Monday, January 20, 2014

"I see the moon, and the moon sees me, God bless the moon, and God bless me." That weird Mother Goose movie we watch when we were little

Hey all,

Time is short today, so I am going to write briefly, and whenever I have more time to write again (maybe not until next week), I'll give more details.

Monday, we just did verifications all day and planned stuff for the trainings this month.

Tuesday, we left bright and early for Esmeraldas. It is pretty when you leave the city, but when you are in the city, it is like a sewer, bless its heart. I do miss it a lot, though, I love my time serving there. I especially have missed the heat, after living for so long in hot conditions, my body got used to it. It felt good to sweat again. We got there around lunchtime, and got to have a great leaders' meeting with all of the zone leaders and district leaders there in the coast. It was a great environment, just me, Elder Ospina, and the Richardsons in a smaller room with the leaders. We called a lot of new, young leaders this change to try to vamp things up in the mission, and we had this meeting to train them in a little bit. It was really great. We talked about a variety of things, their responsibilities, the forms they should fill out, what we expect from them, etc. Elder Ospina and I have been preparing a training for quite some time about becoming good pastors, and we feel like it went well. We got to stay the night in a really pretty beachside town, Atacames, with the Elder who live there.

Wednesday morning, we got permission to go running on the beach, super pretty. It was just us and no one else out there on the sand, really calming to hear the ocean waves and to see out into the horizon. The earth is super pretty, just when you're around dirty people, it can loose its appeal for a bit. We spent the day in a meeting with all of the missionaries, not just the leaders, and the theme was basically that we're expecting more from them than we are currently seeing, a "pep rally" of sorts to get us working harder. It went well, I think that they got the message. We also talked to them about the importance of supporting their leaders. Some of the new leaders are very young in the mission and are leaders of missionaries with a lot more experience, so we need their support even if they feel like they should be the leaders instead of the young pups. After, we went by 5 or 6 of the houses to verify them, and we were shocked to find them really clean. Usually, they are disasters and we have to get on their backs about cleaning, but we were surprised by what we saw. Hopefully they can now stay clean (they probably won't). I spent the night with on pair of zone leaders, Elder Ospina with the others so that we could do divisions on Thursday.

Thursday, I spent all day working with the zone leaders. It was great. It was my first full day of proselyting since I've been in the offices, and it was so much fun. We had our district meeting, ward council and mission correlation meeting, and we had some good appointments and found some new people. It was a very effective day. It rained all day, and we came home wet, muddy, and sweaty, and it was the best feeling in the world. I miss working full days like that, especially in the heat. But, the offices are a blessing as well, and a great opportunity to learn. I am happy where I am. We were able to spend some time at night talking about the needs of the zone and how the zone leaders could get better, and we set some great goals.

Friday, we headed back home. There is this great dish called encebollado ("onioned" in English), that is one of our favorite things to eat here. It has fish, so it is best eaten in the coast where the fish is fresh. We stopped by the best restaurant in Esmeraldas and ate a bowl or two before leaving. The bus is about 7 hours long, and they usually play movies on the ride, so we get excited to see what movies they put. Sometimes, they're great, sometimes, they're duds. This time? About as dud as you can get. Breaking Dawn Part 2. Boo.

Yeah, we have to go right now, I'll finish later. We have a baptism tonight that we need to get ready. Sorry. Quick finish, we went to the Equator today, totally balanced the egg on the nail and got a special certificate. Boo yah. Also, I got the Madsen, Lowe, and Jensen Christmas cards this week, thanks for send them!

Love you tons, I'll write more later,

Elder Thomas

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