Sunday, July 7, 2013

"You're like a fun vampire, because you don't suck blood, you just suck." Troy Barnes

Sorry I'm super lame and didn't post this earlier! This is Josh's letter from July 1st:

Hey all,

We had another good week this week. The problema? It poured rain all morning yesterday, super hard. When it rains, no one leaves their house because none of the poorer people have a car and there are no buses here to take. So, we worked hard, and few people showed up to church. We're trying to figure out what we can do to help people get to church when it rains like that, because it happens at least once a month. Last week, we had 52 people show up, this week, 33. It was a little sad, but at least it wasn't because they didn't want to come. So, we'll keep working hard to see what we can do to get people in the church even when it's raining. Any ideas? Just in case, we already thought of training monkeys to go to their houses and hold umbrellas for them. It's still a work in progress. So any ideas other than that one would be much appreciated.

We called President Richardson last night to get to know him over the phone and fill him in a little bit on the branch. On Friday, Elder Burr and I are going to Quito for the Leader's Council, so we'll meet him in person there. But, he seems great. He has a very happy voice, and I'm excited to get to know him a little better over the next year. I don't know too much more about him other than today was his first day in the offices and he has a very happy voice. I'll let you know more next Monday after I meet him, but I'm really excited to work with him.

Elder Tuckett ya se fue. It was a little triste, gotta admit, but it was time for him to go. He didn't want to leave, he just wanted to keep working. I'm sure that that's how it is for most of the missionaries that go home. I'll have him hook up with the Thomas' in Utah so you can talk to someone that has been with me recently. He lives in Lehi and will probably be in the Provo Bakery a lot because his dad owns it. So, bye Elder Tuckett. Now it's time to kill Elder Burr.

Today I was studying about the importance of the Church. I mean the importance of actually going to one. Here, people say something that they never would say in Quito. Tons of people say something along the lines of, "The Church is not a building. It is our individual bodies. We have no need to go to a building, because we are the Church. We are the cuerpo de Cristo." When they first said stuff like that, I would think, "Okay, that's not right, but bless their hearts, they are trying so hard." And now when they say it I just get mad. They get all up in my face and try to say that by saying that we need to go to a church, we don't believe in Christ. Wanna bet? One hour of study was all I needed to destroy anyone who says that. Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and common sense are my allies. I am very excited for the next time someone says that, it is game time. 1 Corintios 12:12-22 or something like that is all I need. Sidenote. The book of 1 Corinthians basically destroys all apostasy in the world today. I love it.

Neal A. Maxwell continues to be awesome, no surprises there. This week I read about being a "man of Christ," as Helaman describes the person. very great talk, speaking on how we need to act to be considered a true disciple of Christ. Here is a great paragraph from his talk: “The man of Christ” knows that a loving, living, and revealing God did not, as some imply, suddenly lose interest in mankind about A.D. 100, grow bored, and wander off into space. The disciple worships an unchanging God, and proclaims that the good tidings are brought anew; for the gospel is not merely a gospel for one age, for one people, or for one place—it is a gospel for the galaxies!" I like how he says that a man of Christ understands the importance of the Gospel and understanding our relationship with God, essential because Christ Himself understood that perfectly, and if we want to be more like Him, we must do the same. He is talking to the priesthood here, and says that the guys need to be good fathers if they want to be men of Christ. They must focus more on their family and the things that they can do to help their family to be happy. "He sees that those who do too much for their children will soon find they can do nothing with their children. So many children have been so much done for they are almost done in." I love that, too. We have to be the right kind of parent, and not just give and give all of the time, we must spend time with those that we love. We must also learn to love what we have. What he says here kind of goes along the lines of being content with that which hath been alotted unto us, he says, "He is a realist and will not succumb to the narcotic of nostalgia, but will lean enrichingly into the present. He knows he cannot enjoy the quietude of one age and the technology of another; he will not, therefore, as some do, demand to have “the Victorian age, but with penicillin.” It really doesn't do well to dwell in life, if you think about it. I like his quote here for that reason--we must avoid regret and just look towards the things that today holds. This is a big paragraph, sorry, but he gives great talks and paraphrasing what he says doesn't quite do the trick. As men of Christ, we must always be willing to do what we are called to do, whatever the calling may be. "(The man of Christ) expects a variety of assignments in the Church; some carry the thrills of making a beachhead landing deep in enemy territory, and others involve “minding the store” back home. When he sings, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord” (Hymns, no. 75), it is not only a promise to go to a Nineveh, but it is also a pledge to stay at his present post." So, whatever you calling is, do it! So, let's do a better job at being like Christ, eh?

I love this Gospel, I love this Church, I love my mission. This is the best time in my whole life, and I look forward to every day of these two years. We finally have people progressing here, which is great, but doesn't determine my happiness. I love my family, I just love everything. I encourage you all to remember how important the Gospel is, and how important it is that other people know how important it is. This week for 5th Sunday, we watched segments from the broadcast from last week. It was really successful. We watched to song/video segments, and everyone got really excited to invite their friends to get to know us and to come to Church. When members give us references, it makes us so happy. It can be a simple invitation just to listen to the missionaries to learn more about our beliefs. We also hand out cards that say "Venid y Ved," (come and see) that we give to tons of people, because that is our only invitation. Just come and see, and if you want to know more, we can help you with that. Invitations as simple as that can make a big difference. There are ways to share the Gospel with everyone we know, we just need to work to find out how.

Next week, I'll write a better letter. I usually have things in front of me to use as I write, but I'm washing my backpack today and had nothing to bring the stuff in, so sorry if this letter was all over the place. I love you all tons, I'll work hard this week, and we'll talk in a week!

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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