I feel old. I'm already an 8th y poco of the way done, and it feels like I left two weeks ago.
I'm still in training with Elder Castillo, though I haven't been doing a very good job of allowing myself to be trained. Some days I dread leaving the house, and some days I'm the one directing lessons. There are lots of ups and downs in the mission, perhaps because I can't flee into a smartphone when things get tough. I'm considering using a flip-phone when I return--I'm not sure I have the discipline to own a smartphone with no games on it.
Glad to hear that you guys are having a great time! Tell everyone up there that I love them! ("up there" referring to Utah and to the Northern Hemisphere.) I haven't seen banana or orange trees, but there are lots of lemon trees, and we've seen a couple of avocado trees as well.
We have an old Liahona magazine from January 2014 in our house, and I've been reading from it a little; it has an article by M. Russell Ballard that I loved and would like to share. It talks about the future, sharing an optimistic perspective and saying that the world will see new innovations and wonders. It talks about prosperity, and about consecrating ourselves to building the Kingdom of God. I've long feared the idea of consecrating myself because I thought that it meant that I should sacrifice my individuality for a greater whole, but that isn't it. The focal point of this thought resides as far from where you'd expect as I can go: in Macbeth, there is a scene where a ghost is haunting a banquet, and in the midst of mirth dispersed by his madness, Macbeth asks the server to fill his cup and ¨"fill full". When my strength is fading, these words fill my head--"fill full".
The origin of this is in Omni, an often overlooked book in the Book of Mormon. In Omni, four authors add brief remarks that do little more than continue their genealogy. While the family tree is important, they weren't exactly following their father Nephi's instructions to fill the plates with things that will help their children come unto Christ. (2 Nephi 25:26). The last author of Omni (Amaleki, I think) probably didn't have a lot of room. He could have done the same, scratching his name into the plates and passing them on, but instead he decided that the last page of Nephi's plates wouldn't just be a list of names. He filled his plates full. Similarly, we've got our plates (or our cups, in Macbeth's case), and we must decide how deeply we want to drink of the gospel. God's promises to those who give all are numerous (Jacob 2:18-19), and though it won't be easy, I intend to consecrate my life and fill full my cup.