Well, if there was one lesson learned this week, it was that if you leave garbage in the garbage can for too long, maggots come.
On that note, what a great week! We worked very hard. We had the most lessons in a week that I've had in a long time, maybe in my whole mission. We really need to find new people, so we're working very hard to do so. It's hard sometimes. In the wards in Quito, when we're really struggling to find, we just go to a member's house and they would usually have a reference for us to visit. Here, for lack of members, a lot of it falls on us. We work very hard every day, but in the end, no one came to church. Ugh. It's not that hard, people, you come to a building and learn about God. You don't even need to worry about your kids, we just throw them in a room alone and see who comes out alive. In the words of a frustrated sister missionary from training videos that we watch, "Just come to church!"
Last week, the printer wasn't working, so I couldn't read a Maxwell talk. Boo.
We went to a park today, Parque Perla, where we could supposedly have seen a lot of monkies. After an hour of so of looking for monkies, I saw a surprising 0, Elder Burr claims to have seen 3, but I'm hesitant on that. But, I've seen monkies before, so I wasn't too disappointed. Cost me a dollar to listen to mosquitos. Awesome. But, I took some pretty pictures. It was really funny when we were leaving, though. We talked to the people at the desk about how we could see the monkies. The guy said something like, "Oh, you just missed them, they come out at 12 and leave at 12:15." He must have seen the disappointment on our faces, then said, "But here, have this!" And he pulled an opossum out of nowhere. He just reached under the desk and had an OPOSSUM there (are there two p's in oppossum?). Who puts an opossum on a desk. My initial thought was, well, that's not a monkey and will give me a tapeworm, but Elder Burr grabbed it without hesitation. It's his birthday by the way, he's 21. Woo! We laughed really hard, but that was totally unexpected. "Oh, you wanted to see a monkey? Here, let me summon an uglier thing for you to play with." We may have been at Hogwarts.
I've been on a new diet lately called "Eat lots of Trix." It's going great, and I am completing my goal every day without problems. They just released the Econo-pack, which is them just realized that Trix was way overpriced here for a long time. Gotta love it.
I was studying Alma 5 this last week, what a great chapeter. Alma is the man. I loved Elder Cook's talk a few months back about the verse, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a achange of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the bsong of redeeming love, I would ask, ccan ye feel so now?" What a great question. The whole chapter is basically, "Remember how things were when you first decided to join the Church? Why aren't you doing that now?" And he just macheties everyone. He does it so well. If you left, come back. If you need to fix something, fix it. If you haven't come into the fold yet, come back.
41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth agood works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a bchild of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
42 And whosoever doeth this must receive his awages of him; therefore, for his bwages he receiveth cdeath, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
If you want to be good, do good! Alma was dealing with a whole people that were living stupidly and expected to be happy. Do good things! Serve in the Church, help other to do the same. Obviously, not everyone in Zarahemla was guilty of scorn, they were doing great, but too many people were prideful. It was a big deal for Alma to quit being the judge. That would be like George Washington quitting after a few years of being president, wishing the government well, and never having anything to with it again. Alma was the first chief judge ever, probably a hero to many people, and he just left to do better, more important things. That's what we need to get better at. There was nothing wrong with Alma being the chief judge, he did so righteously, but he saw that they better thing to do would be to leave all that behind and to serve the Lord, to help His people. We need to be more willing to leave other things behind to better serve the Lord. Of course, that's easy for me to say since that's what I did, but there are smaller, more everyday ways to do that as well. We could skip doing some work to go play with our family, we could miss the game that night to go visit someone, anything simple. Go Alma, go us. Remember why you are a member of the Church, and use that rememberance to help out other people to do the same. We can do better. As we do so, we will receive the wages we deserve from the best employer that there is, the Lord.
"Killing" missionaries has been interesting for me. This is the second missionary in a row that I have "killed." Elder Tuckett thought about home a lot, he got pretty trunky. Elder Burr isn't trunky at all. It's interesting to see the difference in the missionary, and it makes me think about how I want to end my mission in my last change. If I am correct, when the split happened, I am the only missionary from my group in the North mission, or the only one who will be going home in the whole mission during my last change. I think that I want to try to have it that no one knows when I'm going home, not even my companion. That would be awesome if I could do that, just work as hard as I can to the last day, then tell my companion, "By the way, I'm going home tomorrow." That'd be awesome, but it all depends on if there is someone else in my group in my mission. If there is, it is too hard to contain unless I were to kill the other missionaries in my group..... But, killing missionaries does make me feel like I have way less time than I really do. They talk about home all the time and future plans, and I feel like I should be, too, but I still have a long time left. It's great to have a lot of time left, I want to have a lot of time left, but it is weird to see people who are actually going home soon.
I came up with an idea to help out the guys progress here. The branch basically has no priesthood, and finding good men that can progress is very, very, very hard. Impossible. The hardest thing is the work schedule of a lot of people here. Many men work for the oil companies, so their work schedule is wacko. They work for 3 to 4 weeks straight, no days off, and go way deep into the jungle where the oil wells are. They are out there the whole time pretty much, and unable to come to church or to listen to our lessons. Their families progress without them, but the Dads don't, which is a problem. After working for a month, they have one week off. One week. Then they're back to to oil wells. How stupid is that? So, we were basically thinking about how it stunk that none of the guys would be able to progress with that schedule. One day as we were walking, I realized that that was the wrong attitude to have. We shouldn't be thinking in how they can't, but how they can. The idea came to my mind to make some kind of kit thing, a folder with talks, scriptures, and assignments that the men could take with them to the fields. It would be a brief study assignment, a program designed for their month away. That way, they could still learn and progress and gain testimonies, although they aren't present with their families for our lessons. The only problem would be that the men have to be very determined and motivated to do this, because if they don't have the motivation, there is no one there to push them to do it. We're still in the developing phase, but hopefully we can come up with something that works!
I am jealous that you are all together this week and that you get to go to the Dells and eat at Paul Bunyans. Just the idea of a buffet makes me so happy, especially when that buffet has a lumberjack theme to it. Remeber the lumberjack club in high school? Thanks, Even Stevens. Have fun without me. While you're eating buttermilk pancakes, I will be eating worms from decaying trees. Live it up, take a few pictures, and Dad, eat 2 donuts for me. Someone take a picture of that, as well, I want proof.
I love you guys tons! Dad, Mom, Erica, Andrew, Eliza, Natalie, Alex, Jack, Heather, Trevor, Nikki, Amber and Dash, have a great week together and enjoy it. Watch the Dark Knight Rises for me. Eat well, swim well. Live long and prosper.