Monday, August 19, 2013

"Have you ever been in love with a nun?" Nacho Libre

Hey all,

So, just before I forget, next Monday, I may be going to Quito. And the next one. So, if I don't have tons of time to write, don't shoot me. It looks like I'll probably be training a new missionary out here, and I'll have to go pick up my "kid" in Quito. I hope I get another Elder Paz, that would be sweet!

This week was great work wise. I don't get along super well with the two Elders. We're not enemies, but we don't get along well either. But, we work hard, so that's all that really matters. We taught a ton of lessons. Here, it's really easy to find people to teach, it's just impossible to get them to progress. In Quito, usually if you can find someone, they progress pretty well, it's fun to see the difference in different sectors. I would imagine that in the States, when you find someone to teach, you are just so happy that you have to go to Taco Bell and get a chalupa. Oh man, I miss Taco Bell now. They don't like exercising, so I have to drag them to a place near the house where they have a track, and they nap while I run. Classic Latinos. I like living with them, though. It's fun to see the different habits people have from different cultures. I've been nailing the oatmeal lately. Nice little avenita, canela, azucar moreno, y lechecito, y boom baby! Nailed it. I've left the "Trix" diet behind for now, opting for the "oatmeal and omelet" diet, also known as the "Why did I eat so much Trix?" diet. But, I did buy a box of Trix today because they come with Justice League/Batman notebooks, so obviously I bought it.

So, miracle time. Since I've got here (since April), we have been praying, fasting, and working so hard to have more priesthood in the branch. In my time here, we've helping a lot of people come in to the Church, which is a great blessing for all involved. But, few of them are priesthood holders. We work and work and work and work, and have struggled a lot to find good men. We've prayed, and we've contacted and taught so many people, and nothing. A big problem is the work schedule of those who work for the oil companies, another problem is that the guys are just bums here. But, we kept working. Elder Burr and I especially worked so hard, and of all the things we found, priesthood wasn't on the list. We did find an opposum though, if that counts for anything. So, in this past week, from Sunday the 11th to Sunday the 18th, three men came up to talk to us, and said that they are members of the Church. Guy 1: Member for ten years. Holds the priesthood. Married. Three cute little kids. From Columbia. Awesome. Guy 2: Coming here from near Guayaquil. Newly married couple with goals to go to the temple soon. Ex-executive secretary of his old branch. Pilas and super cool. Guy 3: From Quito. Moving here this month, this month he's getting the priesthood. Getting sealed to his girlfriend in the coming months, who will live here with him after their sealing. Boom, baby. Not only three guys, three FAMILIES. What is up?? We're super excited for that, an awesome miracle. I always assumed that we would have to first find a good guy to teach, and bring him to the Church. Then, we'd have to train him little by little for six months to have the priesthood, get to know how the Church runs, etc. I thought that it'd be a long process. The Lord saw our work and our faith, and basically said, "Yeah, you could do that...but this would probably be a lot easier. Here, tengan." Pretty cool, huh? Obviously, we still need to find new guys to teach and to help, but it will be a lot less dependent on us with these three future leaders in the branch. It'll be a great step towards not having missionaries as the leaders.

All I've done in personal study is read the Book of Mormon this week, and I read pretty much all of Alma. Moroni was the man. I feel bad for not having read too many Elder Maxwell talks, but I'll catch up soon. While reading, I was reminded of the importance of preparation and constant work. There are several times where it talks about Moroni winning a battle or a city, and then he just keeps on preparing and strengthening his cities and armies. It would be easy to say, "Hey, cool, we won. Let's take a break quick then we'll get back to work!" but, he knew that they always had to be prepared to fight and defend. He understood that importance of making the weak things strong, and the strong things stronger. He probably could have been Batman, he basically was. He was super good at strenthening cities, too, with many levels of defense. Good example of how our testimonies should be built, with many layers. It is also how ogres are, according to Shrek. Also, Moroni teaches us about looking for times when intelligence can be a lot better than brute force. There were a few times when they probably could have fought and won, but a lot of people would have died. So, he just thinks of something cool and easier and just does it. In one of the last battles, the city is well fortified, they have tons of troops on both sides. They probably could have gone up and fought and won, but Moroni was smart. He climbed up the wall, found where they could climb over without being noticed, entered the city, and surprised them in the morning. Easy victory, few deaths. Nice, Moroni. It's the same with Helaman and his army, sometimes they had to fight, but a lot of times being smart was better. So, weak nerds of the world, we need you, and you can be useful! I love the book of Alma, this time through I really focused on the lessons that could be learned from the battles. Yay, war!

The branch is doing well, more than half of the members are on vacation, so nothing really happened this week. We're thinking of hiring a monkey to be the greeter in sacrament meeting.

It is really important to be happy.

I really miss Elder Burr. He was the best companion ever, we got along so well. And now he just left me behind. I miss the big fella. Hopefully sometime you can meet up with him in Utah and offer him gold, frankencinse and myrrh, as a token of his awesomeness. I wish he was still here with me, we were so fun together. But, I know that my future companions will be great, as well. One time, we tried to make coconut juice with pineapple and it was really nasty.

Nikki is going to BYU this next week. I want it publicly announced and known that if one boy utters so much as one syllable to my sister, I'll hunt you down and gut you like a fish! Stay away from her.

Dash, stay strong, buddy. Here, when dogs get sick, they don't give them a surgery, they just feed them chicken bones and garbage and they die, then they burn them. So I think you got the better end of the deal.

I talked to Dad about this, but I've had a big craving for root beer barrels lately. How good are they? Super good.

This is the time of year when a lot of the fun ends and school starts. I miss studying, to be honest. But, when you all go back to school and regular schedules, remember to read and pray every day, and to go to the temple a lot. And remember to write me...

I think that's about all that I can remember from my week, pretty tranquilo. I've been really tired. I love ice cream sandwiches. You guys rock, stay awesome. And we'll talk in a week!


Elder Thomas

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