Monday, June 17, 2013

"A realtor is really just a ninja in a blazer, we don't leave any clues behind. Nope, I'm completely clueless." Phil Dunphy

Hey all,

So, this week was really slow up until Friday. We had to go to Quito again, and we left Tuesday, had the meeting Wednesday, then went home Thursday and got back at like 6/6:30. So, we pretty much had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to work. The highlight of the trip was that I got to see Elder Paz. I miss him so much, and it was so great to see him. He's doing super well in the Gasca, and I'm super proud of him. And Dad, remember how you met Elder Hess in the airport? He is Elder Paz's son and my grandson, I got a picture with them both. He gave me the business card that you gave him. But, I got a call this morning from Elder Paz, and he got transferred to an area in the south just today, so I will probably never see him again, as he will stay in the Quito mission. So, that's a little sad, but one day we'll be reunited.  But, have you seen the Princess Bride?You cannot separate true love.

When we got home on Thursday, we got a call from the branch president, and he wanted us to come by and talk to him. We went to his house and sat down with him, and he said that he couldn't handle to stress of his calling anymore, and felt that he could not continue being the president. We told him to call President Ghent, which he did, and then we called President. He told us that he was going to send out one of the assistants to be in a trio with us, and that he would be the new branch president. He came out on a plane the next day to get started. His name is Elder Burr, he's from Provo. He's an absolute stud, unreal missionary. I'm excited to learn a lot from him in the coming weeks. It's interesting to see how the Lord has prepared him during his whole mission to be a branch president, because he is doing an excellent job. He has all the traits he needs to save this dying branch. I'm the first counselor and Elder Tuckett is the second. What'll happen is Elder Tuckett goes home two weeks from today, then Elder Burr goes home six weeks after that. So, I am killing them both. I am an assassin, fear me.

I am officially in the MisiĆ³n Ecuador Quito Norte. Two weeks from today, the mission will officially be divided, and I will be with President Richardson. The mission offices are in the same building, so I'll still be able to see President Ghent every now and again, but it's still a little sad to have to change presidents. But, President Richardson seems great, and I am really excited to get to know him and his family once he gets here. It will not be fun, however, to fill him in on the things that have happened in the branch in the past, cause he'll just get a good headache. But, he's called of God, and he will lead us well and we'll learn a lot from him. One thing that the mission has helped me out with is being used to change. It happens often, and you just have to deal with it and keep on working, a great trait to have when things change in life in the future. So yeah, he's here in two weeks.

I was studying about sacrifice today in my personal study. We all need to get better at sacrificing for the Lord. It's so easy to get to the point where we are doing "enough," which is an awful mentality to have. Obviously, we should realize when we are doing good things that will help us reach our goals, but that does not mean that we are doing "enough." There is always a little bit more we can give to the Lord and His work that will help us progress and grow closer to our Savior. We can also get better about our attitude when we are sacrificing time, talent, or whatever it may be. If we do it with complaints, we aren't doing it right. And that may be the hardest part about sacrifice, not complaining. So, I've been thinking about that a lot--avoiding the thoughts of my having done "enough," and not complaining when I have to sacrifice. Especially as a missionary, it is so easy to have days where we think that we have done "enough," but I've learned that those days don't exist. Certainly, there are days where we have been very successful and have done our job, but it will never be "enough." That'll be a good thing to keep in mind in my future, as well, especially in Church callings. It will be very easy to assume that I've done "enough" in my calling, call it a day, and go home and watch an episode of TV's hit show, LOST. While I will certainly have times where I am dutifully magnifying my calling, and certainly there is always time for LOST, the status of "enough" will not be reached while I am on the earth. Studying the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel is such a great thing to do, everyone should read from that chapter (6) at least once a week. It provides us with constructive and subtle "you're not good enough" thoughts and goals that help us to progress. So, just so you know, you're doing great with what you're doing, but you're not doing "enough." So, stop watching LOST for an hour of two, and go visit that one guy that needs a visit. His name is Jack Shepherd.

We're really excited to have Elder Burr with us. We've had an excellent week, found two new families yesterday and...wait for it...they're married! That is literally a 5% chance of finding in the orient. We hope to see some great things going here with the help of such a great Elder. With a full week, we can get a lot of good things done. I feel like he's Superman. The branch has been floundering lately, and this may be the added boost that it needs to get going. We'll do all we can to find new people, to strengthen the members, and to get the less actives back to the branch. Do you guys have any tips that could help us out here? Anything that you've been doing to help out your organization/congregation? We'll take any ideas that we can get. Elder Burr leads the branch so well! We had a consejo de rama yesterday and we didn't having any shouting or fights. Not one punch thrown. It was so different from what has been happening in the past few months, and all the members are excited to have him here too. Obviously, the problems of the branch won't magically be changed by his being here, but it will make a huge difference to have a good, strong leader here. It'll be a great time to learn and grow together as we study and learn how to be leaders in the branch.

Another week with not much happening since we didn't have much time to work. But, I'll keep you updated if anything cool happens. I saw a monkey, her name is Gabriela. She was pretty nice, but chained up to a tree like some kind of animal. Come people, she's no animal, she's a monkey. I would have offered her a banana, but I didn't have one. I want to get eaten by a boa constrictor and slice my way out of it with a machete, a realistic dream that will become a reality. Worst case scenario, I die. Best case, I can say that I've sliced my way out of a gigantic snake.

Have you guys been watching the Bible videos? They are so good! We watch a lot of them since we have 2 hours online now. My favorite one right now is I Am the Light of the World and the Truth Shall Make You Free, where he totally destroys the Pharisees. Are they planning on putting those on a DVD or something? It would be cool if they did.

I am now over a year old. It's amazing, isn't it? I remember very well the day when I went into the MTC. It was a bitter-sweet day, but now I'm just happy. I already don't want to go home, but there is no point in thinking about that right now. I'm excited to use my experiences from this past year to help me to become a better missionary and to continue progressing in every possible way. One goal that I have is that before I finish my mission, I will have read or listened to every one of Elder Maxwell's General Conference talks. I love the way he teaches and speaks, he's very eloquent. He uses cool words like "poise." Let's be honest, when was the last time that you naturally used the word "poise?" You say that word to make yourself sound smart, and he uses it because he is smart. Also, British people use that word, but that doesn't count because they are British. I didn't have time to read a talk by him this last week, but I'll print one off today and talk about it next week.

I gave a talk in church yesterday on how important it is to forgive and forget. I had great poise as I spoke. (See what I did there?) But, I think that they enjoyed the talk and that they got the message. I tried to nicely tell them that what is happening between everyone in the branch is not acceptable and not what the Savior wants from them, and I hope that they took that message away with them.

I didn't have any giant baby dreams this week, but maybe this week after eating a weird plate of food, I'll get hit with "Giant Baby Two: The Great Escape." If people could film my dreams, they'd get like 40 hits on YouTube.

Well, I think I've run out of things to talk about. This week, we'll finally have a full week to work, so I'll have a full week of things to say to you guys. You all rock and I love you all tons. Invite someone to listen to the missionaries, and remember that you are not quite doing "enough."
Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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