Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Francisco! That's a fun name! Francisco..." Buddy the Elf

Hey all,

This week has gone by unbelievable fast. I haven't even had time to think. I'll walk you through everything that happened starting with last Sunday.

We had three baptisms this last week, the kids of an inactive family. They got confirmed in church, and it was a really good Sunday. We had lots of investigators there, they members were really helpful with all of them. Church ends, and we get a message from the zone leaders in the other zone in Esmeraldas. We called them, and a councelor in the stake presidency had caught two of the missionaries in our zone in an internet café on a Sunday in normal clothes on Facebook and YouTube. Bueno. So, we called President, had to go machete the Elders, President talked to them, machetied them. He told us we'd talk later, so we kept working. We got home after working, and were waiting for the changes, they usually come late. It was about 10:30, and the phone went off and we figured that it was the assistants with the changes. Elder Black picked up the phone, it was President calling. I figured that he wanted to talk more about the two Elders, but he asked to talk with me. I just thought, "Crap, what did I do?" But he talked to me a little about the two Elders, then explained that he's been keeping his eye on me for awhile and was happy with the leadership that I had been demonstrating, and wanted me to come to the offices to serve as one of the assistants. I told him that I would be happy to, and that I'd head out as soon as possible. We left at 7:15 in the morning on Monday, I got to the offices around 3. They put me right to work, I did verifications of some of the zones, it was fun to do them. We got some reports ready, then we had to go to President's house for the farewell dinner of the missionaries who were ending their missions.

I felt so spoiled in the farewell dinner. Super good food, and I just had to be there to eat it. The dinner went well, then we had to go to the airport for a sister whose flight got in at 11 at night. Got there, picked her up, home at 1 in the morning. Bed, got up at 6:30, had to be in President's house at 8:45 to go to the airport again to get more new missionaries. It was a group of 24 that got here, almost all gringos, all great. We picked them up, then we went to a chapel to have some trainings for them and have some lunch and dinner. The day ended, up at 6:30 on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, we had a mini-MTC. We wanted to teach all the new missionaries all the rules and stuff in case their trainer didn't want to be so obedient. I had to make so much stuff up. We had no time to plan or talk about it, so I just blabbed on and on with Elder Ospina and Elder Dearden. I think that I will be doing that a lot, haha. But, it went well, and we finished the night in the mission home again with another delicious dinner. So spoiled. The newbies went home, we had some stuff to do in the offices, home at 11. Up at 6:30.

Thursday we had the meeting where the missionaries got their trainers. Another day of making things up as I went, but I think tht it went well. We did some trainings, yada yada, and then we paired everyone up with their new companions, ate some Subway (spoiled), then they headed out. We went to the offices with President, did some planning, home at 10:30. Up at 6:30.

Friday. Finally, I had time to breathe. Oh, it was so nice to have time to study, exercise, etc. We went to the offices at 11 for some planning, were there pretty much all afternoon, and at night we had to go with President to visit this beautiful place, Pululahua, which is a big volcanic crater where people live, one of three in the world where people can live. We want to have a zone conference there or something. Very pretty, very expensive. We did finally have time to go out and work, we found a new family to teach, but we'll see how it goes. It is hard to have time to proselyte here, but we'll make it work. And that was my week. So busy.

Today, we finally could rest. My son, Elder Paz, is one of the assistants in the other mission, so we went out to have lunch (Crepes and Waffles, baby) with him and his companion today, it was great to hear from him and be with him. I'll get to see him almost every day, which is a great blessing.

I feel really spoiled here. Our apartment is super nice. It has carpet, and I totally have lost the habit of taking off shoes when you walk in a house, because no one has it. In our house, if I walk in with my shoes on, I get yelled at. What the heck is happening. We had a dryer, an electric stove, an electric oven, three bathrooms, and, wait for it, hot water! I feel really weird having all this fancy stuff, but it's funny because before the mission I would have considered all of this stuff as normal or expected. It's funny how your perspective changes. Someone made us lasagna. Is that even how you spell it? It's been so long since I've ever even thought about lasagna. What is going on? I saw a Burger King the other day. A haircut costs 4 dollars. What am I, rich?

My companions are great. I've always wanted to be Elder Dearden's companion since I met him, so my wish came true! He is going home at the end of the change, he plays soccer for BYU. Elder Ospina is a stud, a real hero and example to me. He has been a member for just over two years, he is from Colombia. He is 27 years old. His story is remarkable to me. He got baptized, knew that he should serve a mission, and left when he was "old" to serve the Lord, and he does it very well. I get along well with them, and am excited to be with them working hard. Elder Ospina and I will be together for a long time, so I'll get to know him very well. Great companions. We live with the secretaries, too, so we interact a lot with them and they are basically our companions. There are three assistants right now and three secretaries. In each companionship, one goes home at the end of the change so they're training the new one. We're getting along well, and I'm sure that we'll continue to do so.

President and Sister Richarson are such great people. They do so much before the mission, something you don't really realize unless you are in the thick of things with them. They sacrifice so much time to help out their missionaries, plus they need to balance their time with their daughter. They told us that in the MTC, they were instructed that they are parents first, then mission presidents. It's tough, but they're doing their best to balance both, and I think that they do a great job. They're good examples of good parents, both to their own children and to their sort of children, the missionaries. I'm excited to keep working with them and getting to know them better. Hopefully I can do what I can to help keep the load light with them.

I'll need to keep adjusting to the new schedule in the offices. It's a lot of tired, we miss a lot of sleep. I feel weird not working in the field all day, but I know that what we're doing is important and necessary. We've set the goal to try to be out and working by six every day that is possible, but it's tough to do, especially in weeks where we have a lot of meetings, like this last week. But, I know that we can find a good balance of doing what is necessary in the offices and still work with investigators. We'll find the balance quickly and still manage to work. Some weeks though, it'll be really tough to go out and work. Yay, no time to breathe!

Overall, I am really excited for this new opportunity to serve. It's going to be stressful, but I feel like it'll be a great chance for me to grow in many ways. Sorry I don't have too many spiritual things to share this week, but almost every minute was filled with meetings and trainings. I loved the trainings that we did, and felt the  Spirit strongly during them, it's just hard to explain those things. But, don't worry, the Church is still true.

One day, I'll be able to sleep in. One day.

I love you all, keep working hard, keep going to the temple. Next week, my P-day is going to be Thursday, so write me before then and I'll write you one Thursday. We may or may not be having Thanksgiving for our P-day. Love you all tons, happy holidays! Don't do stupid things!


Elder Thomas

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