Saturday, February 8, 2014

"For over 500 years I have walked among men, and now the only thing that I don't have is time!" Gandalf

Hey all,

I've got a half hour before we need to go to the chapel, the baptism is at 7. He's an awesome kid, named Dante. He's 21, and he's gone through a big change in the past month that we've taught him. He's the one that has tons of tattoos, piercings, etc. He told us last night that he's taking out his piercings today, and he'll never put them back in. He wants to serve a mission, he's at all the activities, he's reading his scriptures every day, he's a true convert. He was a great reference from a great family. The dad of the family is the son of one of the first converts in Ecuador. When I have more time, I'll write a little bit more about him.

We played basketball today, on a real wooden court. Andrea's high school is super ritzy and has everything a normal high school in the states would have. We got permission to use the stuff today. We played soccer for a little bit, then we went into the full sized, wooden basketball court. We played a game of 21, and I won it! I thought that I would be really bad at basketball for not playing for over a year, but I wasn't nearly as bad as I thought I would be. I'm excited to play some more on real courts when I'm in America again. After, we went out to eat with the Richardsons in the Denny's of here. It is pretty good food, but not as cheap as the faithful Denny's. I ate a ton of breakfast, super good. We did all of this because Elder Morton, one of the secretaries, is leaving the offices with this change. He's been there for 8 months, and he wanted to work in the field before he ends in April. He's a great guy, and we had a really fun day today playing around and eating pancakes. And Captain Crunch. I love basketball, it was so fun to play for a bit.

We had our leader's council this week, it went very well. Last year, we had a thing that we did in February and March, "The faith in February will bring the miracle of March." It sounds better in Spanish, but oh, well. We sacrifice some things in these months to better focus on the mission, and we strive to find as many people, be them investigators or less actives, that need to come to the Church to receive the necessary blessings. Last year, we had 223 confirmations in March, so it is something that works. We can only listen to music that would be played in General Conference (Some missionaries like to listen a lot to EFY songs and other songs like that), we can't do zone activities on preparation day, and we are to pick one personal sacrifice for these two months. I'm not sure what mine will be yet. In February, we want to end with 165 confirmations and 150 rescued less actives, and in March, 200 of each. We're really trying to push the missionaries really hard so that we can see great success in the coming months. I'm excited. Last year, I was in the Gasca for these months, and by sacrificing a little more than usual, we definitely saw a lot of miracles. For example, a brother who listened to the missionaries for 16 years got baptized. He and his wife are going to go to the temple with their family in the coming months to get sealed. I know we'll see cool miracles these year, too.

I'm gonna start writing about something I've been studying, but I won't have time to finish today. We went to the equator a few weeks ago, and thinking back, there are a lot of great gospel lessons to be lived there.

The equator is a "nullifying" line. On the equator, there aren't any big storms, no tornados, nothing dangerous from weather. The reason is that the way the earth spins causes the northern hemisphere to go in one direction, and the southern goes the other direction, just because of the spin. While watching the earth spin and looking at the poles, one pole spins one way and one spins the other. For that reason, the middle, the equator, is where they cancel each other out.

The guide took a bowl of water with a hole in the bottom. When he unplugged the hole while the bucket was right on the equator, the water just fell straight down, without spining or anything. When we went 8 or so feet to the north of the line, it spun in one way. When we went 8 feet or so to the south of the line, it spun the other way.

When walking on the equator, if you close your eyes and try to walk right on the line with your hands spread out, one on each side of the equator, you can't do it. The difference of the spin makes you lose your balance, and you always fall.

When you are 8 feet away from the equator, if you put your hands up and someone tries to pull them down with all their force, you can resist, no problem. When you do the same thing on the equator, the person pulling down on your hands can use only two fingers, and you can't resist at all. Your hands go right down and you lose your balance.

These experiment got me thinking about the idea of serving two masters. We just can't do it. When we try to serve both, nothing happens, just like the weather or the water on the equator. We're weaker, we lose our balance, we can't even walk. We have to choose one side or the other, or nothing will happen. It is just like that with choosing between the Lord and Satan. We can't try to do both, no progress with be made. We must choose one or the other. If we choose the Lord, we will progress for the better. If we choose Satan, we will take steps backwards. But, in this life, we are not able to choose a stalemate.

Out of time. I'll finish my thoughts whenever I can find time. Next week will be crazy, it's change week again.

Love you tons!

Elder Thomas

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