Hola Familia!! Chab'il ak' chihab! (Happy New Year!!)
I hope that you all had a really great new years and that you all had an extra fun time for me. Although you must not have done very much since you didn't say anything about what you did. But that's fine because we didn't do anything either. I just went to bed at 10:30 and woke up at 12:00 (not intentionally) when everyone in all of Tucuru was lighting firecrackers (more like small bombs really) and then went back to sleep. So it was pretty lame, but the refreshing/ nostalgic feelings of a new year were still the same. It was pretty weird to think about how a year ago I was going to BYU. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago at all! It seems like only yesterday I was living it up at good old Wyview Park and wasting time that I should have spent studying with friends. I have to say that I do miss BYU basketball a lot. So yeah a lot of memories came back from BYU and from my fun experiences there. At the same time I have more of a view of my time that I am blessed to have here. I have this whole year ahead of me to dedicate completely to the Lord. Of course I still have 7 months after, but this entire year, all of 2011 I can spend completely in the service of the Lord. It makes me feel excited and motivated to think about that. Although there will be a lot of challenges this year I'm sure, I'm keeping my view towards the Savior to try and come as close to Him as I can this year especially.
I hope that all of you can have good goals for this year too. Something that my mission has already taught me is about goals and goal setting. I've never ever been good with goals before so this is something that I'm still working on. But goals are very important to help us reach a level of achievement that is the maximum of our potential, or in other words, more than what we think is our potential. Today as a zone we watched a short video clip from a football movie where the coach had one of the players do the "death crawl" which is where you crawl on your hands and feet without your knees touching the ground with another person on your back. The coach had the player be blindfolded and the coach asked if the player would give him his absolute best. The player said he would and said that he thought that he could go 30 yards. The coach told him that he thought he could go 50. So he started blindfolded and the coach kept pushing and pushing him to keep going and to keep moving and not to stop. Every time the player felt like he couldn't go anymore the couch would say "You promised you would give me your best. Don't stop now. Keep going." Finally as he started reaching the end, the coach would yell "30 more steps!..20 more steps!...10 more steps!...5 more steps!" Until finally the player collapsed and began to cry saying "that's got to be the 50..I can't go anymore" The coach took off his blindfold and he saw that he was laying in the endzone. This was something that had a lot of meaning for me. It really is true. Often we limit ourselves based on a standard of our own thoughts or on standards set by others and we don't allow ourselves to achieve our full potential. If we look past our limitations and allow the Lord to help us in our goals we will be able to go so much farther than we ever thought. I have felt the power of the Lord pushing me forward when sometimes I feel like " I can't go anymore..this is my best.." Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can move so much farther and achieve so much more. So that's just a little thought that I wanted to share with you all for this new year. I hope the Lord will bless you in your goals and help us all to go a little further than what we thought possible.
So. A little info about this week. This was one of the worst weeks I've had in the mission so far in terms of our weekly goals and our numbers. I have been sick this week with gripe, which is basically a bad cold. But we didn't lose any time because of that, I just had to sleep a little more in the mornings for a couple of days and lost some of my study time.We had to go to La Tinta on Thrusday to get money out because we didn't have enough money to pay the rent. We had to move into our new house this week so that took a whole day out. We also had a small activity in the church for the youth on New Year's Eve day. The activity was at 3, but because of some...ineffective planning we'll call it...we didn't work at all in the morning and after the activity we didn't have any lessons, just ate with members. Other than that, we usually lose a couple of hours every day at least so that's pretty lame. It's fairly likely that I'll stay in Tucuru another change I feel like. But who knows. The Lord is in control for sure though. But things are still going well with the work. The Lord has truly blessed this area a lot and helped us to have good investigators. We had a few investigators come to church for the first time yesterday so that was neat and we are hopefully going to have some more baptisms soon. One experience this week that was especially meaningful for me was after the activity that we had in the church. The only thing we did was watch The Prophet of the Restoration and eat a little bit of food afterwards. But after the movie I took the opportunity to bear my testimony about Joseph Smith. The Spirit was so strong in the room and I just felt the spirit more than I ever have before testifying to me that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and that he did what he said he did. I was really grateful to the Lord for giving me a simple and yet needed spiritual boost and testimony.
Ok so a little commentary on your emails before I have to go.
Mom- haha Elder Smith and I didn't really know what to think about the pictures you sent. He just kept saying "That's my house!..That's my girlfriend!..that's my family!" and I just kept saying "That's my family in your house! That's my sister with your girlfriend!" It was kind of funny actually haha. Cool about the ward I guess. Kind of sad that some cool families won't be in the same ward though. But I was really glad to hear that Mark and I will still have the same home ward when we get back. I got a letter from him today and he's doing really well from what I can tell! So that's good. Love you mom, you're the best. Don't cry too much if you go to the MTC =P but hey could you do me a favor and buy me some chocolate covered cinnamon bears (I know it will be a temptation not to eat them before you send them to me, so try to resist) and also some red pencil lead for the scripture marker mechanical pencil for the next package you send me? I would appreciate it. Love you!
Dad- haha I laughed a lot at your poetic rendition of "I Hate Provo." (not to be confused with I hate Provo Dental) I have to say I was pretty impressed with your writing skills! You just came out of nowhere and hit me with some poetic writing. I never knew you did that kind of stuff =P Heard you got a new bike? Cool. Better work hard old man to keep up with me! Love you tons, you're the best! (We were in Provo dropping Matt off at BYU and Mike wrote a little essay to Jace on why he hates Provo, because everytime we go there we have to leave one of our sons behind. He doesn't really hate Provo, just the leaving his sons behind part!)
Matt- Noticed in the pictures that you were wearing my jacket and I think my shirt too. Creep! Kidding. Knock 'em dead out there in Provo. You'll do great. Work hard and do the Norton name proud out there in Provo. Try to help out the Norton reputation in Wyview =P Love you bro!