Sounds like you had an awesome time in Mexico, I'm really jealous about all the Mexican food, I could really go for some tacos a vapor right now!!! or some tamales. Or a quesadilla, haha. It's interesting as I've been thinking about food and different parts of the world I've noticed some interesting things. When I think of food in america I think of flavor, if it tastes good then its good. But as I pay attention to people and food here and comments that are made about food, the most desired food is the food that will fill you up. I personally like to eat food that tastes good and then fill myself up with that, but here in Ecuador they pay more attention to what will fill you up and then they worry about flavor later. I can't complain, haha, I never leave a members house not ready to puke my guts out because it was so much food, but I do occasionally leave with an unsatisfied tongue. Idk, I just thought that was interesting. I'm not sure what Argentina might be like or Mexico. Mexico just makes good food all around, haha, and its incredibly filling, maybe that's why everyone loves it, because it's the best of both worlds.
Ecuador is cold and wet right now. The rain here is heavy and icey, always accompanied by wind. My companion was in Tena before he got here and in Tena it's just hot. It's jungle there, and when I say jungle I mean it's jungle, haha. Hot, humid and even the rain is hot. You just can't get away from the heat or humidity there. Well now he's here in Latacunga with me where it's just cold all the time. Like 30 at night and 60 during the day and now when it's raining it feels even colder. It makes contacting interesting, haha. Chasing people down streets to talk to them in the rain, I always hope the rain will make people more willing to let us in, but that's not really the case, haha.
This past weekend was Stake Conference and our mission president was there as well as a member of the Seventy, Elder Alveres. It was really cool. The temple president was there as well as his wife, and the temple president's wife gave a pretty direct and straight forward talk to the youth of the stake. She spoke of modesty and of the importance of marriage in the temple and the preparation that comes and is necessary in the early years of our life. Her words were pretty strict and harsh but also good, the whole congregation began to whisper in astonishment at how harsh her words were. But she spoke truth, it's important for youth and young adults to take commandments, modesty, temple preparation all seriously. It's important when the time comes to be able to marry in the temple worthily. Any misunderstanding of that can and could lead to us not being able to partake of the blessing in the temple.
I've been studying the atonement a lot in my mind recently as I've been preparing for General Conference. I have a few questions in mind I'm looking to find answers for and I'd encourage everyone else to maybe do the same. It's pretty crazy how the atonement works, as I spoke with my mission president, as we had interviews with him also this past weekend, he told me a story of a bishop who had been working with a young man for a long time on a few things. The young man was preparing to take a young lady to the temple, but asked his bishop beforehand "how do I know I've been forgiven before I look this girl in the eyes across the alter and marry her for all time and eternity?" The bishop wasn't sure how to answer, so later that week he spoke with who is now one of the apostles but then a Stake President or something, how he should answer the young man. The stake president or I'm not sure what his calling was, began to ask questions "is he active in church?" "yes" "where does he sit?" " umm front to the left a little" "is he actively engaged min his calling?" " yes" and the questions went on. At the end, the president said to the bishop, "well that's your answer"
I hope that all made sense, I guess there are a lot of things that someone could take from that story and that answer. For me, I've been learning that repentance isn't a one time deal, OK I'm forgiven kind of a thing. It's not really a moment or a thing that we just do to be clean again, but rather repentance and forgiveness is a way of life. As I've been thinking about all this I've also thought about Heavenly Father's plan, how we each have a potential to be God's like him, but we have to comply with certain things in this life in order to do so, Or rather we have to learn to align our lives with those guidelines and regulations/commandments he's given us. The way we do that is by changing and getting better, it's a constant process of repentance. I feel like sometimes the word repentance is associated with wrong or bad or disobedient, but I think it's more associated with the word obedience. Sometimes it's easy to judge others and even easier to judge ourselves if a mistake is made, its good to recognize a mistake is made to feel like the process of recovering after that mistake is made is a bad thing isn't really the right attitude.
It's like if a body builder were to get mad at himself every time he was sore, haha. That would be just dumb, lol.
Anyways I'm still learning just like everyone else, but I love that we have the gospel of Jesus Christ and his atonement in our lives. I'm grateful for living prophets, apostles, and for the Book of Mormon that teaches me something every time I read it or hold it in my hands. The words written inside are true. They are the words of ancient prophets who spoke with God. I'm grateful for the priesthood that we have again on the earth because our Father in Heaven loves us and has sent prophets to the earth once again, specifically restoring his gospel through Joseph Smith.
I love you guys and miss you all a ton!!