Sunday, March 30, 2014

(Luke Dunphy to Phil as he leaves for work) "Smell Heather for me!" (Phil Dunphy with his wife watching) "I always do....not!"

Hey all,

Another week down. This was the crazy week with the new missionaries coming. It wasn't all that crazy since the group of new missionaries was pretty small (12). I got no study time until today, which totally stinks. Also, we're fasting this weekend here, I would imagine it's the same almost everywhere. It's our fourth time fasting this week. I say we deserve a day in a Paul Bunyan's or at least a shoutout in General Conference. If someone could talk with President Monson, we should get that moving.

Well, we had a great baptism last Saturday in the evening. Esteban is Ronny's friend and another reference from a great family in the ward. He was lugged by his uncle to help him move at 3, then at night, his grandma fell and hit her head. They were worried that she wouldn't make it from the fall and the hit to the head. He still came to his baptism, he wanted to continue with it, but he was pretty worried about granny. We had the service, it was great, then almost right after he got a call saying that his grandmother was fine and was returning home to rest. He was really happy after that, and considered it a blessing from the Lord for having chosen to follow Him, and he was right about that. He got confirmed on Sunday, and hopefully tomorrow he'll be getting the priesthood. We've been having a lot of success with references in our ward. Lots of the members are the pioneers of Ecuador or the kids or grandkids of the pioneers. The chapel was the first built in Quito, it's an old chapel. full of old geysers, but they are faithful. They always have people for us to visit, and they're great references.  Yay, good members!

Sunday night we had changes, and there were a ton. We had a lot of missionaries in trios from sending so many missionaries home, new missionaries coming in, plus the missionaries from Venezuela to deal with in the changes. It took us a while to call them out, then the mayhem started on Monday. There is always some zone leader that messes something up in the changes, lots of confusion until about 12 on Monday, then things settle down a little bit. It was the farewell of three missionaries, Elder Damián, Elder Leal and Elder Lema. Elder Lema is a special needs missionary who did a mini mission to see if he could handle it. It looks like he'll be serving some kind of service mission instead of a full time mission. Great kid though, he just has fairly severe autism. Elder Damián and Elder Leal have been my friends in the mission for a long time, it was sad to see them go, especially Elder Damián. I've know him since my second change here in Ecuador and he was a great missionary. He was very sad to leave, he loved his mission so much. It's tough to see the end. but it's how things were meant to be. Plus, our mission of bringing others unto Christ never really ends, we just start to do it in another sector without a plaque.

Tuesday was the arrival of the new missionaries. Since it was a small group, we spent the day in the mission home. We've learned that since they come so tired, if we try to do too much, it's not effective, they all fall asleep. So, we did a few simply things, like memorizing the First Vision, then we sent them to the mission hotels to be able to rest. It was a tranquilo day, pretty easy and laid back.

Wednesday was our Mini-MTC, where we pound them with the rules and what we expect from them so that we don't have new people with the "I'm new and didn't know the rule" excuse when we catch them doing dumb things. It's a good thing that we do and it helps out a lot. In the evening, we have a dinner and a testimony meeting in the mission home. I never get sick of dinners in the mission home.

Thursday we had the meeting with the trainers and the new missionaries. The group of trainers that we have is fantastic. They are young and new, but excellent, well prepared missionaries. There is a program that all missionaries do called "The First 12 Weeks," and basically if the missionary is dedicated, in 12 weeks, he can be ready to train another new missionary. All of the trainers, well, almost all of them, are offspring of that program. Great, great missionaries. We'll see good things from this group of new missionaries and their trainers. We spent the afternoon in the offices getting some needed planning done with President.

Friday, we had our last zone conference for the month, and it went really well. It was a good group of missionaries, with some of my good friends in the mission, like Elder Murphy. He's the butt of pretty much every joke we make, and he takes the jokes really well. Gotta love him. It was with the Quito zones, so we didn't have to travel. Sister Richardson is practicing some of the food that they're going to make for their son's wedding, and we got to eat it for lunch. I don't think that anyone was complaining. It was a good training, we learned a lot, and we are hoping to see better work from the missionaries with the things that we were able to teach them.

We had trainings every day this week, so it is nice to have a P-day today. We've had a very low key day, bought some food and had some lunch, now we're just writing and watching videos on the Tabernacle Choir website. Great stuff, music. It was really fun to hear about Nikki's mission call, that'll be so great for her and she can send us those tasty waffle things to celebrate her work there in the Motherland. Congratulations, Nikki!

Super excited for General Conference. It's the best weekend in the mission, the best "holiday." With Christmas and stuff, you just sit around all day thinking about the turkey being eaten at home. With Conference, we don't have time to work too much, and we leave pumped and ready to work harder. It's the best. I bet it'll be a great one with lots of great announcements. I'd bet that we're at 90,000 missionaries now.

Seeing as how I had no studies, I don't have too much to share on that end. Here is a link to a great video that we watch with the new missionaries, though. It's about the Atonement and Missionary Work.

Very great video. Hopefully this week I can study more to share some bomb insights that'll blow your minds. Or I could talk about the great foods I've eaten. Either one has about the same level of spirituality. I'm not sure when I'm going to write you guys, I would imagine that Saturday would be tough. Maybe Friday or Monday.

Also, a public thank you for all who signed me up for classes, especially Heather. You're the best!

Love you guys! Talk to you in a week or so!

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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