What's good US crew?!
Hopefully everything! Let's see...I hit the gym early this morning, ate some bananas, studied hard, did my laundry with my hands and a rock, and now I am here in a cyber! And it has 2 fans instead of 1...could life be better?? Haha!
This week has really been a great one! As usual...
Other than my water experience...good grief...haha! We have to buy these huge water jugs to drink because all the water here is contaminated. I think they are 7 gallons. So they are super heavy and super big. Anyways...I bought one of them for the week and we were making the half mile journey back to the house with the jug on my back. At first I was dying...SO, SO, SO heavy. Especially after a day of walking in the blistering heat! But for some reason every step I took the jug seemed to get lighter and lighter. Man was my confidence sky rocketing. I was getting stronger and stronger! So I swagged all the way back to the house and by the time we got there the jug seemed like nothing. Well...that's because that's what it was. NOTHING. It actually had a hole in the bottom so all of the water was leaking out. So 1...I wasn't getting stronger. 2...I had to buy another jug of water. 3...everyone was staring at the white boy with water all over his light gray pants thinking that I had quite the urination problem! Haha! But it's all good...I have accepted my whiteness by now ;)
That same night we heard the trash coming down the street...the garbage truck has a little song that plays super duper loud when they are collecting the garbage...AND WE HAD TONS of trash. And we observed that we were not going to make it down the stairs with all of the trash in time. So we put our thinking caps on...actually we didn't...we basically took them off and just played basketball with our trash. Throwing the bags of trash off of our 3 story house and into the truck. It was pretty tight. Elder D and I do need to work on our shooting skills though. It was fun though! The garbage man wasn't too happy...hah! We told him we were sorry though...I hope he heard us ;)
It has been raining and raining and raining...with the mixture of heat, humidity, and rain...I can honestly say that I have not been dry for a single second in the past 4 1/2 months I have been here in Ecuador. Haha! And I love it! Tuesday night it was actually a little cold for the first time though...cold for here at least. Look at me talking about cold while you Utah'ns are in your houses crying because it probably just snowed 3 feet...sorry! But I was cold! We ended up heading over to the L's...the coolest family in the world...we had hot chocolate, Elder D made some tortillas and we shared a spiritual message with them. It was a blast! I was in charge of the hot chocolate! :) But as I was stirring...doing my thang... A rat the size of small human being crawled down the wall...oh dear! I can't explain it through email! Way too hard to express the emotions I felt in that moment. And the worst part is that nobody else saw it. I swear I saw it! So I was the only one who was scared. I finished making the hot chocolate while standing on a chair so that it couldn't get me if it returned :) Luckily we didn't have another encounter with the beast though! But Hermana L told me to test the hot chocolate- so I did...I didn't even think about the fact that it had been cooking over the stove for 20 minutes though...I burnt the snot out of my tongue! I still can't taste anything...I think the only thing that comes into your mind as a missionary is what scripture to share ;)
The next day, our lunch appointment fell through...so we went and bought all of the supplies to make American baked potatoes and I put my "Tracy Noll Apron" on and played chef! ;) We had some ranch packets too that Elder P forgot when he headed to Guayaquil so it really did complete the American baked potato. I prepared them at the L's so that they could try them too. I guess I did okay! Obviously I got nothing on THEE TRACY NOLL. But it was worth a try. Everyone liked them though!
I can't remember if I have already said this or not...but I am going to say it again anyways...
MY DREAM CAME TRUE!
I am the dude that gets to count how many people are at church! How awesome?! Ever since I was a kid I have always wanted to be the guy with the fancy pen that takes count. So there's that...life accomplished!
So I hear the Patriots took the bowl! Cool cool. I know the Vikes will get it next year! ;)
What else is going on with life?!
Things are so good here. Honestly soooo good.
I am still here in Ventanas where I started...and I would end here if I could. I love it here so much! The work, the atmosphere, the people, everything! Forget Hawaii!!! ;)
With the little time I have left I just wanted to testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
1: The Lord tells us that His word will be fulfilled through 3 witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). Obviously we have the first 2...the old testament and the new testament. But with the third witness, the Book of Mormon, we have the fulfillment of The Lord's teachings. Without it we don't have a sufficient amount of Christ's teachings to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.
2: From Psalms 85:11, we know that ''truth will spring out of the earth''...and where was it that Moroni buried the Golden Plates? There is a picture of it in the first few pages of your Book of Mormon if you need help! :) And where was it that Joseph Smith retrieved the plates from?? I testify that this truth that sprung from the earth was and is the Book of Mormon which is the word of the Almighty God and is another testament of His son, Jesus Christ.
3: I testify that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that as a 14 year old boy, with ''flesh fresher than a child's'' and ''in the days of his youth'', Joseph Smith ''prayed unto God'' and was ''favorable in His sight'' and truly did ''see His face with joy'' (JOB 33:25-26).
The honest truth is that we could go on for hours and find prophesy and evidence in the Bible of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but the even more honest truth is that we don't have too!
The Lord promises us, through the Prophet Moroni, that if we read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true the Holy Ghost will testify to our heart of its truth. I PROMISE that The Lord ALWAYS fulfills His promises. If you ask you will receive.
I know it because I received my own answer. It is something that I am unable to put into words. And all I can say is read and pray! Not only will you find an answer in regards to the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but you can find an answer to all of the questions and doubts that life brings.
I know that Joseph Smith knelt in a grove and offered up his heart and soul to a God that he didn't know existed...and he saw Him face to face with His Son, Jesus Christ. You have the same marvelous blessing to kneel in your very own Sacred Grove and come to know God the Father and your Savior!
As you do this you will come to know that Joseph Smith was indeed a Prophet of God and that he did translate the Book of Mormon. You will know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is another testament of our Savior, Jesus Christ. You will come to know that Christ lived for you. You will come to know that He suffered and died for you. And that He lived again...all for you.
The teachings of the Book of Mormon are teachings that we cannot learn from anywhere else. You will learn more from the words in that book than you will from any math or science book. You will find more comfort, peace, and love from the words in that book that any Nicholas Sparks novel. And that's saying something!!!
When you have questions...read. When you have doubts...read. When life is bad...read. When life is good...read. Too many people died for this marvelous work and a wonder for you to not read it. Too many people gave everything for this sacred cause for us to not use it.
USE WHAT YOU GOT!
Lastly, very shortly before young Joseph saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ face to face, he was ''held bound'' and ''seemed to be bound to sudden destruction''. I know that we are closest to the truth when we feel that we are the deepest in the dark that we could possibly be. We are closest to the light when we can't see. We are closest to our Padre Celestial when we feel He is not with us.
Those who feel far from the truth, far from the light, far from happiness, distant from your Father in Heaven, or distant...YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!
Learn to kick it in the dark...it is where champions are made.
All God's have to start somewhere...