I was greeted today by news that a friend from the mission, Elder Enriquez, was killed in an accident a few days ago. He had come across 2 trucks that had collided. Being the type of person that he was, he stepped out of his vehicle, and tried to alert those behind him. An oncoming truck tried to stop, but the trailer it was towing slid out of control, killing 3 people. One of those was Felix Enriquez.
I had the opportunity to welcome Elder Enriquez into the mission. He arrived on my last day in the office. I trained his companion from the Buenos Aires MTC. For the last 4 1/2 months of my mission, I was his District Leader. He was a hard worker, and loved to gospel. He spoke Spanish and Guarani, and his Guarani gave him an accent that endeared him to the Argentines, his companions, and his leaders. He was a tremendous soccer player, and could send a ball like nobody's business. His testimony gave him incredible energy. He had the reputation for working his companions... especially his senior comps. :)
He leaves behind a widow, Carolina.
I do not know any other details. I would, however, like to say a few things. I think I have more time to live, but, hey. I'm sure he did, too.
I'm grateful to my father for teaching me to love the scriptures. Every time he gives a talk, or acts in a spiritual sphere, it makes me want to study the scriptures more. I see the power it gives him. He taught me not to let college get in the way of my education. I know that one sounds funny, but he explained that college isn't the end-all. It's just another step. I'm grateful for his critical side. He knows how to take an idea apart, interpret it, and put it back together in a way that the average person can clearly understand. He also taught me that it's okay to ask questions, and doubt things. There is a Cheezit box on his office wall that bears the words, "Get Your Own Box." My father is a great example of that. If he has an oppinion, it's because he arrived there, not because someone fed it to him. I admire that more than he could know.
I'm grateful to my mother. Where to begin? I don't think that I could have been my own mother. I would have killed me. Looking at the things that we kids put my mother through, I wonder what sort of hell I'll have to go through to get the reward she will. Her patience is beyond my comprehension. She sees herself as constantly on the edge of mental breakdown. All things considered, that's fair. We kids were rough on her. "Are" rough on her. Really, I am glad for her constant striving to love, even when loving requires her very soul. She is paying her token payment for heaven.
I'm grateful to Gareth, my brother. Good heavens. I hardly every see him, anymore. From him I have learned that you have a choice. Life will always throw crap at us; hard, fast and frequent. Sometimes we look on the good side. Sometimes we look on the bad. Sometimes, we just have to take it. I love my brother.
Ginger holds a different position. I graduated High School, and went to live under Ginger and Joe's care for the following 7 months. She was convinced that she could straighten me out. Make me grow up. The fact that I am not dead is proof of progress. :) Looking back on those 7 months, I know I would have killed me. Her help in becoming less of a child was instrumental. No, I watch as she is raising 4 kids. She has helped me to grow up.
Joe, Ginger's husband, is one of the most patient, hard-working, down-to-earth, upstanding people I know. I think it was his insistance that kept Ginger from killing me. :) I don't know that I merited his intervention. His temperance and good humor make him someone I hold in very high esteem.
I love Erin's love of life. She has a desire to live life, and takes advantage of many of the opportunities that most people would just let go by. Her kindness is limited by her means, but she pushes those limits, as she tries to help. After Isaac had given us such a wonderful gift, she tried to insist that the Bridals (which, incidentally, are FREAKIN AWESOME) and Invitations (also bearing the title of FREAKIN AWESOME) were a wedding gift. We politely declined, but the offer was truly a generous one. With so few resources, she is doing a lot.
Isaac. When I get back, I'm totally challenging him to a wrestling match.... And locking the fridge. ;) Isaac stands out in my book because of his attention to detail, and how much he cares. 1 example: when my ring was shipped, he got it, looked at it, and then showed it to us. I looked at it, and thought it was good, but he saw that one side of the ring was thicker than the other... something that I could hardly see once he pointed it out. He sent to a different factory to make my ring, and made sure it was satisfactory. He has some work ahead for his business, and I'm sure that if he meets it head-on, he'll come out more than just victorious. He'll excell. That's just who he is.
Stuart. I'm giving the twins their own, because they are truly individuals. I regret letting Stuart ride home from Tennessee in a different car. He wanted to, but I should have stopped him. Honestly, he would have had more fun with us, and we truly would have enjoyed his company. In Tennessee, Stuart was like the motor in a car. Wanting everyone to feel included, he made sure something was happening. One think I love about Stuart is his desire for things to be fair. His strong sense of justice moved him on many occasions. He was obedient, and very hard working. Learning didn't come easily to him. He worked at it. He's no slouch. I'm glad that he was the referree in many of the tiffs we had. He truly is a loyal brother, and a loyal friend.
Now, Mr. Fireball himself. I love Scott's leadership ability. When the 3 of us were in Tennessee, if Stuart was the motor, Scott was the steering-wheel. (Sidenote: I would be the car stereo... not vitally important, but a whole lot of fun) In light of his leadership style, Stu and I were both willing to take a side-seat to his decision making. He worked hard. He sacrificed free time to work and earn money to pay for his mission. He was the sort of person who enjoyed being in charge, not because it was power over others, but because it was power to help others. If I had to work for any of my siblings, it would probably be Scott.
Jonathan Alexander Cooley. 12 going on 20. He doesn't really fit in with any of the kids his age. Why? Simple. They're half as smart as he is. I love J's love of reading. He is really just a bookworm, and reads everything from Oliver Twist to the latest Starwars Comic Book. His imagination is more vivid than most, and he truly enjoys toying with ideas in his mind. He makes obscure references to things the rest of us have already forgotten, but that he has catalogued away in his amazing mind.
I just wanted to throw a shout-out to my immediate family. I love you all. I wonder what the Lord has in store for me. I'll just keep on truckin', staying on the right side of the line.
If you're ever feeling down, just remember: Somewhere in the middle of a crazy, third-world, communist country, there's a guy who's not allowed to talk about the religion that is the reason for his happiness. Also, he can't talk to most of the people. :) But he LOVES YOU!! :D