HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NUMBER ONE!!! Happy Birthday Macy Moo! Love you so much and am wishing you such a Happy Birthday from thousands of miles away. Be careful on the roads! I won´t mention dating because I know you are going to wait for me so I can take you on your first date so I am not too worried about that.
GENTLEMEN ATTENTION: Just because I lost weight doesn´t mean that I lost my tenacity. I´ve got drive...drive that will kick your butts at anytime, anywhere, or in any place. Watch yourselves. I have eyes ALL around town.
Hello friends and family! How was Christmas?! I hope that everyone had so much fun! Hopefully everyone is staying safe and hopefully everyone is getting ready for a new year that will be filled with miracles and progression! This Christmas spirit is unbeatable! That`s for sure! We have been blessed with so many miracles and tender mercies this past week I don`t even know which ones to share. We don`t have tons of time today so I will try to keep to the good stuff!
Just the basic rundown of the week...
On Tuesday we had to be in Guayaquil at 8ish...which meant that we had to leave La Troncal at about 5:45ish...which means that we got up at 5...but what sucked was that the power went out at 2...so we actually got up at 2ish and could not go back to sleep. I woke up first...and sweating profusely I tried to see what was wrong so I was messing with my fan but after nothing happened I discovered that it was because of the power outage...about 1 minute I heard Elder Ashman starting to roll around...then I heard him start to mess with his fan...laughing, I said...``Good luck, man...already tried it.`` We both laid there laughing hysterically while we sweat like never before...haha. So let`s just say that Tuesday was an exhausting day...but incredible to say the least. The training went well and after that we met up with our zone and went over to a children's cancer hospital. That alone made my Christmas the best one yet. As a companionship we all chose a little cancer patient to go talk to, give gifts to, and show our love towards. Elder Ashman and I went strait for the little 8 year old Irina. She was adorable! Elder Ashman and I had the best time just talking to her...we sang together...drew pictures together...and watched her open gifts. It changed me. I think one particular part hit me the most though. When she drew her pictures every time she got to the part to draw her hair she paused...looked at her mom...looked at us...looked at the paper...and giggled...with tears in her perfect eyes and sadness in her heart she put it aside and managed to let out a smile. She drew every picture like that. Every. Single. One. As a little 8 year old girl that is pretty brave. That is pretty brave! That is pretty Christlike. I was taken back in awe and deep thought...what is it that matters most? Our outward appearance? Our hair? No...none of it. Our hearts. As long as you can draw you with a smile and a giggle you are perfect. As long as you can fight of the tears...fight of the sadness...or the negativity...and draw you as you are...you are perfect. Just like the little angel Irina that Elder Ashman and I grew to love ever so deeply.
From there we got to go to the temple! That says enough, right? I learned things that I had never thought of before. There I was alone in a certain part of a certain room and I wept. I don´t even know why!!! I whispered to myself...´´this is so true´´...but when I left the temple I soon realized that sometimes the spirit whispers truths through our whispers...so it was him saying...´´Elder Noll...this is so true. This is so right.´´ What a marvelous blessing. GO TO THE TEMPLE!!!
The next day we had the gathering as a mission. Dinner with the Springvilleites! Elder Johnson, Ashman, and I all got to kick it together for the night! It was so cool to be with the two guys! What a great program it was. President Riggins spoke to us on how to come to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Hermana Riggins spoke on the Lord´s Atonement and the Sacrament. Two great topics to go along with the celebration of the Lord´s birth.
The way home was quite the journey...we bought the tickets and when we made it to the bus stop the guy that checks the tickets took Elder Ashman´s ticket and crinkled it up and threw it on the ground with the millions of other crinkled up tickets...we still have not found out why! Haha! But we were not going to be able to snatch the bus if we could not find his ticket...we searched for like 2 seconds and one of the first ones we grabbed...out of the thousands on the ground...was his. That says enough...no explanation needed. God is a God of miracles.
Christmas Eve was the greatest thing of my life. We were so happy. Kicking it through the streets, wearing santa hats, handing out toys to all of the little kids and then singing Christmas songs to the parents that testify of the birth and life of Jesus Christ. We found SO MANY new people to go teach because of that ONE day. Because of the day before the celebrated birthday of our Older Brother. We are so excited to help the people we found progress and find more happiness in their lives.
Christmas with the Jaramillo´s! We made our way down to Duran and called the fam bams at the Jaramillo´s house and ate lunch with them. So grateful for that amazing family. They have changed my life. It was so good to see my family...the best family in all of the world...you others are okay I guess ;) Keep trying to catch up to mine though! You might be able to take second! ;) Haha! When we made it back to La Troncal it was another great chance to find more people. We made a couple more visits and got on our singing grind again! So that was Christmas!
So those were some great experiences and moments from the week. With so many that I am holding back because you have to have a ´´STAY TUNED´´ for next week! Right?! This week will be another great chance to find new families and new prepared children of our Heavenly Father! We are super pumped!
I hope all have a fantastic new year! Make good goals! Make hard goals! Goals that are going to make you fight...struggle...nothing good comes with ease!
My older brother said something so interesting to me; ´´The most important word in the English dictionary is arise...so go...ARISE.´´ So I asked myself the question...how is it we arise? If it is the most important word how is it that I can fulfill its importance. What do I need to do to arise? Then I had a flash back at something that my dad taught me a little while back. The word ´´humility´´ comes from the latin step ´´humus´´, which is an organic plant that grows in the soil. To be humble means to descend below the soil. To descend to the greatest depths possible. To lower yourself below the dirt. So my brother tells me to to arise...and my dad tells me to descend...they kinda contradict don´t they?? What does Al have to say? Maybe you, being the Nephi of the family, can hook me up with some words of wisdom! ;) Haha! What I came to figure out is that my brothers invitation to ´´arise´´ is what I need to do...is what we all need to do...and that my dad gave me the ´´how´´. To arise we must first descend. To arise and be lifted we must develop humility...we must lower ourselves to the dirt.
I love the question that the Prophet Alma makes us in Alma chapter 5. ´´Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that you have been sufficiently humble?´´ Have you lowered yourselves to the depths? Are you as a child is, willing and submitting to counsel and change? Do you make sacrifices for the benefits of others? Do you walk ´´puffed up´´? Do you accept praise or TAKE praise and give it to God where it is due? ´´...have ye spiritually been born of God?´´ Have you spiritually become a child? An infant? A newborn? ´´...have ye received His image in your countenances? When you are seen of the world what is seen? When the world sees you is a member of the only true church in the universe seen? When the world sees you do they see humility? Charity? Light? When you look at yourself in the mirror each day do you see glimpses and attributes of your Savior, Jesus Christ? Are you reminded of Him throughout the day because of the things you do, how you act, and what you say? ´´...have you experienced this mighty change of heart?´´ Have you experienced a mighty change by admitting that you are not so mighty?
In Luke chapter 14 the Savior teaches us this principle in a way that I absolutely love. In the way that my brother and father have taught me. ´´But when though art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room...´´ WE ARE BIDDEN NOW! To go to the LOWEST ROOM. Like my dad said...to the dirt...to the greatest depths...so ´´...that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go UP HIGHER; then shall thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.´´ We are invited to go to the lowest room so that we can eventually ´´go up higher´´. Interesting how it works. The lower we descend...the higher the invite will be...and the more glorious shall the ´´worship in the presence of them that sit at meat´´ with us will be.
´´For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.´´ Exaltation is the goal. It is the ´´WHY´´ to this earthy life. We are here to obtain it. To inherit it. When my brother invited me to ´´rise´´ he invited me to be exalted. There is no other higher rise than that of exaltation that can only come through what my father taught me by growing in the soil...in the greatness depths through humility. It is a work in progress each and every day...so let´s get at it! I invite all, including myself, to ´´sit down in the lowest room´´...to become an organic plant that grows beneath the ground...to humble ourselves to the dust...so that we can be exalted. So that we can rise.
Arise by descending. Descend to arise!