Other than cooking...? Haha!
It is just the usual here in Ecuador, 3500 miles away...PERFECTION! This week was great! On Monday night I went on a split with one of the ward members. Biggest stud I know! He has disabilities but we are teaching him how to read and write because he wants nothing more than to serve a mission. How cool is that?! He has such a strong testimony and I am continually amazed and humbled by his Christlike example. We made it back to his house late Monday night and were waiting for Elder G... While doing so, I got talking to his mom, who was asking me all sorts of questions about the United States. Food was obviously brought up...and I told her my favorite food was a Lasagna that my mom makes. So the next day we got a call and his mom said, "Elder Noll! I made you your Lasagna!" I couldn't have been more excited. However...it was her first time making the dish...and they don't eat it in Ecuador...so it was NOT the Lasagna I grew up with. Bless her heart for trying...but I had to choke that sucker down...and hold back the tears as she put seconds...and then thirds on my plate. Let's just say that I am very glad that is over! All around good experience though! ;) Hah!
Something amazing happened! Elder D was very sick earlier in the week. He was shaking super bad and was having trouble breathing. We were all super scared. We decided to give him a blessing. I was blessed with the opportunity to give it. I am not exactly sure what I said or how I said it but as soon as we said, "Amen", he calmed down and fell asleep. ALMOST INSTANTLY! He woke up the next day fine. If that is not a miracle from our Savior I don't know what is! How lucky are we to have the Lord's power and authority restored to the earth today? So incredible.
On Wednesday our District got to go to the temple...which was obviously amazing. It is truly incredible to feel the spirit in The Lord's Holy House. We ended up making it back to Ventanas late at night and all got off the bus...except one. So the bus took off with one Elder still on it...sleeping away. The bus made it about 100 yards down the rode and suddenly you see an Elder SUPERMAN jump out of the moving bus. It was hilarious! So we all had a good laugh at that.
Friday was pretty neat too! I went on a split with Elder M. He has been here just 6 weeks longer than I have. He went to Olympus...and it is a good thing he did not play football or else he would probably be dead! ;) Haha! He really is a stud...and we found FOURTEEN families! It truly is amazing how the spirit works and the ability it has to lead and guide you to people who are in need. Later that night we went to a members' house for Elder M´s FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! 2 meals and 2 cakes later we made it back to the house...and on our way up the stairs we passed the family that lives right below us and they invited us to ANOTHER FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! Gee wiz...more cake...haha! I was fine with it though!
Then...on Saturday our ward went to the temple so we got to go again! We had to get up at 5 though. At first we were trying to be super quiet out of respect for the other Elders sleeping in our house. One thing led to another and eventually I was blasting MoTab. Choir and making smoothies with the loudest blender on the planet! Haha! They were SO SO mad...but it was pretty funny for me! And of course...the temple was absolutely incredible again.
We had another record breaking Sunday! 180 attended church yesterday! We were over the moon! It has nearly doubled in the past 4 months. It is so amazing to see The Lord´s hand in this work. I truly am loving every second of His work.
It wouldn't be a week in Ecuador if Elder Noll didn't make a fool out of himself...would it?
We were tracting and I was walking on the sidewalk...I didn't see that the sidewalk ended so as I took my step, expecting concrete, I fell right on my face...in the mud. It's all good though...I have kind of learned to live with these Gringo moments...haha! It is part of this life! ;)
I don't have a whole lot of time and I still have to share a spiritual message so I am sorry if this weeks recap was a little boring! With the limited time I have, I just wanted to share a scripture! So everyone go grab your scriptures and flip open to Alma 34:38. Let's take a look at it a little closer!
38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.
1) RECEIVE the Holy Ghost. When you receive a prompting don't deny it! Our Heavenly Father knows you PERFECTLY and is going to send His spirit to guide your life in a direction that is best for you. When we deny that spirit and its promptings we are telling The Lord that we don't trust Him. Trust in Him! Trust in the spirit. Be like Nephi and be "led by the spirit; not knowing beforehand what you should do."
2) Take upon yourself the name of Christ. We make this covenant each and every week when we partake of the sacrament...and it is HUGE. But what does it actually mean? For me, to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, means that when other people see you, your character, and your actions, they are reminded of Jesus Christ. Woah...kind of a big responsibility, right? Pretty big promise we make every week. We are promising to strive to live the life He lived. Walk the path He walked. Be the person He was. Brothers and Sisters, put His name on your heart...what a blessing it is to be trusted to represent such a divine role. What a privilege it is to be trusted to take upon ourselves His sacred name.
3) Humble yourself. This is something WE ALL need to work on, I believe. We are all nothing. But through our Savior we can BECOME something. With this attitude of BECOMING I believe that we will see The Lord´s hand more in our lives. Don't focus on what you are or what you are not...only on what you can become through the hand and mercy of The Lord. It also applies to your perspective of other people...only see other people, who are actually your literal brothers and sisters, how our Heavenly Father sees them. Only see them for their potential and where they come from. I promise blessings through this perspective and you will experience endless happiness through doing this.
4) Live in Thanksgiving DAILY. First off...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I thought this message might help the turkey settle and the pumpkin pie taste a little better! ;) But on a more serious note...do we really need to stuff our faces once a year just to be thankful? Why not do it everyday? Probs because we would all weigh 457 pounds and the turkey population would be extinct! Hah! Okay...real life seriousness...let us all strive to live in the spirit of thanks every single day. There is so much to thank our Heavenly Father for. "for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." Really that is an understatement. The MANY?? Try EVERY SINGLE thing in your life that has caused even a drop of joy or caused you to feel an ounce of happiness is from our Heavenly Father. Gratitude is such a crucial part of this life. Let us take a moment...EVERY DAY...to reflect on all that we have and thank our Heavenly Father through heartfelt prayer.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. I am forever changed...I am still the same bonehead who drove a Hippie Bus and listened to waaaaay too much One Direction...but my heart has been forever softened. The past 3 months have opened my eyes to how beautiful this Gospel is. How much our Heavenly Father really loves us, though it is incomprehensible. How important families really are...and so much more. I am so grateful to be here in the service of The Lord.
I am eternally grateful for my amazing family. The truth is that without The Lord I am weak. I am broken. I am hopeless. But without my family I am even more weak. I am shattered. I am nothing. They mean everything to me. Don´t wait until Thanksgiving to express your love for your family!
Finally, I am grateful for my Savior. I am grateful for my Father in Heaven. No matter what I say it will be an understatement but I am grateful for the life that they have given me and for the beautiful and perfect plan that was provided for all mankind to partake of. I am grateful that the only TRUE gospel was restored to the earth again.
I am grateful for all of you. Thank you for all of your prayers.
But more than anything...after you feast on the food...feast on the word of God. It is more filling than anything in this world. And try it out as a family! You will be amazed by the blessings that come!
Love you all!
Until next week,