Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three Valuable Lessons Learned & Saying Good Bye to Elder Munoz

Here is the letter that Ben sent on 7/12/14. Sorry for posting it so late, but there was lots of photos and not a lot of time available to get it all up. Enjoy!

I'm so happy to hear that everything is going well back home. Congrats Will on the fish, and for keeping up with the tradition!! 

As you can tell from the pictures, William caught his first fish all by himself. 

We have a family tradition that you must kiss the first fish you catch before you release it back into the water. William did not want to kiss the fish, but once we told him the Ben, Justin and Lily as well as all of his older cousins had done the same thing, he decided to go for it. 

That's a shame that Mrs. Cumberworth retired, she was the best, but I'm sure Justin will still enjoy the class. Justin was upset that for his AP English class he had to read a 600 page book and write a report as well as take a test from another book all before the summer was over. I guess the new teacher just wants to get a head start on the school year. Ben took the same class from a teacher who just retired and did not have any summer homework. Got to love a new teacher who is excited to teach lots of new things & challenge her students.

This week has been good. I made a mistake when depositing a check. I forgot to endorse it on the back, so a large majority of our time was taken up going to Ciudad Vieja to the central banks to clear up the problem. 

There was a lot of confusion because President Cook is the person responsible for the account, but the check was deposited by me. It required about 5 trips to 3 different banks, a thumb print and a copy of my passport just to release the check from the bank to the person that I had sent it to. From there we had to take it to City Bank (where the mission's account is) to have the block taken off the check. The president had to sign a piece of paper authorizing me to endorse it after having been blocked, unblocked and signed by the whole world. It all worked out in the end but it taught me three valuable lessons:

1) Never forget to endorse a check and then deposit it in a foreign bank under another name

2) Have patience with yourself; there are almost no problems without a solution. The ones that don't have a solution aren't worth stressing out about because there is no solution.

3) Make sure you are complete with every detail, no matter how small and simple it may seem. 
The source of all of Ben's headaches this week--one of the 47 checks he prepared and deposited this week to pay the rent for the appartments this month.
This really is something that I would like to carry away from this experience. Every little thing that our parents have ever taught us, the Sunday School answers (read the scriptures, pray, go to church) are all seemingly small and easily omitted steps in our everyday lives, but in the grand eternal perspective, these are the three pillars that support our divine purpose here on earth. 
It reminds me of the talk by President Gordon B. Hinkley entitled  "Switches in Your Life"

"Many years ago I worked in the head office of one of our railroads. One day I received a telephone call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey, who said that a passenger train had arrived without its baggage car. The patrons were angry.

We discovered that the train had been properly made up in Oakland, California, and properly delivered to St. Louis, from which station it was to be carried to its destination on the east coast. But in the St. Louis yards, a thoughtless switchman had moved a piece of steel just three inches.

That piece of steel was a switch point, and the car that should have been in Newark, New Jersey, was in New Orleans, Louisiana, thirteen hundred miles away.
So it is with our lives—"

Here we learn that these small moments are critical for us. I'm grateful for the learning experiences that the Lord offers me. I plan on looking more at the details in life. My studies, my attitudes, how I can better represent the Savior in every moment. He himself, the Savior of the whole human family, took time to heal the one, took time to let the children come unto him, took time to think of every single one of us in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I was honestly frustrated beyond belief every time I was missing another signature or stamp, but I'm glad for having received this experience to teach me the importance of the little things in every aspect of our life.

So outside of that we also had a going away party/Family Home Evening with some of the recent converts in the ward for Élder Muñoz.

Romina and Carla made the snacks and a poster (with pictures they stole from my blog and from Élder Muñoz´s Facebook)

Hermano Pablo (the bald one) made some Tortilla de Papas (it's basically cubed potatoes with a bunch of onion and pepper cooked all together in a pan then you take it off of the heat and pour in a bunch of beaten eggs and cheese and bake everything in the same pan until it´s all solid.

Édler Muñoz was invited to share the lesson.

It was a great night and a great opportunity to say goodbye (he has been here for 6 months).

Hermano Fernano was also there, he´s the recent convert of Élder Gallagher and Quezada.

Well, I love you all!

Send everyone back home a big hug from me.

Élder Benjamin Taylor

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