Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Howdy, howdy....it's quite delightful to never hear howdy from anyone but myself. I hated when I went to A&M and everyone used what used to be my own personal greeting. Now, I feel special again!

Not a -ton- of news to report...this past monday, tons of visas started coming in. My companion, Blake Henrie, along with every single other Brasilian missionary, left on either tuesday or wednesday. However, this wednesday was three weeks from my entry into the MTC, which meant new missionaries in our zone. We were supposed to be getting 47 new elders and sisters: 45 to Brasil and 2 to Mozambique. However, it ended up only being 11, as the other 36 got their visas and went straight to São Paulo. I love it here...no complaints from me. I'll make it down there eventually :-D

On Tuesday, Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us. Pretty amazing, to say the least. I've never met nor seen a man who just eminated the spirit in the manner that Elder Holland did.

I am now in a companionship with Elders Kyle Sargent and Broc Foerster. It's pretty ballin', cause we all get along really well. We suck at teaching, but I mean, that's irrelevant. ;-)

I don't have a lot more to say concerning my week....it's mainly class, church, class, church, class, church, gym, class, church, church, church, toilet, class, class....you get the idea. Anyway, onto personal replies:

President Kunz: Thank you so very, very much. I needed to hear that. Your words have brought me a quantum of solace, which I hope I can expand upon.

John Lake: John Lake! Thank you so much for writing. I will likely send you a legit letter cause I'd like to give a more detailed response, but you by no means wrote too much. It's awesome that everything is going so well for you.

Kaitlin: Definitely, these past four millenia have been torture without hanging out ("I haven't seen you in like four thousand years). We will do better in the future. Thanks for saying hi. :-)

Aunt Suzanne: Don't feel bad about not writing me. I was glad to receive your letter, and glad to hear everyone is doing well in the Ashman/Criddle family. I remember Miriam got into LVA for Spanish; what happened to that? Unless LVA=international studies magnet school. If dat be da case, we is all good, cuz. Anyway, thanks again for the letter, and stay safe!

And I bid farewell once more...until next friday, or whenever I manage to take off to São Paulo. Até logo!

To the parents/brothers/Thais: What's up everybody? I really appreciate all the letters. Thais, I just got your letter in the package yesterday...and it'll take me about a week to read, but I'll get it eventually! Thanks :-) And Mom, thanks for everything in the package. I can't say we are deprived of food here...but it's nice to have a change. And the brownies were delish. Dunno why you were so worried about 'em. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for your support. I love your letters, and Father, it has been especially powerful to hear the progress you are making. I am so happy to hear everyone is doing well, and of course, this is just about the most stressful time of the the year...CONTEST SEASON! But anyway, Johnny, sorry you're feeling a little down. Know that I think about you all the time, pray for you, and love you with all my heart. I am so happy to hear that you work in women's shoes now. In fact, I won't even make fun of you for working in women's shoes! That's how cool it is. Jay, don't feel bad about not writing. I can't say I would be much better if you were the one in my shoes. Just being honest. I am thrilled to hear you got the Host Gator job and will be able to support the parents when they are older, so that I may better horde my riches. I love hearing from you, and love you very, very much. Just a quick note to all: I CAN receive messages on here, but Dear Elder is better. Reading the letters on here takes up the thirty minutes, which I usually use most of. So yeah. Anyway, stay safe, forward this to Jay and John (parents), and know that you are in my heart and prayers. Love you all.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Another week down. Nothing too exciting or unique, overall. I suppose these messages are going to get more and more repetitive until: a) I go to the Brasil CTM, b) I go into the field, or c) I gain some new super power. As awesome as a) and b) would be....I'd probably take c). Just being honest, here.

To Mom and Dad, Thank you so much for everything. Father, I cannot tell you the effect that your words have had on me. You are an _amazing_ priesthood example, and I am honored to have felt your presence in my life. I have learned from you and grown into the man I am today because of you. Mother, my love for you is immeasurable. Every letter/package you send and prayer you say, I feel your sincere love for me. You two have given me all the I need to lead a successful life. It is up to me to finally choose to use what you have given me. I love you.
I am so happy to hear that Jay and John are doing well. I am so happy to hear that you have prospects, Father. And I pray that your upcoming endeavors will be successful, Mom. You are all in every one of my prayers. I love my family more than I could ever love anything else in the world.

I'm getting into the swing of things quite well. Last weekend was extremely long because of Fast Sunday (or, in my delightful direct-translation-Português, Domingo Rápido! (It literally means quick Sunday...awesome). We had church meetings from 8 to 12, and then a meeting with a member of our branch presidency from 12 to 2, then more from 2-5...you get the picture. I love church...just, you know, getting used to this whole church all-day-everyday thing. But it's fun. :-)

The week has gone by exceedingly quickly. I have felt the prayers of everyone, and thank you immensely (should I drop the e and add -ly? Who cares?). Just yesterday, I received no less than 6 pages of Dear Elder letters...let me tell you what, just about the best day of my stay so far. You all rock.

I found out that I am a retard (no offense to anyone, of course) and that you all have to put your addresses on every Dear Elder letter you send to me. So, no worries about the addresses! I found 'em, if you have already sent me something!

To Uncle Doug: Thanks for the encouragement. I was actually able to translate nearly everything without a dictionary! Gosto os hinos, os oraçãos, e as liçoes (Creio estar liçoes...) tambêm. Overall, the CTM is, as one of meus professores says, 'muito divertido'! Ha. But in all honestly, I loved hearing from you. Thanks, and good luck to you and Aunt Sue with everything. You both know you are my favorite aunt and uncle.

To Amanda, Katy: You've both got letters in the mail. No worries!

To Aunt Debbie: That is hilarious about Henry. I would expect no less from him. He has to live up to the names of Don and Ethan. Try not to go too crazy in school, Xan. If I remember correctly, you're a junior now? Just remember, if you're ever getting a big head and feeling all cool, I'll post some embarrassing pictures of you on facebook (or at least, make my mother post them)! And Ethan, my buddy, I hope you're doing well. Have you beaten all the LEGO video games yet? I know we beat Star Wars, but I don't think you'd finished Batman yet...Stay cool, buddy. Thanks for the language advice and testimony, Aunt Debbie. You and Uncle Don are by far my favorite aunt and uncle, no contest.

To The Sorensens: Great to hear from you. I know you're entire family was always so nice to the missionaries at home...here's hoping that there are some families like yours down in São Paulo!

To Jared: Thanks man. I am definitely going into school withdrawal. I'll just start reciting stupid biology facts, like tapeworms belonging to Cestoda and the they are made of proglottides. The rest of my friends here just look at me like I'm an idiot or something.

To Bishop Stutz: All I can really say is thanks. You've been a wonderful example and amazing leader to me, and I assure you I am doing all that I can. Thank you for taking the time to write me, and thank you for all that you do.

To Aunt Marianne: I would love to have a package come! That would be delightful. And thanks so much for your kind words. That's great about Eric and Max and Jeff. They all have everything going for them. I look forward to seeing where their careers take them! I am so grateful to have such wonderful aunts and uncles, and you and Uncle Stan are by far my favorite.

So, I have one minute left...sorry, I spent a little too much time writing everyone individual letters as opposed to writing a big letter. To sum up my week: more of the same. I will talk to you all in a week! Happy September 11th!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Week Numero Dois


The MTC, the MTC....Provo is so delightfully dry. Why would anyone ever want to live here is beyond me...
Life is going well! I'm loving the letters. Getting more settled into life, and time is flying by. Today, we went to the Provo Temple, where I got the chance to do the Endowment ceremony for Ashby Stewart something...can't remember his last name now. But it is so cool, talk about an amazing feeling to know that someone has been waiting for me to do their work for them, and they are now able to continue in their afterlife.
Sidenote: this keyboard sucks. The shift key barely works, and I absolutely refuse to use the right shift. So if my typing is poor....well, poop on you

We are teaching more and more, and speaking more and more Portugues. Yesterday, we did three door greetings entirely in Portugues (about 21 minutes of talking)...it was interesting, to say the least. :-)

Family: How is life in Magnolia/Austin/Vegas? Is Thais doing well? Was Vegas fun(Mom)? I think about you nonstop. You all are the reason I am here. I would do anything anyone of you ever asked me to, and I just wanted you to know I love you with all my heart, even if I don't get to speak to you all the time. I hope work is going well, John, and that you are finding ways to stay happy and have fun. Same to you, Jay. Let me know how the computer business is going and what you are up to. Pops, make that dough and practice on your bowling game. I'm gonna come back with a vengeance. And mom, thank you so much for the package/letters. :-).

I think about you all all the time. Life is hard, but isn't. It's difficult to get adjusted to life here, but truly, sincerely, I have a ton of fun. My first companion, Elder Hurst, and four other good friends from my district (district=eat with, go to class with, etc. was 11 people at beginning) all took off to Brazil last Tuesday. Now, I am in a threesome with Elders Ellis and Henrie. They are cool and fun, but not quite as driven or as incredibly knowledgable of scriptures as Elder Hurst. However, we are doing alright and getting more used to each other. I really enjoy the other Elders and Sisters. They are all kids too...so while we don't really play around much, we have fun.

To anyone and everyone sending me Dear Elders: thank you so much! I love hearing from you. With that being said, seriously, just tell me about life. I love to hear spiritual thoughts, but don't feel obligated at all. I am in church 16 hours a day...having letters from the outside world is a nice relief. :-) Also, please PLEASE send me your addresses! I can't respond to Dear Elders! So if you want a reply, you've got to give me an address (or send me an actual letter, which would be delightful...)

Here's some replies to everyone who's sent me a letter-

Breanna: Dog, I know it's crazy that I'm in the MTC...who woulda thunk it? I just saw Elder Thomas for only the second time since I got here. He was made a zone leader on his fourth day here. That is insane(Zone=~4 districts, so about 50 people). How is BYU treating ya?

Jake: Please introduce me to Camille. If she likes you, we will get along well. Hugs and kisses!And when are you 19/putting in your papers?

Austin: My man, my man. Thanks for the uplifting thought, although you give me way too much credit. If I am not mistaken, you are starting like, legit upper level business stuff this year. How is school treating you?

Mattie: You win the best letter writer/most dedicated award. You have a letter in the mail, ;-)
Stephen: She is a keeper for sure. And I hope you got her something super nice, like a toy truck from Texaco. How is the new apartment working out? What are you up to? Do you have any friends? Stay true, blood

Uncle Doug: I just got your letter today, and haven't had a chance to translate. Thanks for the homework, punk! Haha, I am excited to read it. And I thank you for the kind words and support. It means the world to me.

I hope everyone is safe, and enjoying the beginning of school/oncoming autumn season. Please write me about whatever you desire, and stay in touch.

Talk to y'all in a week!
Elder Loucks

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Well as you can tell, I have not done my part to get this blog up and running in a timely manner. Let me assure you that is about to change.
Josh's final 2 weeks here in Texas were a little crazy.
Originally scheduled to fly to the CTM in Brazil August 19 but with his visa nowhere in sight, we began to realize that he would not be leaving as planned. The Church travel office confirmed that he would be postponed a week and quite likely be making a pit stop in Provo.
The bonus week was spent savoring every minute he could with friends and family, as well as visiting many restaurants he knew he would miss-you know like Whataburger, and Sams Club pizza, Chick-fil-A.
On August 26, he boarded the plane for Provo with one of his best friends, Ned Thomas (who will be serving in Ukraine) as well as Elder Tessers from our ward who would be returning home to Utah.
It was a wonderful experience to see many Elders waiting to return home from their missions. We laughed as they commented (somewhat enviously) about the wonderful shade of white the new Elders shirts were, compared to their rather dingy and very well-used shirts. It helped me to realize that even though 2 years is a very long time, that eventually it will end and our wonderful son will also return home to his family only he will be even more wonderful.
The first letter from Elder Loucks has been posted and we look forward to many more as we watch his love for the gospel and the Savior continue to grow.

Mom and Dad!

Here I am....the MTC is everything everyone has made it out to be. The food is actually not -that- bad, but it's definitely cafeteria food. We actually had Papa John's pizza for dinner last night. How cool is that?

We are learning Portuguese quite rapidly. I love it. It is so similar to Spanish that I am able to pick it up very easily, yet there are some majorly annoying quirks to get used to. We started off learning how to say a prayer on Thursday, and now we are only allowed to pray in Portuguese. Today, we learned how to bear our testimonies. Woo.

My companion is awesome. His name is Elder Hurst, and he is from Dallas/Plano. He actually knows Ben Kendall through another friend. Crazy. Anyway, he went to Dartmouth last year and really knows his stuff about the gospel. We taught our first lesson today to one of our teachers, which was fun. I can't say I have really learned too much about the gospel...We spend tons of time on it, but almost everything we are taught about the gospel is "love your investigators and bear your testimony". I suppose that is true...but very obvious. Oh well.

The best parts, and the only parts I really like, are the language and companionship. I guess that is to be expected, seeing how lacking I am in wisdom and knowledge of the gospel. It will come with time....hopefully.

I love you both very much, and miss all my friends dearly. Make sure to say hi/forward this to whoever. I can only email yous guys...no one else. Maybe I'll be sneaky and try breaking the rules every now and then. That being said, I hope you are doing well, and make sure to tell both John and Jay that I love and miss them. I am completely isolated here...it really is like prison. However, it is much better than I expected. I think about all of you all the time. You are in all of my prayers. I am hoping that the other Elders don't notice that every prayer I give (we seriously say like, 30 prayers a day) involves blessing my family with comfort, health, and strength. :-)

Stay strong, write me often, and trust in the Lord.

Love you all,
Elder Loucks

PS Tell me about Thais and her experiences!
PPS Dad, I accidentally stole your name badge from your mission. I swear I didn't mean to. I can send it back, but it is kinda nice to have something to remind me of you.
PPPS Things I need: Shorts and Shirts (probably 2 of each), under armor shorts (so I don't have to wear my garment tops while exercising) and some friggin' pictures of my family! That's about it. Bye!