Well, colada morada is still really good. The official holiday where they drink tons of it is this Friday and Saturday, but I leave tomorrow. Some people already are making some, so I am losing a whole lot of money.
We had the consejo de líderes today, it went well. Rumor has it that I have a package in the offices, hopefully my shoes came so I can stop walking barefoot all day. But, we learned a lot in the council, and I left feeling ready to work. We had a really good month in September, and a terrible month in October. It was mostly because missionaries are really stupid sometimes and aren't obedient and that leads to more problems. So, yeah. We talked about things that we need to do better to keep an eye on the missionaries and help them to be better workers. They asked some stupid missionaries to train on that, Elder Thomas and his companion Elder Black. A couple of losers. I hope that you never have to meet them. We talked for a really long time about it, because it just keeps on being a big problem. I don't know what it is about Ecuador, but lots of missionaries go home or just get into trouble. It happened last year in the other mission, it's happening again this year. Obedience isn't that hard, you just have to choose to do it. Come on, team mission. Step up. So, we set goals to do surprise visits to the houses of the missionaries in the morning to make sure that they're awake, we are going to do a lot more divisions, lots of new things that we need to do to, unfortunately, become more like babysitters. Elder Black and I did what I feel like was a good training, hopefully people liked it and will do what we said.
Names of people here are really funny, the highlight being a guy named Fricson. I giggle every time I hear it, and in my agenda, I write his name down as Freakshow. There are some really crazy names here, and when we ask people what it means or where it came from, they usually just say, "No clue! It just sounded cool!" There is a neighborhood called tripa de pollo (chicken guts), where I live is called santas vainas (more or less the equivalent of how we use "holy cow."), super funny. I just find a lot of things to laugh about here. The market is still my favorite part. This week I saw a little kid drop a chip in what was some kind of fluid seeping out of some kind of fish, picked it right up and ate it. Gotta love it, he'll have a killer immune system one day, if he doesn't die first. Natural selection!
I don't have too much to write about concerning the work yet, we have few investigators right now because we have a lot to clean up here. We need to get the missionaries obedient first if we want to see any kind of success. We are doing a good work with the less actives. Elder Black is teaching me a lot about how to do that. We visited around 10 less actives and they all came to church, and from one of them we got a reference, and he's got a baptismal date, which is awesome. Now, if they can just not drink anymore, we're all set. The leaders before didn't like the missionaries that much because they were wicked and didn't work, but after church, one of the councilors came up and thanked us for the work that we were doing. So, little by little, we're seeing the changes that we want. We just need to be patient and keep doing what we're doing, and soon we'll have a successful, obedient zone. Or it could backfire and we could all go home for being disobedient. Fingers crossed!
New Scripture Mastery Scriptures, eh? I printed them off. It'll be a hard work for me to forget the 100 old ones that I never memorized and memorize the new ones. I wish I would have been better about seminary, I wasn't bad, but I could have been better. I want to memorize the new list before I go home. I know that not all of them are new, but I know maybe 10 of them. Side note, if you're preparing for a mission, don't go with the scripture mastery, go with the scriptures in Preach My Gospel. A lot are the same, but the ones you'll really use in the mission are the ones that are found in Preach My Gospel. If you guys want to do the same, memorize all 100 by June, we could work together to do it. Game on.
I finished the Book of Mormon again, super true. This was the time where we marked everything about obedience in blue and every reference to Christ is red. Lots of blue and red. A great, great experience, I want to do it again, marking different things this time. Great idea by President Richardson. I feel so happy when I read the Book of Mormon, I hope you're all doing it every day.
With more talks from leaders and more news from the "outside," it is easy to see that some big trials are probably in the near future, and that we are passing through a lot of them right now. I've been thinking about what things need to be our anchors in the coming days. Obviously, Christ needs to be our foundation, He should be the center of everything. So, more the idea is what we can do in these days to build our faith and our testimony in Christ. I was thinking about a few things.
1. Temple attendance. In the states, we don't realize how blessed we are. Within a few hours, we can be in the temple. Here, people are happy going twice a year. We need to attend the temple more than we currently are. I'm one to talk, as I haven't gone in over a year, but I have a valid excuse...
2. House attendance. I think that this is a big problem. Here, the kids who are never home are never doing good things. We need to be in our homes more. A nice vacation here and there is great, like going to Topsail Island, but we need to focus more on important moments at home. That's where the good things are taught, learned, and lived. We've gotta spend more time at home with our families. After all, our home should be like a temple to us.
3. Daily scripture study. I was flojo on that back home. I read every day from the scriptures, but I didn't study them. Just opening them isn't enough anymore. We need to study them deeply to strengthen our faith and to be prepared for testimony earthquakes that will certainly come. Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Liahona magazine, any material that we can get our hands on to teach us more about the Gospel. We need a deeper Gospel knowledge than we currently have to better feel the Spirit to to be earthquake proof with our testimonies. We should especially study the Book of Mormon, because it all, 100%, depends on if that Book is true. If you already know it is, know it better. If you aren't sure yet, do what it says in the introduction, read, ponder, pray. We've gotta study more.
4. Keep a good journal. A really good one, with good and bad things that have happened and the things that you've learned from all of your experiences. Focus on the spiritual stuff, and talk a little about the other stuff.
5. Write your testimony down with the date, and renew it every month or so. Never forget the testimony that you have, that is a dangerous thing that happens sometimes. I've seen it happen a lot here, people just forgetting the testimony that they once have. Write what you know and why you know it, and look back on it frequently.
6. Buy Elder Thomas and iPhone 5. What? Who put that in there?
Those are five big things that I was thinking about, just ideas. There are many more that we could add, but bottom line is that we've gotta gear up for the times ahead. The better prepared we are, the better we'll put up with whatever happened. Focus on your testimonies, and stay true to it rather than to other people. The Church is true.
Love you guys, talk to you in a week!