to correct. Some saints somewhere were worshipping in the wrong way, teaching false doctrines, doubting in the faith, or just simply not being nice to other people. The Apostles used their callings and their authority to correct in the way that the Lord would have them do it, and did so in a very loving manner. I know that we need Prophets and Apostles today, and I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has them. These men have been called of God, and they are on earth to love us, to guide us, to teach us, but most importantly, to correct us. Only through corrections can our errors be fixed. No paper that we write is perfect-for that reason we always ask someone to revise it. There have been many times in my life where I have submitted a paper for revision thinking that there are no grammatical or spelling errors, as I have checked over it several times. But, every time I get the paper back, it is covered in red marks. We need other eyes to look over our work--wiser eyes, clearer eyes, and more experienced eyes--to catch the error that we ourselves cannot see. It is for this same principle that we need Prophets- We need men with better eyes to see the errors in the "papers" that are our lives that we cannot see. They can look over the things going on in the world, and make the marks of correction that we need to make our lives better. They do so because they love us and want us to be happy, and they are called of God to do so. I testify of the necessity of Prophets to guide us today, and that they can truly be found in the Church.

I was listening this week several times to a talk by Elder Maxwell. It is called, "Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us." I really like it. Elder Maxwell is an excellent speaker, and I want to listen to more of his talks. I was young when he was around, so I don't remember hardly anything about him. But his talk was so great about just being happy with the things the Lord has already given us. He talks about how Alma speaks of his desires to delare the gospel with a trump, but then later says, "For I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." Then, he speaks bascially about how it is easy for us to complain about situations or lack of things in life, but with the right perspective, we can always be thankful and grateful for everything that we already have.
Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his “thorn in the flesh”

Furthermore, varied as our allotted circumstances may be, we can still keep the commandments of God!

Everyone's tests and trials will be different, but we can all be happy during them, regardless of what they are. And, as he says, we can always keep the commandments. Neal A. Maxwell, you rock. All of you, read his talk. I'm starting to go farther back in time to find older talks that rock, you should do the same.
I've been reading the Book of Mormon in English this time around, which has been great. This time through, I'm writing down all the names of Christ the Book of Mormon uses. In about 100 pages, I already have 30ish, and I'll post that list on a letter whenever I finish the book.

I love studying, and I hope to get better and writing about the things that I have studied during the week. I know where the correos place is, so maybe I'll send a letter sometime, but probably not.

We had troubles in the branch this week. The leaders fight, but I don't want to get into too many details about that stuff. Basically, we don't know what else we can do to help the members. Please send any ideas that you can. We've used all the ones that have been sent so far, and they have helped, but the problem is not yet eradicated. Trevor, where is the Iron Man suit? You've had a year, and it's still not done? That would probably be the best solution to that problem. That, or bringing in Aslan.

Love you guys tons. We get to SKYPE on Sunday! We were thinking that we could do it at 5 our time here in Ecuador. We will have 40 minutes to talk, and I have Skype here. I just tested it on the computer I am using, and the video and sound work, I just need them to switch the headset for one with a microphone. So, we'll plan on 5pm on Sunday. I can call before to double check, we are authorized a 5 minute phone call if we need it.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my letter this week. I love writing them, I just hope there is someone who loves reading them. There are always things that I wanted to say, and I always forget them until Monday night, but I hope I wrote the important things. Happy day to anyone who has a birthday/anniversay/anything important this week. Love you all tons!

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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